2014 Fantasy Baseball: Disappointments– Shortstops

segura land

Jean Segura
Source: Mike McGinnis/Getty Images North America

As we continue the disappointment train, we find ourselves with the exact opposite problem as we had with the third basemen. It isn’t that we didn’t have shortstops that sucked. It’s that a majority of them were expected to suck, so it is hard to pinpoint the ones that disappointed. In point of fact, at least one of them won’t necessarily look all that disappointing at the outset. Sometimes we just have to shift our collective expectations. This is obviously true at shortstop where there are only a few true legitimate all-star performers. Welcome to the era of the pitcher.

If there is any general theme for 2015 it is that we have to finally shift our perceptions on the balance between pitching and hitting. There are some positions where there are only a handful of dominant performers. After that it is catch as catch can. After players like Troy Tulowitzki and Hanley Ramirez, most of the guys on the board are going to have some sort of flaw, so you have to pick and choose which flaws you can live with.

Jean Segura– Milwaukee Brewers

(.246 AVG, 5 HR, 61 Runs, 31 RBI, 20 SB)

What Happened? [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Disappointments — Third Basemen

wright land

David Wright
Source: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images North America

Discussing disappointments at third base could take awhile. There is no position on the diamond that was more underwhelming than third base. It certainly starts with the three names we will look at today, but it isn’t limited to those names. Others may have been more mildly disappointing. Then there is the shadow that was cast by Alex Rodriguez. No, Arod isn’t the dominant force that he was during his prime, but we are talking about a starting quality fantasy third baseman that found himself suspended for the season. The end result was a position where most fantasy players found themselves scrambling for credible performance.

Since it has been a little while since we visited disappointments, we should set up some ground rules. In order to be labeled a disappointment, you had to be a preseason starter in most 12-team leagues. That might be hard at some positions and at least one of these guys will be a borderline case. In another, you will be wondering whether that player’s performance could be truly labeled as disappointing. Perception is reality in these cases, but we have to remember what the perception was in March.

David Wright– New York Mets

(.269 AVG, 8 HR, 54 Runs, 63 RBI, 8 SB)

What Happened? [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Disappointments — Second Basemen

kipnis land

Source: Ed Zurga/Getty Images North America

It’s certainly interesting looking at fantasy baseball through the prism of disappointments. Obviously there are disappointments at every position, but it is also interesting that some positions disappoint as a whole. Nowhere is that more true than second base (and third base which we will see next). While every position has its Jose Altuve, we certainly see more disappointments in the offing than we do surprises. Moreover, surprises are usually guys added in the late rounds or even in free agency. Anyone can nab those guys and so anyone can see their fortunes go from rags to riches.

The flip side is much more cruel. Our disappointments were picked and earmarked as starters. In some cases, they were picked among the first five rounds. It isn’t impossible to overcome drafting a disappointing player, but it’s difficult to be sure. If you find yourself nabbing more than one, you can almost guarantee a season outside the playoff hunt. That happened to more than a few of us this season. The best we can do is do an autopsy on the season to determine what happened and whether it is likely to happen again. So, here are the top three disappointments from the 2014 season. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Disappointments — First Basemen

davis land

The yin and yang of sports is about as powerful as any force there is. For the most part. There are few out of nowhere surprises at first base. Most of the players picked among the top twelve were highly thought of before the season. On the flip side, the players labeled as disappointments were not only picked among the top twelve first basemen but were also probably picked in the first four to five rounds of most drafts. These kinds of mistakes tend to blow up a fantasy season and many seasons were blown up when these three players tanked on the season.

Keep in mind that players can tank for two primary reasons. The first and most prevalent reason is that players simply under-perform in comparison with expectations. The second reason is that the player could have lost a lot of time due to injury. Obviously, the circumstances surrounding the lack of performance will color what we might expect from the player in the future. We will look at both for all three players. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Disappointments — Catchers

Source: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images North America

Source: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images North America

If sports are anything, they are great sources of drama. The major networks now pay billions of dollars to broadcast major professional and college sports. As they say, live sports are TIVO proof. The best Hollywood writers in the world can’t write this stuff. The Kansas City Royals don’t appear in the playoffs for 29 years and suddenly they look like World Series contenders. Of course, few people concern themselves with the flip side of that feel good story. In July, the Athletics seemed on the verge of running away with everything. They had just added Jeff Samardzija, Jon Lester, and Jason Hammel. Now, they are all planning early vacations.

