• Let Us Avoid Wasted Plate Appearances
    by Andrew Perpetua - 4/27 -  12
    Statcast has given us many new ways to evaluate quality of contact.  You can look at exit velocity and launch angle (although I wouldn’t recommend it). You can look at my xOBA, or MLB’s xwOBA (cough).
  • An Early Jake Lamb Update
    by Randy Holt - 4/26 -  7
    I'm nothing if not consistent. As we close in on the end of the season's first month, I figured it'd be pertinent to review the early performance of one of the more intriguing players the third base position has to offer in Jake Lamb.
  • Prospect Stock Watch: Jeimer Candelario
    by Marc Hulet - 4/24 -  0
    The Chicago Cubs have a pretty good, young third baseman named Kris Bryant. You may have heard of him. He has two MLB seasons under his belt and his awards shelf already has both a Rookie of the Year and a MVP award.
  • Replacing Starling Marte
    by Paul Sporer - 4/19 -  5
    Starling Marte was suspended for 80 games on Tuesday after testing positive for Nandrolone back in Spring Training and then losing the subsequent appeal.
  • Roto Riteup
    The most roto-relevant news of the previous day, recapped in a concise format for your morning coffee.
  • Bullpen Report
    Detailed daily updates and charts on every bullpen in the Major Leagues to help you manage your saves and holds.
  • Prospect Coverage
    Our prospect team mines the minors for top prospects and useful pieces alike.
  • MASH Report
    Award-winning in-depth injury report with analysis from Jeff Zimmerman.
  • The Sleeper and The Bust Podcast
    Eno Sarris, Paul Sporer, and Jason Collette lead the RotoGraphs staff in a regular fantasy podcast.
  • Daily Fantasy Strategy
    The RotoGraphs team discusses daily fantasy strategy and then makes picks for the day.
  • Ottoneu Strategy
    Strategy for the year-round FanGraphs Fantasy game.
  • Top 50 Fantasy Prospects
    Marc Hulet adjusts (and updates) his prospect list for fantasy purposes.
  • Field of Streams
    Pitching picks in a quick daily podcast hosted by Dylan Higgins, featuring regular guests including Matthew Dewoskin.
C  -  1B  -  2B  -  SS  -  3B  -  OF  -  SP  -  RP

#2xSP (5.1-5.7)

We’re back at it after an up-and-down start to Week 3, but I think we have a fairly good trio — including oddly enough, a holdover — heading into Week 4. Let’s dive right in.

Here’s how we’re doing so far this season (through half of Week 3):

5-4 record
3.18 ERA
8.7 K/9
2.1 K/BB
1.35 WHIP
7 quality starts

Here are this week’s recs (with team wRC+ for this season in parentheses):

LHP Hector Santiago – 23.9% ESPN – v. OAK (106), v. BOS (99)

Santiago’s one of those guys who won’t wow you on the mound, but you look up in the fifth and you’re down 4-2 and aren’t sure how he’s kept you at bay. He works high in the zone with a low-90s fastball and doesn’t have especially good control, but just battles with every pitch and executes when he needs to. He’s been a consistent FIP beater for his entire career, which makes it sort of crazy that he was traded for Ricky Nolasco — among others — considering the latter does the exact opposite. What stands out for Santiago this year — in addition to improved walk rates — is that he’s changed his changeup grip and it appears to be working wonders. It has a little less fade than his screwball — which he still throws — and that allows him simply another look with which to attack batters. So far, that changeup has a 14 percent whiff rate this season — well above the 9.6 percent mark he’s had on it over his career.

RHP Robert Gsellman – 14.1% ESPN – @ATL (88), v. MIA (93)

I know the Braves pummeled him last time out — Kurt Suzuki? C’mon man! — but I’ll always gamble on the talent, and I love Gsellman in that respect. He’s still striking out a batter per inning and putting the ball on the ground (57.1 percent), and even despite the fact that he’s facing the Braves for a second time in a row, I think he can beat up on both of these teams. If you like someone else better that’s fine, but I’ll always, always gamble on the talent in these things.

LHP Daniel Norris – 11.9% ESPN – v. CLE (112), @OAK (106)

I really liked Norris last year — 9.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 3.38 ERA — and think he’s bound to round into form here eventually. This is another “gamble on the talent” kind of guy, with a higher groundball rate and lower home run rate than last year. To me, those things are tougher to correct than walk and strikeout rates, where he’s faltering compared to last season. His velo is up and he’s throwing more sliders….I think the strikeouts are just around the corner.


Paul Sporer Baseball Chat – April 28th, 2017

Chat starts around 2:15 CT!

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 450 – Fast Starting Hitters

4/27/17

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 18, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER18!

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Leading Off: Question of the Day

Notable Transactions/Rumors/Articles/Game Play

Strategy Section: Fast Starts

HITTERS

As usual, don’t hesitate to tweet us or comment with fantasy questions.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or via the feed. Please rate & review the show in iTunes letting us know what you think!

Approximately 97 minutes of joyous analysis.


The Chacon Zone: Early Season Relief

Tumult and turnover has plagued bullpens far earlier than they did last season. Already, just shy of the four-week mark, we’ve seen closers relieved of duties in Washington and Philadelphia due to poor performance, lost to injury in Los Angeles (AL) and Baltimore, and in Texas, we’ve seen volatility due to some combination of the two. Oakland continues to confound us with a bullpen-by-committee and up and down the closer grid, last year’s elite and upper tier closers struggle.

