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2015 Roto Sigh Young

It’s best of and worst of week at RotoGraphs. I’m here with 2015’s worst starting pitchers.

There’s a lot of ways to approach this. A lot of pitchers’ values are conditional upon their circumstances, so I’ve tried to keep this in mind when creating this list. When it comes down to it, though, this is all just one man’s opinion.

Fantasy Pros calculated the aggregate average draft position (ADP) using several premier fantasy baseball websites, so that’s the value upon which I’ve based my decisions.

But first, let us acknowledge 2015’s All-Injury Sigh Young Squad:

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The Roto Deep League Cy Young

To separate the deep league fantasy Cy Young from the regular fantasy one, and also from the real-life Cy Young, we’ll need to define the award. Fantasy Baseball is maybe all about value, and value is at least 50/50 cost, so we have to factor in cost to hand out this hardware.

And, in fact, for the deep league version, cost is even more important. Because the cost for a deep league draftee vs a mixed league draftee has to be much lower. Even if the output is lower, the Deep League Cy Young should not have been drafted in mixed leagues, optimally.

So even if Dallas Keuchel was ranked 257th overall going into the season and ended up ninth overall, making him a great contender if not the lock for the overall Roto Cy Young, Dallas Keuchel was a decently expensive deep league starter. We’re looking for that $1 wonder that led your AL-only staff to victory. We’re looking for 2014 Dallas Keuchel, not 2015’s version.

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Three Things I Re-Learned in 2015

The 2015 season humbled me. In 2014, I reached the playoffs in all four of my leagues and won two of them. I cleaned up at each draft and I cleaned up on the waiver wire. I felt unstoppable. I felt like I had it all figured out.

Then 2015 happened. I botched my first (and most important) draft (“LOWV,” henceforth). Then I botched then next one. Then I botched the two snake drafts, as I always do. I botched the Birchwood Brothers‘ Birchwood Derby midseason draft as well. Botched. Botchy botch botched.

Right. So I learned some things. You’re never too old, nor too wise, to learn. Conveniently, I’m neither old nor wise, so I still have plenty of learning to do. And when Major League Baseball turns in a season as unpredictable as this one, well, everyone learns a thing or two.

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Reviewing Eno Sarris’ Bold Predictions for 2015

This year, I went bolder. I went more precise. I tied success to specific numbers.

I’m guessing that will tank my completion percentage, which has hovered around 33-40%. Let’s check the tape. I’m nervous.

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Envoi: Predicting The Playoffs

Here’s an actual sentence from an actual e-mail message from one actual Birchwood Brother to the other. Date: October 18, 2014. Subject: Why to Take KC over SF at Even Money in the 2014 World Series. Rationale: “I think KC will figure out how to hit Bumgarner.”

It’s this kind of prescience, we feel, that will impel you to listen to what we have to say about the Fantasy dimensions of the 2015 MLB playoffs. And not for us the tepid, game-by-game forecasts that make DFS go. No–when we say playoffs, we mean the whole month-long thing: a start-to-finish prediction that we are making before the first pitch of the first wild card game is thrown. And as ever, we are putting our money where our opinions are. We are competing in the NFBC Post-Season Contest, which entails picking a lineup for the first round of the playoffs, resetting for the second round, and resetting again for the World Series. Rosters consist of ten hitters and six pitchers, with at least one guy and no more than three from each of the playoff teams in the first round. There’s a premium on picking players who make it to the succeeding rounds, which means you want to be right about which teams win. It also seems to us that the NFBC scoring system overvalues home runs. Here’s a link to the rules if you’re curious: We’ve got as much chance of winning this as we do of knocking over the Milk Bottle Pyramid at the County Fair Carnival, but we’re undeterred. Read the rest of this entry »

Bullpen Report: Friday, October 2, 2015

Aroldis Chapman helped your ratios again last night, striking out a pair in his inning of work. Sure he didn’t garner a save, but sweet fancy Moses did he look good. Jeff Brantley is on the shelf, so don’t roster him. Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, helping my Scoresheet team, but doing nothing for your saves category. Kent Tekulve missed the game when the wind blew his hat down the street and he had to chase it. He has glasses, so his vision is already compromised.
Jeff Manship has pitched almost 40 innings and has an ERA under 1.00. I’m guessing you haven’t rostered him, and I don’t blame you! He did go 1.7 last night, striking out a pair and only giving up a solitary baserunner. What did you do last night? Jeff Manship is on Cleveland.
Tom Henke and Duane Ward were unavailable last night, so Brett Cecil and Roberto Osuna paired up to strike out three Rays in the ninth.
Arodys Vizcaino lowered his ERA again last night and firmed up his grasp on the Braves closer role for 2016. Don’t be shy about keeping him if you’re in a deep league, he’s likely going to be earning saves in Georgia next year. Hopefully in Atlanta, not Gwinnett. John Rocker is nursing a sore hammy and is unavailable this weekend.
Shawn Tolleson pitched his fourth day in a row on Friday for the first time ever. Well, probably not ever, but at least in documented history. The Rangers are in the first inning as this is being written, but maybe Keone Kela sees a save opp today? Joe Smith picked up his fourth save though, and if the Angels get saves the next couple days, he’s the guy, as Greg Minton is down with a bum being old.
David Robertson struck out two as he saved his 34th of the year Friday night. Bobby Thigpen was probably enjoying being retired at an early age. I could probably look him up and see what he was doing, but I’d prefer to just think he was saving more important things than baseball games. Like his money?
Wade Davis emphatically saved his 16th game for the Royals on Friday. Mark Davis was unavailable for comment. Well, maybe he was available, I just didn’t bother reaching out. And even if I did, like he’d talk to me!
Michael Feliz was tasked with protecting an 18-run lead on Friday and he didn’t disappoint. The Astros walked away with a win, even though Feliz gave up a pair of runs . He struck out two and let four batters reach base. A couple of them scored. This Feliz won’t help your ratios.
Dennis Eckersley was dealing with a body issue and was unavailable, so Sean Doolittle ripped a save on Friday night and Ryan Dull held the nuts out of that game.
Thanks for reading my nonsense this year. I’m just a small part of the bullpen report machine, but this is my last outing of the season. I apologize for costing you hella skrilla, but I tried my best. Sweet winter dreams y’all. There will be a bullpen report on Sunday to get you through the winter!

