Jeff Zimmerman Fantasy Baseball Chat

3:00
JV: Would you add a couple bench spots in a 12 team league with all of the moving and shaking that’s likely to happen? We currently have 8 bench spots and do not use IL spots

3:01
Jeff Zimmerman: I don’t know. Maybe just a couple IL slots. Maybe. Eight slots in a 12 team league is quite a few.

3:02
Up north: Been hearing teams will be bringing starters along slowly, such as the dodgers. Should I plan to lean more heavily on middle relievers for the first couple weeks and leave my worst couple starters in the bench, until it’s clear they are built up to full workload?

3:03
Jeff Zimmerman: This is a team by team philosophy. I know the Reds and Rangers expect their pitchers throwing 4 to 5 innings when they report.

3:04
Jeff Zimmerman: I try to catch them all in Mining the News: https://fantasy.fangraphs.com/mining-the-news-6-29-20/

3:04
Jeff Zimmerman: There is no over arching patterns.

3:04
Ham Porter:

  1. How long do MLB players typically take off for the birth of a child?
  2. It seems like this might be material in a 60-game season (upwards of 5% of total games)… Would you or anyone form the site be able to develop a list of players who are expecting between July 24th and September 30th?
  3. Would it also be possible to get a list of players who are at risk from pre-existing conditions or have known family that are high-risk? These players would seemingly have a higher risk of opting out of the 2020 season.
3:05
Jeff Zimmerman: 1 They have 3 paid days so three

3:06
Jeff Zimmerman: 2 It seems a little offing, but people should keep a personal list

3:06
Jeff Zimmerman: 3 The opt-out phase is about over (or is). The rest all plan on showing up.

3:06
thelaundry: I’m in a deep mixed league that made the practical decision to switch from H2H to roto just for this season. We already drafted in March. Do you see any real differences in roto strategy to adapt to a shorter season & compressed schedule? Punting/loading up on certain categories and the like?

3:08
Jeff Zimmerman: The biggest difference is that everyone will be playing attention and closer in the rankings at season’s end.

3:09
Jeff Zimmerman: I’m trying to decide if ignoring a rate category (ERA or AVG) is a good idea so the owner can shove in the other categories.

3:09
Viceroy: Any rotations out there that you expect to lean on their rotation? Texas mentioned having their pitcher built up for 5+ innings already

3:10
Jeff Zimmerman: All my updates are in Mining the News: https://fantasy.fangraphs.com/category/mining-the-news/

3:11
Jeff Zimmerman: I’ve found comments on about 50% of the teams

3:11
Ham Porter: I know the Dodgers and Braves have come out and said that their pitchers will pitch <6 innings over the first couple weeks – are there any other teams you know of that are planning this sort of ramp up and are their any middle innings relievers on any of these teams that could vulture some wins in the first couple weeks? Someone like a Ross Stripling?

3:12
Jeff Zimmerman: Lots of questions on this topic: see the link above.

3:12
Walt: In one of my Ottoneu 5×5 leagues, the commish (unilaterally) decided to allow unlimited penalty free cuts between now and Opening Day (though if you release a player, then you can’t rebid on them for 30 days). This has led to some chaos in terms of roster churn as some teams have cut very good players to free up cap and roster space (e.g., $30 Springer was cut last night).

Other than being an opportunistic buyer and possibly cutting COVID-affected or other injured players, can you think of any other strategies that might best take advantage of this situation?

3:13
Jeff Zimmerman: Don’t be afraid to openly sign and trade if you can afford the players.See if anyone as a need and jump in.

3:13
Bob: Do you think Desmond’s decision makes Hilliard a worthwhile player?

3:13
Jeff Zimmerman: And then the Rockies go and sign Kemp.

3:14
Jeff Zimmerman: I’ve long given up hope the Rockies make a smart baseball move.

3:14
\__O__/: In a shortened season, does it make sense to do some amount of ‘lineup stacking’ in season long like you would in DFS? Or does the risk of locker room infection scare you away from that strategy?

3:15
Jeff Zimmerman: I can’t go in afraid of a Covid hit. Possibly one case is just as season ending as several

3:17
Jeff Zimmerman: Once the schedule is out, owners can see weaknesses to attack and possibly load up on a team who will be on the road at the Orioles and Red Sox (horrible SP staff).

3:18
The Lost Molina: are you taking a shot on Hilliard or Hampson with the Desmond news?

3:19
Jeff Zimmerman: Possibly if they make it to me late in a draft. I’m not going to spend real resources on them

3:19
The Lost Molina: Which player is most likely to have small sample luck in 2020 boost them in the top 2 rounds next year and why is it buxton?

3:20
Jeff Zimmerman: I’m not going to make stuff up. It’ll be someone and some analyst will praise their own abilities but no one truly knows.

3:21
Roy: Thank you for the Mining the News series! Those are so helpful. What’s your typical process — do you have a primary news source or sources to start?

