Wednesday, April 4, 2012

PLAY BALL!!!


The newly minted Miami Marlins play host to the St. Louis Cardinals in the first "North American" game of the 2012 MLB season.  As I'm writing this, Josh Johnson is getting knocked around while Kyle Lohse is cruising through the Marlins lineup.  

Lots of injuries since I last wrote this blog.  Closers are becoming a dying breed with the season ending injuries to Jokim Soria, Ryan Madson, Drew Storen and now Andrew Bailey.   The White Sox , Red Sox and Royals closer situations haven't been fully answered, but Sean Marshall is the man in Cincinnati making him a pretty valuable player these days.   Andy Pettitte is now un-retired and should be back in the Yankees rotation by May...and Michael Pineda may have caught the sophomore jinx going down with a shoulder injury.  Notable injured and on the DL are:  Carl Crawford, Brendon Inge, Joba Chamberlin, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Michael Morse.  

Right now Kyle Lohse is throwing a no-hitter through six innings of work, with the Emilio Bonafacio reaching base on a hit by pitch.   Go figure that a fairly undrafted player goes out and does something like this on opening night.   Play Ball!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Matt Berry 100 Facts

Not a huge fan of Matt Berry, but the guy does some great things with stats...here's his 2012 100 Facts:

100 Facts you need to know before you draft




[+] EnlargePaul Konerko
Jake Roth/US PresswirePaul Konerko: An oldie but definitely still a goodie.

1. Over the past three years, of all the players who finished in the top 10 on our Player Rater yet were drafted outside the top 40 (i.e., the players who greatly outperformed their draft slots), 73 percent of them were veterans coming off down seasons.
2. Since 1999, Paul Konerko has averaged 147 games played and 30 homers per season.
3. Konerko is one of two players in all of baseball to hit .300 with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in each of the past two years.
4. The other? Miguel Cabrera.
5. Meanwhile, Mark Teixeira's last .300-30-100 season was back in 2008.
6. Teixeira has an average draft position (ADP) of 24th overall.
7. That's almost two full rounds before Konerko (current ADP: 42nd).
8. Last year, Player A had the following line:


9. Last year, Player B had the following line:


10. Player A is Alex Avila. He is currently being selected, on average, in the 13th round of ESPN live drafts.
11. Player B is Brian McCann. He is currently being selected, on average, in the seventh round of ESPN live drafts.
12. I have tremendous guilt about my dog. With my newborn twins around, my dog, Macy, who is 13 years old, can't be inside as much as before, so she doesn't get nearly as much attention as she used to. She has never really liked other dogs; what she really needs and craves is human attention. I don't know what to do.14. Last season, Howard Kendrick had 197 plate appearances as the No. 2 hitter for the Angels, his most common lineup slot.

15. Last year, Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter and Maicer Izturis had a combined 138 games in the Angels' No. 3 lineup slot.
16. This offseason, the Angels signed Albert Pujols.
17. Kendrick is a career .292 hitter, and he scored 86 runs last year.
18. Last season, only four players in baseball hit .295 or better and had at least 25 home runs, 20 stolen bases, 90 runs scored and 90 RBIs. They are: Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Gonzalez.
19. Only one player in baseball has achieved those marks for two straight seasons: Carlos Gonzalez
20. Kemp, Braun and Ellsbury are all being drafted among the first eight picks overall.
21. CarGo is being drafted at the end of the second round.
22. Oh yeah, and CarGo is just 26 years old.
23. On the Fantasy Focus podcast, we have a sound effect that we play sometimes called "comedy goalie." We play it whenever a joke or comment one of us makes (almost always one of mine) needs to be edited out for whatever reason. It's a phrase I picked up from my old sitcom-writing days, because on this one show I wrote for we had one writer who never pitched jokes of her own. But anytime someone else would pitch a joke, she'd say, "That's not funny." Or, "That's hacky. I heard that on 'Friends.'" Or just something negative. We started calling her the "comedy goalie" behind her back. "No comedy is getting in here! I'm blocking everything."
24. Why did I bring this up here, randomly, on Nos. 23 and 24? Oh, no reason. No reason at all.
25. Last year, including the postseason, Justin Verlander threw 4,301 pitches.
26. In fact, Verlander's 4,301 pitches were the most thrown in a regular season and postseason since 2002.
27. It's also 557 pitches more than he threw in 2010.
28. xFip (Expected Fielding Independent Pitching) is considered a good indicator for future performance.
29. Last season, Zack Greinke's xFIP was 2.56, best in baseball.
30. Madison Bumgarner's xFIP was 3.10, seventh-best in baseball …
31. … one spot ahead of Verlander's xFIP rank.
32. And tied for 12th with an xFIP of 3.25? Anibal Sanchez.
33. One last xFIP note: Jonathon Niese had a fine 3.28 xFIP last year.
34. Back to Bumgarner: He has 15 K's and just one walk in 14 2/3 spring training innings (through March 21).
35. As long as we are talking spring stats, Francisco Liriano has 18 K's and two walks in 13 innings.
36. Two other K/BB notes for you AL- or NL-only owners: Wade LeBlanc has 15 K's and two walks in 14 2/3 innings, and Brian Matusz has 16 K's and one walk in 15 innings.
37. I have become obsessed with the show "Storage Wars." Michelle Beadle and I discussed this on her podcast last week. Where did Barry get his money? What's the story with Jarrod and Brandi? Who is Dave fooling? Is it real? How many lockers do they shoot to get the three decent ones they need for an episode? What's with all the other people that show up at these auctions? So many questions. I could watch that show all day. Correction: I do watch that show all day.


[+] EnlargeC.J. Wilson
AP Photo/Darron CummingsThe change in ballparks (from Texas to Los Angeles) should improve C.J. Wilson's numbers.

38. In the past two years, as a starter, C.J. Wilson's home numbers look like this: 216 2/3 IP, 189 K, 76 BB, 3.70 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 7.9 K/9 rate, 16 home runs allowed.
39. On the road? Try this: 211 IP, 187 K, 91 BB, 2.56 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 8.0 K/9, 10 home runs allowed.
40. As Todd Zola notes in his players changing teams (Insider) article, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington inflates run-scoring by 19 percent. And Wilson's new home park, Angels Stadium: It depresses runs by 9 percent.
41. James McDonald's first four starts in 2011: 19 IP, 10.13 ERA, 1.95 WHIP, 5.7 K/9, 5.7 BB/9.
42. McDonald's last 27 starts: 152 IP, 3.49 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 7.7 K/9, 3.9 BB/9. That's useful in NL-only leagues.
43. On June 26, 2011, Cory Luebke joined the San Diego Padres' starting rotation.
44. From that point on, Luebke had a 3.31 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP and was 12th in the majors with 111 strikeouts over that time frame.
45. In 2011, Chris Heisey hit a home run every 15.5 at-bats.
46. As a comparison, Pujols hit one every 15.6 at-bats.
47. Heisey has a chance at being the Cincinnati Reds' everyday left fielder.
48. More fun with AB/HR ratios: Allen Craig homered every 18.2 at-bats last season.
49. And David Ortiz hit one every 18.1 at-bats.
50. I like to work at night, and sometimes it's easier to work late at the office. For instance, I am writing this sentence at 1:21 a.m. The lights in my building are on timers. So even if I'm at my desk working, the lights turn off all around me every 20 minutes or so. I have to get up from my desk and walk around, waving my arms, to get the sensors to pick me up. I feel like an idiot doing it, and I'm sure I look like an idiot doing it.
51. Here's another blind resume: Player A hit .311, with 106 runs, 29 homers, 112 RBIs and 22 steals in 159 games played.
52. Player B: .284, 78 runs, 18 HRs, 79 RBIs, 20 SBs, 134 games played.
53. Player A's line shows David Wright's averages from 2005 to 2008.
54. Player B's line shows Wright's averages from 2009 to 2011.
55. Last season, Jeff Francoeur had a .285 average, 77 runs, 20 homers, 87 RBIs and 22 steals.


