Archive for September, 2018

Sunday Evening Fantasy Baseball Chat

Ryan: Where are you drafting Votto next year?

Jeff Zimmerman: That’s a tough one but I’m likely looking at the 5th round or later. The back worries me. He’s turned into prime Joe Mauer but without being catcher eligible.

Trent: Suarez is a top 3 third baseman next year.  True?

Jeff Zimmerman: One sec.

Jeff Zimmerman: He’s at least 6th behind Bregman, Arenado, Ramirez, Machado, and Bryant. The only one I could see an argument for being lower is Bryant

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Roto Riteup: September 29, 2018

We just hit dingers here at the Roto Riteup.

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2EarlyMock Observations: Potential Middle-Round Bargains for 2019

In most drafts, I hit a point where I look at my queue and the remaining player pool, and I’m not excited about any of my options. I am currently participating in one of Justin Mason’s 2EarlyMock drafts, and as we enter the final rounds, I have yet to have that feeling. A number of players went in the middle rounds whom I had stashed in my queue several rounds before they were taken. The ones that I drafted felt like tremendous bargains, and the ones that I missed left me envious.
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The Daily Grind: That’s A Wrap

Six pitchers and the usual slew of hitters headline tomorrow’s Waiver Wars. Just two days left. You can do it.


  1. TDG Invitational
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. SaberSim Says…
  5. Final Exploits

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Roto Riteup: September 28, 2018

The Roto Riteup is racing to home plate at full speed!

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30 Pitching Seasons You Might’ve Missed

Touring the league to highlight a pitcher per team whose efforts could’ve slipped past your radar.

Check out the hitters here.

American League

Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS | 3.73 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 18% K-BB

The bottom half injuries continue to plague him, but the skills are still there when he is healthy and upright.

J.A. Happ, NYY | 3.57 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 26% K

This strong effort will help the 35-year old southpaw get a solid multi-year deal this winter.

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Daily Starters – Friday, September 28

It won’t likely come as a shock that, as we have one of our final opportunities to stream pitchers, there are few widely-available options worthy of our trust. In his recent piece on starting pitcher streaming options for the final weekend, Nick Pollack identified three pitchers from Friday’s slate who could be available and have some appeal. However, none of the three are likely to be on waivers in deeper formats.

In this column, I typically consider only pitchers who have an ownership rate of 25 percent or lower in Fantrax leagues, and even with setting the bar for availability fairly high, a couple of the pitchers featured here are at least worthy of consideration for your Friday rotation.
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2018’s Fantasy Baseball Auction Bargains

The date is March 19, 2018. You are about to compete in a live NFBC fantasy baseball auction. You are prepping vigorously for your draft auction. You are reading over your player lists, mulling over which OFs you will go for at the auction table.

Fast forward to September 27, 2018. Now that the season is almost all in the books, you can now look back at your fantasy auction and see all the good, the great, the bad and the terrible decisions you had made just 6 months prior.

Let’s start with a simple OF decision. Which player should you have bought back in March?

Mike Trout (OF, LAA)


Eddie Rosario (OF, MIN)

Sounds like a fairly easy decision, no?  But to help you out, before you answer the question … I’ll provide you with some 2018 statistics (as of 9/26):

Player Comparison
Name Team Position R HR RBI SB AVG
Mike Trout Angels OF 99 38 77 24 .313
Eddie Rosario Twins OF 87 24 77 8 .288

Don’t answer the question just yet … let me also provide you with a full season dollar valuation for the two players in question.

Value Comparison
Name Team Position $ Value
Mike Trout Angels OF $37.20
Eddie Rosario Twins OF $21.90

For those new to subtraction, Trout’s valuation is larger than Rosario’s valuation by $15.30, or another way to look at it … Trout was worth almost 70% more than Rosario was in 2018.

So which player of the two should you have purchased for your fantasy team on March 19?

The answer is ……  Eddie Rosario!!!

Wait just a minute … Trout had the same number of RBIs, but more Runs, more SBs, a higher BA, and more SBs than Rosario. You may even ask, “Ariel, didn’t you just tell me that Trout was worth 70% more than Rosario?” How can that be???

