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April 21, 2011

Fantasy Beat

Team Tracker, PFM, Scoresheet, and You

by Rob McQuown

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In-season Scoresheet team management probably gets rote for more owners, with good teams going on auto-pilot, perhaps with some injury adjustments, bullpen shuffling, home/road adjustments, and some “prefer to face” changes. Once such owners get into a system, there is little drama other than trades and drafts–mainly configuring the team for optimal playoff performance. For other teams, the drama is even less, as they are configured for future success, and failure to eke out a win here or there with managerial moves bothers them not at all. For the frantic few, however, every fraction of a percentage gained or lost could mean the difference between postseason glory and an early offseason.

To help those who are following every up and down of their team, and would like assistance scouting out their opposition for possible trades and hot players to consider during matchups, two new tools are available:

Team Tracker Update

To use this utility, create a Team Tracker team to contain the players on the Scoresheet team to enter, for example–to setup a team to track the SuperTeam in the P-NL300 league:

  • Enter Team Tracker: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/tt/.
  • Click on Edit Teams.
  • Type the name of the team in the “Add Team” box: “Scoresheet P-NL300 TEAM 2”.
  • Click the “Add Team” button.
  • Click on “Load Teams”
  • Select the new team from the dropdown menu: “Select Team to Activate”.
  • Click on the “Select” button.
  • Enter the URL for the league into the “Scoresheet League URL” box: http://scoresheet.com/FOR_WWW/P_NL300.htm
  • Enter the team number in the “Team #” box: 2
  • Click “Add Scoresheet Team to my Team”
  • Move players from “Your Team” to “Watched Players” as desired.

Player Forecast Manager Update

Player Forecast Manager is primarily useful before the season. Yet, the projections therein are updated whenever depth chart updates are made, so all values are for “remainder of season,” making them useful for in-season moves. The same highly-researched methodology Ben Murphy used for the SS/SIM on PECOTA data was used, so results can be compared directly to the SS/SIM for the season (though if you find something quirky, it's probably due to this author's adaptation of SS/SIM to current season stats). Remember to set the budgeted money to 50/50 (or 130/130 if you prefer) for SS/SIM-based lists to get the sorting to work right.

In light of the SS/SIM to Date data, there are four groups of players who might be of interest to Scoresheet players considering moves:

  • Players who have started hot despite tepid projections, and might remain hot.
  • Players who have started hot and are likely to revert to the level of their tepid projections.
  • Players who have started cold and are likely to turn things around.
  • Players who have started cold and are candidates to remain cold, despite decent projections.

Sorted (approximately*) by how surprisingly well they've done so far in 2011, it's no surprise that most of the top players are pitchers, and the comments will suggest buy/hold/sell recommendations for the hot players:

