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NFBC Hitting Sleepers

We added the average draft positions for National Fantasy Baseball Championship leagues to our projections pages! Right now only Steamer is up and so you can click here and find the ADP in the last column on the right. Once I was told they were live I thought let’s take this info and use it with the Steamer 600 projection (their normal projection normalized to 600 PA for everyone) to find some potential gems. Essentially, it’s a playing time sleeper list. If these guys were to find 600 PA, Steamer is suggesting they’ve got the skills to shine. I’m looking at players currently being drafted outside the top 200 in NFBC leagues.

Here are 12 names that stood out to me:

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10 Players I’m Excited to Watch In 2018 (Part 2)

Hard to believe January is already half finished.  Maybe even harder to accept that there are a significant number of talented MLB free agents left unsigned.  As we wait through the long winter days, I’m looking forward to seeing these players in action in 2018.

Part One

Garrett Richards

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Matt Olson Hit Two Doubles And Other First Baseman Facts

Matt Olson did many things with his 216 plate appearances in 2017. For example, he hit 24 home runs. Wow. Mr. Olson also hit two doubles. I’m not sure which total is more insane. Let’s do what we do best on internet blogs – convert a tiny factoid into 750 words.

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A Minor Review of 2017: Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays have an incredibly toolsy system with lots of potential littered throughout the minors. I could see quite a few Rays prospects breaking out into legit Top 100 prospects in 2018 — with another large contingency contributing at the big league level.

First Taste of The Show: Jose Alvarado, RHP: This fire-balling right-hander would probably be getting more press if he was in the Yankees or Dodgers system. His fastball sat at 98 mph in his MLB debut. He threw it 75% of the time but the mix of velo and sink makes him an incredibly overpowering arm. His curveball gives him a second potentially-plus pitch. Alvarado showed solid control in The Show with fewer than three walks per nine innings but he averaged close to six in the minors. If he made adjustments that will stick, Alvarado is a ninth-inning boss. If his control takes a step back in 2018 then he’s move of a seventh-inning guy.

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 517 – The Uncertain Closer Market

1/18/17

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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The Minor League Ball is Such a Drag

Several years ago Alan Nathan, Jeff Kensrud, Lloyd Smith, and Eric Lang brought an air cannon and a few boxes of brand new baseballs to Minute Maid Park. If you’re anything like me, you like where this is going. They set up their cannon to fire balls roughly 96mph on a 28° angle and used Trackman to measure their distance and spin rate. They tested four groups of balls, two groups composed of MLB balls, one MiLB, and one NCAA. One group of MLB balls, group A, were tested using reasonably low spin rates, about 1800. The other, group B, had variable spin rates, ranging from 2100 to 3300. The results of their study were published in an article titled  How Far Did That Fly Ball Travel (Redux)? on Baseball Prospectus, although it can also be found here. I encourage you to read the piece, but today I want to focus on the MLB-A and MiLB groups.

Measured Ball Distance and Spin
Ball Lot Distance (S. D.) Spin (S. D.)
MLB-A 390 (8) 1806 (58)
MiLB 362 (8) 1583 (49)
SOURCE: http://baseball.physics.illinois.edu/FlyBallDistance.pdf

The major league ball traveled 28 feet further than the minor league ball. Albeit with a higher spin rate. Presumably, the higher spin rate should translate to increased distance, but it is difficult to imagine that a difference of 200 rpm could bridge a gap of 28 feet. More on this in a moment. Read the rest of this entry »


Manager Influence on Stolen Bases

Earlier this month, I asked our readers for any aspects of the fantasy game which are missing. Okra stepped up and said:

“I feel like we still do a poor job of predicting stole bases. I think we could better utilize the new Sprint Speed data and speed scores to predict SBs. Taking it one step further would be to try and quantify each managers propensity for SB attempts.”

This statement is 100% true. We really don’t know which measurable factors fantasy owners should focus on when looking for stolen base breakouts. I’ve gone ahead and dived into the topic of just the manager influence with positive results.

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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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