Author Archive

BW’s “More than Most” at Every Position

We all have guys we like more than others. That’s just the nature of the beast. Whether it’s guys coming off down years we expect to rebound or ones we’ve done extensive research on to forecast a much better than expected season, we all have our favorites. Sometimes, we even have them for even less legitimate reasons.

As we get knee deep into draft season, I thought I’d share with you some of the guys I like more than most at each position:

C- Yasmani Grandal (NFBC avg. 145, No. 8 C)

Scoring just 49 runs while hitting 27 home runs seems crazy fluky, but I like what Grandal brings to the table overall. He does a little bit of everything — though the average might hurt — and brings the kind of pop we don’t usually see associated with the catcher’s spot. He’s still young enough (28) to be reasonably on an upswing, and he was markedly better in the second half last year (.245/.356/.521) than before the break (.212/.323/.434). He had nothing much in the way of platoon splits last year as well. Right now I like him better than Salvador Perez, who is going about 14-15 picks earlier in drafts. Further down the list, I’m intrigued by Devin Mesoraco (No. 21 catcher, No. 298 overall) after seeing a video of him testing out his bum hip doing some pretty wild plyometric drills. He could be a huge value. Read the rest of this entry »

FantasyPros Draft Wrap

A little over a week ago I did a draft with some industry folks representing Fangraphs (Rotographs) on FantasyPros. Some of the more identifiable names in the league include Al Melchior and Jim Sannes, and ultimately we did a 10-team draft with FanDuel scoring.

What’s FanDuel scoring? Have a peek:

Read the rest of this entry »

Strategizing for Scoresheet

It’s that time of year again: Scoresheet prep time! For those of you unaware, Scoresheet is a league where you build a full 25-man-type roster (you get up to 30 active players) complete with bench players, full bullpens and so on.

Here’s our league page, for instance.

I’ve had fairly good clubs over the last couple seasons. I was 88-74 last season as “Jedd, Ed and Eddie” and 95-67 in 2015 as “Wasted Aces” — because I had Yu Darvish, Marcus Stroman and Masahiro Tanaka. Welp! The 2014 season was also solid (95-67), as my team was named aptly as “Ricky Nolasco is not very good.” Basically, I haven’t finished under .500 since team “new Warne order” — don’t ask — went 76-86 in 2013, so maybe I’m starting to get the hang of it?

The way Scoresheet works is that you keep major league players and minor league players. Any player who is still eligible to win Rookie of the Year is considered minor-league eligible. Those players cost you picks starting from the back of the 35-round draft. So, if you keep five rookies, your last pick would be in the 30th round. Keeping MLB players costs you picks at the front of the draft, so there’s obviously some strategy at play here. Read the rest of this entry »

Strategizing for Ottoneu

Well, I’m back for another year in the Fangraphs Staff II Ottoneu league. This’ll be year six, but I’m still looking to regain the magic that allowed me to finish third back in the first season, when I was leading heading into the final stretch before fading due to innings limits.

Here’s how I’ve finished in the meantime:

2012 – third (of 12)
2013 – sixth
2014 – 10th
2015 – fourth
2016 – ninth

When we started out, I had a weird mix of good players, prospects and a few guys who put together really nice seasons — like Jason Kubel and Josh Willingham. I’ve had enough of those prospects pan out to have a really nice base for a good team moving forward, but I haven’t been able to quite seal the deal.

I thought my team was just a couple closers away from being very good last season, so I spent big money on Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel. It didn’t so much pan out. A.J. Pollock got hurt and missed a huge chunk of the season, and even some of the smaller pieces I added completely fell flat and were no help at all — like Eduardo Escobar, Eddie Rosario and Byungho Park. It’s not that I had huge expectations for any of those guys, but Escobar has a lot of position flexibility and I was hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with one of the other two. I know Rosario has terrible plate discipline, but he’s got some pop and a good hit tool. It just didn’t work out. Similarly, Park has a ton of swing and miss in his profile, but at least for a while there his power made him useful. Read the rest of this entry »

Nate Jones — The Late-Inning Secret on the South Side

With established players fleeing the south side of Chicago like their hair’s on fire — like any good rebuild, honestly — it’s a little strange that one of the vested veterans left standing is closer David Robertson.

If not perfect, Robertson has been perfectly useful over his first two seasons with the White Sox in the closer’s role. Despite the team only winning an average of 77 games in those first two seasons, Robertson has saved roughly half of those wins (71) with a decent 3.44 ERA (3.04 FIP), much more than a strikeout per inning (11.5 K/9) and a walk rate right around his career mark, though it was much better in year one (1.8 BB/9) than year two (4.6).

With $25 million left on his deal and the free-agent market barren for late-inning relievers not only now, but at the advent of the offseason, Robertson still presents a fairly decent value. It makes sense for the White Sox to cash that in for myriad reasons, not the least of which is the closer-in-waiting and today’s subject: Nate Jones.

Who? Read the rest of this entry »

J.T. Chargois — The Pitcher to Own in the Twins Bullpen?

The Twins bullpen was screwed basically from the get-go in 2016. What was lined up to be a decent back-end trio of Glen Perkins, Kevin Jepsen and Trevor May wound up completely crumbling. Perkins shredded his shoulder and needed surgery, Jepsen completely fell apart and May had issues staying healthy all season.

That opened a spot for Brandon Kintzler, who filled in solidly as a groundball wizard, picking up 17 saves from mid-June on by boring 93 mph fastballs into the swings of hitters, as he induced a 61.9 percent groundball rate to help offseason just a so-so whiff rate (5.8 K/9). Basically, Kintzler did all that could be asked and then some from a guy who was had on a minor-league deal, including also not walking anyone as he still worked on a fairly thin margin late in games.

