Buzzing on Yahoo Sports

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  • Draft like a champion today (USAT)

    Sometimes you're looking for specific ranks and insight, focusing on a player or a stat or a situation. Other times, the advice is more general, a compass to keep you headed in the right direction.

    Today, we hand you a compass. Consider this your inner GPS as you navigate those final Yahoo drafts of the 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season. Here are ten Draft Day Dos and Don'ts (five in each direction) for your consideration.

    Do: Know Your League Settings Inside And Out

    I know this sounds painfully obvious to many of you. Of course you know the rules. This isn't your first rodeo. (Do people really go to rodeos? Looks like a dreadful way to spend an afternoon.)

    That said, I've never been in a league where at least one person didn't need a clarification on Draft Day- and many times I've seen someone screw up their team because they didn't grasp a key nuance to that particular league. It's perfectly understandable when you think about it - we're all busy in our lives; many of us play in multiple leagues - but I don't want to see it happen to you.

    [Baseball 2014 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

    Every Yahoo league has a "scoring and settings" tab at the top right of the page. Learn it, know it, live it. The stat categories will be your first focus, but the roster structure is just as important. Are you using one catcher or two? How many bench spots are in play? What about DL spots? And take note that we're also offering "NA" as a designation this year (up to commissioner discretion); don't be caught by surprise. You might have a free-of-charge waiting room for that hot prospect who's currently in the minors. 

    Read More »from Tip Drill: Draft Day Dos and Dont’s
  • Bryce Harper is an MVP threat (USAT)

    NL EAST

    1. Washington Nationals
    2. Atlanta Braves (Wild Card)
    3. New York Mets
    4. Philadelphia Phillies
    5. Miami Marlins

    Comments/Predictions: The Nationals entered as one of the favorites to win the World Series last season but failed to make the playoffs despite the extra wild card spot. But this is still a loaded roster, and Washington projects to have by far the easiest schedule in baseball this year...Stephen Strasburg is 25 years old with a career 2.96 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with a 504:123 K:BB ratio over 434.1 innings during his career. His career SwStr% is 11.1 (Clayton Kershaw’s is 10.6). Hopefully the removal of bone chips from his elbow during the offseason finally has Strasburg at 100%, something he wasn’t in 2013. I think he’s worthy of a top-15 pick…My love for Bryce Harper can be found here, and I rank him as a top-five pick right now and as my choice to win the National League MVP.

    [Baseball 2014 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

    No team has been hurt more by injuries than the Braves in spring training, as they lost both Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to Tommy John surgery, while Mike Minor remains sidelined with an elbow injury. It’s enough to make them underdogs in their division, but Atlanta should be in wild card contention throughout 2014 despite the major losses…Ervin Santana is a top-40 fantasy starter thanks to joining Atlanta, while Alex Wood isn’t too far behind…Chris Johnson hits better than .300 again and a move to the cleanup spot improves his counting stats…2014 will mark the final time Dan Uggla plays professional baseball…Freddie Freeman wins the NL batting title, while Andrelton Simmons is one of the five most valuable players in the Senior Circuit. In fantasy terms, Simmons finishes as a top-10 shortstop, ahead of Starlin Castro.

    Read More »from Mostly MLB Notes: A National League Season Preview
  • Jurickson Profar, in happier times (USAT Images)

    Immediately upon finishing the A.L Tout Wars auction on Sunday afternoon, I was feeling upbeat. Pleased. Confident, even.

    And then my roster began to break like so many Rich Hardens.

    At almost the exact moment the auction concluded, one of my pitchers (Matt Moore) was drilled in the face by a line drive. Minutes later, my second baseman (Jurickson Profar) was scratched from a spring game with shoulder soreness, which quickly escalated to a torn teres major muscle. And not long after that, one of my starting catchers (Geovany Soto) tore the lateral meniscus in his right knee.

    [Baseball 2014 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

    Add those three injuries to Craig Gentry's back strain — the one preexisting condition on my team that was fully understood at the time of purchase — and you really have a giant mess of health concerns. So yeah, timing is everything in fantasy.

