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Indeed. The dulcet tones of Roy Orbison serenaded throughout my reading of the transactions.
what? no Reds update?
Brilliant Cincy advice - wish I'd followed it when I blew $14 on Hoover at my NL only draft, and then doubled down on misery with some FAAB $ wasted on Cotham two weeks a ago.
One variation I am considering to combat 'tanking' or teams dropping interest is to make the draft order determined by the number of trades you make. The more active your team, the higher you draft
Wait - so you're saying I should keep Nola at $8 in my 10 -team NL only? Instead of Rizzo at $33? Suarez at $7? Choices!
Thanks for the response - I feel your pain on this one. I find in my ten team, what often happens is I'll keep 2 good arms--as you did--and then my heart wants me to go grab an ace, but they all go for so much more than I think they should that I drop out once they approach $30 that I end up filling out my staff with good value in the $10-$15 range. The result isnt sexy, but if I use the $ on hitting, then it can be effective. Of course, last year I made a slight exception and go the surest thing around, grabbing Wainwright for what seemed like a good deal at $27--compared to the over $30 that other pitchers were going, seemed good--and then he promptly tore his Achilles. Luckily I had allocated some saved $ to depth in hitting and flipped some for <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=45548">Jon Lester</a></span>, who was my pseudo-ace. I do find, though, it's tough not to take some chances in a keeper league. You will likely overpay for someone, and that's ok. There weren't many ss left in our league, so I targeted Tulo. Well, we know how that turned out.
Jeff - I love reading about Keeper league inflation and this is good stuff; now I'm an NL only guy, but I do follow AL somewhat. Isn't a keeper staff starting with Keuchel, Stroman, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=47360">Wade Davis</a></span> and <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=49617">Andrew Miller</a></span> considered strong? You've got a <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31191">CY Young</a></span>, upcoming #1 (the Jays think so) plus 2 awesome relievers. What am I missing? Are you saying that this afforded you the chance to not overspend on what pitching was available?
hey - thanks - this is good reading. Looks like a lot of chalk for the first few rounds with the exception of Papelbon for the 5th pick - was that team Yahoo trying to get a good deal on him by sneaking him under the radar early on, or his trying to clog up other teams' closer spots?
Mike - great stuff. As an NL Only Auction player since the days of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=17079">Dwight Gooden</a></span>, I can never read enough about the vagaries of auctions. One thing I like to watch is how quickly top players go off the board and which, if any, players of value go in later rounds. I know that in many of my drafts there are often a handful of players that a few wily owners think they are 'stashing', hoping to get on the cheap when others have run out of money, only to find that they've actually inflated the player's value. I get the impression that this doesn't happen at LABR, but are there any instances of this that you can recall? Is there a log of how the picks went down?
Jeff - this is an entertaining analysis but it seems to rely on faith in rational thinking. Though there are many great baseball minds in the Dodger office, they seem to be governed more by a philosophy which says they simply will not overpay. Since, as you state, most big, long contracts are examples of overpaying, their philosophy has excluded them from entering the bidding. They remind me of the owner in an auction draft whose values are all hewing closely to the mean. Say, he doesn't have any player on his board valued at over $29, and he also exercises--almost obsessively--incredible discipline. As the bidding climbs, the other owners exhort him to spend his money, but he simply cannot bid more on any player than his perceived value. Part and parcel of this philosophy is to fall in love with upside and bargains. He's the owner who's happier getting a $15 season from a $7 bid than getting a superstar season for a $33 bid. The funny thing about the Dodgers is that, unlike in fantasy, there is no hard cap in baseball, and the Dodgers are richer than any team. They do overspend, however, by snapping up upsides wherever they can, usually in the foreign market. As a result they end up paying lots of money for foreign players who ride the pine or don't make the roster. Somehow they like these little failures more than big ones.
The only thing dumber than a save is a hold.
Jeff - With all due respect--and I do respect your work and the work of BP's other Fantasy Writers--I think drafts are for amateurs. I won't stand on principle on many things--Shakespeare wrote his own plays, every person deserves the right to vote and I like no DH in the NL--and auction vs. draft is one of them. SImply put, in an auction, if you absolutely, positively must have one particular player--be he Trout, Bonds, Pujols, Kershaw--he can be yours, you must simply be willing to find a way to fill out your roster with some clever bargain-hunting later on. But, in a draft, it's a lottery. That's entirely bogus. It's like an auction but with built-in excuses --"Oh, I was picking 7th so the best I could do was Machado". Bleah. The best part of the fantasy season is the draft and the best part of the draft is watching the bidding climb, whether for great players or for bargains late in the draft, especially when 2 penny pinching owners realize that their stash of salary cap $ is useless so <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=33865">Ryan Church</a></span> goes for $22--I've seen it happen. I am old school going back to the original Rotisserie book by Okrent and friends, and I could consider that gospel. Like any committed fantasy player, I'm starved for info in the winter and will listen to any podcast remotely related to fantasy baseball, but in the end I only want to hear how much a player went for in an NL-only league with at least 10 teams.
not shocking to a seasoned Met fan; somehow players put on the Mets' uni and their average drops 40 points in their first season as a Met. Cespedes excepted
Isn't the best way to acquire Cespedes to let some other owner overpay for him then buy low when he slumps in April?
I think it's more that these rec's come from a 'moral relativist' perspective. It's not 'Murphy is a bad pick' but he's a bad pick in Round x but a fine pick 2 or 3 rounds later. At my NL auction last year I wasn't seeking <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Daniel+Murphy">Daniel Murphy</a></span>, but I got 'stuck' with him for $14 later in the draft and that went fine. He neither delivered a pennant nor dragged me to the cellar. But, if you bank on any of the players above, and go a few extra dollars because you 'have to have them', you may get burned. That's some worthy advice and what I take away from these stories, which I treasure this time of year. They're a great contrast to those mini-paragraph descriptions we used to get in early fantasy mags, wrapped in sportscaster speak of 'this could be the year he puts it all together and 20 plus HRs is not out of the question'...
i was thinking the same thing - one thiing to consider: when the Mets moved the fences in RF in a little they made it a little but quirky and I think it requires a learning curve to play - so it's not quite a typical rf
Matt, one thing I think you need to consider in these recommendations is just how cheaply these players are being undervalued. Sure, you've noted how they're going a little low now, but in my NL-only league <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=David+Wright">David Wright</a></span> will not sneak by for cheap. He'll probably fetch $12. He may end up a bargain at that price, but it's a risk. The odds aren't great that he will deliver more than $15. Odds are better that he gets 250 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=AB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('AB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">AB</span></a>'s and you spend half the season looking for more corner help. He is still such a name that he won't drop to truly bargain levels.
Matt - Not included here are any players in the NL. Did no one in the NL surge in the 2nd half?
ACtually, Gilmartin did pitch against the Dodgers and gave up 3 runs and 4 hits to 4 batters faced
I read that story--the same one that claimed the Mets beat the Cubs in the NLDS. Any writer who can't take a minute to proofread his story and lists 5 things the Royals will need to do better to win doesn't convince me.
why not? They're both 1st round picks. Conforto was the best college hitter of his draft year. How much sample size should we need?
Sam - it's not that the joke is not funny or that the point is not taken well. it's more that it's absolutely unclear what the joke or the point is. You've gone Andy Kauffman on this one.
This is great, but any chance you can add an epilogue with a few more NL players? I'm in a tight battle in 2 NL only leagues, I'e already got Kang, and Puig isn't exactly a sleeper here in LA, and any team that currently has Yelich has likely enjoyed his recent surge so it's a little late to pursue him. Any others that may be flying low on the radar, or even some fliers? Thanks
My story is a fair ball. In high school my friends and I would hop the 4 train up to the Bronx to see the Yankees. That night, we moved down to seats right by the right field foul pole, tucked into the cozy nook that the Stadium boasted. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=20970">Alvin Davis</a></span> ripped one down the line. My buddy Brett--who clearly had a knack for the spotlight, for only five years later he was hosting Sportscenter--reached across me, lunging with his glove and miraculously grabbed it on one hop. A steaming <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=18168">Dave Winfield</a></span>, primed to gun down Davis at 2nd base, glared at us as we awaited the inevitable arrival of the infamous Yankee Stadium security to boot us from the Stadium for interfering with a live ball. Maybe they showed a little sympathy to us because we were wearing our HS baseball jackets and the fans around us were booing the guards. When I told them our 'real' seats were up in mezzanine, they let us plea-bargain back up there to join my Dad, who gave us a proud play by play. Sure enough, the next day at school some teammates told us they'd seen us on TV. I've been to dozens of games and come close to foul ball only a handful of times, but I'll never forget the night my friend grabbed a fair ball--easily the best catch he ever made.
This is great, and as an owner who chose Cashner at $17 instead of <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=58617">Tyson Ross</a></span> for a dollar more, I'm happy to see he's a buy-low candidate. That said, it's quite a tease to see these buy-low names with nothing following justifying the logic. Can you post a quick follow-up explaining why you expect Cashner, Desmond, Zimmerman et al to rebound? thanks
Does he hide the ball well enough? It seems the first thing that jumps out about his delivery is how he holds the ball so deliberately behind him in space all through his motion.
Mike - Can you explain the rule that you use which allows you to bid high but then score the player for a lower price?
Is it that if you make the highest bid, then you awarded the player for one dollar more than the 2nd highest bidder?
I ask because in my leagues we use a simple you get him for what you bid for him system.
Are most advanced leagues like your when it comes to this?
