Archive for Strategy

Projecting the Impossible: Pitcher Wins

In the latest episode of the Launch Angle Podcast, Rob Silver asked me how many Wins did I expect Chris Archer to accumulate this season. Basically, I came back with my normal response, I don’t chase Wins and don’t care. He pushed a little harder and wondered the actual difference. I just stammered out a horrible response because I didn’t know. I’m not one to not know so found out with the answer being a win or two.

For years, I’ve used the potential for more Wins as a tie breaker between pitchers with similar baseline stats (strikeouts, walks, and groundball rate). I focused on talent first. Usually, I found pitchers on projected better teams being drafted way ahead of those with similar skills on worse teams. I just assumed the better skills will lead the pitcher to as many Wins as the worse pitcher on a better team. There is no need for me to make that assumption anymore.

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No Rankings, No Mocks: Before Photo

I’m trying something new this winter. For years, I’ve lamented the near worthlessness of rankings. Here’s me in 2014 saying some things about how much I hate rankings. Here I am again in 2016. Here’s me with a graph (that’s not me!). Apparently, this post is an even-year tradition. However, I’m doing things a little differently this time. That’s what we’re here to talk about today.

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Hitter-Pitcher Mix Tool for Drafts

A few days ago, many of the best fantasy baseball minds got together for the 15-team mixed LABR draft. While several storylines existed with it, the running joke in the draft chat was it if Mike Podhorzer or Scott Pianowski would blink first and draft a pitcher. Mike did and took Jake Arrieta in the 7th round while Scott held out until the 12th. While these two owners obviously took accumulating hitters to an extreme level, other owners took a more balanced approach or bought into pitching. Finding a hitter-pitcher balance, especially in a draft can be tough to calculate on the fly. The following a simple tool to help with that in draft confusion.

The first concept to understand is that the talent is not evenly distributed. I went over this concept earlier this week showing the non-linear talent drop using auction prices. Using concepts from this analysis can help create a simple framework by giving each round its own auction value. This can be done by going to our auction calculator, entering your league settings, and downloading both the hitter and pitcher values.
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Talent Distribution Curve Improves on Ordinal Ranks

Major league talent drop is not linear and it shouldn’t be treated as so in fantasy baseball but it does for many owners because we love our simple ordinal rankings. The talent drop from the best shortstop to the 10th is more than the drop from the 10th to the 20th. As soon as an owner moves away from using just rankings and goes to an overall production value they will gain a leg up on the competition. The whole idea can be explained by the talent distribution curve.

The talent distribution curve can be created with auction dollars. Other values can be used such as raw Standings Gain Points. But setting our auction calculator to the standard 12-team roto settings. Here is the talent distribution curve:

Note: While only 276 players are needed for this example, I extended the data out for deeper leagues. For those in 12-team -Only leagues, they will be picking at the 552 mark where the talent really begins to drop.

I’m not even sure if it has a shape. Maybe a sideways ‘S’. There is an extreme drop for about 100 picks and then starts to level off. Owners want to acquire as many players in this first group. In this part of the draft, talent needs to be prioritized over a position since talent differences exist more at this level.

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Valuing Rookie Hitters for 2018

With prospect week happening on the main website, I’m going to look at the hitting prospects ranked by their NFBC ADP (average draft position). This will be the batter’s value just in redraft leagues, not in keeper or dynasty leagues. I’ve included the player’s average, low, and high ADP values along with their Fangraphs prospect ranking.

Ronald Acuna (133 ADP, 88 min, 207 max, #2 prospect)

As the first rookie hitter off the board, his price is just a little too high for me considering the options available after him. He’s a talented ball player who is consistently ranked as either the #1 or #2 prospect in the game. He’s going to be good but how good in 2018 is the question. I have two reservations about him.

First, the no league has had a chance to adapt to his weaknesses and then have Acuna adapt back. Even pitchers found Mike Trout’s “weakness” and he had to adapt. Acuna will need to also. The question will be when the adaptation will occur and how long will it take. Will it happen in the minors and take a couple months? Or will happen in the big leagues and only be a week or two. This adjustment time could really frustrate owners.

