Dirty Little Birdie

2019 Sleepers / Value Picks

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there are many of the newer numbers/statics that I think I'm still getting used to, but I saw this from last year and it could be helpful identifying sleepers.

 

https://www.rotoballer.com/using-sabermetrics-for-fantasy-baseball-part-3-statcast-for-batters/449540

 

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Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball Part 3 - Statcast for Batters

If you've watched a baseball broadcast in the so-called Statcast Era, you have undoubtedly noticed the broadcasters commenting on a batted ball's exit velocity, or EV. Many have taken to using stats like Hard% and Soft% to forecast how a player should be performing, expecting larger Hard% rates to produce larger BABIP and HR/FB figures. There is a relationship there, but it is not as clear-cut as you might think.

 

The hardest batted ball of the 2017 season was struck by Giancarlo Stanton. It was clocked at 122.2 mph but only recorded a single. Eric Hosmer's best hit traveled 118 mph (15th highest in the league), but he only received a ground out for the effort. It is possible to torch a baseball only to make an out. The best way to get a feel for how hard a given batter usually hits the ball is to look at his average exit velocity. The league average mark in 2017 was 91.9 mph, but that stat is of little value. Exit velocity on airborne balls (both flies and line drives) is all you need when evaluating a player's HR/FB rate, while ground ball exit velocity is the best indicator of a high BABIP on ground balls.

 

The two metrics should almost never intersect, but a lot of analysts ignore context and use overall average exit velocity (or its even worse approximation, Hard%) to evaluate HR/FB and BABIP. You really shouldn't do that unless you believe that Hosmer's grounder above had a chance of going over the fence. Baseball broadcasts will cite Launch Angle (LA) to complement their EV figures, but it is given in terms of degrees. Am I evaluating a baseball player or trying to find the hypotenuse of an isosceles triangle? Let's simplify things a bit to see how these numbers can actually benefit our analysis.

 

How to Interpret Batted Ball Statistics

They do not do a good job of publicizing it, but LA is actually fairly simple to understand. Here is the batted ball type produced by the various degree measurements:

Batted Ball Type Launch Angle
Ground ball Less than 10 degrees
Line drive 10-25 degrees
Fly ball 25-50 degrees
Pop-up More than 50 degrees

Most batters want to live in the 10-50 degree range, as grounders rarely produce power while pop-ups rarely produce anything other than easy outs. Well-struck balls in this range of launch angles are the batted balls that fantasy owners are most interested in. A new stat called "Barrels" filters out everything else, allowing us to evaluate who is hitting the most of these high-value batted balls.

 

A Barrel is defined as "a ball with a combination of exit velocity and launch angle that averages at least a .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage." It should be noted that the numbers above are only a minimum threshold, as Barrels produced an .835 batting average and 2.937 slugging in 2017. In this respect, the stat is like a Quality Start. It is possible to register a QS with an ERA of 4.50, but the actual average ERA of all MLB Quality Starts falls well below 4.50.

The range of EVs and LAs that combine to form Barrels is called the Barrel Zone. This means that higher EVs can compensate for less ideal LAs to produce the .500/1.500 minimum. At a minimum, it must have an EV of at least 98 mph and fall within the 10-50 degree LA range. We care about fantasy production, not the intricacies of a mathematical relationship. You don't need to worry about the math.

 

With this in mind, Aaron Judge led baseball in Barrels last year with 86. He was followed by Stanton (76), Khris Davis (65), and J.D. Martinez (60). This group passes the sniff test, as it seems like a collection of guys who consistently make high quality contact. Likewise, Billy Hamilton managed only two Barrels all year, living up to his reputation of weak contact. Still, we already knew this. What do Barrels add to the equation?

 

They become more instructive when you stop looking at them as a counting stat and start examining them as a rate stat. By taking the number of Barrels and dividing by the total number of Batted Ball Events (BBE), we get a percentage that tells us how frequently a player's batted balls are Barrels. Judge topped this list in 2017 with a 25.4% Brls/BBE figure, followed by Joey Gallo (21.7%), Martinez (19.5%), and Stanton (17.4%). Gallo didn't have the raw BBEs to crack the Barrels leaderboard (253 in all), but the rate stat suggests that he's an intriguing sleeper this year.

