• Roto Riteup
    The most roto-relevant news of the previous day, recapped in a concise format for your morning coffee.
  • Bullpen Report
    Detailed daily updates and charts on every bullpen in the Major Leagues to help you manage your saves and holds.
  • Prospect Coverage
    Our prospect team mines the minors for top prospects and useful pieces alike.
  • MASH Report
    Award-winning in-depth injury report with analysis from Jeff Zimmerman.
  • The Sleeper and The Bust Podcast
    Paul Sporer, Justin Mason, and Jason Collette lead the RotoGraphs staff in a regular fantasy podcast.
  • Daily Fantasy Strategy
    The RotoGraphs team discusses daily fantasy strategy and then makes picks for the day.
  • Ottoneu Strategy
    Strategy for the year-round FanGraphs Fantasy game.
  • Top 50 Fantasy Prospects
    Marc Hulet adjusts (and updates) his prospect list for fantasy purposes.
  • Field of Streams
    A contest to see who can make the better picks: streaming pitcher and hitter choices for every day of the season in a podcast hosted by Dylan Higgins and Matthew Dewoskin.
C  -  1B  -  2B  -  SS  -  3B  -  OF  -  SP  -  RP

The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 759 – Hot Stove Stays Toasty

12/5/19

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is live. Support the show by subscribing to Fangraphs! With a standard $20 membership, you help maintain and improve our database of stats and graphs as well as our staff of 8 full-time employees and over 50 contributors. The premium ad-free membership at $50 year supports site growth and also includes faster load speeds and better site performance. You can also support monthly for just $3.

Follow us on Twitter

NOTABLE TRANSACTIONS/INJURIES/RUMORS

Read the rest of this entry »


Cole Hamels Joins the Braves Creating a Jumbled Mess

Cole Hamels could have signed with several different teams and help clarify the team’s rotation. Instead, he went to Atlanta and made a murky situation worse.

While Hamels has not been competing for a Cy Young for several seasons, he has been a production pitcher. Over the last 10 years, he has never posted an ERA over 4.20 (3.42 on his career) or threw fewer than 141 innings. The innings low point was this past season when he lost a month due to a strained oblique.

Read the rest of this entry »


Let’s Talk About Launch Angle “Tightness”

Yesterday, I finally followed up on a note written on my white board for months: “sd(LA) –> BABIP?” The results from my research: the tightness of a hitter’s launch angle is moderately positively correlated with his batting average on balls in play (BABIP). I measure “tightness” in terms of variance. The narrower the distribution of his launch angles, the tighter. The wider, the looser. There is also weak evidence to suggest a tighter launch angle correlates with more consistent exit velocity (EV).

(Turns out Brock Hammit, who is part of the Brewers’ player development team, investigated this very idea in June. Small world! Great minds! All that good stuff.)

As noted in my Tweet, the crux of the finding hints at something previously quantifiable only by the eye test: bat control. In effect, it’s a quantification of the hit tool — to me, the most interesting possible application. Would it surprise you to learn that Joey Votto has the tightest launch angle in the Statcast EraTM? Followed by hitting savants both current and former, such as Freddie Freeman, Miguel Cabrera, Joe Mauer, Mike Trout, Michael Brantley — and maybe less-expected and arguably underrated names (underrated exclusively in the greater “hit tool” discussion) like Justin Turner, Daniel Murphy, J.D. Martinez, and DJ LeMahieu?

Tightest Launch Angles – Statcast EraTM
Hitter Name BBE stdev(LA) EV
Joey Votto 2,148 21.8 88.5
Nick Castellanos 2,132 22.0 88.7
Freddie Freeman 2,054 22.4 89.8
Miguel Cabrera 1,692 22.6 92.1
Joe Mauer 1,738 22.7 89.6
Brandon Belt 1,723 23.0 87.4
Matt Carpenter 1,881 23.0 88.7
J.D. Martinez 1,938 23.2 91.3
Justin Turner 1,894 23.2 89.5
DJ LeMahieu 2,452 23.6 90.2
Mike Trout 1,860 23.6 90.5
Michael Brantley 1,839 23.7 88.7
Eugenio Suarez 1,872 24.1 87.9
Matt Kemp 1,672 24.3 88.4
Daniel Murphy 2,068 24.4 88.7
stdev(LA) = Standard deviation of launch angle
Top 15 of 120 hitters with 1,600 batted ball events (BBEs) since the beginning of 2015.

These hitters all have or had outstanding contact skills, superb batted ball efficacy, or both. If you click through to any of their player pages, you’ll encounter routinely elevated BABIPs.

Is there more to this than meets the eye? I’m not sure. Obviously all of this here is but a small part of a much bigger puzzle and should be used in conjunction with, and not in place of, our existing knowledge about player performance. I wouldn’t consider this the be-all, end-all of BABIP analysis by any means, although I do think it’s significant.

That said, here are three potentially pertinent applications of this knowledge:

Read the rest of this entry »


Highly Custom League: Home Team

Last winter, I debuted the Highly Custom League series with nine unique and unusual league designs. Entries in this series covered 2×2 Roto, Split Auctions, Roto-to-HeadRotating DivisionsWAR warsCategory WarsPublic Trade NegotiationsIf Only, and Elimination.

I implemented the Roto-to-Head format in Dynasty To Be Named Later (aka DTBNL, my patron 25-team dynasty league). We used the extensible platform provided by FanTrax to hack it together. While we didn’t have any major upsets, everybody seemed to really enjoy the wrinkle on the standard roto format.

Also via my patrons, we ran an elimination league named Top Tout (Beta). At some point, I’ll post a full breakdown with lessons learned. A second beta season may be required.

Today, we return with the 10th custom league. This one comes courtesy of Ariel Cohen. I’ll let him introduce it.

