Trade: TBD | Marshall Law

Marshall Law trades away
Marsh, Brandon($0 Prospect)
2021 Draft Pick, Round 3 (We Talk Fantasy Sports)
2020 Draft Pick, Round 1 (Marshall Law)
Lynch, Daniel ($0 Prospect)

TBD trades away
Altuve, Jose ($67)
2021 Draft Pick, Round 4 (The Foundation)

 

Hustle’s Toxic $.02

Trade actually seems pretty good for Marshall I think.¬† Jose Altuve is expensive, but not THAT expensive like some guys are, and he’s the top 2bman in the game, and somehow still in his 20s. He should be elite for a couple years and at currently one of the more scarce positions. TBD has certainly rebuilt their farm in a few trades. Brandon Marsh, former HLR legend, is someone I like but probably not anything too special. He gets Jayson Werth comps, so that would be his upside.¬† Lynch is certainly one of the better SP prospects and they get the 5th overall pick too, which probably nets them someone pretty decent.¬† ¬†I kinda think I would have punted someone besides Altuve for prospects, but I’m not intimately familiar with TBD’s roster salary-wise and how much they needed to cut. That’s someone else’s job.

Marshall got a lot of prospects and then traded a bunch away (still having many good ones) to compete for 2020 and has lapped many teams who have yet to make playoffs.¬† I rank Marshall’s team close to 6 in my¬† Power Ranking (full rankings available to Hustle Media subscribers), which is a good spot to be in heading into 2020.

BAILEY’S THOUGHTS

Congrats to Marshall on the acquisition of 2019 World Series Runner-Up Jose Altuve and another future shitpick. From the perspective of acquiring fantasy baseball points for your fantasy baseball team, I think this is a great deal for you. All adding 2019 World Series Runner-Up Jose Altuve cost here was two fringe prospects, a meaningless 2021 draft pick, and most of all… the fifth overall pick this year and your choice of CJ Abrams or Riley Greene. Oh man. I know who I’d choose.

Trade: TBD | The Process

TBD trades away

The Process trades away

  • 1B Christian Walker ($7)
  • 2B/SS Terrin Vavra

    BAILEY’S (TOXIC?!) THOUGHTS

    Okay, up front, let me say that I completely understand the following: TBD is way over the salary cap and cuts need to be made or discounts need to be taken in trade; Anthony Rizzo is super expensive; Christian Walker is super cheap and only posted 168.1 fewer points than Rizzo which, given salaries, makes Walker a super attractive value alternative; Terrin Vavra has sweet, sweet cost control. This trade based on all of these facts is fine. This is fine. IT IS FINE, GUYS.

But like… this is all you get for Anthony Rizzo? Dude has had over 1,000 points in all but one season (he had 972 in 2018) since 2014 (so his success is juiced baseball-proof) and he fetches… a cheaper, lesser 1Bman and a not even top-200 prospect at this moment in time? I know who Terrin Vavra is, I get that he’s a prospect that could be a monster a year from now, whatever. This could also be the last time you ever seeBut today he’s… not been on any offseason list I’ve seen. I also get that he’s the secondary piece here but I still feel uncomfortable with seeing a perennial 1,000 point player traded for only two pieces, one of which is a 22-year-old in A-ball that the industry isn’t counting among the league’s 200 best at this moment in time.

In 2019, 56 players scored 1,000 points. In 2018, that number was 42. So to be clear, a guy not even counted among the top 150 or 200 prospects (and uh, Walker) is worth one of the top 40-50 actual scorers in the game, because salary. Fun, fun stuff.

This reeks of TBD rushing to shed budget space and hopping on the first players they liked offered up, which sadly is maybe just where we are as a league now. Maybe they love Walker, maybe they love Vavra. That’s fine. I like both guys too, although I specifically remember Organized Chaos relentlessly offering Walker to me — and everyone else — for weeks straight until finally, mercifully, Ferns accepted one of those deals. Which is funny in retrospect. Because now suddenly he’s super valuable? Anyway…

There are five or six teams with like $250 (of not real money, to be clear) to spend and half those teams haven’t really even checked in yet. Did they know Rizzo was available? Were they interested? Dear god, tell me those teams didn’t say they had no interest in a 1,000 point player and instead want to just wallow in the standings another year bEcAuSe SaLaRy aNd VaLuE (this is totally what happened). And actually, the “I don’t want them, you’re over cap and need to cut so I’ll wait for auction” is a defensible stance for those teams, except players like that never hit auction. They’re given away in trades like these. So you really can’t afford to just shun big time points scorers because of their salary or you’ll simply never have one and if you’re not trying to amass points, why are you here?

