Tag Archives: Draft

Scouts on Scouts on Scouts

 

 

A seriously cool post: being a busy man, I apparently missed where some of these old scouting reports on recent players were coming form.  It comes from here.  This site.  Which is pretty darn neat.  With the draft around soon too, it will become all the more relevant.

 

 

That is all, check it out, and have an awesome holiday weekend.

 

-V

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B.S. New CBA Between the MLB and MLBPA: The Good, The Bad, and the Acronyms

B.S. – Bud Selig’s – what did you think that stood for?

look. at. these. goombahs.

The MLB and MLBPA have reached an agreement and a new CBA is in place.  As seems to be the case with everything Bud Selig does, even the good is flecked with not-so-shiny ‘bad’.  The new CBA takes some legitimate steps forward, that cannot be denied.  And while I admit a certain degree of ignorance of the logistics of the deal’s finances, I’m no dummy.  Some parts of the agreement simply leave me shaking my head, wondering why if they comfortably put their whole foot in the water, why didn’t they jump in?  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let’s go to the scoreboard…

and the survey says.....

THE GOOD

Section X (that’s Roman Numeral ten, ijjits, not a division of mutants) is classified as “other.”  The section is a mishmash of topics, many of which, quite frankly, are not only pretty boring but wishy-washy as well (this is where several ‘parties agree upon’ and purposeful vagueness.  Very clever in terms of the reach of their control, very frustrating for us fans).

There are, however, two clauses that made me as happy as a schoolboy.

“Clause X(a) – Participation in the All-Star Game will be required unless the Player is unable to play due to injury or is otherwise excused by the Office of the Commissioner. Players Trust will receive an increased contribution and players will receive additional benefits.”

“Clause X(f) – Instant Replay will be expanded to include fair/foul and “trapped” ball plays, subject to the Office of the Commissioner’s discussions with the World Umpires Association.”

Baby steps, folks, baby steps.  While neither of these clauses goes quite as in-depth as I (and millions of others) would like, they are both steps in the very much right direction.  The mere phrasing “All-Star Game required” should be a good thing.  Not necessarily under this Bud Selig administration, mind you, but he’s not going to be around forever (barring some deal-with-the-devil soul selling that is eerily not out of the question).  One of the great frustrations if you truly love baseball and understand its history is the sometimes-crap All-Star experience.  Let’s put it another way- baseball’s All-Star extravaganza ranks second to Basketball (you know, the sport that just had the stupid-beyond-stupid lockout?) only because most players in other major sports didn’t even know there was an All-Star game for their sports (or in Tom Brady’s case, the weighing of going to Honolulu for one more game versus a private nude beach with his supermodel wife and family… well what would YOU pick?).  Point being, the baseball All-Star game used to be one of the best events in sports.  Time, technology and money have tarnished that.  So if the players won’t respect the history for history’s sake, make them.  When a commissioner with some cajones steps in, he’ll have this in his back pocket to build off of getting guys to play (and care, one would hope).

I spoke in my MLB Reboot posts about baseball’s reluctance to embrace technology and how it has held the game back.  While the clause in section X (I apologize, that really does sound like a totally badass secret agency) falls far short of robot umpires, virtual advertising (wait, we have that already) and digital foul lines, the vocalization of the need to incorporate replay specifically should signify that baseball wants to move forward.  Or at least avoid another blown perfect game… which they didn’t address… do they need a bigger catastrophe to implement replay for safe/out calls!?!?!  Is there a bigger blunder than an umpire ruining a PERFECT GAME?  Wow, I almost talked myself out of this being in the ‘good.’  I’m trying to remain positive and addressing this should be seen as a baby step forward.  Like I said, baby steps are still steps.  Most of us don’t make fun of babies when they make them.  We’re usually really happy.  So let’s just think of baseball and Bud as big ol’ babies…

s

KEEP YOUR PANTS ON, BABY BUD!