57. Over the past five seasons (2007-11), only four shortstop-eligible players have had a season in which they posted a .290-plus batting average and 40-plus steals.
58. They are: Jose Reyes in 2008, Hanley Ramirez in 2007, Jimmy Rollins in 2007 and … Emilio Bonifacio in 2011.
59. Over the past three years, Andrew Bailey's WHIP is 0.95.
60. Only Mike Adams, Mariano Rivera and Neftali Feliz have posted lower WHIPs (minimum 150 innings pitched).
61. Over the past three seasons, Bailey has a 2.07 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 174 strikeouts in 174 innings and is 75-o- 84 in save chances (89.3 percent conversion rate).
62. Over the past three seasons, Jonathan Papelbon has a 2.89 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and 239 strikeouts in 199 1/3 innings and is 106-of-120 in save chances (88.3 percent).
63. Papelbon is going seven rounds before Bailey in ESPN live drafts.
64. In 2011, CC Sabathia and Felix Hernandez each had 22 quality starts.
65. That's the same number as … R.A. Dickey.
66. I know it's the most clich├ęd thing in the universe, but I can't tell you how much my outlook on everything has changed now that I have kids. I mean everything. It's indescribable.
67. Peter Bourjos's pre-All-Star break numbers in 2011: 33 runs, 3 HRs, 17 RBIs, 11 SBs and a .272 average in 287 at-bats.
68. Bourjos after the 2011 All-Star break: 39 runs, 9 HRs, 26 RBIs, 11 SBs and a .270 average in 215 at-bats.
69. Despite getting only 301 major league at-bats as a rookie in 2011, Lucas Duda had 17 extra-base hits on two-strike counts, tied for most on the team.
70. Prince Fielder hit 24 home runs at Miller Park last season.
71. Nine of those home runs would not have been home runs at his new home, Comerica Park.
72. No one hit more home runs last year after the All-Star break than Dan Uggla.
73. He also hit .296 over that time frame.
74. Speaking of second-half power, Uggla, Ellsbury, Evan Longoria, Pujols and Ian Kinsler were the only players to hit more home runs after the All-Star break than Josh Willingham, who had 18 home runs and 54 RBIs in 243 post-ASB at-bats.
75. One more second-half list: Kemp, Kinsler, Curtis Granderson, Ellsbury and Braun were the only players to score more runs after the All-Star break than Dexter Fowler.
76. Fowler also had 10 steals and hit .288 in 271 post-ASB at-bats.
77. I recently spoke at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Had a total blast. Awesome event. Was really nervous before it, and I don't usually get nervous these days. But it was all about analytics, and while I know my way around a stat book, Bill James I am not. I've never hung my hat on being the "statiest" guy around. Rather, I'm the guy who makes up words like "statiest." But it turned out great. I was well-received, I met tons of amazing people and I can't wait to go next year. The lesson, as always, is nothing productive comes from fear.
78. Speaking of that conference, I met a super smart kid named Mike Attanasio. We discussed Aramis Ramirez, who is on my "hate" list for 2012. We talked about his home/road splits, his age, his six home runs at Wrigley last year that wouldn't have left Miller Park, etc. Well, when signing with the Brewers this past offseason, Ramirez stated that he was looking forward to playing in Miller Park's temperature-controlled environment. So Mike looked at Aramis' stats by temperature and sent me a whole study. Below is a snippet of his report:


Aramis Ramirez
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesLast season, Aramis Ramirez was a better "warm-weather" hitter.