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Brad Ziegler Daniel Hudson David Hernandez
Atlanta Arodys Vizcaino Matt Marksberry Edwin Jackson Jason Grilli
Baltimore Zach Britton Darren O’Day Brad Brach
Boston Robbie Ross Jean Machi Noe Ramirez Koji Uehara
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Fernando Rodney
CHI (AL) David Robertson Nate Jones Jacob Petricka
Cincy Aroldis Chapman J.J. Hoover Ryan Mattheus
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw Zach McAllister
Colorado John Axford Jairo Diaz Boone Logan
Detroit Neftali Feliz Alex Wilson Al Albuerquerque Joe Nathan
Houston Luke Gregerson Pat Neshek Will Harris
KC Wade Davis Kelvin Herrera Ryan Madson Greg Holland
LAA Trevor Gott Mike Morin Joe Smith Huston Street
LAD Kenley Jansen Chris Hatcher Yimi Garcia
Miami A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn Bryan Morris Carter Capps
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jeremy Jeffress Will Smith
Minnesota Kevin Jepsen Glen Perkins Trevor May
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Tyler Clippard Addison Reed
NY (AL) Andrew Miller Dellin Betances Justin Wilson
Oakland Sean Doolittle Ryan Dull Fernando Rodriguez
Philly Ken Giles Dalier Hinojosa Jeanmar Gomez
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Joakim Soria Tony Watson
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Kevin Siegrist Steve Cishek
SD Craig Kimbrel Joaquin Benoit Kevin Quackenbush Brendan Maurer
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Hunter Strickland
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Carson Smith Logan Kensing
TB Brad Boxberger Jake McGee Alex Colome
Texas Shawn Tolleson Keone Kela Jake Diekman Tanner Scheppers
Toronto Roberto Osuna Aaron Sanchez Brett Cecil
Wash. Casey Janssen Matt Thornton Blake Treinen Jonathan Papelbon

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]

The Change: V-Mart, Pablo, & Bounceback Leaderboards

As the season draws to a close, and the Red Sox try to push their record to .500, there’s plenty of blame to go around. The rotation didn’t end up working out, really, and there’s more than one high-priced acquisition that fizzled in his first year. But if you sort the leaderboards for the worst players in baseball this year, one name drifts to the top: Pablo Sandoval.

The easiest analysis is to say that he’s been better in the past and will be better again. And one-year defensive samples are certainly part of this story, so he could easily get back to being a decent defender and recover his value that way. That said, Sandoval has lost nearly forty points of adjusted offense, and that seems extreme. It’s even worse for second place on the losers list, as Victor Martinez has lost a whopping 90 points of weighted runs created plus from last season to this one.

Victor Martinez just showed us the worst single-season drop-off since free agency began.

Can we just pencil Martinez and Sandoval into their career numbers when they’re on the wrong side of this single-season dropoff leaderboard?

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Hitter Discussions: Age-33 And Older

Be it basic redraft leagues or the most hardcore of dynasty formats, a player or prospect’s age is an important part of evaluation. I’m not exactly breaking new ground by saying this of course, but I know sometimes I get more excited over a young player producing rather than someone five or six years their senior putting up similar numbers. I suspect I’m not alone in that, and while I don’t think I’ll be drafting nothing but older players, there’s no denying a lot of guys age-33 and older have been enjoying strong seasons. We’ll take a look at a handful of the hitters that have produced this year, and one that hasn’t, while also looking ahead to next season. Rather than look at obvious candidates like David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols and the like, I’ll look at a few names a bit further down the list. Read the rest of this entry »

The Change: Identifying Potential Young Surgers

Earlier today, we published my conversation with Joey Votto about aging, and within the post is a graph that didn’t necessarily fit the narrative but should contain an interesting tidbit for we fantasy players.

Take a look at this graph again, except instead of looking towards the end of the graph where the old guys are hanging out, look at the beginning of the graph. Under 25, it looks like hitters with pull percentages under 45% have a little more growth left in them than their pull-heavy counterparts.

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Bullpen Report: Friday, September 18, 2015