Box Score Breakdown — Getting Back To The Basics

For those unaware, I began writing for the Fantasy Hoops Daily three years ago before joining RotoWire. A trip down memory lane reminded me how far I’ve come and how I can improve on the current Box Score Breakdown format. I’m inclined to recapture the essence of what made my time at Fantasy Hoops Daily successful. Rather than bore with in-depth analysis capturing the minutiae, I’ll provide concise content in an unstructured fashion. I’ll write about trends, schedule quirks, and statistical anomalies while projecting a light-hearted demeanor. In essence, you’ll get a condensed recap of events without the default regurgitating of stat lines from the night’s action.

Steamer Dollar Values (Hitting)

For part 2 of my baseball prep, I downloaded the Steamer projections from Fangraphs, ran them through my valuation formula, then translated them to dollar values based on a 68/32 hitting/pitching split for a 12-team mixed league with a $260 budget and 14 active hitters. Keep in mind the Steamer projections are conservative by nature and will miss the big breakouts, but it is the most accurate system on Fangraphs over the last couple years and a good resource for creating a baseline, especially for players whose skills are less likely to change abruptly.

Nationals to Run More in 2016

The hiring of Dusty Baker by the Washington Nationals was probably met with a “meh” followed by an outdated joke about running young arms into the ground. He really didn’t show any of that with the Cincinnati Reds and he had plenty of young arms there. However something that should’ve garnered great attention happened two days and may well have been Baker’s first act as manager: he hired Davey Lopes to be the first base coach.

Now I’m not going to pretend I’m the only one in on Lopes. Several of you were definitely nodding right when you saw his name at the end of that first paragraph. Lopes is something of a Baserunning Whisperer. Check that, he is the Baserunning Whisperer. He really made his mark with the Phillies as their first base coach from 2007-2010. In that time, the Phillies were fourth in total stolen bases with 501, but their success rate was far and away tops at 84%!

Jimmy Rollins (136) and Shane Victorino (132) led the charge while Chase Utley (59) and current National Jayson Werth (60) were efficiency monsters. Utley nabbed those 59 bases on just 64 attempts – a 92% success rate. Break-even is 72%. Werth was no slouch at 60-for-68 (88%). By the way, Rollins and Victorino were at an excellent 88% and 82%, respectively. I didn’t intend to snub them as volume-only in that first sentence.

From Philly he went out to LA with the Dodgers. They didn’t burn up the basepaths quite like the Phillies, but they showed substantial improvement from the two years before he arrived.

Period SBs Att. Success
2009-10 (w/o Lopes) 208 306 68%
2011-15 (w/Lopes) 505 701 72%

Although I will note that the 2015 iteration of the Dodgers really fell off the cliff with just 59 steals on 93 attempts (63%) – the total bases and success rate both ranking 26th in the league. The Nationals are primed to reap the benefits of Lopes’ baserunning wisdom. Their 204 attempts the last two seasons are good for 27th in the league, though they have been rather efficient with a 77% success rate (tied for 4th).

A lot of that was built on a 2014 that saw them steal at an 81% clip with 101 SBs (tied for 12th). Health played a big role as Denard Span (31, 82%) and Anthony Rendon (17, 85%) were major factors. Ian Desmond (24, 83%) was great as well and while he was healthy in 2015 – or at least playing which signifies some measure of health – he only stole 13 bases on a 72% success rate. Span and Desmond are gone, but this team has plenty of potential beneficiaries including Rendon.

Let’s just go down the projected lineup and find the guys who could see a Lopes-induced boost:

Ben Revere – He is already a proficient base thief (four 30+ SB seasons, two 40+; 82% success), but ran into a bit of a red light after being traded to Toronto. If Lopes has anything that can actually improve Revere, then we could see the first 70-SB season since Jacoby Ellsbury landed right on the number in 2009. By the way, Revere wasn’t with Philly during the Lopes era.

Championship Game Observations

Being wrong about the NFL is an interesting experience – you’re surprised at the particulars (which team won or lost, which players scored TDs), but not at all surprised you were wrong. There’s a dissonance between what you believe will happen and the knowledge that your belief could easily be wrong. So it was with the Patriots who I expected to roll Sunday, but I knew were only three-point favorites for a reason.

2016 FSTA Draft Results from the seven-spot: Go big or go home

The FSTA experts’ fantasy baseball draft is the first publicized one of the new year, inspiring much discussion and a reminder that springtime is at our doorstep. It re-invigorates the spark for our beloved pastime and sets the tone for other notable drafts over the next two months. Primarily, LABR and Tout Wars, as well as high-stakes competitions such as the NFBC Main Event. The FSTA inevitably serves as a catalyst for player ranking debates and establishing ADP trends. It’s a notion that is not lost among those who participate.

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyways. Sitting at a table with the best minds in our ‘silly little game’ is truly an honor. And the game is not so little anymore, if you’ve noticed the growth trends and heightened mainstream buzz over the past decade.

Among the participants are the undisputed thought leaders and some of the founders of our industry. A group of people who work for different outlets, but come together every year to catch up with old friends, uninhibitedly share newfound draft strategies, and converge in different ways to make our industry better.

Most importantly, one has to be well-prepared knowing your competitors can and will steal your coveted, sneaky late-round 2B prospect a round before you’re ready to take the plunge. One has to be on-point, even in January. Though pride is the prize, it’s an intangible one that monetary value cannot compensate for.