Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fantasy Sleeper 1B

Davis Mets' first baseman of future, maybe present -

"Ike Davis is waiting for his chance to succeed. He might not have to wait too long.

Davis, the son of former Yankees reliever Ron Davis, is the Mets first baseman of the future. He's 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, has an explosive left-handed swing and is smooth around the bag. He turns 23 next month.

Some people in the organization think Davis is the first baseman of the present as well. General manager Omar Minaya said he could be the surprise of camp, challenging Daniel Murphy for the job."

2010 Fantasy Projections

2010 Fantasy Projections - TG Fantasy Baseball

Free projections courtesy of TG Fantasy Baseball

Fantasy Baseball: Snake Draft Strategy - FakeTeams

Fantasy Baseball: Snake Draft Strategy - FakeTeams:

"The strategy I have employed in the past is to draft solid power/speed hitters in 8 of the first 10 rounds, and draft two closers in the first 10 rounds, and then complement the two closers with several setup men, and another closer. So, in this 5 x 5 league, I was punting not one, but two categories-wins and strikeouts. The objective is to win saves, ERA and WHIP, and place well in all of the hitting categories."

Follow-Up Last Night's Jose Reyes HGH Connection

Feds interview New York Mets' Jose Reyes about link to Tiger Woods doctor Anthony Galea:

"Mets shortstop Jose Reyes was interviewed by an FBI agent late last week at the team's spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla., about his association with a Canadian doctor who is under investigation for drug violations, including conspiring to smuggle human growth hormone into the United States from Canada, Reyes confirmed Sunday...Jose Reyes says he used Dr. Anthony Galea's (above) controversial 'blood-spinning' treatment to recover from a torn right hamstring tendon."

True Average Metric

Milwaukee Brewers's Prince Fielder, San Diego Padres' Adrian Gonzalez and other studs of the True Average metric - ESPN:

"There's a lot involved in turning hits, walks, total bases, stolen bases, caught stealing and other data into this batting-average-like form. We even build park and league adjustments into the formula"

How good is True Average if Adam Dunn is predicted to be better and Ichiro Suzuki worse? Of course, looking at the inputs points towards the biases of the metric.

BP: Pitchers who will surprise (and disappoint) in 2010

MLB -- BP: Pitchers who will surprise (and disappoint) in 2010 - ESPN:

"Cain teamed with Tim Lincecum to form a dominant duo atop the Giants' rotation last season, but while Tiny Tim was every bit as good as his ERA suggested, Cain relied on above-average success with stranding baserunners to beautify his mark. Like Happ, he had an unsustainable .161 average against with runners in scoring position, and though he reduced his walks from 3.8 BB/9 to 3.0, his true talent likely lies somewhere between last year's 2.89 and the 3.76 ERA he posted the year before."

These use Baseball Prospectus' new ERA predictor, SIERA.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

HGH subpoenas across sports

"injuryexpert Just when I thought my night couldn't get any crappier - ice storm coming and a set of HGH subpoenas across sports, but J Reyes named."

Jumping the gun on "J Reyes" as Jose Reyes?

RotoSynthesis >> Bargain Players

RotoSynthesis : Bargain Players:

"Vernon Wells - he's only 31, and last year's struggles can be attributed in part to a wrist injury."

BP: Pitchers who will surprise (and disappoint) in 2010

MLB -- BP: Pitchers who will surprise (and disappoint) in 2010 - ESPN:

"Pavano actually pitched very well last season, with strikeout, walk and ground-ball rates resembling those he posted in his final season with the Marlins in 2004. A .335 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) hurt his ERA, but if that rate can take a few steps down toward his career BABIP of .308, he should be a very effective starter as long as he is healthy."

Will Job Chamberlain Or Phil Hughes Go To The Bullpen?

On ESPN's Baseball Today podcast, Buster Olney said the decision to move Joba Chamberlain to the bullpen and move Phil Hughes back into the rotation is practivally in stone. - Free Preview: Speculator - Free Preview:

"What's Plan B behind Maybin? It's probably Emilio Bonifacio (IF/OF, FLA). And even though he cratered after a hot start in 2009, there's reason to think that giving him more AB in 2010 isn't a bad idea: both his ct% and bb% improved as last season went on, and he also hit far more groundballs in the 2nd half. When you have a PX under 40 and an SX over 140, more grounders are a very good thing. Bonifacio seems to already own plate patience, blazing speed, and defensive versatility. Those skills in combination point to an elite SB source, whose value will only be hidden by his lack of a primary position. Don't lose sight of him in March. What's Plan B behind Maybin? It's probably Emilio Bonifacio (IF/OF, FLA). And even though he cratered after a hot start in 2009, there's reason to think that giving him more AB in 2010 isn't a bad idea: both his ct% and bb% improved as last season went on, and he also hit far more groundballs in the 2nd half. When you have a PX under 40 and an SX over 140, more grounders are a very good thing. Bonifacio seems to already own plate patience, blazing speed, and defensive versatility. Those skills in combination point to an elite SB source, whose value will only be hidden by his lack of a primary position. Don't lose sight of him in March."

The 2010 Draft Versions Of Carl Crawford

Baseball HQ Friday - February 26, 2010

"Anyone who drafted Crawford for less than full value last spring ended up with a bunch of profit. But the only legitimate reason he wasn't once again ranked in the Top 15 would have been the uncertainty about his health. If fantasy leaguers were downgrading him based on his 2008 stats, they were wrong.