79. When playing in 30-to-50 degree weather in 2011, Ramirez posted these numbers: .240 AVG, .333 OBP, .360 SLG, 1 HR and 2 RBIs in 57 plate appearances.
80. Ramirez in 60-70 degrees in 2011: .309 AVG, .373 OBP, .436 SLG, 4 HRs, 23 RBIs in 126 plate appearances. According to Mike's calculations, 44 of Ramirez's first 51 games this season will be in weather that is likely to be 60 degrees or above, perhaps helping him avoid a slow start.
81. I still don't like Ramirez where he's being drafted, but it's interesting, no?
82. In 2011, there were only 13 pitchers who threw enough innings to qualify for the ERA title, struck out fewer than six batters per nine innings and had a K/BB ratio worse than 2-to-1.
83. Of those 13, the guy with the second-lowest ERA was Paul Maholm at 3.66.
84. And the lowest ERA? Jeremy Hellickson's 2.95.
85. Hellickson's xFIP, however, was 4.72.
86. Over the past three seasons, only one major league team has had more save opportunities than the … San Diego Padres.
87. The top five teams in save opportunities from 2009 to 2011: the Giants (197), Padres and Braves tied (194), Marlins (192) and … the Washington Nationals (191).
88. The Philadelphia Phillies, who have been to the postseason each of the past three seasons (the timeframe I referred to above), are middle of the pack, tied for 14th with 180 save opportunities.
89. Over the last three seasons, with Ozzie Guillen as their manager, the Chicago White Sox attempted 535 steal attempts, fifth-most in the majors over that time frame.
90. Guillen now manages the Miami Marlins.
91. Reyes, Hanley Ramirez and Emilio Bonifacio all play for Miami.
92. The "personal" stats are often more hard to come up with than the player stats. Probably should have thought about that before I agreed to write a book, huh?
93. Michael Morse joined the Nationals' starting lineup on June 10, 2010.
94. From June 10, 2010, to the end of last season, Morse, who qualifies in the outfield and at first base, hit 46 home runs, had 134 RBIs and posted a .297 average over 767 at-bats.
95. From June 10, 2010, to the end of last season, Matt Holliday had 44 home runs, 153 RBIs and a .308 average over 822 at-bats.
96. Holliday is being selected, on average, in the fourth round of ESPN live drafts.
97. That's four rounds ahead of Michael Morse.
98. As of this writing, Ryan Raburn is hitting .462 this spring and leads the majors with six home runs.
99. Last year, the spring training leader in home runs was … Jake Fox of Baltimore, with 10 homers and a .297 average.
100. I actually like Raburn, but come on. It's just one stat!
13. Part of me feels like I should give her up for adoption, because that might lead to a better life for her. But another part of me loves her too much to do that. She has been with me through a lot -- a cross-country move, a divorce, a new marriage -- and as the current Mrs. Roto and I joined families, she really was all I brought to the party. I'm concerned that what's best for my dog isn't best for me. But then, who gives away their dog after 13 years? Is it a jerk move to give her away? Is it a jerk move to keep her if she could have a better life with someone who could give her more attention? I think about this a lot.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Great Article

Came across this article by David Ferris (Buller???) which talks about some players and their forecast for the 2012 season...

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Upgrade

Ian Stewart, 3B, Cubs: The Rockies jerked him in and out of the lineup, the whims of Jim Tracy. The Cubs insist that Stewart will play every day, against all kinds of pitching. It's too early to say if Stewart can really handle left-handers -- he hasn't been given the opportunity. Here are the cheapest 25-30 homers you'll find on the board.

Dee Gordon, SS, Dodgers: He's working with the best base-running coach in the majors (Davey Lopes), and that has us dreaming of a 50-60 steal breakout. Don Mattingly has already decided on Gordon as the leadoff man; the young shortstop earned that position with a monster September (.372, 21 runs, 12 steals). You won't get any pop from Gordon, but those stole bases are hard to look away from.

Brennan Boesch, OF, Tigers: He's going to open the year in the No. 2 slot in Detroit -- the catbird seat -- working in front of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Boesch would have ended the 2011 season with shiny stats if not for a thumb problem that ruined his season in August. There's a screen here, take advantage.

Jason Heyward, OF, Braves: Easy profit is coming here as we play the "last year's bum" card. Heyward had a bad shoulder in 2011, not to mention a poor rapport with former batting coach Larry Parrish. If Heyward's body cooperates, you'll see a much different player in 2012. You'll pay for him as your third outfielder, but he has a shot to be the No. 1 man on your depth chart when the counting's all done.

Downgrade

Carl Crawford, OF, Red Sox: He's a poor fit for Fenway Park and for the Red Sox in particular -- the lineup is already lefty-filled -- and now there's a wrist problem to deal with. Pay for 120-130 games at most when it comes to Crawford, and if you don't get him, you don't get him. His stolen-base total is no sure thing to rebound, because the Red Sox might have to slot Crawford in the middle of the lineup again.

Franklin Gutierrez, OF, Mariners: Last year was a washout as he struggled with a stomach problem. He was given a clean bill of health as camp opened, but it didn't last long; a pectoral injury has him likely to miss the first month of the season. Gutierrez looked like a sneaky power-and-speed sleeper a few weeks back, but now we can't take him seriously. Good luck with Casper Wells and Michael Saunders, Seattle.

