Top 25 First Basemen for 2015 Fantasy Baseball

*The order of these rankings are based on a valuation system for a 5×5 roto scoring league with 5 games played minimum for position eligibility.  This is not necessarily the order I would draft these players in, as different factors should impact which player to choose.

Embed from Getty Images

Continue reading

Advertisements

This Year’s Alex Wood Will Be M̶a̶r̶c̶u̶s̶ ̶S̶t̶r̶o̶m̶a̶n̶ Drew Pomeranz

When preparing for a new season, fantasy baseball enthusiasts are always wanting to know who is going to be the next big breakout player.  Drafting or picking up a player on waivers for his breakout season gives fantasy owners a feeling of superiority, a feeling of omniscience in some sense.  Whether that feeling is justified or not is another question.  But even if your team comes in last place, you can take ownership that you “knew” Jose Bautista would bust out for 54 HR, or that your hunch that R.A. Dickey would knuckle his way into a Cy Young Award panned out.  So at The Backwards K, there is a series of posts titled “This Year’s…” where I will tell you who I think this year’s version of a 2014 breakout player will be, providing some background and analysis.

Embed from Getty Images

In fear of breaking tradition that the baseball world has come to expect from the Braves, they have once again developed and produced another talented starting pitcher in the name of Alex Wood.  After being drafted in the 2nd round out of the University of Georgia in 2012, Wood made just 26 appearances in the Minors before becoming a mainstay of the Braves pitching unit in 2013.  Upon being called up as one of the organization’s top pitching prospects, Wood pitched out of the bullpen before being given a chance as a starting pitcher, and then shifted back to the bullpen to limit his workload.  Overall, his rookie season was a success as he went 3-3 with a 3.13 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 8.92 K/9, and 3.13 BB/9 in 77.2 IP.

In 2014, cracking his first Opening Day roster at the age of 23, Wood rose to the occasion like wood tends to do.  Get it?  Wood…like an erec…oh, never mind.  Anyway, the southpaw pitched extremely well as a sophomore despite being moved to the bullpen for a month in the middle of the season.  His fastball-curveball-changeup repertoire and improved control brought him great results and he finished the season with a record of 11-11 with a 2.78 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 8.91 K/9, and 2.36 BB/9 in 171.2 IP.  Wood is for real and should be on his way to a nice career.

Continue reading

Top 25 Catchers for 2015 Fantasy Baseball

*The order of these rankings are based on a valuation system for a 5×5 roto scoring league with 5 games played minimum for position eligibility.  This is not necessarily the order I would draft these players in, as different factors should impact which player to choose.

Embed from Getty Images

Continue reading

This Year’s Todd Frazier Will Be Brandon Belt

When preparing for a new season, fantasy baseball enthusiasts are always wanting to know who is going to be the next big breakout player.  Drafting or picking up a player on waivers for his breakout season gives fantasy owners a feeling of superiority, a feeling of omniscience in some sense.  Whether that feeling is justified or not is another question.  But even if your team comes in last place, you can take ownership that you “knew” Jose Bautista would bust out for 54 HR, or that your hunch that R.A. Dickey would knuckle his way into a Cy Young Award panned out.  So at The Backwards K, there is a series of posts titled “This Year’s…” where I will tell you who I think this year’s version of a 2014 breakout player will be, providing some background and analysis.

Embed from Getty Images

Todd Frazier first saw Major League action in 2011 and displayed some natural power skills by hitting 6 HR in 112 AB in a late-season call up by the Reds.  Frazier began the 2012 season in the Minors, but it was not long before he was called up for good to be the primary third baseman for the big league club.  In his official rookie season, Frazier once again showed the same type of power potential by blasting 19 HR in 422 AB while also managing to post a respectable AVG of .273.  This strong showing generated breakout buzz for him entering the 2013 season as a sophomore, but despite an increased walk rate and decreased strikeout rate, Frazier regressed to a .234 AVG and had the same 19 HR total but in 109 more AB than the previous year.  However, that .234 AVG was brought down by some poor luck on balls in play (.269 BABIP).  At every level that he played at in the Minors, Frazier posted a BABIP north of .300, and he had BABIP of .316 in his 2012 rookie season.  So a BABIP as low as .269 seemed to be a bit of an outlier, which was going to leave room for improvement for him heading into the 2014 season.  Also in Frazier’s favor for the 2014 season was the statement that new Reds manager Bryan Price made at the beginning of Spring Training that he wanted his team to run more.  This was great news for Frazier, because even though he was only about league average in speed, he did seem to have a knack for stealing some bases as he stole as many as 17 in one Minor League stop.  Under the management of Dusty Baker from 2011-13, Frazier had just 10 SB in 318 games.

