GM's OFFICE: The Pre-season Plan

Welcome back.

Yes, I know, some of you never left. We see you around the HQ forums all winter long, asking questions and giving opinions on all the MLB moves, various offseason research, and, this year, the ever-developing DFS drama.

But our page-view data says that most of you re-engage BaseballHQ.com after the turn of the year, and especially after the Super Bowl.  So whether you’re reading this early Friday because BHQ is (already) a part of your morning routine, or if it’s Monday or Tuesday post-Supe, when your head is now clear of pigskin, or even in March, when you’ve just discovered us—we wanted to take the time to get the baseball machine revved up. A lot is happening—and will happen—here through the end of March, and we want to lay it all out so that you can best prepare for your fantasy draft(s) as Step One to your 2016 Championship. Call it the BaseballHQ.com roadmap to Opening Weekend—and it IS a weekend, now, right?

 

MLB NEWS AND FANTASY IMPACT

PT TODAY serves as our newsfeed, where BHQ analysts translate what MLB transactions and news mean for fantasy owners. Not a breaking news service, but a second-level analysis of “why” and “how” the news affects MLB playing time, and the expectations for those players affected, given what we know of their underlying skill sets. Your daily dose of what's happened.
Schedule: Items are collected into the PT TODAY columns daily—though may be slightly less frequent until spring training games get started.
Sample: PT TODAY from this offseason

While PT TODAY spins the past, PT TOMORROW looks to the future. With one writer per MLB division, PT TOMORROW takes a broader view of each MLB roster and tries to extrapolate what could happen before it does, so that your fantasy squad can take pre-emptive steps instead of reacting with the masses. So questions like "Who's the backup closer?", "How would Swingman Y perform in the rotation if Starter X's minor elbow pain persists?", and "Can we trust the manager's assertion that LF is an open competition?" are customary. It's some of our best work on the site; a result of our writers' commitment to knowing individual team situations, and applying BHQ tools and metrics to project the future so that subscribers can glean hidden fantasy value.
Schedule: Six days per week (one division per day, Monday through Saturday) starting February 15.
Sample: PT TOMORROW on the NL East from January 

DR. HQ is one of the site's longest-running columns, where our injury analysis lives. In the preseason, Dr. HQ publishes his Positional Health Reports, where he examines each position and grades the risk level for players with an injury past.
Schedule: Weekly columns run on Saturdays, starting February 20.
Sample: DR HQ Positional Report for corner infielders in 2015

 

PLAYER PERFORMANCE

FACTS & FLUKES is the robust kernel of performance analysis at BaseballHQ.com, where our analysts take the long view of a player's skill set and include a host of factors including in age and historical trends to answer one basic question: Is the player's current statistical performance sustainable? During the offseason, this target is no longer moving, as we have complete years of data to compare. Using traditional stats as well as BHQ and other established metrics, Facts & Flukes examines the whole player pool—from the aging veteran to the prime slugger to the rookie fireballer—in five -player chunks. Each analysis ends with some implication of what to expect from the player from this point forward. Which, let's face it—is what really matters.
Schedule: Five columns per week, Tuesday through Saturday, beginning February 16, with this format: three AL/two NL in Week 1, then two AL/three NL, and alternating weeks throughout the pre-season. 
Sample: NL FACTS & FLUKES from February

BUYERS GUIDES are the place to look for hidden value from a contextual perspective. Three separate weekly columns—Starters, Relievers, and Batters—examine the player pool, looking for impending breakouts on a skill-based level. Here, player performance analysis happens over a shorter term than Facts & Flukes, but reading the skills for a key of upcoming season performance is the goal. So you might get a quick-hit list of starters who saw an increase in strikeout rate over the 2H of 2015. Or setup relievers who have the skills to handle the closer role. These are must-read columns as you prepare for your draft.
Schedule: Three columns per week, starting February 15: Starters on Mondays, Batters on Tuesdays, Relievers on Wednesdays.
Sample: Batters BUYERS GUIDE from January

 

