From the Astros draft saga to the Scoresheet mistakes, the Outcomes devote this week's podcast to what's gone wrong.
This week on the podcast, we tackled topics concerning failure. We did our part to run in circles around the Astros draft saga and also answered some reader questions. We also spent some time considering and discussing our collective failures as Scoresheet owners in 2014. One of the things we’d like to do is setup a framework for analyzing teams that underperform, in order to identify potential improvements, patterns of mistakes, or other ways that we could have done better on draft day.
The first step is to gather information and data, including the draft day valuations, the real life MLB performance of players to date, and the Scoresheet performance of players to date. The Baseball Prospectus Team Tracker is a helpful tool to get this information, and the remainder can be found on the Scoresheet league pages. Be careful when analyzing team-level results, especially if you’ve made personnel changes (i.e. traded away short term value), because they may not be indicative of mistakes you made on draft day, but the aftermath of going Full Rebuild (tm?).
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Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Cubs first baseman Dan Vogelbach and Nats righty A.J. Cole.
Hitter of the Night: Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Cubs (Daytona, A+): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR.
Vogelbach put on a power display in Palm Beach on Wednesday, hitting a pair of opposite-field home runs to the left-center gap at Roger Dean Stadium, which is no small feat. The big first baseman wants to get his arms extended and is at his best when he’s trying to go up the middle. He had a tendency to reach on balls on the outer half when he gets pull happy, but when he stays up the middle, he can drive the ball to all fields, which is what happened last night. He missed a third home run by less than a foot, pulling one just foul down the right field line.
Pitcher of the Night: A.J. Cole, RHP, Nationals (Syracuse, AAA): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K.
After bouncing back and forth from Washington to Oakland and back, Cole has finally settled in with the Nationals and is now just a phone call from the majors. His premium fastball continues to carry him, and he commands it well enough to get away with average secondary offerings, even at the highest levels of the minor leagues.
Outperforming your competition year after year requires not only improvement but also staying a step ahead.
While I have been providing mid-season strategy articles of late, I came across the Red Queen effect the other day and began thinking about its impact on fantasy baseball. As a result, this article holds relevance throughout the entire season (maybe more so in the offseason), but does not hold specific relevance to this point in the season.
I am most likely a better fantasy baseball player today than I was two years ago. You are most likely a better fantasy baseball player than you were two years ago. Anyone who has been playing fantasy baseball for some amount of time is probably better now than they were before. If we are all improving, then getting better is helpful in that we do not fall behind, but it does not necessarily get us ahead. And that, kiddos, is the kicker. In other words, improving yourself and gaining an advantage are two very different things. In order to consistently succeed, we need to both improve and gain an advantage, but competition makes this inherently difficult. We will take a look at why it is difficult to sustain success and if anything can be done to overcome those difficulties.
If these players are on your league's waiver wire, they might be worth a look, depending on the format in which you play.
Welcome back to our weekly walk through some of the players who may want to keep an extra eye on in your leagues. Mike and I will be tackling this topic on Thursdays again and focusing on a singular hitter and pitcher in four of the more popular formats: shallow mixed, deep mixed, NL-only and AL-only. These are certainly not the only players who are worthy pickups, but it gives us a nice opportunity to write about players we have close tabs on in our leagues.
Bartolo Colon, Aaron Sanchez, and Yoenis Cespedes, among others, had eventful nights.
The Wednesday Takeaway
When Bartolo Colon made his major league debut for the Indians in 1997, Taijuan Walker was a few months away from turning five years old and had probably not yet been enrolled in kindergarten. Fast-forward 17 years and Colon is now pitching for his seventh organization and Walker is looking to tap into his massive potential in his first full season with the Mariners. Walker is expected to make his mark on the league in the not-so-distant future, but Wednesday’s rubber match between the Mets and Mariners was Colon’s time to shine.
The Mets spotted Colon an early 1–0 lead and he quickly went to work against Seattle, pounding the strike zone with his low-90s fastball and getting the Mariners to chase an occasional slider. Not a single Seattle batter was able to reach base during the first two times through the order, with Kyle Seager, Corey Hart, Jesus Sucre, and Logan Morrison all falling victim via strikeout.
Running down a half-dozen hitters and pitchers you might want to consider acquiring before your league's trading period ends.
The trade deadline happens soon. This means that if you’d like to change the personnel on your team without utilizing the waiver wire exclusively, you’ll need to make a deal before the deadline passes, in many leagues. Weird how that works, we know.
While the deadline is a crazy time in leagues of every composition, they’re especially hectic in dynasty formats. Good teams are often willing to go all-in, as winning a dynasty championship is a difficult feat to accomplish. Mediocre teams generally break one way or the other. And even teams who are out of it have every incentive to be quite active, as there’s always 2015 and beyond.