 

This data helped identify sleepers in every year of its existence. Chris Carter had an 18.7% Brls/BBE in limited 2015 playing time. He led the NL in homers the next year with 41, so he was a sleeper worth owning based on the prior year's Brls/BBE. Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez ranked eighth in the league with a 15.8% Brls/BBE in 2016, foreshadowing his ascension to the top of the catcher rankings after a strong 2017. Comparable names on the 2017 list include Matt Olson (16.3%, 7th), Matt Davidson (15.4%, ninth), and Randal Grichuk (14.9%, 11th).

 

Like BABIP, Brls/BBE also seems prone to random fluctuation. Giancarlo Stanton's amazing 2015 (he hit 27 bombs in 318 PAs) was fueled by a 32.5 percent Brls/BBE, over 10 points higher than the league's second best performance that year (Miguel Sano's 22.4 percent rate in limited time). A rate that high was almost certainly an outlier. Sure enough, he regressed to a still strong 17.3% Brls/BBE in 2016 before his 17.4% rate last season. This suggests that Judge won't be able to completely replicate his 2017 season, but he'll come pretty close.

 

Conclusion

Statcast is an interesting tool, but it's not yet enough to form the sole basis of your analysis. Exit velocity is one thing that goes into BABIP, but many other factors also play a part. Batted ball distribution is one of the most important among them, which we'll take a closer look at in Part 4!

 

 

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One of my favorite late round starting pitcher values this year is Matthew Boyd. He's currently got an NFBC ADP around 325 making him an SP8 or so. I'm always a bit of a sucker for a best shape of my life story and apparently he's shed 15lbs of fat without sacrificing strength (https://www.mlb.com/news/matthew-boyd-using-data-driven-routine/c-303724218). He started last year with some diminished velocity, but it rose throughout the year and he finished with a 2nd half k/9 of 9.00 and a bb/9 of 1.88. He also finished the year with a solid 1.16 whip. He had some pretty dramatic home/road splits (2.63ERA at home and 5.89 on the road) so if you carefully deploy him in his starts I think you could have great value here. My plan is to start him at home and in road starts at KC, Minnesota etc, but bench him on the road against the big boy lineups in the AL.

Edited by meh2
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Barrels is a nice statistic, that's what you can take from that.

The angles are way off. Anything over 35 degrees is a can of corn unless your khris Davis or judge etc.

 

Looking at any individual statistic even if it's barrels won't tell you as much as looking at ifb, soft, hard, LD, gb, fb, babip, hr/fb. Pitch values. You can't simply say just look at barrels. Fangraphs does a great job of any metric you can dream of. I could sit here and say if the soft is less than 10, draft them but that stat doesn't tell you about adjustments hitters make on a 1-2 count

 

Exit velocity is a terrific statistic to look at. That's bullto think othwise based on an at-em ball.  It doesn't matter whether u hit 100 mph into the dirt or into the air, good things are gonna happen, in a vacuum.

 

Barrels doesn't really apply to  guys that don't smash homers. 

 

Edited by dkrocka

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From IBW's top 100 dynasty rankings

 

168) Max Kepler MIN, OF, 26.2 – Posted career bests in K% (15.7%), BB% (11.6%), FB% (46.2%), and exit velo (89.5 MPH/93.9 MPH FB/LD). Kepler already broke out but it didn’t show up in his surface stats last year.

 

age 26 season, babip last year was .236, thats gonna go up.  Could easily see him putting up a line of .260/.340 w/ 25 hr 80/80.  Current ADP is 265, he will 100% return your value there.  Between him, Winker and Laureano, one will be a top 100 guy by the end of the year.

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Bryan Mitchell SP Padres.

 

In four starts since coming off the disabled list Sept. 23, Mitchell is 2-1 with a 2.19 ERA. He has allowed six runs on 22 hits and eight walks with 15 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings for a 1.22 WHIP.

 

9/24 he went 8.2 IP / 7 hits / No ER / 3 Walks / 7 SO

 

End of the season, small simple size but still taking a gamble as last pick.

Edited by LivingOnTheEdge
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1 hour ago, LivingOnTheEdge said:

Bryan Mitchell SP Padres.

 

In four starts since coming off the disabled list Sept. 23, Mitchell is 2-1 with a 2.19 ERA. He has allowed six runs on 22 hits and eight walks with 15 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings for a 1.22 WHIP.

 

9/24 he went 8.2 IP / 7 hits / No ER / 3 Walks / 7 SO

 

End of the season, small simple size but still taking a gamble as last pick.

