Archive for August, 2016

The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 385 – If Only His Name Was Jake

384 was Sunday’s episode that didn’t record properly so now it’s the lost episode.

Recording issues addressed ~56:00


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Examining the Kris Bryant-Nolan Arenado Debate

With the Chicago Cubs set to wrap up the National League Central in the coming days/weeks, it’s looking more and more difficult for anyone to make a case that will topple that of Kris Bryant for the National League Most Valuable Player Award. That hasn’t stopped some from trying, and there are cases to be made for a small handful of players outside of the Chicago third sacker. One of those potential finalists could be one of Bryant’s third base counterparts, in Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado.

Our job here isn’t necessarily to decide that debate. While it does look like Bryant is currently the frontrunner, there are numerous factors to be considered in regard to the MVP beyond the offensive numbers which we will illustrate here. There’s defense to be considered as well as versatility, WAR, etc. That’s almost another debate entirely. Here, we’re only worried about the offense. So let’s delve into some of the numbers for a pair of extraordinary National League players.

Heading into Tuesday’s slate of games, here’s how the two stacked up in a general sense:

Kris Bryant .305 .402 .988 .281 21.9 11.3 160
Nolan Arenado .293 .362 .939 .285 13.1 10.1 125

The general perspective would certainly seem to favor Bryant in most regards. He reaches base at a far higher rate, while notching an OPS that comes in almost 50 points higher than Arenado. In regard to ISO, the two are tied in home runs, while Bryant leads in doubles. It’s Arenado’s four triples that give him an edge there. But even the higher K rate for Bryant doesn’t make this a win for Arenado, considering everywhere else on the board that Sparkle Eyes has an edge. At the same time, we’re comparing two elite players here. The numbers are going to look great anyway you slice it. While we could certainly make a judgment about which is more valuable based off of this information alone, let’s dig just a bit deeper. Spoiler alert: we’re going to the splits.

Home/road splits tend to always be Arenado’s undoing. Playing at Coors Field is both a blessing and a curse in that regard. While nobody is questioning his offensive potency overall, it’s hard to ignore the disparity in production between his home and road splits:

Arenado (Home) .317 .390 1.052 .346 11.2 11.2 136
Arenado (Away) .270 .336 .832 .227 14.9 9.0 115

At Coors, Arenado is predictably off the charts. His ISO is, to use a technical term, stupid when he’s playing in the confines of his home ballpark. But there isn’t a statistic here that doesn’t experience significant decline when he steps out of Denver. In most respects, the road numbers are still impressive, but not so much that they don’t still take away from the total body of work. Hooray for double negatives.

Conversely, Bryant has posted more impressive numbers on the road than at the Friendly Confines:

Bryant (Home) .276 .375 .910 .259 24.5 9.7 142
Bryant (Away) .332 .425 1.058 .301 19.6 12.7 176

The favorable road split is something I touched on earlier this season, and it’s a trend that hasn’t exactly dissipated as the season has worn on. Even with that more impressive road split in mind, it’s hard not to look at that home line and still be overwhelmingly impressed. While there’s a clear decline, he still maintains a higher level in almost every single respect above Arenado, strikeout rate notwithstanding. So to this point, the general overview and the splits both seem to favor Bryant.

To some degree, consistency should be taken into account, illustrated below with Arenado’s wRC+ throughout the season, followed by Bryant’s:


And Bryant…


Obviously, with the scope of each graph, there’s going to be the appearance of a great deal of fluctuation. And it’s hard to put too much stock into the day-to-day happenings of the wRC+ world. At the same time, this does provide a nice visual when considering each player’s total offensive value in a more intricate sense. Just as the splits did, this would also appear to favor Kris Bryant, as the actual variation in his wRC+ is not nearly as significant. Perhaps more importantly, Bryant has managed to exclusively stay at or above that 100 mark since the very beginning of the season, something Arenado has not accomplished.

If we were going to take this debate out of the fantasy arena and put it on the MVP plane, then we’re bringing in other factors. Defensively, the edge would probably go to Arenado. But you also have to take defensive versatility into account, as Bryant moves around the diamond and is still an above average defender wherever he is. Sparkles in the eyes? Game: Bryant. It’s a really fascinating debate, and one that will likely continue as the regular season winds down. But for our purpose here of examining that offensive value, and thus assessing their fantasy relevance in a very general sense, the edge has to go to the Chicago Cubs superstar.

And obviously none of this is meant to disparage Nolan Arenado. He’s a supremely talented offensive player and one of Major League Baseball’s elite. But when we’re talking offense and offensive value, there is not a shred of doubt in my mind that the edge, in almost every single respect, goes to Kris Bryant.