Manager Price lived up to his promise about being more aggressive on the base paths, which was a big part of the 2014 breakout for the 28-year old Frazier.  The other factors in Frazier’s breakout were his bounce back in BABIP as it climbed back up to .309, and further progression in his power stroke at the Major League level where he saw a boost in his average flyball distance and HR/flyball rate.  Overall, Frazier posted a line of .273 AVG, 29 HR, 80 RBI, 88 R, 20 SB in 597 AB.  Amazingly, Frazier was one of five players to post a 20 HR/20 SB season (others were Michael Brantley, Carlos Gomez, Ian Desmond, and Brian Dozier).  What an amazing breakout season from a player that was available in the late rounds of most fantasy drafts.  So which player in 2015 will be able to go toe-to-toe and be the Ali to this Frazier and win the championship “belt”?  Well, if you did not catch on to the foreshadowing there, I think the best candidate to be this year’s Frazier is Brandon Belt.

Continue reading

This Year’s Corey Kluber Will Be Carlos Carrasco

When preparing for a new season, fantasy baseball enthusiasts are always wanting to know who is going to be the next big breakout player.  Drafting or picking up a player on waivers for his breakout season gives fantasy owners a feeling of superiority, a feeling of omniscience in some sense.  Whether that feeling is justified or not is another question.  But even if your team comes in last place, you can take ownership that you “knew” Jose Bautista would bust out for 54 HR, or that your hunch that R.A. Dickey would knuckle his way into a Cy Young Award panned out.  So at The Backwards K, there is a series of posts titled “This Year’s…” where I will tell you who I think this year’s version of a 2014 breakout player will be, providing some background and analysis.

Embed from Getty Images

Prior to the 2014 season in a 12-team keeper league that I co-own with a friend, this friend and I both made lists of what players that we would like to keep.  We were able to keep as many players as we wanted, as long as it fit under a keeper salary cap of $140.  This was my first time co-owning a returning keeper team, so it was going to be interesting to see where we would differ on players.  One of the omissions that my co-owner had from his list was Corey Kluber at a price of $2.  I told him that Kluber was no harm at that price and that I liked his sleeper potential and we should definitely keep him, which he had no problem with.  Heck, for $2, almost anyone not named Jeff Mathis is keeper material if it is within the budget.  As you should know, Kluber went on to dominate the American League and be one of the most improbable AL Cy Young Award winners in recent memory.  Kluber was not the only player that we struck it big on, but he was certainly a key component in leading our team to taking home the championship!  So let’s take a further look at Kluber’s ascension and see who may be this year’s version of him.

Continue reading

Get Caught Looking!

Hello, everyone!  Welcome to The Backwards K!  Whether you are a fantasy sports rookie, veteran, or hall of famer, The Backwards K is here to deliver fantasy advice and content that can help propel you to that fantasy crown.  This is real living in a fantasy world, so you’re going to want to get caught looking at The Backwards K.

For a brief introduction of myself, my name is Jason, I hail from Orange County, California, and I work for a great organization that provides services to adults and children with special needs.  However, first and foremost, I am a fantasy sports enthusiast.  I have been playing fantasy sports since I was a teenager in the mid-1990’s when this whole “Internet” thing was becoming popular.  Back then, Ugueth Urbina was very fantasy relevant and was attempting to close out games for the Expos instead of attempting to close out the lives of farm workers with a machete.  At least Urbina got a biopic deal out of it, starring the one and only Danny Trejo as Ugueth Urbina (*SPOILER ALERT before clicking the link: the movie is “Machete”).  Also back then it was not Yahoo, ESPN, or CBS Sports as the fantasy sports industry leader.  Instead it was a company called Sandbox that was revolutionizing the sports world (before going bankrupt in 2002), forever changing my life.  My days as a Sandbox user are still with me as two keeper leagues that I am the commissioner of still use the same ancient scoring system that in this day and age heavily favors pitchers since the steroid era is over.  My fantasy sports experience as a whole includes a (figurative) wall full of fantasy baseball championship trophies, as well as some scattered trophies in fantasy football, fantasy basketball, and fantasy hockey.  So you don’t have to treat my words as if I am Biff Tannen and have gone back to the future and acquired a sports almanac, but I am well versed in fantasy.

So without further adieu, let’s get on with the show and start talking some fantasy baseball for the 2015 season!