Here in the Chacon Zone, we search for those widely available middle relievers toiling away in waiver wire obscurity, who may prove more productive than less talented pitchers benefiting from ninth inning opportunity. Luckily for save punters and deep leaguers, there are plenty to discuss.

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Ottoneu 101: Is it too early to sell?

If you’ve ever played Ottoneu, you likely realized that it’s a different fantasy format. The 40-man rosters are deep, and the player universe is much larger than the standard fantasy offering. There are auctions for nearly all acquisitions, and during the season there is no FAAB (just the money you decide to budget for free agents.) However, perhaps the biggest difference between Ottoneu and other formats is the playoff structure. Ottoneu doesn’t have one.

Ottoneu is a season long race, starting the first day of the regular season and ending with the season’s final game. The objective is pretty simple. Score more points over your allotted game and innings caps than your opponents. If you aren’t playing in a money league, or your league has not designed some added incentives of their own, then there likely aren’t incentives to finish in second place relative to twelfth. Read the rest of this entry »


A Pair of Low-owned Hitters – Alonso and Bonifacio

It’s foolish to put much stock in spring training numbers, but one of the spring’s hottest hitters has carried over a revamped approach and spring training success to the regular season. Now, I believe he’s an ownable commodity in mixed leagues as shallow as 12 teams if they use a corner infielder and/or a utility spot. The second player I’m covering this week wasn’t who I initially had in mind in the same outfield. While checking in on slugger Jorge Soler, I found myself intrigued by his rookie teammate who was recently promoted to The Show.

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The Daily Grind: Athleticism, Feats of

A programming note: there will be a Daily Grind this Sunday. I skipped the last two Sundays due to holiday and scheduling conflict.

AGENDA

  1. Feats of Athleticism
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. Players to Avoid
  5. SaberSim Says…
  6. TDG Invitational Returns!

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PITCHf/x Forensics: Shelby Miller

Poor Shelby Miller. After last year’s disastrous debut with the Diamondbacks, Miller was looking forward to getting back to his previous Cardinals and Braves form. The season started well enough – his spring training was filled with reports about his increased velocity, and how well he was pitching.

In my initial calculations of STUFF for the 2017 season – Miller was up from 0.56 in 2017, to 0.84 in 2017. That is a huge increase that shows great promise for turning a career around. But now – the dreaded third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, and the discovery of a strained flexor muscle, and a torn UCL, which could lead to Tommy John Surgery, or at minimum, a year off with rehabilitation.

What risk factors were present that could have lead to Shelby Miller’s UCL tear? Let’s look at the research.

Table 1. Known risk factors for UCL reconstruction from research.

The interesting thing about this analysis – is that the 2016 iteration of Shelby Miller has no risk factors that particularly jump out at you. He’s right in the moderate area for everything, save for pitches per game – but that value is quite comparable to every other starting pitcher, if not lower. At the same time, this is a case of the sum of all parts – a compounding situation where it’s death by 1000 paper cuts.

Miller broke into the league in 2012, and his Stuff has remained relatively stable since. The biggest change in his Stuff has been this season – and, I’ve tried to take into account the change in data by re-normalizing Stuff to only 2017 data, and subtracting 0.4 mph from the fastball velocity.

Figure 2. Shelby Miller fastball velocity and Stuff, 2012 to 2017.

2017 is clearly a change here – the velocity is up significantly, and that’s not really something that happens when someone gets older. There are a lot of variables in play that we can’t quantify – how quickly did Miller gain this velocity in the off season? What did his training regime look like?

Interestingly, it has been noted that Miller suffered a flexor muscle strain, as well as the UCL tear. Given the urgency that Miller and the Diamondbacks had in accelerating Miller’s return to good-ness, there is a chance signs of discomfort were ignored along the way. When a flexor-pronator muscle is strained, the tension that the muscle originally supported during pitching is now transferred to the ligament. If you’d like to know more about this – there’s a very interesting discussion on flexor-pronator muscle tears/strains on the “fixing pitchers” podcast – http://fixingpitchers.com/podcast/baseball-pitchers-ice-games/.

This is a very important note for young pitchers – do not ignore your body’s warning signs. If something doesn’t feel right, tell your coach and get it looked at by a doctor.

There are no red flags in this analysis for Shelby Miller – but had the strain been noticed a bit sooner, there is a chance he wouldn’t have torn his UCL.

References

Whiteside, D., Martini, D. N., Lepley, A. S., Zernicke, R. F., & Goulet, G. C. (2016). Predictors of Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction in Major League Baseball Pitchers. The American journal of sports medicine, 0363546516643812.


Roto Riteup April 28, 2017

Sonny Gray made his Triple-A rehab outing Thursday night and he did fairly well. He was on a 75-pitch assignment with the Nashville Sounds and tossed six shutout innings and issued seven strikeouts with no walks and two hits.

He’s on his way to joining the team as early as Tuesday when they take on the Minnesota Twins. The word on this particular injury has to do with the fact that there could be more underlying issues in his shoulder. So proceed with caution. Read the rest of this entry »


Field of Streams: Episode 258 – Intramural Heroes

Episode 258 – Intramural Heroes

The latest episode of “Field of Streams” is live!

In this episode, Dylan Higgins and Matthew Dewoskin discuss bailing on Robert Gsellman, the NFL Draft, Chris Coghlan’s epic dive, the White Sox battling for first place, Matt’s Ryan Schimpf joke, offending Joe Panik with a Tyler Collins comparison, Ty Blach being interesting (maybe), JC Ramirez potentially thriving as a starter instead of a reliever, Kyle Hendricks’ regression, being excited to reset the contest picks in May, and Matt’s softball update.

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