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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 507 – Catching Up


The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 18, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER18!

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Notable Transactions/Rumors/Articles/Game Play

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Ottoneu Surplus Calculator: Early 2018

My first post here at RotoGraphs was an introduction to the Ottoneu Surplus Calculator, a tool I created to help ottoneu owners calculate and visualize the best assets in their leagues. If you want to know more about the background of the tool, or more specifics on how to use it, be sure to read that prior article. Today I wanted to announce the release of the early 2018 version of the calculator, using the just released Steamer 2018 projections.

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Reviewing Pod vs Steamer Projections — Stolen Base Downside

Yesterday, I reviewed my Pod vs Steamer projections series with the stolen base upside guys, those hitters whose Pod Projection in stolen bases was well above the Steamer extrapolated projection. Today, I’ll finish the series on the offensive side with the stolen base downside list, the guys I projected to steal far fewer bases than Steamer. Let’s see how they performed.

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Setting Guidelines For an Overperformance Metric

About a week ago, I finished creating some simple stats for the chance a hitter underperforms. Now it’s time to find the overperformers. These are the potential breakout guys every owner hopes to hit on and help carry their team to a championship.

To start with, a breakout needs to have some set baseline values. I went to Twitter to help find a baseline value to use. I’ll start with a playing time boost.

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Pitcher Spotlight: Don’t Overlook Collin McHugh

I didn’t care for Collin McHugh for the first half of 2017You probably didn’t care for Collin McHugh. Why would we? He was returning mid-season from an impingement in his throwing elbow and tendinitis in his shoulder after he held a 4.34 ERA and 1.41 WHIP over 184.2 frames the previous year. It was an investment that just wasn’t worth your time…or so we thought. Instead of mediocrity, McHugh was quietly productive in his 12 starts – 3.55 ERA (3.82 FIP), 22.9% K rate, and a 1.29 WHIP across 63.1 innings. Not studly or game-changing, but nor the disaster we forecasted. This may be chalked up to being a fluke as his numbers aren’t so far off from his large 2016 workload, but I think there was something here that you should be aware of.

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Rule Change Season Pt 2 – Real Live Examples

Yesterday, I mused about rule changes in dynasty leagues. My point was pretty simple – league health is the number one priority. A healthy league is one with many contenders and few rebuilding owners. Unfortunately, rule proposals rarely focus on health. Instead, there is a tendency to “fix” non-problems, often to the benefit of the top performing owners.

In that linked column, I referenced a few rule changes we’re considering in my 20-team dynasty league. Let’s look at those in more depth here while considering unintended consequences.

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Reviewing Pod vs Steamer Projections — Stolen Base Upside

Let’s continue our recaps of my Pod vs Steamer projections series, this time with stolen bases. As a reminder, I compared my 2017 Pod Projection stolen base forecast to the Steamer projected, extrapolated over the same number of plate appearances I had projected. This group is composed of those whose Pod Projected stolen base total most exceeded the Steamer projection. Let’s see how they did.

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When Plate Discipline Sticks

A few days ago, Jake Leech asked me if Zack Cozart’s 2017 improved plate discipline would stick into 2018.

Cozart saw quite a bit of improvement with his K%-BB% dropping by 6% points.

Note: I like using K%-B% to get an overall value for a hitters plate discipline. Earlier this year, I investigated what early season stats point to a true breakout. K%-BB%, along with launch angle (FB%), were the two key factors to focus on.

Zach Cozart’s Plate Disciple
Season BB% K% K%-BB%
2016 7.3% 16.5% 9.2%
2017 12.2% 15.4% 3.2%
2018 (Steamer) 8.8% 15.6% 6.8%

The Steamer projection has his K%-BB% regressing closer to his 2016 values than the ones from 2017. This is how projections work with previous season stats having some weight along with some regression.

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A Minor Review of 2017: Kansas City Royals

The Royals system lacks can’t-miss, high-impact talent but it has some depth. I’m a big fan of catcher M.J. Melendez.

The Graduate: Scott Alexander, LHP: This southpaw (who’s equally successful against both right- and left-handed hitters) is one of the most underrated relievers in the game — especially during this period of juiced balls. His eye-popping ground-ball rate of 78% led the Majors and he struck out a quite a few more batters (21%) than the typical sinker ball pitcher. He was also an anomaly because threw his 94 mph heater a whopping 94% of the time with his slider a very distant 4.5%. His success is somewhat impress considering big league hitters always know what’s coming.

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Rule Change Season

From now until the end of the calendar year, overeager fantasy baseball enthusiasts will be discussing potential rule changes for the 2018 season and beyond. We’ve just begun the process of voting on a couple subjects in my 20-team dynasty. We keep 560 of 900 rostered players (including amateur teenagers). It’s a deep format. We have a bit of problem with owners getting stuck in rebuild mode.

Up for debate at this time are two issues. I suggested moving the trade deadline back from August 10. Another owner wants to add a fifth outfielder slot. We also always talk about increasing the quantity of keepers too. No matter what’s on the table, it’s important to be wary of how new rules will affect competitive balance.

When designing a league or tinkering with an existing one, I seek to accomplish the following: