Brewers Ready for Jimmy Nelson, Who’s Not Quite Ready

The Brewers opened a hole in their rotation once they traded Yovani Gallardo to the Rangers, obviously. Some pundits guessed that Milwaukee had made the move in order to clear the way to sign free agent James Shields or trade for rumored chip Jordan Zimmermann. GM Doug Melvin put such beliefs to rest shortly after the swap by stating that the spot is Jimmy Nelson’s, however. Akin moves are more his style, really, and it’s about time for the right-hander, who’ll be 26 in June.

Nelson’s spike in projected playing time should drive up interest from fantasy baseball players, naturally. How much more interest is justifiable? That’s not a question with a simple answer.

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Handling Fantasy Baseball Keeper Decisions

It’s time to start talking about keepers. We’ve reached the point in the offseason when fantasy owners have to consider who they plan to keep and cut. While much of the fantasy baseball industry can be fit into neat bundles - for example, the majority of leagues cater to 5×5 roto or H2H – keeper rules are non-standardized. Each league has its own custom assortment of rules, costs, and considerations. With that in mind, it’s easier to teach how to handle keeper decisions than it is to pen a one-size-fits-all guide.

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Musings on Drafting in the Early Rounds

Missing on an early-round pick is one of the surest ways to ruin your fantasy season. Owners who wound up with Ryan Braun or Joey Votto last season probably had to get creative during the season in order to remain competitive in their leagues. While missing on a pick can be devastating, the first couple rounds of a draft are rarely stressful for the prepared owner. You have an idea of which players will be on the board when you pick, and it’s not too difficult to make a list of the top-20 players in your league. Even if you do that, different strategies may force you to change your mind. So, how do you prepare for the first few rounds of your draft?

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Colby Rasmus Heads to Cowboy Country

Yesterday, the Astros continued to alter their outfield, this time by signing Colby Rasmus to a one-year contract. I’m sure glad I’m not overseeing the Astros depth chart, because it has seemingly changed every day. Rasmus suddenly becomes the team’s starting center fielder, with the collection of Jake Marisnick, Robbie Grossman and Alex Presley likely fighting for reserve roles. Let’s begin with the park factors to determine whether this impacts Rasmus’ fantasy value at all.

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Replacement Level Depth Revisited

Last week, I tried to puzzle through something that has been bothering me – how depth affects replacement level. Consider outfield and shortstop. Last season, I might be looking at Josh Reddick and Adeiny Hechavarria as my first picks off the wire. I can do something with Reddick. In fact, I actually want to own Reddick. I like his offensive capabilities, even if he’s underwhelmed in recent performances. With Hechavarria, I would desperately seek a replacement.

The post wasn’t my best - I failed to communicate my message. My first gaffe was to create a pre-draft scenario. I probably should have gone with “in a vacuum” since my goal was to explore the possibility of trading $20 for $17. Despite my lack of clarity, the post did generate a lot of useful comments. Today, I’ll try to summarize and incorporate the dialogue.

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Yovani Gallardo Goes to the Lone Star State

The Rangers took a significant step on Monday toward restoring some semblance of stability to a rotation that was among baseball’s worst last year, acquiring Yovani Gallardo from the Brewers for three minor leaguers. I’ll let others pick apart the deal from a real-life perspective; at the very least, the Rangers are getting a guy who has averaged 192.5 innings a season since 2009, a period during which he’s made at least 30 starts each year.

On the fantasy side of things, however, it’s hard to see this as helping a career that has been trending downward for some time; last year, Gallardo generated slightly negative value and finished 86th among starting pitchers, according to Zach Sanders’ end of the season rankings. Now, Gallardo, who turns 29 next month, is joining a league that features the DH, while having to toil in one of the best hitter’s parks in baseball.
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Explaining Miguel Cabrera’s Home Run Decline

Yesterday, I dove into the three xHR/FB rate components to explain what fueled Todd Frazier‘s home run surge. Today, I’ll dissect Miguel Cabrera, who set a new career low HR/FB rate, as it dipped from a career high of 25.4% in 2013 to just 14.0% in 2014.

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Finding Above Average Fastballs

I am huge proponent of the pitch type work which has led to the Arsenal Score here are FanGraphs. One possible issue with pitch type data is a reasonable amount of data needs to be collected before any conclusions could be draw. I am going to take it a step further today and look for MLB ready fastballs knowing just the pitcher’s velocity and break. Just knowing how the pitch’s speed and trajectory, some conclusions can be drawn on how the pitcher will perform in the future.

This past summer, I found how to estimate a pitcher’s fastball ground ball (GB%) and swinging strike rate (SwStr%) knowing just the velocity and break. The ground ball rate was the same for all pitches while the swinging strike rate varied a bit. Well, I went into meld/average mode to come up with a method to find a simple way to determine how productive a fastball may be knowing its current break and speed.

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Starting Pitcher Bust Candidates According to Steamer

Last week I ran the 2015 Steamer projections through Zach Sanders’ Fantasy Value Above Replacement system and compared them to early NFBC ADP data to identify potential sleepers and busts. This week we’ll do the same with starting pitchers. We’ll start with busts today.

Mat Latos, Miami Marlins

Latos is being drafted as the 45th starting pitcher off the board, which is basically just above the cut line for guys that have to be owned in all shallower mixed leagues. Once you get past the top 50, you’re pretty much in streaming territory. But Steamer doesn’t think he’s anything more than a potential streaming option as he comes in 84th in the projection rankings. Read the rest of this entry »


Ottoneu Keeper Omnibus

We’re going to do two things today. First, I am gathering all articles about Ottoneu keepers into one semi-sorted place. This should give you plenty of resources to prepare for Cut Day on January 31. We’ll also delve into more keeper related decisions in the next two weeks.

Please use the comments for any ottoneu keeper or roster construction questions. I would like to keep things focused on ottoneu and keepers, but we can delve into other subjects too.

One last reminder: it usually behooves you to hang onto all of your players until sometime near the keeper deadline. I may want to dump my $7 Jason Grilli today, but what if a shark eats Craig Kimbrel’s foot tomorrow?

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