It’s a fine DG 2019 trade, it really is. Rizzo’s been hit by so many pitches, who knows, maybe the cliff finds him this year and Walker outscores him. I don’t think that’d change my point. It just, again, doesn’t feel like a “fantasy baseball trade” to me. I recently traded a pointless 5th round draft pick for Clayton Kershaw. Does that not strike anyone as symptomatic? This isn’t MLB where you’re trading millions of real dollars and contractual seasons. It’s just kinda like, sometimes, I don’t know what game we’re actually playing. The trade is fine given all the context, and maybe I’m dumb for trying to re-frame the context, I just feel like the context is unhealthy at this point.

 

Hustle’s TOXIC $.02

Jeeze, those sound like the words of a man whose team is about to lose the World Series. Bailey, please call me tonight if you need to talk. As a veteran fan of a team who just lost BACK TO BACK WORLD SERIES OF THE WORLD, I know that feel.

Anyway this trade…. SEEMS FINE TM. I agree that some of these teams with $200 or so budget not jumping on the Rizzo train is one of the more concerning aspects of this trade.¬† TBD was way over budget and chose who¬† they wanted to cut, and got a useful 1b and a prospect that they something in. Seems fine rather than cutting him for nothing. Seems way better than a 5th rounder for Kershaw.¬† Anyway, I also talked to Josh and he says he did shop Rizzo around to other teams. TBD doesn’t strike me as the team to not do their due diligence, so I believe that this was probably their best deal or close to it.

After years of driving a tank in Dynasty Grinders, Ferns has made a 2017 Baileyesque move and bought an expensive “older” player to finally compete. There’s a post somewhere where Bailey actually wrote/bragged about how he went from Tanker to Champion. Ferns certainly has the roster to compete and that’s his plan. But with only tank driving on his DG resume, is he suited for a role as a competitor in this league? Trades like this tend to say so.

These types of trades are bound to happen in a league that mimics a lot of how MLB operates. Gerrit Cole got traded for a terrible prospect haul by the Pirates, so did JD Martinez, oh wait that was another league, in MLB JD Martinez was literally traded for nothing/Dawell Lugo.¬† We play in a salary cap league, and sometimes you have a very good team like TBD does, and have to cut cap. They did that. I also don’t think Ferns paid nothing for this either, after greed he’s nearly going to pay 20% of his budget on last years 7th best 1bman. Ferns also gave away a decent 1b in Walker and an OK prospect. I guess I just don’t see this as a free acquisition.

Good trade for both teams guys!

Trade: The Process | The Foundation

The Foundation trades away

The Process trades away

  • 2B/LF Shed Long ($0)

BAILEY’s Thoughts

The Foundation lost Andrew McCutchen fairly early last season to injury and still, against all odds and logic, made the playoffs. So up against budget constraints this year, he seems like an okay guy to just chalk up as unnecessary and punt. And that’s what this is. A punt trade. Cutch got dumped off for a cheap, fringe prospect that should get lots of PAs next year as the Mariners continue their sink to the bottom. Shed Long is likely a bench hitter in this league without the hassle of throwing a dart at Neil Walker or Freddy Galvis at auction. McCutchen is undervalued because of age and salary, so as we often see, this isn’t a fair fantasy baseball trade (McCutchen was pacing for his third consecutive 900+ point season and fetched a fringe top-200 fantasy prospect, yay) so much as the shuffling around of fictitious units of “salary.”

For The Process, this has to be the blueprint for 2020+, right? If you tank for years to amass cheap assets and don’t eventually supplement those guys with reliable points-scorers like Cutch (bankable veteran on a high salary), then it’s not much of a process, is it? It’s just… trying to have a cheap team to no real end. So I like this for The Process. If you’ve got $200-$250 of budget room open and aren’t scouring teams for hand-outs like this, you’re basically waving the white flag already. If Cutch is healthy, he’ll be good and make this team better. He’ll also probably be $60 or so after greed but, again, who cares? You’re paying these player salaries in pretend currency and they’re all one-year deals (or not even that; if The Process struggles, he can pretty easily flip Cutch in-season for something comparable or probably better than Shed Long, right?). Ultimately the name of the game is scoring the most fantasy points (ūü§Į) and Cutch, if fully healthy, is fairly assured of getting you 900 or more of them. To put that in perspective, with the juiciest of juiced balls in 2019, there were still only 53 hitters with 900+ points.

