Author Archive

Brad Johnson Baseball Chat: 3/24/2020

The chat is complete!

Brad Johnson: Here we go. Real actual baseball news to discuss! But first, some advertisements…

Brad Johnson:

  1. I’m running a best ball auction on Fantrax tomorrow night at 7pm ET. Presently, there are only 2 participants. Follow the instructions herein to get an invite:…
Brad Johnson: 2. The Real MLB League kicks off tonight with our first simulated day (no games). Opening Day is on Thursday!

Brad Johnson: 3. I just posted the ninth episode of my podcast, Juiced Balls, featuring D.B. Firstman.

Brad Johnson: 4. Patrons are nice in these trying times. Now, let’s chat!

Thor: How mad are my fantasy owners right now?

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Best Ball Auction Results (Plus Second Draft Date/Time)

Last Friday, we held our first best ball auction on Fantrax. Today, I’m here to report both some of the results and a few tricks I learned along the way – and will be subsequently fixing. Lastly, I’m announcing Best Ball Auction #2 to be held on the evening of Wednesday, March 25.

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12-Team Best Ball Auction #1

As part of the socially distanced festivities here at FanGraphs, I will be hosting a series of best ball auctions on Fantrax. Entry for this first league will be free. The only requirement is availability for the draft which be held at 11:00am ET on Friday.

I know this is an awkward draft time for many of you. The intent is for this to be the first of many such auctions, some of which will even run during reasonable nighttime and/or weekend hours. With that out of the way, shall we explore the settings?

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Brad Johnson Baseball Chat: 3/17/2020

The chat is complete. Hot Luzardo takes abound.

Brad Johnson: Ahoy, I need to grab some fresh baked bread, then I’ll be ready to roll.

Brad Johnson: I suppose this is also a good time to point out that as baseball writers, we here at FanGraphs have income tied to games actually being played. So, if you’re not too adversely affected yourself, consider signing up for a FanGraphs membership.

Brad Johnson: I’ll also plug my personal Patreon because why not. I make most of my yearly income from DFS advice columns.

Roger: What is the minimum number of games do you need for a legitimate season to take place? Do you think it is possible that we don’t get any baseball this year?

Brad Johnson: This might just be me, but legitimacy isn’t a function of games played imo

Brad Johnson: Obviously, the more games played, the more likely we are to see the best teams in the postseason.

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So Many Big Upside Pitcher Gambles

With the increasing specter of a very delayed start to the season, teams on the bubble of contention have more incentive to make a play at fielding their best roster from day one. The lengthy Major League season is designed to weed out fluky short term performances. For example, the Phillies finished fourth in the NL East last season, but they led the division through the end of May.

The 2020 season was shaping up to be a good one in terms of competitiveness. I count only seven not making any effort to contend. Another eight are probably best classified as long shots with a chance to surprise us. At the very least, they’re moving in the right direction. It’s these eight teams that are most positively affected by a shortened season.

This can be great news for prospects, especially pitchers on innings counts. So today, I’d like to look at some pitchers who are now poised to receive a larger share of the workload.

Established Guys

Lance McCullers Jr.

Julio Urias

Brandon Woodruff

Carlos Martinez

Dinelson Lamet

These guys aren’t meant to be the focal point of this article, so let’s touch upon them briefly. All five have experienced health-related woes in recent years which were expected to affect their availability for a full 32-start season. McCullers and Urias are the only ones known to be on an innings limit, but it’s fair to assume the others were going to be very closely monitored at the very least.

All five of these arms have the potential to go on ace-like tears. One characteristic of this group is a propensity for short starts. McCullers and Lamet are max-effort pitchers who aim to fire five highly effective frames before heading to the shower. The Brewers love to maximize their pinch hitter usage which limits Woodruff’s ability to work deep into games. Martinez used to munch innings, but he hasn’t started since the first half of 2018.

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A Fantasy Guide To A Real Baseball Delay

There’s an old saying, “may you live in interesting times.” These times are certainly interesting. Novel Coronavirus is inundating health systems. The roaring economy has ground to a halt. Unfortunately, our sports-based distractions from bleak reality haven’t escaped the specter of COVID-19. Major League Baseball has announced at least a two-week delay to the 2020 season.

This is a truly terrible situation with life or death implications, and it is not my intention to make light of it. However, you know the saying about the lemons and the lemonade. So, as fantasy baseball junkies, how should we use our spare time?

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Highly Custom Leagues Omnibus

You find yourself reading words about the innovative Highly Custom Leagues series. Specifically, this is an omnibus compiling some very basic details of all such leagues in one place. If you’re looking for unusual variations on classic fantasy baseball to occupy your mind, this is the place to find them.

Each section heading is a link. This post will be updated as new leagues are designed. I will also endeavor to note compatible modules.

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Out Of Options Players: Fantasy Notes

On Monday night, MLB Trade Rumors dropped their annual “Out Of Options” post rounding up all the players who can’t be sent to the minors without clearing waivers. Teams will often go out of their way to keep their “assets” even if it means deploying a slightly inefficient Opening Day lineup. After all, depth is at least as important as quality (ask the 2019-2020 Yankees).

Consider this, the Rays have a first base prospect you may know by the name of Nate Lowe. He’ll likely spend most of 2020 in Triple-A while Ji-Man Choi and Jose Martinez handle a goodly chunk of the first base reps. If Lowe were out of options, the Rays probably would have non-tendered Choi. Or they’d trade him in the next couple weeks. They’d do something to make room for Lowe. Because Lowe has options, it’s Choi who benefits.

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Brad Johnson Baseball Chat: 3/10/2020

The chat is complete. All hail the chat.

Brad Johnson: We’ll get started momentarily.

Brad Johnson: I just need to finish chomping on this kale first

pepper: Salutations!   Josh Van Meter.   how many at bats you reckon the kid can get in a utility role for Reds?   He smells like a 20/20 to me if he can find 500 at bats.   Agree?

Brad Johnson: I think the speed probably plays below that, but I do have him as a big fantasy sleeper who’s hopelessly blocked.

Brad Johnson: I just got done writing about how Phil Ervin and Scott Schebler (both out of options) could force Van Meter to Triple-A.

Brad Johnson: I’ll say something opens up 250 PA (ie injuries)

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Assessing My Mistakes

During this time of year, a lot of emphasis is placed on Average Draft Position (ADP). We want values (i.e. players we can take after their ADP) or else we want to know just how early we need to reach to ensure we get that incorrectly ranked stud. However, the shape of your draft has just as much influence on your ability to accrue value.

Case in point, in The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational (TGFBI), I missed out on two very long closer runs. When the dust cleared, I was left staring at a depressing void between the current pick and the next guy’s ADP. After playing the “we’ll get him next round” game one too many times, I eventually found myself forced to select Mychal Givens at pick 216 – the second highest he went in the 26-league contest. While I’m personally happy enough with this draft slot – he’s better than you think – it’s undeniable that it’s better to grab Givens closer to pick 275 (i.e. two full rounds later).

Today, let’s look at what I’ve observed in Tout Wars, TGFBI, and the TGFBI overall for opportunities to better-shape our rosters.

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