Archive for December, 2015

Hot Stove Implications: Cueto, Chapman, Leake, and More…

Playing a little catch-up from the holidays, here are the fantasy implications from the latest impact moves and they aren’t all former Cincinnati Reds:

(Remember, you can follow all the move analysis here)

Johnny Cueto signs with SF

If a pitcher who struggled mightily like Jeff Samardzija gets a major boost by joining the Giants, then you can only imagine what it could do for Cueto. Overall, he had a fantastic season and has been  one of the best pitchers in baseball for the last five seasons. He sputtered some with KC, allowing a ton more hits while striking out two fewer batters per nine innings. He closed strong with a World Series complete game, but he’s likely thrilled to return to the Senior Circuit.

Homers usually get Cueto when he’s off. He had a 1.1 HR/9 with KC including outings of 4 and 3 HR. AT&T Park is the spot to stifle homers. That’s something Fangraphs, Statcorner, and ESPN can all agree upon when it comes to measuring park factors. This is a great move for the Giants to solidify their rotation with a big three in Madison Bumgarner, Cueto, and then Samardzija. All of a sudden, the burden on Jake Peavy and Matt Cain is much lower and Chris Heston is now the fill-in if one of them fails.

Impact: ++ for Cueto, – for Heston

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2016 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers

Last week, Paul Sporer reviewed NFBC average draft position (ADP) data. The week prior, I posted 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings using Steamer Projections and the FVARz approach to valuation.

With our powers combined, here I will depict how current value and draft position match up:

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The Sleeper and the Bust 12/30/2015 – Final Episode of 2015!

Episode 294

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is live!

In this episode, Paul Sporer and Jason Collette are back for one more 2015 episode! Yeah, I thought the last episode would be their last of 2015, but y’all got lucky! Today they’re talking the Chapman trade, some mid-tier signings (Murphy, Leake, etc…) and their early thoughts on the NFBC ADP data released over the weekend.

Who stands out to you based on their early draft position?

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King Felix Remains Consistently Great, but Loses Ground

Felix Hernandez’s days as an elite starting pitcher are over. That’s not a knock on him, nor does that make him any less of the ace that he is for his ballclub. It’s just that King Felix posted a season that pretty much replicated his production in 2010 and 2011 — production that, in between those two seasons, earned him the #2 spot on Razzball’s 2011 preseason top-20 starting pitchers — and he finished 16th.

The King dominated in 2015 the same way he has dominated for the better part of the last decade. But everything is relative, and his performance was relatively underwhelming given the glut of young talent that has emerged at the Major League level. To attest:

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What Happened To Carlos Gomez?

I think we all know what happened to Carlos Gomez. He was hurt. If the frequent injury updates didn’t convince you, just look at the Mets who walked away from an all-but-executed trade.

Gomez also looked miserable when he was supposedly healthy too. He had his worst season since 2011 – a .255/.311/.409 slash, 12 home runs, 17 stolen bases, 61 runs and 56 RBI. Entering his age 30 season, can Gomez rebound?

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Part 2 of Using Contact% & Pull% to Predict a Batter’s Decline

Last week, I examined how a decline in pull rate (Pull%) and contact rate (Contact%) may be a precursor to overall decline. The idea was that if the hitter was worse at doing either or both, they could be in for a larger than normal decline. The research was an initial stab at the data and I got some great comments for future areas of stuady on it. With a few tweaks, I was able to take the ideas and refine the research in order to have a better understanding of what can be a good sign of a major decline.

Idea #1 – Use O-contact% instead of Contact%

Reader Brendan stated the following:

It would be interesting to take this concept and run an ANOVA amongst the 4 groups + control for o-zone contact rate AND z-contact rate separately, being that o-zone contact % is the one peripheral that drops off the cliff dramatically for older players. We’d get an idea about the extent to which overall wRC+ is affected by o-zone contact decline. Hardy’s 2014 and 2015 o-zone contact rate was much lower compared to recent years.

So I analyzed the data with various combinations of Contact%, O-Contact% (outside the zone contact rate), and Z-Contact% (inside the zone contact rate). I looked at several different combinations and none were really any better than Contact%. I decided to move forward with just Contact% for the rest of the analysis.

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Early NFBC ADP Thoughts

I discovered a Christmas treat over the weekend: NFBC average draft position data is now up for 2016 drafts! I don’t know exactly how many drafts have taken place just yet, but it’s still nice to get an early look at things and see what’s going on. I’ve got some thoughts for every position:


  • Buster Posey is far and away the top catcher for 2015. The 89-pick gap between Posey and Jonathan Lucroy is more than double the next-biggest at any position – which happens to be 42 picks between Carlos Correa and Troy Tulowitzki.
  • I like Lucroy for a rebound, but I’m not chasing him so if I don’t take Posey then I’m waiting a bit on catcher. It’s not an endless trove, but Blake Swihart, Yasmani Grandal, Derek Norris, Nick Hundley, Miguel Montero, Wilson Ramos, and Welington Castillo are all going after pick 200.
  • Don’t wait too long, though, dollar catchers are the worst investments in dollar days. The Baseball Forecaster by Ron Shandler tells us that dollar backstops return negative value on average.
  • Edit: I just realized Kyle Schwarber is listed under OF despite qualifying at C (21 games played) so his 33 ADP makes for just a 13-pick gap between the first and second catcher. 

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A Minor Review of 2015: Oakland Athletics

Welcome to the annual series: ‘A Minor (League) Review of 2015.” This series is a great way to receive a quick recap of the ’15 minor league season for your favorite club(s), while also receiving a brief look toward the 2016 season and beyond. It can also be a handy feature for fantasy baseball players in keeper and Dynasty leagues.

A Minor Review of 2015: Oakland A’s

The Graduate: Billy Burns, OF: The Nationals scored big in the 32nd round of the 2011 draft with Burns. He understands what he needs to do to be successful: get on base and run. His approach at the plate collapsed a bit in the majors (26-81 BB-K rate) compared to his time in the minors (211-245 BB-K) but he was still successful thanks to his ability to hit for average. He stole 26 bases (in 34 tries) at the big league level but has topped 50 bases twice in his career so there is more value there if Oakland gives him the green light.

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The Legend of Chris Sale Grows

I wrote last week about Max Scherzer, who, in 2015, reached new heights. It was, is, painfully cliché, but it’s true. The same could be said for Chris Sale, who also (1) reached new heights and (2) suffered the misfortune of languishing in the rotation of a ballclub that ultimately would not contend.

Except Sale didn’t throw two no-hitters, nor did he almost throw three no-hitters, nor did he almost throw back-to-back no-hitters. Because those are all things Scherzer did. What Sale did do, yes, is give up 13 runs in fewer than nine innings across two starts in late April and early May.

People kind of freaked, and understandably so — the sabermetrically inclined readership at FanGraphs is not necessarily representative of the greater population of baseball fans. And the greater population of baseball fans saw a 5.93 ERA through 27.1 innings — the epitome of a small sample size, but nonetheless a sample to which a fan is entitled to react.

If you stayed tuned, you know the narrative: in the 26 starts after his two-game disaster, Sale struck out more than a third of the batters he faced. More than a third. In four of those games, he struck out more than half of them. That’s insane. Even in an era of baseball when we yawn at a strikeout rate lower than 8.0 per nine innings, that’s still insane.

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O’ Hail Ye Johan Santa Claus

~On the only day of Christmas Johan Santa gave to you,

Brad’s Draft Rankings!~

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