• Roto Riteup
    The most roto-relevant news of the previous day, recapped in a concise format for your morning coffee.
  • Bullpen Report
    Detailed daily updates and charts on every bullpen in the Major Leagues to help you manage your saves and holds.
  • Prospect Coverage
    Our prospect team mines the minors for top prospects and useful pieces alike.
  • MASH Report
    Award-winning in-depth injury report with analysis from Jeff Zimmerman.
  • The Sleeper and The Bust Podcast
    Eno Sarris, Paul Sporer, and Jason Collette lead the RotoGraphs staff in a regular fantasy podcast.
  • Daily Fantasy Strategy
    The RotoGraphs team discusses daily fantasy strategy and then makes picks for the day.
  • Ottoneu Strategy
    Strategy for the year-round FanGraphs Fantasy game.
  • Top 50 Fantasy Prospects
    Marc Hulet adjusts (and updates) his prospect list for fantasy purposes.
  • Field of Streams
    A contest to see who can make the better picks: streaming pitcher and hitter choices for every day of the season in a podcast hosted by Dylan Higgins and Matthew Dewoskin.
C  -  1B  -  2B  -  SS  -  3B  -  OF  -  SP  -  RP

The One About The Terrible Tweet – Plus Easy Solutions

We had some good-natured fun on twitter yesterday taking shots at CBS Sports’ Chris Towers. He drew the bullseye on his back when he tweeted:

The obvious implication: weekly leagues are good. As somebody who writes columns named The Daily Grind, Streaming Wars, and Streaming Away, this left a sour, chalky taste in my mouth. I can actually feel the grit between my teeth, and I’m out of floss.

I generally view weekly formats as the refuge of Neanderthal football fans who need a fantasy fix during the warm weather months but can’t handle actual fantasy baseball. However, now is probably a good time to leave a friendly, politically correct preface to this post. Sporer warned me (actually, he warned twitter person Yancy Eaton) about high horses so I’ll leave mine at the stable.

Now I’m not sure which idiom to use, I got distracted by googling high horses. How about the one with the folks stroking… things … differently. Yeah, let’s use that one. It’s super cool that there are a billion ways to play fantasy baseball. Some of my favorite formats are unusual. No need to shame somebody if their preferences are different from you own. At least not too much.

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Additional Fun With Brls/TFB Rate

On Tuesday, I unveiled the latest version of my xHR/FB rate, and introduced a new metric that replaced the Brls/BBE equation component. Technically it’s new, but it’s not unfamiliar, as I simply swapped out the BBE denominator for true fly balls, which is just the fly ball total found here, minus pop-ups (IFFB). Yesterday, I dove deeper into the new Brls/TFB metric, sharing some data on my player population and then listing and discussing some names affected by the switch. Today I will continue on that Brls/TFB course with more fun stuff.

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Getting to Know Barrels Per True Fly Ball Rate (Brls/True FB)

Since it was first introduced about a year and a half ago and published on the Statcast Leaderboard, Barrels quickly became one of my favorite metrics. Combining exit velocity with launch angle made it the perfect statistic to reference when investigating a hitter’s power potential. Since we like ratios better than counting stats for projection purposes, Barrels per Batted Ball Event (Brls/BBE) was my metric of choice. But as informative as it remains, I discovered that it actually wasn’t the best ratio when it came to forecasting HR/FB rates.

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A Well-Rested Marco Estrada

For the first seven years of his MLB career, Marco Estrada was treated like a swingman. But after he earned some MVP votes in 2015 and made the All-Star team in 2016, Estrada entered last season as an entrenched member of the Blue Jays’ rotation and fantasy-relevant starter. Then it all fell apart. He finished last season 4th-worst of 58 qualified starters with a 4.98 ERA. Sabermetrically-minded analysts like Paul Sporer had entered the year with concerns that Estrada had outperformed his peripherals in the 2015-16 seasons, and his reversal from FIP overachiever to FIP underachiever looked like a confirmation.

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Brad Johnson Baseball Chat 1/16/2018

Here’s today’s chat transcript!

2:46
Brad Johnson: Hey folks, I received SO many questions already so I definitely won’t get to all of them. If you asked a bunch, I’m likely to only answer the one that most interests me. Let’s get started.

2:46
Overpaying: How much would you be willing to give up for Shohei Ohtani if you can win this year? 2 Top 10 prospects? 3 Top 20?

2:47
Brad Johnson: That’s so context dependent. In a 20 team dynasty, you can trade one top prospect (Acuna) for something like Paul Goldschmidt and Corey Kluber

2:47
Brad Johnson: In a 10 team format, prospects are super fungible.

2:48
Brad Johnson: That said, Ohtani is just an older top prospect. I wouldn’t pay more than one top 10 guy and some sweetener.

2:48
Biscuit: Seems like Berrios is a good bet to outperform his FG projections, no?

