Archive for the ‘Roster Management’ Category

h2h Corner ~ Winning a League in a Low Maintenance Way

Since a lot of us are semi-evolved from the Brits, let’s think about how one wins a league with a laissez-faire attitude. I’m speaking mostly about daily h2h leagues with unlimited moves. However most of the advice should place across league types.

First, I want to address a stigma that it takes considerable amount of time per day to monitor your fantasy team. It simply doesn’t. Certainly it takes more than football because there are more players and more potential moves and no waiver period. There is simply more thinking involved – going way beyond simply putting in a couple of waiver claims and hoping you got the player you wanted in the morning.

You can actively manage your team by spending just five minutes a day for the low, low price of $19.99. The best way to do so is to look at your league at 7:00 pm on weekdays and 1:00 pm on weekends. This way you will know which of your players are starting for the day and see what moves have been made. In addition, check out the Fantasy Baseball 101 home page for all the latest news. You can gather all the intelligence you need by reading the headlines and our player news in one minute or less.

In addition, you can set your lineup weeks in advance. When you have free time, scroll ahead in your roster and plug in those who are starting on given days. This will assure you are, at the least, maximizing your lineup potential.

Aside from this, you can set up Google alerts for your closers (or setup an RSS feed to Fantasy Baseball 101). That way you know if your guy recorded/blew a save and if there is a closer controversy or injury you need to pay attention to. If you don’t get an e-mail, you don’t have to worry.

You also can typically win trades by being lazy. The best stance to take on a trade is apathy. If someone approaches you with a trade, respond that you are interested and ask them to make a proposal. They’ll come back with an idea, which is less than what they would actually pay. So, you take your time – be cool. Your trading partner will wonder where your response is and might even propose a better trade before you respond. To win a trade, all you have to do is be cool and be nice.

In addition to winning your trade via benign neglect (not the Moynihan version), you should elicit the help of your friends who might be more knowledgeable or diligent when it comes to fantasy baseball. Quite simply the amount of quality free fantasy advice out there is astronomical. While this was called plagiarism in high school, it’s simply due diligence in the post-collegiate world. Think of this as me volunteering to answer any question you may have.

By using others, you can have your team assessed by friends and receive an honest valuation of any trade or roster move without having to do any of the research yourself. All you have to do is shoot them an e-mail or send me a tweet or post a comment on this thread (or any thread).

Lastly, I see twitter as a great resource for everyone. Some people use it to talk to friends, some use it as a news aggregator and some use it to project themselves out into the world. The astute fantasy player should use twitter (or set up a feed) to follow club beat writers and fantasy “experts.” I knew Joe Nathan was injured last year before it was on any web site, because it was tweeted. If you’re someone who enjoys social media, this is a great advantage.

So, through the wonders of 35 minutes of roster maintenance a week, Google alerts/RSS feeds and ignoring trade requests, you’ll be in a good spot to compete in your league with little muss and fuss.

You can follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner.

h2h Corner ~ Putting the All-star Game in the Rear View Mirror

I don’t know what happened to the All-star game.

I remember it as the crowning jewel of the summer of my youth. I actually embraced the “This Time it Counts” PR ploy. Hey, it’s a little less random than simply switching home field between leagues every year. In an ideal world, Major Legaue Baseball would let the best interleague record to determine World Series home field advantage, but at least we aren’t just switching off.

However, this year, they took the mantra too far. Middle relievers, typically, have very little place in an All-star game. Some of them are having fine, even very good seasons, but give me some starters. You know what happens when you shorten the word ‘starters’, you see the word ‘stars’. Stephen Strasburg is a star, Mat Latos is a star, and Jered Weaver might be a star. You know who will never be a star? Evan Meek, Matt Thornton, Arthur Rhodes, Omar Infante, etc.

So how do you “fix” the All-star game? I don’t think you have to do much besides apply a little common sense. Really, this is probably a one year aberration of the players and managers making horrible choices. At least a Yankees starter got the loss, so when they are forced to play game seven at the Colorado Rockies, they’ll have no one to blame but their manager and Phil Hughes.