Sections VIII and IX are both Health and Safety related.  Mandatory HGH testing?  Check.  Elimination of low-density maple bats?  Check.  No visible tobacco products?  Well… whatever.  Just talk to your kids, folks.  Don’t blame the athletes for your brats’ bad habits.  Honestly, these sections are simple and effective.  Did I mention everyone will be using new helmets designed by Rawlings to protect against higher-speed pitches?  This section was a definite victory for baseball in all senses as it looks great PR-wise but also makes logical sense for preserving the games integrity and safety.

Section II outlines the new playoff routine and the move of the Houston Astros.  I like the new playoff idea.  Listen to any player, current or former, and they will say that at the end of a 162 game season, a grueling patience-testing ordeal, the last thing you want to do is have a one game play-in for your postseason lives.  The new layout, with two wild card teams playing one game to decide who moves on is awesome.  It will make the final scramble all the more dramatic as teams desperately try to win out so as to set up their rotations and rest.  It also sets up all kinds of kooky scenarios where a team with a hot pitcher finds itself in the division series and surprises everyone.  I’m glad I waited to respond to this new set up, as the idea has really grown on me.  The old wild card system diminished the importance of actually winning your division (just go back and look at Wild Card World Series winners if you don’t believe me).  This new one reclaims that importance and then jumps over it.  Trust me, after all that hard work, no player wants to hinge his playoff hope on a single pitcher who’s had a stellar second half (I’m looking at YOU Josh Johnson) not continuing his hot streak.  Give this layout time.  I think it will surprise people.

THE NODDING-BUT-IT’S-WAY-ABOVE-MY-PAYGRADE

All the jibberjabber about free agency, arbitration, draft slotting, and international players.

People smarter than I all over the interwebs and other media sources have broken down the more monetary aspects of the CBA (I know, that’s a dumb statement, the CBA was all about finances, really.  Hush.).  It’s hard for me to grasp how these changes will affect the league.  On the one hand, the new arbitration rules won’t allow geniuses (that is sincere, he punished this loophole) like Alex Anthopoulos to do things like trade for a low-level but high-ranked catcher, not offer him arbitration, then get a nifty sandwich pick.  This was a fun loophole, but I understand why it needed to go.  The CBA also allots a cap and taxes on investing in foreign players.  I’m okay with this (for now) but like I said, not being privy to the functions of baseball financially (say that 5 times fast), I find it hard to project this positive or negative going forward.

THE BAD

I’ve read some places that this CBA is a net loss.  I would argue with that contention.  However, no one can deny that there is a problem in baseball that this CBA did not fix.  Try as they might, the powers that be of the diamond still can’t figure out this parity thing.  Sure, every couple of years a feel-good story comes along, but the reality is in baseball there are the haves and the have-nots.  This is an odd concept to digest as we’re talking about tens of millions of dollars, but relatively, more money=more quality players = more wins.  Hem and haw all you want about drafting smart, building from within yadda yadda yadda, but there is something flawed in baseball financially.  At least to me, an ignoramus, it seems.  Comparing the NFL to the MLB is like comparing dogs and Cadillacs, but look at the numbers.  We laughed about Ryan Fitzpatrick signing a 6-year $59 Million contract.  Now look at J.D. Drew.  Sigh.  All I’m saying is, the NFL’s system of paying, capping, and distributing lends itself to more teams at least feeling like they have a chance.  Baseball’s money problem is still a mess.

Another issue, and really my only other BIG issue, with this CBA is the capping on spending for draft picks.  I know what you’re thinking – “Wait, Will, you are completely contradicting what you just said about the MLB needing to fix how it spends and allocates money!” – well, sort of.  Given the nature of the MLB, simply instituting a salary cap would throw the league into chaos.  It’s a broken system, but it’s the system we have.  That being said, the only way to combat the flaws was with the draft.  A wise, smaller-market team could overpay young players and keep them in more affordable contracts as they became legitimate MLB-ers.  Or they could flame out, as was more often the case.  But the point remains, paying above recommendation helped more teams, in theory, than it hurt.

