• 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

Tanaka Doesn’t Like to Stretch

Masahiro Tanaka decided to create more questions than answers in my life. I just released my first 2018 pERA run and Tanaka’s pitches and control point to a 2.88 ERA but he’s posting one nearly two points higher at 4.95. I dove into his stats hoping to find a simple answer, instead, I found someone struggling out of the stretch while throwing harder. While it explains his struggles, I am not sure any of it matters. At least not yet.

The first item I checked for with ERA and estimators diverge is a high BABIP which was only at .243, about 30 points lower than his career average (.276). Nope, not BABIP.

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Paul Sporer Impromptu Chat!

Transcript is below!


Paul Sporer: Hello everyone! Chatting on a Tuesday to fill in for Brad. Miiiight still do a second later this week, but stay tuned on that. Let’s talk some baseball!


THE Average Sports Fan: Is there any hope for Ian Desmond?


Paul Sporer: Maybe a little, but that batted ball profile is awful. I’ve lost a lot of the faith I had in Desmond


Greg: Thoughts on Jesus Augilar?


Paul Sporer: Interesting power bat who should probably be on a roster in all leagues at least why Braun is out


Andy: 12 team league.  You starting Caleb Smith at the Mets tonight?

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Jeremy Hellickson is Throwing Us a Curve

For much of his career, Jeremy Hellickson has been a fantasy afterthought, but in the midst of his ninth season, he is getting some owners to take notice. He is owned in a majority of the leagues on CBSSports.com and Fantrax, and he is not just being picked up for Tuesday night’s matchup against the lowly Padres. On both of those sites, Hellickson was owned in roughly 50 percent of leagues during the previous weekly scoring period. Even on ESPN.com, where leagues tend to be shallower, Hellickson currently has a home in 46 percent of leagues.

The 31-year-old is simply off to a great start to his 2018 season. Since joining the Nationals’ rotation in mid-April, Hellickson has been steady, allowing three runs or fewer in each start, adding up to a 2.20 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. He has been pitching in the zone (45.2 percent) more often than in any season since he lost rookie eligibility in 2011, and among pitchers with at least 30 innings, only Miles Mikolas has a higher first-strike rate than Hellickson’s 71.1 percent. His improved control is serving him well, as he is allowing contact on pitches in the strike zone at a lower rate than he has compiled in any full season. Hellickson’s strikeout rate of 21.5 percent may not be a head-turner for fantasy owners, but it, too, is higher than any rate he has had over a full season.
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Bullpen Report: May 22, 2018

• After missing out on previous save opportunities, Hector Neris saw the night inning last night and threw a perfect frame for his 9th save on the year. Seranthony Dominguez got the call before Neris in the eighth and pitched a scoreless inning allowing one hit and a strike out for his fourth hold, keeping his ERA at a pristine 0.00. Edubray Ramos had last pitched on Thursday, so he would have been available in this game, suggesting that Dominguez and Neris are ahead of him in the pecking order. We’re still considering this a committee but it looks like Neris is back in action after a rough outing on May 11th. Additionally, although he’s only a rookie getting his first sip at the majors, Dominguez might be the best of the bunch with a 16.2% SwStr% and 8 strikeouts and 0 walks in his 7.2 innings this year. If/when Neris falters again, I would expect Dominguez, with a little more seasoning under his belt, to leapfrog  Ramos and the other committee members for save opportunities.

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The Daily Grind: Obi Juan Soto

Sometimes, I remember Kila Ka’aihue.


  1. TDG Invitational
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. SaberSim Says…
  5. Obi Juan Soto

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Roto Riteup: May 22, 2018

So, this Juan Soto kid may be good:

He is definitely entertaining:

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Returning from the Abyss: Heaney and Lyles

Andrew Heaney

The Andrew Heaney breakout is in full swing with him posting a 10.3 K/9 and a 3.35 ERA. It was tough to find any support for a Heaney breakout going into this season with his injury history and subpar 2017 production.

Heaney’s health has been the number one concern since having Tommy John surgery early in 2016.

Andrew Heaney DL Trips
Date Description
04/06/16 placed on 15-day DL with strained left flexor
04/01/17 placed on 10-day DL recovering from surgery on left elbow to repair UCL
09/10/17 shoulder injury (out for season)
03/29/18 placed on 10-day DL with left elbow inflammation

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The Keys to Pitcher BABIP and HR/FB, Perhaps

Long has the relationship between pitcher performance and batted ball metrics been dubious. The Sabermetric community has a solid understanding of why, fundamentally, a pitcher is good or bad. Strikeouts are good. Walks are bad. Hits by pitch are also bad. Home runs allowed are especially bad. So on, so forth. And by no means are batted ball metrics useless. It’s how we know ground balls allowed are superior to fly balls allowed, for example.

The community had hoped, however, that more granular batted ball metrics would help us better explain some of the more nuanced elements of pitcher performance, including those related to luck, such as batting average on balls in play (BABIP) and the percentage of home runs per fly ball (HR/FB). Since their introduction to the public sphere in 2015, and even with the inclusion of more granular Statcast data in 2016, any relationships that might exist between the physics and outcomes for batted balls during an individual pitcher’s season are still poorly explained. The following table depicts the correlations between pitcher BABIP and various batted ball metrics, sorted by the strength of the relationship (all qualified seasons, 2007-17, n = 898):

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Prospect Stock Watch: Biggio, Davis, Luzardo, Armenteros

Today at the Stock Watch we look prospects in the Oakland, Toronto and Houston minor league systems.

Cavan Biggio, 2B, Blue Jays: As the son of Craig Biggio, Cavan’s name stuck out when he was selected in the fifth round of the 2016. He wasn’t really on many people’s radar, though, and was seen as more of a way for the Jays to keep the budget down so they could afford second rounder Bo Bichette (son of Dante Bichette). Now, he’s more than just a name. He’s a legitimate prospect leading the double-A Eastern League in homers and tying for the third overall in the entire minor leagues. Along with the pop, Biggio also has 25 walks in 36 games. His 39 strikeouts are an issue and could prevent him from hitting for average at higher levels where the pitching will pick apart the holes. Defensively, he’s stiff as a middle infielder but the power will play at first base or maybe even left field. He might eventually become a platoon or part-time player in The Show but that’s still a crazy increase in value from a year ago.

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Bullpen Report: May 21, 2018

In the span of two days, Jace Fry has gone from being an emerging lefty getting his first taste of some setup work to being firmly in the saves mix for the White Sox. On Saturday, Fry was used in the eighth inning with a two-run lead against the Rangers. Brought in to face Nomar Mazara, Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo — a pair of lefties sandwiching a switch-hitter — and he came back for the ninth inning to handle left-handed Rougned Odor. Rick Renteria did not opt to give Fry a two-inning save, as he let Nate Jones handle right-handed Robinson Chirinos, even with lefty Ronald Guzman on deck.

On Sunday, the trio of Profar, Mazara and Gallo were due up in the ninth inning, and Renteria let Fry have an encore performance — this time with a 3-0 lead and a save at stake. Fry set the trio down in order, retiring the latter two with strikeouts. Through the first seven performances of his major league career, Fry has yet to allow a hit or a run, and over 8.1 innings, he has 12 strikeouts and two walks. While he has been highly adept at inducing whiffs, posting a 15.9 percent swinging strike rate, he has been even more impressive in his ability to freeze batters, inducing called strikes at a 24.3 percent rate.
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