Quick suggestion to those who want their FAAB a day earlier: move your FAAB to Monday nights. Teams often do their moves first thing Monday, so to wait until Monday night to have your FAAB works better. The CBS site allows you to choose your day(s) for your FAAB;I imagine other sites should too.
Am I reading this right. You would blow half of your year's FAAB on Syndergaard?
Dude - fun stuff - but all yur hitter buy low's are AL. Help us NL only out
This is great stuff, and as an owner in 2 NL-only leagues I rely on this intel, especially, as you've noted, early in the season when on keen pick-up can turn a dud pitching staff into a contender.
That said, just how deep would your league have to be to consider adding <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=56850">Ruben Tejada</a></span>? 17-team NL only? 18?
Is he going to be taking at bats from Murphy? Even if he does, do you want them? He's never been known for his bat, at best he grabs a few walks. Unless there's something I'm missing here, I'd say he's a bit of a stretch.
That said, I was happy to grab Campbell and Realmuto for cheap, but bummed to discover that CBS only lists Campbell as an OF! Now I've got to start my DL'd Rendon until Campbell plays enough 3b. I thought Campbell was an infielder?
thanks for the deep intel--keep it coming
Benoit was my only closer, too, and I paid $15 for <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31476">Matt Cain</a></span> on top of that. I was about to start budgeting FAAB for Grilli when I peaked at my roster and was pleasantly surprised to discover I'd already picked him up for 1$ at the end of the auction. Now if only Braun could stay healthy...
Mejia wasn't that good last year and doesn't look good now.
Lohse has been the dirty little secret for like the last 5 years.
In that time, in my NL-only, I've picked him in reserve rounds, then ridden him until I thought the clock struck midnight, only to find other owners wanted no part of the pumpkin. The next year he made it into the draft, but not for much. No one ever believes in him, it's true. How does he do it? Who cares. All that matters is that his WHIP always delivers.
Keith - whom do you consider 'mid-level? Along with Cole, of course?
Keith - I think you're being too harsh on your assessment of your pitching. Putting aside the hindsight of looking at how injuries have screwed your OF, I'd say you did well to grab some SP's with great potential instead of bailing on offense and going after another name pitcher. Each of your SP's after your 'ace' can deliver a $17 season --except maybe Lackey, but who knows. Cain could be a steal, as could Burnett. There's so much depth at SP that it's a tough call: do you spend to keep up with the arms race or do you let the others blow their budgets, grab the next tier at a bargain rate and spend the savings on offense? Seems you did the latter, and were it not for injuries it'd be the right move.
I think the answer lies more with the sneaker company in question, in this case, world wide icon: Nike.
Matt - as a Met fan who usually tries to avoid drafting Mets SP's, but who lucked in to Harvey and DeGrom in the last 2 seasons, I must say I disagree. I picked up injured Harvey in August so i can keep him at $6 in one NL-only, and I am much less nervous about that move than keeping DeGrom in another, deeper NL only at the same price. After watching DeGrom's debut and a few other starts, I appreciate his consistency and ability to pound the strike zone, but I don't see his secondary offerings holding up for a sophomore campaign. He looks like a great regression candidate, and his 1.25 WHIP and 3.60 ERA with good K's will out him between 20th and 25th for NL. But Harvey could compete for a Cy Young. I agree he may be going a little high, but honestly, you'd prefer DeGrom?
Ceiling: Kate Bush
wow - that's a lot of respect for Rendon.
I appreciate the economics primer, but, as is often the case with Economics analysis, is it possible that you are giving too much weight to assuming the Phils are 'rational' actors? How do the numbers account for other factors, such as the message to the fans they'd send by trading Hamels? The Yankees BP annual piece effectively quantified Jeter's value to the 2014 Yankees baseball operations and gate, and there may be similar cost to the Phillies. If we are analyzing Amaro's considerations, how much should we consider his personal philosophical prejudices vis-a-vis these terms you outline above? Or, would you argue that you've already addressed with the Rollins trade? One could argue that dealing Hamels would be a tipping point that the once-proud Phils can't stomach, no?
aaarrgghhh! Please don't mention Venable, whom I kept last year and didn't even earn the $6 he cost me! A curse on Venable!
Excellent. I gotta say, Tulo's games played could easily be the difference between finishing in or out of the money in a good NL only league. I've always wanted to do cross-referencing of teams in comparable leagues to check how many pennant winners shared the same good fortune of acquiring the unforeseeable breakout players. For instance, there's got to be a correlation between how many owners picked up Tanner Roark on a lark in April and then just rode him to success. You can plan for a draft all you like, but you get lucky with Tanner Roark, Josh Harrison and Justin Turner and it can cover a few boo boos on draft day.
Is there any point in even attempting to predict how many games Tulo will play? Wouldn't it be better to just assign value to him based on 10 game increments? In other words, in NL-only, I'd pay, say, $25 for 100 games of Tulo. For 150 games, I'd pay $45, and calibrate accordingly. Then, when his name comes up, what you're really bidding on is the bet that he will play.
Not sure if you've already addressed this, but in my NL-only keeper league there's a brutal whiplash that can make you undervalue top talent. With 10 teams, each keeping up to 7 players, at every position some of the best talent is gone, and at a discount, so the owner who kept 3 excellent OF has to overpay for a top SP; he'd be a fool not to. So, if you stick close to your website recommended prices and refuse to 'overpay' i.e. adjust for inflation, you will be constantly outbid, left at the auction with to much $ chasing too little talent. This is how I got outbid for Aramis Ramirez for $34 only 2 drafts ago. Great fireworks for the draft, but an immediate sign my squad was not going to compete that year.
Great note about nominating the last player in the tier. During auctions you must use the kibbitzing to your advantage. If you're targeting an SP but know that one last stud OF is available, you definitely want to nominate the OF and make sure word gets out that once this guys goes, it's all Marlon Byrd and below. That helps remind all they should throw their last dollars at the OF and take out some of your competition for the SP. One other interesting note re: inflation in leagues is how much one auction will be a reaction to the one the year before. One year an owner cleans up by saving his $ for the end and grabs bargains. Everyone remembers and holds on to theirs the following draft, only to find they're all bidding against each other, and the owner who spent $ early got the true bargains. The better you can sense the pulse of the draft, the better you can make the call on whether it's best to go an extra dollar earlier or save them for later.
This is quite a heart-warming Christmas-time type of tale. I hope, for your sake, that you disguise yourself for your entrance to the meetings next year, lest you are ambushed by ambitious job seekers.
The only thing I can compare the Butler move to is when a dude at your auction draft jumps to $20 on a player when the bidding was at $4 and everyone looks up and thinks the same thing: whoa, I had this guy at $9, $10 tops. This idiot just bid against himself. Just who was going anywhere near that money for Butler?
Imagine being a young Mets fan the night they announced they'd traded The Franchise --that was his original nickname--Tom Seaver for a handful of nothing. Took the real franchise a decade to recover.
I am relieved that I was neither driving nor had a daughter to endanger at the time of that trade. All I could do was spend years hoping that, at the very least, Kazmir wouldn't throw 7 no hitters.
There's no way this isn't on the list ahead of a Stephen Drew salary dump trade. This one was huge - paradigm shifting.
Hard to believe Chisox let Carl Everett walk. Sure explains a lot about their demise since.
Yes, but only for a basehit. that's not a squeeze. A squeeze is a sacrifice bunt--the hitter is sacrificing himself, making an out--for the sake of moving the runner. So with 2 outs that's not possible. Now, if Yost had pinch-hit with a hitter who could bunt for a basehit, that would have been some exciting baseball.
You cannot squeeze with 2 outs.
Do you mean the same Harold Reynolds who noted that after he'd thrown all of two pitches in Game 2, Hunter Strickland had solved his problems--only to give up a HR and more damage a few pitches later?
The post-post modernist irony of the Prospector/Hippie is that given the price of a ticket it's most likely he's just a dot-com hipster who dyed his beard grey.
Yes, he meant Ishi at 1b and Belt in LF, right? My point was that Belt is the starter and Ishi the replacement, so it's awkward for a manager to move a starter from his rightful spot for a negligible gain somewhere else. Baseball is funny that way: it begs for roles to be defined and dares to smite those who would defy those rules.
Unless of course you realize that Belt is his prime first baseman, for this year and years to come, and Ishikawa is a fill-in, replacement who just happened to jump on a poor pitcher's poorer pitch in a high-stakes situation.
Fun thing about the game was that at the start I was rooting for the A's: I like them and think with their staff they've got the best shot to beat the Angels. But by extra innings my heart made me tug for the Royals. With their midseason acquisitions, the A's positioned themselves as the overstocked bullies with nothing to gain and everything to lose. Who needs another series in their awful stadium? We will get to see at least one game at Kaufman, and that place looks like fun.
Just how deep is a league in which Erlin (whom I've danced with on my roster a few times) is worth a $4-$6 flyer? Is that an FAAB price? No way would I keep him at that price, and unless he lights the Cactus League on fire, I'd have a hard time taking a Draft Day Flyer on him at that price. Did I miss something? Thanks
Are you buying on Medica?
Any ETA on Heaney?
Is the simple answer to this entire piece: Aaron Harang?
Mike, I still think your premise is faulty because it's based on bidding against yourself. If I commit to 85% hitting, let's say I commit to topping everyone's bids on the top 7 hitters, just as we see in your chart. But why would I need to pay $49 for Trout when the market was $42? I would pay $43. Or maybe $44, or $45 if someone bid me up, but I would still have plenty of my 85% remaining to fulfill. Instead of marginal improvements by overpaying 20% on the best 7 players, I would pay something more like a 5 or 7 % premium. WIth that 'savings' I'd likely grab myself one more premium hitter later in the draft. While bidding against other owners who could only bid so high because they needed to stash even a modicum of $ for a decent SP, I'd be outbidding them once more, knowing I can't spend more than $39 on pitchers.