I prefer more strikeout upside with my fliers. Like gun to my head I'm picking between Mitchell and someone like Trevor Richards, I'll take Richards and his 9+ k/9 every time.

 

Aggregately last year Mitchell had a 4.68 k/9 and 5.42 ERA.

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2 hours ago, fawkes_mulder said:

I prefer more strikeout upside with my fliers. Like gun to my head I'm picking between Mitchell and someone like Trevor Richards, I'll take Richards and his 9+ k/9 every time.

 

Aggregately last year Mitchell had a 4.68 k/9 and 5.42 ERA.

 

He had issues in the beginning and middle of the year but finishes strong. Could have found something out. 

 

Just 27, maxed out at 96 mph

 

https://www.mlb.com/news/bryan-mitchell-finishes-2018-strong-for-padres/c-295979614

 

Just found this about him on fangraph. They seem to think like me (posted February 9th 2019)

 

"Bryan Mitchell, RHP, San Diego Padres San Diego acquired Mitchell (and Chase Headley’s contract) from the Yankees in exchange for Jabari Blash. Mitchell was squeezed out of a deep pitching staff in New York, but he has big-league stuff, including a running mid-90s fastball and plus-flashing curveball. The curveball is hard, in the mid-80s, and has well-above-average spin. It also has slurve shape, though, and plays down because of it. He should have an opportunity to throw a lot of big-league innings this year and might just be a minor tweak away from a breakout." 

 

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/post-prospect-scouting-reports

Edited by LivingOnTheEdge

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11 minutes ago, LivingOnTheEdge said:

 

He had issues in the beginning and middle of the year but finishes strong. Could have found something out. 

 

Just 27, maxed out at 96 mph

 

https://www.mlb.com/news/bryan-mitchell-finishes-2018-strong-for-padres/c-295979614

 

Just found this about him on fangraph. They seem to think like me (posted February 9th 2019)

 

"Bryan Mitchell, RHP, San Diego Padres San Diego acquired Mitchell (and Chase Headley’s contract) from the Yankees in exchange for Jabari Blash. Mitchell was squeezed out of a deep pitching staff in New York, but he has big-league stuff, including a running mid-90s fastball and plus-flashing curveball. The curveball is hard, in the mid-80s, and has well-above-average spin. It also has slurve shape, though, and plays down because of it. He should have an opportunity to throw a lot of big-league innings this year and might just be a minor tweak away from a breakout." 

 

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/post-prospect-scouting-reports

 

Posted February 9th 2018... They seem to think like me and he maybe found the minor tweak late last season :)

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25 minutes ago, LivingOnTheEdge said:

 

He had issues in the beginning and middle of the year but finishes strong. Could have found something out. 

 

Just 27, maxed out at 96 mph

 

https://www.mlb.com/news/bryan-mitchell-finishes-2018-strong-for-padres/c-295979614

 

Just found this about him on fangraph. They seem to think like me (posted February 9th 2019)

 

"Bryan Mitchell, RHP, San Diego Padres San Diego acquired Mitchell (and Chase Headley’s contract) from the Yankees in exchange for Jabari Blash. Mitchell was squeezed out of a deep pitching staff in New York, but he has big-league stuff, including a running mid-90s fastball and plus-flashing curveball. The curveball is hard, in the mid-80s, and has well-above-average spin. It also has slurve shape, though, and plays down because of it. He should have an opportunity to throw a lot of big-league innings this year and might just be a minor tweak away from a breakout." 

 

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/post-prospect-scouting-reports

 

Even, arguendo, the four game sample you're relying on is his true talent. That still a 5.47 k/9, 4.50 FIP, 4.46 xFIP. He also gave up more hard contact in this 4 game sample than the rest of his games, relied on a 93% strand rate, ugh I'm just not having fun looking into this guy's sabermetrics.

 

There's so many other guys I'd rather gamble on.

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Currently approaching round 30 of 40 in my best ball points league slow draft. Any suggestions on deep sleepers?

 

I'm having trouble locating articles or information this early in the season, and the sleeper articles I do find usually don't go picks >350, as this is where the draft will be for the last 10 rounds. 

A couple i'm currently targeting are Jake Cave-OF MIN and Ronald Guzman-1B TEX but need some more and possibly some SP. 

Edited by bmz0709

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On 1/1/2019 at 10:17 PM, Flyman75 said:

 

RotoChamp currently has Myers in the OF with Renfroe and Margot. RosterResource has Renfroe, Cordero, and Reyes. 

