Fantasy Baseball Final: May 23, 2015

Article written by Max Hadelman, but he’s off the grid so I’m posting this on his behalf.

Cole Hamels pitched on Saturday, and pitched very well. Hamels went eight innings for the Phillies, and he picked up his 5th win of the season, and 4th in a row. Matt Harvey was on the mound for the Mets as they took on the Pittsburgh Pirates, and he had his worst outing of the season. He allowed seven earned runs on just four innings of work, and has yet to earn a win in four consecutive starts. Mike Napoli hit two home runs against the Angels and now has three bombs in the past two games. Prince Fielder continues to take advantage of the short porch at Yankee Stadium with another home run as he has three home runs in the past two games as well and is really heating up for the Rangers, who likely get Josh Hamilton back on Monday. Joc Pederson continues to rake in his rookie season, hitting his 12th home run so far this season in the first inning off of Ian Kennedy.

If you only read one thing…
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2015 Fantasy Baseball: Redrafting Rounds 1-2

Article written by Max Hadelman, but he’s off the grid so I’m posting this on his behalf.

This is based on a 10 team league, so I am, essentially, making a new rankings list and redrafting the first two rounds of the league for the rest of the year. This is based on a standard league with 5 outfielders and the corner positions as well, with roto scoring. Remember, this is from here on out for the rest of the season.

Round 1

  1. Mike Trout – OF – To me, Trout is still the best player in fantasy baseball, and he probably will be for a while. Even as an outfielder where there is tremendous depth, he’s as good as it gets.
  2. Giancarlo Stanton – OF – Stanton gets the nod at number two because of his production this season after getting the richest contract in baseball history. Part of me thought he would get his pay day and falter off, but he’s right back where he was before the pay day hitting home run after home run for the Marlins.
  3. Paul Goldschmidt – 1B – I almost put Goldy at number two ahead of Stanton, and you really can’t go wrong either way. He’s a threat for the NL batting title every year as well as the lead in RBI. If he ever gets his power, which is already good, up to those of the elites, he could very well win the triple crown some day.
  4. Andrew McCutchen – OF – Andrew McCutchen has not been very good this season so far, but he also is allowed a slump every now and then. I believe he’s still up there at the top for NL MVP discussion each and every year.
  5. Miguel Cabrera – 1B – many people have Miggy as someone that will one day tail off and not become an elite player like he one was. I have Miggy fifth because of the improved lineup in Detroit and I believe he will continue this pace for the rest of the season.
  6. Bryce Harper – OF – There it is. Finally. Bryce Haprer breaks out! The scariest part about it is that he’s still just 22 years old, younger than Mookie Betts, Jorge Soler and Joc Pederson, among many others. He’s going to be an absolute beast, and I will not be surprised if he ends up challenging Mike Trout as the best player in fantasy baseball.
  7. Clayton Kershaw – SP – Kershaw is likely just coming down from his high horse after winning he NL MVP and Cy Young award in 2014. He will be fine, and will return to his old ways soon.
  8. Jose Altuve – 2B – I am a big fan of this guy. He’s another candidate to win the batting title every year, he steals bases, and so far this season, he’s driving in runs and even hit a few home runs for the high powered Astros (never thought I would say that). The steals are what sets him apart, as only Billy Hamilton is better stealing bases than Altuve.
  9. Carlos Gomez – OF – It was hard dropping Gomez down this far, but I just had to because of what the other guys have done so far. Kershaw and McCutchen are the only one that hasn’t been spectacular of the list above, which makes it hard to find a place for Gomez. If his hamstring holds up, he could easily be a top five player moving forward.
  10. Jose Abreu – 1B – Here is where we start getting into the guys that haven’t started 2015 off the way we thought. I believe Abreu has some of the biggest power in the game, and he hits for average. First base is deep, but he’s worth the investment.