Switching gears to Fantasy Baseball…

You know what the ASB means to fantasy teams. It is time to take stock on where you are in the standings and what you need to do to get to the top.

Here are some guys who, while they underperformed, should help you in the second half:

  1. Aramis Ramirez
  2. Joe Mauer
  3. Ian Kinsler
  4. Ichiro
  5. Jimmy Rollins
  6. Mark Reynolds (if you aren’t worried about batting average)
  7. Aaron Hill
  8. Nelson Cruz
  9. Chris Ianetta
  10. Chone Figgins
  11. Carlos Lee
  12. Zack Greinke (unless you need wins)
  13. Wandy Rodriguez (why not roll the dice?)
  14. Cole Hamels
  15. Scott Baker
  16. Chad Billingsley (if you need Ks)
  17. James Shields
  18. Gavin Floyd

Here are some guys who you might want to sell at their apex:

  1. Josh Hamilton
  2. Torii Hunter
  3. Corey Hart
  4. Adrian Beltre
  5. Dan Uggla
  6. Scott Rolen
  7. Ubaldo Jimenez
  8. Cliff Lee
  9. David Price
  10. Andy Pettitte
  11. Jeff Niemann
  12. Jaime Garcia
  13. Phil Hughes

Here are some guys owned in less than 50% of Yahoo! Leagues who could be the difference in the second half (in ranked order):

Pitchers:

  1. Jason Hammel
  2. Kris Medlen
  3. John Axford
  4. Madison Bumgarner
  5. Travis Wood
  6. Tom Gorzelanny
  7. Alfredo Simon
  8. Bronson Arroyo
  9. Vicente Padilla
  10. Jonathon Niese
  11. JJ Putz
  12. Scott Downs
  13. Barry Enright
  14. Bruce Chen
  15. Vin Mazzaro

Hitters:

  1. Adam LaRoche
  2. Gaby Sanchez
  3. Russell Branyan
  4. Andres Torres
  5. Drew Stubbs
  6. Mike Cameron
  7. Ike Davis
  8. Juan Pierre
  9. Coco Crisp
  10. Fred Lewis
  11. Angel Pagan
  12. Dexter Fowler
  13. Matt LaPorta
  14. Cody Ross
  15. Cliff Pennington
  16. Lastings Milledge
  17. Julio Borbon
  18. Julio Lugo
  19. Jonathan Herrera
  20. Clint Barmes
  21. Travis Ishikawa
  22. Seth Smith
  23. Michael Saunders

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h2h Corner ~ The Buddy Garrity, Don Draper, Ed Norton Sales Convention

Buddy Garrity sales time (sell now)
When it is Buddy Garrity sales time, you should be moving players immediately. These are players that will likely regress to means or not perform as well as they have been (i.e., sell high candidates). In addition, they include guys I don’t think will perform well at all during the rest of the season. These are players you are best cutting your losses with. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ The Buddy Garrity, Don Draper, Ed Norton Sales Convention

Buddy Garrity sales time (sell now)
When it is Buddy Garrity sales time, you should be moving players immediately. These are players that will likely regress to means or not perform as well as they have been (i.e., sell high candidates). In addition, they include guys I don’t think will perform well at all during the rest of the season. These are players you are best cutting your losses with. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ The Buddy Garrity, Don Draper, Ed Norton Sales Convention

Buddy Garrity sales time (sell now)
When it is Buddy Garrity sales time, you should be moving players immediately. These are players that will likely regress to means or not perform as well as they have been (i.e., sell high candidates). In addition, they include guys I don’t think will perform well at all during the rest of the season. These are players you are best cutting your losses with.

