Archive for Depth Chart Discussions

Mining the Box Scores

Read first before freaking out

I started digging into pitch velocities and documented everyone who has changed. Two trends immediately appeared. The overall velocities were down and a few pitchers experienced major drops.

Normally in Spring Training, teams build a pitcher up to their maximum velocity and then start increasing the innings. At this point, all starters should have been ramped up to a full workload with their next start being in the regular season. Many don’t seem ready.

First off, I’m a little suspect of the velocity reading. Back in 2017, MLB installed new pitch-tracking systems and the velocities were high. A new system has been installed (Hawkeye) so something will likely be off. It is the MLB who can’t find a home for a team and decides to expand the playoffs with the season starting … that day. MLB going to MLB.

A second possible cause could the unique ramp up to the 2020 season. Teams have implemented different approaches to keeping their pitchers ready. Some of the velocities are down 5 mph from two separate parks. Maybe the pitchers are still worn down from the long postseason and four-month quarantine. Of the cameras are off. Or both.

Fastball velocities are down for a reason, but the cause(s) remains unknown. Fantasy owners need to remain calm and hopefully, in a few days, the truth will be known.
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Mining the News (7/2/20)

American League


• Sounds like there is a slim chance Jo Adell makes the Opening Day roster.

It seemed in March that Adell’s chances of making the opening day roster were slim. Returning to triple-A to iron out his approach might have been the more prudent move.

After months of speculation, the minor league season officially was canceled Tuesday, so Adell won’t have the luxury of closing gaps in his development in a normal game setting. But the Angels hope the competitions they organize within their player pool provide Adell the opportunity to make strides.

“That’s what we’re hopeful for … There’s some upside to the intrasquad format,” Eppler said. “We’ll just have to keep getting him at-bats. There’s going to be talented pitchers over there for him to face and we’ll go from there.”

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The Who? Volume 1

I’ve completed two 15-team, 50-player draft-and-hold leagues and started two more. While I feel I have a decent understanding of the player pool, after pick 500 I’m unfamiliar with many of the players being drafted. This series will rectify that for me and hopefully other owners can find it useful.

To find the names, I just started working my way down the NFBC ADP list until I said “Who?” As I found out diving into the players, I don’t know may of the young prospects. And backup catchers. And middle relievers. Besides the who players

James Karinchak
476 ADP

I missed those five great major league innings at the season’s end. While he’s always been able to strikeout about 1.5 batters per inning, his walk rate hovers around 6.0 BB/9. There is a chance he could close but I think he needs Brad Hand and Nick Wittgren to get hurt and/or suck. And also probably Oliver Perez and Emmanuel Clase. I’m going to pass.

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Foreign Player Evaluations & Projections

Since I’m starting drafts, I decided I needed projections for seven of the players signing from Asia, either new to the MLB or returning. I could just pull a ranking out of my ass, but I figured I should at least start with a projection before inserting my own biases. For the following projections, I averaged the ZiPS and Clay Davenport projections and then add my own playing time adjustment.


Pierce Johnson
From the NRB
Signed with the Padres

2020 Projections for Pierce Johnson
Projection IP G GS W K SV ERA WHIP
ZiPS 57.3 60 0 3 64 0 3.77 1.26
Davenport 59.7 54 0 3 76 2 3.32 1.18
Average 60.0 59 0 3 72 1 3.55 1.22
My Playing Time Adjustment 50.0 49 0 3 60 1 3.55 1.22

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Mining the News (1/2/20)

It’s time to empty my notes and start clean for the new year. A “Mining the News” almost came out before the holiday break, so some notes are dated but still applicable.

Nomar Mazara owners shouldn’t be counting on fulltime at-bats from him next season since he’ll likely be on the strong side of a platoon.

In 574 plate appearances against southpaws, Mazara features a below pedestrian line of .231/.272/.361 to go with 15 homers, 19 double and 68 RBIs. Manager Rick Renteria expressed hope in getting Mazara going against left-handers, but as it stands now, Mazara could get the bulk of playing time vs. righties with someone such as switching-hitting Leury García facing lefties.

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Mining the News (12/16/19)

Kyle Gibson spent most of last reason dealing with several long-term illnesses.

Then came E. coli and ulcerative colitis.

“In Spring Training we found the right medication,” Gibson said. “I was feeling strong when the season started. Then, I think whether it was the stress to the season or my diet changes, eating on the road and stuff, about mid-May, it started getting worse and the symptoms started creeping back in.

