• Prospect Performers: The NL East
    by Marc Hulet - 5/22 -  5
    At the beginning of the 2017 season, I wrote pieces reviewing the potential impact rookie hitters in each league for 2017. Today, we continue a semi-regular review of how those players are actually performing.
  • The Overshooters
    by Andrew Perpetua - 5/18 -  12
    Last week I touched on a few misconceptions about launch angles and exit velocity. This article is a Part II, so you may be interested in going back and reading Part I if you haven’t already.
  • 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
    A contest to see who can make the better picks: streaming pitcher and hitter choices for every day of the season in a podcast hosted by Dylan Higgins and Matthew Dewoskin.
C  -  1B  -  2B  -  SS  -  3B  -  OF  -  SP  -  RP

The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 462 – SP Ranking Updates

5/25/17

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

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#2xSP (5.29-6.4)

After being stuck in baby purgatory — trust me, I mean that in a good way — the past couple weeks, I’m back with a nine-day old beauty (see below) and a three-man slate this week that I don’t totally love, but think could work due to some matchup stuff.

What beautiful eyes you have!

A post shared by Brandon Warne (@brandon.r.warne) on

Here’s how we’re doing so far this season (through half of Week 7)

16-10 record
4.10 ERA
8.2 K/9
2.1 K/BB
1.43 WHIP
14 quality starts

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

LHP Matt Moore – 31.8% ESPN – v. WAS (113), @PHI (90)

It’s hasn’t been a great season for Matty Mo — 5.28 ERA, 4.93 FIP, 1.53 WHIP — but here’s what we’re tapping into this week. The tougher of the two matchups for the 27-year-old lefty is at home against the Nationals. Moore’s splits carry about the biggest discrepancy you could imagine, as he’s got a 2.57 ERA at home and a 1.14 WHIP, while on the road he’s got a 7.80 ERA and 1.90 WHIP. Facing the Phillies at home should be a much easier matchup that can cushion that road ERA, but don’t be surprised if he holds down the Nationals while still allowing a good day to Bryce Harper. Somehow, lefties have hit the lefty hard this season: .404/.469/.825.

RHP Mike Clevinger – 24.1% ESPN – v. OAK (103), @KCR (75)

The numbers don’t all exactly match up, but Clevinger has been really good through four appearances for the Indians this season. He’s got a 1.56 ERA (2.75 FIP), and has a 0.98 WHIP despite walking 11 batters through 17.1 innings. You can pretty easily guess why; he’s allowed just a .111/.262/.130 line to the 65 batters he’s faced in the big leagues so far this season. It can be hard to recommend a guy with command issues or just 70 big league innings, but he’s coming off shutting down a really strong Astros offense last time out: seven innings, two hits, no runs, eight strikeouts and two walks. It’ll be interesting to see how the rotation shakes out when Corey Kluber returns. Could Clevinger push someone like Josh Tomlin or Trevor Bauer out? It doesn’t seem impossible.

LHP Tyler Anderson – 11.3% ESPN – v. SEA (101), @SDP (77)

Similarly to with Moore, I’m leaning on the fact that Anderson has done some good work at home, where his tougher matchup of the two will take place this week. In his parts of two seasons in the majors, Anderson has posted a 3.50 ERA in home starts and a 5.52 mark on the road. The Mariners might be a fairly tough matchup, but again I’ll gamble on those splits along with the fact that, when right, Anderson is a groundball kind of guy with good strikeout and walk rates. He’s also been really good in May (.696 OPS against, 3.06 ERA, 25 strikeouts in 17.2 innings) after an awful April (7.71 ERA, 1.005 OPS against, 24 strikeouts in 30.1 innings).


Ottoneu 101: Navigating Ottoneu Cap Space

As I have mentioned in previous posts, Ottoneu is a different fantasy game. The format has it’s own scoring settings, based on linear weights, and is hosted here on Fangraphs. However the biggest area of adaption required to play the format well is an understanding of the economics surrounding the game. Hopefully this can serve as a general primer to navigating the differences between formats.

The first place I want to start is with the Ottoneu rules. These appear pretty straight forward and can be easy to understand, however, like all things, the devil is in the details. So let’s comb through some of those.

There is no FAAB budget in Ottoneu. That format does not exist within the game. However, According to the Ottoneu rules, each team has a $400 budget that can be used to acquire players at the annual auction (“draft”). The remainder of these funds can then be used to buy free agents during the year. Read the rest of this entry »


Are The Cubs Pitchers Getting Unlucky?