Holding Steady

Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Marines: His .272 batting average last year was one of the flukes of the season. Ichiro's BABIP dropped by 58 points despite a drop in strikeouts and a small gain in line-drive rate; that BABIP move doesn't pass the smell test. We're not saying you can still peg on Ichiro to challenge for a batting title, but he should be around .300. There's nothing wrong with his wheels either -- you can still pay for 30 bases -- and his overall run-production stats should be better now that he's Seattle's No. 3 hitter. You won't make a major profit here, but he'll earn more than what he costs.

Marco Scutaro, 2B/SS, Rockies: It's all about the batting slot with this veteran. If he lands in the No. 2 position in Colorado, go get him. He's a solid utility middle or first infielder off the bench in most mixed leagues. But, if Scutaro is forced to bat seventh or eighth -- the death sentence in the NL -- forget we had this conversation.
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Monday, March 5, 2012

Weekend Run Down

Both the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues have started their Spring Trainings games, with most teams running their starting pitchers out for 2 innings or so.   Among the notable starters who pitched this weekend:

Stephen Strasburg: gave up a homer to the Astro's Cory Snyder;
Roy Halladay: gave up a homer to the Yankee's Alex Rodriguez;

Cory Hart joins the growing list of injured players.  The Milwalkee Brewers have lost their OF for 4 weeks.  Given the loss of Prince Fielder to the Detroit Tigers via free agencies, it's not a good sign that the Brewers are losing Hart.  Hopefully he makes the start fo the season.   Speaking of the Brewers, Ryan Braun was taunted by fans in his spring training debut.  He was 0-2 with two strikeouts in the spring debut, but clearly some fans are out there to get Braun.   Reports of "cheater" chants are coming in.

It was good to have some spring training ball on TV this weekend.  I watched a bit of the Yankees/Phillies game and watched A-Rod launch his bomb against Roy Halladay.   Looking forward to Yu Darvish to make his spring training debut this week for the Texas Rangers.  

Between now and the start of the MLB season, postings on this blog may be erractic at times.  All of my important drafts are taking place mid to late March, meaning I will be focusing my attention to drafting the best teams possible. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

One more playoff bound

As reported by the folks at Rotowire:

Major League Baseball has officially announced the addition of one more Wild Card team in the National and American League starting in 2012.
Also announced is that the winners of the "play-in" game between the Wild Card winners will host the first two games of the Divisional Rounds before moving on to the higher seed's home park for subsequent games. This will only be in effect for 2012, as MLB wanted to eliminate a travel day during the Divisional Round. A return to the 2-2-1 format will occur in 2013.
-------------------
 
This is actually big news for my team...the Toronto Blue Jays who have often lost out on the Wild Card race due to the division they play in.  Now the Jays will have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs.  

Burnett...Traded and Injured

Talk about just bad luck...or simply fate...but AJ Burnett is injured once again!  This after recently joining the Pittsburgh Pirates after being traded to the Steel City franchise by the New York Yankees.   Burnett and injuries have a long history together...and for AJ he just can't seem to get rid of this baggage.  Brunett suffered an orbital fracture after making a terrible bunting attempt (see the photo - luv it!).   He will be out for 2-3 months after the surgery.   Speaking of injury prone players, Grady Sizemore will be undergoing back surgery and he too could be out for 2-3 months.   In short, after a week into spring training 2012...there are some significant injuries happening.

Yu Darvish apparently looked good to Mike Napoli, who caught his first bullpen session.   The Japanese star is set to pitch in an intersquad game on Friday and may pitch in the opening spring training game for the Rangers on Saturday. 

Hearing these reports out of the New York Mets camp that Johan Santana is pitching well and could be ready for the season opener is starting to pique my interest in the aging Mets starter.  If Johan manages to find his form, he could work his way into relevance with the Mets...who really do need their ace to come back to form.   Santana at 50% couldn't be worse then anyone else on the Mets starting rotation.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Myers Named Astros Closer

Talk about a surprise.  The Houston Astros named Brett Myers their closer for the season on Tuesday...creating extra value for Myers (who for the most part has gone undrafted in many fantasy drafts to date) and a sudden interest in a player that was slated to be in the Astros starting rotation.  

