Plenty of well-documented rumors came to nothing last week, and Derek looks at what the lack of activity means for your team.
I’ve spent the last week and a half breaking down thefantasyramifications of every deal that was made at this year’s non-waiver trade deadline, but lost in this shuffle were the players who figured to benefit from (or be hurt by) a trade that never happened. Today, I’m going to shine some light on a few of these guys.
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Making trades at this stage might be necessary to make up ground in the second half, but mean lots of moving pieces.
On Thursday, I talked about the way I approach making trades at this point in the season. Today, I thought I’d walk you through a real-life example of how I think about trades from one of my own leagues: Tout Wars NL. Below, you’ll find the standings by category and my roster. Before you read about how I’ve been approaching trades, try to figure out what you would do in my situation.
This late in the year, roto team owners can no longer evaluate player value in a theoretical value.
Back in May, I penned an article talking about how imprudent it was to take the standings too seriously so early in the season. When making a trade back then, I advised trading for value as opposed to need. A lot can happen between May and July, and simply accruing as many stats as possible—regardless of how they’re distributed amongst the different roto categories—is the best course of action early in the year. We’re past the All-Star Break now, though, and the time for discussions on theoretical value is waning. Trade deadlines are less than a month away in many leagues, and what matters most now is how the individual category standings are shaking out.
If you have a big lead in home runs, for example, adding Adam Dunn to your roster accomplishes nothing, even if you can get him for 75 cents on the dollar. Sure, he adds value to your team, but fantasy championships aren’t won using abstract concepts of value. In the end, it comes down to points in the standings, and for a team like this, Dunn doesn’t add any of those points.
Derek lists the factors you need to consider before deciding to platoon two players on your fantasy team.
On Thursday, reader “jimcal” asked me in the comments section of my article to give my thoughts on platooning players in fantasy baseball. While platooning is a bit of a complicated subject, I’ll do my best to tackle it all in one article today. When considering platooning, there are two main concepts that the discussion can be distilled down to: sample size and opportunity cost.
What most people don’t realize is that very few players truly need to be platooned. We tend to look at a player’s performance versus same-handed pitching either for the current year or even over a three-year period when making such decisions, but this isn’t nearly enough data to make a reasonable guess as to whether the player is best used in a platoon (absent scouting data that supports his performance, which makes this a more complicated decision).
Depth has value, but you'll never realize that value if it's sitting on your bench.
Consider this situation: you’re in a 12-team AL-only league, and your roster boasts Jason Kipnis at second base, Derek Jeter at short, Trevor Plouffe at middle infield, and Brian Dozier on the bench. While Dozier is not exactly a superstar, he is still a full-time player with non-negligible value in a league of this depth. In fact, according to our PFM, Dozier is actually worth $9 in such a league. My question is this: does it make sense to keep a player like this on your bench as depth/insurance/in case of injury, or are you wasting him in such a role?
It’s my contention that, in general, it’s a waste. At the auction back in March, each player is given $260 to accrue as much value as possible. While “value” in this abstract sense doesn’t correlate perfectly with points in the standings, it does serve as a pretty good proxy and continues to do so throughout the year. You’d have a hard time losing your league with a roster full of $30-plus players, no matter how the categories fall. And on the flip side, you’re not going to win your league if you have a roster full of $5 players, even if they’re all highly specialized. Accruing value is one of the most important things a fantasy player can do, and to take that a step further, one must make sure to actually make use of the value accrued.
If you're in the middle of the pack when it comes to free agent acquisition budget, you're in a great position to improve your team this month.
Welcome to the All-Star break, fantasy players. If you’re reading this right now, chances are you still have a pretty good chance of winning your league, so congratulations! Today, I wanted to talk about a good value proposition that usually presents itself around this time of year.
If you’ve followed my early-season advice of being aggressive with your FAAB budget, chances are you’re sitting somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of FAAB remaining. You’ve made a few buys, many of which have hopefully worked out, but several of your competitors have been pinching pennies in anticipation of MLB’s trade deadline while a few others have blown their stakes early. In Tout Wars and LABR, I find myself in this exact position:
How much you bid on Jim Thome this week says a lot about the league you're in.
The calendar has flipped to July, and that means we’ve reached the point of the season when players will start getting traded and -- piquing the interest of those who play in AL- and NL-only leagues -- switching circuits. The trade of Jim Thome to the Orioles this weekend marked the first of these trades and forced fantasy owners to make some interesting decisions when it came time to claim players. This year, I’m playing in two AL-only leagues, but despite this bit of uniformity, the decision-making that went into my Thome bids was quite different between them.
My two AL-only leagues are the CBS Analysts Expert League and the DraftDay Experts League (formerly CardRunners). In DraftDay, owners begin with a FAAB budget of $260, FAAB can be traded, and players from the National League can be claimed and stashed based on speculation that they might be traded to the AL. In CBS, owners get a fixed budget of $100 dollars, FAAB cannot be traded, and NL players cannot be claimed.
R.A. Dickey's success raises a question: Do poor hitters do just as well against a knuckleball as good hitters? Derek investigates.
Back at the Baseball Prospectus Citi Field event on June 2, the BP crew and our guests had the pleasure of watching R.A. Dickey extend his impressive scoreless streak with nine innings of shutout ball against the St. Louis Cardinals. Sitting with industry friend Craig Glaser of Bloomberg Sports (who you may recall was on the Fantasy Baseball Panel with Eno Sarris and I at the SABR Analytics Conference), we got to talking about Dickey and how much we loved following him. Craig presented one interesting theory of his that I wanted to test out today.
When watching Dickey, Craig noted how, as a Mets fan, he’s really not that much more scared of the opposing team's great players as he is of their average players. We know that the knuckler is a rare and not-completely-understood pitch, and Craig wondered whether the knuckleball has some inherent properties that neutralize batter talent. He wondered whether good hitters are just as susceptible to being fooled by the pitch as poor hitters are. And when you think about it, this makes some sense. After all, the pitch is rather unpredictable in its movement, and it’s not as if batters have a lot of practice in hitting it. Coming up through amateur ball and the minors, hitters rarely see knuckleballs in the way they do fastballs, curves, and the like. While good hitters see these “normal” pitches over and over, adjust to them, and learn how to hit them, such a process doesn’t really take place with the knuckleball.
If you're in an NL-only league, these are the players to stay close to.
A couple weeks ago, I looked at a few National League players who could be on the move come July and might be worth stashing in AL-only leagues that allow such moves. Reader Robotey wanted to see the flip side of that—American League players who could be traded to the NL—so I thought I’d oblige that request today.
Kurt Suzuki | Oakland A’s | C
With the promotion of top catching prospect Derek Norris this weekend, it could be the beginning of the end for Suzuki’s tenure in Oakland. Suzuki is still under contract through 2013 with a club option for 2014, but if Norris plays well over the next couple weeks while splitting time behind the plate, he could force the issue. And if the A’s can shed some salary while adding a good piece or two for the future, you can bet they’ll jump on it. While there’s never a guarantee that these kinds of players will be traded across leagues, this is more of a concern with Suzuki than with other players as the Rays are in desperate need of a catcher and are apparently hot on Suzuki. That’s not to say Tampa is his only potential destination, but they may be the most likely.