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Updated: 2017-11-19T08:05:00+00:00

 



2018 Boston Red Sox Minor League Preview

2017-11-19T08:05:00+00:00

What’s the difference between a doughnut and a Dave Dombrowski Farm system? The doughnut usually leaves some crumbs behind! Wocka Wocka! In grand double D fashion, the long-necked one, emptied the farm to upgrade the major league squad. Some moves worked (Chris Sale & Craig Kimbrel) others have fallen flat(I.E. Travis Shaw+ for Tyler Thornburg). For the past ten years Boston has had one of the strongest farm systems in the game, producing talent like Pedroia, Lester, Ellsbury, Buchholz, Boegarts, Bradley, Betts, Benintendi, and recently Rafael Devers. The team now faces the challenge of restocking the once proud farm, following three years of trades, and a lost international period, due to a penalty received for rule violations. The last two drafts have been solid, but unspectacular, and have taken the Red Sox in a different direction. The focus has been heavily on pitching, giving the Sox depth in an area where they’re typically weak. Six of the following Top Ten is comprised of pitchers, and four of the six were drafted over the past two years. It likely would have been an even split between pitchers and positional players if not for the unfortunate, and tragic passing of July 2nd gem, Danny Flores. The shocking loss certainly leaves an already thin system further exposed. Will it be completely emptied to land Giancarlo Stanton? Or will the Sox stand pat this offseason, add in the June draft, and look to be players at next year’s trade deadline? One thing is for sure, with Dombrowski at the controls, someone’s getting traded in this beeyatch.(image) What’s the difference between a doughnut and a Dave Dombrowski Farm system? The doughnut usually leaves some crumbs behind! Wocka Wocka! In grand double D fashion, the long-necked one, emptied the farm to upgrade the major league squad. Some moves worked (Chris Sale & Craig Kimbrel) others have fallen flat(I.E. Travis Shaw+ for Tyler Thornburg). For the past ten years Boston has had one of the strongest farm systems in the game, producing talent like Pedroia, Lester, Ellsbury, Buchholz, Boegarts, Bradley, Betts, Benintendi, and recently Rafael Devers. The team now faces the challenge of restocking the once proud farm, following three years of trades, and a lost international period, due to a penalty received for rule violations. The last two drafts have been solid, but unspectacular, and have taken the Red Sox in a different direction. The focus has been heavily on pitching, giving the Sox depth in an area where they’re typically weak. Six of the following Top Ten is comprised of pitchers, and four of the six were drafted over the past two years. It likely would have been an even split between pitchers and positional players if not for the unfortunate, and tragic passing of July 2nd gem, Danny Flores. The shocking loss certainly leaves an already thin system further exposed. Will it be completely emptied to land Giancarlo Stanton? Or will the Sox stand pat this offseason, add in the June draft, and look to be players at next year’s trade deadline? One thing is for sure, with Dombrowski at the controls, someone’s getting traded in this beeyatch.(image) (image)



Free Agent Profile: Lorenzo Cain

2017-11-19T05:30:00+00:00

Fresh off yet another strong season, longtime Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain ranks as one of the best free agents available in this year’s class. Pros/Strengths Since making his major league debut with the Brewers in 2010, Cain has often mixed average or better production at the plate with top-notch defense and quality baserunning, making…Fresh off yet another strong season, longtime Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain ranks as one of the best free agents available in this year’s class. Pros/Strengths Since making his major league debut with the Brewers in 2010, Cain has often mixed average or better production at the plate with top-notch defense and quality baserunning, making him one of the game’s most valuable players at his position. Cain held his own in those three facets in 2017 and surpassed the 4.0 fWAR mark for the third time in the past four seasons. Dating back to 2014, his breakout offensive campaign, only 19 position players have logged a higher fWAR than Cain’s 17.9, which puts him in company with the likes of Freddie Freeman (18.1), Ian Kinsler (17.4) and Andrew McCutchen (16.8). Defense is perhaps Cain’s greatest strength, evidenced by his lifetime DRS (73) and UZR (53.8) in center. According to those metrics, Cain wasn’t elite in 2017, though he still ranked in the top nine in the league among center fielders in both categories. He placed an even more impressive fifth among all outfielders in Statcast’s Outs Above Average metric. On the offensive side, the righty-swinging Cain has been useful against pitchers of either handedness throughout his career. While his .303/.360/.474 line against southpaws easily trumps his .285/.335/.400 output versus righties, the latter has still been good enough for league-average production, per FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric. All told, he has slashed a respectable .290/.342/.421 in 3,051 trips, including a .300/.363/.440 line across a personal-best 645 PAs in 2017. Cain managed to cut his K rate from 19.4 percent in 2016 to a meager 15.5 percent this past season, and has gone down on strikes just 18.6 percent of the time in his career. Cain’s speed has certainly contributed to his solid offensive numbers, helping him run a lifetime .344 batting average on balls in play (including a .340 mark in 2017) and an infield hit rate of 9.9 percent (league average has hovered in the 6.5 percent range since his MLB debut). Unsurprisingly, the fleet-of-foot Cain finished toward the top of MLB last season in Statcast’s Sprint Speed metric (16th out of 451 qualifiers). Thanks primarily to his wheels, Cain stole 26 of 28 bases in 2017, ranking fifth in the majors in SB percentage (92.9) along the way. Successful base stealing has been the norm for Cain, who has swiped 127 of 152 bags (83.6 percent) during his career. Weaknesses/Cons If you’re looking for red flags here, age and injury questions jump to the fore immediately. Cain will turn 32 next April, which will make a long-term deal for him all the more risky, and although he played 155 games last year, he hasn’t been that durable. Cain spent time on the disabled list in 2012, ’13, ’14 and ’16, and last season was the only one to date in which he appeared in more than 140 games. With Cain’s legs being so integral to his game, it’s certainly fair to wonder just how well he’ll age both offensively and defensively. Speed peaks early, after all, and that’s all the more concerning for a 30-something hitter who brings minimal power and middling patience to the table. Cain did hit 15 home runs in 2017, but his .140 ISO (.131 lifetime) fell well below the .171 league average. Background Cain, a Valdosta, Ga., native, became a professional when the Brewers chose him in the 17th round of the 2004 draft. He ultimately racked up just 158 PAs with Milwaukee before the team traded him, Jake Odorizzi, Alcides Escobar and Jeremy Jeffress to the Royals for Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt in a Decem[...]



AL Notes: Rays, Longoria, Colome, Rangers, Tigers

2017-11-19T03:41:00+00:00

As they look to reduce payroll and perhaps rebuild this offseason, the Rays will be open to trading most of their high-paid players – including third baseman and franchise icon Evan Longoria – Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Longoria hasn’t yet reached 10-and-5 status, meaning he doesn’t have full no-trade rights, but…As they look to reduce payroll and perhaps rebuild this offseason, the Rays will be open to trading most of their high-paid players – including third baseman and franchise icon Evan Longoria – Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Longoria hasn’t yet reached 10-and-5 status, meaning he doesn’t have full no-trade rights, but the Rays would likely only deal him with his blessing, according to Topkin. The 32-year-old will rake in $13.5MM in 2018 and up to $94MM through 2023, depending on what happens with a club option in the final season of his deal. In addition to Longoria, right-handers Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi, closer Alex Colome, catcher Wilson Ramos, outfielder Corey Dickerson, infielder Brad Miller and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria stand out as potential trade candidates, Topkin observes. Colome seems particularly likely to go, Topkin suggests, and has already drawn reported interest from the Cardinals. He’s projected to earn $5.5MM in 2018, his first of three possible arbitration years. More on Tampa Bay and two other AL clubs: While the Rays may spend the coming months subtracting veterans, there will probably be mutual interest between them and free agent first baseman Mike Napoli, per Topkin. The Florida native continued his power-hitting ways in Texas last season, swatting 29 home runs and posting a .235 ISO, but he still batted an ugly .193/.285/.428 across 485 plate appearances. As a 36-year-old coming off a career-worst campaign, he’ll be in the Rays’ price range. With the Rangers in desperate need of starters, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News lists several bargain free agents who might be worthy of their attention on the open market. Two of those players, Miguel Gonzalez and Miles Mikolas, bring past Rangers experience to the table. Recent Tommy John surgery recipient Michael Pineda, John Lackey and Jhoulys Chacin could also land on the club’s radar, Grant writes. Aside from switch-hitters Victor Martinez and Jeimer Candelario, the Tigers don’t have lefty-capable regulars on their roster at the moment. General manager Al Avila is looking to change that this winter. “We’re very right-handed, so left-handed anything — infield and outfield — would be very handy for us as far as somebody that could help at the Major League level in 2018,” Avila told Jason Beck of MLB.com and other reporters this week. Given that the Tigers are in rebuilding mode, any move(s) they make to balance their lineup will be small, Beck notes. [...]



Baseball Blogs Weigh In: FA SPs, Cole, Cain, Jays, Ohtani, Cubs

2017-11-19T02:25:00+00:00

This week in baseball blogs: 216Stitches analyzes this winter’s class of free agent starting pitchers. Pirates Breakdown asks if now is the time for the Bucs to trade Gerrit Cole. Jays From the Couch argues that Toronto should sign Lorenzo Cain. The Loop Sports explains how the Cubs could lure Shohei Ohtani in free agency.…This week in baseball blogs: 216Stitches analyzes this winter’s class of free agent starting pitchers. Pirates Breakdown asks if now is the time for the Bucs to trade Gerrit Cole. Jays From the Couch argues that Toronto should sign Lorenzo Cain. The Loop Sports explains how the Cubs could lure Shohei Ohtani in free agency. The Runner Sports (links: 1, 2) bids farewell to Carlos Beltran and weighs in on the AL MVP results. Camden Depot studies Adam Jones’ offensive turnaround from 2016 to ’17. Real McCoy Minor News spotlights Braves third base prospect Austin Riley. The 3rd Man In profiles and interviews South Alabama outfielder Travis Swaggerty, a likely first-round pick in next year’s draft. Bronx Bomber Ball submits its Yankees offseason plan. Mets Daddy names potential second base trade targets for the team. Angelswin.com (links: 1, 2) offers the next two parts of its offseason primer. The Point of Pittsburgh examines Pirates closer Felipe Rivero’s trade value in the event of a deal. Call To The Pen runs down players the Phllies could go after both this offseason and next. BP Toronto opines that this will be Ross Atkins’ busiest offseason yet as the Blue Jays’ general manager. BASEBALLDOCS fasts forward a year to Manny Machado’s potential trip to free agency. Clubhouse Corner’s Bernie Pleskoff offers his AFL scouting reports on Justus Sheffield, Victor Robles, Ronald Acuna, Austin Riley and Francisco Mejia. MetsMind looks at why Dominic Smith didn’t win the first base job in September. Off The Bench notes that the Phillies would still need to upgrade their rotation even if they acquired Giancarlo Stanton. The Giants Cove explains why the club should steer clear of Stanton. DiNardo’s Dugout (podcast) discusses the MVP choices, the Braves’ new GM hire and the trade the Mariners and Athletics made this week. Motor City Bengals proposes a Tigers-Mariners trade. Reviewing The Brew is concerned about the dearth of left-handed pitching in the Brewers organization. Sports Talk Philly doesn’t believe the Phillies are as bullish on outfielder Nick Williams as their fan base is. Pinstriped Prospects has a Rule 5 primer for the Yankees. Jays Journal lists minor league free agents who would be worth pursuing for Toronto. The First Out At Third revisits preseason projections for the Brewers’ hitters. District On Deck writes about the Nationals’ new coaching staff. Rotisserie Duck shares some observations from this year’s edition of The Bill James Handbook. Chris Zantow rewinds to then-Brewers owner Bud Selig’s front office purge in November 1977. Submissions: ZachBBWI @gmail.com.[...]



Orioles Interested In Lance Lynn

2017-11-19T00:47:00+00:00

The Orioles are interested in free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports (Twitter link). Morosi adds that the Orioles slightly prefer fellow righty Alex Cobb, however, thanks to his vast experience in the American League East. Morosi first linked Cobb to the Orioles on Friday. Either Lynn or Cobb is the…The Orioles are interested in free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports (Twitter link). Morosi adds that the Orioles slightly prefer fellow righty Alex Cobb, however, thanks to his vast experience in the American League East. Morosi first linked Cobb to the Orioles on Friday. Either Lynn or Cobb is the third-best established starter on the market behind Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, and signing one of the two second-tier arms would ostensibly be a boon to a Baltimore rotation in dire need of help. Orioles starters placed 27th in the majors in fWAR (5.5) and dead last in ERA (5.70) during the regular season, and with 2017 rotation members Chris Tillman, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Miley and Ubaldo Jimenez now on the open market, the team is on the hunt for multiple starters. Lynn debuted as a regular in the Cardinals’ rotation in 2012 and has quietly been among the majors’ most consistent workhorses since then. With the exception of 2016, which he missed after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Lynn hasn’t finished with fewer than 29 starts or 175 1/3 innings in any full season. The fastball specialist has also thrived at keeping opposing offenses at bay, evidenced by a 3.37 ERA that ranks tied for 22nd among big league starters since 2012. The 30-year-old Lynn spun 186 1/3 innings of 3.43 ERA ball in 2017, though his terrific run prevention came in spite of underwhelming rates in the strikeout (7.39 K/9; down from 8.46 lifetime) and walk (3.77; up from 3.4) departments. A fair amount of Lynn’s success last season was on account of a .244 batting average on balls in play, way down from his .297 career mark, but it wasn’t solely a product of good fortune. Lynn tied with a handful of starters – including National League Cy Young winner Max Scherzer – for 25th out of 94 qualifiers in average exit velocity allowed (85.7 mph). Thanks in part to that, his expected weighted on-base average allowed (.310) was right in line with the .309 wOBA he surrendered. Considering both Lynn’s track record and the dearth of big-time starters available in free agency, he’s in line to land one of the offseason’s richest contracts. With Lynn having rejected the Cardinals’ $17.4MM qualifying offer, signing him would cost Baltimore its third-highest pick in next summer’s draft, which isn’t much of a deterrent in and of itself. But, as much as Lynn could help the O’s rotation in 2018, it’s debatable whether they’d be wise to hand a lucrative long-term deal to him, Cobb or anyone else this winter with core players Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Adam Jones and Brad Brach scheduled to hit free agency next year.[...]