    Read More »from A.L. Tout Wars recap: Mike Trout, Matt Moore, and so many broken Rangers
  • Xander Bogaerts, Boston legend in the making? (Getty)

    For the past month, the Yahoo fantasy crew has offered up its player rankings for the upcoming 2014 fantasy baseball campaign. Now, with the season only a couple weeks away, we felt it was time to take a deeper dive into the rationale behind those rankings, specifically where each expert has most drastically veered from the group-think (Yahoo ADP) path. Below, each expert explains his dissenting opinion on a couple players he likes more than the Yahoo ADP and a couple players he likes less than the ADP. For this exercise, we'll call them our sleepers and busts at the middle infield positions. In case you missed them, here's our sleepers and busts in the outfield and at the corner infield.

    THE SLEEPERS

    [Baseball 2014 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

    Xander Bogaerts, Bos - I'm all in on Bogaerts. The 21-year-old has a nice minor league resume, but it's the eye test that has sold me. He definitely doesn't look like a kid. With a quick, patient bat and an ability to drive the ball to all fields, Bogaerts stepped up on the postseason stage last season and showed that he was up for the challenge, hitting .296 in 12 playoff games against the likes of aces Adam Wainwright, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez and company. Those that are hesitant to buy in on Bogaerts this season will point to the fact that he's hitting down in the Boston lineup. But I doubt that lasts. After all, how long are we really expecting top of the order hitters Grady Sizemore, Shane Victorino or Dustin Pedroia to avoid the DL? I'm looking for Bogaerts to post a line similar to Manny Machado's from last season as he relentlessly peppers the Green Monster all season long. (Brandon Funston)

    Read More »from Sleepers and Busts: The Middle Infielders
  • Folk Hero (USAT)

    Although I'm generally agnostic at the table - there are no bad players, just bad prices - there are a few notable names I'm pretty sure I won't own in 2014. Sure, draft season isn't over yet, but I can see which way the river is flowing. Let's get to the clipboard.

    - Evan Gattis: Catcher is the most physically and mentally taxing position there is, especially when you're not very good at the spot to begin with. This looks like the sucker play of 2014. Gattis hit .211 (with a .265 OBP) as a backstop last year. I'd love to root for the story, like everyone else, but I think Atlanta is going to regret giving Gattis the full-time catching gig. Sure, you'll probably get 20 homers, but everything else concerns me.

    [Baseball 2014 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

    Gattis's Yahoo ADP is an expectant 179. If you want someone cheaper, I suggest Wilson Ramos (189), Jason Castro (212) or Miguel Montero (218). If you can write a bigger ticket, Sal Perez (146) and Jonathan Lucroy (really like him at 154) make sense).

    Read More »from What’s Not In My Wallet: Steering Clear Of Evan Gattis
  • As you surely know by now, Javier Baez is a weapon of terrible power, loosed upon the pitchers of the Cactus League. He's as good as it gets among the current crop of prospects.

    On Wednesday, Baez homered for the fifth time in 13 spring games. His most recent bomb was a loud and majestic thing, estimated at 452 feet. Just look at this moonshot. Goodness.

    [Baseball 2014 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

    Baez was a monster last spring as well, hitting four bombs in 17 games while batting .298. This year he's hitting .308 and slugging .769. Baez is a stop-what-you're-doing-and-watch sort of hitter. He won't draw many walks (zero so far this spring) and there's some swing-and-miss in his game, but he has uncommon power — the kid may have the quickest bat in baseball, anywhere.

    Last season, Baez launched 37 homers across two minor league levels, driving in 111 runs, stealing 20 bags, hitting .282/.341/.578. He's the gem in a loaded Chicago farm system. Baez had played

    Read More »from Javier Baez has destroyed yet another baseball
  • On Wednesday night, a spring game between the Reds and Royals ended in basically the worst possible way. Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman fired a 99 mph fastball toward the plate in the sixth, and Salvador Perez ripped it back up the middle. Perez's liner struck Chapman in the face, dropping the pitcher, creating one of the more terrifying moments you're likely to see in your life as a fan.

