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Featured RotoBaller.com Articles

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>> Read even MORE of RotoBaller's original 2013 fantasy baseball articles and analysis 

RotoBaller.com Rankings & Sleepers

...FANTASY BASEBALL RANKINGS

Reviewing Bill Dubiel's Bold Predictions for 2017

Let's mine through the poop pile and see if we can dig out...I don't know, some undigested corn or something. There's a few good ones here. SHUT UP, I don't see you making any bold predictions. 1. Max Kepler hits 30 bombs AND is a top-30 outfielder.   Ehhhhhh not so much. Kepler fell outside of the top 50 and only cracked 19 bombs. There isn't a ton to analyze here--I developed a crush last year and thought I saw enough for Kepler to make a jump into the upper echelon. I was incorrect, and I'm not sure if Kepler will ever hit 30 bombs to be honest. Grade: C- 2. Miguel Cabrera wins the AL MVP award.   Grade: J+ 3. Stephen Strasburg pitches 200 innings AND is a top-five SP. Hey this one's pretty good! Stras got a good 175 innings in and finished around SP7, so this one is pretty darn close. The talent is undeniable, but my goodness this poor guy can't stay healthy for a full season. We could be talking about him at the end of his career like we talk about Ken Griffey, Jr.--what would his numbers look like if he was healthy his whole career? Grade: B+ 4. Masahiro Tanaka finishes as a top-10 SP. Big ole swing-and-a-miss here. Tanaka just didn't have the stuff all year, finishing with and ERA just under 5.00 (although, as I write this he's shutting down the Tribe in the playoffs). He's still going to be a staple of the MLB for a while given how young he is, and I have no doubt that as long as his elbow holds up he'll have plenty of excellent seasons. Grade: D 5. Greg Bird finishes as a top-10 1B. He was hurt, so we'll never know will we? Grade: F 6. Wade Davis finishes as a top-five closer. So I didn't completely whiff here. Davis finished with a sparkling 2.30 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, but he unfortunately didn't have the counting stats to finish as a top-five closer. He tallied just 32 saves, but blew only one. So it's not a terrible bold prediction, but it also isn't correct. Grade: B 7. J.T. Realmuto finishes as a top-five catcher. Yeahhhh buddy. I talked Realmuto up all offseason, and it paid off. He finished third behind only Gary Sanchez and Buster Posey, thanks in large part to a solid .278 batting average and 17 homers. Toss in the eight steals that he added and he brought plenty of all-around production to the table. He should be drafted as a top-five catcher next year, but remember that it was Roto_Dubs who told you first. Grade: A+ 8. D.J. LeMahieu wins the NL batting title--AGAIN. He hit .310. Charlie Blackmon won the batting title and they pee in the same urinals, so I'm considering this one close. Grade: B-   9. Chris Sale finishes outside the top-10 SP.   Grade: F- 10. The NL MVP is NOT Kris Bryant, Nolan Arenado, or Paul Goldschmidt. It's Charlie Blackmon. Hey, they haven't awarded this yet! So who scored the most fantasy points? That'll make a good substitute for judging this prediction... Wait a second. It's...CHARLIE BLACKMON.

Reviewing Pierre Camus' Bold Predictions for 2017 MLB

Never have I looked forward to writing a season recap so much. I didn't do as well in my fantasy leagues this year, mainly due to lack of time attending to my lineups. Nor did half of these predictions come close to coming true. Sometimes it just takes one thing to make it all worthwhile. I'll recap each of my preseason 2017 MLB predictions for fantasy baseball and, as usual, I'll save the best for last. This time, I'll just spoil it straight away. 59 HR - I NAILED IT!!! To add a little extra sweetener to the sugary goodness of my homer pick gone right, I'll include some grandiose gifs and highlights of Mr. Stanton's prolific 2017 season for a little extra emphasis. Enjoy - I know I will!  

Reviewing Pierre's Bold Picks from 2017

1. Jake Arrieta takes home another Cy Young award. Technically, I was half-right on this one! The first half made it look like Arrieta was done as an ace and maybe even as a starter for the defending World Champs. He pitched to a 4.35 ERA and failed to get out of the fifth inning in five different starts. Being a true competitor, he turned things around after the All-Star break. Once July hit, Arrieta wouldn't allow more than three earned runs in a start the rest of the way and posted a 2.28 second-half ERA. Clearly, his final numbers didn't end up as good as last year's and he was far from Cy Young candidacy, but he showed he still has something left in the tank. 2. The best fantasy player on Milwaukee will be Keon Broxton. Did I say Keon Broxton? I meant Domingo Santana! Broxton's nickname should be Two Face, because he showed multiple batting profile personalities throughout the season. He started off as poorly as you could imagine, batting .191 with just one homer and 31 K in 68 at-bats in April. The next two months, things turned around with a .267 average, 12 HR, 29 RBI, and 34 R. Then there was July... oh July. Three hits in 15 games (45 AB). After a brief demotion, he came back, raked again for a while and then sucked in September. Bottom line, although he finished with a 20/20 season and scored a fair amount of runs, he batted .220 and was a nightmare to figure out for weekly lineups. Even if Ryan Braun isn't around next year, the Brew Crew has Lewis Brinson and Brett Phillips waiting in the wings to take over. Broxton will need to show serious improvement in plate discipline if he wants to be a starter in that outfield. 3. Danny Duffy strikes out more batters than Chris Sale. When I made this prediction, I had just finished writing up my article on "Predicting the Top 10 Finishers in Strikeouts" and maybe got a little overzealous. I didn't know how Sale would take to Fenway and the AL East in particular. Pretty good, I guess. Sale very well could be the AL Cy Young winner this season. As far as strikeouts, nobody surpassed him or even came close. Sale was the only pitcher in the majors to break 300 K (308) and finished 43 strikeouts ahead of his closest competitor for the Cy Young, Corey Kluber. Duffy spent some time on the DL, which naturally affected his K totals, but his strikeout rate actually fell this year from 25.7% to 21.4%, or 9.4 K/9 to 8.0 K/9. He's still a fine pitcher and solid mid-rotation fantasy arm when healthy, but he's just not a dominant ace on the mound. 4. Andrew McCutchen will be a top-10 fantasy outfielder. Now we're talking! I was a bit skeptical of my own pick at the time, but all the peripherals suggested Cutch had the tools to be a fantasy stud still. Much like Arrieta, the first half was not kind and some fantasy owners were outright dropping him! He taught us all not to underestimate the heart of a champion! Yes, I know he's never technically won a championship, but you get the gist. Cutch went crazy in June, as the switch certainly flipped for him. He won Player of the Month honors by hitting .411, driving in 23 runs, and posting a 17:12 BB:K. He kept the Bucs in the playoff hunt for a while, until the rest of the star-studded outfield fell flat in the second half. It's hard to say what next year will hold for him, but I'd like to think the Pirates know better than to dangle him in trade talks again. 5. Welington Castillo will be a top-five fantasy catcher. Technically, this was correct as well. If you look at the total numbers, Castillo falls just outside the top 10 fantasy rankings for catchers. But that can largely be attributed to DL stints and the fact he was limited to 341 at-bats. In terms of average production for catchers who played at least half the season, Castillo was eighth overall. He slashed .282/20/53 in just over half a season's worth of playing time. If you paired him up with another decent backstop to fill in those injured periods, you should have easily gotten top-five production from the catcher position. 6. Zack Greinke falls off the map completely and out of the top 40 SP. Dead wrong. It appears 2016 wasn't the start of a trend, but rather an outlier in a tremendous career. Ageism may have played a part in this, but I wasn't alone in thinking Greinke was on the way to a continued decline. In 2016, his K/BB dipped to 3.7, his WHIP jumped to 1.27 and his ERA to 4.37. Arizona's Chase Field is not the easiest place to pitch either. But Greinke proved us all wrong and enjoyed a Justin Verlander-esque resurgence at the age of 33. It's safe to say he'll be an SP1 going forward. 7. Eugenio Suarez outperforms Javier Baez. By a lot. Half-right again. This one comes down to ADP value and by that count, Suarez was the better pick by far. I'm still surprised people were taking Baez so much earlier in fantasy drafts when Suarez was barely even drafted in 12-team leagues and produced even more in the power department. Suarez was one of the hottest third baseman in the season's first month and became a waiver wire wonder for a short while. Although he did taper off, he finished with a .260/26/82 season, which makes him a starter in all but the shallowest of leagues. Baez, on the other hand, finished .273/20/73 after a huge August boon. In the first half of the year, Suarez did outperform Baez by a decent amount. In the second half, they were practically even. Although the end results were similar, Suarez wound up being the far better draft-day value. 8. The Rockies will make the playoffs. This one was easy for me. The Rockies put together a formidable bullpen, had a young stable of hard-throwing starters and already possessed one of the best lineups in the game. They faltered a bit down the stretch, but still managed to clinch a wild card spot. I explained the fantasy significance of this by advising readers to invest in Jon Gray and the bullpen, since drafting pitchers in Colorado is typically seen as counterproductive. Talent supersedes circumstances. 9. The Red Sox won't make the playoffs. I have a much greater appreciation for the job John Farrell did this year. Although Terry Francona likely will and should win Manager of the Year, Farrell deserves to be the runner-up. Without David Price for much of the year and some struggling offensive stars in his lineup, Farrell still guided his club to 93 wins and an AL East pennant. I foresaw the precipitous declines by Rick Porcello and Steven Wright (who didn't?), but also the offensive shortcomings of Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, and Jackie Bradley Jr. The front office brilliantly filled in the gaps by signing Eduardo Nunez, promoting Rafael Devers, and pulling Doug Fister off the street for some quality starts. Looking over their final stats, I'm still not sure how a team that finished ninth in the AL in batting average and sixth in runs managed to win the AL East, but their league-leading 88 quality starts led by Chris Sale might have something to do with it. 10. Giancarlo Stanton stays healthy, hits 50 homers and leads the league in slugging. Yes, YES, and YESSS!!!! He actually made this prediction look tame in the end by nearly cracking the 60-homer mark. He would have been the first in the post-steroid era to reach the mark and with just two more he could have sparked massive conversation about who the real home run king is for a single season. Alas, he left us wanting more at just 59, but it still took the baseball world by storm when he went on his massive feat of baseball destruction, starting in June. Here are some stats to show just how dominant Stanton was in 2017: 59 HR, 132 RBI, .631 SLG, 1.007 OPS, .350 ISO, 10.1 AB/HR, 156 wRC+. He also decided to set the record for fastest exit velocity on a batted ball at 122.2 MPH on the very last day of the regular season just for good measure. If you look at the leaderboard for exit velocity, you shouldn't be surprised to find that he dominates that category, appearing 13 times in the first 32 listings. Now, let close out this season with a look at some of Stanton's finest moments. Enjoy the offseason and remember, it's never to soon to start prepping for 2018!  

More 2017 RotoBaller Predictions

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2017 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 22)

Hello everyone, and welcome to my weekly Top-30 Fantasy Rankings for Impact Rookies! In this series, I will be going over the top prospects in baseball and discussing which ones figure to have an impact for the rest of this fantasy baseball season. This is the final Top 30 ranking of the year. Sad. With rosters expanding Friday, all prospects expected to have an impact will be recalled by the end of the week and there will be no more need for this list. But don’t worry, we will keep running out some solid prospect content. During the month of September, I will work on an article series in which I examine the playing time situations of various prospects in baseball and see who will benefit the most from their respective team’s situations. This should help owners get an idea of how to best maximize some of the promoted prospects.  

