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February 16, 2011

Fantasy Beat

How Not to Offend Me With a Scoresheet Trade Offer

by Sky Kalkman

An open letter to my fellow BP Kings Scoresheet league members:

Hi, I'm the new guy—well, one of the new guys. Many of you are quite aware of that fact, having offered some, ahem, creative trade proposals over the last few weeks. Rather than take offense, I'll  assume we just have philosophical differences. (That's certainly the case for fellow noob Paul Swydan.) To help open the lines of communication, here's some friendly advice for offering me trades.

To begin, you can stop offering me...

  • Relief pitchers: Usually I deny that relief pitchers exist. But because of Scoresheet's deep rosters, I'll admit they do have a use. That doesn't mean I have to value them, however. 4.00 ERA relievers are more abundant than tribbles and 2.50 ERA relievers tend to be overrated. I'll stick to drafting my bullpen in the later rounds, thanks.
  • Starting pitchers with a projected ERA above 4.00: Given that our league is 80% the size of MLB and we have the roster space to hoard relievers, replacement-level ERA is probably no worse than 4.75. That means a mediocre innings eater no longer has much value. Give me studs, even with lower innings pitched totals.
  • Pitching prospects: Say hello to TINSTAAPP—not just the "pitchers are fragile" part, but also the unheralded "pitchers don't improve continuously like hitters and instead take huge leaps without warning" part.  I know a strong rotation is important, but I believe it's a better use of resources to acquire established, underrated pitchers via trade or draft.  (If I ran a major league team, I'd stock up on two-star pitching prospects, but there isn't the roster space for that in Scoresheet.)
  • Non-elite hitting prospects who aren't close to MLB: Why would I want to hold on to someone for multiple years who has a good chance of busting and probably won't be a star anyway? Wishcasting is emotionally fulfilling, but breaks down when applied to reality.
  • Players you aren't going to keep: Chances are I'm not going to want to keep them either. And I'm not going to give you Nelson Cruz in return.

However, I'm quite happy to listen to offers involving...

  • Elite hitting prospects: As it's been shown over and over again, you can count on these guys becoming productive major leaguers nearly as much as you can count on productive major leaguers maintaining their production. It's true that everyone else loves elite hitting prospects, too, but I definitely don't mind throwing my hat into this ring.
  • Hitting prospects with a 2012 or earlier ETA: Keeping a prospect is next to free, so if I'm guaranteed at least moderate production, that has value.  For example, Brent Morel—he won't be a stud, but should be decent for at least 2011. Who doesn't like free stuff?
  • Aging stars: It seems like everyone else is scared of Alex Rodriguez types. Sure, he'll be unkeepable in a couple years, but until then he's a 4+ win player. Planning on winning later is nice, but I want to win now and later. How is rostering a young player who won't produce for the first two years out of the next five any different from rostering an old player who won't produce for the last two years out of the next five? If you're looking more than five years down the road for a hitter, you're crazy. And I won't look past the next three for a pitcher.
  • Studs: Yeah, ok, this one's not a shocker. Elite talent wins championships, and it's even more valuable in leagues with a higher replacement level than MLB. With the ability to keep only ten veterans per year, league-average players are thrown back into the pool. Players worth keeping are those with major skills.

Thanks to everyone for the opportunity to compete in your league. I'm looking forward to the competition. And watching you waste picks on pitching prospects.

- Sky

Sky Kalkman is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Sky's other articles. You can contact Sky by clicking here

Related Content:  Tribbles

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Prospectus Hit List: W... (02/15)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Beat: Donnybro... (02/09)
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Fantasy Beat: Donnybro... (02/18)
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Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Teahen v... (02/16)

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