Player (pos): projected / actual Comments
Matt Harrison (RP): -.32 / 12.75 Has a nice defense behind him and gets to face M's and A's a lot. Opinions vary on how much of his success will be sustained, but he won't get six double plays every game to get him out of jams.
Aaron Crow (RP): -.46 / 7.53 For such a celebrated college pitcher, his season has received almost no fanfare. Mid-90s heat, control, AND poise. Potentially a future SP, he's a good present/future asset.
Dustin Moseley (SP): 1.43 / 9.74 Mediocre SP + Petco = valuable pitcher. If you don't have him, wait until he gets bombed a couple times before trading and using him in home games.
Pedro Beato (Swing): -.17 / 7.29 Not as good of a pedigree as Crow, but a decent SP prospect seemingly past his injury issues and thriving in a bullpen role.
Charlie Morton (SP): 4.02 / 11.50 He overhauled his delivery to clone Roy Halladay. That's good information to use in your sales pitch, if you are shopping him.
Livan Hernandez (SP): 1.85 / 8.45 With two shortstops up the middle, Nats pitchers are somewhat interesting. Livan's an innings-eater; if needed, buy low after he has some bad outings.
Glen Perkins (RP): -.28 / 5.59 His ERA has been above 5.8 each of the past two seasons.
Logan Ondrusek (RP): .47 / 6.47 Even if two of his seven walks have been intentional, it's still seven walks in 10.2 IP.
Jhoulys Chacin (SP): 4.56 / 11.50 A very good and underrated pitcher – projections are hurt by the fact that he's a converted position player and got a late start.
Jordan Walden (RP): .87 / 6.08 Much like Aaron Crow, and throws even harder but seems much less likely to ever return to starting.
Jason Berken (RP): -.17 / 4.76 Surely, you're Bjork'n
Brian Sanches (RP): 2.31 / 7.78 Has been quietly effective for a couple years now. PECOTA and SS/SIM seem overly harsh on him.
David Hernandez (RP): 1.30 / 6.08 Has two fastballs, the four-seamer hitting mid-90s, and a curve. Also has five walks in 9.1 IP, and a home park and teammates not helpful to his ERA.
Matt Lindstrom (RP): -.17 / 4.28 Blistering heat and can look great at times. Just 2 unintentional walks so far in 7.2 IP, but always a risk for injury or wildness.
Jonathan Venters (RP): 1.09 / 5.74 Shame on PECOTA.
Cristhian Martinez (Swing): -.07 / 4.18 Martinez was Marlins Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009. He has a nice niche in Atlanta, with Kimbrel and Venters around in case he gets in deep weeds.
Mitchell Boggs (RP): -.26 / 3.94 Has the talent, park, and pitching coach to have a chance to become a keepable reliever. Not to say that's likely, but he should help a team a lot.
Zachary Britton (RP): 2.46 / 7.11 He would have been outstanding trade fodder after his second start (1 ER vs Texas), but still worth exploring. He's obviously very talented, but the bar is so high for Baltimore pitchers, with their home park and divisional foes.
Michael Dunn (RP): .00 / 3.89 One of the least-known 13 K/9 pitchers (career), walking 25 in 28.1 career IP will do that.
Ryan Webb (RP): -.56 / 3.05 Webb has great stuff, and is a virtual unknown. Expect more of the same.
Carlos Villanueva (RP): 2.33 / 6.47 What was Milwaukee thinking in shedding a guy with such nice peripherals. His park and division work against him, but a quality arm who should rack up the IP.
Jamey Wright (RP): 1.49 / 5.35 As long as Brendan Ryan and Jack Wilson are playing up the middle, his 55% career GB% could allow him to outpitch his mediocre peripherals by a lot.
Aaron Laffey (Swing): 1.80 / 5.25 Petco and strike throwers – your Scoresheet team doesn't care that the M's never score.
Chris Narveson (SP): 6.18 / 10.25 A talented pitcher saddled with a terrible defense, expect some decline, but still useful.
Kyle Drabek (SP): 3.88 / 7.57 Canada's answer to Zach Britton. Don't trade these guys cheaply, but pragmatism about divisional foes and ballparks is useful.
Omar Vizquel (3B): -1.73 / 1.04 Stop it, Ozzie, please, I just traded for Brent Morel!
Adam Everett (SS): -1.16 / 1.62 Sometimes, PECOTA gets a player very, very wrong. This isn't one such case.
Jose Molina (C): -.44 / 2.22 The catching version of Adam Everett.
Angel Sanchez (SS): -.49 / 2.15 Clint Barmes is due back soon. Mrs. Barmes and his Scoresheet owners will notice the difference.
John Mcdonald (2B): -.82 / 1.77 Wasn't Adam Everett already covered?
Greg Dobbs (3B): .70 / 3.34 Dobbs isn't a terrible career hitter, and his +6/+9/+14 vsR platoon edge helps. Unless Matt Dominguez starts hitting, Dobbs could end up with 200+ PA.
Miguel Batista (RP): 1.16 / 3.79 Worth a note, just because old, smart pitchers often do their best under Dave Duncan. Should be a relatively safe innings sponge for a contender.
Jeremy Jeffress (RP): .05 / 2.46 As bad as the Royals starting pitching is, having two former first-round picks setting things up for Soria's Ninth means teams usually have to get to those SP early.
Jeff Francis (SP): 6.41 / 8.51 One of the better of the bad group of KC starters, Francis' career stats are really not so bad, considering his former home park.
Kevin Correia (SP): 9.43 / 11.67 He's not this good, but it's hard to believe that his on-field struggles in 2010 weren't due in part to his brother's death on May 10. His ERA was 5.84 after that.
Kyle Lohse (SP): 5.83 / 7.79 Kyle Lohse could be Central Casting's answer to “A Dave Duncan Type Pitcher”. He won't keep his ERA under 3.00, but should continue to be good.
Bruce Chen (SP): 8.61 / 10.70 It should be noted, especially for guys like Francis and Chen, that replacing Yuniesky Betancourt with Alcides Escobar is already having a huge impact.