This spring, we have a trio of players who fit the exact Crawford profile. Jose Reyes, David Wright and Grady Sizemore were ranked 3, 4 and 5 in last year's Top 15. Two of the three, Reyes and Sizemore, lost significant time to injury. "

Friday, February 26, 2010

What About Strasburg's Slider?

"injuryexpert My favorite quote from ST so far: 'His slider looked like it hit something mid-air.' Any guesses who it's about?"

Where Would Bryce Harper Rank In The BA Top 100?

Chat: Chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis - SportsNation - ESPN

"Jay (Near Baltimore) Where would Bryce Harper rank if he were already in pro ball?

Jim Callis (2:38 PM) No higher than fifth, behind Jesus Montero, and probably not lower than 12th, behind Dustin Ackley."

5 Prospects Who Missed BA Top 100

Chat: Chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis - SportsNation - ESPN

"JAYPERS (IL) Which five prospects just missed? (#s 101-105)

Jim Callis (2:09 PM) The five guys I liked the best who didn't make it were: Diamondbacks 3B Bobby Borchering, Royals 1B Eric Hosmer, Marlins 3B Matt Dominguez, Orioles 1B Brandon Snyder and Twins OF Ben Revere. In retrospect, I wish I had pushed harder for Red Sox SS Jose Iglesias (everyone I ask about him can't stop gushing about his defense) and Cubs SS Hak-Ju Lee."

Another Lee Hak-Ju mention. Just as Chan Ho park's career ends, Lee's begins?

Baseball Prospectus | On Ronny Cedeno

Baseball Prospectus | On the Beat: Mid-Week Update

"Cedeno hit .258/.307/.394 with .253 EqA and five home runs in 170 plate appearances for the Pirates last season after being acquired in a late-July trade. He followed that by homering 10 times in 150 at-bats in Venezuela.

"Nobody has ever questioned this guy's tools," a scout said. "He's got good pop for a shortstop and outstanding range and a good arm. The problem has always been focus and confidence. In the past, his mind would drift and he seemed unsure of himself but I saw a different guy when he got to Pittsburgh last year. They gave him the starting job and he looked ready to run with it."

2010 Draft Prep: Rookies

2010 fantasy baseball draft preparation rookie report (and other random notes)

"Chris Carter, Justin Smoak, Logan Morrison, Brett Wallace, Yonder Alonso, and Brandon Allen are strong talents, but they are all blocked at the major league level. It will take an injury or an absolute trouncing of Triple-A pitching to get them to the majors. "

2010 RF in Tampa Bay

Chat: Chat with Rob Neyer - SportsNation - ESPN

"Tarek (NYC) Do the Rays play Matt Joyce in RF this year with Killer Z at 2b? If so does Joyce platoon with someone?

Rob Neyer (12:46 PM) I don't know that he needs to, but if they've got an extra outfielder hanging around, why not? What I'm curious about is what the Rays do with Sean Rodriguez, who really deserves 400 PA."

Heard on MLB Homeplate that there is very little chance top prospect Desmond Jennings plays in the majors in 2010.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Is Elvis Andrus A Good Comp For Starlin Castro?

Chat: Chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis - SportsNation - ESPN

"Gerald (St. Louis) Is Elvis Andrus a good comp for Starlin Castro?

Jim Callis (2:21 PM) I don't really think so. Andrus is a flashy defender with a solid bat, while I think Castro will be a solid defender and stick out more offensively."

What Is It, Statheads?

Chat: Chat with Rob Neyer - SportsNation - ESPN

"AJ (Columbus) Will Clayton Kershaw take another step up this year? It doesn't seem like he'll be able to cure his BB rate overnight.

Rob Neyer (12:50 PM) Pretty amazing that a guy with a 2.71 ERA in 30 starts would win only eight games, huh? Yeah, that was partly because he averaged fewer than six innings per start, but still ... I don't know if he'll cut the walks down, but I'll bet you he wins more than a dozen games this year."

Is it the Walks or the ERA that is indicative of Clayton Kershaw's ability?

Jason Heyward Or Justin Upton

Chat: Chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis - SportsNation - ESPN

"Jeff (NYC) Justin Upton or Jason Heyward?

Jim Callis (2:56 PM) Upton. Almost said Heyward, though."

The Next MLB Veteran In For A Rude Awakening

Season may dictate future for Astros's Berkman | Baseball | - Houston Chronicle

“If they don't pick up my option, then to me that says they may like me to come back at a discount, but they don't really want me,” Lance Berkman said. “If that's the case, then I'll just see what else is out there.”

See Johnny Damon.

Russell Branyan Kills Michael Brantley

Branyan's already won Tribe's 1B job - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

Russell Branyan passed his physical today and officially became the Indians starting first baseman. That's right he'll be starting at first base.

"He's going to get the majority of playing time," said manager Manny Acta. "We didn't sign him to be a backup guy."

That means Matt LaPorta will be on the move to left field. He still could play some first base, but Acta made it clear Branyan is going to be the regular there."

Baseball Prospectus | On Jay Bruce

Baseball Prospectus | On the Beat: Mid-Week Update

"He's just a baby and he hit 22 home runs in an off year," a scout said. "Imagine what he's going to do when he's healthy. This kid has tremendous power and he's already advanced enough that he hits them out to all fields because he knows how to turn on inside pitches and he is strong enough to go the other way with balls on the outer half of the plate. What we've seen of him is strictly the tip of the iceberg."

