Archive for Depth Chart Discussions

Why We Missed: Hamilton & Gordon

With steals becoming more scarce, owners were forced to reach for the few stolen base sources which could carry a team. In 2018, Dee Gordon and Billy Hamilton were supposed to be two such sources. Both disappointed their owners but the risk of a decline was evident even though their owners, which includes the author, ignored them. The owners were hoping for a stolen base panacea but ended up with burnt pancakes.

Going into the season, our Depth Charts projected Hamilton to have the most stolen bases at 52 and Gordon was third at 46. Both missed badly with Hamilton stealing 34 and Gordon with 30. In my Tout Wars league, 16 steals were the difference between 7th and 2nd in the category.

The reason for their decline didn’t involve their ability to steal a base. Both couldn’t hit enough to get on base and continue leading off. Both had on-base rates under .300 and OPS’s in the low .600’s. By the season’s end, both were deservingly hitting at the bottom of the lineup (Hamilton 106 times, Gordon 34 times). In all fairness, their projected OPS values (.674 and .648) were below the average catcher (.676).

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Trade Implications for Mixed Leagues

With the non-waiver trade deadline over, it’s time to focus on mixed-league actionable moves. With most of the trades, a player’s value didn’t change enough to make a roster transaction. For example, Chris Archer was owned in all leagues before the trade from the Rays to Pirates and will be owned in all leagues after the trade. Many of the biggest trades are just mixed-league irrelevant. I ranked the players who should be moving on and off rosters in the next few days as the dust settles.

Note: I’m 100% sure I missed something obvious. There was just a ton of moves. I will update this article as I find more players or my obvious errors are pointed out.

Top Gainers (Waiver Wire Targets)

Jose Leclerc (Rangers): After the trade of Keone Kela to the Pirates and Jake Diekman to the Diamondbacks, the Rangers have a new closer. The 24-year-old righty has been a dominant setup man this year with a 12.7 K/9 and 2.27 ERA and should be a fine closer. There is a chance Alex Claudio gets this role.

Kirby Yates (Padres): If owners were reluctant to roster own him with the chance he’d also get traded, they can pick him up now.

Mychal Givens (Orioles): With Brad Brach, Darren O’Day, and Zach Britton traded away, Givens is in line for a handful of Saves.

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AL Lineup Analysis

With many hittes returning from the DL after the All-Star break, I decided to examine American League lineups today and the National League ones tomorrow.


  • With Albert Pujols coming back from the DL, there are four players, Shohei Ohtani, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Pujols fighting over the first base and designated hitter spots. I expect Pujols and Ohtani, when healthy, to get the most at-bats. It’s a situation to monitor for a few days to see how the Angels will handle the situation.


  • The lineup set at the top but the team has been cycling some players around to find a serviceable shortstop with Carlos Correa out and little production from left field (.243/.319/.386). Kyle Tucker was supposed to be the answer but he’s hit only .139/.205/.167 in 39 PA so far. It’s a small sample but the Astros are trying to repeat as World Series champs so don’t be surprised if they add an outfielder as insurance.


  • While the batting order has been mixed up since the All-Star game, generally the same players are being used. The only exception is that Chad Pinder (vs LHP) and Dustin Fowler (vs RHP) are in a platoon.

Blue Jays

  • Randal Grichuk is playing center field everyday with Kevin Pillar on the DL.
  • For owners in deeper leagues, keep an eye on Dwight Smith Jr. who has started in right field the last two games. While the 25-year-old has a little bit of speed and power, his true talent is getting on base (.373 OBP with 12% BB%). His 15% HR/FB rate looks decent but he mainly puts the ball on the ground (50% GB%).
  • Lourdes Gurriel is back from the DL and playing with Devon Travis and Aledmys Diaz moving to part-time roles.

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The First Half All-Sell-High Team

The All-Star game has come and gone, but the festivities are ongoing here at RotoGraphs. It’s time to rank the first half’s “All-Sell-High Team.” These are players who had big first halves, but who aren’t necessarily the best bets to repeat that performance in the second half. Without further ado, let’s get right to the list: Read the rest of this entry »

Valuation Changes Players (#1 to #5)

Teams are beginning to make the hard call if they are going to buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. I’ll start investigating the players most likely to be traded, how their value will change, and their possible replacements. I’m not going to make the call on who is or isn’t going to be moved. I’m going to rely on the great writers at and use their top-50 trade candidate list. I’ll start with the top five players.

1. Manny Machado

Machado is nearly a perfect trade chip. A complete hitter who can play either shortstop or third base. I can’t envision a single scenario where his value takes a hit. He may end up in a pitcher-friendly park but he’ll be hitting in the middle of a better lineup. It can’t be worse than Baltimore’s lineup.

Every single contending team could use Machado as an upgrade while some teams need him worse. Trying to pick a destination right now is about impossible. I’m a little worried he’s more likely headed to the National League for those owners with him in AL-only leagues. I don’t see Baltimore trading him to the Yankees or Red Sox to help them win a World Series.

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The Daily Grind: Multiple Agendas

Turn out for the Invitational has been below my expectations. If you previously participated in Invitationals and have opted not to transition with us to FantasyDraft, could you leave me some feedback? Comments, email, Twitter DM – whatever works for you. I’m trying to understand how to make this better for everyone.


  1. TDG Invitational
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. SaberSim Says…
  5. No No No

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Lineups Update (4/18/18)

I look at each lineup to find any recent changes. Big thanks to for tracking the lineups.


  • Since Ian Kinsler has returned, he’s led off three of the four games with Cozart moving down to the 5th/6th spot.


  • Since returning, Yulieski Gurriel has batted in the 4th and 5th spots.
  • Last night, Alex Bregman dropped from the 2nd spot to the 5th spot with the normal players in the lineup. The likely reason is Bregman’s struggles (.214/.321/.300).

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Recalculating Player Value: Jansen, Turner, & Weaver

With the season underway, owners need to start adjusting some player’s fantasy value. Some of the tweaks can be from talent changes (e.g. increase in talent) or role (e.g. moving for a long reliever to starter). Three players, Kenley Jansen, Trea Turner, and Luke Weaver, are three such players on the move.

Kenley Jansen

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Examining Lineups: NL Edition

Yesterday, I examined the American League lineups. Today it’s the National League’s turn.


  • Their lineup has been consistent with Nick Markakis hitting cleanup and Preston Tucker batting 5th. I sort of wrote Tucker off coming into the season and need to re-evaluate him and his .467 BABIP.


  • A major platoon has been used so far with Eric Thames facing righties and Domingo Santana going against lefties. Otherwise, it’s tough to find any reasoning behind some of the changes.
  • I’m a little worried about Orlando Arcia’s stolen base chances as he’s getting slotted into the 8th spot in front of the pitcher.

Cardinals Read the rest of this entry »

Examining Lineups: AL Edition

I find the season’s first few weeks tough to analyze since no stats besides velocity are even close to being significant. Instead, I will look through the first week’s lineups for hitters whose value may be changing depending on preseason expectations.


  • Mike Scioscia has a lineup and he’s sticking to it unless Shohei Ohtani is the DH.
  • Of note, Zack Cozart’s leading off and Kole Calhoun is batting 5th.
  • The only question will be Kinsler slot once he comes off the DL. Albert Pujols should be the one dropping out of the cleanup spot but I bet it’s Cozart because, you know, veteran presence.

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