Archive for March, 2017

Paul Sporer Baseball Chat – March 31st, 2017

Paul Sporer: Ladies and gentlmen, we are 2 days away from regular season games!!!! Let’s go!

Larry: better JD Martinez replacement: Mitch Haniger or Josh Bell?

Paul Sporer: Haniger

cheeto sandwich: am I delicious?

Paul Sporer: obv

Captgus: Hey Paul, are you not doing the weekly pitcher rankings at Rotowire this year?

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2017 RotoGraphs Staff Picks

You know the drill! The criteria for each “award,” so to speak, precede each table. Pitchers first, then hitters. Here are last year’s picks, by the way.

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Final Spring Training Roster Moves Update

Roster moves are continuously happening. I know I’ll miss a few but here is some information on the more fantasy relevant moves. As more news comes out over the weekend and I find time, I will add to the list any information I find useful.

Adalberto Mejia is the Twins fifth starter.

Early this offseason I stated:

A pitcher I am keeping my eye on is the Twins Adalberto Mejia. No one has reported any of the lefties pitches as plus but he may have four average pitches with above average control. He throws his lowest rated pitch, the curve, hard. Hard curves (80 mph plus) are more successful than slow curves so even his worst pitch can be useful. If he continues to post good minor league strikeout and walk numbers, he could move into a bad Twins rotation quickly.

He isn’t immediately rosterable in most leagues. I will though try to catch his first start and see what’s behind the 9.5 K/9 in AAA.

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Josh Shepardson’s Staff Picks Runners-Up

As the season is nearly upon us, there are picks abound around the baseball industry. RotoGraphs partakes in the picks fun, too. I personally enjoy putting my picks out to be ̶p̶r̶a̶i̶s̶e̶d̶ criticized. In fact, it’s so enjoyable I’ll open myself up to further criticism by sharing my runners-up for each category. The criteria for each category is listed below the table and mirrors the criteria used for the RotoGraphs Staff Picks. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Baseball!

With real, meaningful baseball right around the corner, I’d like to thank you all for supporting RotoGraphs this offseason. I very much appreciate the opportunity to tell people I’m a professional fantasy baseball expert. You should see the faces people make as they try to figure out what, exactly, that means. Without your support, I’d have a silly job selling software widgets.

Hopefully, the tips and tricks you’ve picked up this winter will lead to fantasy victory. People who read sites like RotoGraphs tend to be the same people who put full effort into their teams. You already possess the greatest indicator for success.

The transition from winter to summer means I’ll be moving most of my content from strategy to player picks. It’s bittersweet. On the one hand, I get actual baseball. However, I relish sinking my teeth into creative avenues to do something a little bit new or unexpected. The in-season grind ensures I’m kept too busy to do something frivolous like thinking.

In any event, you have my (rambling) thanks. And because 173 words is not an acceptable post length, I’m going to spend the rest of my time explaining my staff picks. The full lists will presumably be published later today.

FanGraphs Staff Picks – AL

AL East – Tampa
AL Central – Detroit
AL West – Los Angeles
WC1 – Texas
WC2 – Seattle
MVP – Mike Trout
Cy – Yu Darvish
RoY – Mitch Haniger

You’ll notice a strong vein of contrarianism in my picks. DFS has taught me that there’s no percentage in the easy plays. Yea, Boston and Cleveland and Houston may be more likely to win their divisions, but who gives a crap if you get that right. I’d rather be uniquely wrong than boringly correct. At least when there’s nothing at stake.

Trout can win the MVP without the Angels making the postseason. The Angels cannot make the postseason without an MVP season from Trout. Similarly, if three teams are going to represent the West – an unlikely outcome since the Astros and Athletics are also good – then they’ll all need big contributions.

FanGraphs Staff Picks – NL

NL East – New York
NL Central – St. Louis
NL West – Colorado
WC1 – Chicago
WC2 – Philadelphia
MVP – Nolan Arenado
Cy – Carlos Martinez
RoY – Robert Gsellman

More of the same in the senior circuit. I couldn’t help including the Cubs in October baseball, although I did manage to snub the Dodgists. I found a place for Philadelphia because…what if I’m right? Every year, at least one team makes a surprising step forward, fueled by prospect growth, veteran breakouts, or general good fortune. When the Cubs and Astros tipped to contention, it was at least a year before they were supposed to be ready. I recall liking those teams more than the consensus. I feel similarly about the Phillies.

RotoGraphs Staff Picks – Hitters

Sleeper (201-300 overall) – Michael Brantley
Deep Sleeper (301-400 overall) – Chris Owings
Undrafted – Matt Adams
Rookie – Dansby Swanson
Sophomore – Trevor Story
Steal – Ryan Schimpf
Bust – Brian Dozier

Brantley appears to be healthy and ready for an Opening Day start. I’ve seen some scouts express (temporary) concerns about his timing. We’ll see what kind of workload he can manage. The Owings hype apparatus has gained full steam since I submitted these picks. Ruined what I thought was a rather clever pick. Adams has remained sleepy despite impending outfield eligibility and BSOHL.