PECOTA also feels Bruce is ready to bust out, projecting him to hit .275/.342/.520 with 32 home runs in 620 plate appearances."

In Defense of Fantasy Baseball

In Defense of Fantasy Baseball | FanGraphs Baseball

"This Lenten Season, I — like many Catholics — have given up a vice. But it’s neither chocolate nor beer from which I’ll be abstaining for these forty or so days. I don’t particularly care for the former and view the latter less as a vice and more as a type of awesome medicine.

Here’s what I’ve given instead: apologizing for my interest in fantasy baseball."

Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Andruw Jones' Weight

MLB -- Buster Olney -- Atlanta's Jason Heyward need not look far for advice on how to handle the phenom storm - ESPN

" Andruw Jones showed up to the White Sox camp weighing about 220 pounds, or roughly 25 pounds lighter than last year, and is committed to proving the doubters wrong. "

Double digit HRs is a lock. RBIs depend on ABs.

Clayton Kershaw

Kershaw looking ahead to life without limits | News

"The 2.79 ERA put Kershaw in rare company, as he joined Ralph Branca, Don Drysdale, Fernando Valenzuela and Don Sutton as the only Dodgers in the modern era to rank in the top 10 for National League ERA at age 21 or younger."

Hadn't realized how good his 2009 season was. Just see the 91 walks in those 170 or so IP.

HitTracker :: Aaron Hill's HRs

HitTracker :: Player and Field Detail

I could see 18 HRs in 2010 if this chart does not lie.

Fantasy Baseball: AL East Avoid List - FakeTeams

Fantasy Baseball: AL East Avoid List - FakeTeams

Can't disagree too much with Derek Jeter. of course, a drop in counting stats means almost nothing in mixed leagues. If he ever hit .270? Watchout!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Baseball America: Complete Top 100 Prospects List Blog: Baseball America Prospects Blog » Blog Archive » The Complete Top 100 Prospects List

Enjoy Jason Heyward is No 1.

Washington Nationals view pitcher Drew Storen as their future closer -

Washington Nationals view pitcher Drew Storen as their future closer -

"Storen, aside from Stephen Strasburg, is Washington's top pitching prospect, and likely its future big league closer. He dazzled last season in the minors, finishing with a 1.95 ERA in 28 games spent at three levels. Still, the Nationals will likely treat Storen as they treat Strasburg, returning him to the minors for the start of the 2010 season."

Brandon Wood

For the Angels' Brandon Wood, it is time -

"It's not exactly now or never for Wood, but with the Angels, you can see it from there. Wood is out of options..."

Wood's making the team or getting traded.

Carlos Beltran Rehab

Rehabbing Carlos no longer angry at Mets -

"After [Steadman] did the surgery, he wanted to do three or four MRIs to follow the progression and healing part of the knee," Beltran said. "I didn't get the first one yet, but when I get the first one we can talk about that."

Glowing reports halt until these MRIs begin to come ine, no?

Sabermetrics Library

Sabermetrics Library

"The idea of this website is to provide the sabermetric community with a handy resource that can be used to educate fans new to sabermetrics, refresh the minds of established sabermetricians, and store links to important sabermetric articles in an easy-to-access fashion."

Fantasy Baseball Avoid List?

NL CentralAvoid List:

"We move to the NL Central Avoid List today, starting with the Cardinals:
Cardinals-which of these numbers do not belong-5.10, 4.54, 3.04, 3.55, 1.92? These are Ryan Franklin's ERAs for the last 5 years, and I don't see him duplicating his 2009 season in 2010."

Monday, February 22, 2010

No Worries, Matt LaPorta

Baseball Prospectus | Transaction Analysis Blog: Junior Circuit Jumbling:

"The worst-case scenario is that LaPorta loses a lot of playing time, because Branyan isn't necessarily an improvement, and LaPorta's development as a prospect is a big part of whatever better future the Indians are supposed to have. It seems reasonable to anticipate that playing time gets shared out in a way that gets Brantley, Branyan, and LaPorta plenty of work, in part because Brantley could be the primary backup to Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo, while Branyan and LaPorta can pick up starts at DH."

Korean Baseball Prospects

Baseball Prospectus | Events | Chat with Kevin Goldstein:

"Kris (Chicago): Thanks for answering my first question, Kevin. This will be my last one(albeit in two parts): What have you heard about Kim Jin-Yeong, the Korean pitcher that the Cubs reportedly signed for $1.2 million? Speaking of Korean pitchers, what do you expect from Dae-Eun Rhee, once he returns from TJ surgery?

Kevin Goldstein: Yeong is very intriguing. Smooth easy arm with projection, already 90-92 mph as a teenager. Rhee really was one of the better arms in the Midwest League when healthy, so I'm looking forward to his return."

Annyeoung haseyo. Of course, Chicago Cubs SS Lee Hak-Ju is the one fantasy players have more interest in. From Baseball America:

"Lee is more athletic than Starlin Castro, which could puch Castro to 2B when they're double play partners in Chicago"

Stephen Strasburg ETA

Baseball Prospectus | Events | Chat with Kevin Goldstein:

"Tex Premium Lager (NJ): ETA on Strasburg callup, assuming health? Above average pitcher on the major-league level from day 1, or will he take his knocks for a little while?

Kevin Goldstein: 10 minor league starts. 4 for Potomac, 4 for Harrisburg, a couple Triple-A warmups and early June in the big leagues. Above average from Day One"

FWIW, this matches with the info Wprovided on Baseball America's recent podcast that said Potomac was already marketing ticket packages around Strasburg's stay.