Kintzler is back in the fold for his final year of team control in 2017, but he wasn’t exactly invincible. He allowed opposing batters to hit .276/.308/.397, which is about as unsightly a line as one can put up as a groundballer who managed a solid ERA and fairly good peripheral statistics. The 32-year-old righty might start the season as the closer, but it’s fairly clear he’s not the best option, and could be better suited putting out fires earlier in the game, like inducing double plays in the sixth inning when a starter gets into hot water, and the like. Read the rest of this entry »

I Love Zach Britton

Britton ranked third on Rotographs’ End-of-Season rankings among closers.

I can’t help myself; I’m like most other saber-inclined baseball people — I love strikeouts. I mean, I love a lot of things about pitching. I love that guys can seemingly come out of nowhere and be studs, like Corey Kluber, Dallas Keuchel or countless others.

As a person who has spent most of their life watching the Minnesota Twins, I can also appreciate guys who don’t walk anyone. Year after year while I watched the club as a fan in my teens, the Twins led or were near the top of the league in fewest walks allowed. Not walking batters isn’t always necessary, but if you’re going to have guys with a paucity of strikeouts — like non-Johan Santana starters in those days — keeping the bases clean is key.

I also really like grounders. The holy trinity of pitching for me — and probably for everyone else — is strikeout and walk rates married with groundball rates. It’s very, very rare to find a pitcher who is solid across all three aspects who isn’t a wonderful pitcher. Each of these things in isolation can lead to a tremendous pitcher, provided he checks off other necessary boxes further down the list.

But when you find someone who checks off all three boxes — oh boy. Read the rest of this entry »

Ian Desmond: Outfielder? Shortstop? Regression Candidate?

Desmond ranked sixth in our End of Season outfield rankings at $22.10, behind Nelson Cruz and ahead of Mark Trumbo.

No matter how one slices it, Ian Desmond’s bounce-back season was nothing short of tremendous. From a real-life standpoint, it wasn’t Desmond’s most valuable season — though it was among his three or four best — but from a fantasy perspective it’d be hard not to put this among his best.

First of all was the sheer magnitude of the improvement. It’s not often that a 29/30-year-old simply forgets how to play baseball, but it was an ill-timed poor season to be sure for Desmond, who not only turned down a lucrative offer from the Nationals prior to the season, but hit free agency with the ferocity of an indecisive running back hitting the line of scrimmage. Coming off hitting just .233/.290/.384, Desmond’s market was bound to be limited. Doubly so, considering the Nationals still slapped him with a qualifying offer. And while in retrospect it might have made sense for Desmond to accept — a la Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Wieters and Neil Walker — things couldn’t have panned out much better for him.

But the amazing part isn’t only that Desmond raised his wOBA 40-plus points, his batting average by more than 50 points and posted his career-best OBP. He also did it while switching positions, a truly intriguing proposition that would make even the faintest shortstop’s stomach queasy. There’s a quite a bit of value at short as someone who has hit .264/.312/.424 over their career — Desmond’s line coming into 2016 — while in the outfield, that’s….well let’s just say that Matt Joyce just signed a two-year deal for $11 million and he’s a career .242/.341/.429 hitter.

But in the end, Desmond gambled on himself — and won. So did fantasy owners. Can they do so again next season? Let’s investigate. Read the rest of this entry »

Living in a Vottocratic Society

Votto finished as the No. 2 first baseman in 5×5 leagues via Brad Johnson’s postseason rankings.

Only one first baseman held a higher 5×5 value ranking than Joey Votto this season, and you can probably guess which one. That’d be Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who pulled a rabbit out of his hat by leading all first basemen with 32 stolen bases.

That’s not to say it’s unusual for Goldschmidt to steal bases, but that 32 — a career-high for Goldy — is more than he stole the previous two years combined (nine and 21, respectively). As a result, the steals vaulted Goldy over Votto, who swiped only eight bags and hit 30-plus points higher than his Arizona counterpart, with the rest of their 5×5 stats being comparable across the board. Frankly, you wouldn’t be complaining with either player, and the differential was pretty close, as Goldy checked in at $28.70 while Votto was at $26.40.

Also at $26.40 was Miguel Cabrera, who pummeled 38 home runs to Votto’s 29, but hit 10 points power, and didn’t steal any bases. Cabrera scored nine fewer runs, but drove in 11 more as both played in 158 games. Votto would probably be a better value pick in this sense, as I suspect Cabrera went a fair amount higher in drafts than his Canadian counterpart. Fantasy Pros had Miggy as the No. 10 player overall, and Votto at No. 22, so there’s some room for additional value with a round or so between them depending on your league size.

Read the rest of this entry »

#2xSP — A 2016 Recap

First of all I want to say thanks for a really great season. Without you folks reading, there’d  be no reason for #2xSP. I appreciate the “thanks” and “you helped me win a title” as much as the poking and prodding to make this a better column, and me a better writer.

So from the depths of my heart, this is a big THANK YOU.

With that said, if you have any ideas on how to make this column more useful, I’m all ears. We’ve stuck with 50% ownership as the cutoff here for a while, but we did adapt for Thursday postings and added quality starts to go with wins to help accommodate people as best we are able. If you have more ideas, hit us in the comments section.

Here’s how we finished the season:

  • 46-46 record
  • 3.90 ERA
  • 8.2 K/9
  • 2.9 K/BB
  • 1.32 WHIP
  • 61 quality starts

Out of 23 weeks:

  • Seven ERA marks at/under 3.00 (30.4%)
  • Thirteen ERA marks at/under 4.00 (56.6%)
  • Eighteen weeks with at least three quality starts (78.3%)

At the risk of being unnecessarily brief, here’s a link to this year’s spreadsheet, and let’s continue the discussion in the comments below!