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Round 2

  1. Edwin Encarnacion – 1B – He’s in the same boat as Abreu as he has not yet hit the way we know him to in 2015. His power numbers are coming along fine, but his average is not good. However, he will be fine.
  2. Anthony Rizzo – 1B – in all honesty, I should have Rizzo higher. The only reason I don’t is because I don’t believe he will continue to steal bases like he has been. However, even if he doesn’t, he could still be better than a few on this list. We are still at the point in the draft that you can’t REALLY go wrong.
  3. Jose Bautista – OF – The only thing I have against Bautista is his age. I think that it’s not so much that he has been bad to drop him to 13, it’s that the others have been good enough to jump him.
  4. Adam jones – OF – He started off 2015 scorching hot, but has cooled off in May. He can be streaky but when he’s on, he’s as good as it gets.
  5. Felix Hernandez – SP – He’s the king of the pitching world right now, and that will probably continue. He would be higher if it weren’t for Kershaw and the tougher American League.
  6. Troy Tulowitzki – SS – It scares me that Tulo is off to a bad start because his annual trip to the disabled list has to be coming, right? If he stays healthy he’s another that could be up higher on this list.
  7. Josh Donaldosn – 3B – Donaldson appears to have found a nice home in Toronto with much more lineup protection than in Oakland, and I think it will continue. Look for a big year from him.
  8. Michael Brantley – OF – Brantley had to shake off some rust and an injury or two at the beginning of the season, but he’s done that and then some. He’s even more valuable in points leagues cause he NEVER strikes out, and could very well win the American League batting title.
  9. Max Scherzer – SP – The final pitcher in the top two rounds is Scherzer. I have him at 19 because not only has he been fantastic so far, but the Nationals will only get better as the year goes on.
  10. Nelson Cruz – OF – Cruz rounds out the top 20 as he has been simply sensational for the Mariners. He will likely reach 40 home runs this season, and potentially 50.

2015 Fantasy Baseball, Week 7 Tools of the Trade: Todd Frazier Rising

TheFantasyFix.com’s “Tools of the Trade” is a unique guide for owners to use while attempting to make an even trade with their league-mates in a standard 12-team mixed, 5×5 head-to-head or rotisserie redraft league.

The values present in this guide are simply the basis for a trade. A full-blown analysis of each team’s strengths and weaknesses are essential prior to proposing or accepting a trade offer.

How to use the guide: Ideally, owners will agree to a trade that will aid both sides and stay within $2-3 of each other in a one-for-one and $4-5 in a multi-player deal, according to our chart. Players not noted should be considered $1 players.

Here’s the chart:
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Fantasy Baseball Tips of the Trade: Part One

Pulling off a fantasy baseball trade during the season can sometimes be a laborious task, but if owners are willing to put together a worthy offer for their opponents, the process is not only enjoyable, it could be beneficial for your and your opponent’s’ roster either in the short or long-term, or both.

I’d love to call this piece something along the lines of “Rules of the Trade” to go along with my “Tools of the Trade,” but the word “rules” seems a little too stiff for me. Not all leagues, formats, players are created equal, so we as owners need to recognize this and be able to adapt our strategy to meet the needs of each said league. Therefore, I think I’m just going to call this “Tips of the Trade” and run down some of the steps I take when looking to make a deal.

To be honest, this effort will likely be the first of a series of pieces we put together here at TheFantasyFix.com to let you know how we approach this aspect of the fantasy baseball game. As always, enjoy. And if you have any feedback, please let me know in the comments.

Know the players, history of your league
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Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: May 16, 2015

Good morning everyone! Below we’ve got a discussion on the pitching situation for tonight’s late slate on DraftKings. We’ve also got a discussion on which teams are the best to pick hitters from as well as player rankings for each position.

Forecast

There is a chance of thunderstorm in a bunch of games in the night slate. The games in Texas, New York, Cincinnati, Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia and Baltimore all have chances of rain. Please monitor these situations throughout the day.

Pitching Perspective

I’m sad that so many pitching options are available today. I’d prefer that they spread themselves out. However, we aren’t so lucky, and it’s aces aboard tonight. Of all the options, perhaps Zack Grienke is the best. Grienke has been dominant so far this year, and really makes it tough on right-handed hitters. The Rockies should only be able to keep three left-handed hitters near the top of the lineup and Grienke should have no problem maneuvering his way around the others. I like Grienke for both cash games and GPPs.

