Author Archive

Mid-Season Shortstop Tier Rankings

Just a week ago, we were looking at players I ranked differently from others or disagreed with commenters on for the month of June. Well, just like that it’s July, and it’s time for a new batch of shortstop rankings. These ones aren’t any more important than any other month, but they do provide an interesting look because they come right at the mid-way point of the baseball season.

Before we look ahead, however, I want to take a brief moment to look back. Can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been, and all that.
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Daily Fantasy Strategy — June 29 — For Draftstreet

There are a lot of different ways to evaluate bad offenses, which we’ve done a handful of times in this space of later. Simply grabbing a team’s wOBA against a certain handedness of pitcher is a quick and easy way. We’ve also looked at the average fantasy score of an opposing pitcher against that offense, as well as the distribution of those scores to get a better idea of the boom-or-bust nature of an offense.

Today, we’ll look at one other way to skin that cat, one that focuses entirely on the ultimate upside of a match-up.

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Daily Fantasy Strategy — June 26 — For Draftstreet

Baseball is a beautiful game. Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter is a perfect example of why. Down on his luck for the past three seasons, at least compared to his earlier success, Lincecum was able to be damn near perfect for one night, retiring all but one batter and striking out six.

Of course, for the purposes of daily fantasy, this type of unpredictable outburst is a black swan – you can’t plan for no-hitters, or anticipate them at all. You can, however, take two reminders from Lincecum’s performance.

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Tempering Expectations On A Trio Of Shortstops

Back on June 3 when I posted shortstop tier rankings for June, I had no idea we would be gifted staff consensus rankings shortly thereafter.

As is always the case, there are varying levels of disagreement between the ranks (although when “tiering,”the rankings are far looser). Today, I wanted to quickly hit on a few names I seem to disagree with the group on, based not only on a difference in ranking but also, in one case, commenter feedback. As a reminder, this is with a rest-of-season focus only.

Troy Tulowitzki
Everyone else thinks he’s the number one shortstop. I happen to think he’s the king of baseball. Agree to disagree.
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Daily Fantasy Strategy — June 22 — For Draftstreet

Left-handed hitters are batting just .238 off of left-handed pitchers so far this season, posting a paltry .290 wOBA, roughly 20 percent below the league average for offense.

We know that the lefty-lefty match-up is a tricky one, and I think it’s generally accepted that the righty-righty match-up is less of an issue, because a righty who can’t hit righties would probably be filtered out of the talent pool before reached the majors.

Here’s how the numbers bear out so far this season:

Match-up % of Pas wOBA
LHH v LHP 7.9% 0.280
RHH v RHP 37.7% 0.307
LHH v RHP 35.8% 0.318
RHH v LHP 18.6% 0.315

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Daily Fantasy Strategy — June 19 — For Draftstreet

There’s been a good deal of talk on these pages (especially on the Fangraphs side) about trusting in rest of season projections of late. Brett Talley talked about this a little on Monday, and despite Justin Verlander trying his very best to shred Brett’s point to pieces, it still stands – ROS projections are a very effective tool, and using them with a little bit of your own analysis (match ups, weather, and so on) can provide real value.

Should we be less trusting when it comes to young players, though? It seems that projection systems would struggle more in translating minor league stats than major league ones. I don’t have the data chops to determine to what degree that’s true, but it certainly makes sense logically – there’s a lot more noise happening at the minor league level, and the difficulty gets turnt up in the majors.

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Important Life Questions And Brad Miller

Life is hard. It comes with a lot of tough decisions and a lot of tough questions that don’t have easy answers. We are humans, and we will make mistakes, and we should forgive ourselves for those. I’ve been dealing with a lot of this philosophical life stuff recently, and it’s been difficult.

I’m talking, of course, about Brad Miller, and it seems I’m not alone, as the baseball community remains puzzled by an important visceral question: is Brad Miller any good?
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Daily Fantasy Strategy — June 15 — For Draftstreet

Happy Sunday, and happy father’s day, if you happen to be one of those. If not, well, way to play safe.

There are no off days for any MLB dads today, as we’ve got a full 15-game slate, with 10 of those starting at 2:15 of earlier. That means when rosters lock around 1:05, you should have a large enough pool of will-play players to avoid the risk of surprise off days. Sundays are great for that (although, as always, I have to write this well before that point, so be sure to check the recommendations are suiting up).

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Daily Fantasy Strategy — June 12 — For Draftstreet

We’ve lightly discussed in this space before the utility of rolling out a relief pitcher for daily fantasy.

In short, the cost per point can be favorable and some of the best value available, but the risk of posting a zero is high –the most heavily used closers, Cody Allen and Mark Melancon (31 appearances each), have appeared in fewer than half of their teams games (not to mention each started the year as a setup man – Francisco Rodriguez leads full-season closers with 30 appearances, 46 percent of his team’s outings).

Whether you choose to deploy a closer or not will largely depend on your risk preference. To try and help out, the table below shows how often closers have pitched with certain rest (it includes seasons since 2010 in which a pitcher notched at least 10 saves).

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The Disappearance Of J.J. Hardy’s Power

J.J. Hardy entered the season as the No. 14 shortstop on the consensus rankings, has ranked 28th in production to date and yet still ranks No. 15 on the latest shortstop consensus rankings. Obviously, then, there’s a fair amount of optimism that his slow start is going to turn around.

Because, well, yeah, Hardy has zero home runs to date despite having spent the last seven seasons as one of the more reliable power producers at the position. From 2007 to 2013, Hardy ranked fifth at the position in WAR, sixth in plate appearances, third in home runs, ninth in runs and fifth in RBI; the average and OBP were never great, but save for a down 2009-2010 pairing where he was limited by injuries (and a demotion), he’s been a rare and steady source of home runs and RBI at a position devoid of them.

And this year, he has gone deep exactly zero times, adding just 15 RBI in 222 plate appearances (he missed a handful of games with minor back and thigh ailments). So, what gives?
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