Top MLB Prospects - Fantasy Baseball Power Rankings

To be clear, this list is not the top 30 prospects in baseball. This is a list of the top 30 prospects who are likely going to rise to the major leagues and provide fantasy baseball value this season. The qualifications are simple: a player must not be on an active roster, they must have a clear path to the majors, and while they may have played in seasons prior to 2016, they must still have rookie eligibility. If a player is moved to the active roster of their team, they will be removed from this power rankings list and replaced.   1. Franklin Barreto (SS, OAK, AAA) Stats: 494 PA, ..287/.332/.457, 15 HR, 14 SB, 4.7% BB rate, 28.1% K rate You may have had a nice August, but you probably haven’t enjoyed August as much as Barreto. The Oakland Athletics’ top prospect has slashed .340/.366/.567, blasted four home runs and stolen seven bases over 102 plate appearances this month. A bit concerning is the fact that he has taken just one walk to 28 strikeouts in the month, but with homers and stolen bases, owners can live with the plate discipline issues. Though those issues will make him somewhat susceptible to streakiness, the power/speed makes him an exciting add worth an own in some 12+ team leagues . . . if he can start to siphon away some playing time. 2. Tyler Glasnow (SP, PIT, AAA) Stats: 87.1 IP, 2.06 ERA, 2.34 FIP, 38.5% K rate, 9.1% BB rate, 10.9% HR/FB, .169 AVG Glasnow has been remarkable all season at Triple-A. I mean, really remarkable. Of his 14 starts, only three starts are not quality starts. And those are all only because he failed to get out of the sixth inning in those outings. He also has struck out at least seven in all but one start (that one outing had six strikeouts). His control has noticeably improved in the minors as well, as evidenced by the reasonable 9.1 percent. Now that he’s pitching out of the stretch, he has been far more effective on the bump and may be able to start reaching that lofty ceiling of his. If he is able to snag a few starts in September — he certainly deserves to — then he could be a high ceiling starter in 12+ team leagues. 3. Brent Honeywell (SP, TB, AAA) Stats: 131.1 IP, 3.63 ERA, 2.86 FIP, 30.5% K rate, 6.4% BB rate, 10.8% HR/FB, .255 AVG Fans have long been hoping Honeywell would be promoted, and evidently they are not alone. Honeywell expressed his displeasure with the team’s decision to not call him up to the big leagues, and as a consequence for his complaints, he was suspended four games. Conveniently, he always has four games in between starts so it’s possible it was more of a statement than an actual suspension. It is unknown at this point if this will affect his chances of being promoted this season. If he is called up and given a chance to start, he should be a solid add in 12+ team leagues. 4. Brandon Woodruff (SP, MIL, AAA) Stats: 77.1 IP, 4.31 ERA, 4.45 FIP, 21.3% K rate, 7.8% BB rate, 10.4% HR/FB, .264 AVG Woodruff probably has as legit of a case as anyone for being the top pitcher, yet here he is at No. 4. He has by far the clearest path to playing time as manager Craig Counsell has already said he will be their fifth starter in the month of September. The biggest reason for Woodruff not being super high is his somewhat lack of upside. He doesn’t have the super high floor and high ceiling of Honeywell nor does he have the sky-high ceiling of Glasnow. But the 2c on this list will be a great option for owners in 12+ team leagues to eat up some innings and rack up a decent number of whiffs along the way. 5. Harrison Bader (OF, STL, AAA) Stats: 470 PA, .279/.343/.468, 20 HR, 14 SB, 7.2% BB rate, 24.5% K rate Bader has seemingly turned a new corner this season in the minors after a rough showing at Triple-A last season. He now has re-established himself as a name to know among prospects and should be given a chance to continue to build on that reputation in the majors in September. Though Tommy Pham and Dexter Fowler are likely immovable in the outfield, the remaining position is still without much of an answer thanks to struggles from Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk this season. And with the Cardinals hovering around playoff contention, they could opt to play the explosive prospect in Bader during September to see if he can help provide them with a spark. Bader possesses a solid-enough power/speed combination that owners in some 12+ team leagues could find value for him. 6. Jeimer Candelario (3B, DET, AAA) Stats: 437 PA, .262/.339/.488, 15 HR, 1 SB, 9.8% BB rate, 23.3% K rate The Detroit Tigers are heading towards a clear rebuild, and one of the first steps of that rebuild is to start to catch a glimpse of some of their younger talent. That means they are likely going to give their young up-and-coming third baseman Candelario plenty of time to shine in the majors. Though Candelario has not been spectacular in the minors, his bat and prospect status as a highly regarded young player should earn him some looks at the hot corner in September with the team shifting Nick Castellanos to his more natural position of left field. Candelario’s minor league struggles can hardly be dismissed, but the potential is there for a solid middle-of-the-order bat who can contribute some homers and RBIs in the middle of a still potent Detroit lineup. 7. J.P. Crawford (SS, PHI, AAA) Stats: 521 PA, .239/.350/.393, 13 HR, 5 SB, 14.4% BB rate, 17.9% K rate Though I have no doubt owners would rather see Scott Kingery’s name here, he is far more likely to be promoted than his double play partner at Lehigh Valley. Crawford has started to hit lately, turning around what had been a dismal season for him at the plate. Now he is taking reps at third base and is expected to push Maikel Franco aside for starting time in the month of September. Though Crawford’s profile does not appear to be the most exciting for fantasy purposes, he is a low-risk bat who should reach base frequently, could run into a bomb every now and again while tacking on an additional stolen base here and there. 8. Brett Phillips (OF, MIL, AAA) Stats: 425 PA, .309/.381/.574, 19 HR, 9 SB, 10.6% BB rate, 29.2% K rate Keon Broxton has been treading water in August. He really has done just enough to stay afloat out there in center field. With a .250/.325/.528 slash line, he is not a must-replace for the Milwaukee Brewers, but he certainly is not a must-stay in the lineup either. Phillips meanwhile has been swinging a hot bat in the minors since his demotion, slashing .354/.446/.552 with pair of homers and four stolen bases over 27 games (112 plate appearances). Though he is a strikingly similar profile to Broxton (power/speed, but major swing-and-miss tendencies), Phillips could offer at least a different look in the outfield and a possible platoon option for the right-handed Broxton who is slashing just .221/.292/.435 against righties this season. Phillips possesses a solid power/speed combination and could really provide owners of Broxton a boost, particularly if he does take over that strong-side platoon. 9. Magneuris Sierra (OF, STL, AA) Stats: 414 PA, .272/.320/.369, 1 HR, 19 SB, 6.0% BB rate, 16.2% K rate The second Cardinal outfielder listed, Sierra is more about speed than anything else. Though Sierra may not see as much playing time as the more mature Bader, he could be employed in a similar manner to Billy Hamilton back in 2013 for the Cincinnati Reds: as a pinch-runner and occasional spot starter in the outfielder. Sierra has the speed to impact fantasy leagues just with his legs as he is one of the best burners in the minors. Throw in a couple of spot starts atop the lineup and you’ve got a guy who could play an impactful role in some fantasy lineups making the playoff push. 10. Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY, AAA) Stats: 490 PA, .317/.355/.499, 15 HR, 4 SB, 5.5% BB rate, 13.7% K rate The placement of Andujar hinges on the idea that he starts on a semi-regular basis against southpaws when he is recalled. He has crushed lefties in the minors this season and seems as solid a bet as any to replicate that success in the majors. And with Chase Headley struggling to bat from the right side this year, Andujar makes for a sensible platoon partner at first base for him. However, there is a chance Andujar is used primarily as a bat off the bench, in which case his value will be severely limited. 11. Willie Calhoun (2B/OF, TEX, AAA) Stats: 506 PA, .292/.350/.564, 29 HR, 4 SB, 8.3% BB rate, 11.5% K rate Calhoun has not let the trade to Texas affect his performance. The now-Rangers member has already blasted six homers to accompany a .267/.315/.523 slash line. As always, you will read no questions about the bat here. The only questions asked about Calhoun are where will he play if he reaches the majors. Calhoun is a terrible defender virtually everywhere he plays, including in the outfield. If he sees any playing time in the majors, it will likely be at DH. However, the Rangers have a multitude of options to plug in at DH including Joey Gallo, and finding consistent playing time for Calhoun could be a challenge. His bat will certainly play in the big leagues enough to warrant an add in 12+ team leagues if the Rangers try to fit him into their lineup. But owners have to be wary that that could prove to be quite the challenge. 12. Willy Adames (SS, TB, AAA) Stats: 541 PA, .272/.361/.409, 9 HR, 10 SB, 11.8% BB rate, 22.2% K rate Adeiny Hechavarria definitely brought his good glove to Tampa Bay. But perhaps he left the lumber in Miami. Hechavarria has not hit near enough as he should, and though the defense has been nice, it’s probably not solid enough to keep him permanently in the lineup. Meanwhile Adames has impressed a lot of people in Durham this season, and comes with the prospect pedigree needed to force his way into the lineup in September. He is a prospect who could easily come up and start a handful of times a week and finish the last two or three weeks as the regular at shortstop if he runs away with the position. 13. Tom Murphy (C, COL, AAA) Stats: 146 PA, .239/.295/.410, 4 HR, 0 SB, 6.2% BB rate, 37.9% K rate Murphy has had his fair share of struggles this season at all levels, but there’s still reason to be excited for a power-hitting catcher playing in the most hitter-friendly stadium in baseball on one of the best-hitting teams in baseball. The question here is playing time. The Colorado Rockies need some help, and Murphy may not be the safest bet for them while Tony Wolters has turned in a solid campaign. If the Rockies decide to give him some playing time, he has the chance to post up some explosive power numbers for fantasy owners. His playing time will be important to monitor once rosters expand as he could be a solid own in 12+ team leagues if he starts half the games in September. 14. Walker Buehler (RP, LAD, AAA) Stats: 85.2 IP, 3.26 ERA, 2.66 FIP, 35.1% K rate, 8.4% BB rate, 11.1% HR/FB, .206 AVG Relievers are often over-looked on this list as they’re given short leashes and can often fail in their shorter outings. But most relievers don’t have the stuff Buehler has. He is considered by many to be a consensus top-50 prospect at this point — top-20 in some circles — and is likely going to be promoted in September as a reliever for the Los Angeles Dodgers. His stuff is so good that he probably shouldn’t struggle too much and could be given a chance to eat up multiple innings out of the bullpen with some serious strikeout upside. One bad outing could really spoil the trust given to him, but it would also be somewhat surprising if he really did get kicked around. He could be a solid add in 16+ team leagues. 15. Tom Eshelman (SP, PHI, AAA) Stats: 143.0 IP, 2.52 ERA, 3.61 FIP, 17.9% K rate, 3.3% BB rate, 8.6% HR/FB, .230 AVG The Philadelphia Phillies have had the worst pitching staff in the month of August, and it’s starting to appear clear their young rotation is feeling the wear and tear of a long year. Eshelman has not felt that same level of wear and tear, and actually has been quite good this month. After a brutal thrashing on Aug. 4, he has a nice 0.69 ERA and 3.27 FIP over his past 26 innings (four starts). The strikeouts aren’t there for him, as they haven’t been throughout his entire career, but he has walked only two batters over that time span, continuing to impress with his pinpoint control. Should he eat a few starts for the Phillies, he is the type of super low-risk/low-reward owners in deep/NL-only leagues could benefit from him eating up some innings. 16. Mauricio Dubon (SS, MIL, AAA) Stats: 527 PA, .275/.331/.378, 7 HR, 38 SB, 7.2% BB rate, 14.0% K rate Dubon has put up some really eye-popping numbers at Double- and Triple-A this season. He has found his power stroke somewhat at Triple-A, already bashing five homers in just 51 games. The career-high total in home runs (seven) and career-high in stolen bases between the two levels has drawn attention to Dubon, and could put him in a position to have some playing time in September. Should he get the call and start stealing some playing time around the infield, Dubon’s speed could make him a valuable asset to owners in some deeper leagues. 17. Ryan McMahon (1B/2B/3B, COL, AAA) Stats: 507 PA, .350/.396/.572, 19 HR, 11 SB, 7.7% BB rate, 17.8% K rate McMahon did not last long in the majors, though he seemed to make the most of his time in the majors. The batting average of .222 leaves a little to be desired, but he walked 18.2 percent of the time compared to only a 9.1 percent strikeout rate over four games. This came right after an absolute mockery of both Triple- and Double-A pitchers in which he not only improved his plate discipline, but maintained his well above-average power numbers. And as long as he has some positional versatility, he has an added bit of value. Should he find some playing time in September, he could be a potent bat to add in 14+ team leagues. 18. Franchy Cordero (OF, SD, AAA) Stats: 383 PA, .311/.354/.580, 16 HR, 15 SB, 5.5% BB rate, 29.2% K rate Cordero’s plate discipline leaves A LOT to be desired. He has consistently struck out nearly 20 percent more than he has walked throughout his professional career. But what makes him an exciting prospect is his power/speed upside. This season, he has racked up 16 homers and 15 stolen bases, which has been more than enough to whet the appetite of fantasy owners. The San Diego Padres are in no position to be competitive, and so they may opt to give a youngster like Cordero some playing time alongside guys like Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe. The plate discipline makes him a potentially risky asset, but the power/speed combination is exciting enough to at least tempt owners in NL-only/deep leagues. 19. Ronald Acuna (OF, ATL, AAA) Stats: 575 PA, .324/.373/.527, 20 HR, 41 SB, 7.1% BB rate, 23.8% K rate I’ve said it on here several times, but I don’t really believe Acuna will be promoted. He is not on the 40-man roster of the Atlanta Braves and it seems they will wait until next year to put him there. But the upside he brings is too high to leave totally off this list. If the Braves were to make the surprise move and add him to the roster, his power/speed combination is really unmatched by anyone on this list and would warrant an add in near all formats as they would not call him up just to sit him on the bench. He would likely be a regular starter if he were to be called up and could make quite the impact. But again, that’s only if he gets called up. 20. Erick Fedde (SP, WAS, AAA) Stats: 90.1 IP, 3.69 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 21.4% K rate, 6.2% BB rate, 10.1% HR/FB, .238 AVG Concerns with a lowered velocity have Fedde’s stock dropping a bit this week. With the Washington Nationals still miles ahead of anyone in their division, he seems like a decent option to take a spot start or two to rest some of the taxed arms in that rotation, but he can’t help eat innings if he is hurt. Still, scouts have said that the lowered velocity has not affected the lack of movement on his secondary stuff. If he can keep his offspeed pitches working, he could still be effective. He could be an intriguing streamer option in deep leagues if he manages to grab a few starts before the end of the year. 21. A.J. Reed (1B, HOU, AAA) Stats: 516 PA, .256/.355/.508, 30 HR, 0 SB, 13.0% BB rate, 26.6% K rate 22. Chance Sisco (C, BAL, AAA) Stats: 381 PA, .270/.336/.399, 7 HR, 2 SB, 7.3% BB rate, 26.0% K rate 23. Nick Gordon (SS, MIN, AA) Stats: 542 PA, .275/.349/.415, 8 HR, 13 SB, 9.6% BB rate, 22.7% K rate 24. Ronald Guzman (1B, TEX, AAA) Stats: 500 PA, .302/.374/.443, 12 HR, 4 SB, 8.8% BB rate, 16.0% K rate 25. Daniel Gossett (SP, OAK, AAA) Stats: 76.1 IP, 3.66 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 22.1% K rate, 7.5% BB rate, 8.8% HR/FB, .237 AVG 26. Yonny Chirinos (SP, TB, AAA) Stats: 163.1 IP, 2.81 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 21.5% K rate, 4.1% BB rate 11.0% HR/FB, .225 AVG 27. Jack Flaherty (SP, STL, AAA) Stats: 148.2 IP, 2.18 ERA, 3.33 FIP, 25.3% K rate, 6.0% BB rate, 8.0% HR/FB, .220 AVG 28. Jake Bauers (1B/OF, TB, AAA) Stats: 539 PA, .265/.368/.419, 13 HR, 16 SB, 13.4% BB rate, 19.7% K rate 29. Scott Kingery (2B/3B, PHI, AAA) Stats: 567 PA, .305/.357/.543, 26 HR, 28 SB, 6.7% BB rate, 18.2% K rate 30. Tyler O’Neill (OF, STL, AAA) Stats: 525 PA, .239/.318/.476, 26 HR, 14 SB, 10.1% BB rate, 27.8% K rate  

MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Aaron Judge (OF, NYY) 2. Cody Bellinger (1B/OF, LAD) 3. Rhys Hoskins (1B/OF, PHI) 4. Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS) 5. Rafael Devers (3B, BOS) 6. Paul DeJong (SS, STL) 7. Bradley Zimmer (OF, CLE) 8. Ian Happ (2B/OF, CHC) 9. Yoan Moncada (2B, CWS) 10. Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA) 11. Derek Fisher (OF, HOU) 12. Trey Mancini (1B, BAL) 13. Raimel Tapia (OF, COL) 14. Matt Davidson (3B, CWS) 15. Jorge Bonifacio (OF, KC) 16. Jacob Faria (SP, TB) 17. German Marquez (SP, COL) 18. Ben Gamel (OF, SEA) 19. Josh Bell (1B/OF, PIT) 20. Manuel Margot (OF, SD)

2017 Prospects: Top 30 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Leagues (Week 21)

Hello everyone, and welcome to my weekly Top-30 Fantasy Rankings for Impact Rookies! In this series, I will be going over the top prospects in baseball and discussing which ones figure to have an impact for the rest of this fantasy baseball season. We have now reached the point in the season where all the top remaining prospects will be promoted during the month of September. Anyone expected to be promoted before roster expansion has already been recalled or has remained in the minors due to a lack of a trade. This does not mean the players don’t have fantasy value. Some of these players could still have an impact on fantasy owners down the stretch when playoffs are starting up or the standings in your roto leagues appear to be coming down to the wire. Anyone likely to have an impact in 10-team or fewer leagues have probably already been recalled, but owners in deeper leagues than that could find some of the prospects on this list to have some value for them moving forward.  