There is also Max Scherzer, who will get an awesome park shift in Petco Park. Scherzer has been dominant this year and hasn’t had many problems to work through. The Padres did bolster their lineup this offseason, but it’s not made to handle guys like Scherzer. The Padres are in the middle of the pack in terms of K% (20.3%), but I see that number rising tonight. The game currently has a total of 6.5, and that might be a stretch.

Don’t forget about Felix Hernandez. King Felix is pitching at home against a struggling Red Sox team. The Red Sox are taking a huge negative park shift and lack any left-handed bats to pester Felix. Felix is an awesome strikeout and groundball pitcher and coupling it with the matchup becomes an excellent option. He’s second in our models projected points.

Also near the top of our model are Jacob deGrom and Danny Salazar. Both deGrom and Salzar have incredible K potential and are facing less than stellar offenses. deGrom will have the benefit of pitching in Citi Field, but I like Salazar’s upside more. I think deGrom is the safer cash game option, and is viable due to the salary relief, but I prefer Salazar if choosing between these two for tournaments.

Stack Options
Even with so many pitching options tonight there are offenses I’d love to jump on. Ryan Vogelsong is pitching in Great American Ballpark and that is great news for hitters. Vogelsong is being torched for 2.16 HR/9 and is pitching in the best ball park for homeruns. I love all the top Reds hitters, most notably Votto and Bruce.

On the flip side of this, I’m not afraid of using the Giants against Mike Leake. The Giants receive a huge park shift and they like to bolster the top of their lineup with left-handers. The left-handers at the top will provide some solid salary relief and come with a pristine ballpark. You’ll want to get some exposure to them to get to some of the top pitchers today.

More homeruns should be flying in Houston as well. Marco Estrada is pitching for the Blue Jays against a very powerful Astros lineup. Estrada is yielding 1.77 HR/9 and should be frightened of the top of the Astros lineup. I love everyone at the top, including Valbuena who should provide plenty of salary relief.

And on the flip side, the Blue Jays have great tournament appeal. They have a ton of power near the top of the lineup with Donaldson, Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion and will be facing Scott Feldman. This game carries a total of 9 so far and it’s a game that you’re going to need to have some exposure to. Look towards finding the values in this game for your cash games.

The Indians have a ton of good left-handed bats. This is bad news for Colby Lewis who has extreme splits against lefties. Lewis has been frustratingly good in games I’ve tried to stack against him this year, but stick to the process and don’t focus on the results. Left-handers have dominated Lewis in his time in the big leagues. All of the Cleveland left-handers are in play.

Last but not least, if you wish to pile up in tournaments look to the Oakland Athletics. The bad news with Oakland is they don’t have very many powerful right-handed bats. The good news is their facing John Danks who doesn’t do anything well enough to scare me off any of the Oakland bats. I prefer these guys in tournaments, but I’m ok with using the very top as salary relief in cash games. Marcus Semien might be the top shortstop play today.

Player Rankings

Catcher

1. Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians
2. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
3. Jason Castro – Houston Astros

First Basemen

1. Edwin Encarnacion –Toronto Blue Jays
2. Joey Votto –Cincinnati Reds
3. Brandon Belt – San Francisco Giants

Second Basemen

1. Jose Altuve –Houston Astros
2. Jason Kipnis –Cleveland Indians
3. Joe Panik –San Francisco Giants

Shortstops

1. Marcus Semien –Oakland Athletics
2. Brandon Crawford –San Francisco Giants
3. Alcides Escobar– Kansas City Royals

Third Basemen

1. Todd Frazier –Cincinnati Reds
2. Josh Donaldson –Toronto Blue Jays
3. Luis Valbuena –Houston Astros

Outfield

1. Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
2. George Springer –Houston Astros
3. Angel Pagan –San Francisco Giants
4. Jay Bruce – Cincinnati Reds
5. Brandon Moss – Cleveland Indians

Starting Pitchers

1. Zack Grienke –Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Felix Hernandez –Seattle Mariners
3. Jacob deGrom –New York Mets
4. Max Scherzer –Washington Nationals
5. Danny Salazar –Cleveland Indians

2015 Fantasy Baseball: Pitchers With a Spike in K-BB%

Each and every baseball site you visit can probably provide you with a strategy to identify players to target or avoid via trade. One of my favorite pieces of data to use is the ERA-FIP statistic, provided to us by our friends at FanGraphs, which you can read more about here. But this time around I’m looking at changes in strikeout-minus-walk rates between 2014 and 2015 to see if we can’t identify some names that look like they’re improving or regressing in their ability to miss bats.