But that’s not the larger, more concerning point.  The real issue isn’t the players who will be coming through the MLB Draft and MLB system but rather the players who will eschew the league, dropping baseball overall.  In a slow game, sometimes you need a little flash, you need an athlete.  Many of the top players, or even just the very good ones, are athletes in other sports.  Guys like Carl Crawford, who could have played college football OR basketball, may back away from the less-appealing paychecks the MLB may immediately bring.  Being good at a major college program in another sport could prove to be a much more lucrative decision for some of these guys (like Bubba Starling this past year).

Mark my words – baseball is going to see a decline in the overall athleticism in the draft picks coming through.  It may not be this year.  It may not be the next.  Taken at net value, the MLB will hurt from the fact that they can’t attract the same athletes as they used to.

THE VERDICT

Sadly, I’d say it’s a tie (so Buddy Boy should be thrilled).

The restructuring of the luxury tax and other monetary considerations repeatedly cites “modifying” the 2006 version of the CBA, which basically amounts to putting lipstick on a very, very ugly pig.  It worries me that, for the decidedly good aspects of the deal we should all get behind (safer bats, better Wild-Card system, All-Star game participation), the stinky odor of competitive inbalance still lingers in the game.

It is great to see baseball taking steps to make the game safer and eliminate things like HGH and skipping out on All-Star games.  It makes me both glad and worried to see that while the CBA addresses the issue of replay- but doesn’t take it far enough.  The CBA, looked into properly, is a great point-counterpoint debate sparker.  Bud Selig is undoubtedly beginning to grow more concerned with his legacy in the game.  Things like ties, steroids, and Scooter the talking baseball will always leave their scars.  Time will tell if this new CBA’s good eventually outweighs the bad.

Enjoy that Arrested Development clip – classic.

-w

P.S. – This has nothing to do with the CBA but good lord, if you haven’t read the article yet over at Deadspin about Dan Lozano, Albert Pujols’ agent and the subsequent threat by his lawyers, you MUST READ.  I’m not sure why this isn’t a bigger story yet, but it is stupendously awful, dirty, and weird.  Enjoy.  Then be sad that he’s probably looking at an unprecedented payday when Pujols signs.

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Filed under Baseball, Cajones, Duck Duck Goose LLD., MLB, Opinion, Posted

2011 Favorites: Catchers

 

 

awesome.

In my tedium of a life, with the fantasy baseball season has ended, I enjoy a few things;  Madden Football, Pumpkin Bread, and thinking about the 2011 fantasy season.  That is it.  Imagine Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind only bored instead of nuts and instead of math problems and code scrawled everywhere, it’s projected lineups and sleepers.  So I have lots of time to sit and ponder the upcoming season, long and short of it.  And in my ponderance, which is a word, I believe, if  you google it, I often make lists.  Lists of players to take in my upcoming drafts players to avoid, and players to make fun of in the coming season.  My drafts all take a similar shape in the later rounds as I collect these favorite players, for better or worse.  And with that- good news for the 11 people who read this blog!   I’m going to share some of my considerable knowledge with you lucky few.

Young Studs

JP Arencibia

There is no way I was going to fail to mention Arencibia in this lil’ excursion.  Though he had a poor performance in the majors, I chalk that up to the small sample size (37 at bats) and as a result, a lack of time to adjust to major league off-speed stuff.  You can look at his Swing Percentages at Fangraphs, but speaking as someone who watched him a bit, I can tell you anecdotally that he looked like he needed to be more comfortable at the plate which only time will bring.  The reason I say I wouldn’t leave him off is, in case you missed it, the kid hit two bombs in his debut… and they were not cheapies.  Arencibia projects as a serious hitter in the majors.  Look at his AAA numbers. Do it. 32 Homers in 459 PA.  36 doubles.  38 walks.  A .626 SLG percentage.  Goodness I’m sweating just thinking about that translating to the Majors.  Don’t judge.  There is nothing left for Arencibia to prove in AAA and nowhere to go but up.  I love rolling the die with catchers and he may just be a smart gamble in the mid to late rounds of a draft.