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Winter Moves Update: Pirates Re-Tooling, Curtis Goes North

We’re finally starting to see the market pick back up and as we reach mid-January, we should expect a steady stream of moves from here until camps starting opening up. Even with this bevy of moves, the big ones are still trades as opposed to big free agents finding new teams. The Pirates have firmly declared their future by dealing two stars and the Giants get another aging superstar.

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The Screw Cancer League Needs Your Help

Years ago, in response to his own battle with the disease, Dave Cameron founded the Screw Cancer League, an ottoneu FGpts league designed to raise money for cancer-related charities. Per Cameron, the league has successfully raised over $30,000 since its inception in 2012. Cameron (and a few others) have bowed out due to new responsibilities. It’s considered gauche (fireable) for a MLB employee to play fantasy baseball.

Today, I’d like to briefly ask for your help in two ways. With our fearless leader gone, it’s time to form Screw Cancer 2.0.

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Revealed: Statcast Charged Batter xHR/FB Rate, Version 2.0

Nearly three years ago, I unveiled my original xHR/FB rate. Back then, Statcast was in its infancy, and wasn’t installed in all 30 stadiums until the upcoming season. As such, my original equation used metrics that Jeff Zimmerman provided me from scraped Gameday data, I believe. The equation was solid enough, producing a 0.649 adjusted R-squared. Clearly, there was more work to be done, but sadly, the data required to make improvements simply wasn’t available.

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A Minor Review of 2017: Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox system has fallen on hard times but the good news is that the big league club is littered with young, impact talent. The pitching depth is pretty sparse.

The Graduate: Andrew Benintendi, OF: After watching mutants like Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger perform as rookies in 2017, it would be easy to consider Benintendi’s season pretty modest. However, he was a 20-20 (HR-SB) threat and got on base at a regular clip thanks to a walk rate of more than 10%. His struggles against southpaws pulled down his overall numbers but he needs to continue to face them to round out his game. I’d also like him to show a little more sting in his bat as he might be more of a 12-15 homer guy without the juiced ball.

The Stud: Michael Chavis, 3B: As mentioned above, the system is thin and it lacks true impact players. Chavis had a breakout 2017 season and hit 31 home runs but it remains to be seen just how good of a hitter he really is. He needs to improve his approach at the plate and show better pitch selection and patience. Chavis, 22, has a very strong arm, which gives him a shot to stick at third base, but the presence of Rafael Devers could push the double-A infielder to the outfield (not that there’s an opening there, either). From an offensive profile, he might be the next Adam Duvall.

The Draft Pick: Tanner Houck, RHP: The Blue Jays tried to nab Houck out of high school but he was considered all but unsignable. After three years in college, the big right-hander received some early first round consideration but he ultimately slid to the Sox at the 24th slot. There are concerns that his overall package is not polished enough to stick as a starter but I don’t share those concerns. His heater has a chance to work in the upper 90s and should produce a good number of ground-ball outs. Because it’s so good, he only needs the slider and changeup to be average. If they improve from there, he moves from a potential No. 3 guy to a No. 1 or 2.

The Riser: Mike Shawaryn, RHP: This 2016 fifth round draft pick has moved quickly through the system and could open 2018 in double-A. He has three slightly-above-average offerings and above-average control, which could allow him to develop into an innings-eating No. 3 or 4 starter. Shawaryn is not flashy but he’s the type of arm that champion teams need to help chew up innings.

The Sleeper: Lorenzo Cedrola, OF: Cedrola catches my eye as a player that can really, really hit but he may never be strong enough to be more than a fourth or fifth outfielder. He has enough speed to be a nuisance on the bases and a strong fielder in center. His slight frame makes projecting increased strength difficult and he could end up being similar to Carlos Tocci (who was recently nabbed in the Rule 5 draft). If Cedrola can get stronger and can learn to take more free passes to utilize his speed, he becomes an intriguing future bench option for Boston.

Another Sleeper: Chad De La Guerra, IF: I’m tacking on De La Guerra because I wanted to write a few words about him. He reminds me of Darwin Barney (without the plus glove) — a guy with some offensive potential that’s not quite good enough to be an everyday guy… although he could probably handle it as an injury fill-in for a few months. He has good line-drive pop geared for the gaps and should produce a solid on-base average due to his willingness to take a walk. He also keeps the strikeouts at a modest level so he could hit for a decent average.


Reality as a Fantasy Lesson

One of the most basic concepts in any economic system is supply and demand. Even if the nitty gritty details are a bit fuzzy, the general idea is simple – a given widget’s value depends upon how many similar widgets exist and how many people want that widget. If there are more people than widgets – it’s expensive. If there are more widgets than people, it’s cheap. You get it.

Now that I’ve insulted your intelligence by crudely explaining supply and demand, let’s get to today’s real topic. Occasionally, a fantasy owner will decide they want to sell a specific player in a specific time period. In my observance, this usually leads to a suboptimal return. It’s always best to sell when there is peak demand for your asset. If you have to push the deal uphill, chances are you’re coming out on the wrong side of it. Reality has supplied us with a fantastic example.

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