• 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.
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    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

First Base is Rough This Year

Last year was an ugly season at 1B. It’s usually a power-focused position, filled with homers and RBIs aplenty, both categories often coming from several players. The 30+ HR hitters at first base were sliced in half last year, dropping to just seven after 14 in 2017. The number of 100+ RBI guys at the position has been dwindling for a while now but sank to just three in 2018. There were a whopping 13 in 2009 followed by 9, 9, 8, 7, 7, 6, 5, and 5 before only Jesus Aguilar, Edwin Encarnacion, and Anthony Rizzo reached the mark last season.

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Catchers … What a Dumpster Fire

Catchers … what a dumpster fire for a fantasy position. I can’t remember it being worse. It probably was at some point but with the increased knowledge of pitch framing, more horrible hitting catchers are accumulating plate appearances. Today, I’m going to go through the natural catcher tiers for various league types and show where owners need to buy for the best values.

Before I go any further, I need to explain a few concepts. I’m going to be using Standing Gain Points (SGP) to differentiate the various players. The main reason I like to use SGP is it takes all of player’s Roto stats and combine them into a single value. This important with differentiating the value of a speedster leading off or a middle of the lineup slugger. Additionally, I’m using The Process’s 15-team, two-catcher formula for all the following comparisons. It may not be the perfect formula when comparing different league types but it will provide a nice baseline.

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Steamer vs NFBC ADP – Stolen Base Bargains

Unless you plan on attempting to punt categories at your 2019 draft, at some point, one must acquire stolen bases. If you plan on completely ignoring the SB category – you can stop reading this article now. But for the rest of us, here is a look at where some potential bargains for speed may present itself in drafts.

For these draft value comparisons, I look at:

  • The player ranks as computed by the FanGraphs Auction Calculator with Steamer projections (standard NFBC 15 team roto league settings).
  • The current NFBC ADP (of Draft Championship leagues from December 1, 2018 to present).

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The Joey Gallo Hype Train

This morning, baseball Twitter has noisily hopped aboard the Joey Gallo hype train. Industry folks noticed his Steamer and THE BAT projections which suggest he should be far more highly regarded than is currently the case. Consider these projected fantasy lines:

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2018 Surprise Barrels Per True Fly Ball Rate Leaders

Two weeks ago, I discussed the hitters who enjoyed surges and suffered declines in their barrels per true fly ball (Brls/TFB) rates, a metric that’s one of the primary components of my xHR/FB rate equation. Today, let’s identify and discuss some surprises at or near the top of the Brls/TFB leaderboard. Some of these hitters did post high HR/FB rate, so those hitters might not be so surprising as Brls/TFB leaders, but rather the rankign validates the success.

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 630 – Post-300 ADP Breakout Hitters


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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Notable Transactions/Rumors/Articles

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A Minor Review of 2018: San Diego Padres

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.

The San Diego PadresIf you were perusing this series back in 2013, you would have read this:

The Sleeper: Matt Andriese, RHP Andriese has been one of my favorite sleepers for a couple years now and he continues to fly under the radar in part because he doesn’t have the electric stuff that gets scouts’ hearts palpitating. His fastball has at least average velocity but it’s the heavy sink that makes it stand out. Andriese, 24, is very close to big-league ready and he could settle in to the role of back-end, innings-eating starter.

Now on to the new stuff:

First Taste of The Show: Joey Lucchesi, LHP: What a year for Lucchesi, a former fourth round pick who needed just over one full year of baseball to reach The Show. He benefited from advanced control while incorporating basically a two-pitch attack with his fastball and changeup. Lucchesi may need to rely on a breaking ball more often in his sophomore season in the Majors now that the scouting report is out on him. He was hurt by the home run ball in 2018 and oddly gave up more homers at home. He’ll need an added weapon against right-handed hitters with almost half the hits against him going for extra bases.

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Top-200 Fantasy Pitcher Rankings

It’s time to start discussing pitcher rankings and fantasy managers need to know it’s a new landscape for two reasons. First, the idea of every team having one or two 200-inning starters is *over*. The top arms are putting up similar stats to the past. The change now is with the floor. It has just fallen. Starters are just not going as long and the Wins and Strikeouts they accumulate are gone. Second, many bullpens are now going to more of a committee approach where there aren’t 30 set closers but more like 20. The lack of Saves in a concentrated few closers boost their value and the overall value of every Save.

It’s time to get to the rankings. I used the 15-team Standings Gain Points (SGP) Formula from The Process to create these rankings. I used FanGraphs Depth Chart projections (stats in the table) along with three other sources (not to be named). I ranked them by the average SGP value and also included the standard deviation in all the values.

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Hot Button Hitters: The Divisive Projections

A couple of days ago, I released some hitter rankings and now I’m going to dive into some players with the biggest value divergence. By going through the most different players, the value averaging makes any effects of an outlier less meaningful. Also, remember that these are the most divisive projections. Other player projections involve less disagreement.

It’s not always one projection being “wrong”. Each one as some instance of diverging. By using several projections, the faults of one are lessened.

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2018 Fly Ball Pull Percentage Decliners

Yesterday, I identified and discussed the hitters who increased their fly ball pull percentage (FBP%) most from 2017 to 2018. Pulling the ball more frequently typically fuels power growth, so a significant decline could be the cause of a power dip. So let’s find out which hitters with at least 30 fly balls enjoyed a FBP% decline of at least 10%.

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