3:23
Jeff Zimmerman: You’re welcome. Just 61 sources, the team news feeds from mlb.com, theathletic, and MLBTR. Nothing more.  There is a ton from just these sources. I’m already backlogged a ton.

3:23
Ham Porter: There are a handful of buy-low guys I was giving helium going into the early drafts as a result of potential rotation spots on strong teams: J. Montgomery, J. James, J. Urquidy, A. Wood, etc. I am now concerned that they will be treated with baby gloves due to the shortened season and could end up pitching only 4-5 inning/game. Is this fear rational? Or am I overthinking this? Have any teams come out and said they will be piggybacking pitchers or be quick to their bullpen?

3:25
Jeff Zimmerman: You are going to have to read up on them and see their oppenents in the first week and a half. My plan is to “win” the next two weeks and try not to look beyond that. I could see stars being dropped with 3 weeks to go for other options.

3:25
Chris: In a dh points league how would you rank Voit, Andujar and your favorite NL DHs (who is it?) How would you rank them?

3:25
Jeff Zimmerman: Voit, maybe an NL guy, Andujar

3:26
Jeff Zimmerman: Most of what I’ve read, NL teams plan on using a rotation of players.

3:26
Jeff Zimmerman: I think some players get a boost because they can DH on their rest days.

3:27
The Lost Molina: Sounds like with shorter starts there should be an abundance of long relief arms available. Does that make streaming pitching more viable in 2020 (especially because shorter outings should mean better ratios)?

3:29
Jeff Zimmerman: There might be a case for streaming relievers. I’m a believer in winning the next two weeks (so will others). And keep in mind to focus on pitchers who will get Wins. >5 IP/GS or the second starters

3:29
Bob: Do you think Nate Pearson will earn a starting spot?

3:30
Jeff Zimmerman: Yes and he’ll be in the rotation after seven days as long as the Jays didn’t go 0-7 in those games.

3:30
Lorenzo: In redraft leagues, is it fair to bump Judge way down considering it’s taken 8+ months for his rib injury to heal?  With Stanton eating up most of the DH time, Judge will be playing a lot of RF, so any dive can abruptly end his season.

3:30
Jeff Zimmerman: Judge is completely off my radar right now

3:31
Jeff Zimmerman: I think I like Gallo and Schwarber more.

3:31
Jeff Zimmerman: Someone will take Judge before then

3:31
Dunning-Kruger on the right: Given the short season, and in a league with an IP Floor, how would you value MR and do you have any you’d recommend that could hawk wins?

3:33
Jeff Zimmerman: I like the idea of getting 2 IP relievers. They could do alot better than starters. I don’t know the best ones right now but it’s a great article idea. When I’m done Mining the News, I’ll write some up.

3:34
Frustrated commish: Should roto league commissioners declare right now that the season will count no matter how many games are played?  Or should they set a ___  game minimum requirement for the season to count?  Trying to cover all the bases, no pun intended.

3:35
Jeff Zimmerman: I’d say no min of games and if $$ involved, prorate the entry fee for the games.

3:35
Don Juan: If you have a league of 12 people who supposedly want to play fantasy baseball, what is the argument for skipping the season and resuming next year? Is it a reasonable argument?

3:37
Jeff Zimmerman: I think it is a great year to do something you’ve never done. Draft 10 straight hitters. Dump 1 or 2 categories. If an owner doesn’t like it, the league is over in 2 months

3:37
Drew: What is the maximum number of players from the same team you are willing to take this year? Are you trying to also diversify and get players from each division?

3:37
Jeff Zimmerman: Nine hitters from Twins and all of the Dodgers pitchers.

3:37
Jeff Zimmerman: If I had this team, I’d love it.

3:38
Jeff Zimmerman: With so many other variables in play, I’m not guessing Covid outbreaks at this time.

3:39
Jeff Zimmerman: That said, I do expect a team or two to completely mis-handle the situation

3:39
Jeff Zimmerman: I think we’ll know before the season starts. We just don’t know right now.

3:39
Drew: Are you willing to have your top 2 pitchers pitch in the same division?

3:39
Jeff Zimmerman: Hell yea if they are good.

3:40
Steve o: Is Austin Voth worth picking up and dropping someone like an Austin Riley for him?

3:40
Jeff Zimmerman: I need to read into the situation but I’m a huge Voth fan and I think he can be great if given the opportunity (and he keeps the skill increase from last season).

3:41
$11 Worth of Taco Bell: Has there been a big increase in chat questions since the “baseball is back” announcement?

3:41
Jeff Zimmerman: There wasn’t last week, but a ton this week.

3:41
matt: ?do AL DHs get a boost because they wont sit in interleague, like Yordan or Cruz

3:41
Jeff Zimmerman: Yep, I see it in the projections aleady. It might keep Alvarez from getting OF qualification.

3:42
Guest: Any realistic chance Wander Franco is called up this season?

3:42
Jeff Zimmerman: It depends if the Rays need him (someone struggling). Adames made strides last season and I like him as a MI option … if playing.