Steven Strasburg – If you’ve read me, you know I am very weary of pitchers maintaining dominance, especially if he hasn’t done it before. Still, I have no problem believing Strasburg will be an ace pitcher for years to come, however, in redraft leagues, I think you need to test the market ASAP. For one, he won’t face the hapless Pirates every week. Sure he should fair just as well against the Indians, but he won’t maintain a 14:0 k:walk rate. Further, he has an innings cap. He’ll give you three months. People seem to be forgetting that fact or at least ignoring that he’ll let you down at the end of the year (when you need him most in h2h leagues). Add that to the fact that even the mighty Tim Lincecum has some stumbles and Strasburg will never look better (yeah, remember when she looked like that?!?!?). Basically, the minute your drive a new car off the lot it loses value. We’re near that point with Strasburg. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ The Buddy Garrity, Don Draper, Ed Norton Sales Convention

Buddy Garrity sales time (sell now)
When it is Buddy Garrity sales time, you should be moving players immediately. These are players that will likely regress to means or not perform as well as they have been (i.e., sell high candidates). In addition, they include guys I don’t think will perform well at all during the rest of the season. These are players you are best cutting your losses with.

Jose Bautista, John Buck, Rod Barajas, Jon Garland – Not surprisingly, I don’t think any of these guys will sustain their pace. It’s not like you can get much for them though, unless you are swindling a newcomer. So, if you are in a league with newcomers, go ahead and offer these guys around. None will maintain their current AVG/ERA/WHIP. Buck, Barajas and Bautista do have some power, so this isn’t a complete aberration, but they’ll accompany it with horrid averages. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ The Buddy Garrity, Don Draper, Ed Norton Sales Convention

Buddy Garrity sales time (sell now)
When it is Buddy Garrity sales time, you should be moving players immediately. These are players that will likely regress to means or not perform as well as they have been (i.e., sell high candidates). In addition, they include guys I don’t think will perform well at all during the rest of the season. These are players you are best cutting your losses with. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Impact Prospects II

Recently I gave a heads up on six prospects who could end up playing a pivotal role in fantasy baseball this year.

This column details a second round of prospects (in case you missed it, the first round is here). Finding value in young (somewhat) unknowns is particularly important when you are playing against owners who know and follow baseball. In leagues like this, drafting based on previous performance, while key, may not be enough to ensure victory. Fielding a strong team in this environment requires that you pick up major impact prospects in the later rounds of your draft or in the days after they have left Durham.

Two years ago, managing the waiver wire to ensure you grabbed Ryan Braun netted you tasty results. Last year, grabbing players like Edison Volquez, Johnny Cueto, Jacoby Ellsbury, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Geovany Soto helped you to fantasy gold.

Of course, not every prospect yields immediate results. Hello there Andy LaRoche, Homer Bailey, Cameron Maybin, Clay Buccholz, and Daric Barton. You have to be careful, therefore, in what you use (whether a draft pick or a dropped player off your roster) to grab your blue chipper.

This year, the prospect headliners are David Price and Matt Wieters. You know them; they are on rosters and should be drafted in the first 20 rounds based strictly on upside. However, you are taking a bigger gamble on these two than those detailed below. Personally, I wouldn’t use a top 15 round draft pick on an inexperienced player likely to spend significant time in the minors. When I analyze prospects, all I care about is maximizing production from the later rounds of my draft and the waiver wire. That said, lets move on to part II.

Fernando Martinez – OF – New York Mets – Like any hot shot minor leaguer in a New York system, people have known about Martinez for what seems like forever. That said, he is still only 20. In 352 at bats last year in AA, Martinez hit .287 with a .340 OBP and .432 SLG percentage. Given the shaky outfield situation in Flushing this year, it is possible he could see significant at bats with the big boys sooner rather than later. If so, he could provide a sneaky source of stats later in the year. Don’t be too concerned about Sheffield (old age + big ball-park + no DH doesn’t equal fantasy prowess).

Lars Anderson – 1B – Boston Red Sox – In 932 minor league at bats (133 in AA), Anderson has hit .304, with a .404 OBP and .480 SLG percentage. It is clear this kid can hit, and given the situation in Boston it might be for the big league club sooner than most expect. Specifically, David Ortiz was injured for most of last year, and he has been regressing for three years now. Mike Lowell, like Ortiz, has had his share of injuries lately. Given Kevin Youkilis’ ability to move across the diamond, any injury to either Lowell or Ortiz will likely lead to Anderson getting a call up. If he gets the call, Anderson should be able to help with either batting average or OBP, and provide a decent source of RBIs.