Good trade for both teams, especially The Process for trying to win now.

HUSTLE’S TOXIC $0.02

Bailey wrote a novel about this before I could get a chance to get my bearings, but trade ultimately Seems Fine (TM).¬† I guess I like Shed Long a bit more than Bailey, and if he continues to lead off, it wouldn’t be surprising if he had a better season than McCutchen.¬† I like McCutchen to score more and easily consider him a better player, but at a $54 price difference, one of these two pieces is obviously a better value. That being said, both teams did what they needed to do, Jordan cut budget for a lesser player with value upside and Ferns added some stability to his team.¬† I think it’s a buyer’s market right now, and a lot of teams haven’t been capitalizing on it yet.¬† Welcome to the offseason Ferns and Jordan!

Trade: Crapital Shitty Income | Long Ball to LF

Crapital Shitty Income trades away
2020 Draft Pick, Round 5 (Organized Chaos)

Long ball to LF (Johnnywise) trades away
Kershaw, Clayton ($125)

Image result for kershaw sad

Hustle’s Toxic $.02:¬†Well it happened. The much anticipated 1st trade of the offseason and it’s a… swing and this miss for both teams. Bailey trades for a¬† he can’t keep.¬† Leavitt acquires a worthless pick. Boredom has set in.¬† The long winter without fantasy baseball awaits us all, like death. The World Series hasn’t even happened, and we have already resorted to nonsense.¬† Lucky for everyone, trade reviews will be back for the offseason because I was once told that “nonsense is your life blood”.¬† Wise words.¬† It’s been a while since I’ve done trade reviews.¬† I’ve hibernated for months, and now I’m back. More toxic than ever.¬† Hazardous masks will be required attire before reading my reviews.¬† Again, to sum it up, terrible pointless trade other than to give me a voice to tell you both publicly. Thank you.

 

Trade: Capital City Income | Trumpa Loompas

Trumpa Loompas trades away

  • Grandal, Yasmani C $22
  • Belt, Brandon 1B $26
  • 2019¬†Draft Pick, Round¬†1¬†(Trumpa Loompas)

Capital City Income trades away

  • Stanton, Giancarlo LF/RF $78
  • Solak, Nick 2B (ML)

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†Without digging deep into this trade. I don’t like this trade for Bailey. Not one bit. Trading away Stanton for starter depth seems like the exact opposite of the type of thing you’d want to do.¬†

I get it, Capital City has to shed salary, perhaps a lot of it. I also get it, there probably was not getting a ton of interest in Stanton. Especially since teams know that Bailey has decisions to make. 

Grandal and Belt are valuable pieces. Both guys project to be in the 700-800 point range, which provides a solid starter, Grandal being a catcher is a nice find. But, Stanton is a transcendent talent. Not really overpaid. And he’s gone.

Simply put, using the Jordan Gillis projection simulator (TM) Bailey lost this trade by losing roughly 115 points and Loompas improved their team by roughly 150 points. These points are meaningless and my projection simulator isn’t worth its digital weight in gold. But, those numbers are fun.¬†

I don’t love it for Bailey. For Chris with TL, you have to love the deal. Participating is a good start. Getting a top talent outfielder for a couple of replaceable pieces. Looks pretty great.¬†

I’m glad this trade happens, two teams found some kind of agreement on the value of a guy that needs to be shed. Bailey didn’t lose his ass, and Chris didn’t steal a star talent. I just feel like the deal is still too light.

 

Hustle’s Toxic $.02: This trade seems fine for both teams.¬†

Bailey had notoriously been shopping high contract guys due to needing to shed some salary, and he did that. The fact that he had shopped guys around for weeks tells me this was either the best deal he could have made or close. Losing Stanton will hurt, but catcher was at least a need and he fills it with one of the best. Brandon Belt struggles to stay healthy and hits in the worst stadium, but at least his Streamer projections are nice. The first round pick is a decent asset.¬† I don’t hate the return, maybe it should have been more.¬† I guess if I had to choose between giving up Stanton or Carrasco, I choose Carrasco, but maybe the offers weren’t strong enough to accomplish that here.