 

Looks like Cordero, Margot, Renfroe, Reyes, with Jankowski probably getting some PAs. If Villanueva is given any time on the field, will that push Myers into the OF? 

 

It's easy to say that Cordero and Margot fight for CF, leaving LF and RF for Renfroe and Reyes, but Cordero and Margot on the field at the same time would provide a better defensive lineup. I think all four of them end up getting significant ABs, provided they are healthy. 

 

I'm a Reyes fan, especially after the way he played following his second call-up. I'd love to see him get 550 ABs. I'm just not sure it will happen. 

Myers has since been confirmed for the outfield.  That's a situation I'm not touching outside of Myers, to be honest.

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I think he's already been mentioned briefly but Pedro Strop for sure.  The only thing standing in his way is an oft-injured Brandon Morrow that will miss at least the first month of the season.  Upon rejoining it's hard to imagine he gets a full workload with his age/durability concerns.  Strop could return some serious value.

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24 minutes ago, MJDrocks said:

I think he's already been mentioned briefly but Pedro Strop for sure.  The only thing standing in his way is an oft-injured Brandon Morrow that will miss at least the first month of the season.  Upon rejoining it's hard to imagine he gets a full workload with his age/durability concerns.  Strop could return some serious value.

Great call. It’s baffling to me that people are still drafting Morrow ahead of Strop.

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2 hours ago, bmz0709 said:

Currently approaching round 30 of 40 in my best ball points league slow draft. Any suggestions on deep sleepers?

 

I'm having trouble locating articles or information this early in the season, and the sleeper articles I do find usually don't go picks >350, as this is where the draft will be for the last 10 rounds. 

A couple i'm currently targeting are Jake Cave-OF MIN and Ronald Guzman-1B TEX but need some more and possibly some SP. 

 

Looks like you may be beyond this in the draft, but is Adam Frazier still there?  Dude is cash money especially in a points league.  Kendrys Morales is as solid as they come.  Dustin Pedroia is an injury-machine but when healthy he will provide top 100 production in a points league.  Yandy Diaz has a big bat.  Chris Paddack could return huge depending on the number of starts he gets.  Danny Salazar is injured to start the year but may replace Beiber in CLE when he returns, dude can throw.  Finally, Nick Martini doesn't have a starting job in OAK but shows good plate discipline and--if he can work into more than the 250 projected ABs--could provide good and cheap value.

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1 hour ago, MJDrocks said:

Myers has since been confirmed for the outfield.  That's a situation I'm not touching outside of Myers, to be honest.

Yeah, I wrote that before it was confirmed that he was going to the OF. Or at least before I had heard it. As for the situation, I'll gladly take a late chance on Franmil. 

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20 minutes ago, En Votto Veritas said:

 

Looks like you may be beyond this in the draft, but is Adam Frazier still there?  Dude is cash money especially in a points league.  Kendrys Morales is as solid as they come.  Dustin Pedroia is an injury-machine but when healthy he will provide top 100 production in a points league.  Yandy Diaz has a big bat.  Chris Paddack could return huge depending on the number of starts he gets.  Danny Salazar is injured to start the year but may replace Beiber in CLE when he returns, dude can throw.  Finally, Nick Martini doesn't have a starting job in OAK but shows good plate discipline and--if he can work into more than the 250 projected ABs--could provide good and cheap value.

All still available with the exception of Morales, much appreciated! I'll look into them. I did have my eye on Salazar, probably wont take him for until my last few picks though. I'm reading he most likely wont be back until AS break and might come out of Pen. 

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On 2/12/2019 at 6:36 AM, fawkes_mulder said:

 

Even, arguendo, the four game sample you're relying on is his true talent. That still a 5.47 k/9, 4.50 FIP, 4.46 xFIP. He also gave up more hard contact in this 4 game sample than the rest of his games, relied on a 93% strand rate, ugh I'm just not having fun looking into this guy's sabermetrics.

 

There's so many other guys I'd rather gamble on.

 

Yeah maybe thats my fault I was thinking with my league format which is not redraft its a 40 man MLB roster + 100 man minors league roster dynasty  ... Thats why I went overboard with the sleeper part ... Wasn't thinking straight

Edited by LivingOnTheEdge

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Just now, LivingOnTheEdge said:

 

Yeah maybe thats my fault I was thinking with my league format which is not redraft its a 40 man MLB roster + 100 man minors league roster dynasty  ... Thats why I went overboard with the Sleeper part 

 

Dude in that case, maybe he's a great sleeper. Hahaha. Context always important. 30 team league?

