Author Archive

The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 768 – Potential March Surgers with Dusty Wagner

01/17/19

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is live. Support the show by subscribing to Fangraphs! With a standard $20 membership, you help maintain and improve our database of stats and graphs as well as our staff of 8 full-time employees and over 50 contributors. The premium ad-free membership at $50 year supports site growth and also includes faster load speeds and better site performance. You can also support monthly for just $3.

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10 PLAYERS WHO COULD SURGE IN MARCH DRAFTS

Current Price is January 1st-17th Draft Champions ADP

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 767 – Fireside Chat: Nick Assesses Paul’s Rankings

01/16/19

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is live. Support the show by subscribing to Fangraphs! With a standard $20 membership, you help maintain and improve our database of stats and graphs as well as our staff of 8 full-time employees and over 50 contributors. The premium ad-free membership at $50 year supports site growth and also includes faster load speeds and better site performance. You can also support monthly for just $3.

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NOTABLE TRANSACTIONS/INJURIES/RUMORS

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 766 – Donaldson Choose Minnesota

01/15/19

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NOTABLE TRANSACTIONS/INJURIES/RUMORS

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Good Pitches from Bad Pitchers* Pt. 2

*Bad in this case is a 4.50 ERA or higher^ in 2019

^Except for one guy, who had a 4.49

Yesterday I looked at some quality four-seamers, sliders, and cutters coming from these so-called “bad” pitches – again, we’re talking about bad in the fantasy realm as most leagues won’t have major use for someone with an ERA north of 4.50 – and today we’re looking at changeups, curveballs, and splitters.

CHANGEUP

Lg. average: .653 OPS, 22% K, 17% SwStr, 38% Chase

Daniel Norris, DET | .532 OPS, 31% K, 20% SwStr, 42% Chase

Here’s our guy with the 4.49 ERA, by the way. Norris also had a solid slider, but like so many guys I covered yesterday, his fastball held him back. He allowed a 1.024 OPS with his heat including 19 of his 25 home runs. Homers have been a career-long issue for Norris, too, but especially the last two years with a 1.6 HR/9 in both seasons.

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Good Pitches from Bad Pitchers* Pt. 1

*Bad in this case is a 4.50 ERA or higher^ in 2019

^Except for one guy, who had a 4.49

We all know that ERA isn’t an end-all, be-all on skill, but those of us in the fantasy realm don’t roster guys with ERAs at 4.50 or higher so using that as a cutoff for this exercise felt right. The purpose here is to find some useful pitches these guys could build upon to get them on the right side of a 4.50 ERA going forward.

As for what determines a good pitch, I took a look at the average OPS, K%, SwStr%, and Chase% among starters with at least 700 fastballs thrown and 200 thrown of all the other pitches (slider, curveball, changeup, cutter, and splitter) and then found the strongest offerings of each pitch from those who struggled in 2019. The pitches didn’t have to be better than average in all four categories, but at least two of the four and in most cases, it’s better than three of the four.

I’m going to make this a two-parter with four-seamers, sliders, and cutters today and curves, changeups, and splitters later this week (probably tomorrow).

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Assessing My Big Differences with ADP, Pt. 1

I recently released my top 125 starting pitchers for 2020 and I couldn’t believe that nobody had a single question about them and everyone who saw them found them to be perfect top to bottom. OK, dumb joke. Anyway, I appreciate everyone getting in the comments and discussing the rankings with me. I’m still responding to questions and comments if you want to ask me about someone in the rankings.

Today I want to look the biggest differences between my rankings and the early average draft position (ADP) information at the NFBC in their Draft Champions leagues (50-round draft-and-hold format). On their list, they group all pitchers together so I took out the relievers making it more of a 1:1 comparison with my SP ranks. This will be a two-part piece with the first being the pitchers where I’m higher.

10 Where I’m Higher

Jeff Samardzija, SF | 107th SP in ADP; 52nd SP by me

I wouldn’t even say I’m a huge fan of The Shark, but his current ADP seems like a great price for someone who finished 33rd among SP on Razzball’s Player Rater last year. Even if you don’t fully buy the 3.52 ERA, he offers high volume with a strong WHIP. At the very least, he has Oracle Park protecting him for half of his starts. It’s a boring investment, but I’ll gladly take him outside the top 100 SPs.

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 765 – SP Ranking Review

01/09/19

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is live. Support the show by subscribing to Fangraphs! With a standard $20 membership, you help maintain and improve our database of stats and graphs as well as our staff of 8 full-time employees and over 50 contributors. The premium ad-free membership at $50 year supports site growth and also includes faster load speeds and better site performance. You can also support monthly for just $3.

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STARTING PITCHER RANKING REVIEW: Paul’s, Justin’s 

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Top 125 SP for 2020

It’s time.

After offering up a first run all the way back in mid-August, I let the rest of the season play out but since then I’ve been working on SP rankings day-in and day-out. I contributed the starting pitcher section to the 2020 Fantasy Black Book so I had a working ranking for that but even since then (it was due back in early-December), I’ve made a ton of changes.

As you know, I feel there are globs of talent throughout the SP rankings wherein a 20, even 30 spot difference isn’t as vast as it seems because we’re splitting hairs between very similar arms and yet even knowing that I still agonize over the slottings and move guys up or down 2-3 spots like crazy before posting a new set of ranks. I decided on 125 for this one after paring down a list of 156 and yes, some of those remaining 31 are just as good as the last 7-8 on the list, but I had to cut it somewhere.

You’ll see tiers set up by the blue bars and that indicates the beginning of a new tier, but even those were hard to decide upon except the one starting at 99 which marks a group of prospects who I parked at that level because none are likely to make a rotation out of spring but all could be impactful at some point in 2020.

Enough chatter, let’s get to the rankings and start discussing them in the comments below. Again, if you think #44 should #38, I’m less interested in that as I probably agree that he could be. Let’s focus on the bigger splits, like if you feel #77 should be #40 or #28 should be #66, etc… Of course you can also just make comments or ask questions about a pitcher without relating it to their ranking. I’m open to discussing my thought process on any of the 125 pitchers.

These will be updated again in February and then once more in early March.

Check out Justin’s Top 126 SPs.

Note: these are catered for a roto league of 12-15 teams

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 764 – Washington Making Moves

01/07/19

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is live. Support the show by subscribing to Fangraphs! With a standard $20 membership, you help maintain and improve our database of stats and graphs as well as our staff of 8 full-time employees and over 50 contributors. The premium ad-free membership at $50 year supports site growth and also includes faster load speeds and better site performance. You can also support monthly for just $3.

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NOTABLE TRANSACTIONS/INJURIES/RUMORS

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A Closer Look: Los Angeles Angels

The scorching hot stove put the ACL series on the backburner a bit, but we’re diving back in this week and starting with the Angels, who have been very busy in the month-plus since our last piece in this series.

OTHER TEAMS:

3 QUESTIONS

Can Tommy La Stella pick up where ’19 left off?

Few players personified the bouncy ball of 2019 better than La Stella. He entered his age-30 season with a career .711 OPS and 10 HR in 947 PA only to nearly double his career total in April alone when he smacked 7 HR. He stayed hot through May and June with a .324/.358/.485 line and another 9 HR before disaster struck. On July 2nd, he fouled a ball off his leg that was originally diagnosed as a contusion, but eventually turned out to be a broken leg and effectively ended his season (he returned for two games in September).

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