Trevor Cahill – SP – Oakland Athletics – In 2008, at age 20 (at high A and AA), Cahill struck out 136 batters in 124 innings. He paired that awesomeness with a mid-2.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. In his 37 innings at AA, Cahill managed 33 Ks, a 2.19 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. Apparently that was enough for Billy Beane; Cahill is slated to start the second game of the season for the A’s. There could be some growing pains given that he is barely 21, but keep your eyes on his performance out west.

Brett Anderson – SP – Oakland Athletics – Much like rotation-mate Cahill, Anderson will break camp as a major league starting pitcher. Also 21, Anderson struck out 243 batters in a combined 225.1 innings at A and AA from 2007 to 2008. Last year in 31 innings at AA, Anderson struck out 38 batters, while posting a 2.61 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. The young talent abounds in the A’s rotation. Cahill is probably the better long-term bet, but don’t sleep on this southpaw in 2009.

Matt LaPorta – 1b – Cleveland Indians – LaPorta was the centerpiece of the deal that moved C.C. Sabathia to Milwaukee for the late summer months last year. At 23, LaPorta looks ancient compared to Anderson and Cahill. His production, however, indicate that his best days are before him. Last year at AA, in 302 at bats, LaPorta hit 20 homeruns, while posting a .288 BA, .402 OBP and a .576 SLG percentage. Simply put, those numbers are awesome. Unfortunately, there is some serious traffic for LaPorta to navigate if he wants to make it to the majors. Specifically, Victor Martinez, Ryan Garko and Travis Hafner all have legitimate claims to the first base and DH positions. Those players haven’t been all that healthy or good lately, so LaPorta may get his chance just yet. He should be on your radar now.

Colby Rasmus – OF – St. Louis Cardinals – Rasmus seems like old news in fantasy circles; however, he is still two years younger than LaPorta. His minor league record includes 1,533 at bats, 64 HRs, 74 stolen bases, a .275 average, a .366 OBP and a .485 SLG percentage. While he only hit .251 in 331 AAA at bats last year, he did manage 11 home runs and 15 stolen bases. The Cardinals outfield is crowded, but at some point Rasmus will force his way onto the big league roster. He is a legitimate 10 HR/20 SB candidate the minute he gets regular playing time. Does his story remind anyone of Carlos Quentin?

h2h Corner ~ Keep, Trade or Drop

Time for the latest edition of the game show that is sweeping America like Who Wants to be a Millionaire did back in 1999, the year of Ivan Rodriguez, the New York Yankees and Livin’ La Vida Loca. You guessed it, Keep Trade or Drop.

Continue reading

Keep, Trade, or Drop?

Time for the latest edition of the game show that is sweeping America like Who Wants to be a Millionaire did back in 1999, the year of Ivan Rodriguez, the New York Yankees and Livin’ La Vida Loca. You guessed it, Keep Trade or Drop.

Jay Bruce, Andre Ethier or Hunter Pence?

Me:
I ranked Hunter Pence as the 58th best hitter, Andre Ethier as the 59th best hitter and Jay Bruce as the 155th ranked hitter. Much like Chris Davis, the hype machine has taken over for Jay Bruce. I’ll trade Bruce without thinking about it – he’ll mistakenly bring more than either of the others. He could outperform them, but most players experience growing pains (you know the whole genesis behind sophomore slump), just look at Pence’s 2008. This means that, while I think he’ll outperform Bruce, I have to drop Ethier. So I’m going to roll with Hunter Pence. He will hit in the .270 – .285 range with upside, score 75+ runs, hit at least 25 home runs and knock in near 100. Pence could be a 20-20 player, if not a 30-15 player. That’s not bad value in the 7th round or so.