Wilson Ramos

It’s pretty unbelievable the Nats got this guy for a Reliever Rental.  The big knock on him is a lack of plate discipline, but he looks like a hitter to me.  Scouts are all high on him, or were before the trade, and I am interested in watching how some of the young Nats develop (Desmond, Danny Espinosa), as that could be a good young lineup.  Let’s remember, if everyone thinks you can hit, you probably can hit.  I don’t always care what the numbers say.  Let’s remember that Pudge Rodriguez doesn’t have particularly good walk numbers but can still hit.  Just saying, he’s there to mentor and they kind of seem like similar players- to me- both agile backstops with good arms (Ramos threw out around 40% of would be basestealers in the minors, via).  Here’s a blurb on him from Scout.com (from his Minny days).  He’s a rung below Arencibia in my book, but still worth keeping track of through Spring Training.

Don’t-Forget-About-These Guys

 

Miguel  Montero

One of my favorite type of plays is the one-year later play.  Montero is the perfect candidate.  High on many’s lists last year, Montero suffered a knee injury and never quite picked up where he left off, as he started hotter than hot.  He had a forgettable year (.266 BA, 9 homers), but had a decent BABIP (.318)  and shows good contact rates for a catcher with power.  I was one of those people hyping Montero last year and was rewarded for that first less than a month (.500 BA in 12 AB) after drafting him in many a league.   Then he got hurt and yadda yadda yadda came back and hit a bit and then was garbage.  Now I am still of the belief that Montero is closer to the version 2009 Montero than that of 2010.  He has good power (3o doubles in 2009) that cannot be made up.  From the catcher position, you could do a lot worse than taking a flyer on Montero late when your league-mates forget about him in  the late teens or early 20’s. Snag him and laugh all the way to the I-have-production-from-my-catcher bank (I was rejected from that bank this year…)…

Chris Ianetta

This pick has a lot to do with my hope Ianetta gets traded, if not to the Red Sox (awesome) then to someone else (less awesome, still good), because he’s wasting away in the thin air of Colorado.  Ianetta is certainly not going to hit .330 but he sure as heck isn’t a .200 hitter!  His BABIP was very poor this past year (.212), so an improvement is coming there.  He has legitimate power outside of Colorado.  His 2008 numbers suggest a .270-ish hitter with 20 homer pop and a good OBP (.390 in 2008).  That sounds pretty excellent for a catcher, doesn’t it?  His 2009 numbers suggest that with unsure playing time, his productivity decreased.  So we get to 2010, where his playing time was evaporated still, and the numbers showed as much.  Add that to his relative UNluck with BABIP, and it was recipe for a .197 average.  That’s bad.  But given a fresh start somewhere, my hometown team or not, Ianetta will get the AB’s he deserves and put up numbers you will like. Forget his defensive liability, it’s fantasy, and draft him late.

P.S. here’s a great read on the Pros/Cons of Ianetta to Boston, thanks to Over the Monster

 

The Inception Play

(for those over-thinkers out there)

 

Jake Fox

Allow me to make the case for Jake Fox.  The guy smushes the ball.  Kind of.  Power and Versatility are Fox’s main attraction and his numbers weren’t great last year.  But hear me out- he was a) adjusting to a new league and b) unlucky.  He’s not a great hitter, but the drop from .259 to .212 in batting average is significant in a late power play.  His BABIP dipped from .274 to .252.  These two facts bring me to my point:  If the stats somewhat correct themselves, Jake Fox will be about a .250 hitter with decent power and the positional versatility owners crave late in a draft. Power is something you want in fantasy.  Power comes in bunches at the Fantasy Catcher position.  If it comes to the end of the draft and you are without a catcher or a power hitter, you’re screwed.  Hah.  But seriously, you could grab some cheap power with Fox.  It’s a great play in deeper leagues.

 

that is all,

 

enjoy Martin Solveig feat Dragonette

Hello-Feat.-Dragonette

 

-w

 

honestly, that song makes me want to ride a roller coaster.