If you’re not yet acquainted with K-BB%, you can read more about it here on FanGraphs. And if you’re not quite buying into using K-BB% just yet, read this piece by Glenn DuPaul at Beyond the Boxscore and hopefully you’ll buy in.

An “average” K% according to FanGraphs comes in at 18.5% while an “average” BB% comes in at 8.5%, leaving us with an average K%-BB% at what should be 10%. And just as another reference, the current league average for K%-BB% among starting pitchers is 11.8%. I used this data to guide my research. And you can see the chart that I used to compile said data at the end of this post.

We do need to proceed with a bit of caution in using the data below as most teams are just about eight turns of the rotation into the ‘15 season. At any rate, here are a few players that have seen a nice spike or dip in their K-BB% rates so far this year as compared to their ‘14 campaigns. Only players who qualified in both 2014 and 2015 made the list.

All data courtesy of FanGraphs and through Tuesday, May 12th.

Chris Archer | Rays | +9.9%

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2015 Fantasy Baseball, Week 6 Tools of the Trade

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TheFantasyFix.com’s “Tools of the Trade” is a unique guide for owners to use while attempting to make an even trade with their league-mates in a standard 12-team mixed, 5×5 head-to-head or rotisserie redraft league.

The values present in this guide are simply the basis for a trade. A full-blown analysis of each team’s strengths and weaknesses are essential prior to proposing or accepting a trade offer.

How to use the guide: Ideally, owners will agree to a trade that will aid both sides and stay within $2-3 of each other in a one-for-one and $4-5 in a multi-player deal, according to our chart. Players not noted should be considered $1 players.

Here’s the chart:
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2015 Fantasy Baseball, Week 5 Tools of the Trade: Nelson Cruz Is On Fire

TheFantasyFix.com’s “Tools of the Trade” is a unique guide for owners to use while attempting to make an even trade with their league-mates in a standard 12-team mixed, 5×5 head-to-head or rotisserie redraft league.

The values present in this guide are simply the basis for a trade. A full-blown analysis of each team’s strengths and weaknesses are essential prior to proposing or accepting a trade offer.

How to use the guide: Ideally, owners will agree to a trade that will aid both sides and stay within $2-3 of each other in a one-for-one and $4-5 in a multi-player deal, according to our chart. Players not noted should be considered $1 players.

Here’s the chart:

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You can also download the chart, here.

Trading isn’t easy. It’s fun, but not easy. Remember that you don’t have to “win” the trade in order to pull the trigger. If you’re improving your team, then you should make the deal.

Nelson Cruz is off to a blistering start, so some may look to capitalize on the potential return on investment he may demand in your league’s trade market. Is the .340/.382/.796 slash with 14 homers and 26 runs batted in sustainable? Um, probably not. Cruz currently boasts a 31.8% HR/FB% –meaning, just about one in every three balls he belts into the air results into a home run — versus a career 17.8% HR/FB%. The homer pace should slow a bit going forward.

Cruz overachieving a bit and plays in a home park thats historically less advantageous for home runs, but so far he’s doing most of his damage on the road (11-of-14 HRs away from Safeco), so some of the production may actually be sustainable. Steamer’s rest of season projections suggest a .257/.315/.483 with 25 homers 76 batted in and four stolen bases.

You’ve already capitalized on close to a third of his season-long production in just over a month’s time. Is it worth it to hold on to see what could happen going forward, or is it time to cash in? It all depends on the return. Let’s see what some readers are getting in return for the Mariners’ outfielder:

According to the chart, this trade seems like a coup. But unlike Cruz, David Ortiz hasn’t exactly hit his stride yet. With just four homers through five weeks of the season and a HR/FB% (13.3%) that sits well below his career average of 18.5% HR/FB%, some may believe the best is yet to come for Big Papi. I think this is a deal that seems to be more fair than the chart would indicate, so I’m fine with it. Team’s positional needs obviously play a part in this as well.

