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Top 120 Starting Pitchers

For me, the end of the Super Bowl is the official start of the fantasy baseball season. Obviously, I never really take my attention away from baseball even after the World Series, but I’m definitely an outlier. There are plenty of big time baseball and football fans who close the book on the diamond for the pigskin come October (or even September if their fantasy team falls out and their favorite team doesn’t make the playoffs) only to return once football is done.

Well, it’s done!

With that, it’s time for a new SP ranking update. I’d be hinting at an update coming sooner than later, so I appreciate your patience. I’ve got a list running 120 deep with colored bars denoting some talent breaks. There is still a substantial Glob™ where the distinctions between pitchers become thinner. I don’t have an ironclad case for #80 over #106 the way I do #16 over #42. These are my preferences, though. I’m leaning on The Glob™ to shirk accountability for my rankings, but it’d be foolish not to acknowledge how wide-open SP ranks become around 70 or so. In fact, there’s an upper tier Glob™ from around 35 to 79 and then the standard Glob™ from 80 until maybe even 150 or so, but I decided to cut it at 120.

I’ll have plenty more on pitcher rankings in the coming months, including lists with commentary on most (if not all) pitchers, lists for attacking The Glob™, my biggest buys, my biggest fades, and more! Justin and I will have a two-part positional preview pod on starting pitchers, each likely approaching two hours if I had to guess. But for now, enjoy this list and let me know what you think in the comments below.

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 638 – Reliever, Congressman, or Prospect w/Ellen Adair

2/4/19

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 19, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER19!

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Ellen’s gives a rebuttal to Ian re: wanting Manny Machado or Bryce Harper (3:25)

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 637 – Third Base Preview Pt. 1

2/1/19

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 19, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER19!

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Notable transactions

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Paul Sporer Baseball Chat – February 1st, 2019

Friday’s transcript is live!

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Digging for Speed, Pt. 2 – First Base

Earlier this week I explored the catching position for some potential speed contributions as the concentration of SB standings makes it so the extra 4-5 could really make a difference. First base is the other position where SBs are often secondary or even tertiary to the target contributions of power production. Let’s take a deeper look at the position to see where we might find some SBs.

The Known Contributors (sorted by Sprint Speed)

Obviously, we know some of the top end guys can help here while also delivering game-changing power. That’s why they go so early in drafts, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention them:

Cody Bellinger | LAD, 28.9 ft/sec – Belly’s speed is why he has no problem fitting into center field for the Dodgers. He swiped 14 bases last season in 15 attempts and he’s 24-for-28 across his career (86%). He had a predictable sophomore “slump”, but still put up a 120 wRC+ with 25 HR and those aforementioned 14 SBs… a “slump” anyone would gladly take.

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 636 – Paul’s Preview: Catcher

1/30/19

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 19, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER19!

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Catcher Strategy (2:55)

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 635 – The Fantasy Black Book w/Joe Pisapia

1/29/19

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 19, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER19!

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Looking for Speed in All the Wrong Places

Speed took off in the 1970s (in multiple ways…). The AL went to 162 games in 1961 and the NL followed suit the next year so looking at things since 1962, we saw a surge in stolen bases around 1973 when they cracked 2,000 for the first time at 2,034. They surged over 3,000 in 1976 and essentially held that floor every year until 2002 save a couple exceptions (2,982 in ’79 and 2,924 in ’00) and the strike years of 1981, 1994, and 1995 (which still almost got there at 2,932). There was a 353-base drop in 2002 to 2,750 and since then only 2011 (3,279) and 2012 (3,229) have been over 3,00. There was another big drop after 2012, going down 536 bases to 2,693 and that has ushered in this current drought of premium speed.

Since 2011, we’ve seen a precipitous drop in 20+ SB players going from 50 that year to just 28 in 2018, which tied 2016 for the lowest in this eight-year period. Interestingly, we actually saw a spike in 30-SB players last year, going from six to 11. Meanwhile, the 40-SB pool has been steadily low since 2014. Here’s a year-by-year since 2011: 8, 6, 8, 4, 3, 5, 3, and 3. One of the biggest issues with the 30-SB guys is that they are all expensive. Of those 11 from 2018, just one has an ADP outside the top 115 and it’s Billy Hamilton, who is already on the rise. He’s seen his ADP jump 20 spots over the winter, up to 152 since January 1st in NFBC leagues.

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 633 – Positional Preview: Shortstop

1/26/19

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 19, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER19!

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Notable transactions

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Are We Repeating a 2018 Mistake?

How different are these two pitchers?

  • Pitcher A: 3.67 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 24% K, 7% BB, 3.18 FIP
  • Pitcher B: 3.77 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 28% K, 7% BB, 3.41 FIP

I’d probably lean toward B as I’m a strikeout slut, but the idea that they’re markedly different wouldn’t really hold up. Even if you look at their pitches, I’m not sure there’s a clear difference:

  • Pitcher A: -4.2 FB, 10.0 SL, 1.4 CB, -1.3 CH
  • Pitcher B: -4.8 FB, 11.2 SL, 4.8 CB, -3.2 CH

Pitcher B has a stronger second-best pitch with that curve, but Pitcher A’s fastball and changeup were both better while the pair shared similarly strong sliders. After his campaign, Pitcher A was taken as a top 40 SP in most drafts. Currently, Pitcher B is going among the top 25 SPs, which means yes, it’s two different seasons for these stat lines. Both also happen to pitch in the most hitter-friendly environment the game has ever seen.

By now you’ve likely guessed that both are Colorado Rockies.

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