“The hardest part was just before the All-Star break. I wasn’t sleeping well. I was getting up with a bloated stomach and gas and having to go to the bathroom five or six times a night. Right at the beginning of September, I told our trainers I can’t do this anymore.”

Gibson spent 10 days on the injured list. He was on the Twins postseason roster against the Yankees, but was not given a starting assignment. He reached out to others for help. He spoke with Jake Diekman, the former Rangers reliever who spent much of his adult life dealing with ulcerative colitis until finally having multiple surgeries in 2017.

Gibson is a nice upside play with the health issues taken care of.
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Anthony Rendon: Everyone Up But Him

Some team was going to end up with Anthony Rendon and after missing out on the Gerrit Cole sweepstakes, the Angels ponied up and signed Rendon. It’s a simple signing and here how the various players see their fantasy values change.

Anthony Rendon (down)

From 2016 to 2018, Rendon was about the same hitter with between 20 and 24 home runs, .270 to .308 AVG, and never breaking a 190 Runs+RBI. He just destroyed those numbers last season with 34 homers, a .319 AVG, and 243 Runs+RBIs. With nothing changing in his hitting profile (plate discipline and batted ball stats), the career season can be based on a little luck but mainly the happy fun ball which is back for another season.

The change in scenery factors seem to point to his value going down a bit. The park factors between Washington DC and Orange County are about the same. The division opponents are a mix of competitive and non-competitive teams. The biggest difference will be the lineup quality. Even with a DH, the Angels averaged 4.75 runs per game last season and the Nationals were at 5.4 runs per game. Even though the best player in baseball will be in the Angels lineup, it’s a huge downgrade for Rendon. While the juiced ball will keep his home runs up, the Runs+RBI total should be around 200 to 210 instead of 240.

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Aguilar to the Rays, Creates Only Questions

The Rays and Brewers have swapped players with the Rays getting first baseman Jesus Aguilar and the Brewers adding reliever Jake Faria. Here’s my take on who gains the most value from now to end-of-season in redraft leagues.

Travis Shaw/Eric Thames: Not sure what is going on here. The Brewers are left with two left-handed bats for the first base job. I think both become two-thirds time plays with both splitting time at first and Thames playing in the outfield especially with Ryan Braun needing rest Lorenzo Cain getting banged up. Shaw could play around the infield once a week as he did before his demotion.

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Fantasy Gainers & Fallers in CLE, CIN, & SD Trade

What a great trade (and fight) last night. This trade has so many moving parts that I’m going to focus on those players seeing their in-season fantasy value changing enough for owners to act. I’m not going to touch keeper/dynasty values as league rules will determine much of the player’s valuation. I’ll try to get past the main characters and find those players who need to be picked up or dropped.

While I’m supposed to provide instant analysis on this blockbuster trade, the true fantasy value gainers and decliners aren’t going to be 100% known for a few days. Owners will keep sticking Trevor Bauer and Yasiel Puig in their lineup. While the park factors and league context will change their value a bit, it’s non-actionable. They aren’t going to be dropped or added so the trade doesn’t affect their value.

The exact gain rankings aren’t known yet as who replaces Puig and who Bauer pushes out of the Reds rotation. Owners in weekly FAAB leagues will have time to make a decision and see who the MLB teams use for replacements. In the wild, wild west of quick-click leagues, hopefully, I can provide the correct replacements, but I’m guessing what the Reds and Padres will do which isn’t the easiest. With the disclaimers out of the way, it’s time to get to the winner and losers.

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Signing Implications: Pollock, Strickland, & Brach

Yesterday saw some fantasy applicable free agent signing occur which deserve a discussion.

A.J. Pollock signs with the Dodgers

I can’t quit Pollock, almost to a fault. I keep latching onto his 2015 season even though he hasn’t played over 113 games since then because of injuries. Now, he is going to a team notorious for limiting playing time thereby making his value is tough to unwrap.

He was productive during his stretch of limited playing time. Prorating his three-year stats down to 600 PA, he would have 88 Runs, 23 HR, 73 RBI, 23 SB and a .261 average. It’s tough to find a player with similar 2019 projection but here are a few. Ronald Acuna is at 28 HR, 24 SB, and .276 AVG. Braun at 25 HR, 13 SB, .265 AVG. Tim Anderson with 17 HR, 21 SB, .252 AVG. If playing a full season, he’s a top-50 hitter.

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