In the end, of course, it all comes down to how lucky I can get with my cheap pitching and the trades I can make once my offensive numbers jump me out to a big lead.
Mike - Much as I love THE BOOK and consider it the bible for any league I run, I had to concede that the long-term contract involved a degree of planning that not all owners would embrace. Neither did I like the simple $5 a year bump. So instead I add an extra $2 for every consecutive year.
If you get Stanton for $1 (as someone did), the next year he is $6, then $13 and then $22--sure each is a bargain, but by the 4th year he isn't that much of a steal. The last year would be $33--which was enough to force his owner to toss him back...and he went for $37! We all underestimated the incredible keeper inflation in our 10 team NL. The thing I like about this system is that it's reasonably equitable, encourages choices, and is simple for even the busiest 'I don't have a ton of time to devote to draft prep' owner whom you want to keep in the league cause he buys the beer every year.
If you could keep Miller at $9 or Tyson Ross at $7, whom would you choose? Would you take either over Wheeler at $6?
yes, more of that. Edwin Jackson is definitely a guy you could grab for less than $5 in a 10 team NL.
PS - yes, Ian Kennedy is a great darkhorse, because he certainly has a bit of stink on him. Many owners will hold their noses when you put him up for bid, and you could take him home for $5 and he could deliver a season close to what he did a few years ago and bring you some serious value.
In fact, my favorite ploy when I nominate a guy like that is to act dumb when the crickets chirp--oh no, I'm stuck with him for a dollar? I guess I really screwed up!
Ok - yes, I hear you, but outside of the top 10 is not a darkhorse. Especially when you consider that drafting must factor in perception as much as numbers. Bumgarner is a top 10 fantasy pitcher in the NL, or at least has been in my leagues the last couple of years. He goes for at least $25.
Maybe we can adjust the parameters to mix in some sleepers? Guys who will shock you by getting $10 of value for only $4?
Years ago my favorite ploy for finding value was just to follow the WHIP. Guys like Harang or David Wells or even Mad Dog in his final years when he could barely last 85 pitches were hidden gems because you could grab them for a couple of bucks but they delivered consistently great WHIP, which usually meant a decent ERA.
I do appreciate that an injury pick such as Hamels is featured here--there's definite value. But I don't feel I'm going to get an edge going into my draft touting Madison Bumgarner. Lance Lynn, that's another story.
Is it just me, or do these dark horse stories seem to feature many thoroughbreds? I'm all for targeting a stud pitcher who may be a little undervalued, but honestly, shouldn't there be some true surprises here?
thanks - I noticed you grabbed Ross. It's between Miller at $9 and Ross at $7. The numbers on Miller haven't been amazing since the All Star Break, and a sophomore hiccup isn't difficult to imagine, even if he is the sexier pick. But with Ross, it's not as if the Padres have sported repeat season of effective SP's, have they? Makes me a little skeptical of Ross. What do you like about him?
40 deep rosters? Lord save us.
I prefer 'only' leagues for precisely that reason. The prospect of losing a player to the 'other' league only adds--or detracts-- from his value. Back when Alfonso Soriano was a National he went for cheaper than he should've because no one believed he'd still be there in August.
I always believe that more choices makes for more chances which makes things more competitive.
speaking as someone who wasted $21 on him when he was with the Reds, I hear ya.
Mike - whom do you prefer? Tyson Ross or Shelby Miller?
is a 20 team mixed equal to a 10-team NL only? Which do you think forces an owner to come closer to scraping the bottom of the barrel?
Yeah, I get that. I've been in a pair of keeper NL Only for a decade. So, my question is: if you're comparing Bradley's value in a 10-team NL only keeper to these 'expert' leagues -- which are, of course, 're-draft'--is there a dollar value you could assign to the discrepancy.
For instance, Bradley. In my league, last year I grabbed Wheeler at $3. For that price I got a half season of decent value, and I get the right to keep him at $8 this year.
I was outbid on Fernandez who went for $7, and at the time of the draft was already about to be promoted. If my league were 'expert' what could we expect for these prices?
I ask because I'm curious what is a reasonable amount to bid on Bradley.
Given these are non-keeper leagues, do you think that depresses the value of prospects like Archie Bradley or Syndergaard? Any owner who thinks either could be the next Fernandez or Harvey--or even this year's Wheeler, could easily bid close to $10, given that 2/3 or more of Rookie of the Year Season is worth it, especially if you're buying his rights for next year as well. I'm surprised Bradley went for under $5. Do you think this explains why? If so, does that inflate --ever slightly -- the prices of the veterans?
For perspective, can you publish a link to last year's predictions?
isn't that a rather high WHIP for Burnett?
and by 'realities' do we mean the local fan who will unabashedly overbid for hometown heroes? Prospect-prowling experts who are more inclined to bid on a guy one year too early instead of wait one year too late?
Seems to me that 99 per cent of fantasy advice and the attempt to make a science out of salary prediction and 'value' needs to be adjusted to understand the vagaries of each league.
If Heyward were cheating he would've moved to his left--toward RF--given that Kimbrel throw nearly 100 mph, and a righty was at the plate, no?
why do you have Axford over Parnell?
Mike, thanks for this analysis. I'm also intrigued by the economics of deep auction drafts. I've found in my keeper league that it's often reactionary, so if at last year's draft there were late bargains, then this year owners might tend to hoard $ and, in doing so, shoot themselves in the foot by missing out on bargains in the middle of the draft, then overpaying for middling talent late. In the case of LABR, I'm curious, how many teams were holdover's from last year's league? Can you attribute this to something like what I mentioned above, or do you think there's a different cause?
shouldn't one of the Colorado relievers be on the list?
your league drafts 72 SP's -- possibly more -- and no one wanted a playoff starter with a high K rate? that sounds mighty odd -- did teams spend money on Syndergards and other prospects instead?
13 team NL auction? dang. how long does the draft take? keeper league?
Regular guy - (is your logo and uniform designed by Rodney Dangerfield?)) thanks for the Corbin info. I noticed there were quite a few bargains in SP--AJ Burnett seemed to go cheaply too - I find part of the fun of being in a keepr leagues is monitoring how each team reacts to the previous year's auction. In other words if everyone blew money early last year, this year many teams' might hold back and the bargains will be found more earlier than later.
Ben - this story presents a great line of reasoning for 'gentlemanly' game of baseball. The 'Cano conundrum' strikes at the heart of a fundamental baseball choice: are you playing for this play/game or for the season? When I read this story I immediately thought of Bobby Abreu, known for his strong aversion for approaching outfield walls. Sure, Abreu never made it on Sportscenter, but he also didn't miss a chunk of time like Fred Lynn or Bryce harper did.
Another consideration is what are the odds you'll get him for less than $31 if you toss him back vs. paying more? If you like Holliday at $31--and I can understand why, I've had him on on or both of my NL teams ever since he's been a Cardinal-you'd like him even more at $25 or $26. Based on this report it appears he's being undervalued. Chances are you're more likely to get him at a slight discount than you are pay a dollar more than your keeper price. Then again, it also helps if you use OBP as a category.
great - thanks
I always love checking out the NL only rosters to get a gauge on players' values.
Corbin looks a little low. Folks aren't convinced he's for real or did he pass through at a quiet time in the draft?
Any chance there's a link to the order of the draft? I like to follow the trends of a draft as well, to see where the lulls and spikes are. Thanks.
If Freeman is all grey (Tier 3) and Craig is all Grey with one Pink (Tier 2), shouldn't Craig be ranked higher than Freeman?
Nice tribute. You capture Kiner well. Growing up a Mets fan I always tried to make the analogy that Kiner:Mets Tv as Rizzuto: Yankees TV, but now, after hearing these respectful tributes, I may have been a little off. My Dad grew up near Pittsburgh during Kiner's career, and actually called Kiner in 1992. A few weeks later Kiner returned his call and they talked baseball for a while on the phone. Can you imagine? Met fans are lucky to listen to Keith and Ron, because they know baseball. Good announcers know that on television, as opposed to radio, there's no need to do play-by-play per se because the fan is sitting right next to you watching the same game. What the good announcer does is help us appreciate what might happen next--will Matt Harvey climb the ladder on two strikes or will he try to get the hitter to chase a slider? At the risk of offending Dodger fans and other Scully worshipers, as smooth as Vin is he simply cannot match the insight or foresight of intelligent, articulate men how have played the game.
Didn't Everth start hitting with a little more pop?
but everybody should?
Do you honestly rate Latos that much higher than Zimmerman?
a bargain- compared to $64 million for Jason Bay!
Of course, opting for this second year strategy can also lead you into that never-ending vortex of grabbing Chris Young every year in the vain hope of grabbing him for his breakout year.
What do ya got for us NL Only's?
Liriano was a great pickup. See any other Liriano's out there?
Burnett was the Yankees mistake.
Palehose - as a Mets fan I like this signing. $20 mil over two years for a good starter is a bargain.
I would not call Colon a 'drug abuser' by any means.
Per Susan Slusser--the A's beat writer--he is a much better athlete than he appears.