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Filed under catchers, Fantasy Baseball, MLB, offseason, Opinion, Pickups, Posted, Sleepers

Minor Power Outage for the Cubs

  

and he lovers amurrica

 

The Cubs are not sending sweet Lou out with a bang… cue Mike Minor?   huh.  guess we should write him up… 

He has put up pretty outstanding minor league K numbers (9.99, 11.30, 10.93 K/9 rates in A, AA, and triple A the past 2 years)  with good K: BB numbers as well. He has 3 very useful fantasy starts under his belt, going at  least 6 innings in each, with those good K numbers… 

  

Here’s what the interweb turns up about Minor: 

scout.com 

baseballbeginnings.com 

razzball, always on the ball 

a look from scouting the sally (video) 

video and reaction from the mlb draft itself 

  

the kid is a ‘polished’ pitcher, according to most and has the K/9 swagger in the minors to make the jump quickly. Watch Mr. Minor to end the year, so you can draft him accordingly next season. 

  

-w

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Filed under Fantasy Baseball, MLB, Opinion, Pickups, Posted, Random Thoughts, Rookies, Sleepers

Alvarez Watch: Could make debut this week?

I'm the face of a dying franchise.

I know it has been a while and you all missed my fantasy ramblings, but I am back. The first order of business I have to get out of the way is that my second favorite baseball team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, may be calling up Pedro Alvarez this week, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette. For those of us who drafted him before the season (like me, when I drafted him back in December….) this has been a long time coming. I am excited about his potential and really think the Pirates need to answer all the Strasburg hype with something of their own (albeit not as exciting). He could have an impact right away and give the Pirates something they haven’t had in a long, long time: a reason for fans to go to the ballpark. Anyway, if he hasn’t been picked up in your league, then pick him up.

Also, that Trevor Crowe post isn’t looking to shabby now, is it?

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2010 Injury Comebacks

We will spare the big names here.  There are updates and outlooks on Grady Sizemore, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, and Johan Santana all over the internet.  In this post we will have a little back and forth about some serious low-risk/high-value guys.  These are players that are seriously undervalued considering the numbers they are capable of putting up.  Enjoy.

Will: Jay Bruce- OF, Reds ADP 120.64 you’re caught in that mid-round conundrum of trying to grab an OF in addition to your (hopefully) already productive initial 3 (we tend to play 4 OF, I’m talking about the rounds where your in between starters and that guy off your bench you have a good feeling about this year… (you’re little cheat-sheet starred ‘STEAL OF THE DRAFT’).  This phenomena, it should be noted is not exclusive to OF, just specific to this argument (more to follow about other value picks).  Here’s the situation sitting  on the board are two not so different players – Jay Bruce and Carlos Quentin.  From which of these prospective picks do you chase value? I vote that Bruce is superior player in several ways.

America….Heck Yes.

For starters, I’m going to go ahead an cut down the argument that ‘While he has tremendous upside, take Quentin because Bruce can’t hit lefties.’   False. Bruce, vs lefties: 2008–> .190 BA, 46 K in 67 AB (v. 11 BB), .299 SLG 2009–>.210 BA,28 K in 52 AB… v. 15 BB (that’s good, right?), .330 SLG Quentin, vs left-handed pitching AS A RIGHT HANDED BATTER 2006–> .171 BA, 8K :4BB in 41AB, .415 SLG 2007–> .172 BA, 16K:7BB in 64 B, .313 SLG 2008–> .246 BA, 22K:25BB in 130 AB, .562 SLG 2009–> .213 BA,  14K:14BB in 94 AB, .383 SLG interesting, I think. I also think Bruce is too good a player to not at least settle down that lefties average in the .250-.260 range?  And Quentin’s had longer to figure it out!  He doesn’t really seem to be learning?  Why is it unreasonable to think Bruce (only 23!) isn’t in a fairly normal 3rd year upgrade?  Quentin, while surely not old (28), has had his time to build something but seemingly has the injury bug.  Bruce, on the other hand hurt his wrist sliding for a ball.  He is young.  He will heal.  Unless some awful nomar luck strikes Bruce, he would only have  worked that much harder coming into the spring, prepping him for  a stellar year. I say Bruce’s potential is large (recognize:  check his minors stats, the kid will mature).  The question is how many of his talents do you think he’ll have ‘click’ at the same time?  Regardless, is a 20-15 season the worst case scenario if he doesn’t break out fully?  Good basement, I say.  But some predicted 40 homers for Bruce. What if he plays a fully healthy year in a healthier Cincy lineup and belts 35?  40?  This intrigue intrigues me… This round(s) of picks is the perfect time to pick up someone with the potential stardom while still being a reputable fallback option as well.  Take Bruce.  Or he’ll get angry. And you won’t like him when he’s angry… Honestly, Quentin could be playing at a high level for all I care, I see a serious potential gain  taking Bruce instead.  I’ll gamble here, knowing I’ll have minimal loss even if I’m wrong. But who knows.  Maybe Dave does know better. Gooch, haters.

