Jacoby Ellsbury 2014 Fantasy Profile

Jacoby Ellsbury got his big contract for the Yankees, and will require an equally high investment in fantasy draft rooms.  But what are you investing in exactly?  In 2013 Ellsbury put together a fine season:

Abs Runs Hits hrs rbi sb avg obp
577 92 172 9 53 52 0.298 0.355

The stolen bases really stand out in this stat line.  He will supply runs and a good batting average as well, but is he a first rounder?  I have found that you can typically find stolen bases later in the draft.  They may not come from as balanced of a player, but I’d prefer to pick up power in the early rounds.  You want to argue that Ellsbury can hit for power?  You think he will benefit from the jet stream going to right field at the new Yankee stadium?  Lets take a look.

In 2011 Ellsbury was fantasy gold, added power to his speed game.

Jacoby Ellsbury Abs Runs Hits hrs rbi sb avg obp
2011 660 119 212 32 105 39 0.321 0.376

I quite simply do not buy the power numbers, I think they were some sort of mirage.  His home run totals since have been, 4 and 9, and I do not think Yankee stadium will be a big help.  In that awesome 2011 season Ellsbury hit 4 home runs at Yankee stadium.

AB R H HR RBI SB BA OBP
2011 42 8 19 4 10 4 0.452 0.5

These are his career numbers at the new Yankee Stadium:

AB R H HR RBI SB BA OBP
Career 144 18 41 4 17 13 0.285 0.352

Notice the home run numbers are the same.  I will prefer to find my stolen bases elsewhere and wait on Ellsbury, unless he falls enough in draft, which I do not expect him too.

My 2014 Projection for Ellsbury:

AB H AVG R HR RBI SB
Jacoby Ellsbury 550 165 0.300 91 9 55 40
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Carlos Gonzalez 2014 Fantasy Profile

After Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera the first round picks are open for debate.  One player I find interesting in this mix is Carlos Gonzalez.  Gonzalez had a strong year in 2013, and did so in only 391 at-bats.  He did however strike out over 25% of his at-bats, which is worrisome, but also much higher than his previous seasons.  It is as surprising as it is worrisome to note that he still hit over .300 while striking out at this rate.

Abs Runs Hits hrs rbi sb so avg obp
2013 391 72 118 26 70 21 118 0.302 0.367

The two previous years Gonzalez averaged 500 at bats.  Had Gonzalez remained at his 500 at-bat average his numbers would have been stronger, potentially as a top 5 fantasy hitter.  Gonzalez has experienced some injuries in his career that must be accounted for when deciding to take him in a draft.  The other aspect of Cargo’s game is to analyze is his home ballpark.  He enjoys hitting at Coors field for half his season, but is no slouch hitting on the road.

2013 ABS R H hr rbi sb avg obp
Home 198 40 54 12 42 14 0.273 0.354
Away 193 32 64 14 28 7 0.332 0.381

Cargo is also under contract with the Rockies until 2017, so the risk of his leaving the mile high stadium are minimal as well.

My 2014 projections for Gonzalez:

AB H AVG R HR RBI SB
Carlos Gonzalez 470 141 0.300 85 28 85 19

Preparing for the 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season

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The fantasy football season has come to a close.  That signals that start of fantasy baseball for me.  Here are some important things to look at as your prepare for the 2014 baseball season.

1. 2013 Reflection: What worked well for you last year?  What did not work well for you?  What worked well for the people that won your leagues?  Did your team just get plagued by injuries last year?  Did some of your top picks bottom out?  Did the guy who drafted only power hitters in your league do well?  Maybe this year you draft with less injury risk, or take safer but lower ceiling early picks, or draft for power.  If you have statistics available from last year, take a look at them, use those numbers to set goals for your team, which will help with how to construct your roster.

2.  Identify draft strategies:  Now that you have an idea of how you may want to construct your team, you can start focusing on how.  Are you just drafting for the most rounded players?  Waiting on pitching?  Collecting the power hitters?  With these ideas, you can start planning how you should approach your draft.