Rebuildning doesn't mean only picking up bargains like Capuano and C Young from a few years ago. Rebuilding means not taking a bog chance on a 5 or 6 year commitment at $20 per.
do you think the Mets should deal Murphy? Can they sell high enough to make it worth it or hold on to him and his bat for another year ?
good point - I think mean better than the average 2nd baseman, though, no? And just how much a hitter has Votto been than Cano?
If my team has piles of money to spend I want it to spend it on Cano. He's worth more than $30 million a year now -- 2b power, gold glove - MVP perennial - durability - for 3 years at that level - he's worth a third of the contract already. In the last 3 years he'll be an overpaid DH, sure, but he'll still hit, and who knows what kind of an overpay $24 million will be in 2023?
Sure, the rate of inflation won't match his rate of decline, but if basing this on the premise that your team has got $, then you've got spend it on the best, and that's what Cano is right now.
As a Met fan I hate when my team overspends, cause we almost always screw it up. But I asked myself last night, if the Mets swooped in and Minaya'd this one with a $250 million / 10 year offer would I regret it? Absolutely not.
Imagine Joey Votto as a gold glove 2b. You're telling me that's not worth it?
wow - well-spotted. I like the yellow card comment - funny thing is I vaguely recall that the player I saw pulling this ploy was also a Red.
ok, so it appears I stand corrected. We're all agreed that had Craig been thrown out by, say 10 more feet (20?), the home plate ump could have called him out? If that's the case, then the rule makes more sense than I thought--and in any event the umps certainly got it right.
So we're saying that if you're the runner, and you know obstruction has been called--which I believe Craig did not--you've got to be aware that you won't automatically be awarded the next base?
In layman's terms, is the 'other' type of obstruction what happens when a runner in a rundown runs into a fielder in the basepath and is awarded the base? If so, I have qualms with that one. I've seen occassions when runners seem to deliberately try to run into a fielder in hopes of gaining an obstruction call. Would that be a case in which 'intent' should be taken into account?
My biggest with obstruction call has always been the 'free pass' it gives to the runner, not unlike the 'free play' a quarterback by running a play when the defense jumps offside. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the moment obstruction is determined--and that can be as early as Middlebrooks' feet getting tangled with Craig's--if the ump signals obstruction, then once Craig heads for home he will be called safe at home, regardless of if he is thrown out by 10 feet or 50. But if he thinks he can't make it, and stays at 3rd, he doesn't benefit from the obstruction call. Of course, if he doesn't know obstruction has been called, but he has 'suffered' from it, then he doesn't get the benefit. This is the greatest problem with the rule: it allows no judgement by the umpire and only rewards the runner arbitrarily.
great breakdown - what about how they did a 'mock' steal a few pitches before? Was that an aborted attempt or just a deke? It seemed like either Kozema was going for the best jump ever or he just couldn't wait to get started, because it didn't seem like he was taking off for only a few steps.
2nd - wouldn't it seem likely that the aborted attempt would squelch the likelihood of an attempt, having killed the element of surprise?
I hang this one on Salty--that's what his teammates call him, per Tim McC.
Salty had plenty of time to gun down the runner at 3rd and the ball got stuck in his mitt. This goes back to some old-style love for the SB and aggressive calls--you make your opponent make a play. In this case Salty couldn't deliver.
Big respect to Matheny for sticking with Martinez against Ortiz. Interesting that 'only' giving up a single and getting to the righty is considered a victory.
Bret - You certainly hit a more than a few on the head, but looking at your Corbin recommendation, should we re-consider your grades based on your accuracy? Keep in mind, I'm speaking as an owner who was burned by not pursuing Corbin aggressively enough, I feel as if I may be entitled to legal action against you for not touting Corbin strongly enough. It's not enough for you to tell us he might be good, we need you to tell us that he WILL be good, in fact, not just good, but incredibly amazing. Had I known that I'd've lowballed some owner back in April and scooped him up. Sorry, I can't give you an A on Corbin, we need our intel to nail it!
Sincerely, disgruntled 9th place NL owner who underbod on Fernandez and didn't believe the hype on Wacha & friends.
PS - great job on Teheran and Donaldson
Great breakdown; looks like Ellis may have been screened by the 2nd base ump on Beltran's single, no?
Puig appears to be mocking Gonzalez in that photo, doesn't he?
Very true. Countless times have I seen Darling say 'he ought to throw him a changeup right here'- and the pitcher does, and strikes him out. Both he and Ripken have been enlightening enough to balance out the utter uselessness that is Ernie Johnson, and that's saying a lot.
what about Girardi pinch-hitting Ibanez for A Rod last year against the O's?
agreed - same for Mujica projection - you nailed his taking over closer and anyone who jumped on that advice at that time probably won saves in his league
In hindsight, I'm almost tempted to agree with you about calling for Kimbrel in the 8th BUT, I think that when considering that option most folks assume Kimbrel will be lights out for 2 straight innings, but how many times have we seen the letdown by the amped closer in his 2nd inning of work after putting out a fire--ok, maybe not so many because there are no more 6 out saves--but, given that even Kimbrel is mortal, we can't assume he'll be automatic for both innings.
Yes, Daniel, but what are his numbers against hanging sliders? As an LA resident, I've watched plenty of Uribe for the last 3 years, he the perfect example of a mistake hitter. If a pitcher avoids mistakes, he gets Uribe out. With a rookie on the mound, high pressure situation, even if he throws 97 down the heart of the plate Uribe is not going to turn it around. There is a kernel of truth to most cliches, for a reason: if you're going to get beat, get beat with your best pitch. Carpenter throws gas, and the Braves are playing golf now because they got beat by a rookie throwing his 2nd best pitch. Carpenter could have done the job, but he needed a catcher who knew how many fingers to put down.
Story has it wrong: bad news for the Braves is that Brian McCann out down two fingers when he only should have put down one. How any Major League catcher can choose to speed up Uribe's bat when his pitcher is throwing 97mph is beyond me. The only fault with the manager is for not insisting on calling the pitches, because his catcher is clearly incapable of doing so. This was a matter of execution, not strategy.
MAybe cause the photo here makes him look like he was just stung by a bee?
As a Met fan who recalls that they were at 99% with a week to go, well, need I say more?
Given that the 'new' playoff system truly rewards division winners by guaranteeing wild card winners only one playoff game, I'd say that there is plenty at stake. Look at last year's Rangers. One day they're setting up their playoff rotation, the next Josh Hamilton is dropping cans of corn in center, the next they're beat by Baltimore while still in a stunned stupor, and then just like that they're playing golf.
As a fan, I'm thankful for the new system because I know that a team--such as the Cards--that slides into the wild-card slot is a rough break --i.e. messed up infield fly call--away from going home quickly, and a team such as the Reds can step on the gas and try to snag a division crown just as the Athletics did last year.
It sure beats those boring 'races' in which the Red Sox and Yankees positioned themselves for second place, knowing they were guaranteed a playoff series.
I traded Kemp for Turner a month ago. I'm in 9th and looking ahead. For a guy who was once a hot prospect Turner sure doesn't excite. I think he had 0 k's last night. Zero. Even at $6 next year I'm not sure he's a keeper.
Bret - Great story - lots of much-needed help found here. What are chances Carlos Martinez provides decent NL only fantasy value for the duration?
Please, never let the words Mike Francesa ever appear on a BP article so long as I am a subscriber. Thank you.
how can you be in so many NL only leagues that still follow Rotisserie-Ultra rules?
Is it safe to say that is Syndergaard were a Marlins prospect he'd be in the bigs by end of summer?
One thing I'm sure most fans thought when the trade was made was that losing Gonzalez was not a big deal given that there always seems to be a $20 million a year 1b available, and now the Sox can just grab the next one.Perhaps what we're seeing though is a changing landscape. Big free agents are becoming scarcer. Rizzo --ironically once a Sox prospect--is the latest to get locked in early. Another free agent that won't hit the market until well into his prime. So, given that Gonzalez has corrected himself--great AVG, great OBP, slightly declining power--was it worth it to lose him in order to shake loose of Crawford and Beckett? Given how Crawford is playing now, this question certainly needs to be re-visited, and I appreciate the analysis in this story.
You want evidence?
Two words: Luis Polonia
Two more words: Charlie Hayes
And another two: Scott Brosius
These are the Yankee post-season killers that ant-Yankee fans must endure.
I think the explanation of what a good umpire is supposed to do when calling strikes is something akin to the difference between 'precision' and 'accuracy' though I can't recall which is which.
Sam - great story - Harvey clearly knows how and when to go 'up the ladder', a vital skill which too many pitch to contact hurlers don't get
Certainly makes last night's Cingrani v. Fernandez matchup interesting.
Among the smallest inaccuracies I noted was in the scene in Cincinnatti. When we see Reese with his arm around Robinson, in the background we can see the stadium clock, which reads 8:45, in the bright sunshine. Unless they had strange daylight savings back then, or the Reds played some early morning games, that makes no sense.
Whom do you prefer? Cingrani or Fernandez?
Aw C'mon! It's baseball! If you don't throw inside you're not a pitcher. In baseball there are unwritten rules intended to protect everyone. Even if you intentionally hit a guy, you hit him in the butt and that's ok. You can't start policing every pitch that's thrown inside. That's ridiculous.
I would disagree. Professional baseball players train themselves to take what would shock everyone else--being the target of 90mph fastball--and transform it into an experience that is comfortable. sure getting hit hurts and is a shock, but if you've batted thousands of times in your life you've experienced it before and you will again. What makes athletes special is their ability to separate what might be a jarring experience--getting sacked by a 300lb linebacker, getting dunked on, shanking a drive in front of a gallery--from the next task at hand, going to first base, 'rubbing dirt on it' and playing on. Any player who acts like Quentin had his mind made up before he was hit and his actions must be considered pre-meditated.
