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: Josh Donaldson, Year End Review

donaldson land

Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America

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: 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: Revisiting Rankings

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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.

[Read more...]

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

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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 good, but not a borderline first round talent.

The former group won out. Gomez’s batting average held, his on-base percentage improved, his power stayed basically the same, and his speed dipped a little. The weirdest part, though: no one has really talked about him unless they’re talking about his “antics” on the field. Hell, I’m not even sure I’ve seen a Gomez highlight unless you count him yelling at Gerrit Cole. That’s somewhat offensive, considering that outside of Chris Davis, who flopped miserably, he was the most questionable early round pick in the eyes of many. So, let’s recap.

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


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: Three Keepers to Stash for 2015

At this point in the season, 90% of the standings in your fantasy baseball league are decided. If you play in a keeper format, it’s time to look to next year. After a little disclaimer, let’s run down three down-on-their-luck players to stash for next season.

Obviously, keeper values are highly dependent on the specific rules of your league. How many guys you can keep, what their draft pick or auction value is, and how long you’re able to keep them for are all critically important considerations and are all different based on your rules. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to make some basic assumptions about those values; for instance, that it’d typically cost more to keep a traditionally elite player that it would to keep a younger, more unproven player.

Cool? Let’s do this. [Read more...]