3. Identify target players: Here is the best place to find hidden values.  What players fit well into your strategies?  Some of them might be hidden lower/cheaper in your drafts.  What players seem to be getting overrated?  Look at their stats, and their history, are they worth the hype?  Look at players you find yourself coveting, but are still down in the rankings.  Why are they lower than you would have them?  You may need to change your thinking on that player, or you may have found a value.  In keeper leagues you can also evaluate target players to trade for, that may not be as valued by other owners than you.

4. It is still early:  This early in the off-season, don’t get too carried away with developing draft strategies or making off-season trades.  A lot can still change by the time drafts start.  Some free agents don’t even have teams yet!  Start planning now, but allow yourself to be flexible during your off-season planning.

Winning Rotisserie Baseball 2013

Playoff baseball is underway.  That mean there is lots of exciting baseball to come, but it also means that the fantasy baseball season has come to a close.  I enjoyed a successful 2013 and wanted to discuss what went right for me.  This is a fun way for me to reflect on the moves and strategies I made this season, while possibly helping to succeed next year as well.  This post is regarding a 12 team keeper ROTO league.

Keepers:  Before the 2013 draft I took some key players into the draft already on my roster.  Chris Davis, Dustin Pedroia, Carlos Santana, Mike Minor, Pedro Alvarez, Jay Bruce, and Adam Jones.  These guys were all relatively cheap dollar amounts allowing me some spending cash going into the auction.  Note:  I had attempted in the off season to trade Chris Davis for… wait for it… Edwin Jackson… glad that one didn’t go through.

Pre-draft Strategy:  I looked up the results from our last years league and what statistics were earned in each category.  Through this information and the projections I was using for my keepers and the players in the draft, I could start trying to plan how I wanted to build my team to reach my statistical goals in each category.

The Draft:  Aware of the possible PED scare, I drafted Braun at what I thought to be a discount (in a keeper league).  I also added Adrian Gonzalez and Derek Holland.  These three were pretty much my only contributors to my season.  I did however draft Oscar Taveras, who I traded for Gio Gonzalez later in the season.

The Season:  As the season started, I found that my team had a tremendous amount of power.  At the time I didn’t know if Chris Davis was going to continue his production, but I very quickly jumped out to a sizable lead in runs, homeruns, and RBIs, while still doing very well in batting average.  I was short on speed, but knew that would be the easiest to add later in the season, so I continued to just pile on the power numbers till the last month of the season.  By that time I had such a sizable lead I could start adding stolen base guys to earn very valuable late season points.  My pitching all season long was middle of the pack in about everything.  I enjoyed cheap starters Minor and Holland, until I decided to make some moves to go for the win.

The Late Season Push:  Being a keeper league it is easier to add high end talent for young promising (or cheap) players.  I made the decision to go for the championship THIS year.  Through a couple deal I traded away, Minor, Holland, Profar, Myers, Alvarez, Cishek, and received; Ellsbury, Hamels, Price, Cargo, Kinsler.  I completely sold the farm to win this year, and would do so again.

Targeting Categories:  After these moves, I wasn’t done yet.  Once there was a month left in the season I started targeting categories that I could make up points in.  I had a sizable lead in the power categories so I could drop guys like Josh Hamilton, Pablo Sandoval, etc. to add guys like Rajai Davis, and Craig Gentry.  I also started steaming pitchers.  I took huge point leaps in Quality Starts and Ks.

Summary:  I won the league in large part thanks to Chris Davis.  I expected 30 HRs from him and a horrible batting average and got much more than that.  I also was able to add closers throughout the season and finished first in saves without having to invest heavily in the draft.  I made trades to win NOW, though Wil Myers ended up producing more down the stretch than Cargo.  I put almost all my money in hitting and traded for and streamed pitchers to win the league.

Winning Head to Head Points Fantasy Baseball 2013

The 2013 fantasy baseball season is in the books.  There were sleepers who excelled, sleepers who kept on sleeping, breakouts that broke out and breakouts that just broke.  This post is going to discuss strategies and other aspects of a fantasy season that went well for my H2H points league.