    Chapman apparently never lost consciousness, though he suffered fractures above his nose and left eye. Brutal news, awful scene. Chapman was stretchered off the field, the game was called, and the pitcher was hospitalized overnight. Let's hope for the best, a quick and full recovery.

    [Baseball 2014 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

    Without question, Chapman is one of baseball's most dominant closers, an upper-tier fantasy asset. He's struck out 234 batters in just 135.1 innings over the past two seasons, which is ... well, it's insane. He cannot be replaced with a reliever of

    Read More »from Aroldis Chapman struck by line drive, suffers facial fractures
  • Fab Five Freddie (USAT)

    Now these people, they want ranks.

    My first go-round with 2014 prices are below. Today's assignment is the corner infield, the first basemen and third basemen. Don't ask me where Alex Rios or Clayton Kershaw are, they don't qualify.

    I've taken the catchers out of this exercise - they'll have their own day in the sun. Players at the same price are considered even. Assume a 5x5 scoring system, which is (still) the best way to play.

    The ranks are unscientific, my gut feel if you will. I'm not looking to push alphabet soup on you. I don't draft by acronym. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it, that just isn't my thing.

    Read More »from Shuffle Up: Corner Infield
  • Josh Donaldson - the man, the myth, the mullet. (Getty)

    For the past month, the Yahoo fantasy crew has offered up its player rankings for the upcoming 2014 fantasy baseball campaign. Now, with the season only a couple weeks away, we felt it was time to take a deeper dive into the rationale behind those rankings, specifically where each expert has most drastically veered from the group-think (Yahoo ADP) path. Below, each expert explains his dissenting opinion on a couple players he likes more than the Yahoo ADP and a couple players he likes less than the ADP. For this exercise, we'll call them our sleepers and busts at the corner infield positions. In case you missed them, you can find our outfield sleepers and busts here.

    THE SLEEPERS

    [Baseball 2014 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

    Brandon Belt, SF - Belt got off to a sluggish start in '13 but, if you throw out his first 18 games, he finished as a top 75 fantasy commodity the rest of the way. Here's a guy with an impressive pedigree coming off a season in which he showed prolonged success. And he is just entering his prime as he'll turn 26 in April. He's also expected to hit third in the lineup, in front of Buster Posey. Last season Belt hit .320 in 181 ABs as the No. 3 hitter. His current ADP is right around 143 overall, but I like him at least two rounds earlier than that. (Brandon Funston)

    Read More »from Sleepers and Busts: The Corner Infielders
  • Hanley Ramirez still has a ton of upside (USAT)

    Hanley Ramirez is a tough player to gauge, as the former top fantasy player has missed an average of 50.3 games over the past three seasons (and he missed 20 the year before that). It wasn’t just injuries, as Ramirez’s performance slipped as well. During his first five years in the league (from 2006-2010), he recorded a .906 OPS, which was the 18th best in all of baseball (only Chase Utley ranked higher among all middle infielders over this span, and the second best mark by a SS was Troy Tulowitzki, who ranked No. 43). However, over the next two years (when he inexplicably started hitting a lot more groundballs than fly balls, something he stopped doing last year), Ramirez’s .742 OPS ranked just eighth among shortstops, tied with Erick Aybar and behind Jhonny Peralta.

    [Baseball 2014 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

    Then, Ramirez went crazy last season, posting a .345/.402/.638 line, although he missed half the year. If you prorated his numbers over a full season, you’d get this: .345-117-38-107-19. I generally think position scarcity should be ignored, but it certainly doesn’t hurt if that type of production comes from your shortstop. So we are dealing with a player who’s been both injury prone and shown massive fluctuations in performance when on the field of late, so he’s clearly a high upside/high risk pick early in drafts. I currently have him as my No. 7 ranked player, so I’m willing to take the gamble. Ramirez is still just 30 years old and since joining the Dodgers, he’s batted .312 with 30 homers, 92 runs scored, 101 RBI and 17 steals over 150 games.

    Read More »from Mostly MLB Notes: Talking Hanley Ramirez, Bryce Harper and a look around the league

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