3:43
Sox fan: Can the White Sox be one of those teams to have a lot of shares of on offense like the Twins?

3:43
Jeff Zimmerman: Maybe, the deal with the Sox is they don’t have the talent as spread out so tough to do in a draft.

3:43
Brian: Safe to say Pearson and Howard will be held off active roster for 7 days then join the rotation?  Carlson in the same boat with STL?

3:44
Jeff Zimmerman: Yes, I’d make the assumption know I might be wrong with one.

3:44
Working for home today: 10-team 24-player keeper league with OBP, SLG and K/BB. Trying to decide 2 positions H. Dozier v. Urshela and A. Rosario v. Hampson

3:45
Jeff Zimmerman: Dozier and Rosario and the decision comes down to playing time for both

3:45
Dan: Urias has to be a top 30 starter this year, right?

3:45
Jeff Zimmerman: Not close. I have him past 100 right now with all pitchers. he won

3:45
Jeff Zimmerman: ‘t get Wins and or many counting stats

3:46
Jeff Zimmerman: Stripling and him should go back to back. But won’t

3:46
Ham Porter: With divisional games making up 67% of a team’s schedule this year vs. 50% in a typical year, are there any guys you’re aware of that crushed their division’s pitching or suppressed their division’s batters last year that are good bets to take advantage this year? Is there any way to filter something like this into the splits leaderboard?

3:47
Jeff Zimmerman: None of it would be predictive since teams change so much.

3:47
$11 Worth of Taco Bell: Will any non-Astros players finish in the top 5 in HBP? Should Astros hitters get a mini-bonus in OBP leagues?

3:47
Jeff Zimmerman: Rizzo and Marte are the HBP kings.

3:48
Jeff Zimmerman: I do want to see how many times Locastro would get hit in a 600 game season.

3:48
$11 Worth of Taco Bell: Will any of the KC pitching prospects pitch enough to be worth rostering in re-draft leagues?

3:48
Jeff Zimmerman: From what I’ve read, no. But if the team is close after a couple weeks, all bets are off.

3:49
Isolated Thinker: How can we monitor player performance in ST 2.0 if they only play intrasquad games?  Could we possibly get stats from those games?

3:49
Jeff Zimmerman: If we get anything, it’ll be a miracle. StL isn’t even going to play games.

3:49
Devil Ray Jay Johnson: Have the Mining the News article given you a new favorite beat writer?

3:50
Jeff Zimmerman: I have a few I hate. Some just put out absolutely nothing useful.

3:50
Devil Ray Jay Johnson: How does playing time in the Jays’ OF/DH shake out?

3:51
Jeff Zimmerman: I’m not sure and I have it written down to find out.

3:51
Jeff Zimmerman: I just hope the reports pound home some of these questions.

3:51
Devil Ray Jay Johnson: Players who go on the COVID Injured List should not count against any fantasy IL limits, right?

3:52
Jeff Zimmerman: I don’t have a problem with it. I’m a fan of few bench spots and more players on the WW. Most disagree

3:52
Eric: What do you think the chances are the season ends up being postponed or cancelled altogether due to a covid outbreak amongst a team or teams?

3:53
Jeff Zimmerman: 15%. I think there is going to be a mess and some team is going to playing their home games in some college stadium. It’s going to be a complete CF and MLB tries to keep it going.

3:53
thelaundrydetergent: Do we know how long teams must keep prospects in the minors to game the extra year of service time?

3:53
Jeff Zimmerman: Seven days

3:54
Thank you for the chat!: I’m happy baseball is back, but I really don’t want to feel gross about the health risks of players and personnel for a hobby like fantasy baseball. How are you managing these types of internal conflicts (if at all)?

3:56
Jeff Zimmerman: We always have dealt with it. We’ve been talking about Mitch Hanigar’s ruptured testicle for a year and George Brett’s hemmeroids for 40. It’s just part of the game.

3:57
Jeff Zimmerman: I hit the wrong button somewhere. I think I fixed it.

3:57
Bryan: So true he said it thrice…

3:57
Jeff Zimmerman: No doubt

3:57
Guest: What statistical categories for pitchers and hitters have the least variance in a 60 game sample?

3:57
Jeff Zimmerman: Just go to our stabilization section.

3:58
Jeff Zimmerman: Hold on, I’ll get a link

3:58
Lorenzo: Do you think premier catchers will start a higher % of their team’s games because of less wear and tear?  Do we bump them up a bit?

3:59
Jeff Zimmerman: I like the ones who may DH. I’ve seen quotes on Realumuto and Conteras getting some AB’s

3:59
Peppercorn: How much will Bundy be helped by his new defence?

4:00
Jeff Zimmerman: I think the park is a bigger deal. I have some pitcher rankings going up at Rotofanatic (submitted but no idea when published) and he’s surprisingly high

4:01
Jeff Zimmerman: That’s it for now. Talk to everyone next week.

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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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