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 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...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Breakout Players — Center Fielders

Center field is easily the glamour position in baseball. If you don’t believe me, then simply look at the preseason rankings. The top player on the board was a center fielder and two of the top five guys were center fielders. Of the top six performers at the position this season, five were drafted in the top 75 in Yahoo leagues. Obviously, looking for unsung heroes is going to be a bit challenging.

But Ben Revere fits the bill. If the season were to end today, he would be the winner of the batting title in the National League. Granted, he has little to no power, so his overall value is limited. But when you consider that he was a waiver claim in most leagues, that is a pretty substantial surprise. Sadly, he isn’t eligible for our little exercise because he is not currently among the top six in wRC.

In addition to runs created, we will look at the standard five fantasy categories. Additionally, we will take a look at runs produced. Runs produced is calculated by adding runs and RBI and then subtracting home runs. As we have seen, 150 tends to be the benchmark for a good season, but we will see a couple of guys that might shatter that mark by the end of the season. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball Week 24 Waiver Wire: 3 to Catch, 3 to Cut, 3 to Keep

In the Week 24 edition of fantasy baseball 3×3, we’re moving on to Edward Mujica, moving on from Anthony Rizzo, and moving on up with Javier Baez.

There are plenty of waiver wire columns out there that provide an exhaustive list of the most added players in fantasy leagues. This isn’t one of them. Here, we’ll run down a few of the most interesting players for fantasy owners, with perspective on who deserves a your attention, who deserves your patience, and who deserves to go straight to bed without dessert.

Any questions, thoughts, totally unrelated links to your fantasy football podcast?

Well, I’ve got one of those… Click here to hear Ryan Noonan and I preview Week 1, and look out for new pods on the site (and eventually iTunes) every week.

For anything else, hit me in the comments or on Twitter.

3 TO CATCH

Players to be picked up; available in most standard leagues

Edward Mujica | Boston Red Sox | RP

Koji Uehara has finally discovered what it feels for every other pitcher with a fastball that can’t touch 90 miles-per-hour. He’s been tagged for at least one run in five of his last six outings. It’s an odd development; it’s shocking to see a pitcher who’d been among the most reliable in the league for the past few seasons suddenly lose it, but at the same time, Uehara was bound to blow up at some point. The Red Sox have rightly decided that it’s just not useful for a rebuilding team to keep sending a struggling 39-year old out to handle its save chances, especially when that closer is in the last year of his contract. Instead, the Sox have slotted Edward Mujica in as closer. He’s no spring chicken himself, but at least Mujica is under team control in 2015. The move is said to be “temporary”, but the gap between “temporary” and “permanent” is narrowing significantly by the day.

I imagine that Mujica earned at least half of a proven closer pendant of life from his days working the ninth inning in St. Louis, which should buy him a couple outings’ worth of rope if he’s not great right away. Truthfully, he hasn’t been great overall this season (neither his 17.2% strikeout rate and 3.85 FIP engender much confidence) but now, more than ever, saves are saves are saves. As long as Mujica isn’t a total tire fire (you know, like Michigan’s offense on Saturday), he should snag a few saves over the last few weeks of the season. If you’re within striking distance of a roto point or two in that category, there’s nobody more valuable on the waiver wire.

To pick him up, I’d drop: Koji Uehara, Addison Reed, LaTroy Hawkins

[Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: The Corey Dickerson Bandwagon

dickerson land

Source: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images North America

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 Daily Fix — September 5th

Welcome to Friday night baseball. With the NFL officially opening for business last night, most of the daily fixes will focus on the pigskin. However, Draftkings wants you to know that they are still open for business on the baseball front. Since my NFL draft board still has Sammy Baugh and Crazy Legs Hirsh on top, management felt it was better for me to stick with baseball through the end of the season.

In all seriousness, there is no better time to play daily fantasy baseball. Many serious fantasy players have turned their attention to football, so you can take advantage of the brain drain going on in baseball. Even if you are just beginning on the baseball front, it is a good time to get your feet wet. You can play every now and then and test your skills. Then, you can jump in full board in 2015. September baseball does require some different strategies than the rest of the year, so it can be somewhat frustrating if you play it straight.

About half of the teams are outside the playoff hunt for all intents and purposes. So, I usually focus my September lineups on the guys playing on playoff contenders. Some managers of those other clubs treat September as a modified Spring Training. This can be especially true for pitching staffs. Teams suddenly may expand their bullpens to ten or eleven pitchers, so starters may get pulled artificially early. I normally play the one dollar double up and that is no less true now. As usual, I will give you my lineup first and then a reasonable alternative at each position. As usual, check the weather report and projected lineups for last minute changes. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Breakout Players — Left Fielders

brantley land

Source: Ed Zurga/Getty Images North America

When we get to the outfield, we get to the meat of most people’s fantasy teams. As I’ve said before, 100 runs created has been the standard for excellence in the past, and that is certainly true with the development of better pitching over the past few years. Still, there have been some incredibly good left fielders in the game this season. Some of them have almost seemingly come out of nowhere.

The funny thing is that their traditional numbers are not as stellar as we have seen from the positional leaders of the past. Perhaps, this is a down time for corner outfielders. It could also be a changing of the guard and that is when breakout players shine. Again, we are not looking for the best left fielder in the game. We are looking for the player that was unheralded on draft day, but has moved forward to become one of the best six outfielders.

In addition to runs created, we will look at the traditional fantasy categories and a sixth category called runs produced. Runs produced is calculated by adding runs and RBI and subtracting home runs. Typically, 150 runs produced is a pretty good number for someone that plays everyday. [Read more...]