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April 5, 2013

Fantasy Mailbag

A Trout/Cabrera Tandem?

by BP Fantasy Staff

Every Friday, we are going to publish questions from our unofficial mailbag. We find that some of you email multiple members of the staff with the same question, while others hit us up at fantasyhour@baseballprospectus.com. We have decided to share the knowledge, anonymously, with the populous, and allow you to ask additional questions in the comments for the fantasy staff to address.

In my league, we use the normal $260 budget during the auction, but once the season begins we can buy anyone with FAAB money regardless of the price at which we get them. For example, i need to replace a guy who isn’t cutting it, his salary at the auction is $1, and I didn’t leave any money on the table at the auction. However, say I get a guy for $10 with FAAB bid; he can replace the $1 guy.

Previously, we have always been tied to the $260 budget from the auction during the season, so I would only be able, in the scenario above, to replace the $1 guy with another $1 player acquired with FAAB money. Now we are no longer tied to the salary cap once the season begins. How do you think this affects how you would conduct your auction? Of course I would still stick to your model as much as possible and try to acquire my players at least at $1 or $2 below what I have valued them at. Thoughts?

I had to give this some thought, since my league (and most leagues I'm aware of) don’t play with the rule that you have in place now. So, typically, my auction dynamics aren't impacted by this kind of rule. So I simply buy the best players I can at the best prices I can in my auction. Since you can now replace a $1 guy with a $10 FAAB, it means you don't have to be afraid to go Stars and Scrubs or "overpay" at the auction for a specific category.

So, yes, you still want to try to get bargains, but I think now you don't have to "overpay" in the endgame to ensure that a strong FAAB bid goes through. —Mike Gianella

I am in two leagues that use 6x6 scoring (OPS and K:BB are the extra kitties). With an additional pitching rate stat, how much more should I value starting pitchers compared to a 5x5 league? Is it as simple as starting pitchers are now worth 25 percent more than in a 5x5 league (because they contribute to five stats instead of four? K:BB also has pitchers who have extreme outliers compared to ERA and WHIP. Would it be conceivable that Cliff Lee and his 7+ K:BB would be the most valuable pitcher?

I wouldn't push Lee up quite that far. Remember, a lot of the studs offer big K:BB rates, so while his is extraordinary, he isn't without issue (namely his age). I doubt we see another six-win abomination, but if Philly struggles and he "only" wins 12-13, then he gives back his gains in K:BB to the 20-game winners. 

I think K:BB helps starters because they log morning innings, but RPs also contribute and some are even better than Lee, albeit in 70-inning chunks. I would raise the exceptional K:BB-ers a little, but nothing insane. —Paul Sporer

I play in an AL-only, 4x4 keeper league auction draft and would like some help.  My current roster is...

Keeping in mind massive inflation in this league (especially with Red Sox fans), I've thought about going hard after Miguel Cabrera to obtain the two best players in fantasy; my guess is he goes for roughly $55, but having him and Trout at a total of $72 is still a huge deal.  My other thought is to spread the risk around more with lots of cheap power guys; what do you think?  Also, do I have enough speed to only look for power guys until the endgame, or should I still look to acquire some speed?

I like the idea of Trout/Cabrera. I had Trout for $5 in a league and paid $55 for Cabrera myself. Might not hurt to get some more speed, as Weeks is in the minors and Gentry is a part-timer at best. —Paul Sporer

Been having trouble sleeping over this one! Hopefully you can help! 14-team, head-to-head league with five keepers. I have two "first" (so, technically sixth) round picks (eighth and 10th overall). Someone has offered me Jose Bautista for Felix Hernandez plus one of my first-round picks. He won't do the deal without the pick.

If it were a straight-up, player-for-player trade, I'd likely say yes, but I'm hesitant to include one of those picks. There isn't power like Bautista's on the board but there is some (Allen Craig, Chris Davis, Adam LaRoche, Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, Mark Trumbo, Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson). 

That said, there aren't many sure pitching options either. Best options on paper are maybe Mat Latos, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmermann. Is it worth giving away a top-three pitcher plus whatever player could be drafted with that pick? Or am I better off with the two picks plus Hernandez?