Fantasy Baseball Avoid List

FakeTeams - NL East Avoid List

Great idea.

Sleeper Closer in St. Louis

Spring Training Blog: Feb. 20 - ESPN:

"The Cardinals have faith that a pitcher who'll be 37 next month and isn't a strikeout machine can do the job again, but not enough that they're not trying to develop a backup this spring...Among the potential fill-ins are Jason Motte, who began last year as the closer, and Mitchell Boggs. Both throw in the high 90s, more of a typical closer template than Franklin, who is a ground-ball pitcher."

Motte is a post-hype sleeper closer, but Boggs is certainly a 1st time sleeper closer. For fantasy players, let's hope Ryan Franklin isn't the new version of Todd Jones.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Baseball America Top 100

The Top 100 prospects by Baseball America comes out early next week. Listening to the podcast, I learned their were three 80 fastballs - Stephen Strasburg, Neftali Feliz and Aroldis Chapman.

Will Lingo relayed the info that Strasburg's 80 was reported to be the easiest 80 grade given.

PECOTA Comparable: Jordan Schafer

Atlanta Braves CF Jordan Schafer was a top rpospect before his initial failure as a major leaguer last season. Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA system rates his top comp as Colorado Rockies' OF Carlos Gonzalez.

Post-hype sleeper thy name is Jordan Schafer.

Fantasy Sleeper: Pittsburgh Pirates SS

Baseball Prospectus | Events | Chat with Kevin Goldstein:

"efeder21 (new york): Ronnie Cedeno or Bobby Crosby

Kevin Goldstein: I assume we're talking about Pittsburgh here. Gimme Cedeno. I actually think he's a great sleeper for 2010."

Click over the read the whole chat.

Fact or Fluke: Joey Votto

From the free Baseball HQ newsletter:

Joey Votto (1B, CIN) had his share of problems in 2009 with depression and dizziness causing him to miss approximately a month of the season. When he was at the plate last year, Votto created his own set of problems for opposing pitchers. Is buying shares of Votto a gamble?

===== === == == === === === === === === === ==
2007* 580 26 16 15 284 469 828 10% 81% 112 32
2008 526 24 7 8 297 506 873 10% 81% 133 33
2009 469 25 4 3 322 567 977 13% 77% 166 37
* includes MLE

The only red flags from 2009 are the spike in strikeouts and a hit rate of 37%.
There are so many things pointing in the right direction: OPS, BB%, PX, and age.
If he could convert a few of his 38 doubles into HRs, we may be talking significantly more power. He finished 7th in MLB in slugging last year.

If he was able to get a little more opportunity on the base paths (career-low 3% SBO last year), he could find himself in the double digits on SBs.

A full season of playing and continued maturation could have him comfortably in mid-30's range for HRs. Votto looks like a savvy investment that could provide huge financial returns rather than a gamble.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Closer Sleeper

Spring Training Blog: Feb. 19 - ESPN:

"The Baltimore Orioles still believe that right-hander Koji Uehara can be a valuable member of their pitching staff."

Prior to the 2-year/$12MM signing of lefty Mike Gonzalez, Uehara was my sleeper pick to close in Baltimore. Sorry Jim Johnson fans.

MLB -- Buster Olney -- Johnny Damon

MLB -- Buster Olney -- Mariano Rivera has no plans to fade away with the New York Yankees - ESPN:

"Heard this: Agent Scott Boras is pushing Tigers owner Mike Ilitch for one of two concessions from the Tigers: a 2010 offer that doesn't contain any deferred money, or a legitimate two-year offer with deferred money included. The fact that the White Sox and Tigers are being so open about where they stand on Damon could reduce Boras' leverage. The White Sox are giving Damon until Sunday to make a decision."

Do You Believe: Ubaldo Jimenez

Spring Training Blog: Feb. 19 - ESPN:

"[Ubaldo] Jimenez went 15-12 last year, and his 3.47 ERA was the lowest in franchise history for a starting pitcher. He ranked sixth in the National League in innings (218) and strikeouts (198)."

Baseball America Hyperbole On Stephen Strasburg?

"...a once in a generation talent....projects as a true No. 1 starter and a Cy Young winner, and anything less will be a disappointment."

If he is John Lackey? Disappointment.

If he is Dan Haren? Disappointment.

If he is Andy Pettitte? Disappointment.

Killing Fantasy Sleepers: Russell Branyan

The Cleveland Indians signed 1B/OF/DH Russell Branyan for a couple million dollars plus incentives and a mutual option for 2011. As a lefty hitter with power and on-base skills, one must worry about the 2010 value of righty hitter Matt LaPorta.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fantasy Baseball: RF in San Francisco

Lefty Nate Scheirholtz or lefty Fred Lewis. Hopefully, one will emerge because splitting the good side of the platoon is as bad as being on the wrong side of the platoon.

MLB Trade Rumors: Johnny Damon

MLB -- Buster Olney -- Philadelphia Phillies' Cole Hamels is tinkering with more than a new pitch this spring - ESPN

From Buster Olney on the Johnny Damon rumors:

"One executive who has been involved in the talks over the last two months emailed about the spinning in these negotiations: "There is so much BS out there, and [I] don't want to contribute to it."

2010 Post Hype Sleepers

Chat: Chat with Baseball America's John Manuel - SportsNation - ESPN

"Oden (Motown) Post-hype guys question. Which of the following do you think can be pretty good in '10: Delmon Young, Brandon Wood, Andrew Miller, Lastings Milledge, Chris Young? Thanks!

