Archive for Stock Watch

2017 Magazine Contributions

This season, I was lucky enough for a couple print publications, Lindy’s and The Fantasy Baseball Guide, asked me to contribute their fantasy preview magazines.  While the quality of both magazines is top notch, print publications have limited room for explanations and no ability for back-and-forth discussions. Today, I am going to go over my contributions which I feel could use more explanation and will answer any questions on my thought process.

Lindy’s

For Lindy’s, I participated in their 12-team mock draft ( standard team except 1 C, 4 OF, 8P) and I picked out of the 3rd position. Here is my team

Position – Name (Round Drafted)
C – Buster Posey (3)
1B – Hanley Ramirez (7)
2B – Rougned Odor (2)
3B – Adrian Beltre (4)
SS – Marcus Semien (12)
MI – Jung Ho Kang (17)
CI – Albert Pujols (10)
OF – Andrew McCutchen (5)
OF – Mark Trumbo (9)
OF – Marcell Ozuna (14)
OF – Matt Holliday (16)
Util – Mike Moustakas (18)
P – Clayton Kershaw (1)
P – Chris Archer (6)
P – Rich Hill (11)
P – James Paxton (13)
P – Michael Pineda (19)
P – Jharel Cotton (20)
P – Andrew Miller (8)
P – Shawn Kelley (15)

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Finding Pitching Sleepers With Infield Fly Rate

My article today spawned after listening to The Sleeper and the Bust podcast when Paul Sporer interviewed NBFC’s Main Event champion Rob Silver. The entire podcast is a must listen, but one part sparked my interest. Rob mentioned he uses infield flyball rate plus strikeout rate minus walk rate to value pitchers (55:45 point). Silver successfully targeted Kevin Gausmann, Marco Estrada, and Rick Porcello late in his draft by using this stat combination. I will create the same filter to find 2017 sleepers.

There is no easier ball to catch than the infield fly. It’s an easy out. In those few instance when they errantly fall to the ground, a fantasy owner shouldn’t worry since the rest of the inning’s runs won’t count because of the error.

Besides being an easy out, a player’s infield fly rate stabilizes with just over a half season’s data. While infield flies don’t stabilize as fast as strikeouts, they do become stable within a season.

Infield fly rate (IFFB%), especially as we represent it here at Fangraphs, misleads the user. The IFFB% listed indicates the percentage of flyballs (FB%), not all batted balls, which are hit in the infield. To get the infield popup rate, the IFFB% must be multiplied by the FB%. The confusion doesn’t end yet.

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Mixing Fantasy & Reality: Schwarber, Thames, & Much More

Time to talk a little Kyle Schwarber

I touched on it yesterday, but Schwarber’s fantasy value is going to fluctuate a ton depending on each league’s settings. In all my keeper leagues, he is getting the Utility tag because he didn’t make the minimum five games played last year (just two games in the outfield). I can’t emphasize enough, know your league settings. Most leagues require five starts until a player is eligible at a position, so I see him getting outfield eligibility the first or second week depending on the schedule and weather.

For him to get the five games at catcher to gain eligibility, let me say I am skeptical of him catching just one game, let alone five. Just to make sure I wasn’t off kilter, at least on this subject, I ask my Twitter followers when they thought he would reach the five games.
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Transaction Analysis: Fowler, Uehara, Heston, & More

St. Louis Cardinals sign Dexter Fowler

This move made too much sense for both parties. The Cardinals needed a centerfielder and Fowler needed a job. As for the fantasy value changes, several are positive and other negative but overall the move is neutral. In St. Louis, the home park is less pitcher friendly and his new offensive teammates are not as good as the Cubs. The big positive change will be more playing time as he slots into the full-time Cardinals center field job.

Fowler’s talent level has been consistent for the past five seasons. Ten to 20 home runs and stolen bases with a .270 AVG as the norm. There is not a reason for this trend to change. I am though a little worried about the stolen bases will drop off as he enters his thirties.

Fowler’s production may not be playable in shallow formats, but the stolen base and home run combination make him an outfield option in most leagues. He’s valuable, just not elite.

 

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Fantasy Implications: Desmond, Gomez, Ramos, & Others

Note: I am not covering the possible Davis for Soler trade between the Royals and Cubs because it is still in the possible stage. Once the medicals get cleared up, someone at RotoGraphs will cover it.

 

Colorado Rockies sign Ian Desmond

This move is a little confusing in a vacuum. The only position Desmond slots in defensively for the Rockies is first base. The problem is that his offense output doesn’t match up with other first basemen (Desmond’s projected wOBA before the move (.312) would put him around 45th overall at first). I don’t think the Rockies are done making moves, though, so I expect Desmond to probably be on the outfield depth chart soon.

No matter his position, Desmond’s value just skyrocketed. With half his games in Colorado, his batting average will jump along with his RBI and Runs chances. It will be interesting to see where he slots into the lineup which could affect his Run-RBI mix.