Well, to answer that – you need one more piece of information, namely, what the price was to acquire each player.

First, let’s define three quantities:

  • $Value – The full season 5×5 roto value of each player. For this, I am using FanGraph’s auction calculator on YTD 2018 stats, with NFBC standard settings (15 teams, mixed AL/NL, $260 budget and positions – 9 P, 2 C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, 5 OF, U). This represents what a player was actually worth in 2018.
  • $AAV – The average auction value for each player in 5×5 roto / NFBC style format. For this, I am using the average of a set of actual NFBC online auctions run by Andy Saxton that Todd Zola of Mastersball had provided. This will represent the cost that it would have taken to acquire a player back in March. For those players who weren’t drafted, or who were only drafted as a reserve, we will set a nominal price for them of $0.10.
  • $Bargain – The difference between the $Value and $AAV. This represents the profit that each player had provided over the 2018 season, from his initial pre-season draft price.

Let’s go back to that OF comparison now …

Player Comparison
Name Team Position $ Value $AAV $Bargain
Mike Trout Angels OF $37.20 $47.19 ($9.99)
Eddie Rosario Twins OF $21.90 $12.38 $9.53

Winning fantasy baseball is All. About. Value.

Although Mike Trout will finish the season as a top-10 performer, if you had purchased him in a fantasy auction this year, you would have paid some $47 – which meant that you LOST MONEY on him. Had you purchased Eddie Rosario, which would only have cost you about $12, you would have profited … by over 75% of what you paid.

Below are the top 20 most profitable players for 2018:

2018 Top 20 Player Bargains
No. Player K / R W / HR SV / RBI ERA / SB WHIP / AVG $ Value $AAV $Bargain
1 Blake Snell 211 21 0 1.90 .960 $35.60 $7.06 $28.54
2 Javier Baez 98 34 111 21 .293 $36.50 $11.50 $25.00
3 Trevor Story 85 34 104 26 .290 $34.70 $10.94 $23.76
4 Jesus Aguilar 78 34 105 0 .275 $23.20 $0.10 $23.10
5 Miguel Andujar 79 26 87 2 .295 $21.80 $0.10 $21.70
6 Blake Treinen 98 9 37 0.79 .830 $30.90 $9.63 $21.28
7 David Peralta 75 30 87 4 .296 $23.40 $2.56 $20.84
8 Michael Brantley 88 17 76 11 .309 $23.50 $2.81 $20.69
9 Scooter Gennett 86 23 92 4 .313 $25.90 $5.31 $20.59
10 Mitch Haniger 88 26 91 8 .283 $24.50 $4.56 $19.94
11 Nick Markakis 77 14 93 1 .301 $19.00 $0.10 $18.90
12 Matt Carpenter 108 36 80 4 .259 $24.70 $6.88 $17.83
13 Christian Yelich 112 33 104 21 .321 $43.00 $25.63 $17.38
14 Jeremy Jeffress 86 8 13 1.33 1.020 $16.80 $0.10 $16.70
15 Jed Lowrie 77 22 96 0 .267 $16.60 $0.13 $16.48
16 Max Muncy 72 33 73 3 .259 $16.50 $0.10 $16.40
17 Josh Hader 140 6 11 2.28 .800 $19.60 $3.31 $16.29
18 Matt Chapman 98 24 68 1 .281 $18.60 $2.75 $15.85
19 Juan Soto 75 21 66 5 .295 $15.80 $0.10 $15.70
20 Eugenio Suarez 76 32 101 1 .280 $23.20 $7.56 $15.64

Assorted Player Notes & Facts (in no particular order):