For Trumpa Loompa, adding Stanton is a giant uprgade to their offense now led by Stanton,¬† Machado, and Steven Duggar. Finding a replacement for Grandal won’t be easy, but Stanton’s points should make up for that.¬† Their next step should be to find a way to add some strong pitching and this team could contend for the playoffs.

Looking strictly at the big picture, these teams constructed their rosters in a way to make moves like this not only possible, but in cases like this a necessity.¬† When we make trades in fantasy baseball, we are not only trading players, draft picks, and auction cash, but we are trading away ideas.¬† The idea here is simple, 1) state your needs 2) find a common ground and 3) execute rational decision making.¬† ¬†The decision making we see here in Stanton for smaller contracts and a pick is a perfect example of what we s like to call “trading”.¬† It’s a beautiful thing.

I really had nothing. I’ll try better next time.¬†

 

 

 

 

Trade: Team Hydra | TBD

Team Hydra sends: 2B Yoan Moncada (minors)
TBD sends: SP Corey Kluber ($82), RP Dellin Bettances ($14)

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†What a disaster. I get it. You have lots of aces. But, any veteran of fantasy baseball should be well aware, that come fantasy playoff time, pitching rotations change. Two-start weeks start to disappear. That’s why you want seven good and reliable starters, because when it counts (unlike MLB where you can get away with just 3), you need 6 (if you’re lucky) or 7 starters.

Yoan is an impressive prospect, I get it. He probably will see playing time next season. That’s not very helpful now. I don’t see the value in this trade even if TBD was not in the playoff hunt. Trading two real assets for one 21-year-old who is doing quite well in AA seems foolish. Sure, if Moncada comes up and is a top-5 2B, great, you’re sitting on a fat pile of value for a few seasons. However, sitting on players who have great value doesn’t guarantee a future dynasty. Far from it.

Championships require a good roster, great value, but most of all luck. Even if Moncada is a monster and a top 15 MLB fantasy hitter, you still need the other 29 spots on your roster to work out in any given season. And you took a great roster that has a real chance to win it all this season and bruised it hard.

Hydra gets way better here. I love this move for them. They probably can figure out how to keep both players, and they’ll provide more value in the next three or four years than Moncada. Easy move. EVEN IF THEY DON’T keep either player, their shot of winning the whole league just went up because they took from the team they’re tied with and added to their own. Brilliant.

If TBD wins it all anyway, great. “Better lucky than good” is something I hear all too often.

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†Maybe I’m just jealous because I tried to get Moncada and failed, but as soon as this trade popped up in my e-mail, the instinctual feeling I got was “man, prospects are way too valuable.”

I hate this move for TBD and love it for Team Hydra. Respectively, they are the third and fourth place team. They are clinging to the last two playoff spots. I realize TBD can simply fall back on Madison Bumgarner,¬†Jacob deGrom, Tanner Roark, et al now. But I just don’t love¬†punting an indisputable ace and the top overall relief pitcher at this juncture of the season. Granted, RPs aren’t super valuable, but still.

I get the logic. They rode Kluber long enough to get to this point¬†and¬†are in great postseason position with the most points in the league, thus giving them the tie-breaker should they finish with the same record as another team. They are now handing the keys to luck and in turn, getting arguably the best prospect in baseball. But I’m not sure they got enough for handing a direct postseason competitor two players of this caliber.

Oh well!

One other thing: I had forgotten what the original deal TBD made to get Kluber was and when I went back and looked… my god.¬†This trade somehow manages to make that one look even worse. And from TBD’s perspective, you could argue that since they got Kluber for essentially nothing¬†to begin with, he was just house money anyway. Their low initial investment in Kluber does make me like this move a little more for them.

Baseball’s Best Leadoff HItters

Having a reliable leadoff hitter is important once a game. But these guys also get the most opportunities at the plate so you better make sure that guy can hit in any situation, as well as being a spark plug in the 1st inning. Every team has a different approach with their leadoff hitter.  Some managers just slot their fastest player at the top of their lineup, while other managers make sure whoever is leading off, has a high on base percentage.

