So excited to be back! Wild horses couldn’t keep me, Mr. Moving Averages away from what I have in store for you here, in Part 9 of The Eighteenth Out. I’m burning the midnight oil to get all of this information out before drafts take place, and if I lock up a Newcomer of the Year award in the meantime, then so be it. There’s so much custom content to provide today I’ll cut the jokes short and get right to work. Ok, maybe one because if you can’t tell by now I am a sucker for the pop culture of my childhood. Hold on to your giant dark helmets ladies and gentlemen; This series is now officially moving at LUDICROUS SPEED, and we’re at serious risk of going plaid.

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This time last year, the baseball world was predicting the downfall of Chase Field as a hitter’s haven to the tune of a 25%-50% drop in offensive production with an uptick in pitching expected to benefit from the new humidor. After a season of the new Chase Field, I wanted to review the data and see where the drop off landed.

If you’ve been following me, you know that I was a bit skeptical that we would be looking at that kind of change in production. From my Chase Field article last year, “Home runs across the league were down, away teams actually hit more home runs in Coors in 2002 than 2001, and the culture in baseball was starting to turn away from the steroid era.” Basically, Coors was used as the case study for what would happen in Arizona, but there were a number of factors that came into play outside of the raw numbers.

I’m not going to rehash that article, but will examine the numbers to see where Chase Field landed on the scale of hitter friendly to pitcher friendly parks. If we start with the basics, we can look at how Chase Field finished in park factors for 2018. I typically utilize FanGraphs for their park factors, but they have not updated for 2018 yet, so, I looked at ESPN. As you can see below, home runs were down in 2018 compared to 2016 and 2017, but not compared to 2015. However, runs and hits were both 4 year lows in 2018 with the humidor.

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In last week’s article, we went over top-50 players that we want to fade. For this week, we’re going with players between 50-100 that we want to avoid. While these guys are much easier to fade, there are still noobs out there reaching on these players. Don’t be that guy! Be the guy who walks out of your draft and has a wonderful day. There aren’t many better feelings than walking away from a draft and knowing you killed it but we’re giving you that opportunity here. Drafting any of these players with give you prom night-like regrets and we don’t wanna go through that again. So, let’s start with the ugliest girl at the prom, Kimmy.

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Greetings and salutations, fellow baseball researchers. It is I, Mr. Moving Averages back at the helm as we charge once more through sports and time in our exploration to dissect the inner workings of the Quality Start.  We have come so far in such a short period of time. If any of the references or stats in this article appear to lack context, please refer back to prior segments for their basis, creation or explanation. There’s a lot of information and results we have established to get to this point, so looking back for a refresher is always understandable; We’ve introduced several new processes and statistics. We’ve confirmed our assertions and finally, the data mining is done; Let the analysis begin! In Part 8, the fantasy rubber meets the road as we apply some of our research to actual ballplayers that will help us to take home the fantasy trifecta; The cheddar, the chip and the trophy. We came into this with a purpose, and once this collective of truth seekers climbs the top rope you know the big elbow isn’t far behind (RIP Randy Savage OOOOH YEAAAA).

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This preseason is weird.  Games have started, but not really.  Due to the unlikely nature of the preseason, I’ve decided to delve into the wholly unlikely with some bold predictions.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever done a bold predictions post before, because, it is a very stupid post.  Do you say things like, “Cameron Maybin will hit 175 homers?”  Which is bold, but absurd.  Or do you say Daniel Palka will be a top 40 outfielder, which, I guess is bold, but I’ve already written a Daniel Palka sleeper post, so, while bold, I think it’s more realistic.  In other words, whose definition of bold are we using?  Some pussyfooters strutting around like they’ve got Brad Peacock’s plummage and saying Bryce Harper will be a top 10 outfielder or some legit peacocks who are brushing back their feathered hair in their El Dorados saying Ronald Guzman will hit 30 homers?  I honestly don’t know.  This is also why when people go back in October and say, “So, um *clears throat* I had three of my ten bold predictions come true.  The first one was Realmuto won’t be the number one catcher.  Yadda blabba bloo!”  *farts into hand*  It’s total nonsense.  Realmuto won’t be the number one catcher has like a 90% chance of happening and is not bold.  I’m gonna go crazy bold!  Let’s get ready to grumble!  Anyway, here’s some 2019 fantasy baseball bold predictions:

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In case you haven’t noticed, we are now less than two weeks away from Opening Day folks. Most of you are avid baseball fanatics so I know you don’t need a reminder, but it just feels awesome to be able to say it. After another long winter the best day of the year is almost upon us. Back again to look at some discounts you might find in your upcoming drafts, here are some starting pitchers I feel like will significantly outproduce their current draft prices.

