Author Archive

Gerrit Cole vs. Aaron Nola: Who You Got?

Did you know some people don’t like to be referred to as a “Twitter person.” On that note, Twitter person Bradley Newman created a poll asking the wild reaches of the baseballverse to choose Gerrit Cole or Aaron Nola for 2019. The poll received considerable attention thanks to an assist from Paul Sporer and Justin Mason. The results, you’ll see in a moment, are shocking.

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The Incorrect Lesson About Carlos Correa

Months ago – possibly sometime late July to mid-August – Bill James tweeted about Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa. The topic: that anybody who had preferred Correa to Bregman entering this season was a fool. James was talking in a real baseball sense, but I’m sure the thought would have extended to fantasy baseball.

In response, I took a quick peek at both players’ priors, ignoring their 2018 production altogether. I determined they were roughly four win players. So, this being on twitter*, I called out James with my evidence. In short, it was possible to prefer Bregman, but Correa’s longer track record and similar projection were seemingly favorable. James called me a dumdum in response – the worst kind of sphere-shaped lollipop. That was the extent of his rebuttal.

*One thing you gotta love about Twitter… I, a glorified blogger, can walk up to Bill James, a founding father of sabermetrics, and tell him he’s wrong. And receive a banal retort in response.

More recently, I’m seeing a growing tide of people lamenting the mistake of selecting Correa in the late-first round of 2018 drafts. His downfall, despite being caused by a new injury(s), was somehow predictable. As far as I’m concerned, my colleagues are drawing the wrong conclusion.

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Brad Johnson Baseball Chat: 11/6/2018

Here’s today’s chat transcript. Thanks for playing.

4:01
Brad Johnson: Good afternoon folks. Sporer says y’all are busy voting, but maybe that’s not true. Who wants a baseball break?

4:02
DJ Tanner: Dee Gordon in Ottoneu league, I have at $4. Not that I’m hopeful he turns it around, but thats a keep right?

4:02
Brad Johnson: I don’t think you’re ruin your season by keeping Gordon, but I only considered him a $1 player BEFORE he was terrible last season.

4:02
Brad Johnson: I’m assuming you’re talking about FGpts of course

4:03
Brad Johnson: In 5×5, he’s still a reasonably decent asset

4:03
Brad Johnson: By the way, I’m expecting maybe 10 or 15 of you to show up so feel free to give some back and forth, reactions to my comments, etc.

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The Unemployment Line

Fantasy waiver wires have been closed for over a month, and real world free agency is about to begin. Major league clubs are “better” than ever at hunting for value. They’ve all developed similar models for evaluating players which has left several notable free agents on the dole in recent seasons. The 2018-2019 winter is scripted to break the trends. Even with Clayton Kershaw already off the market, there’s a healthy supply of star and superstar talent available. But what about ordinary folk? Some of them will be left bat in hand.

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Highly Custom League of the Week: Split Auction

Last week, I kicked off my new offseason series on custom league designs with a 2×2 roto format. It pits quantity against quality. This time around, we’ll shift towards an uncommon draft style that already exists in the fantasy ecosystem: the Split Auction.

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Brad Johnson Baseball Chat: 10/30/2018

Here is today’s chat transcript which started a little catcher heavy before moving on to other topics.

3:52
Brad Johnson: We’ll get started in a bit. Until then, a little self-promotion.

3:55
Brad Johnson: I’m doing custom fantasy games for my patrons this offseason. Future contests will have a prize of $50. This month’s contest is a simple Qualifying Offer Game with a $10 prize. There’s currently only a few entrees so a new $1/mo patron has a really decent chance to come out ahead.

3:55
Brad Johnson: I also announced the first patron fantasy league, a 20 team dynasty that will begin slow drafting in December. Details are still up for discussion.

3:56
Brad Johnson: On a completely different note, I began a free agent analysis series with a look at catchers.

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It’s Time To Ditch The Quality Start

Yesterday, I sat down to write this article only to discover there was another topic I had to cover first. Classic 5×5 Roto is one of the original forms of fantasy sports. And, despite attempts to tinker with the inputs, it remains the king of fantasy baseball.

A common change to the classic 5×5 categories is to swap out pitcher wins for quality starts. Although all agree a quality start doesn’t exactly measure its name – after all, a six inning, three run performance is pretty mediocre – everybody also agrees the stat is less capricious than pitcher wins. This season, Jacob deGrom won 10 games with a 1.70 ERA over 217 innings. He led the league in quality starts. Ryan Yarbrough won 16 games with a 3.91 ERA in 147.1 innings. He only made six starts, none of which were a quality start. Yeah, wins are sloppy.

Despite the flaws with wins, they’ve become vastly preferable to their number one alternative. It’s time to ditch the quality start. Don’t believe me? Behold, a table!
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Long Live The King: Celebrating Roto 5×5

League design is something I greatly enjoy. In my more innocent days, I believed in using stats that most closely mirrored on field performance. For example, replacing batting average with OPS or using quality starts instead of wins.

Time and math – mostly the math to be honest – taught me that the best fantasy experiences have nothing to do with accurately estimating real world values. Instead, the name of the game is managerial flexibility. Put another way, how many different strategies and tactics can I use and still contend? The top formats like classic 5×5 roto allow for dramatic mid-season pivots. It’s not simply a matter of zigging when others zag, I want the option to zeg, zog, and zug* as needed.

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Highly Custom League of the Week: 2×2 Roto

Over the offseason, I’m going to endeavor to “invent” about 15 leagues – roughly one per week up until March, excluding vacations. This is the first entry in the series. Let’s kick things off with a real mindbender – 2×2 Roto.

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Brad Johnson Baseball Chat: 10/23/2018

Here is today’s chat transcript:

3:58
Brad Johnson: Ahoy there. We’ll get started in a few minutes.

4:01
AJ Preller: I need a 3B (real life, not fantasy) and I’d prefer it if he was good. Who can flip me a third baseman for a catcher, or a corner outfielder, or a ton of pitching prospects?

4:01
Ebelin: All things equal and from a fantasy perspective, who’s the odd man out between Renfroe, Reyes and Cordero?

4:01
German: Is Wil Myers ever going to break out? I think I might’ve asked this for four straight years but here I am again.

4:01
Tokyo: What’s the earliest round you’d take Tatis and just stash him till he gets called up?

4:01
Brad Johnson: I am wise to your ways Padres fan!

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