AL Tiered Outfielder Ranks: August 2016

Once again, I present to you my monthly update of the AL Outfield Tiers. As always, these are my rest of the season ranks for the position. There is a month to in the regular season and as the clock runs out for the regular season it becomes harder and harder to do these ranks. Value at this point depends on what you need in your league. A player like Jarrod Dyson may not be as valuable as Ian Desmond all things being equal, but if you are searching for speed then he may be to you. So, keeping this in mind I have done my best to give ranks that best reflect my value while giving a boost within tiers to players like Dyson that may offer elite production in singular categories for those needing to make up last minute points in roto formats. Read the rest of this entry »

Mixing Fantasy & Reality: Gurriel, Lugo, & Gsellman

First, I would like to apologize for recently covering quite a few players at or below the fringes for most leagues. After moving over from tracking injuries, it seems like a ton of new players have entered the league I know little about. I will probably keep up looking at fringe guys until the season’s end, especially with roster’s expanding. Once the season ends, I will mainly stop with the fringy guys and will go to the top and start making a 2017 draft list.

The Newest Mets’ Starters: Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman

All the Mets’ rotation, with the exception of Noah Syndergaard, has gone on the DL this season. Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman are two of the pitchers called up to be replacement starters and here is my stat only based look at each one.

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Ottoneu Trade Deadline: All Questions Answered

The Ottoneu Trade Deadline is today! If you’ve followed along recently, we have covered the trade deadline (or trading in general) in some detail.

Ottoneu 101: Roster Organizer – Using the roster organizer as you start to plan for next season.

OttoGraphs Episode 16: VetoGate 2016 – Podcast on acceptable behavior of vetoing trades.

Ottoneu 101: Approaching the Trade Deadline – Primer on the Ottoneu Trade Deadline, and how to approach it as you consider buying/selling.

Ottoneu 101: Production, Salary, Surplus, Value – Definitions and applications of how trades can be viewed when trying to weight surplus and current production.

Today we want to try something a little bit different. We are encouraging everyone to leave their Ottoneu trade questions in the comments and we will help to answer them as best we can. Trey, Tom, and Justin will be stopping in throughout the day as well. As a reminder – each of us focuses on Ottoneu and it’s various formats. We are happy to help out to the best of our abilities with other league types, but recognize that is not our strong suit. The deadline ends at 11:59:59 ET. So get those trade offers out and work towards finishing those deals as soon as possible. Today is not the time to be nickle and dime your league mates in hopes of extracting every ounce of value you can. Time is short.

(Belated) Bullpen Report: August 30, 2016

Arodys Vizcaino has been sent back to the DL with shoulder inflammation and Shae Simmons has been recalled. Vizcaino was already moving back on the grid due to his performance and now he’s hurt again. Jim Johnson has been terrific of late with a 0.60 ERA since July 26th, throwing 15 innings with a 20/4 strikeout to walk ratio. everyone seemed to expect Vizcaino to reclaim the job, Johnson to start pitching poorly or for Johnson to be traded but that hasn’t happened and this situation is looking pretty green right now.

• The Diamondbacks ninth inning has been a bit of a mess of late but Dan Hudson locked down his second save of the year in spite of allowing an earned run. His ERA stands at a lovely 6.10 right now but he’s currently the closer and should continue to see save opportunities in the desert for now.

Chasen Shreve recorded his first career save for the Yankees last night in extra innings. Dellin Betances threw two perfect innings but actually “blew” the save after he allowed Tyler Clippard’s inherited runner to score in the eighth.

Andrew Miller and Cody Allen continue to seesaw with save opportunities with Miller getting his 12th save after getting the last five outs for Cleveland. Cody Allen threw a ton of pitches on Monday so he likely was unavailable and we will keep him as first in line in Cleveland, with recognition that it’s still a committee of two.

• Maybe we were a little quick to claim Edwin Diaz as the next best thing as he blew a save last night and has a 3.95 ERA since the month turned to August. However, in that time he still has 21 strikeouts in 13.2 innings pitched so the elite strikeouts are still there. On the year Diaz is supporting a 2.56/2.27/1.96 ERA/FIP/xFIP even with an inflated .400 BABIP. Plenty of reason to be excited but let’s keep watching in September to see if he’s still deserving of my earlier praise.