  • Blake Snell was clearly the best pitcher to buy pre-season 2018 at a roto auction. For a mere $7 average auction value, he will finish as the 3rd most valuable pitcher this season worth $36, behind deGrom ($40 value) and Scherzer ($39 value). His 21 W currently leads all of MLB, his 1.90 ERA leads the AL, and add in a healthy 211 Ks too (only 14 pitchers have more than 200 strikeouts).
  • The next most profitable starting pitchers were Mike Foltynewicz ($15 bargain), Walker Buehler ($14 bargain) and Miles Mikolas ($13 bargain). [Does Mikolas remind you at all of Colby Lewis?]
  • Blake Treinen was clearly the most profitable RP in roto this season, with 37 saves and spectacular roto ratio stats (0.79 ERA / 0.83 WHIP). He even added nearly 100 Ks to boot. He was the 16th most expensive closer to purchase pre-season at an AAV of under $10.
  • Yasmani Grandal ($19 value) and Yan Gomes ($13 value) were the two most profitable catchers this year. Grandal could be had for only $4 AAV, and Gomes’s AAV was less than $1.
  • The three most valuable undrafted players were Jesus Aguilar ($23 value), Miguel Andujar ($22 value) and Nick Markakis ($19 value). Of those three, Aguilar and Andujar were high skilled players not assured of playing time – which is why their draft price was so low. Javier Baez’s price was also depressed, because most projection systems didn’t give him enough plate appearances, with the Cubs’ logjammed IF roster on opening day.
  • Nick Markakis on the other hand, was simply a mistake by pre-season drafters. Markakis was handed the cleanup spot on day #1 in Atlanta. Surrounding him the lineup was Inciarte, Albies, Freeman, and Acuna (knowing he would come up to the MLB shortly). They all cost a minimum of $12 in AAV, which suggested a good ATL lineup this season. Given who the players surrounding him were in his lineup, Markakis, who has a history of a high batting average – should have been projected for a much larger R and RBI total. At the very least, he should have been drafted in NFBC formats.
  • Of the top 20 bargain players, Christian Yelich was the most valuable returning a $43 full season value. Yelich had an MVP-caliber season amassing a 33/104/.321 campaign with 21 swipes. He was also the most expensive player on this list to buy, with an AAV of $24. Javier Baez is the next closest to Yelich in pre-season cost at an AAV of $11.50. The huge bargains this year typically came from players which cost just $2-8 pre-season.
  • Of the top 20 highest priced players pre-season only 1 player returned a profit – Mookie Betts ($47 value / $39 AAV). The other 19 highest priced players averaged a loss of $16 (A $Bargain of -$16).
  • Jacob deGrom ($40 value / $29 AAV) was the highest priced pitcher pre-season who turned a profit. Only deGrom, Justin Verlander and Aaron Nola cost over $20, yet turned a profit. To note, pitching this season accounted for about 37% of NFBC auction budgets, which is rather high historically, and much higher than the traditional 70/30 split rule would indicate.
  • The average cost of the top 20 bargain players (including undrafted players at $0.10) was $5. The average returned value of the players was close to $25.


Teams Providing the Least 2018 Fantasy Value: Pitchers Edition

With the season coming to a close, now is a good time to look back to see which MLB teams provided fantasy owners with the most valuable pitching resources this season.

This chart looks at players currently ranked in the top-50 at starting pitcher and top-25 at relief pitcher in both CBS (points) and ESPN (roto) rankings – broken down by team. If you’re curious about which players ranked where, a detailed breakdown of the ranks are found here. If a player was eligible at both starting pitcher and relief pitcher, they were only included once, and if a player was ranked in the top 50/25 in one format, but not the other, they were not included. If a player was traded, the team which they pitched a greater number of innings was given credit.

Fantasy Value By Team
American League National League
Team Pitchers Ranked Team Pitchers Ranked
Indians 5 Mets 4
Red Sox 4 Dodgers 4
Yankees 3 Pirates 3
Mariners 3 Rockies 3
Astros 3 Brewers 3
Rangers 2 Cardinals 3
A’s 2 Nationals 2
Twins 1 Cubs 2
Tigers 1 D-Backs 2
Rays 1 Braves 1
Blue Jays 1 Phillies 1
White Sox 0 Reds 1
Royals 0 Padres 1
Orioles 0 Marlins 0
Angels 0 Giants 0

As was the case with the most valuable fantasy hitters, baseball’s better teams feature more pitching contributors than rebuilding and non-contending ones.