Top MLB Prospects - Fantasy Baseball Power Rankings

To be clear, this list is not the top 30 prospects in baseball. This is a list of the top 30 prospects who are likely going to rise to the major leagues and provide fantasy baseball value this season. The qualifications are simple: a player must not be on an active roster, they must have a clear path to the majors, and while they may have played in seasons prior to 2016, they must still have rookie eligibility. If a player is moved to the active roster of their team, they will be removed from this power rankings list and replaced.   1. Franklin Barreto (2B/SS, OAK, AAA) Stats: 469 PA, .274/.320/.440, 14 HR, 10 SB, 4.7% BB rate, 28.8% K rate ETA: September This was one of the players I was referring to when I said that prospects might still be in the minors because no trade happened. It was expected by many that Jed Lowrie would be moved at the deadline, freeing up a spot in the infield for Barreto. But alas, Lowrie is still wearing the green and gold of the Oakland Athletics today. However, that doesn’t mean Barreto will be completely irrelevant in September. Barreto is capable of playing all three outfield positions, second base and shortstop, and could very possibly steal time from players like Lowrie at all positions. And with his power/speed combination and eligibility at shortstop in all leagues, he could be a real boost to fantasy owners down the stretch should he receive regular playing time. 2. Tyler Glasnow (SP, PIT, AAA) Stats: 75.1 IP, 1.79 ERA, 2.50 FIP, 38.6% K rate, 9.2% BB rate, 12.2% HR/FB, .174 AVG ETA: September Pitchers often get a chance to reverse some early big-league struggles, and that could not be truer of Glasnow. The talented right-hander walked nearly 11 percent of batters at the big-league level, and though that rate is down to only 9.2 percent, he has walked only 4.1 percent of batters over his past four outings, lowering his FIP to 1.34 in that span. There is still so much upside left in his arm, and if he were to fill the spot of someone like Trevor Williams or another young arm in Pittsburgh’s rotation, he could pay dividends for a fantasy owner in need of starting pitching depth. 3. Brent Honeywell (SP, TB, AAA) Stats: 131.0 IP, 3.50 ERA, 2.79 FIP, 30.8% K rate, 5.9% BB rate, 10.9% HR/FB, .253 AVG ETA: September The Tampa Bay Rays’ playoff hopes appear to be dwindling as the team is now four games under .500 and have only an 8.5 percent chance to make the postseason according to FanGraphs. And while the stem of their problems does not tie solely into the struggles finding consistent starters in the backend of their rotation, it certainly has not been a strength for the ball club. Blake Snell has been inconsistent this season, as has Matt Andriese, Erasmo Ramirez and Jake Odorizzi. One starter who has not been inconsistent has been Honeywell, who has thoroughly dominated both Double- and Triple-A batters on a regular basis this season. His control has been given the added boost of stuff that now appears to be well above-average and capable of baffling even the best hitters (see the All-Star Futures Game). Honeywell is by no means guaranteed a rotation spot which is why he slots all the way down here at third, but the upside is extremely high with him as he appears to be a high floor/high ceiling type arm. If it looks like he will make some starts for the Rays, be sure to snag him in your leagues. 4. Brett Phillips (OF, MIL, AAA) Stats: 404 PA, .316/.386/.595, 19 HR, 9 SB, 10.4% BB rate, 28.5% K rate ETA: September Following the season-ending injury to Lewis Brinson, it is clear Phillips is the runaway candidate for the fourth outfielder spot in September. Though Phillips has not hit the cover off the ball in the majors, he has done more than enough to prove he deserves another look in Milwaukee after making a mockery of Triple-A pitchers this season. The speed has diminished for him in past seasons, but he still has quite a bit of thump as well as the patience to post a respectable OPS. If he is able to serve as a platoon option for either Domingo Santana or the streaky Keon Broxton, he could provide owners in 14+ team leagues with enough upside to make him worthy of an add. 5. Jeimer Candelario (3B, DET, AAA) Stats: 404 PA, .260/.342/.497, 15 HR, 1 SB, 10.6% BB rate, 22.8% K rate ETA: September As the Detroit Tigers are heading into a rebuild of sorts, they may decide in September they want to get a look at what the future of their lineup is going to look like. And according to several people, that is probably with Nick Castellanos in left field and Candelario at thrid base. Candelario has not been tearing up the minors this season as many probably hoped, but he has hit well enough to warrant a promotion to the big league club and to see some extended playing time. And for fantasy owners wondering what he brings to the table, he is a solid bat who should provide quite a bit of thump and some decent plate discipline to teams. The third base position limits his value, but he should hit enough to at least be worthy of an add in 14+ team leagues. 6. Brandon Woodruff (SP, MIL, AAA) Stats: 74.2 IP, 4.46 ERA, 4.41 FIP, 22.1% K rate, 7.8% BB rate, 11.0% HR/FB, .260 AVG ETA: September Woodruff was sent down to the minors, but he will be back. Manager Craig Counsell said as much when he stated, “We're not going to need a fifth starter until September. He'll be back in September, and he's certainly going to figure into the innings then, for sure.” And that’s exactly how owners should view Woodruff: as a guy who will figure into innings and a fifth starter. Though he has the upside of a No. 3 guy, Woodruff is a bulldog who will likely be a 200-inning guy on a regular basis who can provide owners with a solid 3.50 ERA. With the likelihood that he will take over that fifth starter’s spot in September, he could start to live up to that hype as early as this season. He should strike out enough batters to factor into 14+ team leagues. 7. Harrison Bader (OF, STL, AAA) Stats: 447 PA, .285/.348/.483, 20 HR, 12 SB, 6.9% BB rate, 23.7% K rate ETA: September The St. Louis Cardinals have struggled to find any form of consistency from their outfielders this season beyond Tommy Pham, leading to demotions to players like Stephen Piscotty, Randal Grichuk and Jose Martinez seemingly every other week. When September rolls around, there will be no more demotions, but there will also be some other young outfielders up who can more readily compete for starting ABs for the club. One such outfielder is Bader who has put all of his 2016 struggles behind him and really posted a quality 2017 campaign. The power of what I am calling the 1a and 1b Cardinals’ outfield prospects, Bader could be a decent source of thump should he steal away some at-bats from the struggling Cardinal outfielders, and could even throw in a steal here or there. The plate discipline is a concern as he walks drastically less than he strikes out, but if Paul DeJong can make it work, there’s no reason to count out Bader. If it looks like he is making a strong push for starting time in the outfield, he could be worth an add in 14+ team leagues. 8. Magneuris Sierra (OF, STL, AA) Stats: 390 PA, .275/.316/.368, 1 HR, 17 SB, 5.1% BB rate, 16.7% K rate ETA: September Unlike his predecessor on this list, Sierra is not a power-hitting, high risk/high reward outfielder. Where Bader has above-average power and speed with poor plate discipline and only average bat-to-ball skills, Sierra has little to no power with near-elite speed, poor plate discipline but a great ability to make consistent contact. Though it is clear by that description Sierra is more of a slap hitter, don’t let that scare you away too much. He is a better hitter than someone like Billy Hamilton and will likely give himself more opportunities to make the most of his speed than the Cincinnati Reds’ starting center fielder. Sierra does not have the same upside as Bader, but he possesses arguably the higher floor and would still provide quite a lot of value in the form of stolen bases to owners in 14+ team leagues should he be the one who steals away some of that precious time in Mike Matheny’s outfield. 9. Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY, AAA) Stats: 462 PA, .314/.351/.496, 14 HR, 4 SB, 5.2% BB rate, 13.6% K rate ETA: September Andujar’s best value will likely come in the form of a platoon option for Chase Headley. Headley has struggled batting from the right side this season, proving largely ineffective against lefty pitchers. Meanwhile, Andujar has proven to be a masher of southpaws in the minors, which could lead to him snagging a few starts in the big leagues during the month of September. He shouldn’t be counted on for regular playing time, but his emerging power combined with the potential to start three+ times per week in favorable matchups could serve as a nice platoon option for owners in some deeper leagues with daily lineup updates. 10. J.P. Crawford (SS, PHI, AAA) Stats: 485 PA, .242/.349/.406, 13 HR, 4 SB, 14.0% BB rate, 17.3% K rate ETA: September As we approach September, it is becoming more and more likely that Crawford will be promoted. The Philadelphia Phillies’ top prospect has been mashing as of late, and though he is not on the 40-man roster, he seems likely to be added to it before the end of the year (unlike No. 30 Scott Kingery whose hopes of a promotion seem to be dwindling by the day). philly.com's Matt Gelb has reported that Crawford is likely to join the big-league club and spell struggling third baseman Maikel Franco at the hot corner. Crawford combines a really high floor with the eligibility at shortstop that could give owners in even some shallower leagues a much-needed boost in the playoffs. He has a little bit of pop, and might even learn how to steal a few bases with his above-average speed when he joins the Phillies. He doesn’t bring quite enough offensive upside to recommend him in leagues shallower than 14-teams, but owners in those leagues could find some value in the top prospect. 11. Tyler Mahle (SP, CIN, AAA) Stats: 137.1 IP, 1.97 ERA, 2.69 FIP, 24.8% K rate, 5.6% BB rate, 5.1% HR/FB, .199 AVG ETA: September In case you haven’t noticed, the Reds rotation is a dumpster fire. Scott Feldman and Homer Bailey — counted on to be stable veterans in a young rotation — have been truly awful as of late while other youngsters like Robert Stephenson, Amir Garrett, Cody Reed and Sal Romano have proven inconsistent in the majors. With so many pitchers struggling, it seems like Bryan Price may opt to turn to a pitcher like Mahle who has dominated both Double- and Triple-A batters all season. He has always had a high floor because of his command, but his repertoire has emerged as solid enough to give him the upside of a No. 3 starting pitcher with some strikeout upside. If he gets a few starts — which I fully expect to happen — he could be a solid add in 14+ team leagues. 12. Tom Eshelman (SP, PHI, AAA) Stats: 130.0 IP, 2.70 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 17.8% K rate, 3.4% BB rate, 8.8% HR/FB, .237 AVG ETA: September The Phillies are locked in the cellar once again, and they clearly are headed towards a full rebuild. They have deployed youth at nearly every position, and are starting to at least look promising for the future. And while Eshelman does not have the high ceiling fantasy owners would like to see, he could be just the arm the Phillies are looking for: a high floor control specialist who can eat innings for a young starting rotation. Eshelman is no strikeout artist, but he has the best control of any pitcher in the minors and has done an excellent job eating innings in the minors this season. If he is given a rotation spot, he comes with little enough risk to be a worthy add in deep/NL-only leagues. 13. Willie Calhoun (2B/OF, TEX, AAA) Stats: 475 PA, .295/.354/.577, 28 HR, 3 SB, 8.4% BB rate, 11.6% K rate ETA: September With Calhoun, the numbers really speak for themselves. He is a rare power hitter like Jose Bautista who can rack up gaudy home run totals while limiting the strikeouts. Unlike Bautista — who is now playing both third base and right field — Calhoun does not have a clear defensive home, which will greatly diminish his chances of seeing meaningful playing time in September. If he manages to find time at DH, first base or the outfield, Calhoun has the bat to have a huge impact on fantasy owners. This placement in the rankings is based on the belief he will see occasional playing time, but will probably only start two to three times per week. If he starts more regularly than that, his value could rise up astronomically. 14. Willy Adames (SS, TB, AAA) Stats: 511 PA, .274/.367/.420, 9 HR, 9 SB, 12.3% BB rate, 21.9% K rate ETA: September Aside from just the Rays’ backend rotation issues, the Rays have not received the level of production they had hoped for out of Adeiny Hechavarria. The former Miami Marlin has a 0.1 fWAR this season and though he’s been solid defensively, the .242/.261/.335 slash line is downright atrocious. Adames meanwhile has been not only a formidable defender for the Durham Bulls, but he has also been hitting more than enough to warrant a look in the majors, certainly when the only other option is Hechavarria. The Rays need a spark, and Adames could be the guy to provide that spark. There is no guarantee he will be promoted, but the upside is there for a shortstop with a strong power/speed combination who could be quite valuable to fantasy owners. 15. Yandy Diaz (3B/OF, CLE, AAA) Stats: 366 PA, .351/.456/.464, 5 HR, 1 SB, 16.1% BB rate, 15.3% K rate ETA: September As is the question for most of the prospects on this list, Diaz’s biggest question with regards to fantasy value is just whether or not he can find some playing time. Diaz’s insane plate discipline and ability to make consistent contact gives him a remarkably high floor for a prospect, but he does have an admittedly low ceiling which limits his fantasy appeal. He could fit into Cleveland’s lineup, spelling players like Jason Kipnis, Jose Ramirez and any of the outfielders during September. Owners likely won’t be sprinting to grab him, but his high ceiling could at least give him some value in some deep/AL-only leagues. 16. Erick Fedde (SP, WAS, AAA) Stats: 84.1 IP, 3.63 ERA, 3.43 FIP, 21.4% K rate, 6.4% BB rate, 11.1% HR/FB, .242 AVG ETA: September Fedde had a miserable time in the majors, but he seemed to recover in his first outing back at Triple-A. He pitched seven innings — tied for his longest outing of the season — and allowed just two runs on seven hits, one walk and five strikeouts. The start was certainly step in the right direction for a talented arm who has struggled for much of this season. The stuff is there for him to be a solid No. 3 starting pitcher in the majors, and he could even see another start in the majors to serve as some relief for some of the injured arms in Washington’s bullpen as the Nationals look toward the postseason. If he does get a spot start, there is enough upside for teams in NL-only leagues to take a risk if the start is against a weaker opponent. 17. Walker Buehler (SP, LAD, AAA) Stats: 81.2 IP, 3.31 ERA, 2.76 FIP, 35.1% K rate, 8.8% BB rate, 11.5% HR/FB, .201 AVG ETA: September Bullpen arms rarely have a ton of fantasy value. But then again, most bullpen arms don’t have the stuff that Buehler has. Scouts have raved about his repertoire of pitches long before he was even fully healthy for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and now that he is back to full health, he is dominating the minors. The longterm outlook on Buehler still appears to be that of a starting pitcher, but there have been rumblings he could be recalled to serve as bullpen depth for the team. Who knows. Maybe he might also pick up a start to rest one of the regular starting pitchers in the current rotation. Regardless, his strikeout upside and ability to keep runs off the board should play well in some deeper leagues where bullpen arms can help. 18. Mauricio Dubon (2B/SS, MIL, AAA) Stats: 509 PA, .273/.327/.378, 7 HR, 38 SB, 6.9% BB rate, 14.3% K rate ETA: September The Milwaukee Brewers believed second base would be a major strength for the ball club heading into the 2017 season with Jonathan Villar manning the spot. But his struggles forced the team to venture outward and pick up Neil Walker from the New York Mets to try and find some stability at the position. And while Walker has been solid this season, he does not quite bring the same defensive versatility Dubon brings. Dubon could be the guy the Brewers hoped Villar would be: a speedy utility player whose bat could play well enough at multiple positions and could be a steady bat atop the lineup. Finding PT for him could be tough, but if Milwaukee finds some time for his bat to fit into the lineup, his speed could give him some value to owners in deep/NL-only leagues. 19. A.J. Reed (1B, HOU, AAA) Stats: 485 PA, .249/.351/.487, 26 HR, 0 SB, 13.2% BB rate, 26.4% K rate ETA: September The Houston Astros have gotten along well with Yulieski Gurriel at first base. He has 15 homers on the season, a solid .295/.322/.482 slash line and has accumulated 1.1 fWAR. But while he has done enough at the position to maintain a stronghold on it in the playoffs, Reed is far more likely to be the future at the position than Gurriel. The Cuban is already 33 years old while Reed is still only 24. Reed has struggled a bit at Triple-A this season, but the Astros have a comfortable lead in the AL West and can afford to rest Gurriel and get some looks at Reed at first base to see what adjustments he can make to big-league pitching. The batting average could be a bit of an issue, but he has more than enough thunder to impact fantasy owners in deep/AL-only leagues. 20. Ronald Acuna (OF, ATL, AAA) Stats: 533 PA, .323/.377/.538, 20 HR, 37 SB, 7.5% BB rate, 23.8% K rate ETA: September There is still far from a guarantee Acuna will be promoted, but the upside he brings to the table is too much to pass up in the event he is called up. His power/speed combination has a legitimate case for the best in the minors, and based on his impressive numbers at nearly every level this season, there is no reason to doubt his ability to post similar numbers in the majors. It is a longshot that he is recalled to Atlanta. But if he is, he immediately becomes a must-own in 12+ team leagues. 21. Chance Sisco (C, BAL, AAA) Stats: 361 PA, .275/.338/.392, 5 HR, 2 SB, 7.5% BB rate, 25.8% K rate ETA: September 22. Nick Gordon (SS, MIN, AA) Stats: 509 PA, .282/.356/.432, 8 HR, 13 SB, 9.6% BB rate, 22.2% K rate ETA: September 23. Tom Murphy (C, COL, AAA) Stats: 127 PA, .263/.307/.449, 4 HR, 0 SB, 5.5% BB rate, 37.8% K rate ETA: September 24. Ronald Guzman (1B, TEX, AAA) Stats: 469 PA, .314/.382/.463, 12 HR, 4 SB, 8.7% BB rate, 15.8% K rate ETA: September 25. Daniel Gossett (SP, OAK, AAA) Stats: 76.1 IP, 3.66 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 22.1% K rate, 7.5% BB rate, 8.8% HR/FB, .237 AVG ETA: September 26. Yonny Chirinos (SP, TB, AAA) Stats: 152.1 IP, 2.95 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 22.0% K rate, 4.1% BB rate, 11.7% HR/FB, .227 AVG ETA: September 27. Franchy Cordero (OF, SD, AAA) Stats: 359 PA, .314/.359/.596, 16 HR, 13 SB, 5.6% BB rate, 29.0% K rate ETA: September 28. Jordan Patterson (1B/OF, COL, AAA) Stats: 482 PA, .284/.349/.542, 23 HR, 3 SB, 6.8% BB rate, 24.9% K rate ETA: September 29. Jake Bauers (1B/OF, TB, AAA) Stats: 505 PA, .266/.368/.421, 12 HR, 15 SB, 13.3% BB rate, 19.8% K rate ETA: September 30. Scott Kingery (2B, PHI, AAA) Stats: 529 PA, .310/.362/.556, 25 HR, 27 SB, 6.8% BB rate, 18.1% K rate ETA: September  

MLB Rookie Rankings

1. Aaron Judge (OF, NYY) 2. Cody Bellinger (1B/OF, LAD) 3. Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS) 4. Rafael Devers (3B, BOS) 5. Clint Frazier (OF, NYY) 6. Paul DeJong (SS, STL) 7. Yoan Moncada (2B, CWS) 8. Ian Happ (2B/OF, CHC) 9. Bradley Zimmer (OF, CLE) 10. Derek Fisher (OF, HOU) 11. Trey Mancini (1B, BAL) 12. Mitch Haniger (OF, SEA) 13. Josh Bell (1B/OF, PIT) 14. Manuel Margot (OF, SD) 15. Matt Davidson (3B, CWS) 16. Jacob Faria (SP, TB) 17. Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD) 18. German Marquez (SP, COL) 19. Luis Castillo (SP, CIN) 20. Austin Barnes (C/2B, LAD)

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FANTASY BASEBALL SLEEPERS

RotoBaller MLB Challenge - And The Winner Is...

What a season, RotoBallers. Fantasy baseball is always a fun, interesting, and long season - filled with injuries, breakout players, and different strategies. It takes stamina and endurance to win the six month marathon, and we're here today to recognize those who pulled it off. With over 200 teams competing to be crowned champ of the 2017 Fantasy Baseball RotoBaller Challenge (and to have their bank account padded a bit more), only one prevailed. Below is the final update, showing the leaders through the end of the season. In case you missed it, the RotoBaller Challenge is a fantasy baseball tournament with lots of prizes, powered by Fantrax. In 2018 we will expand into the two division setup outlined in the RotoBaller Challenge homepage. The 2018 Division 1 roll call will be put together this offseason. You can sign up with the links below.  

Some Quick Housekeeping

  1. Join the 2018 RotoBaller Challenge by simply entering your email address.
  2. The RotoBaller Challenge homepage includes the league constitution, relegation rules and pending changes.
  3. If you have any feedback or suggestions for next year, let us know!
 

Who Has Been Crowned Champ?

🏆 🏆  And the winner is... Sacramento Solons 🏆  🏆

A big congrats from everyone at RotoBaller and Fantrax!

