Do The Murph

No one was more skeptical of Daniel Murphy than I. Of course, I usually am slow to accept unexpected breakouts. The owner of Murphy in my dynasty league is well on his way to a last place finish and had been shopping Murphy all year. I have Jason Kipnis and Ben Zobrist so I wasn’t particularly motivated and eventually the other owner sold Murphy for Austin Meadows and Carlos Rodon, a return that I thought to be extremely strong. For months I was told how he would provide better statistics with far few strikeouts – they count in my league. But I held firm, I was convinced that the day I hypothetically acquired him would be the day he reverted back to his high average low everything else ways. However, he hasn’t and shows no signs of doing so.

The new Daniel Murphy emerged in the playoffs last year when he stroked seven home runs in 14 games on the way to earning himself a nice new contract with the Nationals. To date, he hasn’t missed a beat. The following monthly splits are from this year.

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The Value of a Walk in OBP Leagues

Last week I took a look at an alternative scoring setting that is becoming more common in fantasy baseball, the quality start. This week, I will examine what I consider to be the offensive sibling as far as changes from traditional formats, on-base percentage as a replacement for batting average.

The Gainers

Joc Pederson -2.0 0.6 2.6
Carlos Santana -1.2 0.9 2.1
Joey Votto 1.8 3.9 2.1
Jose Bautista -0.5 1.5 2.0
Yasmani Grandal -1.1 0.8 1.9
Chris Carter -2.4 -0.6 1.8
Bryce Harper 2.4 3.9 1.5
Lucas Duda -0.8 0.7 1.5
Mike Napoli -1.5 -0.1 1.4
Alex Rodriguez -0.5 0.8 1.4
Curtis Granderson -0.2 1.1 1.3
Anthony Rizzo 0.5 1.8 1.3
Mark Teixeira -0.4 0.9 1.2
Alex Gordon 0.2 1.5 1.2
Steven Souza Jr. -1.5 -0.3 1.2
Andrew McCutchen 1.0 2.2 1.2
Miguel Montero -0.6 0.5 1.1
Adam LaRoche -2.1 -1.0 1.1
Paul Goldschmidt 2.1 3.2 1.1
Dexter Fowler -0.5 0.6 1.1
Chris Davis -0.1 1.0 1.1
Luis Valbuena -1.5 -0.5 1.0
Brian McCann -1.2 -0.2 1.0
Shin-Soo Choo 0.4 1.4 1.0
Russell Martin -0.9 0.1 1.0
Chris Coghlan -0.5 0.4 1.0

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Hitters I Like More Than The Dynasty Guru

One of my favorite fantasy baseball-related days of the year is when Bret Sayre comes out with an updated “top 500” list. The task of ranking 500 players must be overwhelming at times, with multiple factors to consider, especially when you start considering prospects. Ultimately, it’s impossible to come up with a one-size-fits-all list. Owners at different points in the competing/rebuilding cycle will value the same prospect quite differently. A rebuilding owner should prioritize ceiling over proximity while a competing owner has the flexibility to do either. From my perspective as an owner competing in my dynasty league, these are a few hitters I place more value on than our own Dynasty Guru. In fact, all of these hitters were left off the list completely.


Adam Engel

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“We both know that Dallas Keuchel is an ace, right?”

“We both know that Dallas Keuchel is an ace.” Or so my potential trading partner claimed. The message in question was in regards to a trade-block entry I submitted indicating my interest in making one last blockbuster move towards a title push. I was offering what I considered to be a plum set of prospects, Tyler Glasnow and Rafael Devers, plus, if necessary my early first-round pick in which all 2015 Rule 4 draftees were first eligible. My request was a legitimate ace and a quality closer. I had hoped to acquire a Jose Fernandez, Jacob deGrom, Stephen Strasburg- type but had not received the interest I anticipated. So I began to wonder, is Dallas Keuchel an ace? My instinct is to be suspicious of breakouts without solid evidence of skill growth. So, did Dallas Keuchel grow into an ace or was he just the recipient of a lucky season?

Keuchel broke into the majors in 2013 and showed no indication that he was ready to be a frontline starter. Owners that were fortunate enough to add him in early 2014 after a fast start were likely pleasantly surprised as he finished the season with an ERA of 2.93, down from a ghastly 5.15 in 2013, driven by a rebound in BABIP, which dropped from a ridiculously high .350 to a near league average of .295. Owners who believed in his breakout were richly rewarded as his stats from 2015 were absolutely worthy of being considered ace-calibur. He was the fifth overall pitcher on ESPN’s Player Rater. His strongest category was wins, a notoriously fickle statistic, but he was extremely good across the board. The increase in performance seemed to be driven by two factors, strikeout rate and BABIP.

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The Case For The Franken-player

Fantasy championships are often won on the margins. In a competitive league, getting every last at-bat and maximizing every position on your roster can be the difference between finishing in the money or missing out. In my dynasty league, the perennial winner is able to maintain his crown with a dominant pitching staff and a deep bench full of good-to-acceptable hitters that he mixes and matches with. One way to get a little extra out of your hitting categories is through playing splits, just like a major-league manager does.

For the purpose of this exercise, I will focus on batters who have significant positive splits against right-handed pitchers. I am not looking at positive splits against left-handed pitchers due to the relative infrequent number of starts they make. It would be difficult to justify a roster spot to a player who you might only use once or twice a week, no matter how good they are. I compiled three-year statistics for all left- and right-handed hitters to attempt to smooth out random variance.

For right-handed hitters, there was really no one that stood out as over-performing against right-handed pitchers. Actually, Jonathan Schoop and Mark Canha did, but their sample size is so small I have no faith it indicates anything except statistical noise. It wasn’t really surprising, as opposite-side batters are assumed to have the edge, but I had thought that at least a handful of righties would show a split advantage.

Among left-handed hitters, there were some very pronounced split advantages. To my surprise, the poster child for a pronounced split, Curtis Granderson did not appear. Neither did Mitch Moreland, the future fantasy part-timer who became the impetus for this article after I acquired him last week. Allow me to paraphrase something my econometrics professor said, that has always stuck with me: Have some sort of an idea of what to expect. If the results are completely unexpected or counterintuitive, consider the possibility that you have made a mistake and not in fact made a groundbreaking discovery.

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Where Have All The Second Basemen Gone?

With Arismendy Alcantara’s call up and likely demotion right in front of us, I thought it would be interesting to focus on the state of the second-sackers in MLB right now. It’s probably worse than you’re ready for. The 2014 league average second baseman is turning in a .251/.311/.365 slash line right now, which is somehow worse than 2013’s .257/.316/.376 line.

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Going Deep: Recap of a 20-team Dynasty MiLB Draft: Picks 51-60

Here we are: the last segment of the 20-team dynasty league MiLB draft. Pat yourself on the back! You made it! Click here for last week’s which will get you to the week before and so on and so forth. Let’s bang this thing out, shall we?

Reminder that the picks say 11-20 but this is the latter half of the third round of the draft:

11. Boston – Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez (SP PHI)

I’ll admit to not hating this pick at the time. It was a decent gamble for an arm that was supposedly close to big league ready. That said, the drastic reduction of the value of his contract should have given us some pause for concern. He didn’t look good in Spring Training, and while the changeup was as advertised, it didn’t seem like the rests of the arsenal was viable for the major leagues. Not a bad pick at the time, but ultimately still a bit of a bust.

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