PLAYER VALUE

MARKET PULSE is where BHQ subscribers get to see their potential profit pockets, position-by-position (say five times fast). The premise is simple: to compare current Average Draft Position (ADPs) consensus with our BaseballHQ.com ranking. And who doesn't want to go into their draft knowing that the traditional wisdom values Robinson Cano as a fourth-rounder, while BHQ sets his value in the late second round? One of our most practical columns this time of year.
Schedule: Market Pulse started in January, and runs weekly throughout the Pre-season. Its popular All-Value Team will publish on March 13, followed by the All-Avoid Team on March 18.
Sample: MARKET PULSE on the 2016 shortstop pool

SPECULATOR is our contrarian column, "designed solely to open readers' eyes to possibilities they may not have previously entertained, and in doing so, provide a different perspective on the future," as the disclaimer reads each week. Though the assertions are founded on some element of fact, these are our "20% percentage plays," and an excellent reminder of the importance of the process over results in player evaluation.
Schedule: Weekly columns begin February 8, and will run on Sundays starting February 21.
Sample: SPECULATOR from last June on the 2015 rookie class

 

MINORS

ORGANIZATION REPORTS is where our minor league analysts examine each MLB club, ranking and reporting on the top 15 fantasy prospects. While the Org Reports are fascinating reading during the winter months, they also are an invaluable resource throughout the season—for mid-season call-ups and trade discussions, especially. Those in dynasty and keeper leagues will especially find these reports essential as they build their squads for the future.
Schedule: The Org Reports began in late November and were published through mid-January.
Sample: ORGANIZATION REPORT for the Phillies  

PROSPECT LISTS/COMMENTARY slices the prospect coverage a different way, from presenting the top 100 prospects in baseball (HQ100) to our positional prospect rankings, with both the 2016 season and the long term in mind. Want to explore the rookie second base crop in 2016? Or need to have one of the top three starting pitchers in the minors as a future rotation cornerstone? These columns will give you that edge.
Schedule: The HQ100 was released in mid-January; the by-position reports started on January 29. The positional reports will continue weekly, on Saturdays, through March 19. 
Sample: 2016 TOP CATCHING PROSPECTS

 

GAMING/STRATEGY

KEEPERS is a column devoted to finding the best long-term values for those who retain some amount of rostered players from season to season. The goal: Identify the emerging young players, both at the minor and major league level, who will be an asset to your fantasy team a few years from now. It serves as a weekly thinkpiece for ways to improve your team's standing by looking at least a year in advance, and its current "Dynasty Re-load" series gives out recommendations of young players at a different position each week.
Schedule:
The weekly column started in November, and will run through Opening Day, moving to Sundays beginning February 21.
Sample: KEEPERS column on first basemen

STRATEGY articles rotate through the many different specific game formats—Rotisserie, Head to Head, Scoresheet and Simulations, NFBC—and strive to give game-specific advice tailored to that format. While specific players may be mentioned, in these columns the players serve as examples of how to employ a strategic edge. Game theory, auction dynamics, and the many different draft philosopies and strategies will be examined with the goal of giving you another edge in addition to player performance.  
Schedule: Periodic through the Decemeber and January, these pieces will appear several times per week beginning February 15 through Opening Day.
Sample: STRATEGY around early NFBC results

 

Whew. And that’s just the formal articles. BaseballHQ.com’s exclusive projections and extensive, flexible toolset provide infinite ways to slice and dice the numbers as your prepare for you fantasy drafts. PlayerLink is our massive player database, where you can search a player’s BHQ essay and stat archive, dig into his splits, view his 2016 projection and more. The Custom Draft Guide (CDG) is an interactive draft tool powered by BHQ projections. Plug in and save multiple league formats, and CDG will provide you with customized cheat sheets using our projections. All of these are updated daily to reflect the constant shifting of playing time on each MLB club, so that you know you have all of the most recent information to take with you into your drafts. 

At BaseballHQ.com, we couldn’t be more excited about what we have in store for subscribers (including a few surprises) in the 2016 pre-season. We hope that this journey not only begins with all the fantasy baseball information you need, but ends with your squad at the top of the standings come October 3, 2016. 

Let BaseballHQ.com lead the journey.

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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.