The Yankees’ Managerial Search

2017-11-18T23:44:00+00:00

After the announcement that Joe Girardi won’t be back to manage the team in 2018, the Yankees are now looking for just their third skipper in the last 22 seasons.  The new manager will step into an enviable situation, taking over a team with one of the sport’s biggest payrolls and an array of young…After the announcement that Joe Girardi won’t be back to manage the team in 2018, the Yankees are now looking for just their third skipper in the last 22 seasons.  The new manager will step into an enviable situation, taking over a team with one of the sport’s biggest payrolls and an array of young star talent, though there will be immediate pressure on the new dugout boss to win.  Eight years without a World Series counts as a major drought by the Yankees’ standards, and since the current roster finished just a game shy of the AL pennant, there is reason to believe this group is ready to win now. As with previous and ongoing managerial searches (such as the Phillies and Nationals), we’ll keep a running post on any news and rumors connected to possible candidates for the Yankees’ job. Latest Updates The Yankees’ first round of interviews seemingly went well, Heyman writes. Boone and Meulens, in particular, “aced” their initial interviews, according to Heyman. Interviewing Candidates Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward is slated to interview, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tweets. The former big league infielder has been a base coach and an infield instructor with the Dodgers and Mariners for the past four seasons. It is not known at present whether others will also get a shot at an interview, but owner Hal Steinbrenner did make clear the club will meet with “less than ten” candidates, as MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch recently tweeted. (The team’s plans for additional interview rounds are also not apparent.) Broadcaster Aaron Boone and Giants coach Hensley Meulens have each had their interviews, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported would take place. Boone’s candidacy was first reported by ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (via Twitter). The long-time big leaguer, who spent a small but memorable portion of his career with the Yankees, does not have any big league coaching experience. Meulens is also a former Yankee player; Sherman first called him someone “who could come into play” for the job. The Yankees have interviewed former Mariners and Indians skipper Eric Wedge for the post, tweets ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand. The 2007 American League Manager of the Year, Wedge hasn’t been in a big league dugout since the 2013 season — his final in Seattle. Since that time, he’s spent two seasons as an analyst with ESPN and another two working with the Blue Jays’ player development department. He’s currently a field coordinator in the Toronto organization. Bench coach Rob Thomson sat down with the organization about the managerial opening on November 8th, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter), though it doesn’t seem as if he faced the press afterward. Thomson has been on Girardi’s staff since 2008 and previously worked in the Yankees’ player development department. Preliminary Candidates (Interview Status Unknown) If Boone was an unexpected candidate, then the most recent possibility to be floated comes straight from left field — almost literally. Even as he announced the end of his playing career today, Beltran was generating buzz in relation to the Yankees managerial opening. In interviews with MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and ESPN.com’s Marly Rivera, Beltran said he wants to manage (at least eventually) and suggested he’d have interest in the gig. Cashman did not commit to anything when asked to comment, saying that he’s “aware of [Beltran[...]



The Wire Troll: Charlie Lindgren Claims the Goalie Gig in Montreal

2017-11-18T22:44:00+00:00

Although Nyquist was shut out Friday, you get the sense the slow starter is on the cusp of a breakout. He ripped six shots on goal (two on breakaways) and played over 20 minutes -- his most ice time since October 10. Nyquist is still looking to rediscover the scoring touch that saw him score 28 goals in just 57 games in 2013-14, but he was even +/- on a bad team last season and managed to rip 165 shots (alhtough a poor shooting percentage cost him). That has normalized so far this season, so if he keeps shooting like Friday, the puck will start going in. Buy low while you can, but just don't...

This is just an article tease. Visit RotoRob.com for full articles, plus plenty of daily fantastic Fantasy sports content!(image) Although Nyquist was shut out Friday, you get the sense the slow starter is on the cusp of a breakout. He ripped six shots on goal (two on breakaways) and played over 20 minutes -- his most ice time since October 10. Nyquist is still looking to rediscover the scoring touch that saw him score 28 goals in just 57 games in 2013-14, but he was even +/- on a bad team last season and managed to rip 165 shots (alhtough a poor shooting percentage cost him). That has normalized so far this season, so if he keeps shooting like Friday, the puck will start going in. Buy low while you can, but just don't...

This is just an article tease. Visit RotoRob.com for full articles, plus plenty of daily fantastic Fantasy sports content!(image) (image)



Mariners Acquire Nick Rumbelow

2017-11-18T21:46:00+00:00

The Mariners have announced that they’ve acquired right-hander Nick Rumbelow from the Yankees in exchange for a pair of minor league pitchers, left-hander JP Sears and righty Juan Then. It’s not an earth-shattering trade by any means, but it certainly does have at least one significant implication. The Yankees are facing a significant roster crunch that needs to…The Mariners have announced that they’ve acquired right-hander Nick Rumbelow from the Yankees in exchange for a pair of minor league pitchers, left-hander JP Sears and righty Juan Then. It’s not an earth-shattering trade by any means, but it certainly does have at least one significant implication. The Yankees are facing a significant roster crunch that needs to be resolved by November 20th, which is the deadline to set rosters ahead of the Rule 5 Draft. As Josh Norris of Baseball America points out (subscription required and recommended), the Yankees only had two open spots on the 40-man as of Thursday, and have a number of players worth protecting. That list includes No. 3 overall prospect Gleyber Torres, along with Albert Abreu, Thairo Estrada, Domingo Acevedo and Billy McKinney. Trading Rumbelow, who was added to the 40-man roster on November 6th, doesn’t magically solve the Yankees’ Rule 5 dilemma, but it helps by clearing one more spot. This is the third trade to go down during the 2017-2018 offseason, and the Mariners have been involved in all three so far. Most recently, Seattle also acquired corner infielder Ryon Healy from the Athletics (link). [Related: Updated Mariners Depth Chart] Rumbelow has just 15 2/3 major league innings under his belt, all coming in relief during the 2015 season. The right-hander allowed seven runs and struck out 15 while walking five batters. He began the 2016 season at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre and pitched just one inning before suffering a UCL sprain and ultimately undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was subsequently designated for assignment in mid-November. However, it only took 11 1/3 solid minor league innings this past season to convince the Yankees to add him back to the 40-man. Sears, 21, was an 11th-round pick in this year’s draft out of The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. The reliever struck out a whopping 49 batters across just 27 2/3 innings across two levels of the lower minors, including 17 innings in A-ball during which he didn’t allow a run. The 17-year-old Then was an international signing out of the Dominican Republic. Like Sears, his only professional season to date is 2017. The right-hander started 13 games for the Mariners’ Rookie affiliate, posting an excellent 2.64 ERA to go along with 8.22 K/9, 2.20 BB/9 and a 53% ground ball rate.[...]



International Notes: Matsui, Ruf, Verrett, Jackson

2017-11-18T20:33:00+00:00

Former major leaguer Kazuo Matsui has rejoined his first professional team, the Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball (hat tip to Kyodo News). The 42-year-old was not offered a contract by his previous team, the Rakuten Eagles, and will now reportedly take on both outfielder and coaching duties for the Lions. “I felt strongly about continuing…Former major leaguer Kazuo Matsui has rejoined his first professional team, the Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball (hat tip to Kyodo News). The 42-year-old was not offered a contract by his previous team, the Rakuten Eagles, and will now reportedly take on both outfielder and coaching duties for the Lions. “I felt strongly about continuing my playing career,” Matsui said. “I know the competition will be tough but I’ll get more motivated playing against younger players.” Matsui hit .267/.321/.380 while stealing 102 bases across 2,555 major league plate appearances with the Mets, Rockies and Astros from 2004-2010, with whom he played mostly second base. During his Japan career, however, Matsui put up fantastic offensive numbers (including 201 career homers). He earned four Gold Glove Awards as well as the 1998 Pacific League MVP Award. Some other things happening in foreign territory… Former Phillies outfielder/first baseman Darin Ruf has found some success in Korea, hitting 31 homers and leading the entire Korean Baseball Organization with 124 RBI. According to the Yonhap News Agency, the Samsung Lions recently re-signed him for the 2018 season on a $1.5MM deal. During his career in the U.S., Ruf played at the MLB level during parts of five seasons, bouncing back and forth between the Phillies and their Triple-A affiliate. Across 833 major league plate appearances, he played at roughly replacement level, showing poor plate discipline (8.2 BB%, 27.5 K%) but decent power (.193 ISO). Elsewhere in the KBO, the NC Dinos have inked former major league pitcher Logan Verrett to a pact worth $800K (also via the Yonhap News Agency). Verrett had a 4.62 ERA during his major league career with the Mets and Orioles. A whopping 15.5% HR/FB rate may have done him across his 150 career MLB innings, along with a very low 6.84 K/9. According to a tweet from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, multiple MLB teams have shown interest in former Padres pitcher Jay Jackson. Crasnick notes that Jackson has been one of the best setup men in Japan over the last two seasons. Jackson only pitched 4 1/3 innings at the major league level in 2015, but did flash a 95.1 MPH fastball. He also put up a 2.54 ERA in 63 2/3 innings with the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate that same season. [...]



Looking for a Match in a Brad Hand Trade

2017-11-18T18:48:00+00:00

After entertaining offers from a handful of teams leading up to the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline, the San Diego Padres opted not to trade reliever Brad Hand. But discussions are sure to heat up once again heading into the hot stove season. While the elite lefty is no sure bet to be dealt, the Friars look like a…After entertaining offers from a handful of teams leading up to the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline, the San Diego Padres opted not to trade reliever Brad Hand. But discussions are sure to heat up once again heading into the hot stove season. While the elite lefty is no sure bet to be dealt, the Friars look like a long shot to contend in a tough NL West division and could be well-served to exchange Hand for a package of young talent. Hand followed a breakout 2016 campaign with an equally phenomenal 2017 season. Among major-league relievers this past year, he finished 14th in ERA (2.16), 11th in xFIP (2.90), 21st in K/9 (11.80), 6th in innings pitched (79 1/3), and 4th in Win Probability Added (3.89). The former second-round pick accrued 21 saves despite not taking over the closer role until late July, and was valued at 1.7 fWAR. Every team in the major leagues would look better on paper by adding Hand to their bullpen. Relievers of his caliber are difficult to come by, let alone left-handers. He wouldn’t even be a rental; Hand is controllable through 2019 via arbitration. MLBTR projects him to be awarded just a $3.8MM salary in 2018, making him an incredibly payroll-friendly alternative to some of the big name free-agent relievers. Not every team can afford Hand in terms of prospects, however, which is how we can begin to eliminate some teams from the mix. When the Indians acquired lefty Andrew Miller from the Yankees at the 2016 trade deadline, they forked over four minor leaguers, including top prospects Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield. While nobody would argue that Miller is the superior (and more established) relief pitcher, the two come with similar amounts of team control, while Miller’s contract guaranteed him $9MM per season. If the asking price for Hand is anything close to the return the Yankees got for Miller, then we can firmly remove the Cubs, Diamondbacks, Angels, Giants, Mariners and Orioles from the picture. Teams like the White Sox, A’s, Phillies and Reds are probably too far away from serious contention to consider a run at Hand. But beyond that, there would still appear to be a vast pool of potential suitors, leaving the Padres firmly in the driver’s seat. On paper, there are a few matches that make loads of sense. The Astros have a powerful roster that lacks only the presence of a dominant left-handed bullpen arm, and they certainly have the prospect depth to swing a trade. Likewise, the Dodgers would certainly benefit from another elite reliever to back Kenley Jansen, and their farm may be better than that of the Astros. The Brewers have a strong rotation that would benefit from another elite reliever who could help shorten games. My favorite potential match is the Cardinals. St. Louis has so many outfield prospects that it’ll be hard to roster them all when the Rule 5 Draft comes around, while the Padres would probably love to add some upside young talent at that position. Meanwhile, the Cards are in definite need of a closer. I expect the two teams will at least discuss the possibility of a Hand trade. Some other teams in dire need of bullpen help include the Twins, Rays, Rockies and Braves, though those teams might have other issues to address before thinning out their farm systems for a relief pitcher. Whether a trade materializes or not, it’s fair to expect Hand’s name will pop up in trade rumors a fair number of tim[...]



Coach/Manager Notes: Ausmus, Blanco, Gott

2017-11-18T15:58:00+00:00

Katie Strang of The Athletic (subscription required and recommended) had a phone Q&A with Brad Ausmus. The former Tigers skipper explains his rationale in taking a year off from the field. Among his reasons for a hiatus is the ability to be more involved in his daughters’ lives. Ausmus also mentioned that the Red Sox managerial…

Katie Strang of The Athletic (subscription required and recommended) had a phone Q&A with Brad Ausmus. The former Tigers skipper explains his rationale in taking a year off from the field. Among his reasons for a hiatus is the ability to be more involved in his daughters’ lives. Ausmus also mentioned that the Red Sox managerial opening he interviewed for would have been a perfect fit due to a house up in Cape Cod and an emotional connection to the franchise, so he would have accepted the job in Boston. He was unwilling to comment on his interviews with other franchises, including the Mets. When asked about his time with the Tigers, Ausmus mentioned that he has no hard feelings about the way his tenure in Detroit ended, adding an anecdote about his disappointment that the Tigers didn’t win it all. “The only thing that bothered me the most is that we didn’t win,” Ausmus tells Strang. “We didn’t win a championship. That’s the only thing that stung.” The piece gives great insight into Ausmus’ experience and emotions.

