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Winning Baseball Bet – Underdogs off a Low-Scoring Win

One of the few candidates for the major league stolen base crown who also possesses decent pop, Turner's fantasy impact is best illustrated by extracting his numbers in his past regular-season games on the Nationals' active roster: Those would be historic single-year stats, and while they overstate his potential due to including his unsustainable second half, even pacing his more realistic numbers over a full game schedule would result in.

As Turner's rate stats have settled into more realistic levels, he has continued to show incremental growth as a hitter, alleviating his risk of being a bust, and his speed metrics are as strong as anyone's in the game. If there's any valid doubt about his numbers entering , it's whether new Nationals manager Dave Martinez will give him the green light with the frequency that Dusty Baker did.

Even as a steal player, though, Turner would remain a Rotisserie building block, though he'd be more of a top player in points formats due to the scoring system's tendency to devalue speed. Charlie Blackmon , Col OF. There's always danger in chasing last year's numbers, especially historic numbers.

Blackmon set a record for RBIs by a leadoff man of his were out of the leadoff spot and finished two shy of the record for home runs from that spot in that lineup Also, his total bases paced the majors by 10 over Giancarlo Stanton. In the process, a lot of things went right for Blackmon: Still, Blackmon's hitting skills are improving, as he set career bests in isolated power.

If there's a worry about his , it's his waning stolen base trends, as a. Regard Blackmon as a building-block type, but don't get carried away chasing his Paul Goldschmidt , Ari 1B. One of the most consistent players in baseball, Goldschmidt has averaged. With the exception of his campaign, which ended 54 games prematurely due to a fractured left hand after Goldschmidt was hit by a pitch, he has rarely strayed far from those numbers annually.

It's the steals that'll probably catch your eye, as Goldschmidt has stolen at least 15 bases in five different seasons -- an unusual feat for a first baseman.

He's a category-filler whose contact rate is better than your typical slugger's, which makes him a first-rounder in Rotisserie and a strong choice in points-based leagues as well, though he's more of a marginal first-rounder there, if only because the position becomes deeper in points-based leagues.

Carlos Correa , Hou SS. The torn left thumb ligament that cost him 42 of the Astros' games during the second half of last season was frustrating to his fantasy managers, but it also might have kept Correa's anticipated price tag within range of him becoming a relative value pick. He's sneaking up on people as a budding star in the on-field game -- though his playoff success did raise his profile there -- as well as the fantasy game.

Before he got hurt, Correa sported the game's eighth-best batting average. Correa also became only the second shortstop in history with three homer seasons through his age season, joining Alex Rodriguez, the player to whom he was most often compared at the time of his No. Now just 23, Correa has first-round upside, yet he might sneak beyond that tier in drafts, which would make him a relative bargain.

Baseball is just better when its biggest stars stay completely healthy. Stanton, who missed only one game in due to injury for hamstring cramps in late May set career bests in games played and plate appearances , giving him an expanded opportunity to display his best-in-baseball raw power. Display it he did: Stanton hit 59 home runs in one of the worst home run environments in baseball in Miami, capturing the National League's MVP award in the process. Don't entirely attribute it to good fortune, though, as Stanton's adjustment to a closed stance also helped him post a career-best 73 percent contact rate, making him a much more complete slugger.

For an encore, he gets to flash those same skills in one of the most homer-friendly environments in baseball, having been traded to the New York Yankees in December. Stanton is in a dream circumstance, and while his prospects of repeating couldn't be much better, it's important to remember that he has missed There's risk here, but the power upside is monstrous.

He's coming off a historic seven-year run, during which he has captured three Cy Young awards , and , an MVP award and four major league ERA crowns and has averaged 17 wins and strikeouts with a 2. So why is it even a question as to whether Kershaw is the No.

Back problems have shortened each of his past two seasons, costing him a combined 96 Dodgers games and limiting him to 48 regular-season starts, only 13 of which have come after the All-Star break. That's an issue particularly in head-to-head leagues, in which Kershaw is the type of pitcher who can almost single-handedly lead your team to the playoffs, only to disappear at that most inopportune time -- said playoffs.

Depending on your risk tolerance, Kershaw stakes a claim to the No. Max Scherzer , Wsh SP. Let the debate begin: Who was the best pitcher of the past five seasons? If WAR, wins or strikeouts is your measure of choice, it's Scherzer, as he's the major league leader in each of those categories, with Scherzer has also won back-to-back Cy Young awards and three in that five-year span.

These are the things points-league managers want, and they're plenty helpful in Rotisserie leagues, too. Although Scherzer is now 33 years old and had minor neck, calf and hamstring injuries last season, the beginning of his career decline doesn't appear imminent.

He should again be one of the first pitchers off your draft board -- if not No. In what was probably perceived by most as a "down" season, Bryant made some important skills advancements in that bode well for his chances of a return to MVP glory. I ran across a conversation on the Internet the other day and thought I had been transported back to the 13th century. Well, except for the fact that it was on the Internet. And except for the fact that it was about baseball.

Everything else about it, however, was positively medieval. You see, some people were extolling the virtues of the sacrifice bunt as a baseball strategy. And considering how soundly the bunt has been discredited in recent years, they might as well had been arguing that the earth is flat or that gruel is best served with mead.

The bunt rarely is a wise strategy at the major-league level. I know, I know, a century-and-a-half of baseball history tells us differently. But those were the Dark Ages. From , if a team had a runner on first base with no outs, on average it would score. If a team had a runner on second base with one out, the average was. If the team hits away, on average it will score almost one run in the inning. If it successfully bunts and now has a runner on second with one out, it has just decreased the run expectancy by 23 percent.

The decline is similar for a runner on first base with one out. The reason is that outs are a commodity. They are the currency by which the game is governed, and willfully giving up an out is never worth the extra base that a bunt can provide. Is there ever a time when a bunt is a wise play? Of course, particularly when a pitcher is at the plate. Like Chone Figgins and Brendan Ryan, for example. With a runner on first and nobody out, there is a 44 percent chance a team will score at least one run in that inning; with a runner on second and one out, there is a 42 percent chance a run will score.

All things being equal, discounting the skill of the hitter at the plate, the odds say the only time a bunt makes sense is when you need one run and have a runner on second — or runners on first and second — with nobody out. Baseball people finally are understanding this dynamic. Last season, there was an average of 0. Some 40 years ago, nobody bothered to research these things. Conventional wisdom was taken as gospel and was unquestioned by managers.

Now, a new way of thinking is having an impact on the way the game is played.