Jeff Zimmerman Fantasy Baseball Chat

3:00
JP: Who’s one player you were off on in a full season but are now targeting in the abbreviated season?

3:01
Jeff Zimmerman: It’s more to do with the DH, but Braun

3:01
Jeff Zimmerman: I thought I might like RP more but the market jumped on them.

3:02
Chris: Are you grabbing treinen or someone else as a speculative add?

3:03
Jeff Zimmerman: No speculation but more of handcuff for my closer. If I get Diaz, I might also add Lugo.

3:03
Jeff Zimmerman: Over the past 6 seasons, on average 5 closers have lost their jobs in the first two months

3:04
Jeff Zimmerman: With little turnover, handcuffs will be needed.

3:04
AJ: I’m thinking about drafting both Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire in my 10 team league, am I on to something here or am I really overthinking things?

3:05
Jeff Zimmerman: Way over thinking in a ten team. With closers moving up, I’ve seen catchers (who won’t need as much rest) drop. Get a couple of good ones.

3:05
Aceman: Eno very high on Urias and Maeda due to Price opting out and AL Central  favorable schedule,who do you see having bigger impact?

3:06
Jeff Zimmerman: The schedule is that favorable.

3:06
Jeff Zimmerman:

Teams hurt the most by the 60-game MLB schedule are the #Mariners, #Orioles, #Rangers, #BlueJays, and #RedSox
(according to THE BAT)
7 Jul 2020
3:07
Jeff Zimmerman: Urias’s role needs to be known. If starting, he’ll get almost no Wins.

3:07
Jeff Zimmerman: Madea is fine to add. His value jumps more because of the DH in the NL than anything involving the schedule.

3:08
Peter: Better 2020 – Austin Riley or Sam Hillard?

3:09
Jeff Zimmerman: Right now, Riley based off playing time. More chances. I like Hillard but I can’t trust the Rockies to do anything smart.

3:09
City: Should Bobby Bradley be owned in any format?

3:09
Jeff Zimmerman: No, not yet.

3:10
Rich: Hi Jeff.  Willie Calhoun is a free agent in my 12-team mixed league, with OBP instead of AVG.  His statcast numbers are meh, and he doesn’t walk much.  Basically, he hits a lot of medium-hard fly balls, which worked well at Texas’s old launching pad but may work less well indoors.  Am I crazy for leaving him on the waiver wire?  My weakest hitters are probably Ryan Braun and Brian Anderson, both of whom will likely have a better OBP and hit almost as many homers as Calhoun (and maybe chip in a few steals).  Thanks in advance for your advice!

3:12
Jeff Zimmerman: I’d take him over Anderson and here is why: https://rotofanatic.com/my-method-for-evaluating-hitters/

3:12
bartolololololo: How accurate do you think projections will be at projecting SP & RP innings pitched? In a quick look, it seems like players were taken proportionally down. Do you expect RP to get a significant higher % composition of IP? If so, how much?

3:13
Jeff Zimmerman: I think the RP% will go up but not sure the %.

3:14
Jeff Zimmerman: It could be quite a bit with starters going 1 or 2 innings fewer than before

3:14
Jeff Zimmerman: 11% would be for 1 IP, 22% if 2 IP.

3:14
fleece johnson: what do you think the biggest edge will be in shallow home leagues this year? keeping up to do date with mining the news and targeting players that start out throwing 5ish innings?

3:15
Jeff Zimmerman: Targeting AL pitchers. Projections now have Morton and Paddack even. Greinke and Kershaw are even

3:16
Jeff Zimmerman: Values have changed but the market hasn’t and probably wont’

3:16
fleece johnson: what players with wide outcome ranges will you be targeting in a short sample?

3:17
Jeff Zimmerman: From some work, I might target ERA or AVG variation guys. These stats take longer to stabilize. The ERA guys are basically HR pitchers (e.g. Boyd)

3:17
fleece johnson: What divisions/teams are you attacking based on the schedule? I saw AL East hitters took a minor hit

3:18
Jeff Zimmerman: In the FG pipeline is an article, and I like the East and Central hitters.