Other notes about coaches around baseball…

  • The Nationals’ hire of Henry Blanco as their new bullpen coach finalized their coaching staff for 2018. Blanco will leave his position as the quality assurance coach with the Cubs to join the Nats organization. Being that Washington’s new skipper Dave Martinez will also be coming over from the Cubs, the prior relationship between the two is a definite plus, as MLB.com’s Jamal Collier notes in the above link.
  • The Phillies have announced that Jim Gott will fill their bullpen coach opening. As Todd Zolecki of MLB.com notes, the 58-year-old Gott served as the pitching coach for the Angels from 2010-2012, and has spent the past five seasons as the Angels’ minor league pitching coordinator. Gott pitched in the major leagues from 1982-1995 and had a lifetime 3.87 ERA, notching 837 strikeouts against 466 walks.
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Minor MLB Transactions: 11/18/17

2017-11-18T15:32:00+00:00

Here are Saturday’s minor moves throughout the league… The Reds have re-signed outfielder Patrick Kivlehan to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training, beat reporter Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports on Twitter. After bouncing around between the minor league systems of the Mariners, Rangers and Padres, Kivlehan made his major league debut in…

Here are Saturday’s minor moves throughout the league…

  • The Reds have re-signed outfielder Patrick Kivlehan to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training, beat reporter Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports on Twitter. After bouncing around between the minor league systems of the Mariners, Rangers and Padres, Kivlehan made his major league debut in 2016 with the Padres organization and eventually made his way over to the Reds. In 204 plate appearances with Cincinnati last year, he hit .208/.304/.399 with a 29.9% K rate and 9 homers.
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Nationals Name Dave Martinez Manager

2017-11-18T14:35:00+00:00

NOV. 18: Martinez will make $2.8MM over the next three years. His 2021 option is valued at $1.2MM, giving his contract a maximum of $4MM over four years, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reports via Twitter. OCT. 30: The Nationals have formally announced the signing of Martinez to a three-year deal with a team option for the 2021…NOV. 18: Martinez will make $2.8MM over the next three years. His 2021 option is valued at $1.2MM, giving his contract a maximum of $4MM over four years, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reports via Twitter. OCT. 30: The Nationals have formally announced the signing of Martinez to a three-year deal with a team option for the 2021 season. “We are delighted to bring Dave aboard and excited about what he will bring to our clubhouse and our dugout,” said owner Ted Lerner in a statement announcing the hire. “We have been very clear about our goals as an organization and we feel confident we’ve found the right man to help us reach them.” GM Mike Rizzo also offered a statement on his new skipper: “I am excited to bring Dave into our family. As we went through this process it became clear the type of manager we were looking for — someone who is progressive, someone who can connect with and communicate well with our players, and someone who embraces the analytical side of the game. We came away from the process feeling like there was absolutely no one better suited — who matched up to what this organization needs right now — than Dave.” OCT. 29, 10:16am: A contract is now in place, Janes tweets. It’s a three-year deal with an option for 2021. 10:14am: Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post confirms that Martinez is the choice, though she reports that he and the team haven’t finished negotiating a deal yet (Twitter link). Notably, the Nationals hired Baker after negotiations with Bud Black fell through. Black looked like a lock to land the job at one point, which is obviously the case with Martinez now. 9:14am: The Nationals will hire Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez as their manager, Jon Heyman of FanRag reports. The Nats will make an official announcement after the World Series, Heyman adds. After the firing of Dusty Baker on Oct. 20, the 53-year-old Martinez quickly emerged as the overwhelming favorite to take over in Washington, which chose him over fellow interviewee John Farrell. The Nationals also showed interest in Alex Cora, whom Boston selected as its manager, and Mets hitting coach Kevin Long. Washington received permission to interview Long, but it’s unclear whether the two actually met. Martinez was a major league outfielder from 1986-2001 who also brings plenty of experience in the dugout. He served as manager Joe Maddon’s right-hand man in Tampa Bay (2008-14) and Chicago (2015-17), and drew managerial interest from multiple teams in recent offseasons. In fact, the Nationals nearly hired Martinez in 2013 prior to tabbing Matt Williams, who lasted two years before giving way to Baker. Baker’s own two-year era was a resounding success during the regular season, as Washington piled up 192 wins and back-to-back National League East titles, but the club’s playoff struggles led to his ouster. The Baker-led Nationals were unable to get past Martinez’s Cubs in the National League Division Series this year, leading general manager Mike Rizzo to declare that “winning a lot of regular season games and winning divisions is not enough.” Given the talent on hand, the Martinez-guided Nationals figure to once again end up as one of the majors’ premier teams i[...]



Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Why Jharel Cotton Carries Far Too Much Risk Heading Into 2018

2017-11-18T12:00:00+00:00

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor) The A’s Jharel Cotton entered 2017 with a bit of hype, as a top prospect who performed well during a Seotember ’16 cup of coffee. However 2017 was a disaster, as he struggled across his 24 starts for theby Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor) The A’s Jharel Cotton entered 2017 with a bit of hype, as a top prospect who performed well during a Seotember ’16 cup of coffee. However 2017 was a disaster, as he struggled across his 24 starts for the A’s: 129.0 IP 9 Wins 5.58 ERA 1.44 WHIP 105 Strikeouts (7.33 K/9) 53 Walks (3.70 BB/9) 37.0% Groundball Rate .279 BABIP It would be easy to point towards poor luck as an excuse, given his 65.7% strand rate, but the problems go far deeper than that. There were a lack of groundballs, which led to home run issues. There was a lack of strikeouts, joined with an inflated walk rate. There was a line drive rate that almost has to increase (16.7%). So far, does any of this sound investable? Home runs were always a concern, though the hope was that pitching half his game in Oakland would help to offset the lack of groundballs. With power up across the game it obviously didn’t work, as he carried a 1.95 HR/9. He actually was better on the road, with a 1.52 HR/9, so it’s hard to think that he will suddenly be able to avoid the long ball. That alone cripples any potential value, but what about the lack of strikeouts and less than stellar control? Those are two things he had always shown coming up through the minors, but a 26.7% O-Swing% shows he simply wasn’t fooling anyone. His changeup is his best pitch, and you can argue that he wasn’t throwing it nearly enough early in the season (17.73% over the first three months). Of course his strikeouts actually dropped in the second half (7.87 to 6.54) and his walks were still pedestrian (3.61), so it’s a hard sell that the usage was the issue. In fact he gave up more home runs off his changeup (8) than he did on any other of his pitches. If that’s his best pitch, that’s a significant red flag. In regards to the line drive rate, would we really expect any pitcher to maintain that low of a mark? It’s going to lead to a higher BABIP and more base runners, offsetting any potential improvement that his strand rate could bring. Throw in the consistent questions of if he could move to the bullpen, given his size (5’11”), and what exactly are we buying? As it is he is hardly locked into a rotation spot, he could spend significant time at Triple-A and has questions hovering over his actual ability. In other words he’s a hands off proposition. Monitor him as a streaming option/waiver wire option if he starts strong, but don’t consider him on draft day. Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball ** PRE-ORDER SALE ** Pre-order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $6.25!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation. Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Projections: PlayerDate Published Cano, Robinson10/09/17 Castillo, Luis10/03/17 10/30/17 Wil Myers10/24/17 Quintana, Jose11/13/17 Stroman, Marcus10/16/17 Walker, Taijuan 11/06/17 [...]



A Collection of “What Ifs”

2017-11-18T08:01:00+00:00

The concept is simple: phrase hypothetical scenarios where events that didn't happen actually did, or events that did happen actually didn't (I'm already confused). Detailing how these changes - or lack thereof - would have impacted the coming 2018 fantasy baseball season creates some interesting "what ifs". What if Giancarlo Stanton didn't adjust his mechanics? For anybody with an idea of what Giancarlo Stanton looked like in the box from years prior, his shift from June to July of 2017 was noticeable - very noticeable. While I often find more satisfaction in subtle changes - 2017 Chris Taylor comes to mind - if a change pushes said player into the MVP discussion, I put my particulars aside. I've always found Stanton's motions in the box exceptionally rhythmic. Flat bat, considerable bat speed, two-handed follow through with a uniquely refined path to contact that creates head-scratching home runs like this one. Stanton closed off his stance considerably, becoming an aesthetic comp to Adrian Beltre, plus 20 pounds and six inches (of height - get your mind out of the gutter!).  "TewksbaryHitting.com" has a nice breakdown of this evolution, despite having nothing to do with Barry Manilow or whatever a "tewk" is. Their freeze frame gif captures the gradual rotation of Stanton's upper body prior to the pitch, making his numbers more visible to the pitcher.The concept is simple: phrase hypothetical scenarios where events that didn't happen actually did, or events that did happen actually didn't (I'm already confused). Detailing how these changes - or lack thereof - would have impacted the coming 2018 fantasy baseball season creates some interesting "what ifs". What if Giancarlo Stanton didn't adjust his mechanics? For anybody with an idea of what Giancarlo Stanton looked like in the box from years prior, his shift from June to July of 2017 was noticeable - very noticeable. While I often find more satisfaction in subtle changes - 2017 Chris Taylor comes to mind - if a change pushes said player into the MVP discussion, I put my particulars aside. I've always found Stanton's motions in the box exceptionally rhythmic. Flat bat, considerable bat speed, two-handed follow through with a uniquely refined path to contact that creates head-scratching home runs like this one. Stanton closed off his stance considerably, becoming an aesthetic comp to Adrian Beltre, plus 20 pounds and six inches (of height - get your mind out of the gutter!).  "TewksbaryHitting.com" has a nice breakdown of this evolution, despite having nothing to do with Barry Manilow or whatever a "tewk" is. Their freeze frame gif captures the gradual rotation of Stanton's upper body prior to the pitch, making his numbers more visible to the pitcher.[...]



East Notes: O’s/Cobb, Mets, Nats, Jays, Rays

2017-11-18T05:19:00+00:00

The Orioles seem to be casting a wide net in their hunt for starting pitching, as they have been cited as having interest in quite a few arms already. While the organization has become known for doing a good portion of its business later in the offseason, perhaps it’ll be more aggressive on some pitchers this time around. In…The Orioles seem to be casting a wide net in their hunt for starting pitching, as they have been cited as having interest in quite a few arms already. While the organization has become known for doing a good portion of its business later in the offseason, perhaps it’ll be more aggressive on some pitchers this time around. In any event, the latest name connected to the O’s is righty Alex Cobb, with Jon Morosi of MLB Network tweeting that the team has interest in a hurler who long tormented them in the division. Cobb won’t come cheap, but could be an option if Baltimore decides it’s able to add a more significant contract. The primary goal, though, will be to ensure there’s enough depth on hand in the rotation. More from the eastern divisions: The Mets are the current poster child for the concept that you can never have enough pitching depth. Even on the heels of a tough season in which the club’s vaunted rotation collapsed, though, GM Sandy Alderson says he’ll consider dealing arms, as Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. While there’s still a need to “be careful” not to thin the staff out too far, Alderson is obviously also looking for ways to improve with a limited amount of payroll flexibility. Odds are that the team’s most prominent pitchers won’t be dangled, but Puma suggests Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, or Rafael Montero might conceivably be discussed. While there’s nothing the Nationals can do to get out from under their 2018 commitment to Matt Wieters, the team will look for ways to improve behind the plate. Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post writes that the plan is to reduce the veteran’s role. Of course, that would mean relying more heavily on another player, and the team’s top internal alternatives (Pedro Severino and Raudy Read) are hardly sure things. An external acquisition will surely at least be considered; I ran through some other possibilities after the Nats were bounced from the postseason. The Blue Jays are aiming for depth in their pitching staff, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes. Lefty Robbie Ross is among the arms they are interested in, he reports. Certainly, Toronto has had a chance to see Ross up close over the past several years, which he has spent with the Red Sox. He was limited by injury in 2017 but turned in 55 1/3 innings of 3.25 ERA pitching in the prior campaign. Toronto isn’t limiting itself to lefty relievers, though; Nicholson-Smith says the club is looking at basically every type of hurler out there. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times has the latest on the Rays’ efforts to land a new ballpark. Owner Stuart Sternberg expressed optimism about a prospective site in Hillsborough County, but there are plenty of challenges still to be dealt with. Among them: the club “might only cover $150 million of the projected $800 million cost,” Topkin writes. Those interested in learning more about where things stand will want to give the link a full read. [...]



Minor MLB Transactions: 11/17/17

2017-11-18T03:10:00+00:00

Here are Friday’s minor moves throughout the league… Joining the Reds on minors deals are outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer was among those to report on Twitter. Once seen as one of the game’s better overall prospects, the 26-year-old Williams has seen scant action in the majors over…Here are Friday’s minor moves throughout the league… Joining the Reds on minors deals are outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer was among those to report on Twitter. Once seen as one of the game’s better overall prospects, the 26-year-old Williams has seen scant action in the majors over the past three seasons — all with the Yankees, his only professional team to this point. At the highest level of the minors last year, Williams posted a .263/.309/.318 batting line and swiped 19 bags over 437 plate appearances.Herrera, 25, has himself received top prospect billing in the past and is also something of a change-of-scenery candidate (in his case, from the Rockies). He just wrapped up his first season at Triple-A, slashing .278/.351/.394 with twenty steals over 363 plate appearances. The Mets have struck a minors pact with southpaw Matt Purke, the team announced. Purke, 27, was considered a significant amateur prospect but has never fully found his niche at the game’s highest levels while dealing with numerous injury issues. He cracked the majors in 2016 with the White Sox, but did not return last year even as the Chicago organization cycled through a number of arms. Purke arguably turned in his best work in the upper minors, though, working 65 2/3 frames of 3.84 ERA ball over 48 innings while compiling 11.0 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9. Right-hander Angel Nesbitt has been hit with a 50-game PED suspension, Emily Waldon of The Athletic tweets. Nesbitt received a 24-game run in the majors in 2015 with the Tigers, but hadn’t made his way back and struggled in limited action in 2017. He is a minor-league free agent, meaning he’ll serve his penance upon signing with a new organization. Earlier Updates The Blue Jays announced last night that they’ve brought back former first-round pick Deck McGuire on a minor league contract and invited him to Major League Spring Training. Toronto selected McGuire, now 28 years of age, with the 10th overall pick back in 2010. The former Georgia Tech star tore through Class-A Advanced with the Jays but began to struggle upon reaching Double-A and was ultimately traded to the A’s for cash considerations in 2014. McGuire has since pitched in the upper levels of the Dodgers and Cardinals systems, and in 2017 he made his big league debut with the Reds after turning in a terrific season in Double-A. McGuire tossed 168 innings with a 2.79 ERA, 9.1 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 for Cincinnati’s Pensacola affiliate, and he impressed in a brief sample of MLB innings as well. Through 13 2/3 frames with the Reds, McGuire allowed four earned runs (2.63 ERA) on 10 hits and two walks with 11 strikeouts. Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times tweets that the Dodgers are closing in on a minor league deal with left-hander Manny Banuelos. The 26-year-old Banuelos was once one of the most prized prospects in the Yankees’ farm system before elbow problems slowed his career. Banuelos had Tommy John surgery back in 2013 and has since undergone a second elbow operation to remove bone chips. His lone season with MLB experience came in 2015 when he tossed 26 1/3 innings with the Braves. Banuelos spent the 2017 season with[...]



Athletics Name Matt Williams Third Base Coach

2017-11-18T01:11:00+00:00

The Athletics have announced that Matt Williams will take over as the team’s new third base coach. He will round out the staff of manager Bob Melvin. Oakland had an opening arise when the Nationals hired away Chip Hale, who’s now the bench coach in the nation’s capital. Williams, of course, previously served as the…

The Athletics have announced that Matt Williams will take over as the team’s new third base coach. He will round out the staff of manager Bob Melvin.

Oakland had an opening arise when the Nationals hired away Chip Hale, who’s now the bench coach in the nation’s capital. Williams, of course, previously served as the Nats’ manager. Now, he’s heading back to the Bay Area, where he once starred with the Giants.

The 51-year-old Williams has plenty of experience waving runners to the plate. He has served as the Diamondbacks’ third base coach for two different stints, wrapped around his up-and-down tenure in D.C.