You will have a hard time finding any fantasy baseball scoring system that ranks anyone above the Houston Astros Jose Altuve.  His .305/.400/.611 slash has let to 20 runs scored, 13 RBI and 9 stolen bases after just one month.  On top of that, he has 17 XBH, including six home runs.

Right behind Altuve, you find Dexter Fowler hitting .347 to begin the season with 13 XBH. ¬†Fowler’s 17 walks drawn has led to a .474 OBP.

Mookie Betts has been a bit of a disappointment, owning a .266 BA and just 5 walks drawn, but he has managed to score 19 runs while driving in 17.

Ian Kinsler and Jean Segura are the only leadoff hitters with 30+ hits, but Kinsler’s has yet to find his power with just 8 XBH (4 HRs) while Segura’s Diamondbacks teammates have struggled to knock him home as he has crossed the plate just 12 times, including four home runs.

Over his last 10 games, Logan Forsythe has seen his BA rise from .250 up to .341 thanks to three 3 hit games, and three 2 hit games.

dgLeadoff

Stats via FanGraphs

Musing on positional scarcity and age…

I always feel compelled at the beginning of these posts to remind the rest of the league: I swear, I’m not trying to sway your personal valuations or opinions. I just want to riff on fantasy baseball. If I happen to use a player on your team as an example and view him unfavorably, oops. I would hope we’re all capable of coming to our own conclusions. It’d be pretty boring if we all had exactly the same valuations.

So, having said that…¬†how valuable are good-not-great¬†players at super top heavy positions? Or positions that aren’t even top heavy, but rather mediocre all throughout?

Two positions immediately jump to mind here, and that is catcher and shortstop. Let’s look at¬†shortstops.

Through nearly three full weeks, here are your top five overall scorers with the salary they went for at auction:

shortstops
Carlos Correa was our league’s highest paid shortstop at $81, so it’s nice that he’s pictured here. He was also the fourth highest paid hitter in the league, which means he’s being paid to be an absolutely, unquestioned transcendent talent and fantasy producer.

The obvious thing that jumps out is that four shortstops who were practically free either at auction or in our minor league draft currently sit atop the landscape at the position. In fact, Trevor Story, Jean Segura, Aledmys Diaz, and Eugenio Suarez cost just 11.1% of what Correa costs combined.

Granted, we’re only 19 days into our fantasy schedule. But our regular season is 148 days long, so we’re already over 12% of the way through the season. No one would be surprised if Correa ends up as his position’s best producer by the end of the season, but what we have so far shines an interesting¬†light on the shortstop group. It has paid to not pay for these guys.

Behind Correa in terms of salary at shortstop are Xander Bogaerts ($58), Corey Seager ($54), and Troy Tulowitzki ($46). Bogaerts ranks ninth in scoring, Seager ranks 28th, and Tulowitzki is 29th.

For the sake of argument, let’s just look at those three guys, whose average salary is $52.70, or $53 to simplify.¬†Of course, no one went for $53 at auction, but we did have¬†Francisco Liriano go for $54 and a couple¬†go for $52: Kyle Schwarber and Edwin Encarnacion. Some big names and reliable fantasy producers that cost in the mid-to-high¬†$40 range: Cole Hamels, Justin Upton, George Springer, Sonny Gray, Chris Davis, Jose Altuve.

Hypothetically, if that list of players played the same position as Bogaerts, Seager, and Tulowitzki, would they have gone for less? I’d argue not. There are pitchers mixed in, so the positional view is wonky, but what if the shortstops were left fielders instead? Is Seager getting $54 to play the outfield? Hell, right fielder Matt Kemp cost $11. If Seager played the same spot, are you really paying him $43 more? Go look at Kemp’s last two years worth of stats before answering, because they’re¬†likely to be better than you think.

In terms of having ever accomplished anything worth banking on, only Tulo has done it out of this group for more than a single season, but his age and injury concerns chew up some of his value.

The argument I’m making is that Bogaerts and Seager had “being a shortstop” baked pretty heavily into their price. Age was baked in there too, I’m sure, but whatever. Bogaerts was the top scoring shortstop in our format a year ago, so good for him and all, but Jhonny Peralta ($7) was number two and Brandon Crawford ($14) was number three. Peralta being hurt to start the year is a wrinkle, but those guys got pretty heavily punished for not being 23-years-old and presumably keepable for a decade. Maybe age was an even bigger factor than position?