Pitching strategy going in:  With rosters locking weekly, this eliminates streaming pitchers.  I wanted to maximize starts for my pitchers, so I targeted starting pitchers with RP eligibility.  I drafted Aroldis Chapman (when I thought he would start in the 5th round and then Medlen in the 6th.  When Chapman was announced as closer I traded him for Alex Gordon, after I  added  Iwakuma in the first few weeks of the season.  It turned out that Chapman scored the exact same amount of points in our league as Medlen.  I rode Iwakuma and Medlen all season long as my RPs.  Iwakuma ended up being the highest scoring RP.  After I established my RP advantage, I focused on two start pitchers.  I had a staff of Kershaw, Lester, and Peavy, but frequently was starting fringe guys with two starts.

Hitting strategy:  I used projections that combine many sources, and made my own player rankings based off the projections and the scoring in my league.  I frequently hear that pitching wins H2H points leagues, but I still felt I could find pitching later, and draft pretty hitter heavy in the early rounds.  I also had a few huge waiver moves, it is here where I probably won my league.

Waiver wire pickups:  I already mentioned I added Iwakuma in the first few weeks of the season.  The same week I added Iwakuma I added Matt Carpenter.  Carpenter turned out to be the 7th ranked hitter in an ESPN standard scoring league.  I also added Jean Segura when Jose Reyes got hurt.  These two guys provided a huge lift for me.  (By the time Segura cooled off I had Jose Reyes back).  I was also able to take advantage of managers who were down on their under-performers, by being able to add Cespedes and Ian Desmond after they were dropped.

Summary:  I believe I won this league out of the waiver wire.  Kershaw was a beast, but I also had to overcome early picks underperforming like Bautista, and Reyes.  In a 10 team league I was able to consistently stream two start pitchers like, Cole, Gray, Lackey, and other guys of that caliber.  This allowed me to draft heavier on hitting and take advantage of my hitters outhitting the other teams in my league, while not suffering from a lack of pitching.

Jurickson Profar Called Up, But Will He Stick?

The Texas Rangers placed Ian Kinsler on the 15 day DL and called up Jurickson Profar from AAA.  Profar being the number one rated prospect in baseball, is sure to be a hot pick up.  But when Kinsler returns from his DL stint, Profar may find himself back at AAA.  With Andrus and his new contract filling SS, Moreland playing well at 1B, and Berkman still healthy, Profar may find himself back at AAA with no spot to play in the bigs.

Fantasy Baseball All April Team

We have one month of the 2013 baseball season in the books.  With the all-star ballots already out (ridiculous I know), I thought we ought to discuss the All April Team.

All April Fantasy Team

Catcher: Wilin Rosario – R:12  HR:7  RBI:19  SB:3  AVG:.350  

Rosario had a strong rookie season last year showing real power potential.  Lots of fantasy owners had high hopes for the young catcher hitting in Coors, and so far he has delivered.  I wouldn’t expect to see him capture 3 SBs each month but that is just gravy.  The power is their and if he produces a solid AVG as he has thus far, we could be talking about a top ranked catcher at the end of the year

First Base: Chris Davis – R:19  HR:9  RBI:28  SB:0  AVG:.348

You knew this guy was gonna show up on the team.  It was just a matter of at 1B or among the OFs.  So My apologies to Prince Fielder.  He proved the power and promise was legit last year, but many weren’t sold on the batting average.  So far he is showing a lower strikeout rate, and that he can hit the ball all over the field.  The RBI are pretty hard to continue,  but if Davis produces close to this level, we are talking about a top tier offense in Baltimore.

Second Base: Chase Utley – R:15  HR:5  RBI:19  SB:4  AVG:.296

I’m aware that I should have put Cano here, and probably Kinsler after that, but what is the fun in that?  Utley has gotten off the a hot start, and was excited to start a season where he wasn’t fielding ground balls off a stool.  A full spring training has led to a productive start to the year.  I am not enthused by the Phillies lineup, but do not think that will have a major impact on Utley as long as he is healthy.

Short Stop: Jean Segura – R:13  HR:3  RBI:9  SB:7  AVg:.367

A very impressive start for Segura.  Some in the baseball industry saw this coming, but most fantasy owners did not see THIS!  The speed was expected to be there along with his impressive defense (not that it matters much), but he has shown some pop and a knack for getting on base ( yes even stealing first base).  The Angels might be wanting a redo on the Greinke rental that cost them Segura.  

