How new rules in baseball affect fantasy
Yahoo Sports' Andy Behrens and Dalton Del Don discuss the rule changes in Major League Baseball and how they could impact the fantasy game.
ANDY BEHRENS: Andy Behrens here of Yahoo Fantasy. I am joined by Dalton Del Don. And we are here to talk about the new rules. There's a fair number of them. The shift is gone for one thing. And good riddance to it. We have these super-sized bases. We got pitch clocks. We got pick off limits. We got a lot to talk about.
All of that should mean, Dalton, I think that base stealing is back in a big way. But I want to talk first about the shift. No more than two infielders now on each side of second base. Everyone is required to actually have their feet on the infield. That's kind of exciting. We kind of know the list of heavily shifted players. And it's mostly power hitting left-handed bats. So who are you prioritizing? And what changes are you making in fantasy values based on the shift rules?
DALTON DEL DON: Yeah. More so than the steals or the time clock, which we'll get to it, is the shift rules that I'm actually fundamentally changing and bumping up mainly lefty hitters. You said it. It's Corey Seager, who's been talked about ad nauseam, but also Kyle Tucker, Matt Olson, Kyle Schwarber, Max Muncy Rowdy Tellez, Josh Naylor, Cody Bellinger, Seth Brown, Max Kepler.
And then, conversely, you could look at pitchers. I used earlier in a video one of my busts Sandy Alcantara because he really benefited for the shift as a ground baller with a lot of lefties hitting into that right side. So, yes, I'm cosmetically making changes there. But, honestly, maybe we're overrating this stuff. And I'm taking a wait and see approach for most of these rule changes.
ANDY BEHRENS: It's such a good point on pitchers. We've talked so much about the hitters that are going to benefit without enough discussion, perhaps, of the pitchers who will not benefit from it. But I certainly favor the changes because batting average is as low as it's been in my lifetime. So here's hoping that trends up.
DALTON DEL DON: The '60s. Yeah. Last year was the lowest collective league batting average since the 1960s. It's pretty crazy.
ANDY BEHRENS: Since the year of the pitcher. Yep. Let's talk a little bit about base stealing, though, because we have these mega bases. And we have limits on the number of times that you can throw over to first or-- excuse me-- disengage from the rubber during the course of an at bat. So I think we expect that base stealing is going to spike to some extent. Obviously, this isn't going to affect all players equally. Do we finally get a 50 steal season? We haven't seen one in like half a decade. Do we get 60? Where does this go from here?
DALTON DEL DON: Yeah. Based on spring training, it's clear in, obviously, the rules that steals are going-- you can safely project them to go up this season. I personally have been drafting them as aggressively as ever, though, because you're going to need more of them. I mean, I'm all after a Randy Arozarena, Chisholm, Mullens early. It might be a personal issue that I've been burned by Victor Robles and Adalberto Mondesi recently. Jake McCarthy and Ruiz in Oakland are kind of profiling to similar possible landmines there. But I've been aggressively drafting steals because there's going to be more of them this year, meaning you're going to need more in the pool.
ANDY BEHRENS: Yeah. I'm with you. I'm terrified of having those guys who just can't offer anything in terms of steals because there's going to be so many more of them out there. It's an exciting development. Another exciting development would be you getting yourself signed up for Yahoo Fantasy Baseball 2023. Do it right now.