Author Archive

Roto Strategy: Stats, not Players, Win Fantasy Baseball

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Davis is tied for the AL lead in stolen bases- but what are they worth to your fantasy team?

It’s time for a little more Fantasy Baseball Strategy. Last week, I mentioned looking at splits for your hitter: Often the differences in ballpark are brought to our attention, but it’s largely ignored how well a certain hitter fares against right vs. left-handed pitching (The skill level of the pitcher should be taken into account as well).

Another way to add value to your Fantasy team is by specifically addressing existing statistical needs, as opposed to amassing statistics as a whole. This can be used to make a trade not only win-win, but win-big win, where you are the big winner, not Mikey (anyone catch the ‘Swingers’ reference? No? You mean you didn’t watch it eight times a week in college like me?).

Trades generally go this way: A player is exchanged for another team’s player, or player(s) of roughly equivalent value. But Fantasy Baseball is not about who has the best collection of players. It’s about who has the best collection of statistics, at least in roto leagues.  A more advanced way to think about trading is to look at statistics, not just what you have as opposed to what you need, but in terms of what will bring the biggest gain. Saves and steals are often coveted in Fantasy baseball (and thus overvalued) because they are less commonly accrued by major leaguers. But saves have close to zero value for someone leading the category by 50 with two months remaining in the season.  Likewise, runs may be less valuable than saves in general, but when the race for most runs in a league becomes tight midway through the season, and you can gain three or four points in the standings with a good day, adding a player that will give you a boost in this category becomes paramount. (more…)

Splits and Strategy in Fantasy Baseball

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Fantasy Strategy: Platooning your hitters

You know, I hear all the time about how certain players are substantially better against left-handed pitchers, or maybe exceptionally weak against righties, or vice-versa, or whatever. But just recently did I consider employing this knowledge as a part of my strategy. Sure, if Carlos Pena was up against a tough lefty, I’d sit him, more than likely, but I didn’t check his splits until recently. He’s currently batting .122 against left-handed pitchers, against righties hitting .252, with four times as many homers (16) in twice as many games (the ratio is less drastic looking at at-bats, I’ll admit). (more…)

Fantasy Baseball Surprises to Help You Win your Roto League

Monday, July 18th, 2011

James Shields Has Provided Punch for Fantasy Teams

The All-Star break has come and gone, and we have a better idea of which fantasy baseball draft picks were worth their rank in the preseason.  Here is a list of players who were not remarkably high on preseason draft lists, but have shown us a thing or two during the first three months plus of the season.  If you were lucky enough to take a gamble on one of them, chances are your position in the standings reflects that.  Of course, it may also reflect the guys you took a gamble on that are no longer on major league rosters…

(1) James Shields – SP, TB

Shields has been a tough-luck loser of late, until last night (giving up 6 earned runs).  Obviously he’s not been contributing to wins the past several weeks, which means his other stats are pretty darn good. (more…)

Madison Bumgarner’s [Very] Poor Start: a Fantasy Perspective

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Madison Bumgarner's concern was shared by fantasy owners across the land - unnecessarily

Madison Bumgarner last night demonstrated the trouble with judging based on recent performance.  Yes, his peripherals had been very good despite the 3-8 record.  The record is now 3-9, and his peripherals aren’t quite so appealing.

It could be called ‘The Meltdown’ – Did you see it?  No, I’m not speaking of last night’s MMA bout, but of Madison Bumgarner and his impressive one-out start.  And, yes, impressive for all the wrong reasons. The game began harmless enough, with several seeing-eye groundballs through holes in the infield.  And then several more.  And then a solid line drive to the outfield.  And then another.  And another seeing-eye single.  And now the batter is Carl Pavano, who will be Bumgarner’s first (and only) out of the ballgame, the score already 7-0 Minnesota.  The next batter, Ben Revere, graciously ended Bumgarner’s night with an RBI double, much like the axe coming down on Mel Gibson’s exposed neck in the epic “Braveheart.”  So, Bumgarner’s final line: 0.1 IP, 9 H, 0 BB, 8 ER (note that there were no errors, nor any walks involved in this seal clubbing).  For the ‘outing’, if you can call it one, that’s a WHIP of 27.00 and an ERA right around 215.  It’s actually 216.0, but I rounded down, for Bummy’s sake.

What does this mean?  Get him out of there, as far from the pitching rubber as possible – Antarctica maybe?  Australia?  They only play cricket, right?  Wrong.  Well, not about cricket, but about Bumgarner. This is an example of the law of averages, the deceptions of a small sample size, regression to the mean.  Over the past week, I don’t know how many places I have read that Bumgarner is a much better pitcher than his record indicates.  Want to write that article today?  Why not?  Is he really a worse pitcher now?  He has shown us just how bad he can be, but you shouldn’t be too surprised with the awful outing.  He kept the ball in the yard, and didn’t walk people.  The balls just didn’t bounce his way.  Sure one game is a horrendously small sample size, but Twins hitters were 9 for 9 on balls hit in play.  That smells like a ridiculously unlikely BABIP; note Madison’s season BABIP of .333.  And if you watched the first inning (the rest of the game was fairly moot), you might have recognized that Bummy’s supporting defense wasn’t exactly at their best.

What matters in Fantasy Baseball (and real baseball) is not one game, but 162.  Bumgarner is a good pitcher, not a great one, but probably good enough to grace a roster in most fantasy leagues.  More importantly, he’s also a young player.  His last start was so horrible – and unlikely – that it’s a guarantee his next will be better.

A moral to this story?  Well, bad outings and games will come, they’re a part of every player’s season.  Bumgarner had had bad luck with regards to wins and losses up to yesterday, but after last night’s debacle, it’s hard to argue that he is much better than his 4-8 record indicates.  After the loss, his WHIP for the season sits at 1.39, quite a contrast to the pretty 1.29 he sported entering yesterday.  Last year’s WHIP of 1.31 makes me think this is probably the high point. The moral is, start him, he’s the same pitcher he was two days ago, and if you have a cranky owner in your league that wants to get rid of a pitcher after his worst start of the year, take advantage and trade for him.


Fantasy Baseball Free Agents – Is Corey Patterson Worth Your Waiver Priority?

Monday, June 6th, 2011

After a Slow Start, Freddie Freeman is Breaking Out

Young guys, old guys that can help you:

As a fantasy baseball columnist I should have a theme to my weekly columns.  One that seems to be pulling at my subconscious is the role age plays in Fantasy.  No, not the bedroom kind, but the baseball kind.  Shame on you (or me!) for even so much as thinking the former!  For starters, I will just point out a few young guys (generally 26 or younger) as well as a few older gents (32+) that are hot and can make an impact.

First, the hitters:

1) Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves – Did you pick him up last time I wrote about him?  No?  Well he was getting better at the time, and now he is one of the hottest 1B in the majors, and just 21 years old, to boot.   (more…)