Have a question about our Week 5 Tools of the Trade? Leave it in the comments below.

The concept for the this trade value chart has been adapted from Dave Richard’s fantasy football work at CBS.

All of our statistics are courtesy of our friends at FanGraphs .

Using ERA-FIP To Identify Starting Pitchers to Trade or Acquire

In this piece, I’ll be looking at one of my favorite strategies to identify starting pitchers to consider trading (or “selling high” or “buying low” as some continue to refer to it) or trading for on the trade market for fantasy baseball in 2015. Each and every baseball site you visit can probably provide you with a strategy to identify players to target or avoid via trade.

One of my favorite statistics to look at for pitchers is ERA-FIP on FanGraphs. ERA-FIP provides users with the difference between a starting pitchers current earned run average and their fielding independent pitching. According to FanGraphs, Fielding Independent Pitching “measures what a player’s ERA should have looked like over a given time period, assuming that performance on balls in play and timing were league average.” Moreover, FanGraphs suggests that “FIP does a better job at predicting the future than measuring the present, as there can be a lot of fluctuation in small samples.” The idea here is to look for pitchers whose ERA appears to be outperforming or falling behind their FIP. These may be players that have been “lucky or unlucky” to start the season, but theoretically should regress to the mean and fail to maintain that level of success or failure as the season wears on.

In addition to looking for players with higher or lower ERA-FIPs, I’ll take a look at BABIP, K% and BB% to guide my search. Note: We do need to be a bit cautious with this data as FIP isn’t the perfect statistic and there have only been roughly four turns in team’s rotations so far in ‘15. This discussion should be used as a starting point in your research. The chart I used for this research can be found at the conclusion of this post.

Three pitchers to target or buy:

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2015 World Series Odds Update

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One of the more interesting storylines this year has been the rise of the perennial underachievers that are the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs. It’s still early days, however, and it remains to be seen whether either side can maintain their excellent form up over 162 games. Here are a couple storylines that are shifting Major League Baseball’s listings in Vegas early on.

Can the Mets sustain their fast start?

New York baseball is definitely alive and well. The Yankees are right back on top of the AL East and the Mets, after years of languishing in the bottom of the standings, have risen to the top of the NL East.

As of April 27, the Mets own the majors’ best record with a 15-5 slate. They have managed to accomplish the feat with the help of their strong pitching. The Mets are second in the National League in the ERA department with a 2.93 average. Leading the way for the Mets are Bartolo Colon (2.77 ERA) and the returning Matt Harvey (3.04 ERA). Both pitchers are undefeated in their four respective starts.

That’s a great start but things could change for both hurlers, and fast. Colon is turning 42 at the end of May, and while he has been healthy lately, a 42-year old body could break down at any moment. Harvey, in the meantime, is just getting into his second full season as a pro, and while his body should hold up, the sample size remains small for him. Still, this MLB betting site has the Mets’ odds of winning the World Series pegged at +1,200.

Can the Cubs’ young guns deliver the goods?

Another team which has looked good early is the Chicago Cubs. After their 4-0 win against Pittsburgh on April 27, the Cubs have now won 11 of their first 18 games, their best start to a season since 2008.

Key to their strong start has been the excellent play of their young players. Third baseman Kris Bryant has lived up to expectations, hitting .351 for the season with eight walks and nine RBIs in his first 10 games. Starlin Castro is having a solid start as well, batting .324 with two homers and 11 RBIs in his opening 18 games. Addison Russell got in on the youth movement as well with a three-run double against the Cincinnati Reds in a 5-2 win.

There’s tremendous upside with this Chicago team and the Cubs will only get better as the season progresses. These are mostly blue chip prospects delivering the goods they were expected to deliver, so the Cubs could easily maintain this pace. The Cubs are pegged at +1,400 to end their 107-year World Series title drought this season.