FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball


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  1. I understand that there’s plenty of randomness and luck in the game of baseball, especially over small samples, but it’s still extremely unlikely that a player with Fowler’s career line goes .516/.605/.935 over an 8-game stretch, ever. It’s much more likely that he’s (some amount) better than his prior performance indicates.

    And while that stretch has no predictive value on its own, combining it with his previous eight weeks creates a larger, better sample that is more accurate than before. (ZiPS projects him to outplay his career numbers ROS in AVG, OBP, and SLG).

    And it’s not like Fowler is finished playing games at Coors this season, or his last game again RHP! Sure, he won’t hit HRs like Stanton, but are you sure he wouldn’t be a nice addition to your fantasy team anyway? A nicer one than you thought he might make at the beginning of the season, when you got him in the 18th round?

    Comment by Babycakes — June 6, 2012 @ 10:41 am

  2. For sure – not at all saying he should be dropped or cut or anything. If you’re in a daily league and can keep him away from road games or lefties, great. I just think you could probably get a nice return on him by showing someone where he ranks among other OFs, especially considering where he ranked two weeks ago.

    Comment by Mike Petriello — June 6, 2012 @ 10:43 am

  3. Ha, his unsustainable hot streak ain’t got nothin’ on mine!

    Comment by Bryan LaHair — June 6, 2012 @ 10:44 am

  4. I’d love to sell high, but I don’t think anyone in my league thinks this is sustainable. I plan to just keep him in my lineup at home vs righties, and bench him otherwise.

    Comment by Mark R — June 6, 2012 @ 10:45 am

  5. Actually, LaHair is awesome against RHP all the time. Pair him with a cheap lefty-murderer like Jason Bay, and you’ve got a free Matt Holliday.

    Comment by Babycakes — June 6, 2012 @ 10:59 am

  6. Sell high! Sounds good. What do you think I should ask for in exchange for Fowler? Joey Votto? Matt Kemp? How about one Rockies OF for another – Fowler for CarGo? I guess that’s a bit of a reach – perhaps Hanley or Stanton? Maybe at the absolute worst someone will give me Shin-Soo Choo or Matt Joyce? But probably only if the league is full of the most rational and analytic players – surely I can do better than Joyce for Fowler in most leagues. I mean, every other fantasy owner other than everyone here is a drooling moron, right?

    Comment by Pasquale — June 6, 2012 @ 11:01 am

  7. Thank you for the suggestion good sir – I will try pairing Jason Bay with myself in all of my leagues.

    Though I must say, would it not make more sense to pair me with another platoon-heavy lefty, rather than a fine but right-handed gentleman like Mr. Bay? Surely it does not follow that just because *I* am facing a lefty on some fine day that Mr. Bay, who plays for a different team, must also be facing a lefty on said day. Thus I would perhaps be well served to pair my own left-handed platoon split with another left-handed gentleman, increasing the odds that at least one of the pair of us will be receiving the platoon advantage on any given afternoon.

    Comment by Bryan LaHair — June 6, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  8. Yeah… my problem is who to trade him for?

    Comment by Jim Lahey — June 6, 2012 @ 11:14 am

  9. Bryan LaHair:

    Yes, that would make a lot more sense for your fantasy team. My suggestion was more like something that a real baseball team could do.

    Also, since you’re so clever, Mr. LaHair, why can’t you learn to recognize pitches coming from LHPs?

    Comment by Babycakes — June 6, 2012 @ 11:17 am

  10. I aint clever – that post is from an imposterior who I reckon has got some of that thar book-lernin.

    And I cant hit lefties cuz they scare me… I mean I aint scared of their pitches er nuthin, I’m scared of them that throws em… Lefties aint natural I tell ya. They aint in accordance to the Bible. I aint smart enough to tell ya why I think they aint natural when I is one myself, but I feel what I feel… cant no one tell me nuthin differnt.

    Comment by Bryan LaHair — June 6, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

  11. I have had him all year and had him benched for that week. Still pisses me off. I think he will be ok this year, finishing around 18-20 homers, 22-25 steals, a .280 ish average and a boatload of runs scored.

    Comment by JV — June 6, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

  12. I’ve been waiting for this breakout for a couple years. Everyone hits better at Coors, but his gains give me hope that its not all going to just happen at home this season. Moving from 2nd and 8th in the line up to leadoff seemed to have sparked this hot streak more than just playing a home stand.

    Comment by Fowler Fan — June 6, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

  13. The stat I’ve been trying to find on Fowler is how he’s hitting on the road vs RHP and how he’s hitting at home vs LHP because both those scenarios combine one dominant split with a poor one.

    Comment by Josh — June 6, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

  14. Fowler went in the 3rd round of my keeper league, meaning it gets shallow quick, but it was still a huge reach based on his finish last season. BJ Upton and Corey Hart went in the 4th round, for example. An owner that believes in a guy that much isn’t trading him for anything in the world :) Good owner, too; just get’s attached to guys.

