Archive for February, 2017

The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 432 – Prospect Bonanza with Eric Longenhagen


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Leading Off: Question of the Day

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Jose Altuve Should Be the Second Overall Pick

Here’s the coldest take ever: Mike Trout should be the top pick in this year’s fantasy baseball drafts. Only slightly more lukewarm is the opinion that Mookie Betts should go second. That is the consensus among drafters in Yahoo, CBS and NFBC leagues, as well as among industry experts, according to the data compiled by FantasyPros. Jose Altuve is generally considered to be the best choice for the third pick, though Yahoo drafters are waiting until the sixth pick on average to snag the Astros’ second baseman.

If I wind up with the second overall pick in any of my upcoming drafts, I won’t be taking Betts, and I don’t think you should either. Betts did outearn Altuve (and everyone else) in Roto value a year ago, but if we take a closer look at how Betts got the top spot, it’s clear that he won’t be as likely to outgain either Trout or Altuve in value. If I can’t have Trout this year, then Altuve will be the next best thing.

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Cheapish Starting Pitchers: Revisiting the Quadrinity, Plus ADP Mini-Update

It’s time to resume our search for underpriced starting pitchers. For the past two years, we’ve been taking a look at which starters qualify, on the basis of the previous season’s stats, for the Holy Trinity (an established way of looking at stats, relying on a pitcher’s strikeouts per 9 innings, walks per 9 innings, and ground ball percentage), and the Holy Quadrinity (an approach of our own devising, relying on strikeout percentage, walk percentage, soft-hit percentage, and hard-hit percentage).

If you want more background and detail, go here. Obviously, most guys who do well in these categories are going to be top pitchers everyone already knows about. But the approach yields some surprises, including, last season, Justin Verlander and Kyle Hendricks. And, as we determined at the end of last season, in the aggregate it produces some positive value. So let’s see who it turns up this year. Read the rest of this entry »

How Much is Too Much?

The best part of dynasty leagues is that trade behavior can mimic real baseball. When you’re in a deep 20 team format, the league splits into contenders and rebuilders. The prices for win-now talent and top prospects often mirror what we observe in reality. It’s fun.

Over the weekend, a buddy of mine asked me about a trade proposal he received in his dynasty league. He covets Nolan Arenado (who doesn’t), and a rival finally made an offer – Arenado and Dallas Keuchel for Andrew Benintendi, Miguel Sano, Rafael Devers, Josh Bell, and a 2018 draft pick.

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Buy or Sell Jose Peraza in Dynasty Leagues?

Jose Peraza’s prospect hype seemed to have stalled after a rough 2015 campaign. He had a rough offensive season at triple-A for the Braves that year and then was included in a package for Hector Oliviera at the deadline when, presumably, the Braves started to look at Peraza more as a utility player than a regular middle infielder. Peraza was on the move again a few months later and, based on his usage at triple-A and in the Majors, it seemed like the Reds were ready to roll Peraza out in that super utility role. That thought seemed to be furthered by the Reds acquisition of Dilson Herrera at last year’s trade deadline.
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Market Watch: Let’s Run It Back

The second installment of my new series tracking the NFBC average draft position market will be formatted a little differently and you can let me know which works best. I will still highlight the biggest riser and faller, but then I’ll go position-by-position for a takeaway or two. Let’s see how that works compared to last week’s. Comment below on your preferred method.

Previous Editions:

BIGGEST RISER: Neftali Feliz – +20 spots to pick 307

For the second straight week, the assumed Brewers closer is the big mover up the board. It’s not impossible to see why. His velocity returned last year, surging back to 96 MPH on average, and so did his strikeout (28%) and swinging strike (14%) rates – the latter being a career-best. The home run rate (1.7 HR/9) is worrisome, but a sky-high 19% HR/FB seems unlikely to repeat, even for a flyball pitcher like Feliz. Even with back-to-back big surges up the board, he’s still just 33rd reliever off the board so he’s likely to keep moving up. I suspect he’ll land somewhere in the mid-20s which is still cheap enough to invest, even with his flaws.

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2017 Pod Projections: David Dahl

The Pod Projections are back! My projections are based on the methodology shared in my eBook Projecting X 2.0, and the process continues to evolve and improve.

2017 Pod Projections Index:
Lance McCullers

Today, I’ll dive into the first hitter to receive the exciting 2017 Pod Projection treatment. David Dahl thrilled us during his debut last year, showing power (.185 ISO), speed (7.7 Spd score, five steals), and batting average ability (.315). That’s literally everything we want as fantasy owners. Of course, let’s not ignore the fact that he required an absurd .404 BABIP to reach that impressive batting average mark. That said, he plays half his games at Coors Field, so perhaps his average has some staying power. Early 2017 NFBC drafters are already falling over each other to roster him, selecting him as the 22nd outfielder off the board (just before Matt Kemp, Khris Davis, and Adam Jones), and 91st overall. WOWZERS! That’s some serious love.

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Mixing Fantasy & Reality: Bellinger & Fastball Velocities

Cody Bellinger is going to be a stud. He’s athletic and can hit the ball a mile. Just watch this home run from yesterday and enjoy.

I believe he’d be getting a ton focus if Adrian Gonzalez, and his contract, didn’t already occupy first base. The 35-year-old is still productive and can’t be benched … I think.

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Speedsters and the Issue of Playing Time

Playing time can make or break a baseball player’s fantasy value. An elite player may not finish above replacement level if he suffers an injury and plays only half the season, and a lackluster player could finish above replacement level simply by playing every single day. This is all intuitive, and the fantasy community generally approaches these kinds of things rationally. In other words, most players are appropriately valued, outside of the market inefficiencies that inevitably warp player values.

One-dimensional speedsters — dudes who steal a bunch of bases and do little else — are much harder to peg. Their value is tied up primarily in one category, as stolen bases (SBs) do not directly correlate with other categories the way home runs would with runs and RBI, for example. The issue becomes all the more confounding when one considers the contemporaneous scarcity of SBs relative to home runs. There’s more to value than just SBs and plate appearances (PAs), but the fact of the matter is the two statistics by themselves correlate very strongly with a player’s end-of-season (EOS) value (which, here, are informed by Razzball’s Player Rater).

In the last five years, baseball has seen 75 player-seasons of 30-plus SBs — 15 steals a year on average, a trend that didn’t fundamentally change in 2016 (although that doesn’t mean SBs aren’t scarce). A simple linear regression of SBs and PAs, the latter of which serves as a proxy for other counting stats such as runs and RBI, against EOS value produces a remarkable 0.71 adjusted R2:

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Why Is Matt Carpenter Getting No Love?

Last week, I wrote a reaction piece to Yahoo’s average auction values at second base. This exercise helped me identify some trends regarding underpaid and overpaid players at the position heading into the 2017 season. One such discovery was that of Matt Carpenter’s budget-friendly $16.2 average auction price.

Considering Carpenter’s prodigious power production over the last two seasons, it surprised me to see that owners were spending more on 11 other 2B, all the way up to Jose Altuve’s steep $49.0 price tag. Specifically, I’m wondering why Carp costs about ten bucks less than anyone in the Robinson Cano/Brian Dozier/Jonathan Villar/Daniel Murphy/Rougned Odor tier. All of those players are going off the board for $25-$28.

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