Fantasy Baseball Chat With Jeff Zimmerman

11:00
Jeff Zimmerman: Hello everyone

11:01
Jeff Zimmerman: I’ll try to get through as many questions as possible.

11:01
Big Tuna: Keeper question: in a 12 tm OPs league, would you rather keep Solak in the 21st or Nate Lowe in the 27th?

11:01
Jeff Zimmerman: Solak on potential upside.

11:02
Angelus Novus: In a points league (H2H) that favors pitchers are you keeping Grisham or Sixto in the last round?

11:02
Jeff Zimmerman: That’s tough. If it favors pitching Sixto but it feels 55/45

11:02
Rodney: Do you think Nate Lowe can be a viable starter in a 16-team dynasty league?

11:03
Jeff Zimmerman: He’s probably a CI options at best

11:03
Trizzy: Do you think there could be another level for Yusei Kikuchi? Surface numbers weren’t great again, but under the hood things got better and the team defense looks strong.

11:04
Jeff Zimmerman: He’s turning 30, I doubt there is anything more under the hood. At his age, it’s only downhill from here.

11:04
ScottTINSTAAPP: What is the $ value adjustment you are using for catchers this year?

11:05
Jeff Zimmerman: It’s all over the place depending on the size of the league and the number of catchers rostered. If only I had written a book on how to calculate it…

11:05
Todd: How many steals would you anticipate for Trout this year?

11:05
Jeff Zimmerman: 5 to 8

11:05
ZaPS: What are you anticipating from Ha-Seong Kim? ZiPS is buying but I’m unsure because of SD’s depth. Possibility of a slow start followed by improving performance?

11:06
Jeff Zimmerman: It’s going to be a nightmare figuring out SD 2B/OF rotation. right now it’s several guys looking at 400 or fewer PAs.

11:07
Jeff Zimmerman: I do like Kim’s talent and if he ends up in a full-time role, roster with confidence.

11:07
SCOTT TINSTAAPP: Having crafted a spreadsheet of projections as recommended in THE PROCESS, it’s evident to me that it favours full-time players and disadvantages players with talent (e.g. Senzel, Kevin Pillar, etc.) — guys where one can’t project full-time PT, but might get lucky if their talent wins out or injury happens, etc. How do you hit the balance properly rating these guys while being realistic about projecting their PT?

11:09
Jeff Zimmerman: There is a ton of ways this can go. In leagues with unlimited PA, playing time is master with 4 of the 5 categories being counting stats. Usually, the winning team also wins PA. In leagues with a PA max (usually daily transactions), the “better” players can be bumped up. usually in those, I rate everyone to 600 PAs

11:10
Sam: Hello Jeff, should I draft a pitcher with my first pick?

11:10
Jeff Zimmerman: With all those details, sure.

11:10
Guest: The consensus seems to be that starting pitchers will be on limited pitch counts in 2021 due to the fact that they pitched limited innings in 2020. But for some pitchers, particularly veterans, couldn’t the opposite be true? Couldn’t they be well rested and ready to pitch a full season this year?

11:11
Jeff Zimmerman: Sure. That is the beauty of this pre-season is figuring all that out.

11:11
Trader Bob: Last keeper slot, deep league: Ty France, Jon Berti or Freddy Peralta?

11:12
Jeff Zimmerman: Peralta if planning on contending. France if rebuilding.

11:12
3rd place finisher: Should there be an extra bump to multi-positional players this season? Covid protocols call for a week quarantine for those that even come in contact with people that test positive. The lineup shuffle could be an issue at times this year.

11:14
Jeff Zimmerman: Depending on the site, there are more multi-position players available bringing this number down. That being said, I still think priority should be given to good players with multiposition. They help to produce an optimized lineup. Adam Frazier can play at 2B and OF, but who wants to count on him

11:14
Curtis: What are the best 5×5 categories for fantasy scoring?

11:15
Jeff Zimmerman: OBP, Runs,RBI, SB, HR and IP, H+S+W, ERA, WHIP, K

11:16
Lorenzo: Thoughts on Patrick Corbin?  Dude is super durable.  Should we take the velocity dip with a 2020 grain of salt?  I have him pegged as one of the most underrated SP in the game.