Harrow:
Assuming that, in all these scenarios, the leagues are keeper leagues, I would say Keep Bruce, drop Pence, Trade Ethier. As usual, this isn’t an easy call. Pence was highly rated going into last year and so likely must be kept at a round where he’s not guaranteed to be a great value. Because Bruce didn’t get called up until later, his value should be very high relative to the round he will be kept at, as he is extremely talented. I like Andre Ethier, but I think what you see right now is the best you will get and you can probably find some other owner out there who believes he’s going to improve into a true all-star, thus his trade value is very high. Then again, if you can find the same with Pence, trade him. Either way, I’m keeping Bruce.

Bloom:
Keep Bruce: there is potential for increased power output and possible adjustments in second season.
Trade Pence: people expect 20/20 but may not be that type of player, at least not yet, but still valued like he is.
Drop Ethier: Talented, but a few years away.

Dan Kane:
This is tough. All of these guys are young enough that they could still do great things. Or they could flop tremendously. I would keep Ethier, drop pence and trade Bruce. I’m keeping Ethier because I like his bat, and I like him playing out in Los Angeles. I think they’re going to sign Manny soon (seriously Manny, are you squabbling over $3M? No one else wants/can afford you), and you put Manny in that lineup, its tremendous support. Manny sees a ton of pitches, and pitchers worry about him, which might make life a bit easier for Ethier. Even without Manny, Ethier really took a step last year in terms of power and average. The fact that both of those went up makes me think he’s moving in the right direction. Hunter Pence, I dunno, he’s good, but I just don’t have him in the same category as the other two. I think we know what he is (they are what we thought they were!). And its good, but it’s not Ethier, which gets us to Jay Bruce (the mystery man). Bruce has tremendous upside and playing in Cincy, I mean, think of the things that he could do. He could also flop like hell (remember how good Jack Cust was supposed to be). Anyway, I think that Bruce has the best trade value of the three, and given that he’s the least known quantity of the three, I’d send him off for the right package.

Jonathan Paplebon, Francisco Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera

Me:
In my not off-the-presses pitcher rankings, I rank Paplebon as the 30th best pitcher (and I hate closers). I have Rivera at 46 and K-Rod at 54. I don’t think this decision, though, is cut and dry. I’m actually going to keep Mariano Rivera, and believe me it hurts to say this because of a certain 12-year old boy. Mariano will give you at least 35 saves, a 2.00 ERA and a WHIP in the low 1.0. While I hate to say this, he is somewhat underrated. In addition to my Yankee disdain, I also kind of hate Boston because of this game. Still, Jonathan Paplebon will fetch the most in a trade, so I’m dealing him for a good hitter. Saves are saves, they come from everywhere, so I’ll trade the closer that will get me the most. K-Rod is neither as good nor as dependable as Rivera, so I’m tossing him back to the pool.

Harrow:
K-Rod is the easy drop call here. Though he’s still good, his peripheral numbers have been in a steady decline for a while, and the way the Angels limited their use of him last year hints that they felt he was an injury waiting to happen. As for Paplebon and Rivera, it really depends on where you drafted them. As much as I hate to admit it (being a Yankees fan), Paplebon is extremely talented and may be worth keeping over Rivera, if only because of some questions about Rivera’s off-season (minor) shoulder surgery and his age. However, it’s worth nothing that Rivera is coming off of one of his best seasons and has been nothing short of the best reliever ever. Also, I’ve had some issues with the fact that Paplebon seems reluctant to throw his nasty splitter, which could be indicative of arm trouble (or just that Varitek isn’t quite the game calling genius everyone thinks he is). I’m gonna say Keep Rivera and trade Paplebon, if only because Papelbon’s trade value is higher as a result of his youth and Rivera’s recent surgery.

Bloom:
Keep Paplebon: Lock for 40+ saves and least chance of injury
Trade K-Rod: He is bound to regress from career year last year. He is in a new league, and there might be some adjustment. Still, probably considered “the best” right now so should pull significant trade value.
Drop Rivera: as a Yankees fan, this is difficult, but gotta drop Mo of these three. He is coming off surgery. If he ever had questions, this is the year.