In addition to winning the $500 grand prize, and free Fantrax cash, you now get to carry the ultimate prize - you are THE champ of the RotoBaller Challenge, and get to carry bragging rights throughout the entire off-season.

This was no easy feat, as 216 teams competed for the gold, and you defeated all of them. You are a true RotoBaller!

Among the many draft picks and waiver wire additions made, the main studs leading you to glory were Giancarlo Standon, Jose Ramirez, Corey Kluber, Jose Altuve, Ryan Zimmerman and Rhys Hoskins. The final roster:

 

Individual League Winners

While there can only be one RotoBaller Challenge champion, the competition was close and came down to the wire. Congrats to all of the individual league winners, who showed off their fantasy baseball skills:
  1. RotoBaller Challenge #1 - Flints Water
  2. RotoBaller Challenge #2 - Kit Kat
  3. RotoBaller Challenge #3 - Lebowski Urban Achievers
  4. RotoBaller Challenge #4 - IAmABulldozer
  5. RotoBaller Challenge #5 - Grizzly Madames
  6. RotoBaller Challenge #6 - Over the Green Monster
  7. RotoBaller Challenge #7 - Spankytiger
  8. RotoBaller Challenge #8 - Florun's Team
  9. RotoBaller Challenge #9 - FIP Don't Kill My Vibe
  10. RotoBaller Challenge #10 - Untitled
  11. RotoBaller Challenge #11 - Pizza Chuckers
  12. RotoBaller Challenge #12 - Benchwarmers
  13. RotoBaller Challenge #13 - special export
  14. RotoBaller Challenge #14 - Sacramento Solons
  15. RotoBaller Challenge #15 - Weger
  16. RotoBaller Challenge #16 - Triple Threat
  17. RotoBaller Challenge #17 - LGTwins
  18. RotoBaller Challenge #18 - Jock Stein's Rounders
 

Final Standings

Below are the final standings for the entire season: Top 100 Teams:
Rank Team R HR RBI SB AVG W K SV ERA WHIP
1 Sacramento Solons 1,232 359 1,135 156 0.278 103 1,610 144 3.66 1.225
2 Lebowski Urban Achievers 1,131 331 1,162 156 0.272 124 1,781 132 3.67 1.206
3 LGTwins 1,164 325 1,078 121 0.283 105 1,673 126 3.49 1.211
4 Florun's Team 1,114 310 994 158 0.280 106 1,574 121 3.49 1.209
5 IAmABulldozer 1,202 352 1,049 156 0.279 102 1,568 74 3.68 1.205
6 Helium City 1,219 383 1,121 130 0.276 100 1,608 161 3.92 1.241
7 special export 1,178 356 1,148 150 0.291 117 1,623 72 3.76 1.273
8 Triple Threat 1,151 344 1,112 147 0.274 95 1,585 165 3.97 1.247
9 Flints Water 1,180 296 1,055 178 0.270 108 1,582 120 3.66 1.251
10 Lawn Crew 1,112 297 1,040 213 0.268 90 1,541 115 3.45 1.160
11 FIP Don't Kill My Vibe 1,161 348 1,192 123 0.275 89 1,357 86 3.36 1.193
12 Big League Jacks 1,079 301 1,030 203 0.267 90 1,595 137 3.61 1.208
13 Latissimus Thorsi 1,262 376 1,105 132 0.275 101 1,449 35 3.63 1.209
14 You down with OBP 1,156 342 1,122 118 0.265 111 1,460 106 3.68 1.239
15 Fuzzy Logic 1,052 294 1,034 170 0.267 100 1,401 147 3.62 1.202
16 Pizza Chuckers 1,143 338 1,065 183 0.272 90 1,373 98 3.91 1.257
17 EricGordon 1,189 353 1,159 142 0.273 101 1,537 106 4.10 1.327
18 FYPM 1,108 356 1,054 101 0.265 103 1,749 126 3.77 1.245
19 Untitled 1,050 363 1,145 112 0.281 88 1,276 93 3.74 1.234
20 Weger 1,183 317 1,047 206 0.277 83 1,487 137 4.21 1.285
21 Chin Music 1,068 312 1,019 122 0.278 88 1,482 147 3.82 1.238
22 Upper Deckers 1,192 341 1,025 143 0.271 102 1,508 66 3.83 1.246
23 16ers 1,115 318 1,101 126 0.278 106 1,618 34 3.91 1.249
24 RIFF RAFF 1,253 382 1,158 106 0.279 85 1,266 102 3.83 1.266
25 Benchwarmers 1,071 333 1,070 143 0.273 104 1,488 140 4.13 1.308
26 Jock Stein's Rounders 1,068 309 1,052 157 0.276 78 1,481 91 3.80 1.235
27 Grizzly Madames 1,071 307 1,001 184 0.270 81 1,422 118 3.66 1.239
28 Hoagie Man 1,061 355 1,173 110 0.269 97 1,476 93 3.77 1.257
29 Kit Kat 1,095 343 1,059 146 0.263 105 1,551 76 3.95 1.257
30 Darren Fleurent 994 316 1,053 176 0.258 102 1,452 137 3.99 1.235
31 Miller Park Bombers 1,211 322 1,019 186 0.275 68 1,192 169 4.01 1.281
32 Goldschmidt Happens 1,018 283 958 132 0.269 96 1,410 90 3.54 1.177
33 Slider 1,047 286 934 175 0.260 104 1,463 79 3.41 1.188
34 Over the Green Monster 1,133 371 1,146 153 0.259 105 1,516 70 4.25 1.291
35 Cerrano's Sick Bats 1,070 349 1,133 152 0.260 87 1,277 96 3.84 1.267
36 unknowns 1,196 370 1,119 152 0.282 84 1,291 31 4.31 1.284
37 Shaggin Flies 1,049 301 1,038 83 0.276 112 1,761 10 3.75 1.222
38 Spankytiger 1,131 350 1,130 122 0.278 98 1,288 34 3.90 1.348
39 Kings of Kauffman 1,105 323 1,020 176 0.271 74 1,152 129 3.99 1.271
40 Bishop - RotoBaller 1,169 310 992 161 0.285 70 1,169 70 3.83 1.254
41 St. Louis Cardinals 1,056 294 894 101 0.274 118 1,737 43 3.58 1.235
42 Big Willy Style 1,077 297 1,091 127 0.276 81 1,226 82 3.84 1.270
43 RecklessInSeattle 1,069 284 975 150 0.267 91 1,443 58 3.81 1.204
44 Burgertown Batters 1,099 342 1,021 109 0.276 84 1,248 49 3.70 1.251
45 RIFF RAFF III 1,070 312 1,025 97 0.277 94 1,314 59 3.88 1.239
46 Mad Chez 973 303 1,014 104 0.267 90 1,537 47 3.44 1.152
47 Foghorn Leghorn 992 317 964 96 0.258 89 1,521 195 3.58 1.208
48 STEALING HOME 1,018 285 985 172 0.262 85 1,439 85 3.76 1.208
49 Werthless Roto Rejects 1,042 272 945 153 0.263 91 1,346 120 3.55 1.249
50 HV Hounds 1,110 345 1,045 146 0.265 103 1,630 56 4.49 1.342
51 JB-RotoBaller 1,082 331 963 156 0.253 92 1,329 83 4.06 1.211
52 LA Hater 1,047 327 1,067 133 0.269 102 1,465 51 4.21 1.322
53 Huey 1,021 294 996 143 0.270 83 1,220 69 3.74 1.223
54 Donkey Burgers 1,107 325 1,091 121 0.265 94 1,478 88 4.39 1.336
55 Renee Sox 1,048 296 992 138 0.261 102 1,508 101 4.08 1.284
56 dmarcus 997 313 1,006 119 0.267 91 1,463 85 3.96 1.274
57 Fenway Fanatics 1,074 317 993 119 0.267 84 1,354 89 4.21 1.246
58 RIFF I 1,030 295 1,048 61 0.273 77 1,147 156 3.56 1.242
59 Bunt Single 1,024 317 1,051 86 0.274 103 1,396 8 3.96 1.237
60 Megamind 1,025 327 1,027 104 0.273 88 1,274 149 4.20 1.330
61 Lakeshore Chinooks 1,025 314 1,026 138 0.265 112 1,480 71 4.25 1.318
62 Gracie Girls 1,090 368 1,122 70 0.263 91 1,317 22 3.60 1.246
63 VZ RotoBaller 1,095 316 1,059 135 0.262 89 1,342 107 4.29 1.317
64 Electric Dream Machine 935 247 958 136 0.264 103 1,499 91 3.77 1.201
65 Cement Shoes 1,012 317 1,056 159 0.261 91 1,362 107 4.34 1.333
66 Real Talk Ralph Loves #BabyDaddy 1,040 283 957 157 0.261 67 1,419 109 3.81 1.207
67 MadCal 1,042 331 1,093 100 0.268 79 1,136 98 4.06 1.244
68 Danger Birds 1,012 315 1,043 102 0.265 86 1,423 92 3.87 1.283
69 st loius ballers 1,027 283 977 103 0.276 111 1,691 0 3.90 1.268
70 bleachmastafunk 1,091 352 1,022 95 0.263 106 1,530 3 3.95 1.273
71 Rocky's Dogs 1,076 302 1,029 158 0.265 82 1,358 84 4.23 1.299
72 Kuhl Story, Bro 1,035 343 1,047 95 0.270 80 1,318 87 4.04 1.287
73 Slingin Aces 995 295 1,050 117 0.264 102 1,412 51 3.98 1.262
74 Nolan's Nasty Dibbles 1,082 296 966 120 0.264 82 1,469 101 4.13 1.287
75 Andrew H's Team 957 236 792 152 0.276 82 1,187 85 3.54 1.163
76 TORONTO KNOBS 1,052 363 1,099 93 0.267 95 1,527 38 4.45 1.337
77 Schrodinger's Bat 1,017 323 1,058 131 0.257 80 1,420 95 4.11 1.317
78 To Be Decided Clever Name 928 253 826 150 0.279 86 1,318 24 3.24 1.149
79 Pooed My Pence 919 279 926 111 0.262 106 1,646 150 3.98 1.281
80 IronPigs 1,036 389 1,044 78 0.257 91 1,532 11 4.02 1.228
81 Team Rose 1,013 317 1,022 97 0.278 91 1,286 49 4.36 1.291
82 Dinger Zone 957 304 1,040 77 0.269 75 1,047 68 3.46 1.168
83 PlayerToBeNamedLater 1,045 279 971 178 0.260 103 1,314 72 4.13 1.297
84 Team Sullivan 1,015 310 1,024 106 0.270 89 1,273 9 3.95 1.254
85 GreatestShowOnPaper 1,007 258 911 141 0.277 79 1,304 1 3.59 1.232
86 Swainman 1,099 355 1,127 114 0.259 101 1,409 16 4.57 1.352
87 NY Nihilists 952 305 1,030 113 0.270 85 1,246 69 4.10 1.282
88 DIAMOND WARRIORS 968 308 975 72 0.265 112 1,633 0 3.90 1.247
89 Sky 1,024 303 988 144 0.275 81 1,168 66 4.39 1.343
90 Master Batters 946 263 942 114 0.273 85 1,257 51 3.78 1.224
91 Mr. Bill and Sluggo 986 296 1,052 113 0.272 93 1,355 58 4.67 1.354
92 Va.Dawgs 1,034 360 1,124 41 0.278 80 1,013 14 3.98 1.294
93 Rob Deer 189's 983 311 1,026 99 0.276 78 1,171 8 3.90 1.269
94 Slackers 993 265 961 159 0.270 71 1,106 84 3.98 1.272
95 darwins theory 972 299 986 89 0.265 74 1,113 105 3.96 1.218
96 operation rot storm 986 306 1,030 116 0.262 78 1,207 133 4.29 1.311
97 For Sale 923 225 908 192 0.266 83 1,469 85 3.88 1.287
98 Woodrovitch 929 281 962 113 0.271 83 1,179 53 3.94 1.219
99 Mantis Toboggans MD 949 288 892 80 0.277 94 1,211 3 3.87 1.187
100 gang all here 962 267 937 80 0.272 100 1,438 39 3.95 1.253
  Rest of the Bunch
101 mynutson
102 The Chaps
103 Hakuna Machado
104 Whens The Re-Draft?
105 The Guru
106 Indecent Expos
107 Don't Mess with Jobu's Rum
108 Los Salmones
109 Fabulous Flamingos
110 Cleveland Steamers
111 Stoners
112 That's The Way Baseball Go
113 Bluejays2
114 Ballistic Ballers
115 too much pinetar
116 Sons of Pitches
117 Spaceherbs
118 HR to the Rizzo
119 Clever Team Name Pending
120 Alternative Stats
121 Scott's Tots
122 Jervin's Bag
123 10000 Cards
124 Pierre - RotoBaller
125 Furies
126 schmitt
127 NY Squad
128 All Day IPA
129 Big League Choo
130 Big League Choo
131 Scrap Irons
132 Blue Lightning
133 Colrain Cubs
134 New Team 10
135 Pain Train
136 azmonsoon58
137 Famous Recipe
138 BayAreaBlueJays
139 New South Sliders
140 3 Finger Brown
141 Expos2017
142 Brewhaas6
143 toronto Blue Jays
144 Southern Seethers
145 Iowa Fungoes
146 Griffins
147 kpLUCH
148 Pirates
149 Pitchers Who Rake
150 Frosty The Stroman
151 IM ONE OF STEVE GARVEYS KIDS
152 danf
153 Sausage and Beer
154 Schilling Me Softly
155 NapLajoieNeverStrikesOut
156 Memphis Chicks
157 Cody Holloway
158 Loaded Bats
159 Taco Tuesdays
160 Here to win
161 Wilmaaaaa
162 Rocks sox
163 Wild Thing
164 B Town Bombers
165 Big Dingers
166 LONG SUMMER
167 LV Bombers II
168 The Corked Bats
169 Bigly Allstars
170 nes12cjl
171 Toronto bluejays
172 Hawkeye Ballers
173 LV Bombers
174 Money 4 Mustaches
175 High Park Badgers
176 Bluejaysroto
177 Teamjared
178 The Jarheads
179 TheRealNumberNine
180 Yanks
181 Big League Crew
182 CCNATION
183 FearAmeer
184 iceman
185 iceman
186 HGFantomos allstars
187 Bryzzo Duo
188 BIG BAD MOOSE
189 Tom Brady Cheese
190 Phonies
191 New Team 11
192 baseballer18
193 Jacuzzi3
194 Chuckin' Heaters
195 tbd
196 Zombie Disco
197 Wahoo
198 To Be Determined
199 Philliefan123
200 Mr. Diddy
201 Brewhaas3
202 Ender's Game
203 Now For Something Completely Different
204 Milwaukee Sox
205 Each Hit
206 Living for 86
207 MattyIce
208 Hunter Jays
209 Team Dao
210 Fresh Philly
211 Fifes Dugout
212 Stroman Troopers
213 Southern Thunder
214 Nate
215 JAlexand'Z099
216 Hammerhead