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Giancarlo Stanton Rumors: Friday

2017-11-17T23:32:00+00:00

You didn’t think we were going to make it to the weekend without another look at the market for Giancarlo Stanton, surely? The Marlins slugger, fresh off of receiving the National League MVP Award yesterday, is still the biggest name to watch. Here’s the latest: Offers are flowing in on Stanton now that the GM…You didn’t think we were going to make it to the weekend without another look at the market for Giancarlo Stanton, surely? The Marlins slugger, fresh off of receiving the National League MVP Award yesterday, is still the biggest name to watch. Here’s the latest: Offers are flowing in on Stanton now that the GM Meetings have wrapped up, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic writes. The Giants have submitted some kind of proposal, according to Rosenthal, with the Cardinals and Red Sox among the other teams believed to be lining up their own concepts for Miami to consider. Rosenthal adds that the San Francisco organization would be willing to take on much of Stanton’s contract, but may in turn need to shed salary elsewhere. It’s interesting to note the Sox’ active interest, since president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski had thrown some cold water on the idea of a major acquisition of late. Stanton himself discussed the odd situation he faces — with his name splashed about headlines due both to his evident availability in trade and his MVP nod — as Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel reports. The Marlins star says he’d rather remain with the Fish, but thinks the team needs to “thoroughly address[]” its pitching with “a huge push” that, frankly, does not seem likely. (Stanton says he’s “not entirely sure” it’s realistic, but adds: “But I know all teams have plenty of money.”) Generally, Stanton called the situation “interesting,” but seems to be at peace with the process. “This is the only place I’ve known,” he said, “but I also understand the business part of it and the direction the new ownership wants to go.” Super-agent Scott Boras sided with Stanton on the spending point in his recent comments to the media, chiding teams like the Marlins for drawing up plans to reduce payroll. But MLB commissioner Rob Manfred defended the rights of organizations — particularly, those with new owners — to modify payroll as part of their long-term strategies, as MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports on Twitter. “I think it’s unfair, really, to criticize a decision — if it turns out to be the decision — to move a player who has a contract that somebody else negotiated,” Manfred said in an oblique reference to Stanton’s situation. “… I hope that the fans of Miami — whatever decisions are made — give [new Marlins owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter] an opportunity to show what their plan for moving that franchise forward is.” [...]



Offseason Outlook: Washington Nationals

2017-11-17T21:10:00+00:00

MLBTR is publishing Offseason Outlooks for all 30 teams. Click here for the other entries in this series. The Nationals organization isn’t hiding the disappointment after another NLDS washout. Neither is it making any secret of its expectation of a World Series run in 2018. But what’ll it take to get there? Guaranteed Contracts Max Scherzer,…MLBTR is publishing Offseason Outlooks for all 30 teams. Click here for the other entries in this series. The Nationals organization isn’t hiding the disappointment after another NLDS washout. Neither is it making any secret of its expectation of a World Series run in 2018. But what’ll it take to get there? Guaranteed Contracts Max Scherzer, SP: $165MM through 2021 (2019-21 salaries deferred, without interest, through 2028) Stephen Strasburg, SP: $150MM through 2023 ($70MM deferred, without interest, through 2030) Ryan Zimmerman, 1B: $36MM through 2019 (includes $2MM buyout of 2020 club option) Bryce Harper, OF: $21.625MM through 2018 Adam Eaton, OF: $15.9MM through 2019 (includes $1.5MM buyout of 2020 club option; contract also has 2021 club option) Gio Gonzalez, SP: $12MM through 2018 Daniel Murphy, 2B: $17.5MM through 2018 ($5.5MM deferred, without interest, through 2020) Matt Wieters, C: $10.5MM through 2018 ($5MM deferred, without interest, through 2021) Ryan Madson, RP: $7.5MM through 2018 Shawn Kelley, RP: $5.5MM through 2018 Sean Doolittle, RP: $4.85MM through 2018 (includes $500K buyout of 2019 club option; contract also has 2020 club option) Arbitration-Eligible Players (service time in parentheses; projections via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz) Anthony Rendon (4.130) – $11.5MM Tanner Roark (4.055) – $7.5MM Michael Taylor (3.010) – $2.3MM Free Agents Jayson Werth, Adam Lind, Matt Albers, Brandon Kintzler, Oliver Perez, Howie Kendrick, Stephen Drew, Edwin Jackson, Joe Blanton [Washington Nationals Depth Chart | Washington Nationals Payroll Outlook] On paper, this is a fairly simple offseason for president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo and his staff. The Nats will return all of the core of a team that coasted to a second-consecutive NL East crown. Unfortunately, though, the postseason heartbreak now hangs over the organization more than ever before. Perhaps as much as anything else, a sense that something had to change is what led to the decision to part ways with manager Dusty Baker. The overarching question for the winter, then, is whether the organization will find it necessary to seek significant improvement to the roster that will be turned over to new skipper Dave Martinez. The Nationals may not have many glaring needs on paper, but that doesn’t mean there won’t opportunities for major acquisitions. If there is a key area to improve, though, it’s probably behind the plate. The Nationals whiffed on their signing of Matt Wieters, who not only failed to bounce back offensively but sank to a personal-worst .225/.288/.344 batting line in 2017. The hope has been that Pedro Severino would force his way into the major-league picture, but he managed only a .242/.291/.332 slash of his own at Triple-A. Raudy Read provides another option but hardly seems to be a sure thing at this stage. While Wieters is said to be viewed as an asset to the pitching staff, and there’s still cause for hope from the youngsters, it’s the one spot that’s crying out for improvement on this roster. As I explored earlier in the offseason, there are some possible options out there[...]



Paul Sporer Baseball Chat – November 17th, 2017

2017-11-17T20:29:00+00:00

Thanks for coming out! 2:33 Paul Sporer: Yo yo yoooo!!! Let’s talk some baseball!!! 2:33 Jordan: Akil Baddoo has some pretty incredible stats for an 18 year old in the Appy league. Think he’s the type of prospect that can really shoot up lists in dynasty circles? 2:34 Paul Sporer: :Googles Akil Baddoo: 2:34 Paul […]Thanks for coming out! 2:33 Paul Sporer: Yo yo yoooo!!! Let’s talk some baseball!!! 2:33 Jordan: Akil Baddoo has some pretty incredible stats for an 18 year old in the Appy league. Think he’s the type of prospect that can really shoot up lists in dynasty circles? 2:34 Paul Sporer: :Googles Akil Baddoo: 2:34 Paul Sporer: Ohhhh THAT Akil Baddoo 2:35 Paul Sporer: I’m sorry, I know literally zero about him and I don’t wanna pretend and mislead you 2:35 Dusty: Anything to report on Twins SS Prospect Wander Javier? 2:35 Paul Sporer: Fuck, we’re off to a rousing start 2:35 Paul Sporer: :Googles Wander Javier: 2:37 Paul Sporer: Jokes aside, I’m not great on low minors guys. My bandwidth covers all MLB for sure, usually know a few things about most of the top 100 prospects, and then some AA/AAA guys. I just don’t have the time to be deep into the low minors 2:38 Minty: $200 QS/OBP with 5 OF. $2 Castillo or $4 Conforto? have Kluber/Thor/Nola/JGray and Betts/Springer/Belly/Hoskins/Robles and loaded IF. 2:39 Paul Sporer: daaaaamn that’s tough. I’m gonna go Castillo as I’m still a little concerned about Conforto’s shoulder, though not to the level I was when the injury first happened and it was doom & gloom 2:44 georgehermanski: Can a team wanting to sign Ohtani legally offer him an opt-out of the contract in say 2 Years? How about a no trade clause? Thanks 2:45 Paul Sporer: I think things are too up in the air on that right now. I gotta imagine they can sign him under whatever the posting system ends up being and then offer him an extension at some point after that. 2:45 Paul Sporer: I’m not sure they can do it like RIGHT after he signs, though 2:45 asdgasdgasdg: When’s Stanton getting traded 2:45 Paul Sporer: West Coast really seems to be his preference and he’s in control with the his no-trade clause 2:46 Paul Sporer: I know SF has a shit system, but there’s enough talent in any org to get a deal done so I wouldn’t rule them out just bc they lack Top 100 guys 2:51 schmaltitude: 10 team, 12 keepers as round 1-12 picks. Have probably 14-15 I’d be comfortable keeping so would like to try to make a move for a star and consolidate. Thoughts on Yelich+Andrus as an interesting starter package for Altuve or Betts? 2:52 Paul Sporer: I’d go for Betts as his price might be down a touch given his batting avg this year while Altuve is sky-high. And yes, I think that’s a start. I don’t think it’ll get it done necessarily, but it’s not insulting to start there 2:52 John: Is there any FA more ballpark or league dependent than Cargo? Out of Coors, I think he needs a small ballpark and with his defense, be in the AL. I could not be less excited for him on say the Mets or more excited if he were on the Astros. 2:54 Paul Sporer: Always interesting to see how a Coors guy will do outside of Colorado after being there so long. He is a legitimately good hitter when he’s right, though, so don’t discount[...]



Shohei Ohtani Projection and Comparables

2017-11-17T19:21:00+00:00

Using Dan Szymborski projections, some comparable players are found for Shohei OhtaniA few days ago, Travis Sawchik ask me to help find some comps for the Shohei Ohtani using a 2016 Davenport translation. The list of potential hitters with similar 2018 Steamer projections was impressive (Charlie Blackmon, George Springer, Mookie Betts, Carlos Correa, Yasiel Puig, and Aaron Judge). Additionally, I found pitchers who had similar 2018 projections to his 2016 translation but the list wasn’t as impressive (Jimmy Nelson, James Paxton, Jon Gray, Luis Castillo, Luke Weaver). Thanks to Dan “The Man” Szymborski, a 2018 projection now exists and results will be a little disappointing. First, from what I heard from most fantasy websites, Ohtani’s will be two separate draftable players. Ohtani the pitcher and Ohtani the hitter. No site, that I know of, has yet to combine the two. If they did, they will likely have to count all the hitting stats accumulated by all pitchers. I hope this doesn’t ever happen. I’ll start with the pitching projection since pitching is his reported strength. The first part of his projection is an attempt at estimating playing time. Pitchers in Japan only throw once a week, so he may have problems holding up over a full major league season I went back and looked at how many innings Japanese starters threw in their first major league seasons. Inning Thrown by Japanese Pitcher In Debut Season Name IP ERA Season Age Daisuke Matsuzaka 204 4.40 2007 26.0 Hideo Nomo 191 2.54 1995 26.0 Yu Darvish 191 3.90 2012 25.0 Hiroki Kuroda 183 3.73 2008 33.0 Kenta Maeda 175 3.48 2016 28.0 Kenshin Kawakami 156 3.86 2009 34.0 Masahiro Tanaka 136 2.77 2014 25.0 Hisashi Iwakuma 125 3.16 2012 31.0 Tsuyoshi Wada 69 3.25 2014 33.0 Kei Igawa 67 6.25 2007 27.0 Koji Uehara 66 4.05 2009 34.0 Junichi Tazawa 25 7.46 2009 23.0 Median 146 3.79 27.5 Average 132 4.07 28.8 The 23-years-old has a decent chance of reaching at least 150 innings with several of the other top imports reaching at least 175 innings. With youth and talent (won’t get demoted) on his side, I have no problems going with a 175-inning projection. As for his talent level, here is Dan’s projection. Ohtani’s 2018 ZIPS Pitching Projection YEAR AGE ERA IP H SO BB HR K/9 BB/9 HR/9 2018 23 3.55 139 122 161 61 16 10.4 3.9 1.0 First, Dan is projecting a few fewer innings which in line with the historic values projected above. To find some comps, queried starters with similar 2018 projections to his K/9 and BB/9. Using just +/- 0.4 for both, I just got Dinelson Lamet and Alex Reyes as comps. If I expanded out the criteria to +/- 0.6 on both, Tyler Glasnow and Luiz Gohara got added. Comparable Pitchers to Ohtani’s 2018 Projection Name IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 ERA Dinelson Lamet 130 10.1 4.3 1.2 4.19 Alex Reyes 92 10.5 4.4 1.0 3.80 Luiz Gohara 157 9.8 4.0 1.0 3.76 Tyler Glasnow 86 10.5 4.6 1.0 3.95 The current hype isn’t putting Ohtani close to the above pitchers. The biggest issue with finding comps is Ohtani’s projected high walk rate. The one comp which may provide an anchoring point is Gohara. Using a basic a 15-team league setting on our auction calculator, Gohara gets ranked as the 34th starter throwing 157 innings. That’s a fairly close comparison. Of the initial comps I found for Travis, Luke Weaver is projected at 27th and Jon Gray at 30th. No way Ohtani, especially after he signs, goes after any of these names.[...]



NL West Notes: JDM, Chacin, Stammen, Hosmer, Diamondbacks

2017-11-17T18:52:00+00:00

Scarcely a day goes by in which the Giants are not linked to Giancarlo Stanton on multiple occasions, but John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that San Francisco is also considering the other top right-handed slugger that is available this offseason: J.D. Martinez. It’s not clear if the Giants have sat down with…Scarcely a day goes by in which the Giants are not linked to Giancarlo Stanton on multiple occasions, but John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that San Francisco is also considering the other top right-handed slugger that is available this offseason: J.D. Martinez. It’s not clear if the Giants have sat down with agent Scott Boras, and Shea is careful to note that the Giants are internally discussing a wide number of options to improve their offense. Martinez would represent the most aggressive means of doing so on the free-agent market. He’ll command fewer years and dollars than the remaining decade and $295MM on Stanton’s contract, though Boras is reportedly seeking a sky-high $210MM over seven years early in the offseason. (Martinez will quite likely sign for less than that, as early asking prices are always on the high side for any free agent.) Working against the Giants is a payroll that is already dangerously close to the luxury tax barrier and that Martinez doesn’t help the Giants’ stated goals of improving the outfield defense or getting better in center field. More on the from the division… The Padres are interested in reunions with right-handers Jhoulys Chacin and Craig Stammen, general manager A.J. Preller told reporters at this week’s GM Meetings (link via MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell). “From our standpoint, it’s about seeing how the next couple weeks play out,” said Preller. “They’re two guys we have interest in bringing back. We’ve got to see if we line up financially.” Cassavell reports that the Friars would consider a multi-year deal for either pitcher, though such a contract would likely need to come with a discounted second year. San Diego has a number of arms rising through the system and may not relish the idea of blocking those arms, though from my vantage point having either Chacin or Stammen around at an affordable rate is a good problem to have if all parties are performing well. In a separate pair of Padres columns, Cassavell characterizes their interest in Eric Hosmer as little more than due diligence, while Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune hears a bit differently and reports that their interest goes “beyond the cursory level.” Cassavell notes that the Padres have kicked the tires on roughly 50 free agents thus far (most of them pitchers) as they look to get a full picture of the free-agent market. Lin, meanwhile, suggests that the Padres may be intrigued both by Hosmer’s intangible leadership qualities and by his 25-homer output despite being an extreme ground-ball hitter. A willingness to amend that approach and put the ball in the air more often could yield untapped power; I’d imagine that the Padres, who call spacious Petco Park their home, are also intrigued by the pop that Hosmer showed in his own cavernous home park (Kauffman Stadium) in spite of an approach that isn’t traditionally conducive to power. The D-backs have added Jason Parks to their front office as their new director of pro scouting, Nick Piecoro [...]



