1. Can you tell me a little about your plans for BaseballWhiz.com this season?
Thank you so much! I really appreciate it. I’ve wanted to put my thoughts down for people to see for years, so I finally dove in last year. People think we do it for the money, but in reality, I haven’t made a dime on www.baseballwhiz.com. I’ve spent just as many hours on my day job as I have on fantasy baseball, maybe more. It feels great to be appreciated. This fantasy season is going to be an exciting one. In addition to answering questions 24/7, we are producing our first Draft Guide. I’ve personally created rankings, projections, and analyses of players throughout the league. I use a variety of sources to base my analysis on, but I also use my knowledge of baseball. I have a background playing collegiately and professionally worldwide. You will see that some of my projections are based on personal bias from playing against players like Andrew Chafin and Cameron Maybin. My brother worked for the Milwaukee Brewers and was also in scout school. I bounce ideas off of him and get to see player scouting reports, which makes this job even more fun. I think I just have a different viewpoint in fantasy because I’ve seen natural progression, played ball, gave lessons, and coached at the high school and collegiate levels. I found a right hand man last year in Average Joe Baseball, he also does rankings and does a lot of daily updates for my site. The work on our site that doesn’t have an author was completed by me. The other pieces will have the author at the bottom. We’ve had quite a few first time writers, including Mark Jaroslawksi, who is back for 2015. We are collaborating with Clint Evans, owner of www.diamondhoggers.com, this year. He is a college baseball buddy and fantasy guru. I am hoping to help out as many fantasy players as ever this year and bring the joy of fantasy to new players around the world. It is a slow and tedious process, but I wouldn’t trade the hard work for anything, it is a true passion of mine. People like you make this possible. So thank you as well!
2. Ok, we all love sleepers and they can be key to winning in fantasy. Last year, Michael Brantley proved to be a great late round pick. Who are a few of your favorite (bats) late round/sleepers for this season?
Last year was an excellent year for sleepers. Fantasy “experts” always hype up so many players that they no longer can be had at a discount. This year, I have a quite a few sleepers, but let’s just narrow it down to a few. I love Jean Segura and Danny Santana at the shortstop position in 2015. Segura had a monster breakout in 2013, and then disappointed mightily in 2014. He BABIP was extremely low, and we think luck was a problem. His speed is still there, and his average will rise. Plus, he will have a healthy Braun back in the lineup. Santana is an under the radar guy that can produce 10HR power to go along with 20+ steals for the Twins. He won’t hurt your average, either. We don’t see his average above .300 in 2015 because his BABIP was a ludicrous .405 last year. He doesn’t hit the ball hard enough to sustain that number. An outfielder than can be had late in your drafts is Michael Saunders. He put up close to a 20/20 season for Seattle in 2012. He now moved to a place that seems to let power emerge, Toronto. He will be the starting left fielder in 2015. He is still in his prime at 28 year old. We could see another 20+HR campaign with 15+ stolen bases. The average will never be great, but we could see it in the .250-.260 range. Those numbers in the late rounds are a steal. I’ll give you one more…Justin Upton. He isn’t a late round guy by any means, but I think he puts up first round numbers in 2015 for San Diego. He has monster power potential, and is still young enough to exercise that power. I go in depth on him in the Draft Guide.
3. Ok, now give us a few late round arms to target.
The late round gems. These guys are the reason I will never draft an ace in the first round, ever. That means Kershaw will never be on my team, unless I can trade for him. The first guy on my list is Mike Fiers of the Milwaukee Brewers. A man with a k/9 over 9, and his fastball averages just over 88mph. Pretty weird, right? He mixes his pitches up so well. His repertoire includes a cutter, changeup, four-seam, and curveball. He keeps hitters off balance. When they do make contact, he is able to keep the ball in the park, which is hard to do in Milwaukee. His ERA won’t be 2.14 again, but we see it under 3.00. The reason for the rise is simple, his strand rate was over 80% last year. That will be hard to duplicate. His peripherals suggest that he can maintain his excellent K/BB ratio. We are all in Fiers in 2015. Another sleeper target we are after in 2015 is Drew Hutchison. He can put up high end #2 numbers for a #3 ADP. His K/rate will be close to 9 in 2015. Expect his strand rate to get better with his strikeout potential, so we expect a major drop in his ERA. Toronto is a tough place to pitch in, but Halladay did it. He is only 24 and he won’t have an innings cap this year. Hutchison is also attacking the strike zone more on the first pitch, and that will help him go deeper in games. The percentages are greatly in the pitcher’s favor if they are ahead in the count.
4. What is your favorite fantasy baseball league? Set-up, roster spots, hosting site, bench spots, rules etc..
My favorite fantasy baseball league is the Summer of Sizemore. My brother created this keeper league about eight years ago. It started on Yahoo, then went to CBS, and now it’s on FanTrax. It is a rotisserie league that has a snake style draft. A 10-teamer made up of our college baseball buddies. We are allowed to keep six players. It can be a combination of three batters and three pitchers, or four and two. You can keep them for 3-years after they were drafted. It is a very competitive league. Clint from DiamondHoggers is in it, as well as the 2-owners of LegionReport.com, the Tozzi brothers. We really enjoy FanTrax because of the ease of use. Our keepers are easily tracked, as well as trades of future draft picks. CBS and Yahoo both made this extremely difficult. The only downside to FanTrax is the gametracker. Nothing compares to Yahoo’s gametracker.
We had an 8x7 league which consisted of:
*H, RBI, R, AVG, HR, SB, BB, OBP, W, K’s, K/9, K/BB, WHIP, ERA, SV
We love the categories, but we are probably going to replace wins with QS in 2015.
*One player per position, plus two utility players starting.
*2 SP, 3 P, 2 RP
* 9 Bench Players
* 2 DL slots
* Unlimited Add/Drops
* Daily Lineups
* 1650 MAX IP. No minimum.
* Trades- Veto by League Commissioner Only- Voting was too biased.
I’ve played H2H, and I absolutely hate it. You can have the best team over 162 games and still not make a championship. You can run into teams that have their best week against you a lot. It really doesn’t show who the best player truly is. I’ve haven’t done many auction leagues, but I will be a part of the LEEG this year with fellow fantasy analysts. I’m pretty excited for the opportunity.
*Zac Barson is a 27-year old former collegiate All-American catcher that played in Europe after graduation. He coached in college for a year, had a baseball school, and now coach in high school. Originally from Ohio, He now resides in Florida with his wife and two dogs. He's been playing fantasy baseball for 13 years and have been doing my own projections for 10. Zac started www.baseballwhiz.com in 2013, as well as my Twitter account, FantasyWhizMLB, aka Johnny Baseball.