Reviewing Kyle Bishop's Bold Predictions for 2017

What’s even more fun than making bold predictions? Looking back at the end of the season to see how good (or so, so hilariously bad) they were. Just like with the preseason pieces in March, I’m kicking off the review of our RotoBaller staff’s 2017 bold predictions. Let's get to it.  

Grading the Predictions

1. Jose Peraza outperforms Billy Hamilton in standard leagues. I’m officially done with the “throw shade at the Hamburglar” predictions, after whiffing on one for the second consecutive year. Peraza turned out to be even more hapless at the plate than his teammate. As a result, he didn’t siphon at-bats in the leadoff spot, and instead found himself in the bottom third of the order for most of the year. That suppressed his runs total and his stolen base attempts, neither of which came anywhere close to Hamilton’s efforts. Grade: F 2. Edwin Diaz finishes as the No.1 reliever. Another swing and miss here. Speaking of swings and misses, Diaz got plenty of them, but not nearly as many as he did during his rookie season. He also had some bouts of wildness and gopheritis, including a stretch severe enough to get him deposed from the closer role, albeit only for a couple of days. Ultimately, he produced a perfectly cromulent season, but not one nearly good enough to fulfill this lofty expectation. Grade: C- 3. Jake Lamb is a top-5 third baseman. This one was looking good at the All-Star break, as Lamb hit.279/.376/.546 with 20 home runs, 121 R+RBI, and four stolen bases in the first half. Unfortunately, his production fell off precipitously in the second half for the second year in a row, particularly in the final month. Much like Diaz, the results he did provide had plenty of value – just not enough to make this prediction a winner. Grade: C 4. Byron Buxton has a 20/40 season. While Buxton didn’t hit these benchmarks, the fact that he even came close (16 HR, 29 SB) is impressive given how awful he looked in the early going. The former top prospect, still just 23 years old, bounced back from a horrendous first half with a virtuoso performance after the break. His emergence helped propel the Twins to an unlikely wild-card berth and ensured that fantasy owners will bet on him again in 2018. Grade: B 5. Wil Myers finishes outside the top 12 at first base. Myers certainly wasn’t bad; in fact, he was the only first baseman to log a 30/20 season in 2017. That production wasn’t enough to crack the top-12, however. Along with the emergence of several other players at the position, Myers’ pedestrian batting average and unspectacular run production rendered him a high-end CI rather than a starting 1B in standard leagues. Grade: A- 6. Tom Murphy is a top-8 catcher. If you’re faithfully executing in the spirit of this exercise, by necessity there are going to be a couple of embarrassing clunkers in the bunch. This one certainly qualifies. In justifying this prediction, I wrote that, “the biggest obstacle for this one might be playing time.” Nailed that part, at least. Murphy got hurt in spring training and only ended up starting seven games for the Rockies all year. Grade: F 7. Edwin Encarnacion is not a top-10 first baseman. This one just barely qualifies as a success, as Encarnacion shook off a slow start to produce numbers not too far afield from his usual standard of excellence. As with Myers, however, other breakouts knocked him down in the ranks at his position. 40 bombs just don’t go as far as they used to. Grade: B+ 8. Aaron Nola is a top-20 starting pitcher. Despite a back injury that rendered him ineffective for a few starts and then inactive for a month, Nola very nearly made good on this one. Nola ranked 19th among qualified starters in ERA, 17th in WHIP, 13th in K%, and 15th in K-BB%.  Ultimately, however, he wound up just outside the top 20 on both Yahoo and ESPN. In addition to the time missed with injury, notching only 12 wins was enough to keep him from fulfilling this prediction. Given his bargain ADP, though, he certainly turned a tidy profit for fantasy owners in 2017. Grade: A- 9. All three starters in the Brewers’ outfield are top-25 outfielders. I initially planned to just spotlight Domingo Santana here, but felt that didn’t qualify as bold enough. Perhaps that instinct was appropriate, as it turned out that only Santana finished in the top-25 among outfielders. Ryan Braun missed significant time with myriad injuries and wasn’t up to his usual standards when he did play, while Keon Broxton’s contact issues led to a midseason demotion and suppressed run production. At least Santana fulfilled his destiny as the next George Springer. Grade: D+ 10. Aaron Sanchez finishes outside the top 40 starting pitchers. Y’all should probably just not draft the pitcher I rag on for next season’s edition, because this is three straight times I’ve correctly predicted a wet fart of a season for an arm everyone else loves. Sanchez dealt with blister issues all season and never got on track, making only eight mostly-bad starts before his season ended in July. Obviously, you can’t predict injuries, but the underlying skills simply didn’t support his breakout 2016, and I’d caution against paying an expectant price for a rebound next year. Grade: A    

MLB Closers and Saves Report Week 26

    This is it, folks. Our last weekly MLB Closers and Saves Report for the 2017 season. It's been 26 weeks of fantasy baseball, and there have surely been ups and downs as the weeks have gone by. Speaking of ups and downs, bullpens have been a mess this season, maybe more so than in normal seasons. Elite guys like Zach Britton and Aroldis Chapman haven't been closers all season, but guys like Fernando Rodney have. It's 2017, and it's been a weird year. That certainly showed up in fantasy baseball too. Here's a look at what happened in the last week of regular season baseball.  

Bullpen News for Week 26

  New York Mets The Mets were waiting on Jeurys Familia all season, filling his ninth inning role with Addison Reed at the beginning of the season, then trading for A.J. Ramos before the trade deadline. Familia is finally back, and while he's been brought along somewhat slowly, he saved a pair of games in the last four days. He's worth picking up for the last weekend of the season for teams trying to get another save or two. It will be interesting to see what the Mets do in the offseason, with two established closers, Familia and Ramos, lined up to be in their bullpen next season. Miami Marlins Speaking of Ramos, after the Marlins traded him to the Mets for a pair of fringe prospects, veteran Brad Ziegler took over as closer. He started off doing pretty well despite a rough season overall, but then he hurt his back and struggled mightily. Flame thrower Kyle Barraclough stepped in as head of the committee in Miami, and he may be lining up as the 2018 closer for the Fish. Chicago Cubs Cubs closer Wade Davis was perfect this season. In fact, he hadn't blown a save since September 2016. Perfection never lasts though, as Davis blew a save this week by allowing a home run to the first batter he faced in a save situation. He then pitched the tenth inning and allowed a two-run walk off shot, taking the loss as well. Davis is an elite closer and he will of course be fine going forward, but it was somewhat intriguing to see a closer as solid as Davis have a bad pair of innings back-to-back.  

Roster Moves of the Week

Adds Mike Minor, Kansas City Royals- Royals relief pitcher Mike Minor had an excellent week (see below) and could be worth adding for a save or two this weekend. Drops   A.J. Ramos, New York Mets- It looks like the Mets will give Jeurys Familia the chance to work in any save situations this weekend, so anyone still hanging onto Ramos can show him the quickest route to get to the waiver wire.

Best of the Week

 Mike Minor, Kansas City Royals- 3 IP, 2 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.38 WHIP The Royals went with Mike Minor for three save situations this week, and he converted all three. In the process, he struck out two batters while only allowing one hit. Hector Neris, Philadelphia Phillies- 3 IP, 8 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP Phillies closer Hector Neris had an incredibly strong week, striking out eight batters in his three appearances, picking up three saves. He only gave up two hits on the week and will look to finish out his season on a strong note this weekend.  

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Week 26 Middle Infield (MI) Waiver Wire Targets

Championship week is among us! If you have made it this far, you are certainly doing something right. With the final week among us I will be digging deep to find some hot bats to help you out in the final week. 

As I normally mention, when it comes to the back-end of your rosters it is always worth riding guys who are on a hot streak versus a struggling big bat. You are fighting for everything and want all the help you can get. This week’s column will feature five players who are widely available and have been swing a hot bat. Some names to consider that may be available in Yahoo leagues but not mentioned in this column are Tim Anderson (55 percent), Jorge Polanco (51 percent) and Yoan Moncada (58 percent). If any of these players should be available they are the preferred options over the names mentioned below. Digging deep in the final week can be tough, but it's time to find some diamonds in the rough.

What we won’t be changing is the Yahoo ownership cut off to get into this column. Players still need to be available in at least 70 percent of Yahoo leagues to be eligible for this column. Digging deep in the final week can be tough, but it's time to find some diamonds in the rough.