John Manuel (3:15 PM) I'd rank them Young (encouraged by his '09 finish), Wood, Miller (always been a fan), Milledge, Young. Miller probably *should* rank last, but I have a soft spot for him."

On Jesus Montero: Baseball America's John Manuel

Chat: Chat with Baseball America's John Manuel - SportsNation - ESPN

"peter (nyc) Good afternoon John,In the near future, do the New York Yankees trade Jesus Montero in a key acquisition or keep him because his offensive skill set?

John Manuel (3:12 PM) Keep him. He's already taking groundballs at 1B this spring, and they can given him a whirl in the outfield as well. One of the storylines I'll watch the most in spring training is Montero at other positions."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Et tu, Ross Detwiler?

"washingnats I just spoke to #Nats LHP Ross Detwiler. He had hip flexor surgery recently. Detwiler is seeing a doctor as I'm writing this twitter post."

On Mat Gamel: Baseball America's John Manuel

Chat: Chat with Baseball America's John Manuel - SportsNation - ESPN

"Linton (Fredericton, NB) Do you still consider Mat Gamel a "prospect?"

John Manuel (2:03 PM) One more from New Brunswick, why not? The whole province is under its quota . . . We do because he hasn't surpassed 130 ABs as a big leaguer yet. His star has dimmed somewhat because he's not even an average defender, so his bat has to be fairly special. It seemed on its way to being that kind of a bat in 2008 but less so in '09. If he shows some improvement at 3B, though, it wouldn't shock me at all if he beat out Casey McGehee and got time at 3B for the Brewers this season."

FanGraphs Baseball: GB Rate and HR Rate

Baseball Statistics and Analysis | FanGraphs Baseball

"Combining the previous two questions, as a pitcher’s ground-ball rate increases does a pitcher’s home runs allowed per non-ground ball increase? No. Less surprising now given the answer to the two previous looks, but worth mentioning for completeness. Also worth noting is that on all of these the R^2 values are incredibly low and the slopes are not dramatic. The best rule of thumb I can state from this look is that a pitcher’s ground ball rate has no impact on his various rates of yielding home runs and what impact there is might actually be negative."

What Dooms Fantasy Seasons: Open Competition : Roto Savants

What Dooms Fantasy Seasons: Open Competition : Roto Savants

"Two of the things that can quickly derail a fantasy baseball season as soon as the day after draft day are: injuries and open competition...There will be many open competitions this year that fantasy owners, especially in deeper leagues, will have to keep their eyes on. Among these include:

Mets 1B
Braves OF
Marlins 1B
Brent Wallace ABs"

NL-Only: Stephen Strasburg or Clayton Kershaw

I'm setting up a this choice based on a $260 NL-Only 4x4 keeper league.

You can either have Stephen Strasburg at $5 for 2010 and 2011 with the option of either keeping him at $10 in 2012 or signing him to $15 for 2012 and 2013 or you can have Clayton Kershaw for $15 for 2010 and 2011.

Who do you choose?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Stating The Obvious About Sabremetrics Today

Get Off My Lawn - Minor League Ball

"The newest stuff is becoming so granular that I'm having problems making sense of it. I'm a humanities guy, and the most advanced math is beyond my ability to completely comprehend. My personal opinion is that the many of the newest metrics (at least in regards to hitting and pitching) are just more complicated ways to say the same basic truths."

Are SBs really Up?

Yesterday's review of the HRs totals over the past five seasons offered proof that HRs are not down despite the conventional fantasy wisdom that HRs are down. Today, I offer data that addresses the conventional fantasy wisdom that SBs are up.


One sees that the % of players who steal 5 or more bases has risen over the past five years. (One can also see the percent of players who hit 5 or more HRs is essentially where is was five years ago.) Whether 5 SBs is relevent to fantasy players is a debatable.

My data does show the big jumps occur in the number of players who stole 20-30 bases and those who stole 10-14. Both figures are key points in the perception of fantasy value as one solidly lands as a category plus (20 or more) and the other makes a player a fantasy contributor with double digit totals.

With the data satisfying my perception of more SBs, the strategy that follows from the data is the issue to be handled. If there are more stolen bases available, then there will be more needed to win a category.

Does this mean the SB elite are less valuable now that they cannot be counted on to carry the category?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Where Did All The Power Go In Fantasy Baseball?

Nowhere apparently. Below are the number of players who fall into the range of HRs. Using 30 or more HRs are a gauge of a drop in elite HR totals shows very little change.

However, 2008 looks like there was a drop in power at the lower ends. Given fantasy teams count on findign cheap power to fill out the ends of their roster, a drop in the 11-19 HRs range would fit with the perception of there being less power in the game now.

HR>=30>=20>=10>=5less than 5

Another examination of the over 30 HR group finds additonal support for the percetion that power is down. Here you see a dramatic drop in the over 40 HR club from 11 in 2006 to 9 in 2007 and 2005 to a mere 2 in 2008 and 5 in 2009. Given fantasy players focus on the elite players by category, one can easily see how the perception in a drop in HRs has occured.


A final reason for the fantasy players perception that HRs have fallen is zeitgist of the Steroid Era. With performance enhancing drugs having been banned, a perceived drop in HRs - anywhere a fantasy players looks for them - would naturally lead to the conclusion that HRs are down.

The three observation made help explain the perception that HRs are down across baseball. The overall data do not support the perception though. Act accordingly.

