Archive for April, 2011

2B Rankings Revisited

At the beginning of the season, the Rotographs authors compiled a composite ranking of 2B. After a month of the season completed, here is a look at how that initial ranking compare to the players’ production so far.

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Trade Strategy: Considering Perceived Value

Yesterday afternoon, I was asked by one of my best friends and fellow fantasy baseball owners about whether he should offer a specific trade. He owns Joakim Soria and wondered whether he should offer him for Trevor Cahill. He plays in a head-to-head league with daily transactions, so I would think closers are worth a little more than in your standard weekly transaction rotisserie league. He did currently own a whole bunch of closers, but half of them were temporary or part of a committee, so Soria represented only one of two full-time closers on his roster.

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Ryan Vogelsong: Worth the Waiver Wire Claim?

While the rest of the world is going gaga over the resurgence of Bartolo Colon (I’m not buying it), there’s another pitcher out there who has apparently hopped into his Delorean and gunned it to 88.  San Francisco’s Ryan Vogelsong made his first start of the season in replacement of the injured Barry Zito this past week, pitched 5.2 innings allowing two runs on four hits and a pair of walks, and picked up his first win as a starter since 2002.  He actually looked better than his stat line reads as opening jitters got the better of him in the first, but he settled down very nicely and matched a career high eight strikeouts.  But now the question remains — is he worth a spot on your fantasy roster? Read the rest of this entry »

Reliever Rankings, Ignoring Saves and Holds

When playing typical fantasy baseball, the main thing that fantasy managers typically worry about regarding relievers is one thing: jobs.  If a reliever is a closer, he has value.  If not, they generally are considered to have very little value except in very deep leagues.

In FanGraphs Points leagues, however, a reliever’s job means a bit less, because saves (worth 5 points apiece) are worth only marginally more than a hold (4 points).  With that in mind, I think it’s interesting to take a look at reliever rankings without worrying about jobs.  In a sense, what we’re talking about are “true talent” projections for relievers, but still including things like park factors that do matter for fantasy comparisons.  If you have an estimate of a pitcher’s true talent, you may be able to find that cheap bargain pitcher who will outperform bad relievers with jobs.  And in all likelihood, the best pitchers would be expected to be among the first to take on the closer role once it becomes available.

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RotoGraphs Chat – 4/29/11

Bartolo Colon, Carlos Gomez, Johnny Damon: Waiver Wire

In today’s edition of the Waiver Wire, we look at a tubby starter who’s putting up numbers, a speedster, and an octogenarian outfielder.

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Rex Brothers, Charlie Furbush, Josh Reddick: Mining the Minors

Timing is an important factor in this space. I had been planning to include Alexi Amarista, a second baseman in the Angels org who leads the minors with a .455 batting average. Except Amarista no longer plays in the minors…because the Angels called up the 22-year-old earlier this week to be a part of their middle infield mix in a utility role. Oh well. That just means one of these minor leaguers got some pub instead.

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Two-Start Pitchers: Week 5

Everyone is happy when one of their pitchers is scheduled for two starts in a week. But that is not always a good thing. Here are five pitchers you may be on the fence about (or should be on the fence) putting into your lineup for Week 5.

R.A. Dickey – Last year’s feel-good story is off to a rough start this year, with a 1-3 record and an ERA nearly a full run higher than 2010. Walks have been a big problem for Dickey, as his 4.09 BB/9 is way above last year’s 2.17 mark. But after giving up 12 BB in his first 17.1 IP, Dickey has allowed just 3 BB in his last 15.2 innings. With home games against the Giants and Dodgers, look for Dickey to get back to last year’s results, where he was 7-3 with a 1.99 ERA at Citi Field, and get him into your lineup.

Livan Hernandez – Last year, Hernandez got off to a hot start, which prompted Dave Cameron to call him: The Luckiest Man Alive. Regression hit in his final 21 starts (5-9, 4.48 ERA) and his overall numbers were what we would expect, save for a 5.8 HR/FB rate. Flash forward to this year and his 2011 numbers are similar to what he produced overall in 2010. His xFIP is nearly identical to what it was a year ago, but his ERA is 1.31 runs lower than his xFIP due mainly to a low HR rate. Here are the HR/FB rates for Hernandez the past five seasons, starting with 2007: 11.8, 10.7, 8.4, 5.8, 3.4.