 

Week 26 Middle Infield (MI) Waiver Wire Targets

Jed Lowrie (Oak, 2B): 22% owned 10-12 team leagues Jed Lowrie is a name I have mentioned a few times over the past weeks and he continues to hit the ball. In addition to hitting .337 over the past month he has chipped in with 17 runs and 22 RBI. Not bad for a middle infielder. The Athletics lineup has quietly been hitting well late in the season which only helps Lowrie. Lowrie isn’t a big power hitter but has knocked 14 balls out of the park this year. For a second baseman available in 78% of Yahoo leagues and hitting this well in the most crucial stretch of the season, you can’t do much worse. I would recommend him across the boards in all leagues. With seven games against the weak pitching Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers you should have no hesitation in picking him up.   Cesar Hernandez (Phi, 2B): 25% owned 10-12 team leagues  Cesar Hernandez is another veteran who I have mentioned in the past due to his ability to score plenty of runs with a high average. For the season, the second baseman has hit .296 with 82 runs, eight home runs and 14 stolen bases. Not bad numbers for a guy who missed part of the season on the disabled list. It gets better though for Hernandez, as he has been hitting everything in sight over the past month. Backed by a .317 average, he has 18 runs scored over the past 30 days. Although he does not offer much to be giddy about across the board, his .471 batting average over his last seven games and .389 over the past 14 games should catch your attention. As you know, every stat can impact your matchup and you can never have too many hits or a good average. He is worth firing up as he continues to tear the cover off the bat and score runs. He is my second option on the list and a must-add for those in need of runs, hits or batting average.   Yangervis Solarte (SD, 2B,3B/SS): 17% owned 12-14 team leagues Looking for versatility? Look no further than San Diego Padres infielder Yangervis Solarte. Solarte is one of those players who has solid numbers at the end of the year, but it comes in bunches. Good thing for fantasy owners is that he has chosen the fantasy playoffs to turn his bat on. With a .296 batting average over the past week things are looking up for the utility man. Solarte has driven in four runs including one home run over his past 27 at-bats. Digging this deep it’s hard to find a player who offers positional versatility as well as a player who can help with a handful of categories. He is not a must-add but available in 83% of Yahoo leagues he is worth running with if you need infield help.   Brad Miller (TB, 1B,2B, SS): 29% owned AL-Only leagues, 12-14 team leagues Brad Miller has been one of the bigger disappointments for fantasy owners this season. After hitting 30 home runs last season many owners had high hopes for the Rays infielder. Unfortunately Miller has battled injuries and is having a season he’d like to forget. However, things have taken a turn over the past week for Miller where he hit .313 with five runs, one home run and five RBI. Miller is hard to trust but if you are looking for a cheap source of power, Miller could be your guy. He is not someone I would recommend outside of very deep leagues, but is worth the gamble as he will have three games at Yankee Stadium which is very favorable towards left handed hitters. We sure hope his late season surge will carry over to next season, as does he.   Ryan Goins (Tor, SS): 1% owned AL-Only leagues, 14-16 team leagues Ryan Goins quietly has 59 RBI for the Blue Jays. Not bad for a guy who didn’t open the season as an everyday player. Goins has been under the radar and is available in 99% of Yahoo leagues. The big reason for that is that he does not hit for a high average, just .230 in 400 at-bats. However he is hitting .270 over the past two weeks with two home runs and eight RBI. To be considering Goins you are probably going to have to be in a very deep league or AL-Only deep rostered league. Goins will face the Red Sox and Yankees this week so he does draw some tough assignments. Proceed with caution.  

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All-Star Break Rest-of-Season Strategy: Head-to-Head Leagues

Happy All-Star Break to all you fantasy baseball nerds out there. As we sit through what seems like the longest four days of the summer, I thought it might be helpful to discuss some general season-long strategy for the rest of the year. Of course, strategy can differ greatly based on your league type, so I'll be supplying some thoughts for both rotisserie and head-to-head leagues. In head-to-head leagues, the goal is to find a way into the playoffs while also preparing for them. I'm going to assume we are working with a weekly matchup, redraft format in which points are accrued weekly, walks and HBPs help batters, and strikeouts hinder them. At the end of the week, you get a win, loss, or tie for that week, and a certain number of teams make the playoffs. This format is much like the majority of fantasy football formats. With that in mind, it's much more likely that a middle-of-the road team  can find it's way to the championship than in a roto league (which I've discussed in depth in a previous article). Likewise, it's very possible that the best team in the regular season can lose in the first week of the playoffs. While this nerve-racking amount of parody and varience disturbs me, there are plenty of fantasy baseball players who enjoy it. So, let's look at three different, general scenarios that you may be in right now in your head-to-head league and talk about how you might effectively go about making the playoffs and continuing your success through to the championship matchup. If you have specific questions or you want to chat more strategy, I'm always open. You can find me on Twitter @BellRoto. Best of luck to you in the home stretch!  

H2H League Strategy Rest-Of-Season

Top 33% - Two Games or Less Out of First Place The variations of head-to-head leagues that exist make specifics very difficult in this type of article, but there are a few main foundations that need to be taken into account at this point in the year if you'd like to have success in these next few months. First, the playoffs allow for more owners to be in the running for money and the championship. Thus, as long as owners don't give up on their teams, there should be more competition for a longer period of time than in roto leagues. Second, the fact that the playoffs exist means there is a shorter regular season. This means that h2h leagues are likely close to 65% or 70% over by now instead of roto's 55% or so. Lastly, the fact that you're matching up against one player each week provides variance in that you could both go on a huge run, winning five or six weeks in a row against poor opponents, or go on a cold streak, playing the top point-scorer three times in a row and losing mulitple weeks despite your team performing well compared to the league as a whole. This is why I no longer play head-to-head fantasy baseball, and it's also why I would jump at the chance to play in a sensible roto-type fantasy football league. Even still, there is plenty of strategy that goes into h2h leagues, allowing for us to analyze such strategy for the rest of the year. Let's assume, for simplicity's sake, that you're in a 12-team head-to-head points league (no divisions) that has six playoff spots. This category, then, would likely identify the top four teams in the league at the All-Star Break. These teams are likely going to make the playoffs by season's end, so their main concerns right now are getting as high as possible in the standings, but also preparing for the (likely) three weeks of playoffs. In this case, the top two teams would likely receive a first-round bye. That concept can also bring in a whole different bundle of strategy. Aside from picking up high-upside waiver fodder to fill your bench, DL, and NA spots, you should also be looking to handcuff important pieces of your team if you're in this position. An example of this, similar to picking up the back-up running back in fantasy football, is stashing the set-up man for your closer. This move makes more sense in some scenarios than others (possible trade, closer struggling, set-up man really good numbers, etc.), but it should be mentioned regardless. If there is not an opportunity to handcuff one of your closers, perhaps picking up a speculative, future save-getter like Archie Bradley would be a good move. Another non-trade piece of advice that makes sense for a team like this is fine-tuning strategy and studying opponents. Depending on the restrictions in your league, you may be able to successfully deploy a zero-RP or zero-SP approach, altering the types of players you start each week dramatically. Perhaps you're beginning to notice that speedy, stolen base threats constantly have better weeks than streaky home run hitters. Now is a good type to explore those strategies to ensure you aren't leaving points on your bench or on the waiver wire. If you can begin to guess who your first playoff game will be against, you can try to undermine their strategy as well. The list goes on in terms of mini-strategies that you can use to incrementally better your winning chances once the meaningful matchups begin. Lastly, trading is an obvious method of improving your team, and you can amplify the waiver wire strategy above by trading risky players for predictably reliable players that better compliment the foundation of your team. You can also begin to look ahead to the playoff weeks and cater trades for those matchups specifically. This works great for starting pitchers, as you might be able to trade Jon Gray at home against the Diamondbacks for Sonny Gray at home against the Angels. I could go on for hours on how to prepare for the playoffs, and still it might not be relevant for your specific combination of rules and regulations. My point with this section is simply that you should begin looking forward to the playoff weeks as soon as you can without hindering your chanecs at a good regular season finish. Variance and parody makes things very interesting in head-to-head points leagues that include playoffs, so preparing for those weeks when your opponents are just trying to make the playoffs can give you a slight advantage.   Middle 33% - Between Three and Five Games Out It's go time, folks. If you're in this category (likely between sixth and eighth in the specific league we outlined above), you can't afford to wait any longer for regression to come. Perhaps the player who's still barely making the playoffs can wait-and-see for another week or two. But remember that playoffs cut down the regular season tremendously, and you would rather not have to "win-or-go-home" in the final week of the season if you can avoid it. Fantasy owners in this category should be seeking out possible consolidation trades in order to buy stud players that can help you big time on a weekly basis. You should be able to find some solid replacement value on the waive wire, and hopefully the move you made to get Manny Machado in Week 16 pays off in the first round of the playoffs in the form of five home runs and 12 RBI. Don't be afraid to be risky here, either. The owners in the section above might be looking to get rid of what we thought were slow starters because they would prefer a safer bat in the playoffs. Rougned Odor, Nick Castellanos, and Yoenis Cespedes are three relatively risky hitters that I could realistically see hitting 20 home runs between now and the time your playoffs start. If they don't, you might miss the playoffs by one game. But if they do, you might be looking at a first-round upset on your way to a big payout. Streaming should become more prevalent for fantasy owners in this category as well, as you can no longer afford to trot out John Lackey with the hope that the Cubs score enough runs to at least get you a win. Choosing hot, lesser-known hitters with good matchups over veterans who might sit out a game can be a viable strategy to steal a few extra points as well. Whatever you can do, risky or not, to potentially steal you a win each week should be considered. You are not at the all-or-nothing stage yet, especially in the leagues that send a lot of teams to the playoffs, but you're not sitting pretty either. Buck up and make some moves if you still want a legitimate chance at winning this league. There's not nearly as much to say about these teams because the path they should be taking is pretty clear at this point. Good luck to those of you in playoff-limbo right now, and please don't be the guy who misses the playoffs by one game because he refused to trade (or drop) the fading player on his favorite team.   Bottom 33% - More Than Five Games Out While I still will promo RotoBaller's great fantasy football content that is already pouring onto our great website, there might still be time for these folks in head-to-head fantasy baseball leagues. Depending on the playoff size in your league, a nice winning streak could put you right in the thick of things. On the other hand, if you're seven games out of a playoff spot with seven games left, you can probably rip the band-aid off now and hit that "Football" tab up top. With that being said, and this is even more important here than it was in the roto write-up, please do not completely forget about your team now that you're mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. With weekly matchups determining playoff status each week, you need to at least check-in every Sunday to make sure there aren't any injured players on your roster and that the best players on your team are starting. If you don't want to touch waivers or field trade offers, fine. But don't ruin everyone else's fun by giving the sixth place team a free win in the second-to-last week. For those cellar dwellars that still do have a chance at a playoff spot, you better hit your league's group chat platform now and start talking some trades. Make some risks, buy some players that nobody wants, and pretend like every week is a must-win week... Because it pretty much is. I shouldn't have to tell you much more than that. The majority of fantasy advice on podcasts and in articles will be catered towards the owners in the two sections above, but you don't have to be reasonable anymore. If you think Luis Castillo and Joey Gallo could explode the next two months, go trade Jake Arrieta and Jonathan Lucroy for them. You can't afford to wait on those guys at this point. YOU NEED TO WIN NOW! You get the gist. Rankings or buy-low/sell-high trade advice won't help you now. Go with your guy and try to make a movie-worthy miracle happen in the next handful of weeks. Good luck, soldier.   Conclusion Again, hit me up on Twitter with any questions or comments you may have (@BellRoto). I love talking strategy about fantasy baseball. For those of you looking for roto strategy advice, there should be an article posted nearby with a very similar title but a very different body. I wish you all the best of luck, except of course my fellow writers and editors here at RotoBaller with whom I share a very important set of standings.

All-Star Break Rest-of-Season Strategy: Rotisserie Leagues

Happy All-Star Break to all you fantasy baseball nerds out there. As we sit through what seems like the longest four days of the summer, I thought it might be helpful to discuss some general season-long strategy for the rest of the year. Of course, strategy can differ greatly based on your league type, so I'll be supplying some thoughts for both rotisserie and head-to-head leagues. In roto leagues, and I'm going to assume we are working with a standard, 5x5 category, redraft format without playoffs, the goal is to get to the top of the standings by the beginning of October. Whether you're playing with 9, 11, 13 or more opponents, this is usually a difficult task. Sure, most leagues recognize and/or payout second and third place finishers, but, let's be real, we all want that championship belt. So, let's look at three different, general scenarios that you may be in right now in your roto league and talk about how you might effectively go about finsihing above the rest of your colleagues. If you have specific questions or you want to chat more strategy, I'm always open. You can find me on Twitter @BellRoto. Best of luck to you in the home stretch!  