There's another 'detente' that needs to be addressed, and that's the negotiation between the pitcher and the hitter for the inner third of the plate. We all have heard about how Bob Gibson worked to re-claim the inner half from the hitter. Quentin is a great example of the Derek Jeter diving hitter. He shows no fear of standing his ground. Pitchers have always used the brushback pitch to gain the small but vital advantage of putting doubt in a hitter's approach. If a hitter is worried that the incoming pitch is a high and tight fastball he will not dive. If he doesn't dive he is vulnerable to the breaking pitch on the outer half of the plate. If he stands his ground he can reach that pitch and slap it the opposite way. In other words, it's part of baseball. You must let pitchers pitch inside. If one gets away, then the hitter must react.
Inflation for keeper leagues is a bitch. I always forget that in a 10 team NL only with max 7 keepers it's essentially an auction that when the auction begins each team has already stocked its team with bargains so there's plenty of $ chasing less talent. The money horders get screwed in the whiplash towards the end when they've been saving $ for Matt Latos and he goes for $30 --2 less than Kershaw, 1 more than C Lee--and Aramis Ramirez gets bid up to $33! Wow. Have you ever tried charting auctions to watch where the money gets spent?
I think best approach to auction is pick the 12 most important spots out of the 23 on your roster, target players and budget hom much you can spend. Be realistic. If you end up getting a guy for a few dollars less, than you can spend a few more on another. Owners overthink auctions. Target your players and get them. If others overbid, know in advance which other players you can slot in --and that's where the tiers come in.
Thanks for debunking a token from the famed Boras Binder- this could be a fun regular segment. I noticed those first two numbers jumped out: 7 and 126.
Didn't Boras get the Giants to pay $126 million for 7 years of Zito?
I know Pecota still loves Halladay, but what are the odds he posts numbers anywhere near these?
Right on cue, D Brown hit a bomb today against the Phils -- then again everyone went deep in this game -- it's still only the 6th inning
China is an oligarchy, not a communist state.
Would you sooner watch the WBC final of Game 7 of the World Series? I love the WBC but the problem is simple - it's simply not considered the height of competition. Would you sooner watch the WBC final of Game 7 of the World Series?Same as soccer or tennis at the Olympics--no one cares who gets the gold medal because fans know Wimbledon and The Champions League are way more prestigious. The WBC's value is in helping put baseball on the map in Italy, Australia, the Netherlands and even China. That's a good thing. And if it works, then 20 years from now so many more countries will be baseball countries that the WBC will mean that much more. But until then it's a novelty.
LABR Draft - wow - that's a lot pitchers between $15 and $20
Anyone got a link for the NL LABR results?
Mike, I hear what you're saying; wouldn't you say some of the best moments in the draft though are when a player goes--in an experienced league (and really who wants to play in any other?)--for what seems significantly below everyone's estimation? For instance, in my deep NL league a few years ago Halladay went for only $25 due to an odd confluence of different teams' keeper priorities (they'd kept strong SP's and needed $ for offense) and the 'it's a new league' question. Even last year, Beltran and Heyward went for less than $20 and delivered way more. Have you witnessed this at any drafts this year or last?
Mike - Fun stuff - I don't win my league every year or even every other but one thing I've learned is that you should slot a half dozen spots on your roster for $1
5th OF - 5th & 6th SP - 2nd C - Utility of MID - 3rd RP - the fun part is the chess game at the end of the draft - as any savvy owner knows one of the best payoffs at the draft is knowing you are the only team with an SP slot open on your roster so you can nominate the best remaining SP and he's yours for a buck - even in a deep league you can grab first year phenoms like Tommy Hanson this way. Keeping this in mind it's really that a $1 bid isn't the same late in the draft as it is early in the draft. Thus the ability to bid $2 at the end can be crucial, just enough to snag a decent player at the moment all other owners are topped out at a buck.
Fair enough. Your stomach turning when the gavel sounds comment resonates with veteran auction participants for sure. Don't know what's worse: watching a rival score a potential bargain or getting stuck with a player you didn't want when you bid against said rival to prevent him obtaining that bargain.
RE: Beltran - Doesn't it simply come down to whether you believe Beltran's knees will hold up or they won't? The $20 limit on him looks too much like last year at this time. If you buy that he's healthy enough for 500 PA's then he's easily worth closer to $25, especially in an OBP league. If you don't think he's healthy then you drop out of bidding after $12. Hedging lands yo in fourth place. No?
Does anyone think the Braves would have dealt Upton for a package built around Tejada or Murphy? I thought every team talking to the Mets wanted Wheeler.
Don't forget though, if your league shrinks significantly, you should adjust the values at the top...upward. Say your usual 10 team suddenly loses 3 teams on the day of the draft due to unforeseen circumstances and the remaining faithful plow ahead with a 7 team only. Instead of bidding on the top 20 1b now you're only going for the top 14. So if you've got a buck in the end and still need to fill your corner slot you're actually going to end up with a good player, so you don't need to allocate more than a buck. Same for your last few starting pitcher spots. So what do you do with those extra few dollars? Use them to bidon Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp. If your league shrinks take advantage by overbidding on the top talent--you won't miss the $10 later.
if you sign with Miami aren't you hoping that they'll trade you?
Any signing of Bourn with an eye toward trading him looks so challenged that it'd be difficult to imagine an intelligent person such as Alderson even considering it.
Ben, what percent of the readers do you figure get the pun in the title of this story? 10? 6? 3? 22?
For Lohse it seems more the question isn't will he or won't he but by how much. Nowhere is an instance of life imitating art in the 'real baseball following fantasy' more evident than the example of Lohse. In my deep NL leagues I've always snagged Lohse either for a buck or as a free agent the first week of the season and then ridden his hot hand as long as I could. Last season no fellow owner would take him in a trade because they all anticipated that his luck would run out and it never did. Now it seems as though GM's all over are similarly skeptical. So, we all 'know' he won't have an ERA under 3 (or will he?) but what will it be? 3.50? Higher?
Yes, but the overall point is that how much should a team be aware of stocking their lineup with similar holes in their swings?
Geoff - I've had the pleasure of riding the Surfliner from San Diego to LA and there is no substitute for peering through a cold Stone IPA at a classic California sunset. As an east coast transplant who's enjoyed baseball in Southern California everywhere from Chavez Ravine to over 30 leagues in Chatsworth and College of the Canyons, I truly enjoyed the California baseball travel guide. Growing up back east, to me all of these towns were just names on the back of players' baseball cards or strange guest star appearances such as Drysdale's, but reading about them here puts it all together. Thank you for this.
vgalloro - that's a good point, and also begs a related question: how similar are the Uptons' hitting styles? Should teams consider such factors when putting together their lineups. A pitcher with the stuff to fool one Upton can likely fool the other, if we agree that, though talented and impressive, each features the same flaw and holes in his swing. Any pitcher with decent command and a slider approaching Marmol's could rack up impressive k's after a few times through the Upton-laden lineup.
This is very funny. Can it be the first in a series? I want to hear more from these rabbis.
Thanks for the headline straight out of The Onion. Thousand of baseball fans are experiencing a great void in their lives now.
Jungmann doesn't drive enough; relies too much on his arm.
Funny thing is that even Davey Johnson was surprised by the signing; that's certainly telling. Sounds like Davey was perfectly content with Storen and the owner said 'Here, I spent some more $ and got you something even better at the Boras Boutique, (beat) You're welcome".
Thanks for this awesome piece on an important baseball man; it's a nice complement to the obit I read this morning in the NY Times. One thing that emphasized was how important it was to Weaver that he keep his distance from his players because he didn't want any personal feelings getting in the way of his management decisions. Can you imagine, in today's sports culture of managers/coaches as kindergarten teachers in this every kid gets a prize culture, any manager running his club that way? Can you think of one? In his book I recall Weaver telling Reggie Jackson, after Reggie stole 2nd base, that he didn't want him to do it ever again, because it freed up 1st base so the other team could pitch around the slugger batting behind Reggie. His was a great baseball mind, truly ahead of its time. 96 games a year! Wow.
so what does Lerner care about that, he'll be dead by then--gives new meaning to the term 'deferred'.
Paul - I heard on the podcast how you and Jason oohed over Darvish and snubbed Greinke and all I can say is how do I sign up to be in a league with either of you? Greinke has been a dominant pitcher for years--yes, he is prone to bad starts, so maybe, maybe, in a head to head league he's dangerous, but I don't care about those--whereas Darvish has been fleetingly dazzling but mostly over-rated. Which one pitches in Rangers Ballpark in a DH league? Which one pitches in traditionally pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium? DO you honestly believe at the end of the year Darvish's numbers will be better than Greinke's?
doesn't that sound a bit like what Piazza had to deal with on the whole 'is he or is he not gay' stupidity?
this whole thing is such a stupid witchhunt.
Thanks for all the intelligent responses, I feel Met guilt for even impugning Piazza. Seaver went to the Marines, bulked up there, then went to USC where he made his mark--not before having to drain his own knee of fluid--yuch. Sutter would have to be an outlier though, no, considering he practically invented a new pitch. I'm confident Piazza will get in soon. Along with Aaron Sele.
As a Met fan I will always love Piazza. As a baseball fan I have to ask: how does a player--in the steroids era--go from being a 63rd round courtesy pick to the greatest offensive catcher in history without any assistance? If I had a vote, I'd vote for Piazza--but I'd also vote for Bonds and Clemens, because they dominated the game in their time.