3:19
Jeff Zimmerman: I think I noticed AL East hitters moving down but I think it’s all AL hitters losing a % of stats with the addition of the DH

3:19
Sutton: 15 team 5×5 dynasty league with an auction draft. Best available pool of players for auction are B+ players. In a 60 game schedule, are dollars better spent on hitters or pitchers?

3:20
Jeff Zimmerman: Both. I like get a few SP anchors (Verlander, Morton, Greinke) and then pound hitting. Closers could be a mess and you might want to nominate them right away to gauge the market.

3:21
RMR: I’m struggling with how to value guys like Gore, Pearson, etc.  When will they be up?  Even if they get called up early, are we going to see a bunch of 3-4 inning starts?  Kind of just feels like a guessing game (even more so than normal with prospects).

3:23
Jeff Zimmerman: I’m considering them reserve picks and willing to move on if necessary.

3:23
Cody: Which generally regarded top 100 player opting out of the 2020 is the most replaceable? And least replaceable (excluding Mike Trout)?

3:23
Jeff Zimmerman: Any closer

3:23
Jeff Zimmerman: But the bidding with be insane.

3:23
RMR: I know the A’s have said AJ Puk will be a ML starter this year, but he hasn’t really been on a starter’s schedule for over two years.  What can we realistically expect from him in that role this year in terms of innings?

3:24
Jeff Zimmerman: I think it is going to be limited and I like the idea of adding Bassit who might start after him

3:24
Jeff Zimmerman: Or before and Puk has huge value.

3:24
Jeff Zimmerman: Any second starter is going to have decent value.

3:25
Matt: Given the testing disaster thus far, do you really think they’re actually going to start playing games in 16 days?

3:25
Jeff Zimmerman: Man they have to get their sh … stuff together.

3:25
Jeff Zimmerman: I thought test was going to an issue and it is

3:25
JD: Are you in on Cespedes if he’s getting regular ABs?

3:26
Jeff Zimmerman: The team says he’ll likely get half of the DH at bats. If they plays, own him. It just doesn’t in any of my leagues.

3:26
closers: Above, when you say you might target ERA or AVG variation guys, you mean target guys with poor ERA or poor AVG, trying to get lucky? or target the guys with good ERA/AVG?

3:28
Jeff Zimmerman: Variation with them. For the AVG guys, it’s anyone who doesn’t walk and relies on BABIP (e.g. Tim Anderson). High variation ERA pitchers are usually flyball guys who either get lucky or not on the home runs.

3:28
closers: In my opinion all that matters is covid. do you bump down an asymptomatic + guy like Pham, or bump him up? The angle is to bump them up, right? Better for them to get their 2 weeks away from the team now, when they can still work out, than during the season, correct?

3:29
Jeff Zimmerman: I’m not drafting them. I don’t trust MLB one bit to correctly test them to see if the virus has run it’s course. I can find other players with Pham’s talent

3:29
Nicklaus: Seeing how one horrible start could represent 10% of a player’s season, how many pitchers are you willing to roll out at Coors?

3:29
Jeff Zimmerman: Article coming at FG … none. The schedule is a mess for them.

3:29
Harry: Rank Clevinger, Snell, Flaherty, Paxton in short season, given schedule?

3:30
Jeff Zimmerman: Given the DH: You have them in order. Link: https://rotofanatic.com/jeff-zimmerman-pitcher-rankings-fantasy-baseba…

3:31
Nicklaus: In a 15-team league, around how many starters are you looking to roster in the first 10 rounds? Has the number changed significantly?

3:31
Jeff Zimmerman: Four-ish. Probably 2 early and I like some of the players in the later rounds.

3:31
JD: I’ve been looking at full schedules for mid-tier SP (guys like Montas, Fried, Gray, etc.) and trying to map out their season-long matchups. Valid or getting too cute?

3:32
Jeff Zimmerman: Don’t go full, too much can go wrong.