Last season the Cubs pitching had a great BABIP, .255, the best in MLB by quite a margin.  This has been attributed to superior defense and great pitching. Both of these seem like good enough explanations. This season, with roughly the same team, their BABIP has dropped to .286, effectively league average.

Now, there is a lot you may assume from these numbers. You may think, of course, BABIP is so unpredictable. Of course a team that was above average one season would return to average the following season.  Fair enough, you could say that. Some argue their outfield defense has taken a step back. That might be true.

These are all guesses and assumptions, but fortunately we have a few more tools for evaluating quality of contact, so let’s see what they may tell us about this Cubs pitching staff. We can use Statcast to evaluate quality of contact. When we do so, it paints a bit of a different picture.

Cubs Pitching xStats
Year xAVG xOBP xSLG xBABIP xBACON xOBA
2015 .234 .290 .365 .296 .318 .286
2016 .233 .303 .373 .289 .314 .294
2017 .247 .320 .395 .305 .330 .311
SOURCE: xStats.org

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The Chacon Zone: A Few Relievers To Buy

The sheer amount of data points we have at our fingertips these days, while immensely useful, can be overwhelming. Seemingly, any one player, particularly this early in the season, can surge to the top of the leaderboard of your most trusted stat. One of my favorite heuristics for identifying sustainable breakout performances is very simple. Based on a handful of my favorite peripherals, I filter the leaderboards for those performing above average across all of them, in effect isolating standouts while hedging against the inherent volatility of performing well in a single stat. It’s not perfect but it’s a quick-and-dirty methodology that serves its purpose. 

Last week, I presented a list of pitchers who were better than average across K-BB%, swinging strike rate, Zone-Contact percentage, and ground ball rate. I focused on a few available starters while promising to cover some of the relievers this week. Lowering the innings threshold a tad (min. 14 IP), here are the relief pitchers all boasting better than average performances across the board in the aforementioned stats along with their ownership rates in Yahoo! leagues.

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Which Hitters Are Streaky?

I wanted to take a break from my Effective Velocity research, and so, in honor of Anthony Rendon, I decided to take a look at streaky hitters. Before this season, I did not have a perception of Rendon as streaky. But so far this season, he has produced 5 of his 7 total home runs, 7 of his 21 total runs, and 15 of his 28 total RBI in just two games. That’s insane. It may not mean anything in this case; however, it makes intuitive sense that some hitters would be more consistent than others. And beyond even the desire to roster consistent hitters over streaky hitters in weekly formats, I think it is at least worth exploring whether it is possible to identify hot and cold streaks as they are happening and make start-and-sit decisions with them in mind.

The first step toward that goal is defining what hot and cold streaks are. Rendon probably isn’t the best example of that. In general, I think of a hot hitter as one who produces well above his typical level of production for an extended period. As a starting point, I decided to look at players who produced a wOBA over seven consecutive games or more that was either 110 points above their seasonal line (hot) or 110 points below their seasonal line (cold). That 110-point threshold is fairly random, but it is based on the difference in the glossary markers for an excellent and awful player over a full season.

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Surprises Among AL SP SwStk% Laggards

Last week, I discussed five surprising American League starting pitchers sitting among the leaders in SwStk%. All of them had enjoyed surging versus 2016. Today, I’ll discuss pitchers on the other side of the coin, surprises toward the bottom of the SwStk% leaderboard, all of whom have suffered declines compared to last season.

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The Daily Grind: Definitive Proof of the Most Exciting Player

It’s a gross weather day. More on that below the fold.

AGENDA

  1. The Most Exciting Player
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. Hitters to Use
  5. SaberSim Says…
  6. TDG Invitational Returns!

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Roto Riteup: May 25, 2017

After in depth statistical analysis using unique metrics that can only be found within the inner workings of the Fangraphs private vault. The Roto Riteup has concluded that Billy Hamilton is fast. #Analysis

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Bullpen Report: May 24, 2017

It would appear the Padres may have a new closer.

With San Diego taking a 6-5 lead in the top of the eighth inning against the Mets, manager Andy Green sent Brandon Maurer out for the bottom of the inning. It wasn’t a two-inning save for Maurer, who had allowed at least one run in each of his last three appearances and a total of 10 runs over his last five outings covering 3 2/3 innings. Instead, Brad Hand came out for the ninth. Read the rest of this entry »