• Roto Riteup
    The most roto-relevant news of the previous day, recapped in a concise format for your morning coffee.
  • Bullpen Report
    Detailed daily updates and charts on every bullpen in the Major Leagues to help you manage your saves and holds.
  • Prospect Coverage
    Our prospect team mines the minors for top prospects and useful pieces alike.
  • MASH Report
    Award-winning in-depth injury report with analysis from Jeff Zimmerman.
  • The Sleeper and The Bust Podcast
    Paul Sporer, Justin Mason, and Jason Collette lead the RotoGraphs staff in a regular fantasy podcast.
  • Daily Fantasy Strategy
    The RotoGraphs team discusses daily fantasy strategy and then makes picks for the day.
  • Ottoneu Strategy
    Strategy for the year-round FanGraphs Fantasy game.
  • Top 50 Fantasy Prospects
    Marc Hulet adjusts (and updates) his prospect list for fantasy purposes.
  • Field of Streams
    A contest to see who can make the better picks: streaming pitcher and hitter choices for every day of the season in a podcast hosted by Dylan Higgins and Matthew Dewoskin.
C  -  1B  -  2B  -  SS  -  3B  -  OF  -  SP  -  RP

The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 662 – Buzz-Less Top 100 Players

3/25/19

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 20, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER20!

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NOTABLE TRANSACTIONS/INJURIES/RUMORS

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Who is Being Dropped & Why

I’m experimenting with a new article format this year. Instead of concentrating on the most added players, I’m going to concentrate on those poor souls owners are throwing in the towel on. Most of the discarded players will have been demoted to the minor or dinged up. It’s the few who don’t fit into either of these two categories who I will focus on. Sadly, there aren’t many this first week.

To find which players are being dropped, I’m going to use the NFBC Main Event leagues. They are 15-team roto leagues which have some depth and most of the owners will be trying since each posted a $1K+ entry fee. The league will contain active owners making overall trends easier to spot. This week, I have the adds and drops from only 18 leagues since some leagues haven’t drafted yet and included my top-three choices at the end.

Injured List

Jason Kipnis: 7

Kipnis and the scrubs the Indians are using in the infield should be monitored closely. Kipnis should get his job back once healthy and he could be a reasonable buy a week early for a team needing infield help.

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Fantasy Fringe Five: Another (Re)Introduction

Astute readers perhaps noted a certain (Re)Introduction of the Fringe Five penned last week by my esteemed colleague Alex Chamberlain. This was a stark departure from previous Fringe Five columns, the totality of which were authored by former FanGraphist Carson Cistulli. Mr. Cistulli has moved on to a better place (Toronto) and so we must carry on his stead.

Alex and I will share this column throughout the year on a bi-weekly basis. Or semi-weekly. Whichever one means we each write once every other week. The internet, in its vast wisdom, seemingly suggests that both words could be correct. Or incorrect.

Anyway. You’ll notice both Alex and I have been infected by an extra helping of writer’s voice, a contagion I am certain can be traced directly to Mr. Cistulli. Behold, relevant words from the breast of Carson himself. To wit, what is this column and how does a player become eligible to participate?

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 661 – Spring Moves & AL Tout Review

3/24/19

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 19, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER19!

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GET THE SLEEPER & THE BUST T-SHIRT FROM ROTOWEAR!

Notable transactions, injuries, rumors

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A Minor Review of 2018: New York Yankees

Welcome back to my annual off-season series that has a quick-and-dirty review of all 30 minor league systems around baseball. This feature began way back in 2008.

If you had been perusing this series at the end of 2017, you would have read:

The Sleeper: Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP: Signed way back in 2012 (by the Giants), injuries have decimated Loasiga’s career to date with just 35 innings thrown in the last four years. However, he has outstanding control and a mid-90s fastball with two secondary offerings that project as better than average down the line. I can’t see him being a starter long-term given the injury history and his slight frame but he could make an excellent (and quick-moving) reliever for the Yankees.