Side Note: Our very own Andrew Nilsen met Bruce at a Miami of Ohio party and says that he was macking on some J. Crew U. girls.  Bruce also said that he never felt    comfortable at the plate last year and is very excited for the 2010 season.

Dave: Carlos Quentin- OF, White Sox ADP 101.64  

Remember when Quentin was leading the majors in homers in 2008 before getting pissed off and fracturing his wrist with his bat? Did anyone notice how he had 8 homers in 75ab in April?  Quentin’s down year was a fantasy disaster for those who reached early.  Take my word though.  2009 was a fluke (you can also throw out his Rookie stats 2006 and his torn labrum year in 2007. Cough Cough Will) .  Quentin was slowed by plantar fasciitis in 2009, a foot injury that can be easily overcome if treated properly.  He came back in October to slug 2 hrs in 11 abs and has gotten in his hacks this spring.  His AVG, BB:KK, lineup and everything else point to Quentin being a superior player. His upside:ADP ratio screams a mid-round steal.  Get him on your team and watch a healthy Quentin compete for the AL HR crown.

Will:Ryan Ludwick- OF, Cardinals ADP 167.63 

Ludwick’s appeal lies in the lineup he’s in.  Behind Pujols and Holliday, even something between last year (‘down’) and his breakout year will yield substantial results.  In this injured, ‘down’ year, Ludwick still hit 22 homers with 97 RBI.  C’mon, even with low expectations and that lineup, I’d snag Ludwick.  Add to all that a Felipe Lopez- Colby Rasmus progression, this has potential to be a very formidable NL lineup.  Love the ADP,people.  Embrace it.

Will: Conor Jackson- 1B, OF, Diamondbacks ADP 309.24

WTF Valley Fever? Rarely has a potential sleeper star gone on the DL with a more Clueless-reference inducing injury or illness (like, totally, Conor… what.ever.)  Jackson is  of serious value if you believe in him and believe me that good batters have good eyes.  That doesn’t mean K:BB HAS to be a determining factor in selecting hitters (Vlad being king here), but its useful with good batting average/ OBP players like Jackon.  So his K:BB ratios starting in 2005 (only 40 games, but look, all the ratios prove my point, regardless of number of at bats; (BONUS: minors- 32:69 K:BB) 11:12, 73-54, 53-50, 61:59, 16:11.  This is a promising trend, and Jackson is young enough to be entering some prime years.  The homers may not spike, but is Jackson with an ADP of 311.63 at MockDraftCentral going to that greatly underperform someone like James Loney, who goes out at an ADP of 181.88?!??!  Take  flier on James Loney lite at worst, and don’t forget that IF/OF eligibility .


Dave: Ryan Doumit- C, Pirates ADP 192.2           

After grabbing some attention in 2007 with respectable offensive numbers at a light position, Doumit broke onto the scene in a big way in 2008 compiling 15 homers with a .318/.357/.501 line in 431 abs.  The injury bug struck again last spring as a fracture wrist derailed the majority of his season.  Doumit looked to have regained his form by September, hitting 2 bombs with a pretty .346/.424/.481.  I have heard this guy called the Josh Hamilton of catchers.  I agree. He could put up numbers to rival Vmart this year (whose OPS is .150 pts lower when a full-time catcher) minus about 30 RBIs.  Target Doumit once the top 5 catchers are off the board and smile knowing you will get similar production from a late rounder. 