Hide the kids, the bottom of the list is terrifying–at least to owners who have these players and to Twins fans. Comments are only provided for a few players, as everyone knows that most of these guys will rebound strong, as it's still so early in the season. Obviously, any opportunity to get a franchise player off to a slow start is a step in the right direction.

Michael Stanton (RF): 35.67 / -.77

Derrek Lee (1B): 33.29 / -1.63

Dan Uggla (2B): 31.75 / -2.30

Geovany Soto (C): 39.93 / .44

Jayson Werth (CF, RF): 41.62 / .06

Adrian Gonzalez (1B): 50.43 / 2.59

David Wright (3B): 44.19 / .10

Nick Markakis (RF): 36.44 / -2.46

Joe Mauer (C, DH): 39.97 / -1.73

Brett Gardner (LF, CF): 27.51 / -5.54

Kevin Youkilis (1B): 59.40 / 4.15

Shin-Soo Choo (RF): 37.16 / -2.70

Adam Dunn (1B): 45.28 / -.27

Kelly Johnson (2B): 37.66 / -2.75

Kila Ka'aihue (1B): 43.42 / -1.05

Evan Longoria (3B): 45.19 / -.86

Carlos Gonzalez (LF, CF, RF): 50.03 / .45

Hanley Ramirez (SS): 50.43 / .51

Dan Johnson (DH): 32.32 / -4.95

Ian Stewart (3B): 37.29 / -4.29

Cliff Lee (SP): 60.55 / 2.04

Justin Morneau (1B): 40.82 / -3.44

Carlos Santana (C): 52.08 / -.38

Mat Latos (SP): 54.97 / -.07

Pedro Alvarez (3B): 32.45 / -6.13

Carl Crawford (LF): 34.77 / -6.32

Felix Hernandez (SP): 75.73 / 2.34

Albert Pujols (1B): 70.99 / -.06

Rumors that PECOTA is hiding in Japan with Micah Hoffpauir are not true. But the slow starts by Kila Ka'aihue and Dan Johnson are vivid reminders that sometimes batters considered “AAAA” are such because they really are exceptionally good at hitting bad pitching, but overmatched by good pitching. Of course, either guy could go off for four home runs today, and PECOTA would suddenly be found smoking a victory cigar and popping champagne in Kansas City. Suffice it to say that there is risk involved with such players. If you have a roster spot and huge risk tolerance in your personality, now's the time to trade for one of these guys. Or, if you have extra roster spots, you can wait until they get demoted and probably get them for a song, but it's hard to envision them getting another shot at full-time play if they fail in 2011.

Pedro Alvarez, and–to a lesser extent - Mike Stanton are going to raise some red flags due to their known love for striking out. Every so often, a build-around type can be acquired from an owner who is over-reacting. These two would be worth inquiries from rebuilding teams, especially. If Alvarez is demoted, he could become a great trade target for rebuilders. For some reason, Kelly Johnson has never inspired confidence (Yours truly has never felt like he was a sure thing, at least), and he might be in this same category of “get him cheap now”. Likewise, Jayson Werth was given a ton of disrespect based on his teammates and the ballpark in Philadelphia, but Citizen's Bank Park played pretty neutral the past couple years, and “protection” is a myth–he was just raking. If his current owner is panicked already, a trade which helps as soon as this year could be possible.

*To recreate the list (updated with latest PFM data), it's just SS/SIM and SS/SIM to Date as categories in PFM, with 20 added to each and a ratio taken to get sort order. So, Pujols would be (20 - 0.06) / (20 + 70.99)

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

Related Content:  Scoresheet,  Aaron Crow,  Mediocre Players,  The Who,  Bad Season,  Team

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