Quick Hits: Another Orioles win and another scoreless frame for Zach Britton, notching his 39th save and lowering his ERA to 0.69. Mark Melancon saved his 37th game lowering his ERA to 1.30 on the season. Also, since 2013 across 274 innings, Melancon has a 1.74 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and a 2.24 FIP. He’s the elite of the non-elite strikeout guys and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Alex Colome (29), Jeurys Familia (43),  Aroldis Chapman (31), Ken Giles (6) and Fernando Salas (6) all got saves as well.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Daniel Hudson Randall Delgado Jake Barrett
Atlanta Jim Johnson Mauricio Cabrera Shae Simmons Arodys Vizcaino
Baltimore Zach Britton Brad Brach Mychal Givens Darren O’Day
Boston Craig Kimbrel Brad Ziegler Clay Buchholz Koji Uehara
CHI (NL) Aroldis Chapman Carl Edwards Jr. Travis Wood Hector Rondon
CHI (AL) David Robertson Nate Jones Matt Albers
Cincy Tony Cingrani Raisel Iglesias Michael Lorenzen
Cleveland Cody Allen Andrew Miller Bryan Shaw
Colorado Adam Ottavino Jake McGee Carlos Estevez Scott Oberg
Detroit Francisco Rodriguez Justin Wilson Alex Wilson
Houston Ken Giles Will Harris Luke Gregerson
KC Kelvin Herrera Joakim Soria Matt Strahm Wade Davis
LAA Fernando Salas Deolis Guerra J.C. Ramirez Cam Bedrosian
LAD Kenley Jansen Joe Blanton Adam Liberatore
Miami Fernando Rodney A.J. Ramos Kyle Barraclough
Milwaukee Tyler Thornburg Corey Knebel Blaine Boyer
Minnesota Brandon Kintzler Ryan Pressly Taylor Rogers Glen Perkins
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Addison Reed Hansel Robles
NY (AL) Dellin Betances Tyler Clippard Adam Warren
Oakland Ryan Madson John Axford Ryan Dull Sean Doolittle
Philly Jeanmar Gomez Hector Neris Edubray Ramos
Pittsburgh Tony Watson Neftali Feliz Felipe Rivero
St. Louis Seung Hwan Oh Kevin Siegrist Jonathan Broxton
SD Brandon Maurer Kevin Quackenbush Brad Hand Ryan Buchter
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Hunter Strickland Derek Law
Seattle Edwin Diaz Steve Cishek Arquimedes Caminero Tom Wilhelmsen
TB Alex Colome Brad Boxberger Xavier Cedeno
Texas Sam Dyson Jake Diekman Matt Bush Jeremy Jeffress
Toronto Roberto Osuna Jason Grilli Joaquin Benoit
Wash. Mark Melancon Shawn Kelley Blake Treinen

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]

The Daily Grind: DFS, Streaming, and More for August 31


  1. Surprise Rainouts
  2. The Daily Grind Invitational and Leaderboard
  3. Daily DFS
  4. SaberSim Observations
  5. Tomorrow’s Targets
  6. Factor Grid

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Field of Streams: Episode 229 – Going Back To The Well

Episode 229 – Going Back To The Well

The latest episode of “Field of Streams” is live!

In this episode, Dylan Higgins and Matthew Dewoskin discuss Dylan’s adventures in fake moustaches, getting confused about Cameron Rupp’s splits, a pitcher-heavy early half of the split slate, re-considering Rich Hill in Colorado, picking against bad Orioles and Brewers starters even after getting burned on Tuesday, getting to pick Chris B. Young again, Brandon Finnegan’s surprisingly unfortunate matchup, Luis “The Cordoban Kid” Cessa, not having a show on Thursday, Matt’s fantasy football draft results, and the .gif of Matt’s facial hair adventure.

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Kaleb Cowart & Daniel Hudson: Deep League Wire

With only about a month left in the season, it’s probably much easier to make up ground in the counting stats than in the ratios. So let’s see what hidden gems get unearthed today.

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Rest of Season Top 100 SPs

Can you believe we’re entering the final full month of the regular season? That’s so sad. However, the stretch run is also one of the best times of the year, especially if your fantasy team is a contender. I’ve compiled my Top 100 for the rest of the season with a quick thought or two on each. Let me know what you think. Who is your big gamble arm for September? Anyone you think will be vastly better than his current numbers? Also, let me know if there are any glaring omissions.

Chris Tillman is unlikely to reach the September 10th return they originally set which puts him in limbo. If he can return by September 15th, that should be four starts, but I left him off due to the injury uncertainty. If you have him on your DL, obviously hang on, but I’m not necessarily targeting him on the wire.

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