Verducci Effect: Pitchers To Watch

Baseball Video Highlights & Clips | Hot Stove: The Year After Effect for young pitchers - Video | Multimedia

Thank you to Will Carroll at Baseball Prospectus for pointing towards this video.

Monday, February 15, 2010

NL-Only Catchers

In mixed leagues, the catcher position consists of Joe Mauer, Brian McCann, and Victor Martinez at the top and a bunch of 12/60/.270 options. With this, Matt Wieters and Miguel Montero find themselves at "elite" players at the position.

In NL-Only leagues, McCann is the clear #1. From there, one can take the unsexy like Benji Molina or try for a backstop who is perceived as more sexy. Someone like the aforementioned Montero or Colorado backstop Chris Iannetta.

Either way, there doesn't appear to be much to get NL-Only teams excited about the prospect of drafting catchers.

NL-Only Keeper League: A Bad Offseason

Updating my working keeper list after trading $8 Hiroki Kuroda for a $9 John Baker and a $9 Kosuke Fukudome, I was struck how much my pitching has been hurt this off-season. Here were the pitchers I was keeping as of the end of last season.

Max Scherzer AZ 10
Mike Gonzalez ATL 2
Hiroki Kuroda LA 8
Juan Guitierrez AZ 10
Rafael Soriano ATL 7

Sunday, February 14, 2010

MLB Trade Rumors: Johnny Damon To...

Baseball Prospectus | On the Beat: Weekend Update:

"The White Sox, Braves, and Rays are also in on the Damon bidding, but none are expected to go to a second year and a decision may not come for a few days as the veteran outfielder is currently vacationing in Hawaii"

Facebook | Friday Question-Strasburg Projection

Facebook | Friday Question-Strasburg Projection:

"Today Mike Podhorzer wrote an article on his Strasburg projection and how he came up with it, on the Premium Site. Is his projection too high, too low or just right? Here it is:

8.6 K/9
3.3 BB/9
3.40 ERA
1.25 WHIP
120 IP"

Baseball HQ Radio Up Now

Click here to go to Baseball HQ Radio and listen to the weekly podcast.

Roto Think Tank: Draft Strategy Mixed Vs Single Format

Roto Think Tank:

"What makes sense in a draft format doesn't compute in an auction league, particularly in a one-league format. Your goal is to maximize your dollars by spending your money wisely. If you don't have an elite player at a position, it doesn't matter if you're getting bargains elsewhere and are spending your $260."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Best Fantasy Baseball Names

When I ran Fake Teams, this time of year was set aside for a fantasy baseball team names contest. Here are the winners from the past seasons.

2008 Winners:
Itchy Buchholz
Always Wear Clean Hunter Pence
If Olney I Had A Brain

2007 Winners:
Schoenweiss and the Seven Dwarves
Idaho Youdapimps
Vlad to the Bone

2006 Winners:
I'm Bill James, Bitch!
Jeters Never Prosper
Trailer Park Chan Hos
VORP Sense of Humor
Shriveled Barrys

Fantasy Sleeper NL-Only



Ian Desmond: This is a true boom-or-bust pick that doesn’t need to be made unless we’re talking a really deep league. With the Kennedy signing, Desmond essentially lost his value as a starter and may not even break the year with the big club. That’s the downside that will depress his price. The upside is that Nationals coach John Riggleman has discussed using Desmond in a utility role to get his bat in the lineup. Desmond flashed some power in a 20-game stint at the end of last season and is the future for the club at the SS position for those in keeper leagues. He has the upside to provide double-digit power with multi-position eligibility with the downside of not having a roster spot."

Lasy year, Ron Shandler broke out the two year keeper league plan. Essentially, punting the upcoming season for the following one. Love Desmond in that strategy.

Friday, February 12, 2010

AL-only 5x5 Rotisserie Auction Value: Joe Mauer Analysts League (AL) - 2010 Draft Prep: AL-only 5x5 Rotisserie auction

$45 for Minneosta Twins catcher Joe Mauer?!?!?!?!?!?

MLB Trade Rumors: Johnny Damon

MLB -- Buster Olney -- Jeremy Bonderman is finding his groove again, and the Detroit Tigers will benefit - ESPN

"It's been a long time since we've seen the kind of all-out spinning that is going on with the Johnny Damon negotiations. The White Sox are reported to be in the negotiations ... but maybe they're not really in them, except for the purpose of due diligence, Joe Cowley writes. Kenny Williams might be playing a game of chess.

Along the way Thursday, I was told by someone in baseball that he was asked to leak word of a particular two-year offer to Damon -- to stir the pot and artificially nudge those involved in the bidding.

It'll be interesting to see, after the smoke clears, where the final numbers are on Damon. As of Thursday night, the wide expectation of rival executives was that Damon would wind up with the Tigers.

Two incontrovertible facts could emerge from this:

1. Damon's camp botched its negotiations with the Yankees. 2. If Damon actually gets a two-year, $14 million deal from the Tigers, at his present-day value, agent Scott Boras has done excellent work in drumming up something out of nothing through his strategic lobbying in the Detroit newspapers."

How I Get Ready for My Drafts

RotoSynthesis: How I Get Ready for My Drafts

"So how does one who's more or less tuned out baseball (except for the Cubs and Yankees) over the offseason get ready for a six deep drafts?

I go to the RotoWire Depth Charts and painstakingly, go team by team, filing every player into a by-position spread sheet. When I don't know or remember everything there is to know about a player (and that's the case for most of them), I click through to his player page for the latest update, season outlook and stats."

