• Middle Reliever Bonanza!
    by Paul Sporer - 12/13 -  2
    The latest round of winter moves focuses on a bevy of middle reliever signings and a couple injured SPs ink deals with an eye on 2019.
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    The most roto-relevant news of the previous day, recapped in a concise format for your morning coffee.
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    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

Stolen Bases and Batting Order

I’ve already done some research on batting order’s impact on RBI and runs scored, and if a fantasy player is indifferent between the two—the way he likely would be in drafting a new team in a traditional roto format—then there isn’t a ton at stake. Over the first five spots in the lineup, a typical fantasy-relevant batter can be expected to gain or lose at most 6 RBI plus runs in a full season.

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Park Switch Fails to Boost Marcell Ozuna’s Value

The Marlins are in full-on fire sale mode and the latest player to say goodbye to Miami is 2017 breakout outfielder Marcell Ozuna. A career high .388 wOBA and 37 homers earned him a ticket out of town, as sources confirm he has been dealt to the Cardinals. We all know that Marlins Park was pitcher friendly, but unfortunately, he’s moving to another offense suppressing home park. Let’s check out the park factors, courtesy of StatCorner.

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Counting Stat Estimator For Hitters On The Move

In leagues with Runs and RBIs as categories, predicting how a player’s mix will change with a new team can be guessing. Some clown at Fantrax yesterday wrote the following:

“As for Headley, his value drops by going to a worse offensive team in a pitcher-friendly park. Part of the decline could be offset by a move up in the lineup since he mainly batted seventh for the Yankees last season.”

It could go up, it could go down, who really knows? While writing the statement, I needed a better answer so I created a couple quick and simple tool. If an owner can estimate a few stats, they can predict changes in plate appearances, Runs, RBI when a hitter moves from one team to another.

The key was to be simple and quick. For simplicity, only the following stats are needed.

  • New likely lineup location
  • Estimate of projected home runs
  • Estimated games played such 150 out of 162 games as a percentage.
  • Estimated Runs scored by a team. Used over on-base percentage because team level runs scored is easier to find and remember.

The estimated runs scored is the toughest value to come up with. I’d just go to FanGraphs team projection page to get a decent idea. Just take that year’s RS/G and multiply it by 162. Another method is to take the previous season value and plug it into the following regression equation:

`RS in Y2` = .575 * `RS in Y1` + 311

The goal is just to get a basic idea of possible changes.

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Middle Reliever Bonanza!

The Hot Stove is operating a  simmer right now after the busy weekend with Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton. We’re getting a couple moves per day, but they are far from blockbusters. In fact, it’s been a bunch of middle relievers of late with a pair of TJ recovering SPs mixed in. It’s never ending! As I was typing up this paragraph, the Mets agreed to terms with yet another middle reliever.

This is the first piece in a pen rebuild for the Cardinals. Trevor Rosenthal is out with Tommy John recovery so they non-tendered him while Seung Hwan Oh, Juan Nicasio, and Zack Duke are all free agents. Gregerson joins Tyler Lyons and Brett Cecil at the backend of the pen. Alex Reyes will also start the season in the bullpen, but probably as a multi-inning option earlier in games. Gregerson logged 47 saves in three years with Houston, including a 31-save season back in 2015. The Cards could tab the 34-year old as their closer, but I wouldn’t draft him as such right now.

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The Ohtani Rule

The Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani is finally coming to MLB (and more specifically to the Angels), and in doing so will become the trailblazer that sets a new expectation for the future of the (possible) “two-way” player.  Because salaries and injuries continue to escalate in the game, a true double threat major leaguer is still hard to imagine in baseball, but if the 23 year old Ohtani does become the first player since Babe Ruth to make a regular impact on both sides of the ball, he will change the landscape of fantasy baseball, too.

