Author Archive

Sleeper: Chad Bettis

Chad Bettis is on the Rockies. You might be inclined to move on after the very first sentence of this post, but let me convince you otherwise.

Chad Bettis finished 2015 with a 4.23 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. However, on July 7th, he was shellacked in Colorado by the Angels. Excluding this 2.1 IP start, he would have ended the year with a 3.50 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. That has utility in most, especially deep leagues. I personally just drafted him in the 47th round of my only NFBC Draft Champions League thanks to his Arsenal Score, which is sandwiched between Dallas Keuchel and Max Scherzer.

Don’t get worked up. Bettis should not be in the same sentence – or matrix – as Keuchel and Scherzer. The matrix should be updated next week with pitch usage weights (increasing the Fastball value due to usage approximately three-fold to approximate MLB rates). This will drop Bettis in the rankings significantly. If we look at his 2015 sabermetric outcomes on his Brooks Baseball Player card, we can see that his Fastball whiff-per-swing rate is -0.74 standard deviations worse than the average fastball.

Still, the rest of his repertoire is great from a whiff/swing perspective:

Pitch Type Count Pitch Usage Whiff/Swing GB/BIP HR/(FB+LD)
Fourseam (1139) 915 48.9% -0.74 1.36 -1.02
Sinker (741) 202 10.8% 0.73 0.49 -1.92
Change (554) 296 15.8% 0.98 2.97 3.36
Slider (706) 179 9.6% 0.99 2.77 0.33
Curve (531) 280 15.0% 0.27 -2.43 1.04

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Where to Rank the Young Aces?

Let’s throw some hyped names into the equation. After each name, I listed their NESN NFBC Average Draft Position (ADP) as of 1.15.16 followed by where I have them ranked without a position adjustment according to Rotochamp composite projections (1.12.16):

Rotochamp and Steamer grounds our expectations. If you adhere to their projections/these rankings, you might not land Severino, Ross or Nola. ADP on the other hand will make you reach at times. Eno provided a KPU-BB leaderboard (K% + Pop-up% – BB%) this past Tuesday. Here is another approach to ranking starters in addition to our Pitch Repertoire Scores.

Look to their peripherals and rank them by skills. Here is one subjective approach. I z-score the following skills and weigh each one by it’s correlation to expected ERA):

  • zGB/FB+zIFFB%
  • Average z-score between Ct% and SwStr%
  • zK-BB%
  • Average z-score between Soft% and Hard%

Summing up these four z-scores, we’re left with the following leader board (50 IP Qualifier):

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2016 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers Cont’d and Ending the Position Scarcity Argument

If you don’t have an issue with position scarcity adjustments, then I already furnished 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings with Steamer Projections and highlighted sleepers last week.

Naturally, position scarcity remains an argument, but there is one solid way around the argument: find the best value (projections relative to average draft position) within the scarcer positions and prebuild a roster with options heading into the draft; then you can focus on best available value and not position scarcity. I will explain and provide options below.

Below, is an embedded file of updated (1.5.2016) NESN NFBC Average Draft Position and Rotochamp Composite projections (Rotochamp & Steamer). This time, I did not adjust the rankings for position scarcity. Everyone is ranked simply by their relative value (hitters to all other hitters and pitchers to all other pitchers). That value is then compared to ADP. I also included the sorting capability so that you can manipulate the file:

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2016 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers

Last week, Paul Sporer reviewed NFBC average draft position (ADP) data. The week prior, I posted 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings using Steamer Projections and the FVARz approach to valuation.

With our powers combined, here I will depict how current value and draft position match up:

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2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings (w/ Steamer Proj’s)

It’s Holiday time. Here is my Holiday present to you: 2016 Fantasy Baseball Rankings and $ Values using Steamer Projections and NFBC’s Format: (2)c,1b,2b,3b,ss,ci,mi,(5)of,u,(9)p and (17)bench spots.