    Comment by BJ — June 6, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

  15. Dexter was actually slightly better over his career coming into 2012 vs LHP’s. The lefty splits can get crazy from year to year for a lot of players and we’re only two months in this year. He’s probably got even better plate discipline from the right side and he actually has a little more pop from that side as well, at least before 2012 happened. He’s a natural right-handed hitter. Switch-hitting from the left side came later.

    I say keep the faith. His numbers from the right side will improve. Overall he’ll regress some of course, but he’s real good at home regardless. The final step for Dexter would be figuring out how to be acceptable on the road.

    Comment by razor — June 6, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

  16. To caveat this, I’ve been a Fowler hater for years, so I won’t try to hide my dislike. In short, I think he’s just the league average players his first 3 season demonstrated; .260/.360/.420 slash line with 10HR/15SB tools.

    Mike touched on it briefly, his recent success appears to be highly correlated to Coors field park factor. Here are his splits:

    Home: .354/.461/.708 – 5 Doubles, 4 Triples, 7HR
    Away: .170/.254/.321 – 1 Double, 2 Triples, 1 HR

    Now clearly, he’s not changing teams, so he’ll be hitting in Coors for the foreseeable future, but that “totally-unsustainable” HR/FB% of 22.9% is actually 31.8% at Coors.

    What that gets you is a player that isn’t hitting outside of Coors and is due for a major correction in HR/FB% at Coors. The end result…a league average CF. If you rode the hot streak, then congrats and now is time to sell and walk away while you can.

    Comment by MLB Rainmaker — June 6, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

  17. In a competitive league, selling high on a Coors driven hot streak is a tall order. What I see is some home park love, the Houston Astros pitching staff, hitting in front of an even hotter CarGo, and a guy that had been bounced from the 2 hole down to the 8 spot, benched for Tyler Colvin for a while and then given the leadoff spot with something to prove. Its not all just about HR/FB% and lefty platoons. These guys want to make big bucks, and the only way to do that is to show the organization that they’re worth something.

    Take it from Hacksaw, Dexter is gonaa be alright. If you can sell high you should, but I think you’ll be happy with what you get if you stay put.

    Comment by Hacksaw Jim Duggan — June 6, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

  18. Since we’re talking about LaHair, would you trade Fowler for LaHair in an OBP league?

    Comment by coco — June 6, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

  19. I know this has been said, but every sell high or buy low article should be followed by guys that a player should be able to get in return. Otherwise, owners like me get offered trades like Fowler for Kemp. Someone needs to reel in expectations of what Fowler should get in return.

    Comment by Troy — June 6, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

  20. Kemp for Fowler straight up is seriously unfair. To the guy giving Fowler. What has Kemp done in the last week? That’s right, nothing!

    Comment by Pasquale — June 6, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

  21. Yeah I’ve been riding this wave waiting for it to end…then dropping him in a Shallow 10-tean 7×7.
    Already have dead weight with Maybin on the bench and don’t need two under achieving CF’s on the pine!
    Great stuff above everyone, very entertaining and informative as well!

    Comment by Polka — June 6, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

  22. Here are all of Fowler’s double splits:

    Home vs Lefties:
    38 ABs, .237/.293/.368

    Home vs Righties:
    58 ABs, .431/.554/.931

    Away vs Lefties:
    15 ABs, .133/.316/.267

    Away vs Righties:
    38 ABs, .184/.225/.342

    So Fowler’s terrible on the road no matter the pitcher, and bad at home against lefties. Against righties at home, Fowler has a .486 BABIP that is surely unsustainable. To me, the answer to question posed by the article title is an emphatic “NO”!

    Comment by BosoxBob — June 6, 2012 @ 7:24 pm

  23. What site do you use to find that info?

    Comment by Josh — June 6, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

  24. If you like at his plate discipline numbers it looks as though he has made a small adjustment. Maybe taking an extra couple of pitches per game is the reason behind his turnaround.

    His contact ratios have not changed but he is swinging less, swinging and missing less, swinging outside the zone less, and making more contact when he does swing.

    That may lead to an extra hit per game and be behind this hot streak.

    Comment by RollTribe — June 6, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

  25. Surprised to see how much people are looking at this year’s splits in making their evaluation on Fowler. He’s not a sell-high in a league with decent owners.

    Fowler has struggled in the majors before this year, to be sure, but there are two major reasons to believe that he’s closer to an 850 OPS hitter than a 775 OPS hitter:

    1) He was highly thought of as a prospect and is well regarded when it comes to tools. John Sickels had him as the #6 hitting prospect in baseball in 2009.

    2) His minor league stats are good. He posted a 946 OPS in AA in 2008 and an 870 OPS overall in AAA, even including last year’s flop.

    He walks 14% of the time, hits line drives 20% of the time, and doesn’t strike out too much. I’ll sign on the line for his ZIPS updated season projection as his performance from here on out: .274/.372/.480

    Comment by Brian — June 6, 2012 @ 11:29 pm

  26. I used Baseball Musings’ Day By Day Database tool – specifically, the Batter Split Comparisons. I got the home left/right splits directly, and computed the away left/right splits from the difference of the total left/right and home left/right splits.