3:32
Jeff Zimmerman: I would do the first two weeks and that may blowup in a couple of days.

3:32
CK: What are your thoughts on Nick Madrigal in a 10 team? I have Hampson but unsure about his playing time.

3:33
Jeff Zimmerman: Madrigal is Mallex Smith for in the infield. Pick the one going the cheapest.

3:33
Matt: Hey Jeff, thanks for doing this! Just wondering your thoughts on if we see Forrest Whitley in Houston this year to fill that 5th starter spot that seems to be for either pruitt or james right now?

3:34
Jeff Zimmerman: No Whitley

3:35
Jeff Zimmerman: The end of the rotation is going to be decided in the next couple of weeks. Abreau and Valdez are also options. I think it will be a piggyback situation.

3:35
\__0__/: Have you checked out The BatX yet? Any initial first reactions to it?

3:36
Jeff Zimmerman: It’s good. I created a simple StatCast only projections and a lot of what the BatX says lines up.

3:37
Jeff Zimmerman: I mainly did my projections to see which stats matter the most at Savant.

3:37
Jeff Zimmerman: The biggest issue I found was Avg EV. It includes bunts.

3:38
Pat’s Bat: I am thinking SP/RP eligible middle relievers will be the key to victory in H2H this year.  Can we get a ranking of guys like Chad Green?

3:39
Jeff Zimmerman: I wrote up some of these this past week: https://fantasy.fangraphs.com/middle-relief-targets/

3:39
Powdered Toast Man: I read that the AL/ NL central is where to look for pitchers. However, the AL/NL west are, for the most part, pitchers parks, so isn’t the west also a good spot to look for drafting pitchers? Or are most folks looking at the weaker central teams in general?

3:40
Jeff Zimmerman: After diving in, the Central is the place for hitters. The West is weird in that it seems to move more of a variation in teams.

3:40
Jeff Zimmerman: I feel that owners will stream players in the west.

3:41
Jeff Zimmerman: I’d get my core hitters from the East and Central

3:41
\__0__/: what’s behind your adam eaton optimism? combo of lineup spot (roster resource has him at #2) + ability to get on base?

3:43
Jeff Zimmerman: He was the 36th OF last season: https://www.fangraphs.com/auctiontool.aspx?type=OF&proj=2019&pos=2%2c1…

3:43
Jeff Zimmerman: The 3rd or 4th OF in a 12 team. Solid 3rd in a 15.

3:44
Jeff Zimmerman: He got healthy and his sprint speed shot up.

3:45
Jeff Zimmerman: I don’t think he’s great but solid and going as the 51st OF

3:45
3:45
Powdered Toast Man: Jeff,

3:45
Jeff Zimmerman: That’s my name, don’t wear it out.

3:45
RMR: What’s your read on Senzel at this point (more in dynasty than redraft)?  I feel like the industry has soured on him pretty quick.  I get the batted ball data wasn’t good last year and he’s obviously got injury issues, but I feel like there is a pretty easy 20/20 type talent there with the upside for a good OBP too.

3:46
Jeff Zimmerman: I was all in on Senzel last season and his in-and-out of the lineup scared me.

3:46
Jeff Zimmerman: I’m not sure if I’m going back

3:46
Jeff Zimmerman: I see the talent, but he has to stay healthy and I’m not sure he can.

3:47
Cody: How do you think our 60-game 2020 season will impact the valuations of players heading into 2021? Or asked a different way: How much should the 60-game sample of 2020 underlying and outcome metrics be weighted versus the 162-game sample of 2019 underlying and outcome metrics for the 2021 season?

3:47
Jeff Zimmerman: Dan Symborski wrote out this.

3:47
Jeff Zimmerman: I feel it’s a great topic once this season is over.

3:48
Cody: In preparing for the 2020 season, who is the player that has caught your attention, for good, objective reasons, but your interest in him as clearly entered speculative, “if only this were to happen” territory?