11:16
Jeff Zimmerman: I need to see the velo rebound before I buy back in.

11:16
G4: I can extend Zach Eflin for a reasonable price, but I’m cautious to burn a keeper spot on him and don’t know whether 1 ($4), 2 ($6) or 3 ($8) years is warranted. I suspect trade value remains low because his K spike in 2020 flew largely under the radar. But boy oh boy what a spike. Your thoughts/confidence in this guy?

11:18
Jeff Zimmerman: I gamble a ton on SP’s but I think he’s a $10 pitcher (I agree with your assessment). All the value are fine and if he fails, I just take the hit but usually have other hits to offset the cost. I’d go 2($6)

11:19
Jeff Zimmerman: BTW, this a fantasy baseball chat. I don’t give two licks about contract extensions.

11:19
Guest: Three of the Astros starting pitchers (Valdez, Greinke, and McCullers) typically are drafted between rounds 6 and 9 in 15 teamers whereas Urquidy is often snagged in rounds 13 to 15. Of the top 4 Houston hurlers, how many of them provide good value at their ADP?

11:19
Jeff Zimmerman: I like Valdez and Greinke at their costs

11:19
Gavin Lux: Will I win the everyday 2nd base job for dodgers? And Do you still see me as an perennial all star? 🙂

11:20
Jeff Zimmerman: I never saw you as an All-star and your headed down the Joc Pederson path to stardom

11:21
Late POWER: Of all players projected to hit under 25 HR, who has the best chance to hit 40 HR? Some names with decent EV projected for under 25HR:  Adam Duvall, Evan White, Colin Moran, Trent Grisham, Ke’Bryan Hayes

Basically, who are your cheaper picks that could make power strides this year?

11:21
Jeff Zimmerman: No idea, if so I’d not be doing a chat on Tuesday afternoon.

11:22
Jeff Zimmerman: I’d actually look for young players under 25 who have room to add power (Hayes did this last year). If they are already maxed out on strength, there is no upside

11:23
Schilling & Pence: The closer situation seems especially fluid coming into this year’s drafts.  Are you as a result placing a premium on “safe” closers, or what closer strategies are you trying?

11:23
Jeff Zimmerman: I have about 4 in mind.

11:25
Jeff Zimmerman:

  1. Normal plan: Last steady option (e.g. Pressley) and 3-4 late darts
  2. One of the top 3 and the 3-4 late options. The top 3 help ERA and WHIP as much as the top 10 starters, so they can be treated as such
  3. Double tap the top 3
  4. One of the top 3 and one of the late options.
11:26
Jeff Zimmerman: I’m not a huge fan of getting the top options but they provide so much value in the current environment

11:26
Jon: Has MLB made a decision as to whether or not they’ll allow hitters to watch video during games?

11:26
Jeff Zimmerman: yes, Ipads in the bugout

11:26
Jeff Zimmerman: dugout

11:26
Don Von Handburger: Will Lance Lynn lead the league in innings?!

11:27
Jeff Zimmerman: possibly. about a 20% chance. Any injury could derail him

11:27
Chris: Have you decided which NFBC contests you’re going to do this year?

11:28
Jeff Zimmerman: One ME (won it), an OC (on this Friday), and a Super for sure. I’ll likey add a Silver bullet

11:28
Jeff Zimmerman: Also, I’ll get the itch and likely do some of the mid-season drafts

11:28
Jeff Zimmerman: I’ve already done the Tag-team draft with Fred Zinkei

11:28
Casey: Is QS still the go to replacement for W’s as a scoring category with how pitching is trending?

11:29
Jeff Zimmerman: I hope not, they are becoming more rare. I’d go with Wins way before them. IP is the preferred option.

11:30
2021 Pitching Strategy: The developing consensus seems to be that players should value aces more highly this year.  But if innings pitched are going to be down for all starters (good and bad alike), wouldn’t that devalue aces, because the relative difference between an ace and a mid-range starter will be smaller than usual?  Or put differently, won’t streaming be easier and more impactful than ever this season?