John Hart Leaves Braves Organization

2017-11-17T16:58:00+00:00

The Braves announced on Friday that former president of baseball operations John Hart has stepped down and is leaving the organization “to pursue other opportunities.” Hart’s departure comes less than two months after GM John Coppolella resigned from his post due to infractions on the international free agent market and in the domestic amateur draft.…The Braves announced on Friday that former president of baseball operations John Hart has stepped down and is leaving the organization “to pursue other opportunities.” Hart’s departure comes less than two months after GM John Coppolella resigned from his post due to infractions on the international free agent market and in the domestic amateur draft. While it has been reported that the league would not sanction Hart based on its investigation into the matter, Hart was moved to a diminished role (senior advisor) earlier this week when Alex Anthopoulos was hired as the team’s new general manager and given full authority over the baseball operations department. Through a team press release, Hart issued the following statement: “This was a difficult decision, but it’s one that I made with the best interests of the Atlanta Braves in mind. With the hiring of Alex Anthopoulos as general manager, this organization is in great hands. I believe that the talent of the Major League players, combined with the young talent soon to arrive, makes the Braves poised for a great run of success. This is a good time to step aside and let Alex and his group put their stamp on this great franchise. I still have a tremendous passion for this great game, and I plan to stay active and contribute to the game.  I want to thank Braves fans – the best fans in baseball – for your patience during this rebuilding time.  You will soon see the winning team that you deserve.  I also want to thank my beautiful and supportive family. I am very excited to see how the next chapter of our life unfolds. Finally, I want to thank my longtime friend, John Schuerholz, for convincing me to come to Atlanta to oversee the rebuild. And especially to our leader, Terry McGuirk, who has shown such passion for returning to a winning place.  Thank you all, and Go Braves!” The extent to which Hart was or was not involved in the club’s front-office scandal may never be fully known. There’s a prevailing argument, though, that it’s equally as damning for the president of an organization to be completely in the dark while his two of his primary lieutenants (at least) commit what has been reported to be an “unprecedented” level of violations on the amateur talent acquisition front. Suffice it to say, his resignation — whether forced or voluntary — comes with little surprise. Hart may well land with another organization in an advisory capacity down the road, depending on the findings of the league’s investigation. If it is deemed that his sole transgression was merely a lack of oversight of his charges, a club could look past that in order to hire an advisor with nearly two decades of experience as a president or general manager and is considered one of the more influential executives in MLB history. Hart has also served as a television analyst on MLB Network in the past and could look into other media opportunities as well.[...]



A Minor Review of 2017: Detroit Tigers

2017-11-17T15:25:00+00:00

The Tigers have an improving system and owe a lot of thanks to the Astros... but also have a stud in Matt Manning and a potential sleeper in Matt Hall.Last season’s trades — especially those with Houston and Chicago (NL) — gave new life to the Tigers system. Plus, 2016 first rounder Matt Manning could be an absolute stud and should see his value skyrocket in 2018 as he enters pro ball. The club should also consider moving Matt Hall from the starting rotation (where he’s a fringe prospect) to the bullpen (where he could develop into a key reliever). The Graduate: Jeimer Candelario, 3B: The Cubs flipped veteran players Justin Wilson and Alex Avila to the Cubs at last season’s trade deadline with Candelario as the key player received in return. However, I’ve never been a huge fan of the young third baseman and I doubt he’s going to be a star. Candelario, who turns 24 in a few days, is pretty average across the board in terms of his ability to hit for average or power (although the juiced ball has everyone hitting 20-30 homers). His biggest asset at the plate is his strong eye, which allows him to produce good on-base numbers. Defensively, he has a chance to be steady but unspectacular. First Taste of The Show: Jairo Labourt, LHP: Labourt opened 2017 in high-A ball but reached the Majors at the end of the year and threw a handful of innings in The Show. Control issues have plagued the southpaw throughout his career and he walked seven batters (with five wild pitches) in 6.0 innings. He also walked 23 hitters in 22 triple-A innings after finding the strike zone more consistently in the lower minors. Labourt will very likely open 2018 in double-A or triple-A but should get another shot in the Majors at some point in the year. He was the third piece in the trade from the Blue Jays that saw David Price head north for three pitching prospects (Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Labourt). The club has received good value in that deal considering the veteran hurler was a rental that threw just 97.2 innings for Toronto The Stud: Franklin Perez, RHP: The trade that sent pitching stalwart Justin Verlander to the Astros had a huge impact on both teams. Houston became World Series champions and the Tigers received a plethora of potentially-impactful prospects including the cream of the crop in Perez. The right-hander has a chance to have three above-average offerings and works well off his low-to-mid-90s heat. He’s just 19 and has room to get stronger. He finished the 2017 season with seven appearances in double-A. He’ll likely return to that level in ’18 but could reach the Majors at the age of 20, if he stays healthy. The Draft Pick: Joey Morgan, C: The Tigers first selection in the draft, Alex Faedo, didn’t pitch after signing his pro deal so I’m going to focus on Morgan. The Tigers have invested heavily in drafting catchers out of the college ranks in recent years with very mixed results. Morgan will no doubt be a solid defensive player in The Show but his bat carries a lot of question marks – both in terms of his ability to hit for a consistent average and to produce power. I personally prefer both Jake Rogers (acquired from the Astros) and Sam McMillan (drafted two rounds after Morgan). The Riser: Matt Manning, RHP: This right-hander could see his value skyrocket in 2018 if he stays healthy. Selected ninth o[...]



MLBPA Sets Monday Deadline For Posting System Negotiations

2017-11-17T14:45:00+00:00

Nov. 17: MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters that he expects an agreement to be reached (link via ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick). “I don’t sense that this is a disconnect with the union,” said Manfred. “These are relatively small issues. … I don’t think they’re earth-shattering.” In fact, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the union’s issues with the proposed…Nov. 17: MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters that he expects an agreement to be reached (link via ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick). “I don’t sense that this is a disconnect with the union,” said Manfred. “These are relatively small issues. … I don’t think they’re earth-shattering.” In fact, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the union’s issues with the proposed agreement aren’t necessarily related to Ohtani. The union is on board with extending the current agreement for one year but takes umbrage with several components of the system that would go into place next offseason. The system, as currently constructed, would allow NPB teams to post players throughout the majority of the offseason; the union, not wanting domestic free agency to be held up by the uncertainty of whether Japanese players will be posted, wants NPB teams to make that call by Nov. 15. The new proposal also awards the NPB team a sum that is equal to 20 percent of the contract the player signs with an MLB team (not 20 percent of his actual contract, though) and allows the NPB club to rescind its posting of a player if it is unsatisfied with the contract to which he agrees. Rosenthal notes that MLB allowed the pullback provision due to NPB concerns that a player could sign a small deal and then sign a much larger extension within a year or two. Beyond the extension matter, though, it’s easy to see where NPB might take issue to the 20 percent system without the ability to withdraw its player. The new system bears some similarity to the previous blind bidding system. Under that iteration of the posting system (which is still in place with the Korea Baseball Organization), all 30 teams were allowed to submit blind bids for posted players. That player’s NPB team would then have the ability to accept or reject the top bid. There’s no word yet on how NPB views the MLBPA’s wish to remove the “pullback” component, but it’s not hard to imagine they’d be reluctant to agree without that luxury. With no way of knowing precisely how MLB clubs would value a player, an NPB club would be taking a significant risk by posting one of its stars and then merely hoping that an MLB team would be willing to pay enough to make the posting of said player profitable. Both the blind bidding system and the current $20MM maximum give NPB teams some degree of up-front knowledge of how they’ll be compensated; without the “pullback” system in this scenario, they’d effectively be rolling the dice on how MLB teams value their top talents. In the case of a legitimate superstar, there’d be little reason for concern. Rather, there’d be upside, as clubs with that rare caliber of player would stand to gain considerably more than the current $20MM maximum. But in the case of above-average[...]



Why Adam Jones Could Be Destined To Disappoint In 2018

2017-11-17T11:30:00+00:00

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor) We can call Adam Jones “Mr. Dependable” if you want, because despite the peripherals he just keeps producing year after year.  The 2017 campaign was no different: 597 At Bats .285 Batting Average (170 Hits) 26 Home Runs 73by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor) We can call Adam Jones “Mr. Dependable” if you want, because despite the peripherals he just keeps producing year after year.  The 2017 campaign was no different: 597 At Bats .285 Batting Average (170 Hits) 26 Home Runs 73 RBI 82 Runs 2 Stolen Bases .322 On Base Percentage .466 Slugging Percentage .312 Batting Average on Balls in Play There is value in dependability, but that production relative to the makeup of the rest of Major League Baseball is going to hurt his value.  When hitting 25+ HR year after year wasn’t commonplace he brought something to the table, but last season there were 74 players who hit at least 25 HR (in 2014, for comparison, there were 27).  With that no longer being an asset, what exactly does he bring to the table? Jones hasn’t been a threat to steal bases in some time and he’s been more of an 80/80 player.  That leaves his batting average, which has always appeared to be on the cusp of collapse (and with it will take the other numbers).  He has never brought strong plate discipline to the table, with a career 13.7% SwStr% and 41.5% O-Swing%. Last season was no different, with a 12.9% SwStr% and 44.1% O-Swing%.  The numbers haven’t led to gaudy strikeout numbers, at least not yet, with an 18.5% career mark.  That’s a slippery slope, though, and at 32-years old sooner or later he runs the risk of his bat slowing down just a little bit.  With an aggressive approach and the potential to be more prone to fastballs, could the strikeout rate continue to rise? As it is you could argue that he’s already not a “big” producer in any one category, but with pedestrian power and the risk that his average plummets the outlook looks that much worse.  He doesn’t draw walks, so if the average falls the RBI and R will go from usable to disappointing. Jones has always been a risky selection, and with each passing year the risk grows.  Now is not the time to ante up and invest. Source – Fangraphs ** PRE-ORDER SALE ** Pre-order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $6.25!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation. Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Projections: PlayerDate Published Cano, Robinson10/09/17 Castillo, Luis10/03/17 10/30/17 Wil Myers10/24/17 Quintana, Jose11/13/17 Stroman, Marcus10/16/17 Walker, Taijuan 11/06/17 [...]



Touching ’em All Minus One: Romancing the Triple

2017-11-17T11:00:00+00:00

The 2017 Toronto Blue Jays inspire a deep dive on the triple. Could Shea Stadium’s layout be a guide to the rebirth of the triple? The triple is the most exciting play in baseball. Home runs win a lot of games, but I never understood why fans are so obsessed with them. – Hank Aaron You probably missed it, but the Toronto Blue Jays made baseball history in 2017 while compiling a lackluster 76-86 record. It wasn’t the stuff of headline news, but attention should have been paid. So let’s pay it now. The Jays had 5,499 at-bats and struck out 1,327 times during the 2017 season. So they made contact 4,172 times. In doing so, they garnered 1,320 hits. Of that number only five were triples. Let’s put that in perspective. The other 29 major league teams hit 790 triples. The average was 27 per team. Eight players in the American League hit more triples than the Blue Jays. League leader Nick Castellanos had twice as many triples as the Jays. No surprise that their total of five is the all-time low in major league history. It’s not as though the Jays were a flock of slap-hitters. They had 269 doubles and 222 home runs in 2017, but triples were akin to kryptonite. Was it due to a lack of speed? Well, the Jays had 54 stolen bases (Kevin Pillar led the way with 15), or one every three games. That was next to last in the majors. The Baltimore Orioles were the anchor team with a mere 32 steals. Hardly a squad of speed demons (Manny Machado led with nine), the O’s came up with 12 triples, which made them next to last in the major leagues. Well, maybe Rogers Centre, the Jays’ home ballpark is to blame. The outfield fences are symmetrical, so there isn’t much chance for weird bounces. The foul poles are set at 328 feet, the power alleys at 375 and center field at 400. Not much chance for balls getting hit over the heads of the outfielders, or tweeners getting too far beyond them. Even so, the Jays played 81 games on the road. Surely, some of those parks were more conducive to triples. In fact, the Jays hit 18 triples in 2016 while playing half their games at Rogers Centre, so why the drop-off in 2017? Was third-base coach Luis Rivera faint of heart, throwing up the stop sign whenever a double could possibly be stretched into a triple? Well, conservative coaching is more conducive to job security. Any third-base coach who has too many base runners thrown out at third or home is just asking to be fired, so reluctance to send runners is understandable. Typically, when a coach puts up the stop sign, fans respond with mild booing and shouts of “Send him!” or “Oh, come on!” or other phrases expressing their disappointment. Should the runner be thrown out, however, that same crowd will assuredly respond with lusty booing. To be sure, there are situations where it isn’t worth the risk of stretching a double into a triple. How many outs are there? What’s the score? God forbid you should make the third out of an inning at third base…but five triples in 162 games? Actually, the Jays’ anemic total of triples, while notable, is not a total surprise. It is merely the nadir of a longstanding decrease. Call it a downward fluctuation in a downward trend. Yet no matter how you explain it, the paucity of triples goes against the grai[...]



Heyman’s Latest: Moore, Cain, Rangers, Vargas/O’s, Rodney/D-Backs

2017-11-17T05:17:00+00:00

In his latest Inside Baseball column, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag looks into the Royals front office. Owner David Glass is “considering a possible two-year extension” for GM Dayton Moore, writes Heyman, even though Moore has “no leverage” given that he’s already under contract for three more seasons. This all arises after Glass declined to allow the Braves to…In his latest Inside Baseball column, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag looks into the Royals front office. Owner David Glass is “considering a possible two-year extension” for GM Dayton Moore, writes Heyman, even though Moore has “no leverage” given that he’s already under contract for three more seasons. This all arises after Glass declined to allow the Braves to speak with Moore about changing squads. While Moore has expressed gratitude to ownership, his recent comments were interesting, if difficult to interpret with any precision. All told, it seems there could still be some unresolved matters in the Kansas City front office. Let’s look at a few more items from Heyman of particular relevance to the still-developing hot stove season: Top free agent center fielder Lorenzo Cain has drawn some early interest from the Mets and Giants, according to Heyman. As regards the New York organization, this information seems to conflict with recent statements from Mets GM Sandy Alderson — though as ever it’s worth taking things with a grain of salt and acknowledging fluidity this time of year. As for the Giants, we at MLBTR pegged San Francisco as the likeliest landing spot for Cain, though some doubt whether the organization will go over the luxury tax line and sacrifice draft choices to land him. At a minimum, though, the organization would seem to be wise to do some diligence on the possibility. The Rangers have “looked into” free agent righties Lance Lynn and Tyler Chatwood, says Heyman. While it’s not clear just how serious the interest is, the link isn’t surprising. Texas clearly needs arms; indeed, MLBTR guessed they’d land Lynn. While Chatwood doesn’t have nearly the track record of results that Lynn does, he is an intriguing option in his own right and shares some of the characteristics of Andrew Cashner — the former Ranger free agent signee who is himself back on the open market. Another team with a desire to add several starters (and with reputed interest in Chatwood) is the Orioles. The Baltimore front office met with agents for lefty Jason Vargas during the GM Meetings, Heyman reports. The 34-year-old veteran seems to be a good match for the O’s, as we predicted, since the team needs to find so many rotation innings and can’t afford to make major long-term commitments to multiple starters. The Diamondbacks are “open” to bringing back Fernando Rodney, GM Mike Hazen tells Heyman. Arizona is facing a difficult payroll situation but obviously will be looking to maintain and improve upon a Wild Card-winning roster. Though Rodney didn’t dominate last year, he’s still throwing mid-nineties heat and generating quite a few swings and misses — and obviously met with the approval of the D-Backs&rs[...]



