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About Rick Lucks - RotoBaller

Hello fellow Rotoballers! I'm a guy that was reading fantasy baseball magazines before I was old enough to legally play. Now that I am, lets win some leagues together!

Rick Lucks - RotoBaller has written 347 articles so far, you can find them below.


Champ or Chump - Fernando Tatis Jr. and Yoan Moncada

It can be incredibly easy to overreact to your team's performance thus far, but remember that it is still very early. You shouldn't even be thinking about dropping big names like Aaron Nola or Mookie Betts, nor should you count on Daniel Vogelbach or Jay Bruce continuing their home run binge. That said, you don't... Read More

6 days ago

Champ or Chump - Corbin Burnes and Trent Thornton

By this point of the season, you probably have some injuries, under-performances, or squandered sleeper picks cluttering your roster. You're also probably intrigued by a few potential breakouts on the waiver wire. Who should you keep moving forward, and who should you pick up with any newfound roster spots? This column seeks to answer that... Read More

2 weeks ago

Using Sabermetrics For Fantasy Baseball Part 16 - Interpreting Minor League Stats

Once you've grown accustomed to having advanced tools to help make fantasy decisions, it can feel disorientating to be without them. Prospects are increasingly becoming a focal point in both real and fantasy baseball, but the minors simply do not have all of the data available for MLB players. For example, advanced plate discipline stats,... Read More

3 weeks ago

Using Sabermetrics For Fantasy Baseball Part 15 - Ballpark Factors

If you have ever selected a streamable pitcher based on home park or benched an otherwise must-start arm at Coors Field, you already know how much a stadium can impact a player's bottom line. Ballpark Factors quantify the influence each stadium has, allowing you to make the most of your fantasy team's real-life schedule. Today,... Read More

4 weeks ago

Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball Part 14 - Statcast Expected Stats

Statcast is a valuable tool for fantasy analysis, and it can be easy to look at a stat called "Expected Batting Average" and blindly use it as your projection moving forward. Of course, proper use of these metrics is a little bit more nuanced than that. Our series on how to make sabermetrics more accessible... Read More

4 weeks ago


Rick Lucks' Bold Predictions for 2019

Our series of Bold Predictions continue with my piece. I've had success with this exercise in the past, but last year was easily my worst performance to date. That said, I am traditionally one of the boldest authors on this series, and I think you'll agree that the predictions below will at least let me... Read More

1 month ago

ADP Champ or Chump - Jackie Bradley Jr. and Juan Soto

You've probably heard people say that position scarcity is dead, as there is plenty of talent available at every offensive position save catcher and all catchers are about the same level of blech. This is true in standard 12-team leagues and some deeper formats, but it's not the case in the deepest leagues (20+ teams)... Read More

1 month ago

Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball Part 13 - Statcast for Pitchers

Previously, we looked at Barrels, a stat combining exit velocity and launch angle to measure how often a batter makes quality hard contact. As much as batters want to hit a Barrel every time, pitchers want to avoid them at all costs. Yet there is some evidence that pitchers do not have the same influence... Read More

1 month ago

ADP Champ or Chump - C.J. Cron and Robbie Ray

No matter how much you prepare for a draft, what you do in the heat of the moment can reveal who you like and who you don't. I recently completed two Rotoballer Challenge drafts (there's still time to sign up if you haven't yet) and decided that any player I took in both of them... Read More

1 month ago

Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball Part 12 - Spin Rate

Spin rate has become one of the most recognizable Statcast metrics, with supporters of a given pitcher highlighting his spin rates to make their case. Unfortunately, the baseball world has done a lousy job conveying what spin rate really means. The result has been a ton of owners who know that spin rate exists, but... Read More

1 month ago


Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball Part 11 - Pitch Info

One of the most fundamental questions in fantasy sports is if a player's current performance is sustainable. More than any other sport, baseball has a slew of statistical measures that can be dissected in numerous ways to analyze player performance. Pitch Info is a publicly available pitch tracking system that provides a lot of different data... Read More

2 months ago

ADP Champ or Chump - Garrett Hampson and Rougned Odor

Traditionally, fantasy talent is evenly distributed between the keystone and shortstop positions, but shortstop looks considerably stronger heading into 2019. As such, you should probably plan to draft at least two SS-eligible players to cover your SS and MI slots. That said, you still need at least one second baseman to fill out your roster.... Read More

2 months ago

Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball Part 10 - Pitcher Batted Ball Distribution

The league average batted ball distribution in 2018 was 21.5% liners, 43.2% grounders and 35.4% flies. We have previously seen how pitchers may specialize in either grounders or fly balls. Fly ball pitchers have a BABIP advantage over their ground ball-inducing counterparts, since fly balls (.117 BABIP in 2018) consistently have lower BABIPs than worm... Read More

2 months ago

ADP Champ or Chump - Nick Senzel and Christian Yelich

As fantasy owners, it can be easy to fall in love with a player's talent and end up overpaying for a guy. Nick Senzel's stat lines suggest that he has all of the talent necessary to make an impact at the MLB level, but the combination of his health issues and a crowded Cincinnati roster... Read More

2 months ago

Using Sabermetrics For Fantasy Baseball Part 9 - Pitcher BABIP

While FIP is a useful tool to predict a pitcher's future ERA performance, fantasy owners should remember that ERA, not FIP, is what really matters in most formats. This means that we are interested in the "luck" that separates the two statistics. While some of this luck is unpredictable, we can and should predict some... Read More