Speaking of Bogaerts and 2015: he scored 810.5 points last year and yes, he led the way for shortstops. But compared to all other hitters, he ranked 55th. The two guys below him: Nick Markakis ($4) and Brandon Belt ($12). The two guys above him: Evan Longoria ($20) and David Peralta ($17).

So you could have literally bought the four hitters directly surrounding Bogaerts in 2015 net points and still had $5 left over!

Also, while Bogaerts was the 55th highest scoring hitter last year, he’s the 17th highest paid hitter this year. He’s also not priced to be immune from greed and his salary is going to grow by $2 a year. So… yikes.

Just as easily as it is to envision that $81 Correa being tops at short in August, it’s not crazy to see Bogaerts and Seager in the top five or even three. But it also seems fair to suggest that even if these guys lead the charge at their position, they’ll come out behind in the greater landscape of hitters at large.

Last year, Bogaerts averaged 40.525 points per week as the top shortstop. The 16th highest scoring shortstop, Erick Aybar ($3), averaged 27.325 points per week. So a 13.2 weekly edge between the best possible “starting” shortstop and the worst. (I grant you, this is a bit primitive. It assumes the top 16 scorers are spread across each of the 16 teams, it ignores platoons, guys got hurt and that screws up their net output, etc. I get it.)

Crush Davis, who you’ll recall went for less money and was just the second best right fielder (but also has 1B eligibility) behind MVP Bryce Harper, averaged 55.835 points per week. Kole¬†Calhoun ($10), the 16th best RF, averaged 38.805 points per week, a difference of 17.03 between second best and 16th.

So, through that lens, you’re better off just having the better overall player in Davis than you are having the top guy at a weak position. Having Davis instead of Bogaerts, again in this admittedly simplified example, gives you a 4+ point weekly edge over the worst possible starter at each¬†position.

Starting Davis/Aybar gets you 83.16 a week. Starting Bogaerts/Calhoun gets you 79.33. Also, the total cost of Davis and Aybar is lower than the cost of Bogaerts and Calhoun by $19, meaning that, at least theoretically, not overpaying for perceived positional scarcity affords you more resources to help your team.

Personally, I like to view players across their broader peer groups: pitchers against other pitchers, hitters against other hitters. Yes, a player may be the third best shortstop or the fifth best catcher, but that ranking is not interchangeable across positions.

Buster Posey is so good, he does not have a peer group at the catcher¬†position. He is a tier, the two tiers below him are filled with chirping crickets and sawdust, and then other guys start falling in line after that. Yeah, you’d like to have whoever is second or third best, but if you have to settle for that 16th guy, it probably won’t be overly painful.¬†The difference is negligible.

Start me up, please get a no-no

The regular season is so close. The taste of baseball that counts is palatable. In the time between, because we are not there yet, let us look at starts from 2015 once again.

Using Baseball Reference’s Play Index¬†I was able to grab all 4,858 starts from 2015. This includes each game line from each starting pitcher who started each individual game. ¬†Before we dig deep into this data lets answer the easy questions as it relates to our scoring…

Average Start in 2015: 24.25 points
Median Start in 2015: 25.50 points
Mode Start in 2015: 35.50 points

660 starts, or 13.58% of the starts last year, ended up being negative points for the day. Ouch. Of those awful starts, the worst five¬†were led by everyone’s favorite Jeremy Guthrie (pictured above, what the hell is wrong with his elbow):

May 25 – Jeremy Guthrie -75 points vs Yankees
May 30 – Shane Greene -66 points vs Angels
July 7 – Chad Bettis -54.5 points vs Angels
August 23 – Matt Wisler -53 points vs Cubs
August 15 – Felix Hernandez -52 points vs Red Sox

One of those is not like the others. Ouch. Felix actually had two starts that were absolutely soul crushing. But, on the other side of the table. Max Scherzer was king.

October 3 – Max Scherzer 101.5 points vs Mets
June 14 – Max Scherzer 94 points vs Brewers
May 13 – Corey Kluber 90.5 points vs Cardinals
September 25 – Carlos Carrasco 89 points vs Royals
August 30 – Jake Arrieta 88.5 points vs Dodgers

Wow! I think it should come as little surprise that two of the top five, and several of the best starts overall, came in September. Those September call-ups can make a difference compared to the rest of the season.