Dave: Kevin Slowey- SP, Twins ADP 210.15

Expectations have always been high for Slowey.  Before injuries put his pitching on hold, Slowey and Scott Baker were developing into a nice combo in the Twins’ rotation.  Unfortunately, several injuries cut short Slowey’s hot start to 2009 (10 wins despite a 1.41whip in 90.2ip).  Many people are scared away by the permanent screws in his wrist, but don’t worry.  His numbers have been filthy this spring, allowing 1er in 16ip with 15ks.  This is a pitcher who absolutely owned the minor leagues with a 0.85 WHIP.  Supported by the best offense in a weak division,  Slowey  is worth the gamble and could emerge as a serious top-of-the-rotation starter.

Will: Ben Sheets-SP, A’s ADP 232.8   

Now know this: we write this as Sheets has gotten sheeted-on this spring (8.2 IP, 20 H, 16 ER, 5 BB) and had a ho-hum turn at Triple A at the time of us posting.  I own Sheets in our Champions league, but I’m planning on him sitting him til he proves himself settled (which I honestly believe, between whatever magic hot tub Beane has and a plus pitcher-friendly ballpark) and hope he’ll be  dominant #2/2a by the trade deadline (I’m thinkin’ with you here, Mr. Beane).  Sheets isn’t a name sneaking up on too many people in drafts, so we’re really talking about a risk/reward play here.  For his ADP, you are potentially getting the dominant #2 guy from 2008, a (hopefully) healthy year away from surgery.  Just a reminder of some of Sheets best years, he has pitched over 190 innings 4 times, each year submitting  fantasy-relevant (if not superior) season (2002-2004, most excellent.). 2008, his last healthy year, he had 5 CG and 3 SHO, just sayin’. A 158:47 K:BB ratio (the guy’s developing in his pitcher smarts….).  If you’re a patient player, like me, or at least have a long-term view, bite on Sheets, too much value to leave sitting there.  P.S. I own the man, so I’m not just hyping, I swear.

Dave: Chris Young- SP, Padres ADP 331.5          

Being 6’10”, you would figure that the guy hits his head enough.  Well Pujols doesn’t believe in such thing as “enough” so decided to smash Chris Young in the face with a line drive in 2008.  2009 brought more problems in the form of (the more baseball-relevant) arm troubles.  After offseason surgery, Young has looked solid this spring and is working on a new splitter.  Given the not-too-distant success of the Padres’ ace and a spacious park, 2010 should be a nice bounceback campaign.

Stash on the DL:

Dave: Erik Bedard- SP, Mariners ADP 232.12 

By now we get it: if Bedard is healthy, he puts up ace numbers.  But with only 164ip in the last 2 seasons and never over 200ip in a season, that is an IF.  If someone reaches because he thinks he’s getting 2007 Bedard minus 5 starts, let him go.  Otherwise, Bedard is worth targeting in the final rounds and stashing on the DL until further notice.

Dave: Edinson Volquez- SP, Reds ADP >500

Volquez is expected back soon after the break.  His 2008 was no fluke.  With his kind of stuff and ADP, how can you not take him in the last round and just stash him on the DL?

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Ducksnorts- Youkilis Mustache Fund & Draft Advice

click the picture to vote on how youk should shave his gruff!

proceeds go to youk’s charity youkskids.  great stuff.  check out the video of the hilarious interview in the sox clubhouse here at mlb.com

