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The last twenty comments in true blog fasion, with the links to their authors and the player commented upon.

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Whit Merrifield Kansas City Royals

Interesting observation from Mike G in his "Only-League Landscape: American League Outfielders," posted now at BP:

... A Stars and Scrubs strategy is a tempting route to take in an environment where half the AL teams aren’t trying to win, but even so, you need something out of all five of your outfield slots.

Sixty-one of the top 168 AL hitters in 2018 were outfielders. This left virtually no wiggle room if two or more teams in your league used an outfielder in their DH slot. There was a time when an outfielder with middle infield eligibility would have found himself slotted in at second base to take advantage of the depth in the outfield. Those days are over, and if you had Whit Merrifield or Dee Gordonon your roster, chances are excellent they spent time in your team’s outfield.

baseballprospectus.com

Alex Patton Alex
Oliver Drake Tampa Bay Rays

This guy pitched for *5* MLB teams last year! (BP sez "the first time such a feat has happened in MLB history")

The Jan 5th Rotowire comment below cracks me UP! "he's already onto his second organization of 2019 just four days into the year, on pace for 182.5 teams this year."

I did not notice him when he was on an NL roster ... only when I read this at BP 

Howard Lynch LynchMob
Elvis Andrus Texas Rangers

I had Andrus in 2017. I remember that his SB were way down in the 2h of that great year. I'd be pretty pleased if Andrus reaches Rotoman's projected SB total. 

Scott Shea SJS

Will the steals return?

Mike Landau ML-

I just joined a 3rd league.  I've got my league which is 5x5 AL, consecutive membership since 1994.  My 2nd league is 5x5 AL (plus the Nationals) and OBP.  I've been in it over a decade.

I've just taken over a friend's team in a league I was in for a few years in the early aughts. It's 5x5 AL, but only 11 teams, so I can't use the same par salaries in any of my leagues.

Three auctions in 8 days.  Should be fun. 

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Tyler Naquin Cleveland Indians

Trying to recall why Naquin didn't really get a look in 2017. He had the unsustainable BABIP-fueled production in 2016, hit modestly well in AAA in 2017 for a half season, and then struggled before getting hurt last year.

The Indians are, dare I say, desperate for outfield production. I don't know what I'd expect, but his numbers through 2017 suggest he could be a useful cheap play if he got at bats. Can he get to 450+ PA?

Justin Dowling BGWoodsman
Mychal Givens Baltimore Orioles
Four if you include the 20-team Regs League, that I'm resurrecting for this year. I have a couple of open slots If you'd like to give it a spin. 9 Bats, 7 SP, 4 man bench with OBP and Save + Holds/2 in play. A fun format.
Tim McLeod tlmcleod

At least three, Tim? You don't know?

Alex Patton Alex
Andrew McCutchen Philadelphia Phillies

Okay, this really is the last. If I cut and paste any more, The Athletic is going to sue me. But I include this one to show -- conclusively, I think -- that I really should subscribe to it.

Andrew McCutchen: I bragged that I could tell you what the projections will be off the top of my head, but I would have been wrong on Cutch. I figured they would all have him down at least a little, but all four Fangraphs systems have him bouncing back at age 32. Just to vary the yardsticks, they say his wOBA will be between .350 and .363. Although I’m supposed to be dissing, I think this consensus should be respected – and given the inherent conservatism of projections, they may be telling us that a big year is coming. Citizens Bank Park is an additional factor, but also add two non-statistical realities: he’s always in great shape, and he never misses a trick on a baseball field. With some players you have to worry that they’ll do something stupid, with McCutchen you know he’ll do something smart. And by the way, his Sprint Speed says he’s still faster than Starling Marte.

Doesn't mean I'm going to.

Alex Patton Alex
Mychal Givens Baltimore Orioles

Unless those really bad teams have good young arms that are under team control for an extended period, like Jose LeClerc in Texas. Analyzing closers and bullpen situations in detail simply has to occur to improve the odds for success. If one wishes to reward, instead of punish the middle-reliever in 5x5 Leagues, there is an easy answer. Simply change the Saves category to Saves + (Holds/2). I have at least three Mixed 5x5 15-team Leagues that now use this metric and it works great. It rewards the setup/middle reliever while not destroying the traditional closer role and value.

Tim McLeod tlmcleod
Matt Chapman Oakland Athletics

No, one more (Wise Guy excerpt from an article posted now at The Athletic):

Matt Chapman: If projections are now accounting for hard contact and fly balls into launch angles, it would seem that these systems lack self-confidence. Why else call for .248 with Chapman’s Top 25 hard contact rate? His strikeouts are not bad by today’s standards at 23.7%. In fact he hit .278 in 547 ABs. His career BA is .263 and he’s 26 in April. If you want to minimize the error on his BA you make it .267.

Say what you will (under Givens), this is good stuff.