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Ottoneu H2H Is Here

While it’s true that Ottoneu never sleeps, some are often surprised to know that January and February are among the busiest months of the year for this growing fantasy sports platform.  This winter frenzy period for baseball is refreshing because it keeps owners engaged even as they await free agent signings, and it is highly active because so many new leagues are forming.  If you’re thinking about playing Ottoneu this season, here are some key resources for review:

What Is Ottoneu?

Ottoneu First Impressions

Why You Should Play Ottoneu

How To Get Started Playing Ottoneu

10 Tips for Ottoneu Rookies

Join an Ottoneu League

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Draft Day Talent: 2017 Tout Wars Example

It’s tough to create a perfectly balanced team on draft or auction day. Owners are feeling the push-and-pull of trying to balance all five categories in a roto league. Mid-draft, many owners decide to drop a category with the hope of finding the needed stats on the waiver wire. Knowing which stats can be found can be tricky. By looking back at last season’s Tout Wars leagues, a decent idea of available stats can be determined.

One feature of the fantasy league website computes the league’s final standings using just the drafted teams (nine pitchers, 14 position players). I took these draft values and compared them to the actual final values for each of the four roto leagues (12-team AL and NL-only and the two 15-team mixed leagues).

Some specific notes on these leagues. First, they are deeper than most leagues so every player who might be good is already owned. As for the timing of the mixed draft (the other three were auctions) happened a few weeks before the other three. Additionally, only the 23-man rosters were used used for the projected standings. Each team had an additional five or six-person bench.

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Alex Reyes: Undervalued

Alex Reyes was considered to be a top-5 prospect coming into the 2017 season. Then his elbow gave out and he eventually needed Tommy John surgery. He’s nearing completion of his recovery and the Cardinals are considering when he’ll return and his role.

Wanting to protect their top prospect as much as possible, the Cardinals have set a soft target of May 1 as a likely return date for Reyes. What hasn’t been so explicitly defined, though, is what role he’ll fill upon that return.

Long term, the Cardinals have every intention of using Reyes to anchor their rotation. MLB Pipeline recently ranked Reyes as the seventh-best right-handed pitching prospect, and he likely would have been higher on that list had he not just missed a full season.

But given the recovery process Reyes has undergone over these last 12 months, the Cardinals intend to be cautious in 2018. Their preference, as stated multiple times this offseason by president of baseball operations John Mozeliak, would be to have Reyes first come out of the bullpen.

For fantasy owners, they could take a chance on having an elite arm as a starter or reliever. With so many possible unknown outcomes, the following is a breakdown of 2018 value.

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Keeper Deadline (2018) – All Questions Answered

Welcome to the Ottoneu keeper deadline, 2018 edition.  Today (11:59 PM EDT) is the final day to make that difficult decision about your on-the-bubble players before rosters lock and you set your sights on your upcoming league auction.  Per the rules:

Between the end of the Major League Baseball regular season and the end of arbitration, players may be cut. Between the end of arbitration and the keeper deadline, players may be cut or traded. After the keeper deadline and before the auction draft, teams may not cut or trade any players.

Since the keeper deadline also serves as a de-factor trade deadline, I’ve lined up a few final resources for you below and I’ve asked a handful of Ottoneu experts (Justin, Chad, Brad) to check your questions and comments periodically throughout the day to offer their input on your toughest decisions.  You don’t play this game? You should, but even if your non-Ottoneu keeper deadline is still a few weeks away, feel free to fire your questions below and we’ll do our best to give you feedback (for context, don’t forget to let us know details about your league format).

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Is Year-to-Year Hitter Consistency Consistent?

Whether I like it or not, I’ve opened Pandora’s box on year-to-year consistency. The concept states that if a hitter’s overall year-to-year production is consistent, the consistent production will continue. Therefore, good, consistent hitters should be valued more highly since owners know what they’ll be getting on draft day. The problem is that consistent overall production doesn’t lead to future consistency.

The discussion started last week when I wrote that Eric Hosmer and Edwin Encarnacion had similar fantasy values but Hosmer’s NFBC ADP (average draft position) was quite a bit lower. Reader’s stated in the comments they devalued Hosmer because of his year-to-year inconsistency.

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