Roto League Strategy Rest-Of-Season

Top 33% - Within 14 Points of The Leader As you can tell from this sub-heading, it's tough to distinctively decide who should be considered "in the money" and who should be considered "on the outside looking in" at this point in the season. However, if you feel like you legitimately have a shot at claiming the first place spot before August ends, then this category is for you. *Caution: Humble brag incoming* This is the part where I brag about my recent success in the RotoBaller Experts' League. I was in the thick of it this time last season, and ended up the runaway champ thanks to a few big trades and a second-half boom from my hitters. I'm in first by 6.5 points this season, and I'm hoping my pitching can keep it together just long enough for my hitters to once again carry me to the promised land. Two years ago I finished in second place; although I was able to maximize profits by making a deal in August with Kyle Bishop to minimize the gap between first place and second place winnings. Is it too early to start using that infamous D word? Anyways, if you're in this category, you have a big decision to make. The trade deadline, for most leagues, is coming at the end of July. Do you need that last big deal to put you over the edge? Or will the team you have now be able to keep you in first or propel you a few places by season's end? This decision is very much a case-by-case one, but I will say that injuries make a big impact, and you need to factor in whether returning injured players will benefit your team or the teams that are also trying to capture that first place crown. Obviously it's nearly impossible to predict the injuries and setbacks that will happen in the next few months, but at least factoring in the ones we already know about will help brighten the big picture. If you are going to make a deal before the deadline ends, I almost always recommend consolidation. If you can find someone who will trade you their struggling stud for a few of your middle-of-the-road players, give it a real look. More often than not, you can find solid replacement value for your 15th ranked second baseman on waivers, and in the mean time you can get a massive upgrade at another position. Catering to specific categories is also very important for these late-season trades. If you're 20 steals behind the person in front of you and 17 steals ahead of the person behind you, you can probably feel pretty safe about that category. Make some deals from points of little potential movment to upgrade categories that can quickly shoot you up the ranks. Are you currently in a pack with six leaguemates all within seven home runs? Go get a power bat! Oh yeah, and you should probably avoid trading away players who help another contending team's weakness if possible. Sometimes a deal makes too much sense for your team to consider this angle, but it's definitely something to keep an eye on. If you are going to sit tight and ride this thing out, best of luck to you. At least you won't regret trading for a player who gets injured a few days later. However, you should continue to scour the waiver wire for handcuffs and big upside names. If injuries do happen to your squad, you'll have a nice replacement. And if a guy like Luis Castillo or Sean Newcomb does pitch like an ace the rest of the year, you can throw him in and reap the benefits. Woof, that was longer than expected. But then again, this is the position that I have the most experience with. 🙂   Middle 33% - Between 15 and 29 points out So you're sayin' there's a chance!? You have about two and a half months left of baseball to shorten the gap between you and the money. At this point, you'd probably be happy with a third place finish, possibly getting your money back. However, there have certainly been times when perceived nobodies make a big second half move and take the 'ship. But that's going to take some big risks and a lot of good luck/regression. Obviously, you want to trade from points of strength (if you have them) to improve categories that might be getting you five points or less. I would also recommend taking risks on players whose owners have lost faith. Hitters like Gregory Polanco, Jonathan Lucroy, and Ian Desmond come to mind. As for pitchers, risky names like Noah Syndergaard and Madison Bumgarner along with Cole Hamels and Jake Arrieta might provide some good value over the next couple of months. Could these players continue to dissapoint and tank your season even further? Well, sure. But the amount of reward you might get for trading Trey Mancini and Zach Britton for Jake Arrieta could be huge as well. It should be noted that dynasty leagues change this entire conversation, and obviously there are different decisions to be made if your actions this year have an effect on your chances next season. I'm approaching this article mostly from the perspective of a re-draft player, and if you have dynasty questions I will be more than happy to answer them personally on Twitter (@BellRoto). All-in-all, players in this category are probably not going to be happy with their finish if they sit on their hands and hope for positive regression in every category. So, decide how risky you want to be, find a leaguemate who's looking to be risky as well, and make a move that could make or break your season. You know that player that you've had a good gut feeling about all season but he's yet to show any signs of improvement? Now's the time to go get him for 5o cents on the dollar. After all, scared money don't make money.   Bottom 33% - At Least 30 Points Out Hey, the good news is that RotoBaller is already churning out fantasy football content. You probably should head that way instead of reading this fantasy baseball pieces. But really, for the sake of your league, especially if it's for money, please try to set your lineup at least once a week even if you have no shot of winning. This is certainly less of an issue in roto leagues, but you'll want your opponents to do the same when you're in the thick of things and they are on the losing end next year. If you are in this position and want to get crazy with the hope of miraculously landing a third-place finish, by all means go for it. That trade strategy would look something like the one I outlined in the section above, except you should repeat it three or four times. However, please don't trade every stud you have to the second place team, sending the first and third place owners into a catastrophic rage and ruining the integrity of the league forever. Be stiff with your valuable guys, even if I'm usually the one asking you to dump them off to me. Again, I'll mention that dynasty leagues change this conversation dramatically. In those formats, now would be the time to sell the guys you can't afford to keep for next season to the contenders for draft picks or low-priced breakouts. But hey, that's a completely different article for a different time. For most of you in this situation, you can safely waive your white flag, eat the rest of your FAAB, and start preparing for football season. Thanks for this year's donation.  

Conclusion

Again, hit me up on Twitter with any questions or comments you may have (@BellRoto). I love talking strategy about fantasy baseball. For those of you looking for head-to-head strategy advice, be on the lookout for a second article coming soon. I wish you all the best of luck, except of course my fellow writers and editors here at RotoBaller.

Using Sabermetrics For Fantasy Baseball Part 13: Barrels For Pitchers

Last time, 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 over Barrels as a batter does. While Miguel Cabrera led all of baseball last year with 72 Barrels, Hector Santiago led all pitchers by coughing up 49. Neither performance was an outlier, so it seems to take fewer Barrels to lead pitchers in Barrels given up than it does to lead hitters in Barrels hit. This fits well with DIPS theory, which states that batters can do more to influence batted balls than pitchers can. It is also not fantasy-relevant, as Hector Santiago is only a fantasy factor in the deepest of leagues. Second place went to Yordano Ventura, who sadly will not get the opportunity to prove that the 43 Barrels he allowed last year were a fluke. Third was James Shields (42 Barrels allowed), who seems like a lost cause even without considering Barrels. Fourth was a three way tie between Jake Odorizzi, Chris Archer, and Justin Verlander at 41 Barrels allowed each. Apologies to the admittedly interesting Odorizzi, but the other two are expected to carry fantasy staffs this year. Let's focus our analysis on them.  

How to Interpret Batted Ball Statistics

As we previously learned, we have retroactive Barrels data for 2015 in addition to last year's numbers. Would 2015 data have been predictive during last year's draft season? Sadly, the answer is no. The leaderboard was populated exclusively by non-factors, including Colby Lewis (50 Barrels), Dan Haren (48), Taijuan Walker (45), Aaron Harang, and Edinson Volquez (44 each). Walker's owners were too early, but his price reflected that he was far from a sure thing already. If we switch to Brls/BBE instead of raw Barrels, we get another disappointing list with a small sample size caveat: Drew Smiley, Henry Owens, Evan Scribner, Fernando Salas, and Matt Cain. There is nothing remotely similar to Chris Carter's 2015 Brls/BBE leading to a HR title the next year. So, I cheated a little by scrolling down the list until I came up with a name who disappointed in 2016. Both James Shields and Wei-Yen Chen allowed 38 Barrels in 2015 before falling apart completely last year. Neither was regarded as an ace, but they were seen as reasonable back end guys for fantasy purposes last year. I thought I had something until I saw Masahiro Tanaka's name with 36 Barrels allowed in 100 fewer batted ball events. He was fine last year, complicating my argument. What about Archer and Verlander themselves? Neither struggled with Barrels in 2015, both posting a rate of 5.3 percent Brls/BBE. Verlander allowed 18 Barrels overall, while Archer gave up 24. In the case of Miguel Cabrera's discrepancy between 2015 and 2016, his elite track record allowed me to project 2016 as his baseline with confidence. Archer is relatively young, while Verlander reinvented himself to the point that his prior track record may no longer be applicable. With only two years of data, I can't predict which season was the fluke. Ultimately, Brls/BBE has a long way to go before fantasy owners should use it for pitcher analysis. I think the performances of Archer and Verlander this year will go a long way toward determining how much we trust the stat in the future, as will the ability to establish a three-year baseline to compare players to. I've personally been avoiding both Verlander and Archer as a precaution in my drafts, but I can't definitively say that is the right call.  

Conclusion

This concludes my 2016 series on using sabermetrics for fantasy baseball analysis. Hopefully, this series helped you understand some of the more abstract statistics utilized by fantasy writers on Rotoballer and elsewhere. If so, you are equipped to win your leagues in 2017!  

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Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball Part 12 - Barrels for Batters

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 figures. There is a relationship there, but it is not as clear-cut as you might think. The hardest batted ball of the 2016 season was struck by Avisail Garcia against somebody named Tyler Wilson. It was clocked at 125.2 mph and resulted in a ground out. The silver medal goes to Luis Valbuena, who grounded out against Mike Pelfrey. Third place was a double play off the bat of David Freese. You won't find a hit until the the fifth place EV, and it was only a single. The first extra base hit ranked ninth, and you have to go all the way to 18th to get to a home run. Along the way you find a ton of ground balls that MLB infielders can handle no matter how hard they are struck. Clearly, exit velocity is not enough on its own. It works better if you filter out ground balls, but most analysts I've seen do not do so. Baseball broadcasts will cite Launch Angle (LA) to complement their EV figures, but it is given in terms of degrees. Am I evaluating a baseball player or trying to find the hypotenuse of an isosceles triangle? Let's simplify things a bit to see how these numbers can actually benefit our own analysis.  

How to Interpret Batted Ball Statistics

They do not do a good job of publicizing it, but LA is actually fairly simple to understand. Here is the batted ball type produced by the various degree measurements: Batted Ball Type                 Launch Angle Ground ball                          Less than 10 degrees Line Drive                             10-25 degrees Fly ball                                    25-50 degrees Pop-up                                    More than 50 degrees Most batters want to live in the 10-50 degree range, as grounders rarely produce power while pop-ups rarely produce anything other than easy outs. Well-struck balls in this range of launch angles are the batted balls that fantasy owners are most interested in. A new stat called "Barrels" filters out everything else, allowing us to evaluate who is hitting the most of these high-value batted balls. A Barrel is defined as "a ball with a combination of exit velocity and launch angle that averages at least a .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage." It should be noted that the numbers above are only a minimum threshold, as Barrels produced an .822 batting average and 2.386 slugging in 2016. In this respect, the stat is like a Quality Start. It is possible to register a QS with an ERA of 4.50, but the actual avearge ERA of all MLB Quality Starts falls well below 4.50. The range of EVs and LAs that combine to form Barrels are called the Barrel Zone. This means that higher EVs can compensate for less ideal LAs to produce the .500/1.500 minimum. Don't worry too much about this relationship. At a minimum, it must have an EV of at least 98 mph and fall within the 10-50 degree LA range. We care about fantasy production, not the intricacies of a mathematical relationship. With this in mind, Miguel Cabrera led baseball in Barrels last year with 72. He was followed by Nelson Cruz (68), Mark Trumbo (67), Khris Davis (65), and David Ortiz (62). This group passes the sniff test, as it seems like a collection of guys who consistently make high quality contact. Likewise, Billy Hamilton managed only one Barrel all year, living up to his reputation of weak contact. Still, we already knew this. What do Barrels add to the equation? They become more instructive when you stop looking at them as a counting stat and start examining them as a rate stat. By taking the number of Barrels and dividing by the total number of Batted Ball Events, we get a percentage that tells us how frequently a player's batted balls are Barrels. Gary Sanchez topped this list in 2016 with an 18.8 percent Brls/BBE figure, followed by Byung Ho Park (18.7 percent), Khris Davis (18.2 percent), Nelson Cruz, and Chris Carter (17.8 percent each). Cabrera's 16.5 percent rate ranked ninth, suggesting that his PAs were partially responsible for leading the league in Barrels last year.  More importantly, Sanchez, Park, and Davis all seem more attractive in light of this data. This data was not available back in 2015, but data for that year is available now. If we had it at this time last year, Chris Carter could have been an attractive sleeper in fantasy due to his 18.7 percent Brls/BBE in limited 2015 playing time. He led the NL in homers last year with 41, so he was a sleeper worth owning. Likewise, Giancarlo Stanton's amazing 2015 (he hit 27 bombs in 318 PAs) was fueled by a 32.5 percent Brls/BBE, over 10 points higher than the league's second best performance (Miguel Sano's 22.4 percent rate in limited time). We don't know the baselines for this stat yet, but Stanton's performance was almost certainly an outlier. Sure enough, he regressed to a still strong 17.3 percent Brls/BBE last season. Like BABIP, Brls/BBE also seems prone to random fluctuation. Miguel Cabrera posted a Brls/BBE rate of 11.3 percent in 2015. That does not suggest he was a year away from leading MLB in Barrels at all. Considering Cabrera's reputation as one of the best hitters in the game and a career BABIP of .347 despite never possessing speed or a ton of liners (22.1 percent career LD%), I'd wager that his career rate is well above his 2015 mark. The stat could have been used to forecast positive regression last year.  

Conclusion

Barrels are an interesting tool, but the lack of a clearly established baseline makes using them more uncertain than the previous metrics we looked at. LA is historically not the stickiest of stats, but certain players such as Christian Yelich seem to have a swing that reliably produces more ground balls than anything else. Many players are planning to change their swings to produce better launch angles this year, but it remains to be seen if they can actually do so. For now, consider Barrels and Brls/BBE only as a component of a larger analysis. They should not be solely relied upon--yet. Next time, we'll look at pitchers who give up Barrels. As you may have guessed, you really do not want to be a pitcher who gives up a lot of Barrels.  

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