Charlie Morton & J.A. Happ Sign New Deals

We didn’t get a lot of earth-shattering moves at the Winter Meetings, but there was impactful activity, including a host of starting pitchers on the move. Al Melchior will be covering Lance Lynn’s deal with Texas soon and Mike Podhorzer had a piece on Tyson Ross, Ivan Nova, and Tanner Roark, so I’ve got the Charlie Morton and J.A. Happ signings for you.

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Are We Wrong to Overlook Lance Lynn?

Even though this year’s Winter Meetings were slow prior to Thursday’s three-team deal involving the Mariners, Indians and Rays, the Rangers’ signing of Lance Lynn has yet to receive much attention. Lynn’s $30 million deal over three years pales in comparison on an annual basis to the contracts recently inked by Nathan Eovaldi, J.A. Happ and Charlie Morton. Given Lynn’s 4.77 ERA compiled with the Twins and Yankees in 2018, it’s no surprise that Lynn is drawing less interest than his free agent counterparts in the real and fantasy worlds.
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Rule 5 Draft: Who To Watch

The Major League Rule 5 draft kicked off at noon today and finished a few minutes later. In typical rapid fire, 14 unprotected players were selected to go join new teams. Inevitably, some of them will be traded before the start of the season. Others will be returned to their original club.

The beauty of the Rule 5 draft is that the worst teams pick first. These are the clubs that are 1. most likely to keep their selection and 2. most likely to play their picks. You don’t find Odubel Herrera or Brad Keller by hiding them under the dankest corner of the bench. In fact, the 11 teams with the best record in 2018 made a total of zero selections. This likely reflects their intentions to continue competing at a high level – they don’t have the flexibility to nurse the types of players usually selected in the Rule 5 draft.

That said, a few of the 14 selected players could have a fantasy impact in 2019.

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Joining New Teams — Ross & Nova & Roark, Oh My

The news just keeps coming, as players are signing a flurry of deals, making it hard for me to keep track of all the moves and those expected to become official. Within just the last couple of days, a trio of mediocre starting pitchers have joined new teams either via free agency or trade. Rather than go through the full park comparisons like I have been all week, let’s summarize the potential effects on Tyson Ross, Ivan Nova, and Tanner Roark. Will the park and team switches make these pitchers any more appealing? Let’s find out.

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 620 – “Call Your Shot” Ep. 8: Winter Edition

12/12/18

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 19, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER19!

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CALL YOUR SHOT

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Andrew McCutchen Is On The Move Again

After spending his first nine seasons in Pittsburgh, Andrew McCutchen will now be joining his fourth team in two years. McCutchen agreed to a three-year deal with the Phillies, likely spoiling Roman Quinn’s sleeper hype. Having played the vast majority of his career in home parks that seriously favored pitchers, will the move to Citizens Bank Park boost his offense? Let’s check the park factors.

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Cutch and Hamilton Find New Homes

With the Winter Meetings in full swing, the Hot Stove keeps crackling with a host of impactful moves on Tuesday afternoon, including two fantasy relevant outfielders switching leagues to find their new teams.

Andrew McCutchen signs a 3-year, $50 million-dollar deal with PHI

Cutch slid under the radar a bit in 2018 with a season split between SF and NYY. He was perfectly solid in 130 games with the Giants, putting up 15 HR and 13 SB with a 115 wRC+. Unsurprisingly, his power was held down out west as his .160 ISO would’ve been a career-low had he not been dealt to the Bronx for the final month.

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Late-Round Bargains: ADP Over 200

The current fantasy focus is evaluating the top-100 or so players, especially the first couple rounds. I’m going to deep dive and investigate some later round values.  I will group 10 players together and pick which one I would take earlier than the others.

201: Arodys Vizcaino
202: Jonathan Schoop
203: Kevin Gausman
204: Luke Voit
205: Chris Taylor
206: Jake Arrieta
207: Forrest Whitley
208: Ross Stripling
209: Odubel Herrera
210: Yusei Kikuchi

There are several players I really like in this group like Taylor, Stripling, and Herrera but easily the best bargain is Kikuchi.

Kikuchi isn’t on par with Asian imports Ohtani or Darvish but he’s still extremely talented. He’s considered to be a better talent than Miles Mikolas and Mikolas is going 86th overall. I believe once Kikuchi signs and everyone gets to know him, his ADP will be cut in half and around a top-100 pick, if not double digits.
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Brad Johnson Baseball Chat: 12/11/2018

We talked a lot about Andrew McCutchen and various Mets/Yankees/Marlins rumors. Then we talked about other topics. Here’s the transcript.

3:53
Brad Johnson: We’ll get started in a few minutes

3:57
Mets fans everywhere: Also, best baseball pun of the offseason is given the Mets track record, they’ll try to trade for Realmuto but end up with some fake muto.

4:00
John: Any former MLB players who missed all of 2018 (due to injury or playing out of the country)  that might surprise in 2019? (ala Miles Mikolas or Eric Thames a couple of years ago)

4:00
Brad Johnson: I don’t see anybody notable on the radar, heard about a couple return attempts, but they weren’t Thames/Mikolas caliber players

4:00
Brad Johnson: Or even Colby Lewis

4:01
Brad Johnson: I’m browsing 2017 leaderboards for guys who disappeared in 2018. Corey Seager and Dinelson Lamet spring to mind, although that’s probably not what you meant.

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Hot Stove Fantasy Implications: Schoop & Eovaldi

I’m a little weary of the Hot Stove season until about 80% of the free agents have signed. Team compositions change so fast that research done one day is irrelevant the next. Instead of wasting my energy, I normally focus on other topics and wait for everything to settle down and come into focus. Like, how much will Manny Machado’s value change if he signs with the Phillies or the Yankees? Or even the White Sox? Not much if his profile was written now or right after his season ended. He’s still going to be valued in the top-20 picks.

It’s hard sometimes for baseball fans, who play fantasy baseball, to differentiate the general excitement around a baseball move to one that makes a legitimate change in value.

That being said, some free agent signings do have a little more variance depending on where the player signs Jonathan Schoop and Nathan Eovaldi are two such players. Both maxed out their value with their recent signings. Here are my two cents on each.
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