Author Archive

Three Low Impact Ways To Nerf Streaming

You might know me as the streaming guy. I certainly endeavor to be known as the streaming guy. And so, it might come as something of a surprise to find me writing a post against streaming. First, let’s back up a step.

What is streaming? In short, it’s the practice of using the waiver wire to extend the size of your bench. Instead of sitting on Fernando Tatis with the last roster spot, we can stream to use Brad Keller versus the Tigers, Shin-Soo Choo leading off versus Mike Leake, and Craig Stammen after Kirby Yates pitched back-to-back days. Make enough of these marginal upgrades over the course of a season, and you should be sitting pretty. It’s also a great way to find a Max Muncy before your rivals – assuming you know to not immediately cut him.

Clearly, this is a strategy for an active owner. Many fantasy players prefer to take a chiller approach to roster management. Scrounging can be tedious. Some would rather draft a team and make only a few changes. To these owners, streaming is the devil – it confers an advantage to their rivals that can only be matched by a larger investment of time.

This post is for these owners. Today, we’re going to discuss how to design good non-streaming leagues.

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Player Value Changes Based On Present Season Performance

Yes. We’re going to look at two games worth of data to find value changes for the remainder of draft season. Since you’re savvy FanGraphs readers, you know that nobody actually changed in value based on two games. Well, there’s one notable exception. We’ll get to him.

Still, there’s real baseball, and I’ll be damned if we don’t try to use it. Let’s break this into a few buckets.

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Is 2019 A LIMA Year?

Consensuses make me nervous. When everybody agrees, there’s usually a way to profit with a contrarian approach. This season features perhaps the most monolithic consensus I’ve seen in the last decade. Ace starting pitchers are the key to life, liberty, the cosmos, and a rockin’ bikini bod. You can’t possibly contend without at least one ace. Multiple aces are preferred. This leads me to ask a question…

Is 2019 a LIMA year?

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Brad Johnson Baseball Chat: 3/19/2019

A wild chat transcript has appeared. Throw pokeball!

Brad Johnson: Let’s get the queue rolling. We’ll start in a few minutes.

Brad Johnson:

The Trout Deal…

Team Wins (24.5% | 51 votes)
Trout Wins (11.0% | 23 votes)
Both Win (64.4% | 134 votes)

Total Votes: 208
JC at the Bat: Hi Brad –  10 Team NL only auction.  Deciding between my last 2 keepers.  I am thinking either Strop / AJ Minter (theoretically could not have to bid on a closer) or L Castillo / Marquez (2 low floor, high ceiling lottery picks).  The Auction calculator say to go with the latter, and I hate wasting keeper spots on closers….but SAVES!  Any advice?

Brad Johnson: Definitely go for the SP

Brad Johnson: I think I still prefer Marquez by a small margin (was asked the same Castillo or Marquez in past weeks)

Brad Johnson: They’re both very talented pitchers with some ballpark and track record issues.

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Managing A Fantasy Baseball Team Is Sorcery

This is FanGraphs which means we’re all predisposed to translating reality into numbers. In our world, every event on a baseball field has a run value, and we can assign credit for these events to specific players. We like things to be tidy. A 3.0 WAR player is better than a 2.5 WAR. It’s right there in the numbers.

Except… well… per Dave Cameron, WAR comes with a +/- of about 1.0 over a full season. These are estimates. When comparing a three-win player with a 2.5-win player, it more accurate to say that there’s something like a 60 to 80 percent chance that the three-win player was better. The math is even fuzzier when comparing players of different positions. Especially pitchers and non-pitchers. And let’s not get started on who will be better. Ooh boy.

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Floors Matter Too: Featuring Adam Jones

For the last couple months, it was popular to wonder aloud – either on Twitter or to a room full of strangers – how Adam Jones remained unsigned. Nobody thinks peak Jones will return, but it does seem like he should perform like a one-win player. That has value, especially when it can be expected to cost about $3MM.

Everybody agreed he belonged on a roster. Selecting an actual fit was where we disagreed. For much of the offseason, I touted him as an obvious solution for the Indians. They’re the only contending club who could have actually improved with Jones. Rebuilding teams tend to shy away from veterans. Even so, he’s a proven clubhouse leader so he made sense for weaker clubs too.

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9 Handcrafted And Expertly Curated Player Captions

A few weeks ago, we quietly rolled out our FanGraphs-Plus (FG+) player captions. These are located on most major league player pages, sandwiched between the most recent links and the data tables. We don’t do enough to promote these often insightful and frequently humorous write-ups. And so, I asked my colleagues to identify some of their favorites for inclusion in this article.

My favorite part of this process is everybody’s approach to the prompt. I tend towards the absurd, such as prior to 2017 when I “mistook” Rougned Odor for his brother by the same name (the resultant caption was NSFW). Others like Jeff Zimmerman prefer very straight takes.

For more player caps, search literally any player. You can also read past seasons.

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Relevant Out Of Options Players

Major league teams have become increasingly sensitive to roster flexibility. One way to extend the back end of the roster is to have players with options. In most cases, players come with three option years. This means their team can demote them to the minors without penalty. Once an option is used in a given year, that player can be demoted any number of times. For example, the Rays yo-yoed numerous relievers between Durham and Tampa to extend their bullpen.

Once a player has been optioned three times in his career, he is said to be “out of options.” In other words, he can no longer be sent to the minors without passing through waivers. If the player is good enough, he’ll be claimed by another club. They’ll either use him in the majors or try to pass him through waivers again.

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Brad Johnson Baseball Chat: 3-12-2019

Here is today’s chat transcript.

Brad Johnson: We’ll kick off in a few minutes

Ryan: 6×6 H2H (w/OPS) who do you like better, Colin Moran or Renato Nunez (it’s a deep league).

Brad Johnson: Moran is massively more talented. Nunez is not a major league player.

Brad Johnson: That said, there’s a rather unhindered opportunity for Nunez whereas Moran is on the way out in Pittsburgh. Ke’Bryan Hayes seems likely to take over 3B by mid-season and Kang is still around too.

Brad Johnson: Plus some utility guys

Brad Johnson: it’s a crowded infield

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Brad Johnson’s 10 Bold Predictions For 2019

It’s time. Dust off your salty #NotBold hot takes because it’s bold prediction season at RotoGraphs. This year, we’re mixing things up by adding… *checks notes* ah, excuse me that was the script for the MTV reality spin off of Bold Predictions. It’s still the same game as past years. I try to name 10 things that are implausible but might happen. Later I lament about how badly I missed.

Last year I went waaaaaay too bold. This time, I’m going back to skirting the bold/not bold line. In my experience, negative predictions are massively more likely to turn out correct than positive ones. To increase the challenge, I’ll be focusing on upside more than downside.

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