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9 minutes ago, fawkes_mulder said:

 

Dude in that case, maybe he's a great sleeper. Hahaha. Context always important. 30 team league?

 

30 teams league with salary cap but 15 teams AL and 15 teams NL (I inherited the Blue Jays so all the players from that franchise). We had a refresh draft for both leagues selecting all the players from NL to the AL and vice versa ... Fantrax 

Best AL vs Best NL for World Series

We are having our FA signing at the moment and some GMs are desperately trying to sign Todd Frazier just to give you an idea lol ... Players pool is very thin 

 

I add to give Bryan Mitchell a 3 years contract to get him lol even though nobody drafted him on the AL at first lol

Edited by LivingOnTheEdge

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Can't recall if I have already brought him up, but for the super DEEP leagues (prob 18+ with MI slots) I am kinda digging Chad Pinder-

I get that he basically has no locked in everyday spot, but OAK does rotate guys around a bunch. I suppose that his sleeper sheen has worn off with the Profar add, and even further with Grossman coming aboard yesterday...and they do have young MI's in Barreto and maybe Mateo. Maybe it takes a trade, or an injury...but it can't be out of the realm that he mashes in ST and beats out 'Martini' for LF? Be nice if he can finally escape the short side of platoon city, after 15 HRs in 282 ABs in 2017 and 13 HRs in 298 ABs, I think at 26 yrs old he might deserve it --at least for some team? If you prescribe to exit velo and barrels, he is also a fav of the analytics community.  

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42 minutes ago, ST. STEVEN said:

Can't recall if I have already brought him up, but for the super DEEP leagues (prob 18+ with MI slots) I am kinda digging Chad Pinder-

I get that he basically has no locked in everyday spot, but OAK does rotate guys around a bunch. I suppose that his sleeper sheen has worn off with the Profar add, and even further with Grossman coming aboard yesterday...and they do have young MI's in Barreto and maybe Mateo. Maybe it takes a trade, or an injury...but it can't be out of the realm that he mashes in ST and beats out 'Martini' for LF? Be nice if he can finally escape the short side of platoon city, after 15 HRs in 282 ABs in 2017 and 13 HRs in 298 ABs, I think at 26 yrs old he might deserve it --at least for some team? If you prescribe to exit velo and barrels, he is also a fav of the analytics community.  

 

@fawkes_mulder, seeing so much Pinder lover this year. You were one year early.

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This one is real deep SP Sleeper

 

SP Merrill Kelly.  Former Rays Org Depth. He was a decent in the minors, but he only threw upper 80's. Went to KBO, which is a very HITTER friendly environment. League averages: ERA:4.98   K/9: 7.1   BB9: 3.2   

 

Kelly had a 3.60 ERA and lead the entire league in Strikeouts(189) in 190 innings. The next closest pitcher had 161. With mostly just RP having a higher K/9 then him. The main takeway is that his Velocity bumped to 92-94 MPH that last year in the KBO after being a soft tosser.

 

https://www.pitcherlist.com/going-deep-is-merrill-kelly-2019s-miles-mikolas/

 

They did a great breakdown on him. Illustrating he has 3 quality pitches he can pitch with command (FB, Change, Slider). So all the tools needed make it as 3-4 starter.

Edited by Slatykamora
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On 2/10/2019 at 11:21 PM, BackyardBaseball said:

From IBW's top 100 dynasty rankings

 

168) Max Kepler MIN, OF, 26.2 – Posted career bests in K% (15.7%), BB% (11.6%), FB% (46.2%), and exit velo (89.5 MPH/93.9 MPH FB/LD). Kepler already broke out but it didn’t show up in his surface stats last year.

 

age 26 season, babip last year was .236, thats gonna go up.  Could easily see him putting up a line of .260/.340 w/ 25 hr 80/80.  Current ADP is 265, he will 100% return your value there.  Between him, Winker and Laureano, one will be a top 100 guy by the end of the year.

I'm going to call Kepler sleeping beauty for now on... every single year he's in this thread and every single year it's talk of his peripherals not showing up in his stats. 

Maybe this year Prince Charming will find his tower.

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