However, September call-ups do go both ways. As we can see below, the average points per start goes way down in September.

Average PPS by Month

April 24.25
May 24.97
June 25.47
July 25.04
August 23.25
September 22.29

Shorter outings, extra pitchers sitting in the bullpen, rookies getting a shot, injuries taking a toll, pitch counts… Everything could be counting into that low September number. It was most surprising to me that August was trending downwards¬†so dramatically. It really catches up to September quickly.

Diving a bit deeper into those monthly numbers. You see a similar trend in innings pitched per start.

April 5.73 IP
May 5.94 IP
June 5.96 IP
July 5.90 IP
August 5.80 IP
September 5.55 IP

Well, that is interesting. Starts in April are shorter than August by some small fraction, but April starts are good for a point more per start over starts in August. Obviously pitcher quality plays a huge role. Pitching is not a healthy thing to do and by August if the pitcher was going to break down, he is already broken by now. You can see it there.

In this kind of fantasy baseball league, starts are a very important commodity. I feel like the whole point of this post is to drive home how valuable those 6th, 7th and 8th starters on your roster are. Week 1, for most teams, you may not even use them at all. Barring some kind of amazing luck, you can see here that come August and early September when playoff races are finishing and the playoffs are starting, pitching gets thinner quickly.

You might just start to find comfort in having those extra guys sitting around and doing nothing in April, because you can see that the future is dark and full of terror.

You Won’t Believe Who’s #6 On This Cool Spring Breeze List of Hot Sizzling Pitchers

A few days ago we focused on hitters that have been known to get off to a hot start, and today we will focus on pitchers that we have come to rely on in April, in each of the past three MLB seasons.

topAprilpitchers

Just like with the bats, there is an arm (or two) in this list that really doesn’t belong.

Let’s start with Anibal Sanchez – prior to the start of the 2013 season, the Tigers handed him $80 mil. ¬†Looking at this list of pitchers, seems like that was a great signing. ¬†However, the first number of his ERA has increased in each of his three full seasons with Detroit, up to 4.99 last year.

That being said, we are only worried about April here.  In 2013 he won three of his five starts and finished with an ERA of 1.34, 1.04 WHIP and a 41:9 K:BB ratio across 33.2 iP.  That accounted for 47% of his April points scored over the last three years.

Only Madison Bumgarner (48% ’13) and Johnny Cueto (48% ’14) had one year (month) be such a factor in them making this list.

The other pitcher that “doesn’t belong” on this list is Jeff Samardzija.

Bias aside, he is a good example of why counting wins in fantasy baseball doesn’t really make sense. ¬†In April of 2014, Samardzija went 0-3 despite owning a 1.98 ERA across six starts (41 ip). ¬†Actually, he is just 2-9 in early baseball.

Sonny Gray, Justin Verlander, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Aaron Harang each have two, 200 point Aprils in the last three years, but each had one year that prevented them for eclipsing 500 points.

2013
Remember when Yu Darvish was around striking out 13.7 batters per nine innings in April of 2013?

2014

Hey look, Adam Wainwright was the best pitcher in April for back to back years!

After just one pitcher reach 50 K in April of 2013, the MLB was falling in love with  Jose Fernandez, before Tommy John took him away, and saw Max Scherzer and Johnny Cueto have career years.

Stephen Strasburg also punched out 50 batters in April, but only lasted 34 innings – averaging less than six inning per start.

How did Nathan Eovaldi sneak in there?  The only other month he had an ERA below 4.00 was August, and still finished with an ERA over 5.00 after the All-Star Break.

2015

No pitchers struck out 50 batters last year in April, and only Clayton Kershaw and James Shields even struck out 40 batters Рand neither made this list.  Kershaw had an ERA nearing 4.00.  Both pitchers only lasted 31 innings over five starts.

Remember that start to the season Aaron Harang had last year?  He finished April with a WHIP under 1.00, and over 3.5 K/BB.

Dallas Keuchel, Sonny Gray, Chris Archer and Gerrit Cole all gave fantasy baseball a great year and are going to have live up to HIGH expectations in 2016.