Offseason Outlook: New York Yankees

2017-11-17T03:22:00+00:00

MLBTR is publishing Offseason Outlooks for all 30 teams.  Click here for the other entries in this series. What was supposed to be a transitional year for the Yankees instead nearly resulted in a World Series berth, as breakouts from Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Luis Severino (among others) propelled the club…MLBTR is publishing Offseason Outlooks for all 30 teams.  Click here for the other entries in this series. What was supposed to be a transitional year for the Yankees instead nearly resulted in a World Series berth, as breakouts from Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Luis Severino (among others) propelled the club to a 91-71 record. With an excellent young core and a still-stacked farm system, the Yankees look like a powerhouse for years to come. Guaranteed Contracts Jacoby Ellsbury, OF: $68.4MM through 2020 (full no-trade clause) Masahiro Tanaka, SP: $67MM through 2020 Aroldis Chapman, RP: $65MM through 2021 (may opt out after 2019, full no-trade protection through ’19) Starlin Castro, 2B; $22MM through 2019 Chase Headley, 3B/1B: $13MM through 2018 Brett Gardner, OF: $13MM through 2018 (includes $2MM buyout of $12.5MM club option for 2019) David Robertson, RP: $13MM through 2018 Arbitration-Eligible Players (service time in parentheses; projections via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz) Adam Warren (5.036) – $3.1MM Didi Gregorius (4.159) – $9.0MM Dellin Betances (4.078) – $4.4MM Sonny Gray (4.061) – $6.6MM Austin Romine (4.045) – $1.2MM Aaron Hicks (4.041) – $2.9MM Tommy Kahnle (3.015) – $1.3MM Chasen Shreve (2.155) – $900K Non-tender candidate: Romine Free Agents CC Sabathia, Matt Holliday, Todd Frazier, Michael Pineda, Jaime Garcia, Erik Kratz [New York Yankees Depth Chart | New York Yankees Payroll Outlook] The Yankees traded their top two relievers and their designated hitter in July 2016 and played the uncharacteristic part of a deadline seller. Despite ponying up to pay Aroldis Chapman on a record-setting five-year contract, they weren’t viewed as a major threat in the AL East. Aaron Judge didn’t even enter Spring Training with a surefire spot on the big league roster — and certainly no one forecast an 8-WAR, MVP-caliber season from him — while their rotation came with injury question marks and inexperience. Could CC Sabathia endure another full, healthy season at age 37? Would Luis Severino bounce back after posting a 5.83 ERA and losing his rotation spot in 2016? Could Jordan Montgomery serve as a viable rotation member at age 24 with just 37 Triple-A innings under his belt? The answer, across the board, proved to be a resounding yes. The Yankees’ first-half results were impressive enough that GM Brian Cashman elected to begin a good portion of his offseason shopping back in July. Even with the success in their rotation, the Yankees were cognizant of the fact that Sabathia’s contract was expiring, as was that of Michael Pineda (who had already undergone Tommy John surgery). Acquiring Sonny Gray gave the Yanks two and a half years of control over an arm that can slot comfortably into the second or third slot in their rotation. Picking up David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle (along with r[...]



The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 506 – Happy Birthday, Justin!

2017-11-17T02:17:01+00:00

Paul and Eno discuss the Healy trade, Stanton rumors, Eno's ROY ballot, and some AFL wrap-up! Justin discusses his birthday.11/16/17 The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 18, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER18! Follow us on Twitter @sporer @enosarris @jasoncollette @justinmasonfwfb – Producer Notable Transactions/Rumors/Articles/Game Play Ryon Healy trade (2:00) Giancarlo Stanton rumors (8:30) Eno’s piece NL ROY Down ballot in ‘18 (19:56) Paul DeJong (200 ADP) Rhys Hoskins (38.5 ADP) Luis Castillo (160 ADP) Corey Kluber & Max Scherzer win Cy Youngs – both 1st rounders? (39:50) Chad Green likely to start (46:15) Archie Bradley likely to relieve (47:55) Alex Reyes targeting May 1st & likely RP to start (49:50) Thyago Vieira to CWS for Int’l $ (55:25) Seattle gearing up for Ohtani? (57:30) AFL Final Thoughts Michael Chavis (1:02:45) Austin Riley (1:08:27) Sheldon Neuse (1:12:02) Kyle Tucker (1:15:00) Touki Toussaint (1:18:30) — As usual, don’t hesitate to tweet us or comment with fantasy questions. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or via the feed. Please rate & review the show in iTunes letting us know what you think! Approximately 86 minutes of joyous analysis.[...]



The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 506 – Happy Birthday, Justin!

2017-11-17T02:17:00+00:00

Paul and Eno discuss the Healy trade, Stanton rumors, Eno's ROY ballot, and some AFL wrap-up! Justin discusses his birthday.11/16/17 The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 18, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER18! Follow us on Twitter @sporer @enosarris @jasoncollette @justinmasonfwfb – Producer Notable Transactions/Rumors/Articles/Game Play Ryon Healy trade (2:00) Giancarlo Stanton rumors (8:30) Eno’s piece NL ROY Down ballot in ‘18 (19:56) Paul DeJong (200 ADP) Rhys Hoskins (38.5 ADP) Luis Castillo (160 ADP) Corey Kluber & Max Scherzer win Cy Youngs – both 1st rounders? (39:50) Chad Green likely to start (46:15) Archie Bradley likely to relieve (47:55) Alex Reyes targeting May 1st & likely RP to start (49:50) Thyago Vieira to CWS for Int’l $ (55:25) Seattle gearing up for Ohtani? (57:30) AFL Final Thoughts Michael Chavis (1:02:45) Austin Riley (1:08:27) Sheldon Neuse (1:12:02) Kyle Tucker (1:15:00) Touki Toussaint (1:18:30) — As usual, don’t hesitate to tweet us or comment with fantasy questions. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or via the feed. Please rate & review the show in iTunes letting us know what you think! Approximately 86 minutes of joyous analysis.[...]



Minor MLB Transactions: 11/16/17

2017-11-17T01:28:00+00:00

Here are the day’s minor moves: The Orioles have added former Twins lefty Ryan O’Rourke, according ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (via Twitter). While the report doesn’t specify, it seems reasonable to presume that it’s a minors pact given that O’Rourke missed all of 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The 27-year-old struggled with free passes in his…

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Orioles have added former Twins lefty Ryan O’Rourke, according ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (via Twitter). While the report doesn’t specify, it seems reasonable to presume that it’s a minors pact given that O’Rourke missed all of 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The 27-year-old struggled with free passes in his first taste of the majors in 2015, but settled down upon returning in the following season. In 25 frames in the 2016 campaign, O’Rourke posted a 3.96 ERA with 24 strikeouts and six walks. It’s still a fairly minimal sample, but he has been pretty stingy against lefty hitters in the majors, holding them to a .134/.244/.239 slash through eighty total plate appearances.
  • Fellow former Minnesota southpaw Jason Wheeler is joining Korea’s Hanwha Eagles, as Yonhap News reports.  He’ll earn $575K to head to the KBO for the coming season. Wheeler, 27, has scant MLB time, with just two outings in the 2017 season. He spent most of the year in the upper minors, working to a 4.37 ERA over 94 2/3 innings with 6.9 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9.
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Jose Altuve Wins American League MVP Award

2017-11-16T23:53:00+00:00

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was the clear favorite among Baseball Writers’ Association of America voters for the American League Most Valuable Player award, as he took 27 of 30 first-place votes en route to his first MVP nod. Altuve, a diminutive but dominating figure, led the American League in hits for the fourth-straight season…

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was the clear favorite among Baseball Writers’ Association of America voters for the American League Most Valuable Player award, as he took 27 of 30 first-place votes en route to his first MVP nod.

Altuve, a diminutive but dominating figure, led the American League in hits for the fourth-straight season and finished with a .346/.410/.547 slash with 24 home runs and 32 steals. While the Astros’ postseason success did not weigh in the balloting, the team’s 101-win regular season campaign surely did not hurt Altuve’s candidacy.

Some thought it would be a tighter race between Altuve and the towering Aaron Judge, who was an easy choice for the American League Rookie of the Year Award. Judge topped fifty homers while also pacing the A.L. in walks (as well as strikeouts). While he rebounded from a late-summer swoon to post a monster month of September, finishing with an excellent .284/.422/.627 campaign at the plate, Altuve’s steady excellence earned him the award.

Third and fourth place went to Jose Ramirez of the Indians and Mike Trout of the Angels, respectively. Ramirez doubled down on his breakout 2016 season, delivering a .318/.374/.583 batting line and stellar defense to the team with the American League’s best record. All of the three finalists — worthy though they were — have Trout’s torn thumb ligament to thank for opening the award to other contenders. He racked up nearly seven wins above replacement in just 114 games and could well have been an easy choice in his own right in a full season of action.

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Giancarlo Stanton Wins National League MVP Award

2017-11-16T23:22:00+00:00

Even as we anxiously await news as to whether and where he’ll be traded, Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins has been tabbed as the National League’s Most Valuable Player for the 2017 season by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Joey Votto of the Reds came in a very close second; Paul Goldschmidt of the D-Backs rounds…

Even as we anxiously await news as to whether and where he’ll be traded, Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins has been tabbed as the National League’s Most Valuable Player for the 2017 season by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Joey Votto of the Reds came in a very close second; Paul Goldschmidt of the D-Backs rounds out the top three in the National League.

Stanton outslugged the rest of the National League’s batsmen by a healthy margin, launching 59 long balls and posting a .631 slugging percentage. Even as the Marlins fell shy of hopes, and Stanton came up short of his bid for sixty home runs, the big man was rewarded for his startling power output. Of course, he’s also an accomplished overall batter and a quality defender; while many will disagree with the outcome, he plainly was a worthy candidate given the output of the rest of the field.

Truth be told, it was an exceedingly close race — and that was reflected in the voting tallies. Stanton and Votto each received ten first-place votes, but Stanton took one more second and third-place ranking to nudge into the lead. Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies joined Goldschmidt in receiving top consideration on multiple ballots, ultimately placing fourth and fifth in the final count.

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2018 Competitive Balance Draft Pick Order

2017-11-16T23:08:00+00:00

Major League Baseball has set the order for Competitive Balance Rounds A and B of next year’s draft, reports Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com. Those rounds, which take place after the completion of the first and second rounds, respectively, are comprised of picks awarded to teams that are considered in the bottom 10 in terms of…Major League Baseball has set the order for Competitive Balance Rounds A and B of next year’s draft, reports Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com. Those rounds, which take place after the completion of the first and second rounds, respectively, are comprised of picks awarded to teams that are considered in the bottom 10 in terms of market size and/or revenue. As Mayo explains, last season marked the beginning of MLB utilizing a more formulaic approach to determining Competitive Balance order rather than a lottery, as had been done in previous drafts since the Competitive Balance rounds’ inception prior to the 2013 season. The league’s formula took into account total revenue and winning percentage among the 14 teams that received Competitive Balance picks. Based on the results of that formula, the Rays, Reds, A’s, Brewers, Twins and Marlins were awarded the six picks in Comp Round A last year, with the other eight teams (D-backs, Padres, Rockies, Indians, Royals, Pirates, Orioles, Cardinals) all falling into Comp Round B. Under the new system, those two groups will now flip on an annual basis, meaning the six teams that were awarded Comp Round A picks in 2017 will now comprise the teams selecting in Comp Round B. Likewise, the eight teams that comprised Comp Round B in 2017 will now comprise Comp Round A in 2018. Notably, the Rays will pick in both rounds, as they’ve received the No. 32 overall pick as compensation for failing to sign last year’s No. 31 overall pick, Drew Rasmussen. According to Mayo, the rounds will play out as follows: Round A 31. Pirates 32. Rays (Compensation for Rasmussen) 33. Orioles 34. Padres 35. D-backs 36. Royals 37. Indians 38. Rockies 39. Cardinals Round B 70. Marlins 71. Athletics 72. Rays 73. Reds 74. Brewers 75. Twins It should also be noted that this isn’t yet likely to represent the final draft order. Competitive Balance draft selections are the only picks that are eligible to be traded from one team to another under baseball’s collective bargaining agreement. These picks can only be traded during the regular season, though, and each pick can only be traded one time. (The Royals, for instance, cannot acquire the Orioles’ pick and then trade it to another team.) The specific placement of these picks in the overall draft order figures to change as well as draft-pick compensation from qualified offers slightly alters the ordering of the picks both surrounding the Competitive Balance rounds. Generally speaking, though, this serves as a rough guideline for next summer’s draft and helps to provide a clearer picture of which teams will have the largest draft pools. The Royals, for instance, could very well have five of the top 40 or so picks in the draft between their first-rou[...]



All 9 Recipients Reject Qualifying Offer

2017-11-16T22:16:00+00:00

THURSDAY: Officially, all nine players have rejected their qualifying offers and become free agents, the MLBPA has announced (h/t Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, on Twitter). MONDAY: All nine of the free agents that received a one-year, $17.4MM qualifying offer will reject that offer in favor of free agency, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports…THURSDAY: Officially, all nine players have rejected their qualifying offers and become free agents, the MLBPA has announced (h/t Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, on Twitter). MONDAY: All nine of the free agents that received a one-year, $17.4MM qualifying offer will reject that offer in favor of free agency, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports writes. Each of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, Greg Holland and Carlos Santana will turn down that one-year opportunity in search of a multi-year pact in free agency. In doing so, that group of nine will also subject themselves to draft-pick compensation and position their former clubs to recoup some value in next year’s amateur draft should they sign elsewhere. Last offseason’s new collective bargaining agreement altered the specifics of that compensation, tying the draft picks received and surrendered largely to the luxury tax threshold, revenue sharing and the size of the contract signed by the free agent in question. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes explained which draft picks each of the six teams that issued a qualifying offer would receive, should their free agents sign elsewhere, as well as which picks all 30 teams would be required to surrender if they are to sign a qualified free agent. Prior to that, MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk provided a more comprehensive and in-depth overview of the new QO system, for those that are unfamiliar or would like a refresher on the finer details. It’s been reported for quite some time that Kansas City will make a strong effort to retain Hosmer. Heyman added over the weekend that the Royals will also push to keep Moustakas but feel that Cain is almost certain to land elsewhere on the open market. The Rockies are known to have interest in re-upping with Holland on a multi-year deal, and Heyman notes within today’s column that the Rays “understand [Cobb] is out of their reach financially” and will sign elsewhere. He also adds that Davis seems to be likelier than Arrieta to return to Chicago. It’s unlikely that there will be any formal announcements just yet. Among the changes to the QO system under the 2017-21 CBA was that QO recipients would have 10 days, rather than seven, to determine whether to accept or reject the offer. The deadline to issue QOs was last Monday, so the recipients still technically have until this coming Thursday to formally declare their intention. But, barring a last-minute freak injury it seems that each of the nine will go the widely expected route and enter free agency in search of the most substantial contracts in their respective careers.[...]