For review, I’ll discuss the approach after the rankings, but you can check out Zach’s FVARz series of posts as well. Zach and I do a few things differently, but I use this template over others, such as SGP because I like how hands-on it allows you to be when ranking your projections. It allows for both pragmatism (drafting a certain number of players within a specific position for your league format) and objectivity (focusing on the Z-Sum/5×5 value of each player). I will describe below:

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Waiver Wire Assessment: Contact, ISO and BABIP

There is still a smorgasbord of outfield and middle-infield waiver wire options. Let’s sort using 20% ownership in Yahoo leagues as our qualifier.

Using a combination of contact percentage and isolated slugging, here is the 2015 zCt+zISO leader board:

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Ryan Zimmerman, Jacob deGrom and Sitting on a Fastball

Last week, Jeff Sullivan presented Ryan Zimmerman’s Miguel Cabrera-esque success against inside pitches. Ryan Zimmerman doesn’t mind fastballs in general. According to his Brooks Player Card, he is a career .295 and .310 hitter against Fourseams and Sinkers/Two-seamers respectively. BABIP, .ISO, HR/FB+LD, Whiff/Swings — any way you look at it — Ryan Zimmerman is at his best versus fastballs.

So on April 8th, Ryan Zimmerman did this:


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First Starts Validating our New Studs

Despite the small sample, the pitching trend continues (as of 4/11):

2010 18.50% 0.145 0.297 0.257 0.325 0.403 0.321
2011 18.60% 0.144 0.295 0.255 0.321 0.399 0.316
2012 19.80% 0.151 0.297 0.255 0.319 0.405 0.315
2013 19.90% 0.143 0.297 0.253 0.318 0.396 0.314
2014 20.40% 0.135 0.299 0.251 0.314 0.386 0.31
2015 21.20% 0.131 0.28 0.233 0.301 0.365 0.296

Strikeouts are up. Offense is down. The MLB ERA as it stands is 3.39! You can read why in the The Hardball Time’s Baseball Annual 2015: Jeff Sullivan looks at whether or not sabermetrics have tipped the balance of power toward pitching and defense — it has. PITCHf/x evaluation is one major reason.

More and more, pitchers know what works within their own repertoires, and we can then tell some “reperstories” based on their pitch characteristics (movement and velocity) and outcomes (swinging-strike and groundball induction).

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Auctions: All About the Bass

It has begun! May your leagues bring you much joy. What follows is one approach to auctions that should bring you future joy.

I participated in two auction drafts. In both, I decided to spend little on pitching. In The Fake Baseball’s Friends and Family League (TFBFFL), I spent almost the minimum on our (co-own the free team with Zach Sanders) rotation and bench. I spent $16.00 on 12 pitchers ($2 max), but the results were not horrible: Drew Hutchison, Homer Bailey, Carlos Martinez, Henderson Alvarez, Shelby Miller, John Lackey, Sean Doolittle, Carlos Rodon and Rafael Montero. I dropped Chad Qualls already for Zach McAllister. We have enough bats to upgrade.

In my next auction, I wanted two better pitchers, but I still gave myself a $40 cap. I wound up spending $45 on the following:

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Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda: Rodon, Betts, Cron and Closers

Last week, I reviewed my NFBC Draft Champions League results. I think some of my speculative saves (Joel Peralta early on; Adam Ottavino later on) could come to fruition, and I am pretty bullish on the depth of my rotation. I have a sundry of sleepers that could provide supplemental value: Daniel Norris, Randall Delgado, Jaime Garcia, Rafael Montero, Trevor Cahill and Robbie Erlin.

With that said, some of the feedback was helpful. I agree that based on my closing situation (among other things), I can’t possibly compete for the grand prize unless I get very lucky. I also do not have enough sure-thing starters to punt saves altogether to at least ensure a league win.

I don’t agree with a lack of depth on offense. I have CI/OF flexibility and a sundry of power (Justin Smoak, Travis Snider) and speed (Billy Burns, Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor) on the bench. My second catching slot is in question, but Caleb Joseph could provide some surprise value until Matt Wieters returns. I like Andrew Susac, but I need to hope for a Buster Posey or Brandon Belt injury.

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