Third Base: Mark Reynolds – R:20  HR:8  RBI:15  SB:4  AVG:.305

If you exited the window as soon as your saw Mark, and not Miguel I would understand.  Chances are Cabrera will be a part of a few more All Month (and season) teams, so why not celebrate Reynolds while we can.  With Reynolds you expect the power, but missed it last year.  Without the power you have a .200 hitting dud, but the power is back and his average is up.  Don’t count on the average to stick, but job well done thus far Reynolds.

Outfield: Justin Upton – R:22  HR:12  RBI:19  SB:3  AVG:.298

Wait a second you are going to put Justin Upton on here but not Cano and Cabrera?  Yes, yes I am.  Upton fell 6 HRs shy of matching his total for the 2012 season.  If you believe in playing with your brother magic or not this guy is tearing the cover off the ball. Sure most the Homers were solo shots and that team strikes out a ton, but I wouldn’t be shocked if we are talking about an MVP year for Upton.  Certainly not a sell high guy, I am buying him as an elite player this year.  We all knew that the potential was there for the last few years.

Outfield: Coco Crisp – R:24  HR:5  RBI:12  SB:8  AVG:.283

When healthy this guy is a stolen base machine, who has enough pop to not be a one dimensional Rajai Davis type.  Well he may have used up the rest of his pop for the season, and maybe the rest of his health (He is on the DL as I write this), but he gave your team a nice boost to lead things off at least.

Outfield: Dexter Fowler – R:20  HR:8  RBI:15  SB:4  AVG:.305

Again apologies to Bryce Harper who has absolutely carried the slow starting Nationals offense.  Fowler entering that magical age 27 season, may have finally put it all together.  His extra base power and playing in Coors makes the HRs somewhat believable and he has the speed to steal.  And with their new manager in Colorado it looks like that whole team is going to be swiping a lot of bases.  Regression could be in store for Fowler but their are reasons to believe as well.

Starting Pitcher: Matt Harvey – IP:40.1  K:46  ERA:1.56  WHIP:.82 

If you own a TV or computer you are probably aware of Harvey’s successes.  In the past Harvey has shown some problems with his control, so you may not want to go out and sell the farm for him.  With that said he does have ace like stuff and if he keeps his walks low, this guy could easily lead your fantasy staff.

Starting Pitcher: Matt Moore – IP: 32  K:38  ERA:1.13  WHIP .88

Some fantasy analysts (Jason Collette being one of them) suggested that Moore, could have a break out part similar to his teammate David Price’s this year.  So far so good on that one.  Moore is another guy that came up with tons of hype, and with innings and experience logged he could deliver in 2013.

Starting Pitcher:  Clay Buchholz – IP: 37.2  K:39  ERA:1.19  WHIP:1.01

This is not the first time we have seen flashes of brilliance from Buchholz.  And maybe new/returning coach Farrell really is a magician with the Boston pitching staff.  With that said, he is a big sell high guy entering the second month of the season, that is if you play with fantasy managers where that actually works.

Bonus Starting Pitcher: Hisashi Iwakuma – IP:37.2  K:37  ERA:1.67  WHIP:.69

Starting Pitcher Studs : Darvish, Kershaw, Wainwright

Relief Pitcher: Jason Grilli – IP:11  SV:10  K:17  ERA:.82  WHIP:.82

Apparently Hanrahan had affirmed Grilli’s ability to do this job, and he was right.  Grilli has been perfect in his saves opp this year and has accumulated 10 in May.  He looks great, and has a strong bullpen around him which help preserve his save opportunities.

Relief Pitcher: Aroldis Champan – IP:13.1  SV:6  K:21  ERA:.68  WHIP:.60

I know this is an easy one, but I couldn’t help it.  If you were hoping he’d start this year, well I am sorry but hey maybe he will still strike out 200!  Chapman doing Chapman things and striking out almost two batters an inning.

Bonus Relief Pitcher: Jim Johnson – IP:14  SV:10  K:12  ERA:.64  WHIP:1.00