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

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.

[Read more...]

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 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

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: 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...]

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