Author Archive

Fantasy Pitchers Ranked Using Steamer Projections

A computer program and I are back for some more abuse. After lining up the Steamer hitter projections with the Standings Gain Points (SGP) for The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational, the pitchers now take center stage. And boy can I see some conflicts to fill the comments.

The SGP formula is from the average of the 13, 15-team Roto leagues and will soon be available in The Process (looks like Monday at the latest).

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Prorated 2018 Pitcher Roto Values

A while back, I ranked hitters if all their 2018 stats were prorated to 600 plate appearances. It’s now time for the pitchers. In all fairness, the rankings are a huge disappointment with no surprises coming through.

I adjusted the rankings for 180 innings for starters and 60 innings for relievers and no one seemed out of place. With the hitters, Raul Mondesi at the top was an attention-getter. Looking over both sets of top-25 pitchers, the biggest surprise was Joshua James and he’s not really a surprise since he dominated at the season’s end. Time to get bored.

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Update On Initial Closer Chances

Two seasons ago, I examined the chances the season’s initial closer made it the entire season without being replaced for any reason including injury. I went back and revisited the study and updated it with 2017 and 2018 results. While the initially calculated chances were low, the odds are getting even worse.

I posted to Twitter account my initial results for the last two seasons to make sure nothing was too far off. Thanks to everyone for the responses and here are the end results:
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Fantasy Hitters Ranked Using Steamer Projections

It’s rankings time so the comments are open for everyone to go batshit crazy about how a computer program and I are wrong.  We are both ready for everyone’s best shot as neither one of us gives a flying  f***.

As part of my soon to be released e-book, The Process, the Standing Gain Points formulas will be included for several league types. I took the one for The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational, merge it with Steamer projections, and created some overall rankings.

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Two-Pitch Starters

A diverse pitching arsenal can help a starter successfully navigate a lineup several times since hitters have a harder time sitting on a single pitch. I went through the 2018 starters and found four pitcher groups who are the two ends of the spectrum. Either they rely on two pitches or have a diverse arsenal.

Many articles have been written about times through the order but the Holy Grail of research articles is the one MGL wrote a few years back. In it, he quantified how much having a third pitch helps. The research holds up even now. I took the 206 starters who threw at least 30 innings and found the percentage of pitches which were fastballs and next highest thrown. Normally, the average was around 75%. Then, I divided up the pitchers into 5% increments. Next, I subtracted the ERA from an average of their ERA estimators (FIP, xFIP, kwERA, SIERA) and here the average values. Read the rest of this entry »


Prorated 2018 Hitter Roto Values

I try not to miss examining players who had great, short seasons. An injury or time in the minors kept them off the end-of-season rankings. They flew under the radar but given a full season of playing time they stick out and could provide hidden value. Today, I’m going to start by examing the top prorated hitters.

I needed a way to value the hitters and decided to create an overall Standing Gain Points (SGP) formula from The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational leagues. The 13 15-team leagues were set up with  14 hitters (1 C, 2 Util), 9 pitchers, and used AVG. Tanner Bell and I will be providing this formula, along with several others, in our new book, The Process, available within weeks (shameless plug).

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Potential Pitch Mix Improvements for Free Agents (Part 2)

Last week, I started digging through the free agent pitchers and found those arms who could improve on their pitch mix. Three prime candidates, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Harvey, and Derek Holland, stood out. This installment includes the older pitchers from MLBtraderumors free-agent starter list while still ignoring those who may or may not become free agents. I’ll look into them once it’s official they are a free agent.

As I said in the previous article:

I’m just going to focus on the each of the pitcher’s 2018 pitch mix. I can’t assume they’ll develop a new pitch, so I need to work with what they showed last year. The two most common ways for pitcher to improve is to drop a horrible pitch or drop their fastball usage. These changes don’t guarantee an improvement but for now, the focus is on pitchers with upside beyond their projection.
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After going through the pitchers, I found they fit into three main groups depending on if changing their mix could help. This ranking is in no way a ranking of pitcher talent but I’m sure someone will bring it up in the comments. These are just pitchers who I believe can improve by adjusting their current pitch mix.

Major Improvement Candidates

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Potential Pitch Mix Improvements for Free Agents (Part 1)

Earlier this month, I highlighted a couple of pitchers who improved their results by changing their pitch mix with a new team. With the positive results, I decided to apply the logic to this upcoming class of free agents. The reason I wanted to focus on free agents because I expect a pitcher’s current teams to keep the pitcher doing what he has always done. After going over 15 pitchers, four stood out with real upside.

I’m just going to focus on the each pitcher’s 2018 pitch mix. I can’t assume they’ll develop a new pitch, so I need to work with what they showed last year. The two most common ways for a pitcher to improve is to quit throwing a horrible pitch or drop their fastball usage. These changes don’t guarantee an improvement. For now, the focus is on pitchers with upside beyond their projection.

I collected the free-agent pitchers from MLBTradeRumors and took the youngest pitchers for this investigation. I didn’t include any pitcher who has any kind of option on their contract. I’ll go back and examine them once it’s known for sure who they are or aren’t a free agent.

After going through the pitchers, I found they fit into three main groups depending on if changing their mix could help. This list is in no way a ranking of pitcher talent but I’m sure someone will bring it up in the comments. These are just pitchers who I believe can improve by adjusting their current pitch mix.

Major Improvement Candidates

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Hitters Playing Through Injury Means Jack Squat

Dammit. For a few years, I followed an old study showing hitters who played through an injury would outperform their next season’s projections, especially in relation to power. Last offseason, I collected a list of 26 such hitters. When I went to compare this group’s projections to their actual performance, I found no overperformance and I’m not sure how I’ll value them going forward.

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Why We Missed: Snell, Ottavino, & Mikolas

Blake Snell

The 25-year-old lefty should have been on several 2017 pre-season sleeper lists but almost everyone missed on him. He was basically a late-round “Why not?” I could see why owners wrote him off with a 4.85 ERA in 20107’s first half. even though he posted a 3.49 ERA in the second half. More importantly, his strikeouts and velocity were trending up and walks were heading down as the season went on.

His K%-BB% climbed from 5% to 16% which put him on par with Jon Lester or Gerrit Cole. Instead, his 196 ADP placed him near Aaron Sanchez, Danny Duffy, and Kevin Gausman.

Snell kept the gains from 2017 with an 18 K%-BB% for the season’s first half. Then, he improved throughout the 2018 season with his velocity climbing pushing his K%-BB% up to 31%.

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