On the one hand, Hernandez is so overworked, just signed a huge contract, and plays on the Mariners (not many Ws). But Bautista is coming off injury and I wonder if his best days are behind him.  

My keepers are Hernandez, Craig Kimbrel, Michael Bourn, Ian Desmond and Aaron Hill. Not great, I know. I really need power!

I definitely understand the desire to add power, but I think you can just make it a focus in the draft. And no, I wouldn't touch an SP with your first three picks.  —Paul Sporer

I'm playing an Ottoneu league (40-man rosters, keeper) and I've got a deep pitching staff (Roy Halladay, Jered Weaver, Adam Wainwright, Ian Kennedy, Cliff Lee and Jon Niese), and I'm short on MI (Jean Segura and Zack Cozart are currently holding down SS).  I've been offered Jose Reyes for Weaver and Cozart (salary would be a wash).  Any thoughts on the trade? I think I like it for me, but love your expertise and thought I'd run it by you

I pass. I don't feel you are short at SS at all, as I like both Segura and Cozart this season —Jason Collette

I'm in a 5x5 with OBP and SLG instead of AVG and HRs, where we start 10 hitters (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, 4 OFs and a DH) and no bench, so it's a fairly shallow league. I have Victor Martinez (DH-only eligible) and am pondering dropping him and picking up Lance Berkman, due to his better spot in the lineup and possible better SLG upside. I am getting the sense V-Mart's power hasn't completely recovered yet. Alternatively, I can grab Corey Hart and stash him on the DL until he comes back, then grab Berkman and decide between them when Hart's ready to return. Thoughts on any of this? What is your sense on where all these guys are in their recoveries?

My guess is with a shallow league, you're going to have a lot of these decisions where the answer is really a coin flip and preference. I prefer V-Mart, just because I think Detroit's lineup is better and he's going to be healthier. —Paul Sporer

What does this Elvis Andrus extension to do Jurickson Profar's value. Does a move to 2B decrease it? If he gets moved to CF I think I will cry; I was expecting him to be my SS for the next 10 years. Thoughts!

I wouldn't worry about the Andrus signing as it relates to Profar's fantasy value. In fact, there's a chance his value might be even slightly higher at 2B, since it's nearly as weak of a position now, and there's not much new blood coming. The odds of him moving to CF long-term are pretty slim at this point, and I think we're either looking at the Rangers' second baseman of the future or some other team's shortstop. —Bret Sayre

I can have Profar and Oscar Taveras for the next three years at $5.  Was offered Strasburg at $11 for next three years.  Could use pitching help this year, but not sure if my team is ready to compete though.

Hell yes, I make this deal. Even if your team isn't ready for this year, you can get more for Strasburg now than you can with the potential of Profar and Taveras. —Jason Collette

I've always thought about what (if any) consequences arise from having a fantasy roster that contains players that play for the same big-league team. Ultimately, the numbers each individual player produces throughout the course of a season should more or less be independent of what other players on their team produce (obviously this is not completely true if you use stats like RBI and runs scored).

I've considered that having two-plus players on the same major-league team may hurt a fantasy roster because those players may be susceptible to being shut out by a great pitching performance, thus hurting offensive categories. However, isn't every player (generally speaking, again) just as susceptible to being shut out by great pitching? So the risk should be about the same, regardless of what players you have and what teams they play for.

The only concrete downside I can think of is that if you have multiple players who play for the same big-league team, your team may be hurt by days off. With limited roster spots (as there are in my current league), that can make a difference because you cannot easily replace players with bench spots.

This year in particular, I have three Rangers (Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre, Berkman), two Orioles (Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy) and two Indians (Carlos Santana, Bourn). Out of the players I just listed, the only player I do not necessarily care for is Hardy, but overall, each player provides value.

I know this has been a long-winded lead in, but do you think that there is any reason for concern because I have the majority of my offensive starters playing for three different teams?

I can't see any reason for concern. Talent is talent. The only way the off-day thing would hurt is in H2H and it'd probably come out in the wash because there'd probably be a week where you get Texas, Baltimore, and Cleveland playing on a Monday when your opponent has several of his guys off.  —Paul Sporer

BP Fantasy Staff is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
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Related Content:  Out Of My League,  Paul Konerko

5 comments have been left for this article.

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Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitch... (04/05)
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Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (04/05)

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