11:31
Jeff Zimmerman: This is completely wrong IMO. I don’t think the innings are coming down for everyone. The Professor and Lynn are going to throw as much as they can for every start and that’s why they are being pushed up

11:31
Winner take most: Seems the common thought is that most ace starters and a few others will pitch nearly a full workload, but that almost no other starters will. Is this why pitchers keep moving up draft boards in the early rounds?

11:32
Jeff Zimmerman: Two things are going on. First, SP should have been pushed up for years but finally fantasy managers have found rostering several aces to be a winning strategy.

11:34
Jeff Zimmerman: Second, about 12-15 starters deserve this much of a push. Other owners see this push and get a big case of FOMO and start pushing up suspect starters (e.g. Max Fried).

11:35
Jeff Zimmerman: A huge void of SP talent happens from round 5 to 10 because of this. For this reason, I’ve moved to elite closers as I discussed earlier

11:35
Richard: I heard Lenny Melnick on SiriusXM say Alex Kiriloff was going to start at AAA /minor league ball. Is this what you’ve heard?

11:35
Jeff Zimmerman: Yes, he’ll need to work on something and then be up in 2 weeks

11:35
J: You said Max Fried is suspect… why? To me the improvement we saw last year looked 100% real

11:37
Jeff Zimmerman: We had Winz but that was it. His strikeout rate dropped from 9.4 to 8.0, about -1 mph on fastball. He went backwards, not forwards

11:37
Bring Back Mookie: In a dynasty points league, Vlad+Snell is more valuable than Mookie, right?

11:38
Jeff Zimmerman: Not to me, I’d take Betts. I’m not a Snell believer.

11:38
Rodney: Does Blake Snell get back to being a Top 10 SP this year?

11:38
Jeff Zimmerman: No

11:38
Sixto Sanchez: Do u see me becoming an ace pitcher and win one or more Cy young in my career?

11:39
Jeff Zimmerman: No. I’m worried about his durability to throw an entire season.

11:39
JoJo: How do you see playing time for these 3 AL rookies: Kelenic, Kirilloff and Vaughn? Given the recent Seattle comments will teams shy away from the blatant service-time gaming?

11:39
Jeff Zimmerman: I think all three will be playing sometime in April

11:40
Jeff Zimmerman: The deal is with Kelenic, the Mariners had the Fraley excuse all set as a reason to keep him down. I wonder if they’ll still try to use it.

11:40
Guest: Hi Jeff, In an NFBC style format (no IL, 7 total reserve spots) how do you allocate those spots between hitter/pitchers? Thanks!

11:41
Jeff Zimmerman: It’s tougher with the cancelations. Normally, it was 4-5 pitchers and the rest hitters. I may now go 3-4 hitters.

11:42
Jeff Zimmerman: I like collect as many starters as possible, but I can’t take a ) because the Cards and Marlins cancel a series

11:42
Guest: In a 12-team H2H with daily transactions and no innings limits, what’s your preferred SP strategy?

11:43
Jeff Zimmerman: Points or Roto matters a ton here. Also, if it’s roto, do just the win count or how many categories are won. Just not enough info.

11:43
Buff: I need an ace or near-ace in an NL only keeper league, 3 years at auction price before the price goes up. Who do you like better, Woodruff or Flaherty? How much of a factor is Flaherty’s superior (14th percentile) injury profile?

11:44
Jeff Zimmerman: They are really close and I’d go with Flaherty and his home park.

11:44
Paddy: Mountcastle often compared to early-career Castellanos. For as much of a hindrance Comerica was for Castellanos’ power, how much of a boon is Camden for Mountcastle?

11:45
Jeff Zimmerman: I’m all in with Mountcastle. I think he could be a top-5 round contributor.

11:45
Dee Arby: What is your reasoning for using IP as a fantasy stat?

11:47
Jeff Zimmerman: To correctly value SP’s. Wins are more and more going to middle-releivers since starters can’t go 5 IP.

11:47
Jeff Zimmerman: Do the EOS IP rankings look out of wack compared to the Wins: https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=0…

11:48
Cambodian Creamsicle: Which side of a Gleyber Torres ($4) for Brandon Woodruff ($8) trade would you prefer in a 5×5 dynasty league?