Did you know Kosuke Fukudome increased his walk totals and walk rate last season?

Would You Trade Steven Strasburg For...

...the 2nd, 7th, and 13th picks in a minor league draft? The salaries for each player will be $5, $5, $10+ in his 1st three years as a major leaguer.

Thursday, February 11, 2010 Starlin Castro Majors: ESPN Chat: ESPN SportsNation Chat With Jim Callis

Jim Hendry (Wrigley Field): What is your honest opinion of how Starlin Castro would perform if we gave him the starting SS job out of the spring?

Jim Callis (2:05 PM): I heard some more talk about that on the radio here in Chicago a few minutes ago, and I think that would be pushing Castro too aggressively. He'll have just turned 20 and will have played only 31 games above high Class A. He's very talented—I think he's the best shortstop prospect in baseball—but I think he would struggle to hit right away and it could stunt his development.

MLB - Hot Stove U: Why New York Mets' David Wright will have a breakout year and Philadelphia Phillies' J.A. Happ will be a bust - ESPN

MLB - Hot Stove U: Why New York Mets' David Wright will have a breakout year and Philadelphia Phillies' J.A. Happ will be a bust - ESPN

"But we believe that Wright's a special talent and that with some adjustments, he should make 2009 look like an outlier. Mike Schmidt is definitely the player Wright should want to emulate. After dropping to 21 home runs in 1978, Michael Jack rebounded with 45 in 1979, en route to a career total of 548 and a trip to Cooperstown." Breakout 3B Majors: ESPN Chat: ESPN SportsNation Chat With Jim Callis

dusty (loyola u.): Does Brandon Wood bust out or fizz out this year at 3B for the Angels?

Jim Callis (2:27 PM): Bust out.

Is this a Lucy and Charlie Brown kicking situation?

Killing Fantasy Sleepers

Twitter / Jon Heyman: jermaine dye is telling te ...

"jermaine dye is telling teams he's willing to play first base. he might be the most under-rated player in this market."

1B, DH, and OF sleepers be wary!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nick Markakis 8th Rounder?

About right but I would be looking at SP there.

Fantasy Baseball Leagues on Yahoo! Sports

Fantasy Baseball Leagues on Yahoo! Sports

Facebook | Messages - Comeback Players for 2010?

Facebook | Messages - Comeback Players for 2010?

"We are running a series on Comeback Players on the site, so let me throw this out there: which of these guys has the best chance at a comeback in 2010?

Conor Jackson
Kevin Slowey
Rickie Weeks
Geovany Soto
Alex Rios"

Alex Rios. 17 HRs and 24 SBs isn't quite a low to comeback from, is it?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Winter League Breakouts in 2010?

Courtesy of Jorge Arangure Jr. at

"...not all winter league successes are empty promises. Last year, Giants infielder Pablo Sandoval hit .396 with 12 home runs for the Navegantes de Magallanes and then followed that with a breakout season for San Francisco.

Will anyone duplicate the Panda's success this season? Here is a list of a couple who might:

1. SS Alcides Escobar Milwaukee Brewers
2. 3B/OF Juan Francisco Cincinnati Reds
3. SP Francisco Liriano Minnesota Twins
4. OF Fernando martinez New York Mets
5. 1B Michel Abreu New York Mets

Top 10 Contact Rates

Using (AB-K)/AB as a definition of contact rate, here are the top 10 hitters from 2009 with more than 399 ABs.

1. Dustin Pedroia 92.8%
2. Placido Polanco 92.6%
3. Miguel Tejada 92.5%
4. Yadier Molina 91.9%
5. Carlos Lee 91.7%
6. Alberto Callaspo 91.1%
7. David Eckstein 90.9%
8. Robinson Cano 90,1%
9. AJ Pierzynski 89.7%
10. Kurt Suzuki 89.6%

Three catchers?!?!?!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Ten Worst Contact Rates in 2009

For hitters who had more than 399 ABs, here are the ten worst hitters vy contact rate (AB-K/AB).

1. Mark Reynolds 61.4%
2. Jack Cust 64.0%
3. Carlos Pena 65.4%
4. Russell Branyan 65.4%
5. Ian Stewart 67.5%
6. Adam Dunn 67.6%
7. Chris Young 69.3%
8. Jason Bay 69.5%
9. Mike Jacobs 69.6%
10. Brandon Inge 69.8%

Sunday, February 07, 2010

MLB Trade Rumors: Adrian Gonzalez

Baseball Prospectus | On the Beat: Righting The Ship:

"The Padres, contrary to most reports, may at least attempt to sign first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to a long-term contract extension if for no other reason than to show a skeptical Major League Baseball Players Association that they are spending their revenue-sharing money on trying to improve the club rather than increasing profits."

The chickens have come home to roost. The Padres would be a better team with 3/4s of the haul the Rangers received for Mark Teixeira. Instead, the team will try to pay Gonzalez like Teixeira.

$20MM 1B are a luxury just one team can afford.

Fantasy Sleeper: Colorado Rockies Ian Stewart

Fantasy Sleeper: Colorado Rockies Third Baseman Ian Stewart - FakeTeams#comments:

"Ron Shandler projects Stewart to go 27-86-6-.246 in 2010. I think he could out-perform that projection."

