2014 Fantasy Baseball: Josh Donaldson, Year End Review

donaldson land

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After each season ends, I look forward to looking back at divisive players to see how they fared. I did so with Carlos Gomez a couple of weeks ago. Spoiler: the people who believed in him were right, and he looks like a perennial top 15 talent for the time being.

Josh Donaldson was another player that seemed to pit fantasy players against each other. I fell into the camp of “he’s legit,” but not because of my own research. Donaldson spoke at length throughout the season about his development as a hitter, and how not worrying about catching might have helped him finally reach his potential. Eno Sarris of Fangraphs also noted some changes to Donaldson’s approach, which ultimately ended up being career altering.

The book on Donaldson seemed to be: his power is probably legit, but his batting average and on-base skills seem ripe to take a step back; he’s probably more of a top-10/12 option at the hot corner than a top five one. That wasn’t far off, except for a few finer points, including Donaldson’s differing seasons within a season.

Donaldson’s monthly splits don’t look that different … until you get to June. After setting the entire planet on fire in April and May, he cratered in June, when his plate discipline, average, and power dissipated. He wasn’t fantastic in September, either, but his stretch run still paled in comparison to the depths of June.Read the rest of this article by logging in or purchasing The Fix's "Front Office" package.

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Revisiting Rankings

teheran land

Preseason rankings are always fun. And futile. Everything a ranker thinks he know, seems to go out the window soon after the first pitch of the season is thrown. Sure, any ranker will get some right. And they’ll undoubtedly get some wrong that seem stupid in retrospect. As humans we see what we wish to see. Oh, this guy has a platoon split? He’ll get it figured out. This dude chases a bunch? Maybe he won’t this year because he looked little more patient over his last 150 plate appearances last season.

Some of those thoughts panned out. Others didn’t. So, with that, here are a few that I whiffed on, and a few I pegged somewhat correctly.

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2014 Fantasy Baseball: Carlos Gomez Is Who Some Thought He Was

gomez land Note: All stats are as of Tuesday, September 23, 2014.  Carlos Gomez was an interesting name during Draft Season. There were two camps, basically. One camp, of which I was a member, believed he was legitimate, and would more or less repeat; if his batting average faltered a little, his power/speed should pick him up. The other side believed his batting average wouldn’t hold up, thanks to his free swinging ways, ultimately making him the option he was in 2012; a year in which he was still

2014 Fantasy Baseball: What if Christian Yelich Had More Power?

Photo Credit: Scott

Photo Credit: Scott

Lost in Giancarlo Stanton’s monstrous year is this: Christian Yelich, a popular breakout pick, has been very good. Back in March, he was one of my favorite targets. He was young, disciplined, had some speed and showed good bat-to-ball skills, allowing solid contact more often (he never pops up!). I was able to land him on multiple teams. And he’s been an asset, no doubt. If you didn’t look at a player rater - which puts Yelich in top 50 territory - you might not think he’s helped you that much, but he has.

He’s only left the yard nine times, while swiping 20 bags. His average and OBP are well above average, though, sitting at .292 and .372, respectively. And he’s thrived by simply being in front of Stanton – who isn’t of this world – crossing the plate nearly 90 times, ranking him in the top 15 in runs scored.

Basically, Yelich has done what many hoped for: provide some power and speed, while helping in whichever rate statistic your league uses. More power is on the way, though, and I believe there is a unique comparison to be made. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: The Corey Dickerson Bandwagon

dickerson land

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I love Coors Field. The Rockies’ pitchers – pitchers of any team really – might not. Hitters do, obviously. Last year, Michael Cuddyer revived his career in the Mile High City. Justin Morneau did so this year. Troy Tulowitzki did his usual: crushed and then got hurt; Carlos Gonzalez, too. Nolan Arenado has taken a step forward as well. Perhaps lost in all of that is this: Corey Dickerson is awesome.

Using wOBA (probably more useful in this context than wRC+, because a dinger is a dinger in fantasy after all), Dickerson has been the fifth best hitter in the major leagues; if you adjust for Coors, he’s seventeenth. Despite only coming to the dish a little over 400 times so far, Dickerson has hit 22 home runs, good for ninth among outfielders. And he has swiped eight bags in the process while hitting for a fantastic average.

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2014 Fantasy Baseball: Brad Boxberger, The Next Great Reliever?

boxberger land

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Relievers don’t garner much interest unless they occupy the closer role. It’s just the way it is. As we know, though, closers – and bullpens in general – change on a whim. So, this week, I’ve spent a lot of time planning for next year, or at least thinking about it.

In Tuesday’s Rookie Report, I focused mainly on Ken Giles, Philadelphia’s flamethrowing new addition, who just happens to not have a sexy fantasy role. Only Jonathan Papelbon and, maybe, Antonio Bastardo stand in his way of being Philly’s closer. If I were running the show, he’d be chosen over Bastardo, but I’m not. Giles isn’t today’s man, though, Brad Boxberger is.

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2014 Fantasy Baseball: The Rookie Report, August 26

Javier Baez Fantasy Baseball

Today’s report will be the last one for a little while. I’ll likely do a recap once the season ends, but I’ll be taking a quick break. Before that happens, though, let’s review once again, complete with plenty of Javier Baez talk. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Is Yovani Gallardo’s Resurgence Legit?

Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo’s declining strikeout rate and ever present command issues set off alarms in 2013, forcing nearly everyone to avoid him on draft day. But, despite all of the warning signs, he’s pitched well. Interestingly enough, though, he hasn’t done what many people – including myself – thought he had to do in order to regain his footing.

Gallardo’s calling cards for years were two things: innings and strikeouts. From 2009 until 2012, Gallardo threw at least 185 innings and struck out at least 200 batters each year; his 2013 totals were 180 and 144, respectively. He was never an ace, but he was solid, reliable. But in 2013, the wheels came off a little. His strikeouts plummeted, which made his walks hurt even more.

Gallardo never pounded the zone. He relied on batters chasing pitches, especially his curveball.

Year Zone% Swing% O-Swing% Contact% swStr%
2009 32.8% 39.3% 35.2% 59.8% 15.8%
2010 34.6% 43.9% 35.4% 64.5% 15.6%
2011 33.8% 43.7% 36.2% 62.1% 16.6%
2012 35.1% 37.3% 28.7% 67.9% 12.0%
2013 37.0% 35.9% 27.5% 69.1% 11.1%
2014 34.3% 36.6% 28.3% 69.6% 11.1%
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2014 Fantasy Baseball: Kyle Seager Is Consistent, Yet Improving

Kyle Seager

I’ve been on a consistency kick lately. I’m not really sure how I ended up there, but I did. Over the past two weeks, I’ve written about Nick Swisherclockwork consistency for many years – and Lucas Dudaperhaps our new Swisher. Almost to a fault we associate consistency with older players that have less perceived upside. They’re safe, or not sexy, depending on how you read the piece, I guess. Young players can fall into that

2014 Fantasy Baseball: The Farm Report, August 12

archie-bradley

Well, Trevor May and Javier Baez have left us. Most like, they’ve left us for good. Baez did so with a bang, treating Coors Field like the launching bad it is. Sure, he swings and misses a ton, but when he makes contact angels sing. May’s debut did not go as planned. He walked seven batters in two innings, striking out zero, and surrendering four runs before he was not allowed to throw another pitch. He’s better than that, so don’t fret too much. [Read more...]