Archive for Strategy

Stolen Base Streamers: April 16-19

Last week, I identified potential stolen base streamers for daily fantasy leagues and weekly leagues with daily transactions and lineup changes. I used a pitcher’s career caught-stealing and pick-off rates as criteria to determine if a particular matchup was primed for streaming a speedster with the hope of him stealing a base (or two or four).

I like how it turned out, but it felt hastily constructed. A pitcher’s career rate seemed too broad a scope, especially considering the possibility that a pitcher can get better (or, perhaps, worse) at limiting steals and picking off runners over time.

With a little more time and care, I fleshed out everything a bit more and added an additional criterion: catcher effectiveness, which can be most obviously measured by caught-stealing rate. But I think there also is merit to calculating the frequency at which runners attempt to steal on a catcher. In a sense, it measure runners’ perception of a catcher’s skill, especially for those at the tails of the distribution.

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My Hitting Portfolio

I play in a lot of fantasy baseball leagues. Like, a lot. I absolutely love the game, can’t resist a challenge, and have a tough time saying no when invited. All of that adds up to a 16-league portfolio when the dust settles. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “well doesn’t every result help and hurt you at this point?” Not quite. Part of that is because I’m a bulk drafter when it comes to “my guys”. There are certain players on both sides of the ball that I really focus on year-to-year and I end up trying to roster them as often as possible provided the format and pricetag are in line to do so.

I obviously can’t just copy the first team across the remaining 15, though, so I do have a shit-ton of different players. In fact, I have 244 different players at least once. A major part of this is because I’m in two NFBC 50-round draft-and-holds and I’ve got a lot of players on both of those teams that don’t show up anywhere else because of how deep we go in that league. As my league count ballooned, I began keeping track of who I have year-to-year to see how my investments shook out against what I believed coming into the season. We’re going to take a look at my portfolio today from the hitter side of things to see how it all turned out.

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Selling High on Bad Closers

Neftali Feliz and LaTroy Hawkins both picked up their first saves of the season last night. Per ESPN’s live draft results, Feliz was drafted as the 25th reliever off the board on average and just inside the top 200 overall. Hawkins was drafted 38th among relievers and went at pick 226 overall. These are a couple of the names you wound up with if you chose not to pay for saves.

Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I assume the plan if you own guys like Feliz and Hawkins is to ride them out as long as they hold on to the closer’s job and squeeze as many saves out of them as you can. I ascribe to the “don’t pay for saves” philosophy and scrounge around late in drafts and on the waiver wire to acquire my saves. Typically when I get a guy who has the ninth inning job, I ride it out until he loses the job. But it occurs to me, as it may have occurred to you, that maybe it’s better to cash in that asset after a string of un-blown saves. Read the rest of this entry »

Incredibly Small Samples: Fun, Agony & Something Helpful

Did you draft Dustin Pedroia, who is on pace for almost 300 home runs? Mookie Betts? In a fit of extreme homerism, the entire Red Sox lineup, which will surely score 1,296 runs? That must feel pretty good. Good for you, Pete. Give yourself a pat on the back.

Or, wait — you were the one who drafted Kyle Lohse, weren’t you? Threw a mid-round pick at Mat Latos? Wrote “stream Nate Karns” on your list of good Tuesday decisions? Do you regret it?

Man, there have been some truly brutal starts to kick off the season. It’s really easy to make a knee-jerk decision in reaction to such preposterous, ego-damaging, season-dooming starts, but you have to remember — and I think it goes without saying — that these guys will (probably) never be worse this year than they were today.

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FanGraphs Staff League 2 Season Preview

This marks the fourth year of the Second FanGraphs Staff ottoneu league, and we are setting up for a highly competitive year. Before each season, I set up projected standings to help me understand where my team stands and what I need to do to improve.

This year, based on the FanGraphs Depth Charts projections, my team has its work cut out for it, sitting within striking distance of first, but chasing two teams.

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Three Platoon Players You Should Roster

Playing time is the currency of today’s fantasy game. The more at-bats you can find, the better you’re going to do which is pretty obvious with four of the five categories in a standard being counting categories. The difference these days is that guys just don’t play as much as they used to due in large part to injuries, but also because teams are more willing to platoon guys perhaps in response to sharply declining offense.

Since 2000, an average of 87 players have logged at least 600 PA, but the league hasn’t reached or exceeded that average since 2010 (89). The following season saw just 68 players reach that mark, a 15-year low. From 2000-2009, the average was 92, but in the last five years it has tumbled to 78. This places an even bigger premium on the handful of stars who have shown stability year-to-year with their playing time.

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Leftover Auction Cash: Maybe Not a Bad Thing

I participated in two drafts this past weekend. Both were 10-team auctions, one a season-long rotisserie keeper league (“LOWV,” henceforth), the other a head-to-head points redraft league (“Sandlot”). They are just home leagues, not renowned leagues such as Tout Wars or LABR or anything like that, but hey! Breaking down any draft can make for good insight, and if it helps just one person clarify his or her strategy, perhaps it did some good.

“So, Alex, how did you in your drafts?” Great, thanks for asking! I love both my teams. Love them. Except I made the same mistake in each draft: I left some money on the table. Like, $20 in one instance. It became a running gag: “Don’t question Alex — it’s all part of his master plan!” But here’s the catch: I arguably have the best team, per the projections, even after managing my budget so poorly.

So where did my strategy go wrong? Honestly, I’m not sure it did. (Or maybe I’m just trying to make myself feel better.)
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I Spent 83% of My Auction Budget On Hitting

For many reasons, the majority of fantasy leagues in aggregate spend between 65% and 70% of their total auction budget on hitting. Though I haven’t kept all of my auction results since I founded my home league back in 2003, I’m fairly confident that I have exceeded that typical hitting budget nearly every year, if not in all of them. But I don’t believe I have ever spent as much as I did during my auction on Sunday. For some context, my local league is a shallow 12-team 5×5 (we switched to W+QS instead of Wins last year and it was fantastic, though it devalues closers a bit) mixer, with standard 23-man rosters and a six player bench acquired via snake draft after the auction.

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RotoGraphs Audio: The Sleeper and the Bust 3/26/2015 – SP Preview, Pt. 2

Episode 209

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is live!

In this episode, Paul Sporer and Eno Sarris dive deep into the mid and late tier of starting pitching in this two-hour extravaganza!!!

I broke the guys up into a series of four- and five-pitcher groupings and then we talked about a couple or all in each group. These are the tiers from which a lot of breakouts and surprises will emerge.

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NL Outfield Tiered Rankings: March

Every year, we here at RotoGraphs publish tiered rankings for every position and update them throughout the year. What you will read below are, more or less, my end-of-season projections for National League outfielders, since the season hasn’t started yet. However, these rankings will change as the year progresses, and I would be a fool to tell you the tiers below will look the same in September.

No doubt, this is a contentious matter, and you can tell me how much of a moron I am in the comments.

Without further ado, here is the 2015 season’s first installment of tiered rankings for NL outfielders.

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