Archive for September, 2011

Playoff Waiver Wire: Sean Rodriguez

There aren’t many players who have bigger gaps in talent from one side of the plate to the other than Sean Rodriguez. The Rays shortstop has shown impressive talent against the Ned Flanderses of the world over his career. This season he’s been 43 percent better than league average against southpaws and 38 percent worse than average against right handers. The differences in OBP and wOBA this season are staggering as well.

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Eno Sarris Pan FanGraphs Chat – 9/30/11

I’ll be by at 12:30 to talk anything from champagne showers to drowning your sorrows. Fantasy, Real, Imaginary: Baseball!

Hitter’s Luck: Regulars

A while back, I released the methods and background on Luck. With the 2011 season over, final values can be calculated. Today I am going to look at some players with over over 500 PA in 2011.

Note: I have gone ahead and made the results available from the last 3 years for hitters (> 50 PA) and pitchers (> 25)


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Daily Playoff Fantasy Baseball: Pick Six is back

Just when all your leagues ended and you thought the fantasy baseball season was dead… it has risen. ottoneu fantasy baseball is bringing back Pick Six for the playoff run, and everyone gets $100 this time in order to promote different lineups. Oh and there will be some playoff-specific achievements for you. So that’s nice.

Otherwise, it’s the same game you’ve grown to love.

Playoff Profile: Evan Longoria

Have you caught your breath yet?

Days like Wednesday remind us that while baseball is sometimes derided as being slow and boring, it is the progression of games and stories that make the this time of year so incredible. It felt almost indulgent, like a well written requiem, from Stephen Strasburg’s dominant start in the mid-afternoon to the crowd of Rays waiting around home plate just after midnight on the east coast, everything felt orchestrated for maximum emotion. The three minutes that elapsed between Robert Andino’s gut punch to the Red Sox and Evan Longoria’s walk-off was just enough time to catch our collective breaths before the amazing happened again.

It was somewhat apropos that Longoria was the man to cap the Rays’ comeback. This season has been one of the worst offensive seasons of Longoria’s admittedly short career. His wOBA and wRC+ were both at career lows heading into Game 162, and while .243/.353/.483 is certainly a solid line — especially when backed up by top class defensive work — it isn’t an accurate representation of Longoria’s talent. Players have down years, teams have down years; it was ever thus. Fortunately for the Rays, his malaise wasn’t a season-long affliction. Read the rest of this entry »

Ottoneu Arbitration: Strategies for the First Off-season Activity

With the season at an end, it is time for those in keeper leagues to turn to the off-season, and for ottoneu players, this starts with one of the most unique parts of the ottoneu format – the arbitration process.

The process itself is actually quite simple:

  • Every owner votes for one player on every other team
  • The player on each team who receives the most votes becomes a free agent
  • At the preseason auction, each owner gets a $5 discount on the player voted off his team

See? Simple.

But if you haven’t been through it before, the strategy can be a bit confusing. Having played five previous seasons of ottoneu fantasy baseball, I wanted to give you my take on the most common voting strategies.
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Ryan Madson: Playoffs, Free Agency, and Fantasy Value

In his first (almost) full year as the Phillies closer, it’s been an outstanding year for Ryan Madson.  With the usual injury issues of Brad Lidge and the seemingly ageless Jose Contreras, Madson, who for years has been the trusted right-handed set-up man and spot closer for the team, took over the ninth inning  job early on and never looked back.  He finished the regular season with 32 saves, a 2.37 ERA (2.25 FIP), and 62 strikouts in 60.2 innings of work.  He posted a rock solid 48.8 GB%, a meager 3.7% HR/FB, and had a manager’s dreamlike 80.7% LOB.  Now he takes his game to the playoffs where his mettle will be further tested as he will be relied upon to be the team’s stopper on baseball’s biggest stage.  All the while, likely sitting in the back of his mind, his impending free agency looms.  That’s quite a load for anyone to handle.  But while all that is fine and dandy for those that live in the real world, we’re still living in a fantasy baseball world here and what Madson owners everywhere want to know is — where will he land next season and will he remain a closer?

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Overvalued in 2012: Ivan Nova

I have learned rather quickly that criticizing a player will get you a lot more angry comments than praising a player someone thinks isn’t very good. So with trepidation, I unveil my first Overvalued in 2012 pitcher, Ivan Nova.

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Streaming Starting Pitchers

In two leagues I am in, there has been some complaining of teams streaming starting pitchers this last week of the season. Streaming is using as many starting pitchers as you can to try to accumulate as many counting stats as possible (Wins and Ks). It is a method to make up make up quite of bit of ground quickly, with little draw back.