Now on to the new stuff:

First Taste of The Show: Gleyber Torres, 2B: Torres needed less than 70 games above A-ball to prove to the Yankees that he was MLB ready. He wasn’t the best rookie hitter on the club (that goes to Miguel Andujar) but the former Cubs prospect was younger and also showed a better all-around game. With that said, there is still room for growth as he struck out 25% of the time while hitting for more power than expected (11 home runs was his previous high). Even if the swing-and-miss tendencies continue (I don’t think they will), Torres has produced 10-12% walk rates in the minors so he’ll like increase his on-base rate as he settles in at the big league level. Defensively, he’s a fine second baseman who can play shortstop when needed.

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2019 Spring Starting Pitcher K% Surgers

Almost exactly seven years ago, I shared a study on the predictive value of pitcher strikeout and walk rates posted during spring training. Though most know that most spring training stats mean nothing (somehow, there are still those who think spring stats like ERA actually have predictive value), spring strikeout and walk rates do improve projections when incorporated. That said, we still have the same size issue to deal with, various levels of competition, and pitchers working on things that makes them not the actual pitcher we know them as. With those caveats out of the way, it’s at least worth being aware of pitchers striking out significantly more than projected to.

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Roto Riteup: March 25, 2019

Footage of me running to my computer after the first week of FAAB ran last night:

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10 Bold Predictions: Trey Baughn (2019)

The 2019 season is here.  Let’s get right to it.

1 – Dan Vogelbach will finish with a wOBA higher than Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.

You could say that to date neither Dan Vogelbach nor Vladimir Guererro, Jr. have accomplished anything in the major leagues.  While true, that’s where the comparison ends.  Vogelbach is 26 years old and has less than 150 major league plate appearances on his resume (career 78 wRC+). Vlad, Jr. just turned 20 years old, is the consensus #1 prospect in baseball, and is the son of a beloved Hall of Fame player.

I have absolutely nothing against Vlad, Jr. and am as excited as anyone else to watch him carve out what is likely to be a stunning career with the bat.  However, as I tried to express recently, the expectations are so high here that we may all be setting ourselves up for a little bit of disappointment.  As we are often reminded with even elite prospects, baseball is hard, and the game has a funny way of humbling even the most talented athletes in the world, at least for a time.  Patience will be prudent with Vlad, Jr., but most of us will have none of it.

Vogelbach has posted a minor league slash of .282/.391/.472/.864 over eight seasons, including a .907 OPS in 342 AAA games.  He’s a professional hitter, but up until this point he’s had Nelson Cruz blocking his path to SEA.  That roadblock is now removed, and as of this writing it’s all but certain Vogelbach will get a shot to stick on the Mariners’ roster to begin the season.  From the write up for the 2019 Seattle top prospects:

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American League Lineup Analysis

After just going over the National League lineups, it’s time for the American league. Again, my analysis was to focus on the lineups used, not manager speak.

Note: This article was submitted late on Wednesday for editing so the second Oakland-Seattle lineups were not available to analyze.

Baltimore

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2019 Bold Predictions

I went just 2.5/10 last year, but I’m smashing that mark this year and going 3/10!!! For me, the real value in these is putting some names on your radar in a context you might not have considered. I’d love to be right, but these are bold predictions meaning they are unlikely to come to fruition without major skills development (I went all positive this year) and a good bit of luck. Getting the stars to align like that on one player and one pitcher is hard enough, let alone five of each. But there is still wiggle room between these bold predictions and the player’s projections to be wins for us and contribute to our fantasy titles. So without further ado…

Ramon Laureano goes 25 HR/40 SB

This is the culmination of a winter spent gushing over Laureano. I just didn’t see how I could leave him out of this piece. Same with another Oakland Athletic coming up. It’s no surprise I’m a huge fan, but I wanted to express just exactly what I think the high end could be with a bold prediction for each. Laureano’s elite defense should absolutely secure his playing time and he’s a premium speedster with emerging pop. He matched Dee Gordon’s 29.0 ft/sec sprint speed last year and stole 36 bases per 600 PA in the minors. Hopefully the A’s let him maximize the wheels.

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