11:48
Jeff Zimmerman: Torres and it’s not close

11:48
Squishy balls: My thought is that the dozen homer, low EV, high launch hitters will see some of their homers turn to outs, where others will see little effect other than a few homers turning to doubles. Is this likely about right or do we just ignore it for now?

11:49
Jeff Zimmerman: If MLB is truthful with the their comments on the ball, the best article I found was one at BHQ that found some change but not enough to matter.

11:50
Jeff Zimmerman: 1 to 2 ft isn’t devastating. The 5-10 feet others mention is.

11:51
Mark: Does May start the season at AAA?

11:51
Jeff Zimmerman: As of right now, yes.

11:51
J: What do you think of Cavan Biggio? I used a z-score method to rank players and it had him as the #1 2B, but I’m suspect (OBP league)

11:51
Jeff Zimmerman: OBP, he’s outstanding. Buy away

11:51
Jeff Zimmerman: Most rankings are based off average

11:52
Also Jeff: Better catcher to keep in a 10-team roto league (OBP instead of AVG) with a $260 budget: Will Smith ($8) or Yasmani Grandal ($14)

11:52
Jeff Zimmerman: Will Smith IMO, especially if the NL adds a DH in the future

11:53
AB: Not ignoring SBs, but not seeking it out at the expense of HR, RBI, and R

11:54
Jeff Zimmerman: The key for this approach is to pay cost or up a bit for early SB’s. Collect good hitters who steal

11:54
Dee Arby: Who are some good mid round players to provide steals?

11:55
Jeff Zimmerman: There is none, everyone who can steal is getting pushed up. Get a base early and add 5-12 along the way

11:55
Eric Hosmer: Do I maintain my launch angle?

11:55
Jeff Zimmerman: Doubt it

11:55
A Vaughn: Do I really have a shot at being the opening day DH?!

11:56
Jeff Zimmerman: Hahn said so, he might know

11:56
Friendo: How many relievers should clear the board before you’re grabbing Devin Williams?

11:56
Jeff Zimmerman: 40 to 50

11:57
Jeff Zimmerman: If I’m going to roster a non-Saves RP, it’ll be a reserve round pick

11:58
Jeff Zimmerman: I’ll also steamer for this season’s Williams for a dollar of the wire. I’m not putting any resources to a MR streamer.

11:58
Guest: Over the years it seems like you and Rob Silver basically agree on your valuations of players 90% of the time. Can you think of any players in 2021 that you two disagree on?

11:59
Jeff Zimmerman: The one I remember is that Matt Olson and Austin Riley were waiver wire options for a week and he thought I was crazy for likely Olson more.

11:59
Aceman: Say there is signs of the ball being deadened, Will there be many in season changes in regards to hitters approach or are they mostly resigned to lift and pull for bombs?

12:00
Jeff Zimmerman: I think lift and pull is here to stay for a while

12:00
Jeff Zimmerman: The deadening might not be be felt

12:01
Alice: are you more or less forced to do these chats?  are they getting boring to you cuz you seem pretty cranky w/some of your answers.. anyway thanks for the time and chat

12:04
Jeff Zimmerman: I actually like them and learn a ton from them. I feel a little bad that I can’t get to every question after stopping them earlier in the offseason because no one was asking anything. Also, I’m not here to agree. Most of the time I don’t at all. There are plenty of other people out there to blow rainbows and sunshine up butts. I’m not one here for happy answers.

12:04
chaco chicken: What area of fantasy baseball do you think you could improve at? Where do you see a lot of managers making the biggest mistakes?

12:04
Jeff Zimmerman: Inseason, I don’t evaluate the players on my team enough and just keep playing my core guys.

12:05
Jeff Zimmerman: The biggest issue for others is anchoring off last season’s results.

12:05
PB&Js: Hi Jeff, any idea when we’ll start to get velocity readings from guys in spring training? Several pitchers, like Corbin, J. Gray, etc., might see significant ADP swings based on those- and I’d like to be first!

12:06
Jeff Zimmerman: When they start playing games. About half of the broadcasts have readings and reporters will start tweeting some.

12:06
Jeff Zimmerman: That’s it for today and talk to everyone next week.





Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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