I was having thoughts about “value” of players across fantasy boards and i realized the value of trust in drafting, as players could be viewed as commodities you’ve invested in (I was bored in finance class, so sue me).  “True Value,” if you will.  I was thinking of how I was thinking of how players with certain consistencies/upsides in consistent yearly categories (Doubles, On-Base Percentage, and Steals being my favorites of mine).  These players might be boring, but build a team correctly with them piece by piece and you have an excellent shot of winning each week, in head-to-head formats especially (my preference over rotisserie).  And couple this idea with the idea of maximizing gains (again, like stocks), you can bet that loading up on one, consistent collection of players (aka the project) will guarantee consistently low risks/high benefits players and high basement/ great upside potential players.  In lots of larger leagues, you will find yourself tricked into the human instinct to want symmetry (why ladies think Denzel is Such aunkasaurus rex) but I say buck  it.  Invest in boring, but solid players including sleepers/upside picks (i.e. not super-risks like josh hamilton, guys like denard span, my guy if the twins get hitting).  My draft strategy has moved around yearly as I’ve gathered league upon league to my beltline of fantasy gluttony, but I’ve settled on these three markers as solid fantasy credentials that will you by in pretty much all leagues in my book (with the hope, as always, that you are a clever enough manager to pull the trigger on the waiver wire when appropriate (helllllooooo steaming pitchers): Doubles, Steals, and On Base Percentage for batters, Innings Pitched, K:BB Rate: (kind of cheating as it is an uncommon actual stat, I know, I know but come on people, it’s just comparing two numbers), and K/9 Rate.  I realize I will often be steal-biased, as I am an admitted and recovering Crawford-holic the past few years (it’s an unhealthy fixation people).  I am overjoyed to be holding the cards of Abreu in the aggressive running angels, the fastest native american in Boston, Nate McClouth, Denard Span, J. Texas Whiskey- Burbon (I’m buying!!!! I’m so buying!! STEAL!! GPGPGP!!), and the newly minted leadoff hitter in front of #3 hitter Hanley Ramirez- Chris Coghlan.  Clearly I Have a need for speed.  But there is balance there too (Abreu being an excellent, excellent exaple of low-risk, known and highly beneficial player).

When you are looking at similar players, I suggest you look for consistently good players.  Consistently good players in Baseball a) Hit Doubles b) Getting on Base and c) Stealing Bases.  Pitchers are obviously a matter of preference for categories in a lot of ways but i maintain that it can be comforting to know that even on a bad night, a guy ain’t gonna murder you for pitching (hello, garza and lackey on my team).  Innings, the pitchers control of his pitches, and the pitchers ability NOT hit the ball to make batters all seem to be perfect fantasy inputs to figure out useful pitchers.  But, as I said, I tend to focus goals to maximize one project’s returns at a time, so I feel much more confident with my offense put together in such a way more so at this point).

Players who have upside but people have questions about for some reason (lDexter Fowler, for example?).  In my ‘absolute value’ idea of valuing consistenly in any format, a player like Fowler should be thought about in this way-

DO I know exactly what to expect with him? No.  it’s hard to know exactly with young players, especially in Colorado.

Is he clearly a talented player?  Is he ‘an athlete’? Yup.  Guy’s built.  Lanky power, long legs, great length (Jay Bilas’ Ears just perked up) Fowler is a scouting gem.  You can’t teach being talented.

Does he have power?  And by that I mean is he better than Christian Guzman?  It gets to the  outfield on the fly, right?

Yes.  Yes times a large number, and yes, definitely.  Fowler stole 27 bases, hit ten triples, 29 doubles and 4 homers and had a .363 OBP in 433 AB’s in his rookie season.  He whacks the ball around and can run- he will probably do something useful on any given fantasy night.   See my point?  The same can be applied for whatever metrics you want to use for pitchers, some value other tendencies or worry about full-season (so shortsighted) risks, like Brandon Webb.  I just think the reasoning i have above is most solid.  A pitcher who masters what I described will be a good pitcher.

Trust.  If you’re like me, this is easier said than done much of the time (Francisco Liriano, maybe?).  But if you build around this type of consistency of player, you can build yourself the space to take on some serious high risk/reward players (like jose reyes, who can be a top-15 performer but is NOT ranked that high ANYWHERE.  Risk.  I feel like an insurance commercial.  “Build your fantasy player portfolio with a strong foundation, with me at the standard for Returns- Gooch, Inc… ”  A roster filled with consistency can take on risk- it makes sense.  I’m just saying, just sayin’.

Listen, don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving some expert knowledge on how to win, I’m just a guy rambling on.  But I think I know my stuff and you took the time to read it.  So thanks. I feel smarter.

Gooch, laters.

bonus: if you haven’t seen Jimmy Kimmel’s “Handsome Men’s Club” Skit yet, please, watch it– hilarious stuff.  Kimmel really seems like a funny guy.  Could he emerge out of all of this as a kind of cult hero?  Did he just grow a huge set of Media Cajones?  I think so.

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