3:48
Jeff Zimmerman: It’s Willie Calhoun. I love some of his 2H changes.

3:48
RMR: How do the White Sox end up using Kopech this year (assuming he reports soon)?  Traditional starter?  Reliever?  Some kind of opener / piggyback role?

3:48
Jeff Zimmerman: Sounds like 2nd starter/piggy back.

3:49
Jeff Zimmerman: News out of W.S. camp has been spotty

3:49
CaptCrunch: Feelings re Tiger Matthew Boyd’s prospects for 2020?

3:49
Jeff Zimmerman: I like it, all the tools. he just needs to limit HR.

3:49
Rubber Shoes: So, when do we see Puig in MLB?

3:50
Jeff Zimmerman: He’ll be starting for some team as several continue to lose players.

3:50
Robert: I’m new to roto this year. Is the better strategy to focus on certain stats or to build a solid all

3:50
Jeff Zimmerman: Try to build across the board and see what works for you.

3:50
RMR: Is Spencer Howard up quickly as is being rumored?  Or do the Phils wait that out a bit longer?

3:51
Jeff Zimmerman: I think he’ll be up after the first week to gain the extra year of control

3:51
Pretty Tony: You think the Astros big hitters will see any sort of decline in production that could be attributed to lack of cheating?

3:52
Jeff Zimmerman: After looking into this earlier, nothing measurable

3:52
RMR: Does Kendrick get a full slate of PT this year?  Or do the Nats still limit him like last year even though Zimmerman is now out of the way?

3:52
Jeff Zimmerman: It’s going to be limited if everyone can stay healthy.

3:52
Jeff Zimmerman: Sounds like the team wants to cycle in players to the DH

3:53
Jeff Zimmerman: Part time PAs at best

3:53
RMR: What is it gonna take for Nate Lowe to get regular PT in Tampa?  I love the talent, but absolutely hate the situation.

3:54
Jeff Zimmerman: Lowe is not good enough to demand the 1B job. He’s good enough, maybe league average.

3:55
Dave: Good afternoon Jeff.  It’s 93 degrees here in NE KS – a bright sun shiny day with the air so thick you can cut it with a knife!  Has MLB said anything about how they will determine the 2021 draft order (I don’t believe it has been stated yet – correct?)?

3:55
Jeff Zimmerman: I haven’t heard anything.

3:55
baseball yeti: In standalone leagues how viable is it to stream SP and Middle RP and punt Saves this year?

3:55
Jeff Zimmerman: Yep … for sure

3:56
RMR: Saw someone (may have been Ben yesterday) mention there could be a serious lack of SBs this year with everything going on.  Does that seem like a fair assumption?  If so, in terms of identifying keepers in the offseason, do we simply ignore if it a guy just stopped running this year (assuming he’s not also like 35+)?

3:57
Jeff Zimmerman: The Pirates came out and stated they expect players to run more, especially those with high success rates. Teams are going to going for every point since they are likely to be bullpen games.

3:57
\__0__/: What category (or categories) do you recommend punting in standalone leagues? I usually like to forget SB or Saves but it seems like there may be other pitching stats this year that are wild/unpredictable (wins, ratios, etc.). What approaches do you recommend?

3:58
Jeff Zimmerman: I think AVG can be punted but I think others are. With the new market focus on Saves, I may punt them.

3:59
Powdered Toast Man: Alex Verdugo vs Eddie Rosario. Who you like?

3:59
Jeff Zimmerman: Eddie

3:59
mokajige: Kind of a boring question, but I can’t seem to find any information on how the Rays are expected to use Brendan McKay this year. He in the rotation to start the season you think?

4:00
Jeff Zimmerman: There is no news coming out of Rays camp but I don’t really blame reporter for not showing up.

4:00
Guest: What do you project (R, HR, RBI and AVG) for Yordan Alvarez over 60 games?

4:00
Jeff Zimmerman: He needs to get to camp first.

4:01
Jeff Zimmerman: That’s it for this week. Hopefully when we talk next week, the baseball season will still be on.

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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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