If Reagins was pushing for the Wells deal then he certainly deserved to be fired. If not, then you gotta feel for him.
Thanks for the Twitter chain of fools, that really cut to the chase of unbridled, unjustified optimism. Pitching is a traumatic, unnatural motion--unless you're talking softball, in which it's not--and fans should simply accept that when an arm is done it's done. There may be dead cat bounces but they're still dead cats. PS thanks for the fantasy draft nod at the top--I hate to say it but the more we track post and in season moves--thanks to MLB trade rumors and the like--the more it seems one can could write a good BP piece called 'All I really needed to know to be a GM I learned in my fantasy league."
Agreed - but--for the sake of analysis, just how badly should he age? Just how many steps to a fly ball will an excellent center fielder lose from age 30 to 35? Considering a huge factor in playing good centerfield is getting a good jump on the ball and taking a good route, I'd say not too much. And if he maintains a good OBP, then his decline is only in SB's, which should only bother his fantasy owners. I wonder if it's more of Boras overreach. Fun speculation to guess where his pillow contract could land him. At this point I'd still go with the Rangers.
Some Saturday last spring I suffered through my Mets at Atlanta for the Saturday Fox game. Brace yourself. Chris Myers was doing play-by-play. Play by play is like umpiring--only when it's absolutely make an ass of itself terrible do you notice it and realize, maybe it's not so easy a 3rd grade sports fan could do it. At least that's what Chris Myers endless trail of inanity had me thinking. How hard can it possibly be to announce a televised baseball game? Chris Myers hard. Evidently the keys to to the game graphics are intended to limbo underneath the appallingly awful 'analysis'. I love baseball but I shudder to think that every world series memory I have since the 90's has been narrated by Joe Buck.
Ben- I listened to you debate the value of the #1 pick surrendered for certain FA's such as Bourne, and I still don't get it. For Soriano, yes, I would think twice if I were a GM, but a difference-maker such as Bourne? Have I missed the extensive BP piece that breaks down the value of a 1st round pick and compares it to the expectancy of a first rounder? I know on you podcast you slapped a monetary value on it, for the purpose of distinguishing between early picks and later ones. but given how many first rounders don't pan out to even 4th starters or adequate position players because of so many things that can go wrong between the time they're drafted and the time they hit the majors, wouldn't a team that wants to win now easily forgo that for a player who will make his team substantially better? If Bourne is only marginally better than a Martin/Gentry platoon then fine, that's a lineup decision that Earl Weaver could get behind. But it seems that to attribute the reluctance to sign a player of Bourne's caliber to the loss of a pick is to over-rate the value of those picks.
Can we just agree that going forward that any time we mention Vernon Wells being dealt it's a given that the Angels will eat upwards of 98% of his salary? No team is dumb enough to make the same mistake the Angels made, right?
How high would you go on Starling in a 10 team NL Only? I've had him since he was a buck--we increase by $5 then $7 then $9 etc--so while he was great at $13 last year, now I've got to do a little thinking. Is it a no-brainer to keep him at $22? Especially if he's stealing bases?
I just can't believe that I read an entire article detailing San Diego Padres trades over a ten year period from start to finish. That's the best surprise.
Congress? Will do something about a la carte pricing? We are more likely to see the A's win the Series than to see Congress, which can agree on less than nothing, assert itself over the country's dominant monopoly-protected media infrastructure.
Good point. How much can hitters actually change their approach? Looking at Upton or Hamilton, do we honestly believe they'll start taking more piches? Likely not. They'll make highlights at the plate and maybe in the field, but they'll make lots of outs too. If a player hasn't shown plate discipline by 28, don't expect it to start now.
all it takes is one team to overpay - i,e, the Royals with Gil Meche - I'd say there is a good chance there's at least one time that is foolish enough to pony up something close to 5/65 in the hopes that they're getting 5 more years of 2012.
Sam - please risk inspring the wrath of Jason Parks by writing an article decrying Tom Verducci's 'don't swing for the fences in the postseason' mumbo jumbo.
It's gone too far. This propoganda made its way into my NPR broadcast this morning. Bill James would be turning over in his not yet dug grave if word of this sophistry ever reached him.
HR's are great in the postseason. In low-scoring games with dominating pitchers--of which there are certainly more in the postseason--it's that much more important to be able to tie the score with one swing. Exhibit A - the Yankees 9th inning in Game one of the NLCS. Sure, they lost the game in extras, but they made up for 8 innings of futility with a bloop and a bop, then a hard-fought BB and another bop.
Barring triple-struck grounders that miraculously are transformed into doubles, HRs are needed in postseason.
When Holliday is involved on a fly ball in a playoff game, nothing is routine. RULE j-56 in the unwritten rulebook.
that's a more likely scenario, and not unlike what happened in London this summer with the badminton players. as playoffs approach there are scenarios in which teams win by losing.
Facebook and the Dodgers make for an intriguing comparison, but I 'd say it's apples and oranges. Though MLB teams are not immune to overspending, big cash cows like the Sawx and the Dodgers maintain bankable revenue streams that even now are on the rise. The Dodgers sold for $2 billion because of the potential of their impending TV deal. Dodgers ownership anticipates becoming Yankees West Coast. The Sawx will spend like sailors again shortly. The Rays will never be able to do anything approaching that.
One of? Are there others?
agreed - Nation is over and done with--though you can't dis Sawx fans for this one--it was theirs first
oh, I'm desperate alright. @swarmee, I suppose the tough choice is which quality Colorado reliever do I bestow my precious 3rd reliever spot upon in the hope of grabbing those 2 crucial W's between now and Labor Day?
@Derek -- I don't know if this under your purview, but as Fantasy devotees go I am strongly of the school that deep 'only' leagues are the only ones worth considering--precisely because they can lead to these tests of attrition that I am currently undergoing. Any chance you may feel similarly may write a passion piece about the test of humanity that is the 'deeper league'?
It's a mighty tough slog for the last quarter lap in a 10 team NL only if your team has lost Greinke and Dempster to the Junior Circuit...lately I've picked up --and dropped--Ohlendorf, Eovaldi, Rogers, LeBlanc--sending out an SOS.
Do I dare Chacin?
that's a Yankee-pay him crazy money cause we're loaded and we're paying him mad bonuses for passing Aaron and Bonds contract--no one else is even approaching 30 million. 25 seems to be the barrier.
Not to mention nothing happens in a vacuum. Perhaps because Longoria wasn't playing under any pressure of his next contract he could merely focus on his guaranteed millions and be happy and hit. If he does what he should he'll hit free agency in time to land a Beltre-type deal.
Has anyone addressed whether 'home field' advantage exists in the Series? Is there a great advantage to playing 1,2,6 & 7 at home instead of the middle three.
Isn't baseball the one major sport in which 'home field' matters the least?
I haven't run the numbers, so please feel free to correct me, but as a fan who can recall every series since '69, I never recall that there was a great disadvantage to hosting the middle set of the Series.
I'd say we've all fallen a little under the spell of the Fox Marketing 'It's for Real' BS
Somehow Bronson Arroyo has surfaced on our 8 team NL only waiver wire and with Dillon Gee's blood clot and Timmy Lincecum's nightmare continuing I am desperate for pitching. What do your tea leaves tell you? Arroyo or Travis Wood?
With all due respect, what game of baseball have you been watching? There has never been and never will be an umpire who would 'ask' for help on a ball/strike call, especially from any other entity than a colleague. Do not make suggestions in a vacuum, ignoring baseball culture.
What about Rickie Weeks? Any chance he's this year's Uggla? They're both power-hitting 2b.
Isn't replay in any sport--including baseball--all about the discrepancy between the viewer's experience and the umpire's/referees'? If an ump blows a call but no camera catches it, no one will ever know the harm. Sure the losing side will swear he got it wrong--and he may have--but it's just their opinion. But when the ump blows it and cameras in real time reveal the error, then there's a problem and the game loses credibility. Football replay is time-consuming and imperfect but it increases fan interest nonetheless because it re-enforces how the game is one of inches every time a player gets stopped at the goal line. The perfect example in baseball was in the 2006 NLCS, Spezio smacked what may have been a triple or HR in Game two at Shea. The umps deliberated like 3 blind mice, meanwhile TV replays showed the whole country it wasn't a HR. The only ones who couldn't use the replay were the ones whose decisions counted! It's too late to dial things back and eliminate the cameras that give the fans a better view, so now the decision makers on the field have no choice but play catchup. The NFL gets this. When will MLB?
As a Mets fan I've been waiting for the clock to strike midnight all year. This season reminds me a little of 1984--Mets arriving a little early after sucking for a while, but record way ahead of Pythagorean projection. Lost 7-0 to the Cubs fer cryin out loud. It's nice to stay in the hunt for that 2nd wild card, but don't deal another Kazmir in the process.
Interesting that you note the prizes are Hamels, Victorino and other NL players. As NL players they're not exactly FAAB prizes, correct? If I'm in an NL only league, I'm saving my $ for bog AL fish who may cross over, a la Holliday a few years ago.
Are there any AL cross over targets?
Rats-- I just picked up Minor and I really need the SP help--then I noticed he's due to face two beasts of the east--I am gunshy after double dipping with Kendrick this week--(I should've read this column before making THAT mistake--
ok so no Minor--right?
what do you think of Tim Hudson--is he as good the rest of the season as Depth Charts says he'll be?