Interesting on Shandler. He is typcially very aware of contacts rates (AB-K/AB). Stewart's ranks amongst the worst of all hitter with 400+ ABs.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Keith Law on Orlando Hudson's Speed

MLB - Keith Law: Orlando Hudson another upgrade for the Minnesota Twins - ESPN:

"...since I saw Hudson a lot when we were both in Toronto, and he was never a plus runner, stealing 19 bases in three and a half years -- yet when he was on first base, pitchers would throw over to hold him with absurd frequency. And from talking to people with Arizona, I know they noticed the same phenomenon when Hudson played there. Unfortunately, I think the cause here is that Hudson looks the part of a speedy, low-power middle infielder, and scouts and coaches are making assumptions that just don't bear out in reality. He's not fast, he's never been fast, and anyone who files a report on him with a grade of 50 (average) or better for his running speed has made a bad evaluation."

Fantasy players would have been better of with the 20+ SB potential of Alexi Casilla.

Fantasy Sleeper: Washington Nationals

For whatever reason, the Nationals signed Adam Kennedy to play second base. This move ranks with Oakland A's GM Billy Beane's decisions to accumulate unproductive hitters to play the outfield.

There is a player in the Washington organization who has the outfield production in two brief stints over the past three seasons that makes fantasy players drool. He is CF Justin Maxwell. At 252/333/461 over 129 PAs with 6 HRs and 6 SBs, Maxwell has the skill set fantasy players look for. (Yes, AVG is typically ignores.)

What struck me was this line in the Baseball America Prospect Handbook 2010:
" the idea to lower his hands to chest level...fueled Maxwell's September surge [306/370/551]..."

Friday, February 05, 2010

Killing Fantasy Sleepers: Adam Kennedy

The Washington Nationals, the NL East's last place team in 2009, has signed veteran Adam kennedy to play 2B. This has the effect of pushing Ian Desmond out of the starting SS role barring a trade of Christian Guzman.

No matter how the Nats spin this, the Kennedy signing is not pushing them over the top towards Wild Card contention. As a matter of fact, the team would have been better off using the money to sign draft picks in June.

Orlando Hudson Signs With Minnesota

With no doubt, the Minneosta Twins are a better baseball team following the signing of 2B Orlando Hudson, and, assuming playing outdoors doesn't wreck the team's structure, the prohibitive favorite in the AL Central. From a fantasy perspective, I'd have preferred the upside of Alexi Casilla over the certainty of Orlando Hudson's 8/60/8/.290.

Casilla's 2009 was shocking bad - 0 HR, .202 AVG in half a season. However, is stole eleven bases in eleven attempts. An 84% contact rate signals he may have been very unlucky.

The upside gamble on Casilla rebounding and stealing 20+ is better than the single-digit certainty of Hudson.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

How Much For Carl Crawford in AL-Only Keeper

Al-Only Keeper!:

"Brian (MN): I have Carl Crawford for $39 in AL only keeper league, do I spend the cash to keep the speedster?

Eric Karabell (3:46 PM): That's a lot.. I don't think I'd spend that much on anyone in the AL."

Maybe the format threw Karabell off. No way Crawford goes for much less in an AL-Only keeper league.

Which Rookie 1B?

Jim Callis On Rookie 1B:

"Reed (Claremont, CA): Logan Morrison or Chris Carter?

Jim Callis (3:07 PM): Morrison."

I dealt Carter and have Morrison, but I don't agree with Callis' choice despite wanting to believe.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Future SS Sleepers

Baseball America:
"Reed (Claremont, CA): Hak-Ju Lee or Jose Iglesias?

Jim Callis (3:13 PM): Lee."

Let's hear it for Sout Korea! The Chicago Cubs SS prospect Hak-Ju Lee chosen over one of the Boston Red Sox prospects. Callis had better watch it or Boston will revoke his access.

MLB Trade Rumors: Orlando Hudson

From Buster Olney:

"Soon, Orlando Hudson will pick a team, having been courted by the Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals, among other teams. "

Or "Killing a Fantasy Sleeper At 2B." From this list - Alexi Casilla, Luis Valbuena and Ian Desmond unless the Nats deal Christian Guzman.

Top 2010 Rookie Prospects Not Ranked

From Keith Law at

"Several of you asked in chat and via e-mail about prospects who didn't make last week's top 100 but might have major league impact in 2010, which prompted this list of 10 players who fit that description because they're good prospects (just not good enough for the top 100) and either already have a line on a major league gig for this year or are well-situated to nab one early in the year."

Notable are two Tigers, 2B Scott Sizemore and C Alex Avila. I'm not a fan of rookie pitchers but Dan Hudson and Jon Niese are also on the list.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

WTF Oakland A's

From Buster Olney:

"To be clear, Oakland's interest in Taveras was only in that he became a vehicle for adding the versatile Adam Rosales. What the Athletics did, in essence, was buy Rosales for $1.3 million -- the difference in the salaries between Taveras and Aaron Miles -- in order to have a cheap, experienced utility guy. Keep in mind that earlier in the offseason, the Reds had made multi-year offers to Jamey Carroll for much more than what they paid to get Rosales."

Actually, the math is wrong. Adam Rosales will earn the major league minimum so the Genius Formerly Known As Billy Beane paid $1.3Mm plus $400K for him.

With an OBP nearly 100 points higher than his AVG, Rosales looks decent. Of course, his AVG was .213.....

Which 1st Rounder Will Bust This Year

FakeTeams - The Key Source For Incisive Fantasy Sports Analysis:

"Every year at least one player that was drafted in the first round turns out to be a bust."

David Wright is the easy choice despite my disbelief anyone would really take him in the 1st round.

Monday, February 01, 2010