Dan Kane:
Boston v. two NY guys. is there any question who I’m keeping? I love Paps not only for his skill, but b/c you know he wants to be at the end shutting games down. The Sox are going to be good, so you know he’s going to get his chances, and, for the most part, he’ll convert. Out of the three, I think he has the most trade value, but I think he also has the most value on a team – plus, you can’t discount that clubhouse factor (you want to keep your fantasy team loose). In terms of dropping, this is a bit nuts I know, but I’m dropping K-Rod. The single season save champ is good, though I wonder how he’ll do in New York. They’ve got Putz to work the 8th for him, so he should be able to get the Scioscia treatment where he doesn’t have to work more than an inning at a time. That said, something about him, I just don’t trust. And there’s Rivera. God I hate him. He’s been so consistently good, and he should be good again this season. The consistency, and the Yankee homerism (plus the fact that he’s going to get his chances) should make him a good trade target. I don’t think he gets as much back as you’d get for Paps, but I think you get enough.

Ryan Howard, Mark Teixeira, Lance Berkman?

Me:
I’m trading Mark Teixeira, my 13th ranked hitter. He will by far bring back the most value. However, did you know he hasn’t hit 35 home runs in a season since 2005? The RBIs will be there, but his power upside isn’t that of Ryan Howard. My h2h philosophy is to worry about the counting stats and somewhat ignore the ratios (i.e. batting average). That means I’m keeping Ryan Howard, my 10th ranked hitter. In three full season, his lowest home run total was 47. Teixeira has never hit that many, and topped out at 43 in 2005. Howard will likely hit 10-15 more home runs and can out produce Tex in RBIs. I’d rather win HRs, Runs and RBIs then worry about batting average (which can vary dramatically week-to-week). This means I’m throwing the big fish Lance Berkman back into the sea, even though he had a phenomenal year. I’ll take what I can get for Tex and ride Ryan Howard to three category dominance.

Harrow:
I’m trading Ryan Howard, keeping Mark Teixeira, and dropping Lance Berkman. I think Ryan Howard is extremely overrated. He has prodigious power, that’s for sure, but too many people point to his RBI totals without understanding that it’s a stat that heavily relies on his teammates. He’s poor at making contact, he has regressed in the past few years, he has a terrible body which will likely mean an early decline age wise compared to Teixeira, and he doesn’t hit lefties well, especially if they throw a slider. The Phillies are definitely a great team for run producers, but I think that Mark Teixeira’s move from the Angels (a poor OBP team) to the Yankees (an excellent OBP team) should narrow, if not eliminate the gap in their RBI production. Because of this misunderstanding by many managers, Howard’s value is extremely high still and thus can bring back a lot in a trade. I still like Lance Berkman, but over his career he has been injury prone, and his late season collapse doesn’t help his trade value. Teixeira is an excellent hitter in a great lineup and in his prime. He’s definitely the keeper.

Bloom:
Probably depends on your league settings for this one (i.e. do k’s count?), but if not:
Keep Howard: still pre-eminent power hitter in the game.
Trade Tex: name recognition from signing the big contract. He could have a huge year in NY lineup. Still, you can’t really go wrong with either of them. If k’s count, it is Tex over Howard.
Drop Berkman- slightly older than the others, but really no downside here either. Numbers, and steals, will probably regress slightly after a career year.

Dan Kane:
I think this is a decision that you make looking at your roster as a total. If you need a big homerun guy, you go Howard. If you need general consistency, you go Teixeira or Berkman. I tend to think that big homerun guys are a bit harder to find. For that reason I’m taking Howard. Will the new extension make him lazy? I don’t think so. I think he continues to mash and should hit 50+ again. I don’t really like his average much, but that’s why you pick up other guys to fix that up. Solid homerun guys are not as easy to find, so you shouldn’t give up on those that are there. Out of Teixeira and Berkman, I think Tex has greater trade value. He’s younger, he appears to be getting better (or at least staying consistent), and he just signed a mammoth new contract for a team that should score tons of runs. There should be no trouble finding a taker for him. I like Berkman, but every year I worry that he’s going to fall off the map. Is this the year? I don’t know. But out of these three, I’m dropping him.

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