Regression will hit Hernandez again this year, but the problem with regression is while we know it’s coming, we’re just not sure when. We do know that Hernandez faces two teams in the Phillies and Marlins this week that are below average in the National League in hitting homers. While Hernandez has had some trouble on the road this year, my feeling is that the good luck with HR will continue another week and I am going to have him in my lineup.

Jair Jurrjens – Since being activated from the disabled list, Jurrjens has been masterful in three starts, going 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA. While that is accompanied by all of the unsustainable marks you would expect, like a 92.6 LOB%, one thing Jurrjens has impressed with and might be able to continue with going forward is his K/BB ratio. It currently sits at 2.80, thanks to a 2.05 BB/9. He goes up against the Brewers and Phillies, two teams that are below average in the NL drawing walks. Both teams are above average in scoring runs, so it certainly will not be an easy week for Jurrjens, but I like his chances.

Mike Leake – In a bit of unusual circumstance, Leake is 3-0 yet his xFIP (3.58) is lower than his ERA (4.40). In his second season in the majors, Leake has upped his K rate, going from a 5.92 K/9 a season ago to 7.63 this season. In his last three starts, Leake has 18 Ks in 20 IP. He’s pitched a Quality Start in four of his five games this year, stumbling only in a road game in Arizona. This week Leake squares off against the Astros and Cubs, two teams with a combined 19-30 record. Get the youngster into your lineup this week.

Josh Tomlin – A perfect five-for-five in Quality Starts, the previously unheralded Tomlin has been embraced by fantasy players, with ownership rates in CBS Sports leagues higher than Dickey, Hernandez and Leake. The righty Tomlin has an average fastball velocity of just 87.6, but throws four other pitches, does a nice job mixing them and has positive Pitch Type Values on all of his non-fastball offerings.

But while it has been fun to watch Tomlin come out of nowhere, he does have a .179 BABIP and a 91.7 LOB%. With two West Coast road starts this week against the A’s and Angels, this may be the time that regression shows up. Look for alternatives to Tomlin this week.

Other scheduled two-start pitchers in Week 5 are listed below. Please remember that these are projected pitchers and changes can and will happen between now and next week.

Sabathia, Lester, Verlander, Haren, Beckett, Kershaw, Oswalt, Hanson, Gallardo, Lohse, Harang, Ogando, A. Sanchez, McClellan, Davis, Holland, Bumgarner, Guthrie, McCarthy, Colon, Buehrle, Rogers, Francis, Happ, Bedard, Penny, McDonald, Volstad, Chatwood, Gorzelanny, Ross, Saunders, Vogelsong, Bergesen, Reyes.

Check back Sunday night for an update of two-start pitchers.

Now I want to provide some accountability and check in and see how previous recommendations turned out. There needs to be a two-week lag, since last week’s pitchers have not completed their second start yet. So here are Week 3 pitchers and how they fared.

Beachy- Advised to sit. W, 14 Ks, 1.50 ERA, 0.583 WHIP, 12 IP, 2 ER
Matsuzaka – Advised to sit. 2 W, 12 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.400 WHIP, 15 IP, 0 ER
Pavano – Advised to start. W, 6 Ks, 7.71 ERA, 1.629 WHIP, 11.2 IP, 10 ER
Vargas – Advised to start. 7 Ks, 6.55 ERA, 1.546 WHIP, 11 IP, 8 ER
Zambrano – Advised to start. 14 Ks, 4.15 ERA, 0.923 WHIP, 13 IP. 6 ER

Chris Coghlan: Waiver Wire

The mantra of FanGraphs is “Do not put too much faith into small sample sizes.” We all have it tattood on our chests, just below a picture of the site’s founder, Dave Appleman.

In the world of fantasy baseball that mantra can be twisted a bit, as we will gladly ride a player on a hot streak as far as he will take us. That doesn’t mean we believe in the statistics the player is putting up – more often than not he’s dumped when the hot hitting ends. A lot of fluky things can happen over the course of ~100PA. It’s up to you to decide what is legitimate and what isn’t. Take Chris Coghlan for example.

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First Base Rankings Debate: Who’s Number One?

Next week I’ll be releasing an updated version of our first base player rankings (here’s the preseason rankings), and will do so on every Thursday closest to the first of the month for the rest of the season. We’ll talk about stock changes and breakout players and what not in between, but for now I just want to throw something out there for discussion: Is is possible that Albert Pujols is no longer the top fantasy first baseman (and by extension, top fantasy player)?

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