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Spring Training is here, and Mr. Moving Averages is cranking out content like some kind of content making machine.  Countless hours of research, critical thinking, data mining, analysis & writing all come to a head as we approach Opening Day. Draft season is upon us, even if there may be snow on the ground in Brooklyn as I write this. Our immersive work, without an initial definitive direction began by opening a door. That lead to another door. And another, and another until we wound up down the rabbit hole, nowhere near where we started.  My advice at this point?  Follow the white rabbit. Reminds me of an old adage, a call to unification; ”Where we go one, we go all”.

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When I was writing up the 2019 fantasy baseball rankings in December/January — or simply Janember — I couldn’t imagine what February and March had in store — ya know, Farch. Players come out of nowhere in Spring Training to cause us to stop and take notice.  Of course, I just told you to ignore Spring Training stats.  This is true; Spring Training stats are a lot like my pants; they are propped up by a small sample size.  However, or howmever if you’re trying to sound smart, it is important to stay on top of guys who are fighting, and winning, everyday jobs.  Of course, with my Oracle third eye, I saw all of this back in Janember, but my third eye got into a spat with my first and second eye at the optometrist’s office.  My first and second eye were taking the eye test and my third eye was like, “ECFYE–Yo, this shizz is way too easy,” and then my 2nd and 3rd eyes were like, “You’re like the Felicity Huffman of eyes and your cheating is going to have us incorrectly placed with better lenses than we should have.”  It got ugly, and they refused to work together to type up this post for a few weeks.  Finally, they all came to their senses — the sense of sight, specifically — hashed it out at a Friendly’s over a Fribble and we’re all good.  Never the hoo!  With Farch turning into a full-fledged March, it’s time for me to let you in on some thoughts and changes to the 2019 fantasy baseball rankings and what they could mean for your drafts:

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Auction drafting reminds me of playing poker. Having a plan of attack, choosing the right hand to play, and then subsequently winning the hand while finding out that you could’ve made a lot more money if you had played it correctly. If you’re patient enough, play the rights hands and stick to the calculations, it’ll work out to your benefit more often than not, but are you that patient?

Can you let a player go under value because he’s not part of your plan? Can you avoid getting sucked into the auction and over paying for your guy? Can you avoid killing your budget faster than a college kid on spring break?

Hindsight is 20/20 and that is rarely more apparent than over the course of an auction. I don’t believe I’ve ever left an auction without regret. However, even if you don’t stick to your plan, there are ways to maneuver the auction to make your team build complete.

My plan coming into the auction was similar to my draft strategy for most of my leagues. I wanted to concentrate my bat spending on top of the order, high average, speed guys. Accomplished this with my combination of Ronald Acuna Jr. and Trea Turner. I balanced that speed with power in Edwin Encarnacion, Miguel Andujar, Justin Upton, and Max Muncy.

For my pitching, I took a more aggressive stance than normal and only wanted one ace and two established closers. I got Max Scherzer and then grabbed Edwin Diaz, Sean Doolittle, and Pedro Strop late.

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I was never particularly motivated to use VLOOKUP (or any other function in Excel) for “professional” working purposes. I learned it a few years ago strictly to become better at fantasy baseball. By taking all of the public information that is available at your disposal, and combining fantasy valuations and projections from various industry resources (using mostly VLOOKUPs – seriously, it’s the only thing that I know how to do), you can formulate composite projections which paint an accurate picture of the fantasy landscape, and eliminate limit your individual bias when you inevitably use those projections and re-rank players by position. One resource that I find particularly helpful, and which you might not already incorporate into your own process, are the player propositions and betting over/under totals provided by sportsbooks. The betting market sets extremely reasonable expectations with regards to player floors and league leaders in statistical categories and can provide guidance as to where your projections stand relative to public perception both on an individual player basis, and against the league as a whole.  The fact that a player is listed in a category, in and of itself, can be extremely telling as to their raw skills and expectations for the upcoming season.

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