2016 NL Starting Pitcher Tiers: May Edition

Can you believe we’re almost done with April? It seems like the season just started. I swear baseball weeks move 10x faster than winter weeks. Anyway, it’s time to check in on the National League starting pitchers. I didn’t do an official first run of tiers last month, instead letting my final rankings update serve as my baseline, but from here on out I will be updating monthly per usual.

The release of Drake’s fourth studio album today gave me an easy theme for the May tiers, though I obviously need more than four tiers so I’m including some mixtapes and collaborative albums to get us to eight. They’re just in order of how I like them so “Views” comes in last just because I’ve only listened to it three times so I don’t really have a feel for it yet. I think first impressions with albums are kind of worthless.

I can’t tell you how many times I hated something on first listen only to love it two weeks later after another 10 spins. With due respect, I don’t care what you think about Drake in this particular forum (btw, that probably reads as more aggressive than I’m intending… I’m just saying, it’s tangential to the piece so let’s not get too hung up on it). I know some people don’t like him. I don’t like some music that others love. That’s just how it works. Comedy and music are two subjective arts that I finally stopped telling people how they should feel about once I realized that not everyone had to like what I like.

Let’s get to the pitchers!

If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

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#2xSP: 5.2-5.8

The torrid pace with which we’ve started the season has tempered. Like a step dad, I’m not exactly mad about the early-season results, just disappointed. Here’s where we are through half of Week 3:

6-6 record
4.00 ERA
87.2 total innings
8.3 K/9
2.7 K/BB
1.36 WHIP

Here’s the link to the spreadsheet if you’d like to check it out.

On to this week’s recs (with opponents’ team wRC+ in parentheses):

RHP Ricky Nolasco – 9.7% ESPN – @HOU (108), @CWS (90)

It feels about as clunky as the George W. Bush “fool me once” quote, but Nolasco feels like a decent enough recommendation based on his solid start. Through four starts he’s got plenty of whiffs (7.8 K/9) especially compared to walks (1.0 BB/9), is inducing grounders at a rate he’s never come close to (48.7%), and in part is riding the wave of a flukishly-low BABIP to a four-game solid stretch to start the season. Still, I’m enthused by how he’s attacking the strike zone; his first-pitch strike rate of 59.4% is his highest as a Twin, and his 51.3% zone rate is the highest he’s had since 2008. He’s healthy and he’s finding the strike zone with so-so stuff, propped up by a pretty good slider. He’s not a mixed-league year-long difference maker, but if that’s what you’re looking for you’re in the wrong place. I think he’ll give you enough in the short term here; I also think that’s what the Twins are hoping for between now and say a certain date in late July…. Read the rest of this entry »


2016 First Base Tier Rankings: April Edition

So a month has gone by since I tiered the first basemen for the preseason, which you can check out here:

2016 First Base Tier Rankings: Preseason Rankings

I tried not to be too reactionary by making massive changes unless somebody has garnered more playing time than expected, or suffered an injury or lost their role. In other words, my list is similar to my initial one since one month is not enough of a sample to make significant changes.

In honor of the NHL playoffs and my love for the New York Islanders, I have ordered my tiers by the players with the highest points per game in Islanders history. I welcome and encourage all feedback, but do note that these are subjective and still predictive in nature, as opposed to being reflective of one month. Enjoy!
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Let’s Build a Rotation

In Ottoneu, like any fantasy format, small sample sizes to begin the season drastically impact the standings. The team with the worst pitching in your league has probably allowed more homers than expected. While the team in last place has likely has pitched the fewest innings. It’s easy to blow off these types of starts due the unsustainable performances that aren’t likely to continue (or to front-loading innings). I thought it would be fun to take a different approach today. So let’s play a game…

The rules: Pick 5 SP, total salaries for this rotation of $30 or less based on Ottoneu average values (round up $1 dollar). No picks with an average salary over $12. Arbitrary limitations, I know.