This didn’t stop the 73-84 Mets from contributing three starters and one reliever to the ranks. While Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia were expected to pay fantasy dividends, Zack Wheeler (19 at CBS and 23 at ESPN) was one of fantasy’s biggest surprises in 2018. Wheeler posted a 3.31 ERA (3.24 FIP) and 179 strikeouts in 182.1 innings for the Mets this season. Most notably, Wheeler cut his walk rate– down to 2.79 BB/9 after posting a career rate of 3.57 BB/9. A change that Mets’ manager Mickey Callaway attributes to Wheeler attacking the strike zone more aggressively early in the count. Wheeler’s pedigree and approach changes will make him an interesting player heading into 2019 drafts.

The Mariners and fantasy owners enjoyed surprise seasons from Wade LeBlanc and Marco Gonzales. Neither Gonzales or LeBlanc generate a ton of K’s, but both pitchers limit walks and kept their ERA’s under 4.15 – good enough to rank towards the bottom of the top-50 in both points and roto formats at starting pitcher.

With more teams electing to take a committee approach to closing, the top relief pitchers featured several non/part-time closers in ESPN formats. Josh Hader, Adam Ottavino and David Robertson all rank in the top-25 at ESPN despite few saves to boost their value – Ottavino and Robertson have 11 saves between the two of them and Hader has 11 to his name. Relievers that spent the majority of their season closing – Shane Greene and Brad Boxberger, both of whom collected over 30 saves each, missed the top-25.

In Atlanta, only Mike Foltynewicz placed in the top-50 at both sites. Braves’ starters Sean Newcomb, Julio Teheran and Kevin Gausman all ranked in the top-50 in the CBS game. Anibal Sanchez, who has enjoyed a resurgent season at age-34, ranked 38th at ESPN and 60th at CBS. Sanchez’ FIP is three quarters of a run higher than his ERA (2.96) but still sits at a respectable 3.67. Sanchez has been able to limit home runs in 2018 (1.03 HR/9) and with homers down throughout baseball, the gopher balls that derailed his 2015-17 seasons may not be a problem for him moving forward, either.

The Cardinals enjoyed productive fantasy seasons from Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty and the now deposed closer, Bud Norris. A healthy Carlos Martinez or Alex Reyes and a rebound from Luke Weaver could mean even more fantasy value from the St. Louis staff in 2019.

On the offensive side of the game, only three teams failed to produce a fantasy hitter in the top-12 at any position. Only four teams contributed just one. When it comes to pitchers, the talent is more heavily concentrated at the top. Six teams failed to produce a fantasy starter or reliever on the list and eight more produced only one.

The Chicago White Sox might be the most promising of these teams. Some of their young pitchers – Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Carlos Rodon could take a step forward and provide fantasy value next season. Top prospect Michael Kopech will be sidelined for 2019 while he recovers from Tommy John surgery but could be an impact pitcher upon his return. Dylan Cease is another highly touted White Sox pitching prospect that looked good during his ten starts at double-A this summer. In addition to Kopech and Cease, Alec Hansen (91), Zack Burdi (111) and Dane Dunning (113) all place in the FanGraphs Top 131 prospect list.

Unfortunately for some of the worst performing teams, there doesn’t appear to be immediate help on the way. The Orioles, Royals and Giants don’t have a single pitching prospect ranked on the FanGraphs list. A rebound season from Madison Bumgarner or consistency from Dylan Bundy (stop me if you’ve heard this before) could be sources of fantasy value in 2019.

The Blue Jays (Nate Pearson), Angels (Griffin Canning) and Twins (Stephen Gonsalves) have only one prospect each on the list. Shohei Ohtani will likely miss 2019 (at least as a pitcher) but could be elite upon his return to the mound in Anaheim. Kyle Gibson, who just missed ranking this season, could place if he is able to repeat his performance. A rebound from Marcus Stroman or Aaron Sanchez is not out of the question, but also far from a sure thing given their recent performance and recurring finger problems.

Pitching can be tough to predict, but based on the 2018 results, there may be some teams that you want to steer clear of when drafting your 2019 fantasy pitching staff.

The Daily Grind: Thursday Is Getting Thinner

Remember, remember the 28th of September. See it works on any “-ember” day. And here are more than enough Waiver Wars targets.


  1. TDG Invitational
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. SaberSim Says…
  5. Subplots

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