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Let’s Talk About Ryan Schimpf Again

I think Ryan Schimpf is my favorite player. He takes the word extreme to an entirely new level, ranking at or near both the top and bottom of various statistical categories, for the better and for the worse. That’s what makes him such a fascinating hitter. He debuted with the Padres in 2016 to excellent results over about a half a season’s worth of plate appearances. He was a new breed of hitter – a five true outcomes type, as his plate appearances generally ended with either a walk, strikeout, fly out, pop-up, or home run. The approach worked that season, but failed miserably in 2017. His performance earned him a demotion to the minors, and ultimately a ticket out of San Diego.

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Mixing Fantasy & Reality: Hitter Shoulders & Injury Updates

• Strikeouts = Shoulder Injuries?

Lindsay Berra discussed the increased risk of a shoulder injury to Ohtani because he hits.

As a left-handed hitter, Ohtani’s pitching arm, his right, is his front shoulder when he is at the plate. In recent memory, we’ve seen several players battle injuries to their lead shoulder — Aaron Judge and Michael Brantley included.

When a batter makes contact, the counterforce from hitting the ball activates the stabilizing muscles around the shoulder. If he misses, the lack of counterforce means that all the forces generated by the swing are absorbed by the shoulder. And as Ohtani adjusts to Major League pitching, it is likely he will swing and miss more than he did in Japan.

“Imagine a left-hander swinging out of his shoes and missing,” says Eric Cressey of Cressey Performance in Hudson, Mass. “The right arm continues to come back, and when the arm goes into external rotation or horizontal abduction, the ball tends to fly forward in the socket, which can irritate the front of the shoulder and cause anterior shoulder instability.”

Ohtani will put slightly less stress on his front shoulder, because he has a two-handed finish — at least at the moment — but there will be stress on his pitching shoulder nonetheless.

First, go read the whole article or at least this section. I listed just some highlights but there are more details on hitter shoulder injuries in the full reading.

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Brad Johnson Baseball Chat 12/12/2017

Here’s today’s chat transcript which included plenty of fun dynasty talk, a discussion of MLB league parity, and a variety of other topics.

2:56
Christian Yelich: Odds i’m traded? Might see a HR spike away from Marlins Park?

2:56
Brad Johnson: Oh, hi there folks, let’s begin

2:57
Brad Johnson: Yelich is very likely to be traded by midseason. Given his consistently high HR/FB ratio, I don’t think we’ll see more homers in another venue.

2:58
Duncan: Where does Machado end up? And what do the Orioles get in return?

2:59
Brad Johnson: A little early to get a clean read on this. I’ll say St. Louis or San Francisco. Package led by Jack Flaherty or Tyler Beede plus another decent but unexceptional prospect. One year of Machado is valuable, but it’s not worth a monster haul.

2:59
Kristaps: Francisco Mejia… Will he start 2018 in the Minors or as Cleveland everyday catcher? Trade possibility?

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Eddie Rosario Turns on the Power Switch

The best inspiration for an article is one in which you find a meaningful leaderboard, sort away, and identify who doesn’t belong. The surprise of the group, if you will. That player is most certainly going to be fun to discuss! That brings me to Eddie Rosario. If you perform a Statcast search and select only “Barrel” for “Quality of Contact” from August through the end of the season, you will be presented with a leaderboard of top sluggers ranked by number of barreled balls they hit during that time period. The top 10 is littered with your standard who’s who of the game’s best power hitters. Then you get down to #14 and who do you find, none other than Eddie Rosario.

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Miguel Cabrera: Creating a Personal Drafting Plan

The projection systems love Miguel Cabrera. To them, he’s a hitter who performed decent in the first half and struggled in the second half. The projections don’t know that he has two herniated discs in his back. Because of the injury, his wOBA dropped from .339 in the first half to .274 in the 2nd half. Using projections, he’s the 54th highest ranked player but owners have pushed his ADP closer to 100th. It’s time to determine why the disconnect.

It was definitely a tale of two halves for Cabrera.

Miguel Cabrera’s 2017 1st & 2nd Halves
Monthly AVG OBP SLG BABIP BB% K%
1st Half .264 .357 .440 .307 12.1% 20.4%
2nd Half .230 .288 .342 .272 7.4% 21.4%

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