Author Archive

2019’s Fantasy Baseball Auction Bargains at Mid-Season – The Value Drainers

Previously, I looked at the hitter and pitcher auction bargains of 2019 at mid-season. These were the players that have earned the most rotisserie value, net of their cost to roster.

Now let’s turn our attention to the players who have lost the most profit in the first half of 2019, who I will refer to as the value drainers. These are the largest under-performers (to date), relative to their pre-season auction values.

To remind everyone:

  • $Value refers to the accumulated 5×5 rotisserie value of each player, scaled to a full-season.
  • $AAV refers to the average auction cost to purchase the player pre-season.
  • $Bargain is the difference between the $Value and the $AAV.

For this exercise – In order to calculate $Value, I use NFBC roster settings and scoring parameters. Actual $AAV data is used to determine the opportunity cost. For the full methodology of how these player bargains are calculated, please refer to my introductory post. Read the rest of this entry »

2019’s Fantasy Baseball Auction Bargains at Mid-Season – Pitchers

Last week, I looked at the 2019 auction hitter bargains at mid-season. Now let’s dive into the most profitable pitchers of the first half.

To remind everyone, we aren’t looking here for the highest earning pitchers of 2019 – we are looking at pitchers with the largest values net of their opportunity cost to acquire. Gerrit Cole has earned nearly $24 of fantasy auction value – making him the 7th highest earning pitcher. However, with his $36 average auction value – he technically is in the red as far as profitability goes.

For the methodology employed and the terms used in the ensuing leaderboards, please refer to my previous post on the 2019 Fantasy Baseball Auction Bargains at Mid-Season – Batters edition.

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2019’s Fantasy Baseball Auction Bargains at Mid-Season – Batters

There are two different and distinct ways to kick off each season in fantasy baseball. I am referring to the two popular ways to fill teams’ rosters pre-season – namely snake drafts and auctions. In either method of commencement, the goal is to accumulate the most player statistics for the forthcoming season.

However, drafts differ from auctions in the value proposition of roster slots – which is static for snake drafts. Unless you are able to trade draft picks, you are cemented with those specific slots that in turn correspond to fixed levels of fantasy value. At an auction, the distribution of acquired values may vary more widely.

The predominant first overall snake draft selection in just about any fantasy format (or depth) this year was Mike Trout. The impetus for that is easy to explain. Trout is the player with a tremendous (dare I say the highest) floor of talent, a high upside of statistics to accumulate, and a proven track record to back everything up. In economic terms, he provided the most potential value with the least amount of risk.

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wPDI Mid-June Leaderboard – Relief Pitchers

It has been a little while since I introduced to you my Weighted Plate Discipline Index (wPDI) for pitchers. wPDI is a (new) plate discipline index metric that aims to meaningfully aggregate the frequency of pitcher plate discipline outcomes into one composite figure. A pitcher who generates a lot of contact in the zone will have a lower wPDI, while a pitcher who generates a lot of swings and misses out of the zone will have a higher one, etc.

We are now almost halfway into the 2019 season. Let’s check up on the 2019 wPDI Leaderboard for RPs – i.e. the relief pitchers who are excelling in plate discipline.

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The Next Khris Davis

Earlier this season on FanGraphs, Ben Clemens embarked on a journey to search for a player similar to Mike Trout. Now of course, no one in the past half-decade has come close to replicating Trout’s production – but it was a fun exercise in player comparison analysis. My colleague found that Tommy Pham was Trout’s closest match.

Consider the following blind resumes for 2019:

2019 Blind Resumes
Player A 182 12 0.242 0.313 0.479 19.8% 38.0% 42.1% 23.5% 44.6% 43.8% 0.329 108
Player B 242 15 0.239 0.293 0.500 16.7% 43.3% 40.0% 25.0% 40.0% 42.7% 0.330 105
Player C 223 15 0.250 0.300 0.514 19.1% 33.6% 47.4% 20.8% 40.8% 43.4% 0.338 112

The three players profile very similarly. They all have a fly-ball tilt to their batted ball tendencies, with few line drives. They all have large HR/FB ratios, and each have high hard-hit and medium-hit rates.

By the title of this article, you likely have already guessed the true name of one of the above lines. Player A is none other than Khris Davis.

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Big FAAB Spending – A Historical and Risk Management View


If you are reading this article, you likely play fantasy baseball. You are already well aware of the FAAB extravaganza which occurred two weeks ago. If your fantasy squad is sitting 40 points out of the money, the lure of an impact prospect on your roster was incredibly enticing. The peer pressure of bidding on a top 10 prospect surely lured you in to spend significant free agent resources on those young rookies.

The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational (TGFBI), was created by FanGraphs’ own Justin Mason. It is a compilation of 315 fantasy baseball experts – all who put out content one way or another (writing, projections, podcasts, etc.). The experts were divided into twenty-one 15-team 5×5 mixed roto leagues, with NFBC rules and regulations.

You can find out more about TGFBI and follow the experts here. You can listen to me regularly on the official TGFBI analysis podcast, called “Beat the Shift” right here.

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Is Chris Archer Rosterable?


I made the following controversial proclamation earlier this year – that Chris Archer is highly overvalued by fantasy owners. I go even further to say that in all but deep mixed leagues and mono leagues – continually rostering the right hander would be a poor use of fantasy resources.

My contention with Archer’s value stems from his ratio stats:

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Three Deep League Catchers

Today, I wanted to highlight a few catchers that caught my eye. Currently, all of these players are options only for mono leagues, or for the deepest of two-catcher mixed leagues. I feel that these players are under-owned or under-valued or are simply worth monitoring.

Remember – deep league catchers are not going to give you a full or broad base of statistics. Catchers hardly steal bases, not even the ones suited for shallow leagues. As a fantasy owner – what you hope to attain from a catcher in the #20–30 range is a player that possesses at least one skill. You want a catcher who either can provide you with a modest power boost, or someone who can accumulate a decent on-base average, or a catcher that will occasionally kick in some Runs/RBIs. Anything else is gravy.

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The Maddux Plate Discipline Index (mPDI) for Hitters

Last week, I quantified a famous quote by Hall of Fame pitcher, Greg Maddux. He preached that the key to pitching is to throw a strike when the batter isn’t going to swing, and to throw a ball when the batter will [swing].

The introductory article to wPDI, the Weighted Plate Discipline Index for pitchers, can be found here.

Today, let’s turn the tables around and jump into the hitting equivalent. We can enumerate the offensive parallel of the quote – and evaluate what would be the “Maddux keys to hitting.” A Maddux hitter would swing at pitches when they are thrown in the zone and would lay off of pitches thrown out of the zone.

We will use the wPDI framework to help us quantify what we will call a “Maddux hitter.” For the hitting version of mPDI – the weights of the outcomes will be the exact inverses of the pitching indexes.

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Introducing: The Maddux Plate Discipline Index (mPDI) for Pitchers

“The key to pitching is to have the ability to throw a strike when they’re taking and throw a ball when the hitter is swinging.”Greg Maddux

Last week, I introduced a pitcher metric based on the six possible plate discipline outcomes. You can find the definitions and indexes in the wPDI introduction article, found here.

This week, I would like to provide you with an alternative weighting of the indexes. It will parallel the famous quote by Hall of Fame pitcher, Greg Maddux. He preached that the key to pitching is to throw a strike when the batter isn’t going to swing, and to throw a ball when the batter will [swing].

With the wPDI outcome framework in place, we can now properly quantify Greg Maddux’s quote.

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