Myers’ move to replace the traded Mark Melancon puts Brandon Lyon in a setup role for the final year of his three-year deal and first since ending his season in June for biceps surgery. It also pushes a stable of young relievers into the competition for setup jobs and gives Livan Hernandez a clear shot at a rotation that had one fewer hole before and Jordan Lyles, Kyle Weiland, Zach Duke and Lucas Harrell better shots.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekend Run Down

We are just a few days into Spring Training 2012 and the news is flowing out of Florida and Arizona as players begin to work out all of the rust accumulatted over the winter.  Catchers and pitchers reported last week and the remaining positional players are set to join their clubs as teams prepare for the start of the Spring Training season.  

Among the most notable news from the weekend is the end of Joel Zumaya's 2012 season...the Detroit Tigers former closer-in-waiting signed on with the Minnisota Twins was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. If he wants to return to baseball, he will need Tommy John surgery.  Zumaya is considering retirement after this latest setback to his career. 

The Cleveland Indians will be working out pitchers to replace Chris Perez as the team's closer for the short term.  Perez, will likely start the season on the disabled list.  Cleveland’s All-Star closer will miss at least one month and possibly six weeks with a strained left side muscle he injured throwing off the mound for the first time in spring training. Perez said Sunday he had thrown about 30 pitches Thursday when he pulled up with what he thought was a cramp.  Instead, he strained an oblique muscle.

Not sure what I make of the current Josh Hamilton situation in Texas.  The All-Star outfielder and former MVP relapsed this past winter - still you can't deny that the guy has put up the numbers to warrent a long term contract extension.   It'll be interesting to see what Nolan Ryan and the Rangers do with Hamilton during spring training and the regular season.  

I took part in my first ESPN draft of the season last night and here is what my roster looks like:


CMiguel Montero, Ari C
1BMichael Morse, Wsh 1B, OF
2BRyan Roberts, Ari 2B, 3B
3BBrett Lawrie, Tor 3B  DTD
SSElvis Andrus, Tex SS  DTD
2B/SSDustin Ackley, Sea 2B
1B/3BAdam Lind, Tor 1B
OFJacoby Ellsbury, Bos OF
OFJustin Upton, Ari OF
OFShin-Soo Choo, Cle OF
OFLogan Morrison, Mia OF  DTD
OFJason Kubel, Ari OF, DH
UTILBilly Butler, KC DH
PFelix Hernandez, Sea SP
PDavid Price, TB SP
PMatt Moore, TB SP
PDrew Storen, Wsh RP
PYu Darvish, Tex SP
PRyan Madson, Cin RP
PBrandon League, Sea RP
PTyler Clippard, Wsh RP
PJim Johnson, Bal RP  DTD
BenchJesus Montero, Sea DH
BenchBryce Harper, Wsh OF
BenchPhil Hughes, NYY SP


Can't say that I have displeased with the results of this draft.   Team is young and has the potential to boast quite a few breakout players.   Harper was selected in the 23rd round.  I tried to resist drafting him, but given that he was there in round 23, I couldn't really resist. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Return of Braun

Some early season drafting may have paid dividends already for some fantasy baseball owners.  Those who ended up getting a discount on Ryan Braun due to the recently resolved 50 game suspension issue (which was overturned yesterday) should think they are blessed...the 2011 NL MVP ad fallen to the 4th and 5th rounds in most drafts.   That being said, I am not sold that Braun will produce as effectively as he did  in 2011, when he had Prince Fielder with him on the Milwalkee Brewers.  Fielders departure to Detroit leaves Braun without protection and not much to work with in the rest of that lineup.   We also haven't resolved whether or not Braun was actually on PED, and the overturning of his suspension leaves many to doubt the legitimacy of the MLB drug testing policy.   You also have to think that this favours Manny Ramierez and his potential to join the Oakland Athlethics on opening day. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Darvish Throws Left-handed?

No - I didn't alter the photo...but this is Yu Darvish throwing left handed during the opening week of Spring Training with the Texas Rangers.    The Rangers off-season international acquisition apparently takes to throwing with his left hand in order to keep his non-throwing arm strong and his body balanced.  

Ryan Howard has been taking some batting practice.  The Phillies first baseman has been recovering from surgery to repair his torn left Achilles tendon.  The Phillies are looking for Howard to rebound from his poor 2011 season.  Howard has lost quite a bit of value as a fantasy player over the last two seasons.  