Read the rest of this entry »


2019 Projection Systems Comparison – Hitting vs. Pitching

In my previous article, I compared a number of baseball projection systems for the 2019 season using a game theory approach. We looked at the profitability of each projection system in the context of simulating what would transpire at a fantasy baseball auction. We measured each projection’s successes and failures.

Several readers had approached me to further split out the resulting analysis into the hitter and pitcher components. By popular demand, I have decided to do exactly that. Today’s article will detail the analysis by its offensive and defensive elements.

For a refresher on the process and methodology, or for reference, please refer to the original post which can be found here.

Overall Results:

First, let’s quickly remind ourselves of the results of overall total profitability by projection system in 2019.

As we previously saw, ATC and Steamer were the two best overall systems according to this analysis in 2019.

Read the rest of this entry »


Nominations For Best New Fantasy Baseball Team Names

We all love goofy fantasy baseball team names. Earlier this morning, I was singing one to myself while washing dishes.

~who lives, who dies, who’s Trevor Story~

-Hamilton the Musical

Read the rest of this entry »


The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 758 – The Non-Tender Team

12/4/19

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is live. Support the show by subscribing to Fangraphs! With a standard $20 membership, you help maintain and improve our database of stats and graphs as well as our staff of 8 full-time employees and over 50 contributors. The premium ad-free membership at $50 year supports site growth and also includes faster load speeds and better site performance. You can also support monthly for just $3.

Follow us on Twitter

THE NON-TENDER TEAM

Read the rest of this entry »


2020 Top 101 Prospects for Roto Leagues (Early)

Prospect season is around the corner, and while various rankings, reports, and even trades will continue to influence the ebb and flow of prospect opinions, it’s helpful to lay the groundwork for establishing this year’s fantasy prospect values as early as possible.  The list below represents a very early look at the top 101 prospects in the game for fantasy leagues tailored specifically towards traditional rotisserie scoring (where AVG, ERA, and SB are better indicators than OPS, FIP, and wOBA.). For example, this list could be a resource for evaluating the value of prospects in Ottoneu Old School 5 x 5 leagues.  The top 101 prospects for sabermetrics leagues is here.

Years ago I introduced the Scorecard system, my custom prospect ranking process, and I’ve continued to use this method for scoring and ranking this crop of 2020 prospects.  In ranking these prospects I take into account the following factors:

Scouting

“Scouting” is everything that goes into evaluating the true talent of an MLB prospect.  Age, ability, stats, rankings, “makeup”, and scouting reports all play a role here.  It’s the input of information that causes you to ask about the player’s ceiling, their floor, and what might be realistic in between.  What are the risks, and how serious are they? Is this prospect regarded more for their defensive talents than offensive? What MLB players might they compare to? What is their future value expectation and how likely are they to reach it?

Taylor Trammell scouts like a tremendously athletic player, but scouting alone hasn’t yet materialized into an elite on-field player, so there are other elements to consider when ranking him among the other top prospects in the game in this context.

Scoring

“Scoring” is honestly assessing whether the prospect’s skills and talents effectively translate to the specific scoring format of your fantasy league.  It seems obvious, but I continually see fantasy owners fail to make this connection in the way they draft and value their prospects each season.  While Andrew Vaughn might be a top pick in sabermetic leagues, his value needs to be reassessed in the context of 5 x 5 leagues, for example.  In order to be more successful in building our dynasty rosters, we need to always project value within the context of our specific league, which is what this rating is designed to consider.

Read the rest of this entry »


Moose to Cincy, Marlins Reeling in Newcomers, and more…

I was originally going to cover all of these moves (sans the Miami ones because they hadn’t happened yet) yesterday when I wrote up San Diego’s busy offseason, but that might’ve been pushing 2500 words so I broke it up into two pieces. Let’s get caught up on the latest offseason deals:

Mike Moustakas to Cincinnati

While the terms of deals aren’t a major concern for us in the fantasy realm (at least until they start to play a role in dictating playing time), it feels like Moose is finally getting the money he deserved the last few years. After making $12.5 million the last two seasons for production worth at least three times that, he’ll be paid $64 million over the next four seasons to play in Cincinnati and make a more permanent move to the keystone. With Eugenio Suárez locked in at 3B, Moose will now be an everyday 2B and also cement Nick Senzel’s future in CF.

Read the rest of this entry »


Three Non-Tendered Players Who Could Bounce Back in 2020

A total of 53 players were non-tendered prior to Monday night’s deadline, and a number of fantasy-relevant players were included in that group. Domingo Santana and C.J. Cron fit that description, and if they can successfully come back from injury, so may Steven Souza Jr., Taijuan Walker and Aaron Sanchez.

What is less clear is whether Blake Treinen, José Peraza and Kevin Gausman can still be called fantasy-relevant. They certainly were as recently as 2018, but each of them fell so far in 2019 that they failed to make the top 500 in ADP in the 2 Early Mocks. Yet, upon closer examination, all three have the potential to have comeback seasons in 2020. Even though they may not get much attention in fantasy circles this offseason, I’ll make the case as to why each is deserving of a spot on your late-round flier or watch list.

Blake Treinen

In 2019, Treinen lost all of the gains he made in his strikeout and swinging strike rates in 2018, and he even lost his long-held knack for getting grounders. This combination led to the escalation of Treinen’s ERA from 0.78 to 4.91 and to him losing the Athletics’ closer role to Liam Hendriks. The loss of whiffs is likely related to a decrease in average sinker velocity from 98.0 to 96.7 mph, as well as a drop in average sinker spin rate form 2371 to 2250 rpm. He was generally locating his pitches higher (see below), which would explain his middling ground ball rate (42.8 percent) and HR/9 ratio (1.38).
Read the rest of this entry »