Owners need to spend a little time making sure they have a good handle on his value. Don’t wing his valuation. Have a decent idea where his value slots in with your league settings. He could get overvalued if his batting average doesn’t soar like people expect, but I think he will likely be undervalued as his power and speed production could make him similar to Charlie Blackmon.

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Weekend Transaction Analysis: Holliday, Beltran, Garcia, & More

Note: The great and powerful Paul Sporer will examine the Mark Melancon, Rich Hill, and Steve Pearce moves in the next day or so. I am just catching up on the moves from the weekend.

 

Yankees signed Matt Holliday

In a vacuum, this signing makes sense for the Yankees and Holliday. The Yankees needed a designated hitter and Holliday needed to transition away from playing the outfield. As the Yankees roster stands at this moment, Tyler Austin and Gregory Bird will be competing for time at first base and the outfield is Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Aaron Judge. All the veterans have a role and everyone should be content.

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Fantasy Implications: Reddick and McCann

The Astros have so far been the major mover this offseason. After signing Charlie Morton earlier this week, they picked up Brian McCann and Josh Reddick yesterday. The team has already remade themselves and the offseason has just started.

With the offseason just getting started, it is tough to get a good feeling on what the Astros will end up looking like going into spring training. When the offseason is nearly over, fantasy owners will need to sit down and figure how the playing time will get divided up among the players in Houston to help determine final values.

Astros sign Josh Reddick

Josh Reddick is one of those players in I hate drafting. If Reddick is an option on my draft sheet, I usually go another direction as Reddick offers little to no upside and downside. He is the safe play and for some people, the right move for them. The 30-year-old has had some up-and-down performances like the 32 home runs in 2012 or the single stolen base in 2014 but otherwise he is good for a dozen home runs and 10 steals with a .270 AVG.

Over the past four seasons, Reddick has traded off some power for a better contact rate. His strikeouts are down (20% to 13%) with his batting average being up (.226 to .281). While he has changed some, it is not enough to move his fantasy value.

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Fantasy Implications: Colon, Dickey, Kendrick, & Morales

Braves sign R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon

Well, the Braves used to be a young, rebuilding team. Now they are a slightly older rebuilding team. Signing the pair helps solidify the Braves rotation and suck up a ton of innings.

As for the changes in fantasy implications, I see none for Bartolo Colon. He is staying in the same division and still on a decent offense to get Wins. As long as he continues to command his 88 mph fastball, he will be playable in deep leagues and as a spot starter. I am pretty sure people know what they are getting from him at this point in his career.

The R.A. Dickey signing is a little more interesting. Dickey has been pretty much irrelevant in the past couple of seasons except for generating a ton of subpar rate stats for the teams brave or desperate enough to roster him.

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Mixing Fantasy & Reality: 2016 Final Player Values & More

First, a few words about my offseason writing at Rotographs. Besides reporting any possible relevant fantasy news, I plan on systematically going through two groups of players and work on their 2017 values. I will start at the top of the 2017 rankings and also somewhere in the middle and work my way down each list. I may be able to do a handful of players each article or I might by limited to just the two players. Either way, I will start putting together a 2017 draft ranking.

Additionally, I will try to follow Eno’s schedule for the other writers (e.g. players on playoff teams for the next couple of weeks). If they are looking at outfielders for that specific week, I will also look at outfielders.

The other project I will work through is being able to put a better evaluation on prospects for fantasy purposes. I will use the evaluations of various prospect writers and publications and put their evaluations into something which can be used in fantasy circles. I have some ideas of what I want to accomplish, but I am sure there will be some roadblocks and detours on the way. I will start this series Friday.

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Prospect Stock Watch: Schrock, Vogelbach, Slater

Today represents the final Prospect Stock Watch of the year… Soon, we’ll be transitioning to the annual series called ‘A Minor Review of 2016: ’ so keep your eye out for that feature. Today’s final stock watch looks at an infielder with crazy-good contact skills, a ready-for-The-Show slugger, and sleeper outfield prospect.

Max Schrock | 2B | Athletics
ETA: 2017
Value: Rising

There aren’t many big leaguers like Schrock — who was recently traded from Washington to Oakland. He makes a crazy amount of contact and his strikeout rate actually sits below 10% in his two-year pro career. That’s allowed him to produce a .325 batting average. The downside to his game, though, is that he’s almost 100% reliant on his ability to hit for average as he doesn’t walk much and has almost zero power. At 5-8, 180 pounds — and with a line-drive approach — he doesn’t project to add much pop. As a result, while the contact is impressive, he probably doesn’t project as anything more than a big league utility player or second-division starter at second base. Schrock, 21, has played all but 12 games in his career at second base so it’s probably about time that Oakland begins to expand his defensive repertoire. With that said, second base has been a blackhole for the A’s so the young infielder is likely earmarked for a shot at the position in mid-to-late 2017 unless the club looks at other internal and external options.

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