Bobby Abreu has requested a trade from the Los Angeles Angels if he is not going to be an every day player for the Angels this season.  The Angels have a crowded OF corp, that might even see highly touted prospect Mike Trout not make the major league roster come opening day.   With the return of Kendry Morales to the fold, the OF becomes even more crowded.  The Angels need to find room for Trout, Abreu, Vernon Wells, Morales, Tori Hunter and Peter Bourjos.    Abreu will likely be moved...but where?

Roy Oswalt continues to look for a new home.  Oswalt has spoke with the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers about his services this off season but has yet to sign on with a MLB club.

More updates to come as Spring Training gets into high gear....

 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday afternoon thoughts...

Alright it's Monday afternoon and "Family Day" here in Ontario for most people (by most people, I mean almost everyone but me!).    Some interesing news coming over the inter-net thing...AJ Burnett has been traded by the Yankees to the Pirates...the talented Burnett gets shipped from a contending team to a team that seems to be perpetually terrible (anyone remember when they had a championship team...that was the pre-steroid Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonillia) since the mid-90s.   The Yankee's received a couple of prospects - but really, I think the team had enough of Burnett and his underachieving ways.   The Yankees have agreed to take on a large part of Burnett's rather handsome salary.   You can read more here.

Tommy Hanson was involved in a one-car accident Monday morning.  He blew a tire and hit his head.   Lucky for the Atlanta Braves that one of their top starting pitchers didn't start the season on the disabled list...still, you have to wonder if the car accident is a sign of things to come for Hanson this season.  

The Yankee's kept busy after trading Burnett by signing Raul Ibanez to a one year contract.   The aging Ibanez will likely serve as a left handed DH for the Yankees, and fill in for the other aging wonders on this Yankee's roster (yeah - I'm talking about A-Rod and Jeter). 

The Washington Nationals have pretty much confirmed that Stephan Strasburg won't be pitching more than 160 innings this season.  This shouldn't be surprising since the 160 inning cap was also placed on fellow National's starter Jordon Zimmerman when he returned from Tommy John surgery.  

After taking part in some mock drafts...here are some players I see that are going way to early:

  • Bryce Harper - will likely start in the minors for the Nationals - very slim change of making opening day roster.
  • Brett Lawrie - I've seen Lawrie taken ahead of Alex Rodriguez AND Evan Longoria.  This shouldn't happen especially for a 3B with a small sample size. 
  • Matt Moore - he's started 1 game for the Tampa Bay Rays but it seems that expectations are high for Moore.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

And It Begins...

Getting ready for draft day...here are some tips from the Talented Mr. Roto (aka. Matthew Berry from ESPN):

OK, it's game day, baby. Time for the big show. Don't bother cramming on the way in or anything stupid like that. It's like a test. You know it or you don't. You're pregnant or you're not. You want to project an air of confidence -- even if you don't feel it. Make others sweat, be it in person or through chatter in your draft engine. That's my first draft day hint.



1. Never show fear. Just be confident. You don't have to be cocky or a jerk. But occasionally sighing a breath of relief when the owner before you picks as if to say, "Glad you didn't grab the correct guy," will do wonders to rattle your weaker-willed leaguemates.
2. In auctions, throw out a young, hyped player early. Reliable performers like Roy Halladay will be thrown out soon enough. But the first guy I'm throwing out this year is Brett Lawrie. Everyone loves him this year. And he'll go for at least $5 more than he should because he's sexy and everyone has money at that point. That extra $5 off the table will be helpful much later in the auction.



3. If you find yourself getting run out of a position, don't panic! Say you've got Pick 11 in a 12-team league and find yourself on the short end of a second-base run. Instead of reaching for a guy such as Daniel Murphy just to have someone, grab another closer, even if you already have two. Or a second decent shortstop. Give yourself something to trade for what you need.



4. If you are in a snake draft, especially at one end of one, grab what you need when you can. Let's say you really want a good No. 1 first baseman. You see there are at least six guys left whom you wouldn't mind having. So you grab another starting pitcher. But one good run, and you're left holding the bag. It's 20 picks until you get to choose again, if not more. Don't wait. Grab what you need, get surplus later (unless you're in a situation like I described above).