Before the end of the season, I went through an entire series of breakout players at each position. I’ll begin the offseason by looking at the reverse. We will be looking at three players at each position that we could classify as disappointments. In order to classify as a disappointment, a player should be a consensus preseason starter in a standard 12-team league. With all of the positions, we will look at why they were disappointing and whether we can expect them to bounce back. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Breakout Player of the Year — NL Starters

roarkland

Source: Rob Foldy/Getty Images North America)

As we finally get to the end of the season and the end of this series, we see some interesting results when looking at pitchers. Pitching runs created are similar to runs created for batters and here we see some fascinating results. National League rankings were done according to those pitcher runs created and some big names were likely left off of the list. Some will be in a position other than what we think. However, the exact position of the pitchers is not as important as where they were in the Yahoo rankings prior to the season.

Again, we can have the debate over who the Cy Young Award winner should be at another time. For most, Clayton Kershaw is the obvious winner, but the pitcher runs created statistic would indicate someone else should win. In the breakout series, Kershaw is not a consideration anyway. We are looking for pitchers that were unheralded before the season and managed to surprise us all.

As we saw with the American League pitchers, there is a difference between who performs well in the standard 5×5 fantasy numbers and who performs well according to the advanced statistics we like to use. We will have plenty of time in the offseason to reevaluate all of the starting pitchers. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball Daily Fix: September 19

We are coming down to the bitter end of the 2014 campaign, but there is still time to get on the Draftkings bandwagon. With a little more than a week left, there are still numerous opportunities to either make some big bucks or at least have a little fun while you are waiting for your Sunday slate to come up. The brain drain coming from the baseball world makes this a perfect time to pounce on the competition.

Fortunately for you, the second wild card has kept some teams in the playoff hunt even into the last week. Therefore, more teams are continuing to play their regulars into the last week. Of course, most teams have still packed it in and most of the divisions have already been decided. So, playing the last week can be challenging.

Draftkings gives you a 50,000 dollar salary cap to go on. I almost always play the double up challenges because it gives you the best opportunity to win. There are numerous other games you can play and some of them give you the opportunity to make some big bucks. Sure, most of the action might be in the NFL, but give baseball another try.

Salary

FPPG

Opposing SP

C

Wilin Rosario

4100

6.2

Chase Anderson

1B

Adam Laroche

4200

8.0

Tom Koehler

2B

Kolten Wong

3300

6.8

David Holmberg

3B

Jimmy Parades

3800

6.6

Allen Webster

SS

Erick Aybar

3800

6.9

Lisaverto Bonilla

OF

Danny Santana

4800

8.8

Trevor Bauer

OF

Steve Pearce

4700

8.1

Allen Webster

OF

Hunter Pence

4300

8.5

Odrismer Despaigne

SP

John Lackey

8300

16.0

Cincinnati Reds

SP

Doug Fister

8700

15.7

Miam Marlins

 

Salary

FPPG

Opposing SP

C

Dioner Navaroo

4000

6.1

Hiroki Kuroda

1B

Lucas Duda

4000

7.4

Julio Teheran

2B

Chase Utley

3700

7.4

Jon Lester

3B

Pablo Sandoval

3800

6.9

Odrismer Despaigne

SS

J.J. Hardy

3600

6.0

Allen Webster

OF

Chris Carter

4300

7.8

Taijuan Walker

OF

Justin Upton

4400

8.2

Zack Wheeler

SP

Jose Quintana

7700

16.8

Tampa Bay Rays

SP

Taijuan Walker

8000

10.4

Houston Astros

2014 Fantasy Baseball: AL Breakout Starting Pitchers

kluber land

Corey Kluber

Evaluating pitchers is much harder than evaluating position players. In many ways, the four main fantasy categories are completely inadequate in truly pinpointing quality in pitching. Sure, ERA and strikeouts are pretty good. WHIP is a little more elusive because of the fielding element. I think we would all agree that wins are a complete joke as a statistic. Yet, fantasy championships are won and lost based on these numbers alone.

Anyone that is a regular of this site knows we love to dig deeper into pitching performance, and we certainly will in the offseason, but for now let’s take a look at the top ten American League pitchers according to the traditional numbers. We will add one sabermetric number just for fun, but most of the analysis will be based on the common numbers.