2 months ago


ADP Champ or Chump - Jesus Aguilar and David Dahl

Sometimes, it can be tough to turn away from the waiver wire guys who helped your team the previous year. Jesus Aguilar likely won some leagues with his 35-homer campaign out of nowhere last season. Likewise, David Dahl provided juice in all categories when he saw the field in 2018. Unfortunately, adding somebody for free... Read More

2 months ago

Using Sabermetrics For Fantasy Baseball Part 8 - FIP and xFIP

The first advanced pitching stat most fantasy owners encounter is FIP. FIP stands for Fielding Independent Pitching, and attempts to measure a pitcher's actual skill instead of the effects of luck or his supporting cast. According to the DIPS theory that the metric is based upon, pitchers control only Ks, BBs (and HBP) and home... Read More

2 months ago

ADP Champ or Chump - Kyle Gibson and Miguel Sano

Fantasy owners frequently like drafting players on good teams because of the benefits of playing in a strong lineup. In 2019, the Astros, Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, and Dodgers clearly fit into this category. We also like drafting upside plays from rebuilding clubs like the Marlins or Royals because of the opportunity they have. A... Read More

2 months ago

Using Sabermetrics For Fantasy Baseball Part 7 - Lineup Spot

To this point, this series has focused exclusively on trying to predict and validate home runs and batting average. There is a reason for this--modern sabermetrics tend to reject the idea of a "clutch RBI guy" and therefore do not bother inventing predictive metrics for it. Runs and RBI are team-dependent stats and are unhelpful in... Read More

2 months ago

ADP Champ or Chump - Nick Pivetta and Victor Robles

As a general rule, fantasy owners like to play with shiny new toys. Victor Robles has less than 100 MLB PAs to his credit but is frequently taken just outside the top-100 based on his speed. The current 21-year-old (he turns 22 in May) has talent, but this writer sees several red flags that may... Read More

2 months ago


Using Sabermetrics For Fantasy Baseball Part 6 - Pull Percentage

Earlier in this series, we saw that fantasy owners generally prefer batters to hit the ball into the air in order to have a chance at a home run. Yet, all fly balls are not equal for this purpose. A player can maximize his power production by pulling the ball in the air. One way... Read More

3 months ago

Using Sabermetrics For Fantasy Baseball Part 5 - Plate Discipline

No matter how high a particular player's BABIP may be, his average will be mediocre at best if he strikes out too much. This is why fantasy owners have known for years that players like Chris Davis are potential drains on a fantasy team's batting average. Furthermore, players that whiff a lot tend to continue... Read More

3 months ago

ADP Champ or Chump - Kevin Kiermaier and Collin McHugh

"Sleeper" is a popular byword this time of year, but many fantasy owners don't really use it correctly. A "sleeper" is not an obscure name you call out in your auction that leaves your leaguemates scratching their heads, but any player with a good chance to provide more value than what you paid to acquire... Read More

3 months ago

ADP Champ or Chump - Danny Jansen and Ozzie Albies

With fewer data points to go off of, younger players have always been more challenging to project than their more veteran counterparts. Unfortunately, the game is getting younger. Fantasy owners need to roster at least a few young studs if they hope to compete. Danny Jansen may not have impressed in his brief MLB debut... Read More

3 months ago

Using Sabermetrics For Fantasy Baseball Part 4 - Batted Ball Distribution (Hitters)

Fly balls can turn into home runs. Ground balls never do. It would seem as though fantasy owners want their batters to hit nothing but flies, yet this is not the case. Why would this be? The answer, of course, comes down to batted ball distribution and the manner in which batters make contact. In... Read More

3 months ago


ADP Champ or Chump - Peter Alonso and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Prospecting can be an excellent way to find value on draft day and beyond, but every year a couple are hyped to the point that you need them to reach their full upside just to break even on your investment. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. seems to be that guy in 2019, as he is currently being... Read More

3 months ago

Using Sabermetrics For Fantasy Baseball Part 3 - Statcast for Hitters

If you've watched a baseball broadcast in the so-called Statcast Era, you have undoubtedly noticed the broadcasters commenting on a batted ball's exit velocity, or EV. Many have taken to using stats like Hard% and Soft% to forecast how a player should be performing, expecting larger Hard% rates to produce larger BABIP and HR/FB figures.... Read More

3 months ago

ADP Champ or Chump - Yasiel Puig and Adalberto Mondesi

Champ or Chump began the year with two positive outlooks because it's always a good idea to begin your draft prep with a dose of optimism. However, you won't win your league on draft day no matter how many players you like end up on your roster. You can lose your league on draft day... Read More

3 months ago

Using Sabermetrics For Fantasy Baseball Part 2 - HR/FB for Hitters

Using BABIP to predict a player's batting average is great. Average is a category in many league formats, and every hit is an opportunity to steal a base or score a run. But most owners find the long ball sexier. Every HR comes with a guaranteed run scored and at least one RBI. Many owners... Read More

4 months ago

Using Sabermetrics For Fantasy Baseball Part 1 - BABIP for Hitters

Hello fellow RotoBallers! Sabermetrics have become an integral tool for fantasy baseball draft prep, but a concise resource for understanding the basics can be difficult to find. This series attempts to define and explain all of the metrics fantasy owners may find useful, citing examples of how to use them in the process. Twenty degrees... Read More

4 months ago


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