The goal: Build a 5 man rotation assuming you can bank all points that have occurred thus far with the goal of accumulating the most Fangraphs points by seasons end. Let’s make some picks.

Name Avg. $ % Owned P/IP FPTS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA FIP
Drew Smyly so far $9.00 99% 6.21 178 28.2 10.36 1.57 0.94 2.51 2.80
Drew Smyly ROS $9.00 99% 4.93 601 122 9.52 2.56 1.11 3.28 3.50
Season Total 5.19 779 150 9.68 2.37 1.08 3.14 3.37

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Random Thoughts: Ottoneu, Tout Wars, Deep Prospects

Ottoneu Lineup

Here is a simple rule for daily lineups with game played limits:

If a player isn’t playing that day and you don’t need the games, move him to the bench.

I lost a game a few days back when a player who I knew wasn’t playing, hit for one at bat. It was for my utility slot which I can easily fill over the season, so I probably lost a few at-bats.

Boring Team

One fun part of a fantasy baseball auction is the ability to get the players an owner wants. Just like everyone else, I have my favorites. The problem is others like these players and they end up coming at a premium price.

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RotoGraphs Audio: Field of Streams 04/29/2016

Episode 146 – Live With Rudy Gamble

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

In this episode, Dylan Higgins and Brad Johnson are joined by Rudy Gamble in a live recording to discuss Razzball.com’s Streamonator, Dee Gordon’s suspension, the challenges of longevity when it relates to speed-based players, the opportunity Derek Dietrich now has, whether or nor to trust Melvin Upton Jr., Michael Conforto quietly being awesome, avoiding top prospect pitchers in their debuts, a very volatile Drew Smyly matchup, being worried about Felix Hernandez, and The Daily Grind Invitational.

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Play

The Daily Grind: DFS, Streaming, and More for April 29

Agenda

  1. Getaway Days
  2. The Daily Grind Invitational and Leaderboard
  3. Daily DFS
  4. SaberSim Observations
  5. Tomorrow’s Targets
  6. Factor Grid

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How Your Biggest Strength Could Be Hurting You

What is your strength when it comes to fantasy baseball?

Is it trading? Draft preparation and execution? In-season management? Identifying likely hitter busts? Or spotting that diamond in the rough pitcher? A lot of us seem to believe we’re adept at identifying those pitchers. Does that describe you? I’ll come back to this later.

You likely have a strength. And you should know what it is. You want to be able to exploit this strength as an advantage.

Assuming you are aware of your “edge”, let’s take a closer look at how it’s very possible you’re use of that strength might actually be putting you at a disadvantage. Read the rest of this entry »


Here Come the Prospects: Indians and Tigers

When it comes to fantasy baseball, not all prospects are created equally. In keeper leagues and dynasty leagues it’s important to have strategies around your prospects; you don’t want to just randomly grab a Top 10 or 20 prospect and hope for the best.

Along with skill, knowing a player’s ETA is key. Is the player advanced enough to help in 2016… or is he headed for a 2019 debut? Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a talented dude but he’s not likely to visit the Great White North until 2020. Chicago (AL) drafted Carson Fulmer in 2015 with the eighth overall pick but he’s considered advanced enough to perhaps help the club in ’17. And then there’s Colorado’s Trevor Story, who is likely to turn the Jose Reyes soap opera and a strong spring into a ’16 starting gig.

As a result, your strategy around acquiring prospects should vary. If you’re grabbing a guy earmarked to help in 2017 or later, you should look at them like a stock — an investment that you hope to see increase in value before you cash out (either by adding to your active roster or by trading for an opportunity to win sooner). You also have to consider if you’re truly committed to a long-range prospect and willing to commit a roster spot to someone who may not help for three or four years — if at all. Prospects with a ’16 or ’17 should be viewed as players that can be valuable (albeit potentially inconsistent) contributors to the current makeup of your roster at a reasonable cost.

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Roto Riteup: April 29, 2016

Mood:

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