5. Don't listen to anyone else during the draft! (Basically, don't fall for No. 1.) As I mentioned in my theory section, nobody knows anything! And that includes me and any other fantasy baseball analyst. Yes, we analysts probably spend a lot more time looking at stats, trends, players and teams and the like than you do, but that's because you have a life. And we've probably been playing a bit longer. So we probably have a more informed opinion. But that's all it is. An opinion. An educated guess. Emphasis on the word "guess."


So if I'm telling you that "experts" (and notice I put the word in quotes; I consider myself an analyst, not an expert ... there's no such thing in fantasy) aren't always right ... other people in your league sure as hell aren't. If they mock your pick or sneer at your team, who cares? Don't let it rattle you! I often find that the loudest person at the draft is the stupidest. I've seen too many good drafts screwed up because someone listened to some loud jerk rather than trusting his own opinions. Listen, you've done the research, you've played the game ... you've even read this far. You're into it. And your opinion is as good as, if not better than, anyone else's in that room.



6. For those in auction leagues, especially keepers, consider bringing last season's rosters with you. Say someone throws out Evan Longoria. You look at last year's rosters and see one person had him at $36. It's likely that the owner who had him last year will go up to $36 to get him back. How many times have you said to yourself, "Aw, hell, I'll throw him back, see if I can get him cheaper. If not, I can still pay $36 to get him back." So you bid the guy up to $36. It's not a strategy for the weak of heart; you can get stuck. But worst-case scenario, you're stuck with Evan Longoria. Not the most unpleasant thing in the world. And if you're successful, you can take a lot of money off the table a little bit at a time.



7. For the players you do get, write down the name of the last person who bid on him or the ones who complained that you snatched him up right out of their draft queue. That will come in handy later when you're looking for trade partners.



8. The later the draft or auction goes -- and it will go long -- the more people get antsy and stop paying attention. This is when you need to be your sharpest. This is when the cheap guys come in. This is when you got that $1 Jordan Walden last year. This is when you win or lose your league. Not by paying $40 for Prince Fielder.



9. Speaking of the end game, this is where you need to swing for the fences. A guy like Mark Buehrle will always be there -- someone "safe" who you know exactly what he will bring -- you can always grab him or someone similar if need be. But the end game is where you swing for the fences and hope to hit on one or two breakouts. Too many people go "safe" in the late rounds.



10. Have fun. Remember, we do this for leisure. We all (especially I) take it very seriously, and I play to win, but it's not worth ruining friendships over.  Unless you've got a shot at winning. In which case, you can always get a new friend.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

MLB 2012: Pre-Season Thoughts

Well it's early February in Ottawa and the snow/ice is still on the ground in Canada's national capital.   The Superbowl is over and sadly, I have to deal with the endless discussion about whether or not Eli Manning is an "elite" quarterback (for the record - he's only one in his own mind).     With the end of the NFL season, it's time to start gearing up for the upcoming MLB season and more specifically to the various fantasy baseball league drafts I'll be involved in this year.   With some significant changes over the winter, this upcoming year is going to be extremely interest.   Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols are now in the American league - joining the likes of Mark Texeria, Adrian Gonzalez and Miguel Cabrera in the Jr Circuit and leaving only Joey Votto as the only legitimate power hitting first baseman in the National League.   CJ Wilson is now an Angel,, but the Texas Rangers quickly replaced him with Yu Darvish.   To me, the 2012 MLB season could be a year of transition...the dominance that Pujols has had over the past few seasons will likely be replaced by  someone else.  

While this blog will primarily deal with Fantasy Baseball, I won't forget my beloved Toronto Blue Jays who are on the verge of becoming true contenders in the AL East.   It was a stake in the heart that the Jays didn't bid nearly enough to get the rights to negotiate with Yu Darvish...in fact, had I been the GM of the Jays I would have spent the money given to Brandon Morrow in an attempt to grab one of the biggest free agent names on the block.   Darvish will be a number one for years to come for the Rangers and the Jays missed out not only on a staff ace, but also a major promotional opportunity especially in the MLB International market.   This will likely be one of the few things I will not like from the Jays young GM Alex Anthopoulos.  

Looking forward to the MLB season and all the fantasy discussions.