• 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

Hot Stove Update – February 21st

It has been quite a while since we did one of these because the Hot Stove has been so ice cold. We’re finally starting to see big moves as the stove thaws and I expect a steady stream of moves for the duration of the offseason until the bulk of available players find homes.

Yu Darvish to CHC

Darvish stays in the NL and heads to Chicago to join the Cubs. I had him ranked 13th in my most recent SP ranking update back in late-January and I can’t imagine moving him much, if at all, on my next update. He remains well supported by a deep bullpen and strong offense. Don’t get too hung up on the World Series starts. A week before that he was dismantling his new team (6.3 IP/1 ER/7 K in NLCS) and the Diamondbacks (5 IP/1 ER/7 K in NLDS). Your Mike Montgomery shares just went the way of Bitconnect for now, but in leagues deep enough to take him in the first place, he’ll still hold some value as a super reliever (just 7 appearances of an inning or less last year).

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2018 Ottoneu FGPts Rankings- OF

Last week we kicked off our ottoneu FanGraphs points player rankings with C/1B/3B and 2B/SS, and today I’m back with the OF group. This year the rankings will include values from myself, Trey Baughn, and the default values from the FanGraphs Auction Calculator using the ottoneu FanGraphs points preset (Steamer projections). We are presenting our individual dollar values, plus the weighted average of all three rankings (2:2:1 weighting with the Auction Calc weighted less). In addition, the tables below include ottoneu eligibility (5 games started/10 games played in the prior year). Players are ranked only at their most valuable position, and the hierarchy we are using is C/SS/2B/3B/OF/1B (with 3B and OF being a coin toss in terms of replacement level, we chose to include 3B/OF eligibles at 3B).

Prior Rankings: C/1B/3B, 2B/SS

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10 Hitter BABIP Decliners For 2018

Yesterday, I used my xBABIP equation to identify and discuss 11 hitters who might be in for a BABIP surge this season. Today, I’ll move on to the other side of the ledger — those hitters whose xBABIP marks were significantly below their actual BABIP marks, suggesting serious downside this year.

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Three Pitchers Who Won’t @#$%ing Adjust

Sometimes, I grow weary of writing introductions. The title is pretty self explanatory. If you need more time to mentally prepare yourself for analysis, here’s a short thread about my knuckleball and Vicente Padilla‘s slickball. Ok, let’s go.

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Two-Pitch Starters Needing a Third Pitch

Every year Jason Collette puts together a list of pitchers who are adding a new pitch. Last year, over 50 different pitchers said they were adding/changing at least one of their pitches. Once the season was over, the pitchers who made the biggest gains from adding a new pitch weren’t on the list. As much as I personally enjoy helping with the list during the spring, it doesn’t help fantasy owners. Instead of focusing on the list, I’m going to work propose a different method for finding pitchers to target.

Once every season ends, I go examine where the fantasy industry missed on players. Two top-15 pitchers who made the list were Robbie Ray and Luis Severino. In both cases, they began to effectively utilize a third pitch. For Severino, it was a changeup which generated a 13% SwStr% and his K/9 jumped from 8.4 to 10.7 and his ERA dropped from 5.83 to 2.98.

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11 Hitter BABIP Surgers For 2018

A year ago, I introduced the latest and greatest version of my hitter xBABIP equation, this time incorporating shift data. Even though it was leaps ahead of any previous iterations and attempts at an xBABIP equation, it still only resulted in an adjusted R-squared of 0.5377. There’s still a whole lot more work to be done here! I would have liked to spend some time doing more research in the hopes of unveiling a further improved equation before the season begins, but alas, I haven’t had the time.

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Three Super Early Spring Training Value Changes

We sometimes assume things based on a very small piece of information. Over the stagnant winter months, that assumption can crystallize into a certainty. This guy will break out. That guy will play every day. Then, Spring Training rolls around. The whims of managers – and injuries, mostly injuries – quickly lay waste to months of fantasy baseball dogma. No religion experiences as much upheaval as baseball.

Already, a few potential sleepers are seeing their value change.

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Utilizing Changes in Pitch Mix

Changing a pitcher’s pitch mix seems to be the newest path to success. Having a pitcher utilize his two to four best pitches can help him focus his arsenal for peak results. Finding these pitchers can be a huge advantage and the great and wonderful Eno Sarris used the original work to find Carlos Carrasco. I’m going to step an owner through the procedure using a few examples from the news so they can find their own diamond in the rough.

The basic idea behind changing a pitcher’s pitch mix is to have them throw as many effective pitches as possible. The original studies focused on above-average pitches. This is a simple method and one I use when examining a pitcher. The pitcher’s pitch results can be found by going to their page at FanGraphs, clicking o the Splits tab, then the Pitch Type Splits tab (example).

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Robert Stephenson’s Slider, and the Paradigm Shift in Motion

Normally I don’t write about bad players. It’s more of a truism than anything: writers like to analyze the breakout or peak-performance potential of top prospects or, alternatively, red flags associated with the game’s premier talents. Rarely do we write about objectively bad players.

Through 120 Major League innings (and change), Robert Stephenson has been an objectively bad starting pitcher, having compiled a 5.10 ERA, an anemic 1.63 strikeout-to-walk ratio (K/BB), and 0.1 WAR. A former 1st-round pick and a consensus top-100 prospect for four consecutive years, Stephenson quickly fell from grace after a catastrophic small-sample debut in 2016. Entering his age-25 season, though, he still has plenty of time to turn things around.

That’s the beauty of baseball: an objectively bad player can become an objectively good one, sometimes overnight. 2017 was a banner year for post-hype prospects, all of whom seemed, at one point or another, destined for eternal mediocrity and former-prospect bustitude. I think Stephenson can become an objectively good pitcher, but it’ll take work.

Here’s a top-10 list, presented ordinally and without the statistic by which I’ve ordered it, of pitchers who accomplished something in 2017, from a list of hundreds of other data points:

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2018 Fantasy Impact: Rookie Outfielders

As the infancy stage of the 2018 season begins, rookie outfielders from across the league are reporting to camp with an eye to having a major impact on the 2018 season. Some of those hopes will come true, while others will stumble and face a frustrating campaign. Over the next week, we’ll take a look at the Top 10 rookie outfielders that this author feels have the best chance at impacting both their teams and the game in 2018.

*Shohei Ohtani was not considered a rookie given his professional experience in Japan

Ronald Acuna, CF, Braves: The path to playing time is always an important piece when discussing potential rookie impact. With Acuna, that is not an issue with the current crop of outfielders that the Braves 40-man roster possesses. Looking at the Braves depth chart at FanGraphs, only Ender Inciarte projects to be more than a one-win player, and the left-field picture is a giant suck hole. Now, the club may choose to delay Acuna’s arbitration eligibility by sending him down to the minors for a few weeks to begin the year (especially since they’re not going to challenge for a playoff spot) but it’s pretty clear that he fits prominently into the picture for the coming year. It’s possible, though, that he could struggle early like 2017 rookie shortstop Dansby Swanson. Despite his massive ceiling (20+ homers, 30+ steals), Acuna also showed some contact issues in 2017 and his impressive batting line was aided by a BABIP of .400. He might very well have the most long-term success of any of the 2018 rookie outfielders but I foresee solid but unspectacular numbers for the coming season in Atlanta.

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