The rankings are based on a Bill James statistic called pitching runs created. It is the statistic that most approximates runs created on the offensive end. Unfortunately, the lag time means I had to stop at this weekend’s games, so some pitchers may have made an additional start in the mean time. We can assume that these things will even out before the end of the season. Like with the position players, the breakout player is not necessarily the best pitcher, but the pitcher that surprised us the most during the season. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball Daily Fix: September 12th

DK

The NFL is the in the news and on everyone’s mind. Even with all of the controversy going on, morning sports radio reported that a fantasy football article on wide receivers was the most clicked on news story on the site. Go figure. However, Draftkings wants you to know that fantasy baseball is still alive and well. Sure, your fantasy baseball team might be in the morgue, but daily fantasy baseball gives you the opportunity to start fresh everyday.

With most people focusing on Ray Rice, the NFL commissioner’s office, and their fantasy football lineup, you can take advantage of the brain drain on the baseball side of it. This is a perfect opportunity to dip your foot in the pool of daily fantasy baseball to see what it’s all about. I usually play in the one dollar double up leagues because it allows me to have just enough juice on the action without going overboard. September baseball can be unpredictable because of the expanded rosters, so I don’t like putting too much down, but it’s still a lot of fun.

For those of you new to the baseball scene, Draftkings gives you a budget of $50,000 to spread across one player at each position (three generic outfielders) and two starting pitchers. Salaries for players are based on fantasy points per game and that evening’s matchups. So, we give you both here today. The first group of players represents my starting lineup in tomorrow’s contest. The second group represents a reasonable alternative.

Salary

FPPG

Opposing SP

Comments

C

Carlos Santana

4500

7.7

David Price

An intriguing matchup to be sure.

1B

Todd Frazier

4400

8.2

Kyle Lohse

Frazier has quietly put up very good numbers.

2B

Kolten Wong

4100

7.0

Jorge De La Rosa

Wong is coming on strong at the end of the season.

3B

Aramis Ramirez

3600

7.0

Mat Latos

The overall numbers aren’t great, but price is right.

SS

Alexei Ramirez

3700

7.4

Phil Hughes

Check the lineups because the Sox may sit him.

OF

Adam Jones

4400

8.1

TBD

Continues to produce each and every year.

OF

Marcell Ozuna

4300

7.4

Cole Hamels

He should surpass 90 RBI on the season.

OF

Matt Kemp

4100

7.6

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Hitting over .300 since the all-star break

SP

Alex Wood

9100

14.8

Texas Rangers

Has been nails since reentering the rotation.

SP

JA Happ

7200

12.1

Tampa Bay Rays

A solid pitcher for the price.

FPPG

Salary

Opposing SP

Comments

C

Jonathan Lucroy

7.8

4300

Mat Latos

Could be the best offensive catcher in baseball

1B

Lucas Duda

7.4

4400

Gio Gonzalez

He has quietly put up solid numbers this season.

2B

Chase Utley

7.6

4000

Henderson Alvarez

How much does the veteran have in the tank?

3B

Brock Holt

7.5

3900

Yordano Ventura

Could be the feel good story of 2014.

SS

Alcides Escobar

6.4

3600

Allen Webster

A good alternative if Ramirez sits.

OF

J.D. Martinez

8.0

4200

Carlos Carrasco

A .300 average and more than 20 home runs.

OF

Ben Revere

7.2

4200

Henderson Alvarez

He could win the NL batting title.

SP

James Paxton

17.7

8600

Oakland Athletics

The A’s couldn’t score in a European brothel.

SP

Bud Norris

14.0

6900

New York Yankees

He’s been solid most of the season.

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Breakthrough Players — Right Fielders

markakis land

Source: Brian Blanco/Getty Images North America

We finally reach the conclusion of the position player portion of our breakthrough series. It’s always nice to get all the way through one of these series. Right field might be the most competitive of all of the positions. However, we see a similar situation as center field in terms of potential breakthroughs. Most of the players on top of the list were highly thought of coming into the draft.

Of course, the top of the right field draft doesn’t match the top of the center field draft. Ironically, none of them were rated as first round players, but I imagine that will change before the 2015 draft. Mike Trout has been the fantasy darling two years running, but Giancarlo Stanton has successfully claimed that mantle this season. If he doesn’t win the NL MVP Award, there is something terribly wrong with the BBWAA. Then again, they never cease to amaze us during awards season.

This brings us back to the purpose of this series. While Stanton has been amazing this season, he hardly qualifies as a breakthrough player. If you weren’t aware of his potential coming into the season then a pox on your house. Five of the six top finishers were picked among the top 100 players back in March. So, pickings are slim, but we will go through the exercise anyway. Remember, we are using wRC (runs created) as the defining stat for ranking. We’ll include the standard five fantasy statistics along with runs produced (Runs + RBI – HR). [Read more...]