Is Streaming Wrong?

There is nothing wrong with streaming, if the leagues rules were to allow it. It could be done by any owner during the season. It usually comes to the fore front at the end of the season for a couple of reasons. First, owners are able to dump starters that are done for the season. These pitchers have no value in the 2011 season. Dumping these pitchers is especially done in single season leagues. In keeper leagues, the dumped pitchers can be picked up for next year, so streaming is limited.

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Keeper Question: Jacoby Ellsbury

Not a lot has gone well for the Red Sox in September, that much has been well documented, but someone forgot to tell Jacoby Ellsbury to pack it up. Red Sox hitters are hitting .278/.339/.463 with 32 HR, a quarter of which belong to Ellsbury as part of his .365/.408/.687 line in 125 PAs this month. His line for the season is equally compelling: .322/.377/.554 with 32 HR and 38 SB. Whether he is the AL MVP remains to be seen, but he’s certainly performed like an MVP, keeping the Red Sox afloat despite the pitching staff’s best efforts to the contrary.

There’s not an owner out there ruing having Ellsbury — John Henry included — so It may seem like a no-brainer to keep Ellsbury, especially given his nearly double-digit WAR. But just like his lost 2010 season didn’t do much to influence his 2011 campaign, 2012 isn’t 2011. Having a realistic sense of how much of his value he’ll keep is the key to making a sober keeper decision.

One factor will change this analysis right from the top, and that’s whether your league uses an articulated outfield or whether you just need to fill 3-5 general OF spots. If you need a CF instead of just an OF, Ellsbury enjoys a nice boost to his value, as his competition at that spot is much less compelling than if RF and LF are included.

Looking solely at Ellsbury’s WAR is going to artificially inflate his fantasy value as his 16.8 runs saved on defense is virtually irrelevant in this context; it matters more when evaluating a Red Sox pitcher than it does for Ellsbury himself. Instead, looking at wOBA is going to give us a pretty good sense of how he’s contributing in the offensive categories most leagues care about. He doesn’t suffer much for the switch, as his .403 wOBA means that he remains a top-10 player, but it does position him more accurately as one of best players this season rather than the prohibitive leader.

The two parts of Ellsbury’s game that I see being the least likely to spontaneously regress are his base-stealing and his batting average. At some point, his speed will start to fade, but age-28 seems awfully early. How much he runs will depend a little on how the Red Sox choose to set up their batting order, but I don’t see much chance that he both stays healthy and doesn’t steal 30 bases. His speed is also an asset in terms of batting average, which has been stably high for almost his entire career — injury vacated 2010 notwithstanding.

What determines Ellsbury’s 2012 draft position and what will make a big impact in any keeper decision is whether or not you think his power — or at least some part of it — will stick around for another season.

The player that just keeps coming to mind as a comparison for Ellsbury’s spontaneous display of concentrated aggression is Joe Mauer. Mauer’s 28 home runs in 2009 seemed to indicate that the power you’d expect from a player of his size was finally showing up and it certainly influenced not only his fantasy values, but also his massive new contract. Two years later, Mauer has hit less than half of that 2009 total with just 12 home runs total since the start of the 2010 season. I’m not necessarily suggesting that Ellsbury is going to lose most of next season to bilateral leg weakness, but the sense that we’ve probably seen his peak value this season is right.

Like Mauer, Ellsbury saw his HR/FB take a huge leap this season, though his rose about 7 percent, where Mauer’s jumped over 10 percent from his career norm. Just because it’s a comparatively smaller leap doesn’t make Ellsbury’s any more sustainable per se, but it means that if he regresses to his career norms again next year, the drop won’t be quite so drastic.

30 HR power has never been part of the scouting report on Ellsbury, and while scouting reports aren’t gospel, there aren’t many guys who make the leap from “average to good gap power” to “potential cleanup hitter” and can make the change stick. If he hits 15 home runs next year, it would still be his second best season ever and yet less than half his total from this year. The question you need to ask yourself as an owner is whether that potential drop of 15-20 HR is a deal-breaker for you.

To me, unless you’re burdened with an outfield of Ellsbury, Matt Kemp, and Jose Bautista with just three spots to fill and no UTL, Ellsbury is going to bring enough to the table to be worth keeping. He’s going to give you solid SB and AVG numbers, and will be driven in a fair amount by the rest of the Red Sox’s order, which gives him at least three categories where he’s a huge asset. Just don’t let this year’s outburst prevent you from either keeping or drafting a more consistent power threat to pair with him. Let whatever power remains next year be a bonus, not a driving force behind the decision to keep him.