    Comment by BosoxBob — June 6, 2012 @ 11:36 pm

  27. Yeah, my league is full of risk-averse players who value their players more than players on other teams. I wouldn’t be able to get anything of value for him right now. My plan is just to platoon him until September 2nd when 20 out of the final 30 games is on the road. Hopefully he will have a .285/.370/.870 line with 15HRs and 20 steals at that point and with around 500 ABs by then, people will let their guard down a bit about small sample size flukes. That’s when I’ll be selling high.

    Comment by James — June 7, 2012 @ 1:40 am

  28. Are those FB and GB percentages bad or something? I don’t get it

    Comment by theeiffeltower — June 7, 2012 @ 6:54 am

  29. You also probably should have mentioned the adjustment he made to his swing partway through last year, which coincides nicely with his hot streak.

    Comment by theeiffeltower — June 7, 2012 @ 6:55 am

  30. I was able to nab Tim Hudson for Fowler straight up on Sunday. The funny thing is I offered the same trade (and a few other Fowler offers to other owners) a week earlier and I couldn’t give him away. Funny how much a player’s value can go up (or down) in a week. But that’s the beauty of baseball . . .

    Comment by neboguy — June 7, 2012 @ 9:33 am

  31. I watch almost every Rockies game that is on TV and try to go to 3-4 a year and just about when you have had it with Fowler he starts hitting. But he can not steal a base to save his butt. Most of the time when the pitcher delivers his pitch Dexter is leaning back toward first, now you would think after 3+ years in the Majors he would be able to read a pitcher by now. In the outfield he gets great jumps on most balls and his speed lets him run them down.
    But a man that is 6’5″ and has such long arms and legs should be able to hit 25 hr, 20 triples and 30 doubles in his sleep. Myself I think he is a bit on the lazy side from time to time.

    Comment by themick — June 7, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  32. I have Stubbs and Fowler in a league and I am looking to shed one of them. Which should I keep and which should I drop?
    I am totally baffled. My guts says keep Stubbs, but Fowler has more upside.

    Comment by Tom — June 7, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

  33. Pairing two southpaws with strong platoon splits makes it no easier or better to take advantage of splits. To believe the option of two LH hitters with heavy platoon splits supercedes the other option of a LH and RH hitter who both carry traditional platoon splits is to fall victim to the gambler’s fallacy. You would be pre-supposing that the game in which the LaHairless Cubs are playing against a LHP, will somehow coincide more succinctly with that of another LH bat playing against a RHSP in a different game, than that of a Bay led tributary of offense against a LHSP on the same day in a separate game.

    The reality is that better platoon partners are made from the same team (i.e. Reed Johnson who has career OPSs of .831 vs LHP compared to .709 vs RHP) or I would suggest finding a guy whose OPS is .700+ on another team and who plays regularly with less than a .030 split difference and use him as a substitute regardless. In essence, I would suggest choosing to play player X regardless over LaHair when a southpaw starter or a team deep with LH relievers (i.e. Reds – Chapman, Marshall, Bray) is facing the Cubs.

    By finding a platoon neutral player, you are guaranteed to take advantage of days where you don’t want to play LaHair’s .457 OPS vs LHP. If the guy is league average or better, plays everyday, and his worse of the two platoon splits is around .700, than you are guaranteed to avoid holes in your lineup. Figuring you can maneuver your roster accordingly, I would pick up a guy like Casper Wells or Craig Allen, so long as they play regularly.

    Comment by WackyTobaccy — June 15, 2012 @ 11:29 pm

  34. So now that Fowler’s numbers have evened out:

    Home: 0.333/0.425/0.610 (still awesome)
    Away: 0.250/0.322/0.417 (league average)
    vs. Right: 0.301/0.387/0.540
    vs. Left: 0.297/0.379/0.516
    HR/FB: 17.5%

    Does that look like “a league average CF?” Three plus months into 2012, he now only has the ninth-highest wOBA of any qualified outfielder. Baseball history shows that many players’ career paths are not as linear as others.

    I would not sell high.

    Comment by ALeeRocks — July 17, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

  35. Fowler’s rest of season ZIPS: .280/.364/.462
    Fowler’s updated total season projection: .304/.388/.495

    I guess the answer to the article is a resounding “yes”

    Comment by Brian Mangan — September 3, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

  36. I would like to point out that the author of this article originally posted a snotty reply to my above comment saying that I only liked Fowler because I had him on my fantasy team. That comment has since been deleted.

    Oh and Fowler finished 2012 at .300/.389/.474, or just below what ZIPS projected, and is batting an almost identical .284/.386/.479 this season with a BABIP of only .342, so not exceptionally high.

    I see you, hi haters.

    Comment by Brian — June 7, 2013 @ 4:02 pm

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