AL West Notes: Maxwell, Avisail, Healy Trade, Rangers, Astros

2017-11-16T20:30:00+00:00

OaDespite recent allegations of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct, Bruce Maxwell is still viewed by the Athletics as their catcher next season, GM David Forst told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle at this week’s GM Meetings. “We’ll let the criminal proceedings play out,” said Forst, “But from a baseball standpoint, I expect Bruce to be our…OaDespite recent allegations of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct, Bruce Maxwell is still viewed by the Athletics as their catcher next season, GM David Forst told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle at this week’s GM Meetings. “We’ll let the criminal proceedings play out,” said Forst, “But from a baseball standpoint, I expect Bruce to be our catcher next year.” Maxwell has already plead not guilty to the charges brought forth against him after he allegedly waved a gun in the face of a Postmates delivery employee last month. The Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reported earlier this week that there’s no trial date yet, but a hearing wouldn’t occur until early 2018. Even without Maxwell’s off-the-field issues, though, catcher would seem to be a potential area for improvement for the Athletics. Maxwell will turn 27 in a month, has batted just .251/.331/.354 in 354 MLB plate appearances over the past two seasons and has thrown out a respectable but unspectacular 25 percent of opposing base thieves in his big league career. Baseball Prospectus rated him as an excellent pitch framer coming up through the minors, though he’s yet to post quality marks with the A’s. More from the AL West… Within that same piece, Shea also reports that the A’s have some interest in White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia. Oakland is known to be on the lookout for a right-handed-hitting outfielder that can play left field now that the trade of Ryon Healy has opened the door for Khris Davis to serve as the DH. While Garcia, 26, checks some boxes for Oakland, however, he’s not a perfect fit; the young slugger is only controlled for another two seasons, making him more of a mid-term play than a long-term asset. Beyond that, he’s only played 118 innings in left field as a big leaguer, and his defensive ratings in right field haven’t been positive on the whole (though they’ve improved dramatically in the past two seasons). The Sox will be open to moving Garcia, though, who figures to be one of many options Oakland pursues this winter. Forst told reporters following last night’s Healy trade that the Mariners first contacted the Athletics about Healy “right after” the regular season ended (link via MLB.com’s Jane Lee). The two sides talked on and off over the past month, and Forst notes that right-hander Emilio Pagan, one of two players Oakland received in the deal, is someone they’ve tried to acquire from the Mariners in the past. “Once it was clear [Pagan] could be part of this deal, then w[...]



Ground Balls Are Changing.

2017-11-16T20:15:00+00:00

The ground balls are weaker, the fly balls are higher, wont anyone think of the line drives?!Major league batters are generally shifting towards a fly ball approach. The idea is to hit more balls in the air. Not necessarily fly balls, in fact there are those who wish to only hit line drives. When I say in the air, I mean ‘not on the ground.’ You want the ball to leave the infield before it bounces, ideally. Preferably this happens at a very high speed. Duh, no kidding, right? Well, yeah. Obviously hitting the ball out of the infield is the goal for just about everyone. The goal isn’t the key, we’re talking about the approach used to actualize the goal. There are two big schools of thought on this issue. The ‘old school’ approach which stresses a level bat plane. Not level to the ground, level to the pitch. The idea here is to increase your chances at making solid contact, and allowing the hard contact to find a hole in the defense. This approach makes sense. You hit the ball hardest when your bat is perfectly in line with the pitch. The ball and the bat meet head on and generate the most energetic collision that is possible given pitch speed, bat speed, etc. When your bat is in plane with the pitch, you hit the ball as hard as you possibly can. If you continually hit the ball this hard, you’ll probably get a few hits. And every so often you’ll be just a little under the ball, and hit a homer. And sometimes you’ll be just a little over it and hit a grounder. The approach makes sense. You can see how the pieces fit together and the logic behind it. The ‘new school’ approach stresses going out to meet the ball in front of the plate. It accepts that the bat path shouldn’t be a straight line, but rather more of a curve, like a swinging pendulum. It starts high, goes low, and then comes back up. You want to hit the ball when the swing path is going upwards, so you’re attacking the ball from the bottom. It takes time to get to that point in the swing, so in order to maximize the effect you attack pitches further in front of home plate, guaranteeing that you are hitting balls during the ideal part of your swing. This ‘new school’ approach is getting more and more common, and I apologize if I am oversimplifying it. There are many reasons a player may be drawn to this approach, ranging from pitch selection to cuing. There are also reasons a player may not benefit from this approach, ranging from bat mechanics to cuing. Cuing is actually a really big deal. Cuing refers to which words make you remember how to perform properly, which in turn depend upon how you internalize and understand the world around you. People with different understandings may find different cues useful and others confusing and vice versa. Regardless of all of these schools of thought, batters appear to be hitting fewer ground balls. So, that’s great, right? Well, um, maybe not. The nature of ground balls are also changing somewhat dramatically.[...]



MLBTR Chat Transcript: Ohtani, Stanton, Cardinals, More

2017-11-16T20:08:00+00:00

Click here to read a transcript of today’s chat with host Jeff Todd.

Click here to read a transcript of today’s chat with host Jeff Todd.

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Mariners Trade Thyago Vieira To White Sox For International Bonus Money

2017-11-16T19:03:00+00:00

1:03pm: MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo reports that the Mariners are picking up $500K in the trade (Twitter link). However, Mayo also notes that the previously reported sum of $1.57MM that the Mariners had to work with was incorrect. Seattle, according to Mayo, initially had just a bit north of $1MM remaining in their pool, so this…1:03pm: MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo reports that the Mariners are picking up $500K in the trade (Twitter link). However, Mayo also notes that the previously reported sum of $1.57MM that the Mariners had to work with was incorrect. Seattle, according to Mayo, initially had just a bit north of $1MM remaining in their pool, so this trade pushes their remaining total to $1.5575MM. 11:08am: The Mariners announced on Thursday that they’ve traded right-hander Thyago Vieira to the White Sox in exchange for international bonus money. The move opens a spot on Seattle’s 40-man roster in advance of next week’s deadline to set 40-man rosters for the Rule 5 Draft, and it also gives the Mariners some additional funds for the pursuit of Shohei Ohtani and other high-end international amateurs. The amount of money Seattle is receiving isn’t yet known, though international money must be traded in increments of $250K under the new collective bargaining agreement, so they’ll add at least that much to their pool. Ronald Blum of the Associated Press reported last week that Seattle’s bonus pool stood at $1.57MM, so they’ll add at least $250K to that sum. The Rangers ($3.535MM), Yankees ($3.25MM) and Twins ($3.245MM) still have the most to offer Ohtani, if he is indeed posted. In exchange for the additional funds, the White Sox will reel in an MLB-ready bullpen arm capable of reaching triple-digit velocity readings on his fastball with regularity. Vieira, 25 in January, pitched to an even 4.00 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A last season. While his strikeout numbers at those upper levels weren’t what they were in Class-A Advanced, Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com still pegged Vieira eighth among Mariners farmhands, placing a true 80 grade his fastball and giving him a 55-grade (above-average) curveball as well. Vieira has struggled with control at times in the minors, though Callis and Mayo note that he comes with a closer’s ceiling if he can put everything together. For a White Sox club that traded David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Anthony Swarzak, Dan Jennings and Tyler Clippard this past summer, the addition of Vieira gives them an intriguing young piece with six years of club control if all pans out well.[...]



2017 Disabled List Information

2017-11-16T18:30:00+00:00

Wrapup of the 2017 disabled list information including the effect of 10-day DL.I’ve finally compiled the 2017 Disabled List (DL) information. The main change from the last few seasons is the transition from the 15-day DL to 10-day DL and the subsequent increase in DL trips. With the total trips up, the number of days lost is down which makes it tough to draw any major conclusions. It’s time to dive into the numbers. First off, I collected the information from MLB.com’s transaction list. I like to use this list because it is easy to go back and check. I waded through it and it wasn’t pretty. It took me twice as long to compile the data compared to previous seasons. I would just like to give a big thank you to ProSportsTransactions.com for having most of the missing data. With my venting out of the way, here is how the days missed for pitchers and hitters compare over the previous 4 seasons. Days Lost to the Disabled List Season Hitters Pitchers 2013 11996 18455 2014 10016 16295 2015 10491 18442 2016 12797 22139 2017 12268 19565 Days lost are down from last season. With all the talk of the DL being an issue, players are staying on the field longer. Now, the overall DL trips. Disabled List Trips Including Short Pitcher Stints Season Hitters Pitchers Pitchers (<15 days on DL) % of Pitcher DL trips 2013 285 269 7 2.6% 2014 238 238 14 5.9% 2015 223 284 13 4.6% 2016 242 310 6 1.9% 2017 311 377 86 22.8% The number of trips by hitters is up 29% and up 21% for pitchers. Almost all of the jump in pitcher trips can be explained with the 10-day DL. While the days dropped 12% from 2016 to 2017, the trips increased by 29% for pitchers. It’s tough to know what is causing the disparity. It could be that 2016 was the peak with injuries and teams are finally keeping players healthy. It could be that shorter stints give players a needed break (even if they aren’t hurt) to make it through the season. It could just be a fluke season and injuries will skyrocket next season in keeping with a 10+ year trend. There are just too many factors in-play with the 10-day DL to predict the future. Also, teams may be testing how far the league will allow them to use the 10-day DL to skip starts. I would not be surprised to see the number jump again. The biggest impact the 10-day had was allowing teams to skip a pitcher’s start, bring up a bullpen arm, and let the pitcher jump back into the rotation 10 days later. Here are the teams who did this trick the most ranked by short (<15 days) pitcher DL trips. Pitcher Disabled List Trips by Team Including Short Pitcher Stints Team Total < 15 days % Dodgers 27 14 51.9% Rockies 15 7 46.7% Rangers 18 7 38.9% Blue Jays 17 5 29.4% Cubs 7 4 57.1% Reds 17 4 23.5% Red Sox 16 4 25.0% Brewers 10 3 30.0% Marlins 13 3 23.1% Nationals 13 3 23.1% Braves 13 3 23.1% Angels 17 3 17.7% Tigers 3 2 66.7% Pirates 6 2 33.3% Cardinals 11 2 18.2% Phillies 13 2 15.4% Astros [...]



Rangers Plan To Discuss Extension With Jon Daniels

2017-11-16T18:06:00+00:00

The Rangers have no plans to move on from president of baseball ops/general manager Jon Daniels, whose contract expires after next season, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Wilson was told that Daniels “isn’t going anywhere” and may already be discussing a new contract with the team. Daniels was barely 28 years of age…The Rangers have no plans to move on from president of baseball ops/general manager Jon Daniels, whose contract expires after next season, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Wilson was told that Daniels “isn’t going anywhere” and may already be discussing a new contract with the team. Daniels was barely 28 years of age when he was named general manager of the Rangers, making him the youngest GM in the game’s history. He’s now overseen the Rangers for 12 seasons, though, and is among the game’s longest-tenured general managers. At the time Daniels was promoted to GM (when then-GM John Hart resigned), the Rangers had struggled to losing records in five of their past six seasons. While winning didn’t come immediately under Daniels’ watch, he eventually built the Rangers up to a perennial contender. Texas averaged 92 wins per season from 2009-12 and appeared in back-to-back World Series in 2010-11. The Rangers have won 87 or more games six times in the past nine seasons and only had two losing records in that span (including this past year’s 78-84 finish). While the Rangers’ outlook is somewhat bleak given their substantial pitching needs and the presence of the Astros atop the AL West, Daniels and his staff have kept the club largely competitive for the better part of a decade. In that time, some of his more notable moves include trading Mark Teixeira to the Braves in exchange for Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Beau Jones; acquiring Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman from the Phillies in exchange for Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Jerad Eickhoff, Jake Thompson and Alec Asher; and the signings of Adrian Beltre and Yu Darvish. Of course, Daniels’ regime has had its share of misses. Surrendering Lewis Brinson and Luis Ortiz in the trade that netted the Rangers Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress stands out as a recent regrettable decision, and the Prince Fielder/Ian Kinsler swap didn’t pan out after a debilitating neck injury ended Fielder’s career. Obviously, every front-office regime comes with its triumphs and low points, but Texas has been a generally successful organization under Daniels during his time as general manager and president of baseball operations (which was added to his title back in 2013).[...]



Yankees Reportedly Interested In Jurickson Profar

2017-11-16T16:57:00+00:00

10:57am: Most teams have at least checked in on Profar’s availability, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). Grant, however, adds that he finds it likelier that Profar would be part of a larger deal than this and/or that the Rangers would wait until deeper into the offseason to make a move.…10:57am: Most teams have at least checked in on Profar’s availability, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). Grant, however, adds that he finds it likelier that Profar would be part of a larger deal than this and/or that the Rangers would wait until deeper into the offseason to make a move. 10:01am: The Yankees have interest in swinging a deal for Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar in the next few days, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Yanks are a surprising entrant into Profar’s list of potential suitors given their considerable infield depth. New York has Didi Gregorius at shortstop, Starlin Castro at second base and Chase Headley at third, with Ronald Torreyes in a utility role and well-regarded prospects Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar on the cusp of MLB-readiness. Young Tyler Wade represents another utility option that is already on the 40-man roster. Nonetheless, Sherman notes, the Yankees are intrigued by the idea of adding the game’s former No. 1 overall prospect in exchange for some of the pitchers on the fringes of their 40-man roster as they look to set that 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 Draft. The deadline to add players to the 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 Draft will come on Monday. Names like Bryan Mitchell, Caleb Smith, Luis Cessa and Chasen Shreve are among those listed by Sherman as possible players on the Yankees’ 40-man bubble. [Related: New York Yankees depth chart & Texas Rangers depth chart] Profar has long been an obvious trade candidate. The Rangers have Elvis Andrus at shortstop and Adrian Beltre at third base, and they committed to Rougned Odor as their long-term second baseman last offseason by signing him to a $49.5MM extension. While both Beltre and Andrus could leave the Rangers after next season — Beltre’s contract runs through 2018, while Andrus has an opt-out next offseason — the Rangers don’t have much of a spot for Profar in the interim. He’s out of minor league options and hasn’t thrived in a utility role in recent seasons. The Rangers, furthermore, need starting pitching depth more than almost any other club in the Majors. Their rotation options beyond Cole Hamels and Martin Perez (neither of whom was impressive in 2017) are sparse, at best. If the Yankees like the idea lessening their 40-man crunch by condensing two arms into a single player with greater individual upside, then Profar certainly makes some degree of sense. Of course, it remains to be seen just how Profar would fit into their plans[...]