THIS ISN'T THE STORY I WANT TO READ! I'm in two NL only leagues, damnit! Don't tell me about the talent I'm going to lose--and Dempster's going to the Dodgers anyway (fingers crossed)--where's the story on AL folks likely coming to the Senior Circuit?
'Public access' wow--that is all need be said for the Twins. great stuff
PHUTURE - Excellent points, sure, super-power teams such as the Yanks, Sox, Phils, Angels, Tigers--Rangers?-play by a different set of rules. The problem is that there are limited positions, and once a team commits $20 mil plus to a position the team is not inclined to make a change when a change is needed. Howard is in decline. Lee and Halladay are not ascendant. Look at the Yanks. They've got A Rod and Tex soaking up dollars and clogging up vital corner infield spots with their anemic bats.
Teams that spend $20 mil plus on multiple positions are more given to over-rate their own talent based on past success than are teams that can't afford to over-pay. Ironically this has become something of an equalizing force in MLB.
0.97 WHIP for Strasburg? WOW
npb - Soviet Safeway==nice. I feel your pain. I'm in two deep NL only leagues and I just lost Panda. I felt a little better when I picked up Hairston. Ouch. There's a reason my team's logo has been the sign of the International Red Cross for a while now. It's fun to see Fantasy tips etc. on BP, but when you're in a deep league you got to wade through a bit to find that one dusty jewel that will make the trip to the mall worth the schlep.
You're being too literal. Headhunting will get a pitcher tossed. The back is the best place because not only does it sting, but also there's no escape for the hitter. He doesn't know which way to duck, so he just turns and gets plunked.
I think you give Hamels too much credit to deem it 'tongue-in-cheek'. Hamels has always been very candid, refusing to speak off the record. Most players will tell you it's not what he said--though some of it is inane--but rather that he came out and said it publicly.Rule #1-don't talk about Fight Club. He broke Rule #1.
Great story. I had the pleasure of listening to parts of the game, notably the 9th, and then watching Kemp's HR. On TV the pitch appeared to be maybe 9 inches off the ground, though it was right down the middle. That's why Kemp has so many HR's. He hits them off of decent pitches--he did the same in the 10th last year to Ryan Franklin. Pitchers must walk off horrified, "But it wasn't that bad a pitch! He should have pounded that into the ground!" Kemp can be pitched to--witness Lincecum tonight--but Kemp also can knock pitches out that only Vlad Guerrero could knock out back in the day.
what about the Tommy Hanson curve he hit 400 feet?
Can't a pitcher be suspended for intentionally throwing at a player?
oh my--michaelmcduffe--I'm guessing you're English? if only you wrote this letter for the LA Times--well done. If you are from across the pond, can you offer any similar examples in European sports circles?
re: selling high--learn from other's mistakes. Last year I grabbed Derek Lowe for a buck in the last slot in our auction. I felt like a genius after he has a great April. I drank my own koolaid --he had his strongest K rate in years--and when i was offered Lance Berkman for him straight up, instead of clicking 'accept' in nanoseconds, I thought about it. By the end of the evening, when i finally decided to pull the trigger, it was too late. Offer had been rescinded. I spent the next two months re-working the deal. We pulled it off, and it got me into 3rd place. But if I'd sold high on Lowe, I might have won it all. Lowe came back to earth and Berkman experienced a renaissance. Sell high when you can.
yeah, Rick 'I can fix him in 5 minutes' Peterson. I'm sure he helped plenty of Mets but that wouldn't undo the damage he caused by promising to 'fix' Victor Zambrano
oh, it's late--I meant to write '162' games is a long time.
12, is not.
Truth is 12 games is a long time and hitters seasons are incredibly consistent and repeatable. Players like Raul Ibanez can play semi-mediocre up to the All Star break, then go on a six week run in the summer and their final numbers come out to be decent, and if you bought low you got mostly the good stuff.
So buy low.
Veteran pitchers too. But for most readers of BP, it's common knowledge that pitchers returning from TJ surgery can suffer from control issues, especially being wild in the strike zone. It sure must be frustrating for Wainwright, trying to spot his fastball on the black only to watch it sail over the heart of the plate then out of Busch stadium thanks to Ian Stewart.
Mets announcers are best in the business--they know the game and they're candid--they exemplify the upside of NYer's: people who can teach you things and don't wait to be asked to let you know what they think. Even when they're wrong, they're entertaining and that's a good thing. To wit, yesterday's GW hit by Captain Kirk, Hernandez"Good for him to go after a good fastball on 1-0. Lots of guys would take a strike".
Excellent analysis. Albert is a fun study in man vs. myth. Part of baseball's charm is that every so often a player hits so well that he seems unstoppable. Recall Barry Bonds in 2002 WS. One time Angels pitch to him, he rockets one into the night off of Percival--unfortunately for the Giants he couldn't hit a game-tying 2 run HR with no one on base. Pujols certainly at times has appeared this way, and was compensated accordingly. But watching him against the Orioles' SP Chen on Sunday, Albert looked absolutely mortal. If I were an Angels fan--which, despite living in LA since 1999 I will never be, simply because the team, its fans, announcers and its ballpark are such a milquetoast snooze--I would be alarmed.
Many saw it coming--pitchers returning from Tommy John surgery often experience control issues
You make the Mariners sound like a good deal. I'd happily leverage my parking lots and buy them, but not if it means I'm making a deal with devil that guarantees I'll be losing them --even at an enormous profit--to pay my divorce settlement.
Well researched and somewhat re assuring, however, I'm a little PO'd at the Depth Charts, cause I had to choose between keeping Timmy at $26 and Greinke at the same price and I went with the former strictly based on the Depth chart numbers.
That's a good question, but in my experience change-ups don't actually break much. Whereas true breaking pitches, sharp sliders for example, are thrown with accelerated spin--you snap them and try to increase rotations to increase 'break', with a changeup you're actually reversing the process, trying to reduce spin. The 'break that we 'see' is really an illusion partly brought on--as you correctly note--by the camera angle. From Duda's perspective, he locates the ball at Strasburg's typical release point, anticipates that it will run towards the plate, and it simply never arrives. it 'drifts' a little bit to Strasburg's arm side, in the same way that a ball 'gets away' from you on a wild throw. I would say it drifts more than 'breaks' and the camera angle certainly contributes to our perception.
the D'backs uni's were so atrocious that the straightest of men could tell how hideous they were--the clincher was the pin stripes. They looked like mis-matched pajamas intended as knockoffs that someone bought at the bargain store that were designed in a 3rd world sweatshop. A little bit of Yankees, a little bit of Grandmama Charlotte Hornets, and purple for good measure.
If a Dodger fan schleps to San Diego to see a game, does he still leave in the 7th inning to beat the traffic?
Derek, good on ya. I'm so tired of the onslaught of hedgey 'predictions' that we're subject to... "If player x puts it together he could really do something this year" --ya don't say?
Tell me who's going to suck and who's going to surprise.
I hear you on Hanson--I was a Tommy fan when I drafted him cheap two years ago but sold high and have been staying away ever since. He pitches like a shortstop--like when they ask the shortstop on your team to pitch cause he's got a great arm and he just stands on the rubber and throws the ball.
Got any more wild predictions? They're fun.
If that is so doesn't it seem that PECOTA doesn't account for breakthrough change in a player's performance?
If you're a savvy Angeleno you ought to sidestep these absurd prices. Park on the street. Fill up in $2 pre-game pints at the Shortstop on Sunset and walk to the stadium. Grab 3 tacos al pastor from a truck on your walk to the park. Get by one bag of peanuts and one over priced beer for nine innings. For your ticket, schmooze some friends who work fora fancy law firm with field level box seats they rarely use (there are plenty). If you can't make it to the game, don't blow $ on cable. watch the game on the internet. Major league stadiums have been rip-offs for a while and they're only getting worse, but going to a game a few times a year is something you can't replace.
How do pitchers with WHIPs in the 1.2s have ERA's in the 4s?
It's not like they're giving up 4 solo HRs per game.
even funnier than the original -- d'oh!
I've been doing 2 NL only leagues for the last 5 years, so I'm always cognizant of which players I 'double-down' on. I try to limit it, but then it's only natural that it should occur because if you like a player at a price, you like him, and if he's there, you'll bid. Unfortunately for me, last year one of those players was Kelly Johnson--for $24 in each league! Go figure! What are your thoughts in dealing with multiple leagues? Evidently you don't mind doubling up but are you wary of it at all?
At first glance I think you drafted a 3rd place team. This year's NL is rife with SP's--thanks to Gio, Cahill, etc. coning over, while hitting took a HUGE hit losing Prince and Albert. If ever there were a year when hitting is at a premium it's this year. So wouldn't this be the year to spend a little more on hitting? Instead of grabbing a 2nd closer I'd take that $ to grab a more bankable power OF. $16 for Loney? Go $10 more and get some power.
Nonetheless you've put yourself in a strong spot and if you can trade an arm for a bat you could take the crown.
sorry RJ, but upon further review I gotta say Rockies are a 'banal, conservative' pick and they ought to be disqualified for the same reasons as Cincy or Miami. They're still the core of a very good team, they just had a bad/unlucky year last year. They underperformed mightily and they play in an eminently annually winnable division--the antithesis of NL East. Compare picking the Rox to picking the Snakes last year at this time, or even the Padres in March 2010. See what I mean? It's just not the same boldness.
