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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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The Deep Dynasty ADP Project

Why does redraft get all the nice things like a helpful Average Draft Position (ADP) to indicate the most auspicious time to target a specific player?

To my knowledge, ADP basically doesn’t exist for deep dynasty formats – and probably for a good reason. Deep dynasty is a snowflake ecosystem. Every league has its own unique nooks and crannies. They’re conducted on a variety of different fantasy platforms with offline components. More to the point, there probably aren’t very many first year drafts. Most dynasty leagues have been rolling for years.

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The Truth About Pitch Values

It seems as though each year, fantasy baseball analysts, “professional” and amateur alike, hone in on a new — or, if not new, then relatively untouched — metric or data set for their endlessly eager consumption. In 2015, FanGraphs introduced batted ball data to its leaderboards. In 2016, Statcast data was unveiled, although it arguably didn’t become popular until 2017, and before the 2017 season FanGraphs changed the game with its splits leaderboard. Baseball Prospectus has introduced myriad new metrics, too — DRA in 2015, DRC+ last year, etc. — and we began to lean into pitch-specific performance analysis last year. (The latter-most topic is relevant to what follows here.)

I recently joined Christopher Welsh and Scott Bogman of In This League on their podcast. I thought one of the evening’s questions was particularly topical and prescient (and I paraphrase): What will 2019’s it metric be? The question was asked with pitch values, something I’ve seen garner increasing attention on Twitter, in mind.

You can acquaint yourself with pitch values directly from the man who created them:

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The Increasing Popularity of Deep Dynasty Leagues

Deep dynasty leagues are becoming increasingly popular. Today, I’d like to talk about my experiences with the format, things to look for when joining a league, and what this means for the fantasy baseball industry.

Let’s start by defining a “deep” dynasty league. This is a flexible concept. In a recent poll, I said the following: “Let’s define “deep” as any mixed league that rosters 700 or more players leaguewide or any AL/NL Only with 350 or more players. At least half of players are kept.”

Again, the exact definition can vary. What matters is that the league operates on a completely different level than the most common fantasy formats. Those are 12-team redraft with roto or head-to-head scoring. There are also dynasty leagues with similar dynamics to these more common formats. Participants in these leagues can use existing resources for redraft leagues with a little mental tinkering. The norms of the industry still apply in a general sense even if there are some specific quirks.

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A Minor Review of 2018: Texas Rangers

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 Texas Rangers

If you were perusing the series back in late 2013, you would have read this:

The Sleeper: Odubel Herrera, 2B: An offensive-minded infielder, Herrera impressed me with his offensive potential in 2012. Unfortunately, he found Double-A to be more of a challenge and the 21-year-old finished the year back in High-A ball after being passed on the depth chart by fellow middle infield prospects Odor and Luis Sardinas. The 2014 season will be a key one for Herrera, who needs to avoid getting completely lost in the shuffle.

Now on to the new stuff:

First Taste of The Show: Ronald Guzman, 1B: The Rangers invested quite heavily in both Nomar Mazara and Guzman during the 2011 international free agency and both made good on their potential… with Guzman taking a little longer to develop. He has a huge frame that generates significant raw power but struggles to reach that pop in game situations. He’s still polishing his eye at plate and produced a modest 33-121 BB-K rate in his big league debut.

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2018 Fly Ball Pull Percentage Surgers

Alas, we have reached the final 2018 pair of recaps of the primary components of my xHR/FB rate equation, fly ball pull percentage (FBP%). Simply, it’s easier to hit a homer to the pull side. Why? Because the fences are closer down the lines than to center field. Plus, hitters are typically able to generate more power when pulling the ball, so they hit their pulled flies harder, plus those pulled flies don’t have to travel as far to jump over the fence for a dinger. So let’s find out which hitters with at least 30 fly balls enjoyed a FBP% surge of at least 10%.

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