Latest On Cubs’ Bullpen Targets

2017-11-16T16:49:00+00:00

The Cubs’ bullpen search figures to be expansive this offseason, but Patrick Mooney of NBC Sports Chicago provides some insight into the team’s thinking. Per Mooney, while the Cubs performed their due diligence on Zach Britton at this week’s GM Meetings, they found the asking price to be too high this past summer and aren’t…The Cubs’ bullpen search figures to be expansive this offseason, but Patrick Mooney of NBC Sports Chicago provides some insight into the team’s thinking. Per Mooney, while the Cubs performed their due diligence on Zach Britton at this week’s GM Meetings, they found the asking price to be too high this past summer and aren’t likely to rekindle those talks. Rather, they’ve landed on free-agent righty Brandon Morrow as one potential ninth-inning option and will also monitor the market for former White Sox/D-backs/Mets closer Addison Reed in free agency, according to Mooney. Chicago got an up-close look at Morrow in the National League Championship Series as he made four practically unblemished appearances against them (4 2/3 innings, one hit, one walk, no runs, seven strikeouts). The resurgent Morrow, whom the Dodgers signed on a minor league contract last offseason, burst back onto the scene midway through the 2017 campaign and emerged as the Dodgers’ best non-Kenley Jansen reliever late in the year. The 33-year-old Morrow turned in a 2.06 ERA with 10.3 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and a 45 percent ground-ball rate in 43 2/3 regular-season innings before dominating for much of the postseason. The Dodgers rode Morrow incredibly hard in the playoffs, though, and by the end of the World Series some fatigue was clear. Morrow became just the second pitcher in MLB history to pitch in all seven games of the World Series, and he appeared in a staggering 14 of the Dodgers’ 15 postseason contests. Though he was excellent in most of those games, he was shelled for four runs without recording an out in Game 5 of the World Series — the lone game in 2017 in which he was asked to pitch on three consecutive days. That extreme postseason workload and Morrow’s greater injury history could give some teams pause in the free-agent market, but interest in Morrow figures to be robust all the same. We pegged him for a three-year deal on our top 50 free agent list, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see half the league express some level of interest. As for Reed, he’s been as durable as relievers come. The 28-year-old (29 next month) has never been on the disabled list in the Majors and has averaged 67 appearances and 66 innings per season over the life of his big league career. Reed has plenty of ninth-inning experience, having 15 or more games in four separate seasons. Control was an issue for the Chicago bullpen for much of the season — their 4.25 BB/9 rate tied[...]



Mistakes Were Made

2017-11-16T16:45:00+00:00

A look back at my three worst trades of 2017Everybody makes a bad trade every now and then. I made dozens of trades during the 2017 season – most of which were very favorable to me. But two trades and one non-swap came back to haunt me when the season concluded. Let’s explore. Acquired Bradley Zimmer for Eugenio Suarez, Jesus Sanchez, and Carter Kieboom This trade was made in a 20 team dynasty league with weekly lineups and 5×5 roto scoring (OBP). We keep 28 players and roster 45 overall. There are no other costs or limits associated with keepers. I executed this deal on August 1. At the time of the swap, my team was just 10 steals back from gaining nine points in the stolen base category. Those nine points were the difference between eighth and third place. I determined that converting a zero steal roster spot into a five-category asset would give me the best chance of earning those points without forfeiting others. Since I stood to earn $300 in real money, I was willing to overpay in future value. Prior to the trade, Zimmer hit .282/.345/.464 with eight home runs and 14 steals. Once in our lineup, he hit .159/.239/.220. Although he did swipe five bags, he didn’t reach base often enough to help our cause. To make matters worse, Suarez batted .268/.387/.465 while tallying eight homers, 30 runs, 28 RBI, and a steal. Luckily, I was able to grind out a third place finish without the stolen bases. However, had I simply not made this trade, I would have had a much larger margin for error in the final week of the season. And I’d still have Sanchez and Kieboom. Even if I prefer Zimmer to Suarez going forward (I do), I could probably now acquire him for Suarez alone. The lesson is simple. Even as I negotiated for Zimmer, I stressed to his owner that he was selling high. Double-barreled regression usually bites hot-hitting rookies after a month or two. Scouting reports catch up, and exploits are discovered. There’s always a chance the player continues to mash (see Cody Bellinger), and that’s what I had hoped would happen. At least I’m left holding a talented 25-year-old in a keep forever league. Did Not Acquire Tommy Pham for Ben Zobrist or Kendrys Morales This non-move occurred in the same dynasty league. It was a disastrous failure to convert a fading veteran into a burgeoning stud. Pham’s owner originally came to me asking for Zobrist or Morales plus a small piece. He later (briefly) dropped the demand for a throw-in. This all occurred in early June. I know exactly why I passed on the deal. Pham was playing well, but he had done this in previous seasons. Prior to 2017, he’s always turned pumpkin after a hot streak. Moreover, the Cardinals have roughly 35 MLB-quality outfielders. In St. Louis, even a modest slump can get a talented player sent to Triple-A. I was [...]



Runs and Batting Order

2017-11-16T14:15:00+00:00

It turns out that batting order does have a meaningful impact on RBI, but does the increase in runs scored offset the RBI decline of spots at the top of the lineup?In my most recent article, I estimated that a typical power hitter should lose 7.6 RBI over the course of a season if he bats second in the order compared to if he bats fourth. From a narrow perspective, that’s bad news for fantasy owners. But typical fantasy formats deal with more than just RBI, and runs scored in particular seem to have an inverse relationship with RBI where, as a hitter moves toward the front of the order, his runs should increase to offset some or all of his RBI loss. The question is which influence is bigger. I wanted to make a balanced evaluation of that question, so I started with the same model player as before. That means the hypothetical player skews more toward a power hitter than a typical leadoff hitter, but I will be making his speed the major league average by design. This batter hits a single 18.0 percent of the time, a double 5.0 percent of the time, a triple 0.5 percent of the time, a home run 5.0 percent of the time, and I’ve also added that he walks 8.0 percent of the time, a consideration that I did not need for the RBI research. Based on 2017 performances, the model player looks most similar to Andrew McCutchen. Those reach-base percentages provide a starting place for run estimates, but then things get a lot more complicated. With the RBI research, everything was at-bat-specific. With runs research, you have to consider everything that could happen once a batter reaches base, and that could span multiple batters across an entire half-inning. Rather than tumble down a rabbit hole trying to estimate the likely quality of batters in various situations when a given runner is on base, I settled on a couple of considerations and let everything be assumed to be average. The first consideration is the number of outs. Whether a runner is on first base, second base, or third base, he is more likely to score if there are fewer outs. That one’s obvious, but I found it less obvious how many outs tended to precede the plate appearances of batters in various lineup positions. Out State Ratios by Lineup Spot Bat Order 0 Outs 1 Out 2 Outs 1 46.9% 26.1% 27.1% 2 33.0% 40.3% 26.6% 3 27.9% 34.9% 37.2% 4 34.1% 30.3% 35.7% 5 34.6% 33.4% 32.0% 6 32.3% 34.3% 33.4% 7 32.4% 33.2% 34.4% 8 33.0% 33.0% 34.0% 9 32.4% 33.5% 34.1% This is all about the first inning. Because the leadoff hitter gets a guaranteed plate appearance with no outs to start the game, his frequency is skewed toward 0 outs. He sees that 46.9 percent of the time. Then, since leadoff hitters make outs more often than they reach base, the No. 2 hitter skews toward 1-out situations, which he sees 40.3 percent of th[...]



Offseason Outlook: Arizona Diamondbacks

2017-11-16T13:54:00+00:00

MLBTR is publishing Offseason Outlooks for all 30 teams.  Click here for the other entries in this series. After surprising many by earning a wild card slot and advancing to the NLDS last season, the Diamondbacks will juggle a large arbitration class and several key free agent decisions while trying to return to the postseason. Guaranteed…MLBTR is publishing Offseason Outlooks for all 30 teams.  Click here for the other entries in this series. After surprising many by earning a wild card slot and advancing to the NLDS last season, the Diamondbacks will juggle a large arbitration class and several key free agent decisions while trying to return to the postseason. Guaranteed Contracts Zack Greinke, SP: $126.5MM through 2021 Yasmany Tomas, OF: $42.5MM through 2020 (final two seasons are player options) Paul Goldschmidt, 1B: $11MM through 2018 (club option for $14.5MM in 2019, $2MM buyout) Jeff Mathis, C: $2MM through 2018 Daniel Descalso, IF/OF: $2MM through 2018 Arbitration Eligible Players (service time in parentheses; projections via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz) Patrick Corbin (5.105) – $8.3MM Randall Delgado (5.100) – $2.5MM A.J. Pollock (5.052) – $8.5MM Shelby Miller (4.166) – $4.9MM J.J. Hoover (4.153) – $1.6MM Chris Owings (4.027) – $3.8MM Chris Herrmann (4.001) – $1.4MM T.J. McFarland (3.165) – $1.0MM Taijuan Walker (3.142) – $5.0MM David Peralta (3.120) – $3.8MM Nick Ahmed (3.054) – $1.1MM Jake Lamb (3.053) – $4.7MM Andrew Chafin (3.020) – $1.2MM Robbie Ray (3.007) – $4.2MM Non-tender candidates: McFarland, Herrmann, Hoover Free Agents J.D. Martinez, Fernando Rodney, Chris Iannetta, Jorge De La Rosa, David Hernandez, Gregor Blanco, Adam Rosales [Arizona Diamondbacks Offseason Page | Arizona Diamondbacks Payroll Information] It only took one offseason for first-year GM Mike Hazen to get his team back on the winning track, though in fairness to the former Tony La Russa/Dave Stewart-led front office, the 2017 D’Backs were blessed with much better health and far more breakout performances than the unfortunate 2016 squad.  Since the team is now perhaps a bit ahead of schedule in terms of returning to contention, however, Hazen now faces an interesting offseason of trying to fill various roster holes while still keeping the payroll in check. The Diamondbacks project to owe just over $114MM to 19 players next year (the five guaranteed deals and the whopping 14-player arbitration class), and that number rises to the $120MM range if you factor in the key pre-arb players who will certainly be on next year’s team.  While some money could be saved via non-tenders, the D’Backs still project to have the largest Opening Day payroll [...]



Fallout: Ryon Healy Heads To Seattle: Breaking Down The Winners & Losers (Healy, Olson, Chapman & More)

2017-11-16T11:30:00+00:00

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor) The Trade: The Seattle Mariners acquired 1B/3B Ryon Healy The Oakland A’s acquired RHP Emilio Pagan & INF Alexander Campos   Seattle Mariners – The Fallout The acquisition of Healy is an interesting one, as they will utilize himby Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor) The Trade: The Seattle Mariners acquired 1B/3B Ryon Healy The Oakland A’s acquired RHP Emilio Pagan & INF Alexander Campos   Seattle Mariners – The Fallout The acquisition of Healy is an interesting one, as they will utilize him as their 1B moving forward (he’s obviously not going to supplant Kyle Seager at the hot corner and while Nelson Cruz could be utilized in the outfield, he only saw 5 games there in ’17).  That means, for at least one season, Dan Vogelbach will be viewed as a depth option either off the bench or at Triple-A (though he could be flipped in a subsequent deal). It makes sense, after Seattle’s first baseman finished the year with a league worst .389 SLG.  It was a spot that needed upgrading, and Healy does bring that potential after hitting .271 with 25 HR for Oakland.  What’s interesting, though, is that he actually struggled away from Oakland (.248 with 11 HR over 306 AB) and he also showed poor plate discipline: SwStr% – 12.0% O-Swing% – 35.8% While his strikeout dropped as the season progressed, the underlying metrics did not (12.2% SwStr%, 35.0% O-Swing% after the All-Star Break).  That’s a red flag, as is the fact that the bulk of his production came against fourseam fastballs (.366 with 14 HR).  You have to think that opposing pitchers will alter their approach, giving him a steady diet of breaking balls and offspeed pitches, and if Healy can’t adjust the numbers are going to plummet. The price Seattle gave up isn’t extreme so the trade makes sense, but by no means is it a given that Healy is ultimately the solution to the problem. Summary: Ryon Healy’s risk doesn’t change, and it could be greater given his home/road split Dan Vogelbach is nothing more than a depth option and barring a trade holds no value   Oakland Athletics – The FalloutThe move was obviously made to clear playing time for Matt Chapman and Matt Olson, though neither offer can’t miss potential.  Sure both players have power, they also carry considerable risk in regards to their strikeout rate (SwStr% in ‘17): Matt Chapman – 11.5% Matt Olson – 13.5% Carry that with extreme fly ball tendencies and you are talking about a pair of players who may kick in some home runs, but at the cost of your batting average.  Would it surprise you if both ultimately hit .220ish and l[...]



$6.25 Pre-Sale!! Pre-Order The Rotoprofessor 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide Today

2017-11-16T11:00:01+00:00

It’s that time of year again! Sure football season is in full swing and the MLB Playoffs are right around the corner, but it’s never too early to start planning for 2018. As a loyal Rotoprofessor reader/supporter, we wanted to give you the first opportunity
It’s that time of year again! Sure football season is in full swing and the MLB Playoffs are right around the corner, but it’s never too early to start planning for 2018. As a loyal Rotoprofessor reader/supporter, we wanted to give you the first opportunity to reserve your copy our 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide!
The price will be increasing this year to a whole $7.50 (I know, inflation). The pre-sale price is $6.25, which may be the best value you get to help prepare for your fantasy baseball season, so make sure to take advantage of it.
 

For those who have never experienced the guide, it is delivered through e-mail as an Excel spreadsheet and also includes:

  • Over 500 player projections (including some of the top prospects in the game)
  • Top 400 Overall
  • 2-page cheat sheet, perfect to take to your draft
  • The Rotoprofessor Staff’s quick take on every player projected
  • Expanded Rankings (i.e. Top 30 Catchers, Top 125 Starting Pitchers)
  • Top 50 rankings for Corner Infielders & Middle Infielders
  • Projected lineups and rotations
  • Top 50 Prospects for 2018 (Prospects who can make impact in ’18)
  • Top 5 Prospects for 2018 by team (Prospects who can make impact in ’18)
  • Top 40 “New” Dynasty Prospects
  • Auction Values (including NL/AL-Only)
  • Multiple Position Eligibility Chart
  • Closer Chart
  • Top 25 Sleepers for 2018
  • 15 Players Likely to be Overdrafted in 2018
Unlike paper guides our version will be updated every two-to-three weeks, helping you stay as prepared as possible.  The first draft was released on January 17, 2018 and the updates will begin after that.  I want to thank you all for supporting Rotoprofessor and make sure to reserve your copy of the 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide today!



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