Alex Patton Alex
Trevor Story Colorado Rockies

One more form the Wise Guy (the other two are under Nola and Soto):     

Trevor Story: Six projections, and not one has him stealing more than 20 bases. He stole 27 last year based on elite Sprint Speed, and with 82% success there is no reason to expect the slightest decline.
Alex Patton Alex
Juan Soto Washington Nationals

More from the Wise Guy, taking projections to task for The Athletic:

Juan Soto: I say “they’re all the same” so let’s do The Lockstep: the “Fangraphs Four” all have him between .292 and .294, all 27-29 HRs, a Run spread from 88 to 93, RBI from 86 to 92, and 6 or 7 SB. His OPS varies from .906 to .910. I guess we’ve got him pegged. Notice something in there that is quite common in projections: low production estimates. If Juan Soto has a .908 OPS, he’s going 100/100 easy.
Alex Patton Alex
Aaron Nola Philadelphia Phillies

Okay, thanks to one of our members who does subscribe, here's what the Wise Guy says about Nola.

     

Aaron Nola: Systems take Nola’s 2016 into account, but his 2016 has nothing to do with Aaron Nola 2019. He got better in 2017, he got better still in 2018 and, now, here he is. To call him at a 3.55 ERA, as both Depth Charts and Steamer do, is flat wrong. Again THE BAT shows a little moxey with a more reasonable 3.20, but that too is high. We can quibble but I daresay 2.85 is the over/under here. And not one of the “Fangraphs Four” has Nola pitching 200 innings.

Alex Patton Alex
Mychal Givens Baltimore Orioles

One big thing to worry about, in this day and age, is that really bad teams trade their closers mid-year.

Thus - everyone knew the Royals would suck last year.  Their over/under was 67.5 wins coming into the season.  But Kelvin Herrera was still close to a 30 save pace ... until he got shipped to Washington.

San Diego was tabbed for 73.5 wins.  They actually underperformed that.  But Brad Hand looked like he'd save about 35 games ... until he got shipped to Cleveland.

Phil Ponebshek Texpope

Took a look at some historically bad teams that came to mind to check Rotoman's hypothesis out.  According to BR, the '03 Tigers had 43 wins, 27 saves, but divided among 8 players, with none getting more than 5.  In contrast, the '13 Astros had 32 saves in 51 wins, with Jose Veras getting 19.  The team put up similar numbers the two previous years, albeit with different primary closers.  So, as with any closer, the variable to apply when determining the bid is "how likely is he to retain the job?"  With a really bad team, one would think the likelihood is great, but I'm not sure it is so great in this instance to discount the bid to mid-single digits.  More like high 8 to 10.  If there is any organization that is the least likely to figure out they should be auditioning different guys out at the end of games, in order to increase their July trade value, it is the O's.  Plus, when wins are at a premium for a team, my guess is that the managerial tendency is not to take the chance on a less proven guy blowing one, if for no other reason than to appease the more shorter sighted of a dwindling fan base.

John Thomas Roll2
David Dahl Colorado Rockies

Exactly. What he has done in the past is supported by the underlying stats. The reason the bids don't go all the way is because 550 plate appearances, while likely, is far from guaranteed. And that BABIP is a small sample. Still, that $18 is too little. He'll get a nice bump in price in the next update.

Peter Kreutzer Rotoman
Mychal Givens Baltimore Orioles

There are plenty of good reasons not to buy middle relievers in 5x5, but that doesn't mean they aren't rosterable during the season (and available on waivers).

The horrible Orioles team means Givens' total saves are likely capped, as Gene says, but assuming Givens is the closer he's going to get 20-30 saves and will be a better roster than your sixth or seventh starter. What Gene meant to say was don't listen to the people who used to say a closer on a bad team could get as many saves as a closer on a good team.

That was true then, when bad teams weren't as bad as today's bad teams are.

Peter Kreutzer Rotoman

I'm with you ... 5x5 punishes middle relievers at the auction.

We know that some middle relievers will actually make nice returns ... but we don't know which ones, and there's no point in speculating.

OTOH in 4x4, closers are so much more valuable, and so the #2's and even #3's get bought up as lottery tickets with little downside.

You can always turn SBs into SB+runs.

But yeah, I don't see anything smart about WiseGuy's analysis here.  Nobody's buying Ryne Stanek as a "starter".  Meanwhile Yarbrough had 9 wins where he entered the game in the 2nd or 3rd inning.

We're smart enough to figure this stuff out.

Phil Ponebshek Texpope
Jimmy Yacabonis Baltimore Orioles

Jimmy Yacabonis (P) BAL - Feb. 19

Yacabonis is viewed as a starter by Orioles manager Brandon Hyde but could also be used in long relief, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports.

ROTOWIRE RECOMMENDS: Yacabonis has started seven games and relieved in 19 so far in his two-year big-league career, but he hasn't had much success in either role. He owns a 4.76 ERA as a starter and a 5.29 ERA out of the bullpen. 

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