There will be better steals than Schimpf, but I enjoy his story. Similarly, there will be bustier busts than Dozier, but it serves the Twins right for asking too much this offseason. And everybody loves a good Story.

RotoGraphs Staff Picks – Pitchers

Sleeper – Pat Corbin
Deep Sleeper – Michael Montgomery
Undrafted – Charlie Morton
Rookie – Robert Gsellman
Sophomore – Edwin Diaz
Steal – Addison Reed
SP Bust – Danny Duffy
RP Bust – Wade Davis

Corbin was our darling before his arm crumpled. His spring results were solid. The scouting report I saw wasn’t glowing, noting a lack of both power and finesse. We’ll see how it plays out. Montgomery lost the fifth starter job to Anderson. He’ll still throw 130-ish innings, and they’ll be better than any waiver fodder. Morton throws a cool bowling ball. He might be a better fit as a closer, not that he’ll get that chance.

Consistency! I picked Gsellman for top rookie on both lists. I didn’t realize it. The RotoGraphs list was picked about a week before the FanGraphs list. I’m looking at relievers for the best sophomore and steal. Obviously, this was before Jeurys Familia received a tiny 15 game suspension. Reed’s still the top reliever in that ‘pen.

It’s not that I dislike Duffy, but he seems a lot more likely to flop than the guys with more than a couple months of success. Davis is too glaringly obvious, except to all the people who have paid as though he’s the 2015 version.

Hit Tool Examination Pt 2: Necessary Changes

A couple of weeks ago, I examined the prospect Hit tool grade and how it provides useless information as it is currently being distributed. It’s time to dive back in. First, I am going to answer a couple questions which have come up on the topic and then get into my recommended changes.

Are there any systematic differences between Baseball America’s grades and those from

This study was easy. I grouped all players who had grades from both sources in the same season and I found the average differences.  The following table contain the averaged difference of the Baseball America grade minus the grade for the 154 matched pairs.

Difference in Grades from Baseball America and
Batting Power Speed Defense Arm
0.3 1.9 -0.9 -0.8 1.1

The final differences are small with Baseball American being higher on power while is higher on Speed and Defense.

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Roto Riteup March 31, 2017

This will probably be the millionth time you will see the first sentence of an article this week that reads “Opening Day is almost here.” But deal with it because I’m excited, and you’re excited and everyone is excited that baseball is actually happening.

On the Agenda

  1. Vote for Pedro
  2. Mr. Gray, of Coors
  3. Perdomo Dude


Vote for Pedro

Pedro Alvarez did not make the Opening Day roster for the O’s. We kind of saw that coming.

He will begin the season in Triple-A. We do know he will be promoted, but it’s just a matter of when. Until then, he’s the guy who hit 22 balls over the fence for the Oriole’s in 2016 with a .249/.322/.504 line at the designated hitter position. Which is more than likely where he will stay once he’s back in a major league uniform since he doesn’t have much success when it comes to his defense. But a .255 ISO last season blankets that a little bit.

Just what the Orioles need, more bats.

His fly ball rate increased last season (36.4-percent) and he shows little to no signs of regression. Should be an interesting guy to watch during his minor league outings and we already know how he performs in a major league uniform.

I’m just not crazy about him.

The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 437 – NFBC 12-Team Breakdown

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 442 – Job Winners & Injury Updates


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

Follow us on Twitter

Leading Off:

  • Who are you most invested in?

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Updated xStats Expected 2017 Stats

A few weeks ago I rolled out a large update to my 2017 estimated stats page. You could call it a projection, but that word sounds too official for me. These stats take all of the Statcast data available for each player, weights it by season, and regresses to the mean with respect to plate appearances. So, a guy with more plate appearances will have less regression than a guy with fewer plate appearances, and plate appearances in 2016 weigh more than those in 2015.

These numbers, theoretically, represent the quality of contact generated by each player. There are some caveats, of course. There are players who have large amounts of missing Statcast data, which I will try to skip over for the purposes of this piece. There are some who have relatively small sample sizes.  Some played through injury which may have cast a large shadow on their numbers the past two years. Try to keep these issues in mind.

I’m going to be comparing these 2017 xStats estimations/projections to Steamer projections, and I’ll be displaying the difference. The difference is calculated using xStat – Steamer. So positive numbers show xStats are more optimistic, and negative numbers show Steamer is more optimistic.

With all that said, I’m focusing on mid to late round picks, ADP between 100 and 400. These are the sorts of guys I personally find easier to trade after a draft, assuming your drafts have already concluded (and at this point that seems like a fair assumption). Read the rest of this entry »

Nick Castellanos: The Greek God of Hard Contact

It’s a little crazy how deep third base is this year. Perusing the NFBC average draft position list, there are nearly twenty players whom, in most years, I’d be happy to roll with in standard leagues. Most surprising though was seeing Nick Castellanos languishing all the way at 19th off the board in NFBC drafts (Note: I had originally considered anointing him just The Greek God of Contact but unfortunately that moniker implies a certain frequency of contact that the 25-year old simply cannot be bothered with). Castellanos won’t win any OBP-titles but in 2016 he did one thing well. And that’s hit a baseball really, really hard.

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