So let's try again. Be bold. Which team would you have to be nuts to say is the one that you think is going to shock folks in a way that no one could have claimed to have seen coming? Yes, I understand this is oxymoronic--asking you to predict the unpredictable, but that's what March is all about.
where in the world does a 1.26 WHIP for Blanton come from? Are the Phillies fielding two extra players?
re: Huff-- that would be a lot of salary to absorb. Can't imagine any team paying more than $2 million for 2012 Aubrey, can you?
Cueto is a good cheap buy. Pitchers with strong WHIPs and K's are often underestimated when measured against low ERA pitchers who don't miss bats. ERA can vary but WHIP and K's should remain consistent.
then again, after years of drafting, let's face it: the riskiest pitcher is the one you draft. Just ask the folks who ponied up for Josh Johnson last year.
Hamels at $22 is gorgeous. Especially if you're a fan of 'contract year' performances. Given how deep pitching is this year in NL (adding Gio, Cahill etc.) and how thin hitting is--losing Albert, Prince, half of Howard--I'd guess in deep NL leagues it's smart to pay premium for top tier hitting--Votto, Braun--and grab 3 good starters instead of 1 ace and some 4's and 5's. I bet there will be plenty of leagues in which some owner blows over $60 on some combination of Lincecum, C Lee, Halladay, and still finishes in bottom half of pitching due to the scrubs dragging the numbers down.
Of your 5 star, which do you deem riskiest? I've loved The Freak for years, but he seems to be relying too much on his change as his fastball has lost velocity.
The difference between the 4 star and top 5 stars is so slight that it really behooves a smart shopper to try and grab a pair of #3's for $30 rather than pay $25 and get by with a one star. Hamels deserves to be in the top group. All of them will go for near $30 in NL only leagues for sheer name alone.
Upon closer inspection this looks like a PECOTA driven draft -- all players and their values are regressing to the mean. $19 for David Freese? He's one of what, 4 decent 3b?
RE: De-bunking the A's as Moneyball geniuses theory. Isn't it about time we measure the A's against the Rays? Isn't the team from Tampa Bay the poster child for how to field a contending--not competitive, contending--team on a payroll that comes in consistently at the bottom 5 in MLB? What is it exactly that's preventing the A's from replicating the Rays model? Anything? I think there's plenty there to compare.
I dare say makes you wonder why it's called an 'experts' league if there was that much money left on the table. It's not a keeper league, right? Because I've seen strange economic trends in keeper leagues based on teams strengths carried over from previous year-i.e. fewer teams bidding on SP's, so Halladay sneaks by at $28--otherwise, though, wow. Thanks for the link, I look forward to checking it out.
Gentlemen - Will there be an NL version of this story? Are you --or have you already--drafted in similar NL leagues and can post results? Thanks
'It’s not that owners hate Chase Headley so much as they forget that he exists' - that's a great point--it seems there's always been teams that represent black holes of awareness for many owners--late in the draft you're scrounging and you land on some Padre with decent pop and you're like "Hey, this guy's worth $4!"
After one or two drafts in which I came dangerously close to leaving money on the table--I had to blow $ on Dempster the closer and overpay for Nomar to avoid it--I vowed I would always target players that I absolutely want on my team and be willing to overpay for them if necessary. That philosophy still didn't net me Ryan Braun last year, as I wasn't willing to go to $45 for him, though looking at his SB's I should have. Instead I took Holliday as my second choice...and there you go. I am a big believer in budget, because the inherent challenge is that it is a zero sum( or rather $260) game, and overpaying for a favorite means lacking funds for someone else later. The thing is you never know what the later will look like, and late in the auction in a deep league there may be 3 owners left to bid on the scraps--i.e. Carp. So go big early!
C'mon! Really? You wouldn't trade getting Gardner for $29 and losing Abreu and Ichiro? AFter every draft I always play Monday morning qb about players I did and didn't get. Of course, it's a long season, and come summer, sometimes you thank your stars you missed out on a dud. All in all it's what makes the annual auction one of the baseball highlights of the year. It's like a baseball poker with consequences for the whole season.
I understand that the 'stars & scrubs' principle begins to explain how the top-tier's salaries are bigger in mixed league, but I still must believe that the dearth of 1b talent in the NL thanks to the Central Division diaspora can only make Votto that much more valuable in an NL only league. I would be thanking the fantasy gods if my $33 bid were met with the sound of crickets, but I wouldn't bet on it happening. I know for a fact that in our 11 team NL the team that has Votto for $39 is keeping him, a move I envy.
Doesn't position scarcity account for anything?
Derek - I'm an NL-only guy, so I can't judge too much, though I am familiar with auction strategies and prefer to overpay $3 or $4 early for a stud like Holliday or Braun than watch them get away and overbid for the scraps later. Which ones got away from you early and, in hindsight, how much higher would you have gone on them?
Fowler and Kemp are interesting comps because they've got some similar traits and others that are quite different. Kemp's a right-handed bull who merely had to stop swinging at pitches out of the strike zone and wait for meaty fastballs to come to him. He's on my fantasy team and I live in LA, so I watched Kemp a great deal. His power is incredible. HIs maturity was simply all about waiting longer on each pitch, letting it come to him, and then simply meeting the ball--and watching it fly out of the park.
Fowler, with his balanced lefty stroke, actually reminds me more of Ethier, but with speed. Given he plays in Colorado, if Fowler can even approach some of the consistency that Ethier has, he will be a rising star for sure.
I think it's odd how many responders claim to have not one, not two, but all three of the players profiled here. I am one of them. I overpaid for Johnson $24 in two deep NL leagues and waited forever for him to deliver. Soto was a little less, but not much. I picked up Cozart cheap and then he injured himself --suppressing his salary for 2012 by retaining his rookie status. If Cozart is anywhere near as good as PECOTA says, I'll be thrilled for $3. But Soto? Bid $15 on him?
Eriq, you easily win Best Art Direction for a BP story, and you have plenty to say that makes sense. Over hyping sleepers is the nature of the beast and to be expected of a 'game' that is the product of hot stove excitement. Perfect example is Brandon Belt. Who didn't drool over that guy by the time Opening Day came around. He went for $14 in our 11 team NL-only to the team that had Heyward and McCutcheon locked up so low they could afford to speculate. Needless to say his team finished near the cellar.
Then you have other semi-sleepers who evolve as the season wears on. I was psyched to get Javier Vazquez for cheap, but not smart enough to reserve him until he turned it around. I let him go and he became someone else's sleeper on the waiver wire.
I love baseball, but I've loved fantasy baseball since HS for the sheer economy of it all. Every draft tests an economic model and it's fun to observe the ebb and flow of the bids. Touts and sleepers are no exception.
great point. stock on pitching and then deal for Votto.
how much does it suppress HR's? And does it vary during the season, possibly explained by a reader below who points out that conditions change at the Stadium as the summer heats up?
No question, keep Votto. This year's NL forecast calls for a deluge of quality pitching and a dearth of offense, and any team that can horde the latter will definitely be dealing from a position of strength come Memorial Day.
Back in Strato-Matic Days, when BP effects were first introduced, Dodger Stadium was 1-10 on ballpark homers, which I believe better than neutral. Isn't it odd that what's perceived as a pitchers' park also favors HR's?
well said--as a Mets fan I can only hope you're right.
I just bet steak dinner with a Yankee fan over/under was 100 losses. If Mets lose 110 I have to get him lobster as well. Of course if Mets make it over 90 wins I get the lobster.
When you get a guy for a buck, you don't buy a season of 4.90 ERA and 1.49 WHIP, cause after 3 bad starts you dump him, no harm no foul. If you pay $10, you're more inclined to wait it out, and that's how you get stuck with a season of 4.90 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. I'm in an 11 team league. I'd be shocked if AJ goes for much lower than $5, because there will be at least 3 owners drooling over the upside.
Burnett is a classic low-risk, high-reward selection. The key is not to 'brag' about selecting him for $1, because that would tip off that one guy in your league who only bids based on others' bids to jump in, and next thing you know you've paid $7 for AJ and that's not sexy. More fun to play it off like "Oh man, I have to take AJ Burnett? Ok, one dollar. Going, going, gone? Guess he's mine." And then laugh as the season rolls on and he gets you good k's with a 1.30 WHIP.
ok, in a Ponzi scheme, yes, that's an important distinction. so, the real question is: in what 'official' way has the Madoff account been given official 'Ponzi scheme' designation? For instance, we have procedures and protocol for creditors to be paid in other situations, such as bankruptcies. But in that case it's a debt that must be repaid. If you're a Madoff 'investor' and you filed tax returns and paid taxes on your earnings, and then spent the money, at what point can you consider it yours? Again, I'm not here to defend Mets ownership, not in the least. It's more that the previous point about paying Reyes and Wright etc. has got me intrigued. Can you imagine if you were --through your financial advisor--an unknowing Madoff investor, and you'd taken your 'earnings' and spent them on various enterprises, some of them perhaps humanitarian, only to have the Feds call you up and say 'hey give that money back'? If you had stock in Apple or Nike and it's revealed that they're exploiting workers all over the planet which would make your profits ill-gotten, do you have to worry that someone may come after those earnings as well? Yes, I understand it's not apples to apples.
Not to sound like the 'defender of capitalism' but surfdent48 makes a good point. Since when can any authority come after your money if you did nothing illegal to earn it? I guess that's more a question for the SEC and other 'wiser' minds--no wonder it's a mess
If you're going to pretend to speak for the the Bard you're going to have to bring it a little better than that. Compare Carter to Coriolanus at least. Is there a skeptic's objection in your point somewhere? sure. But do the decent thing and make something of it, don't muddy the rep of the recently departed by comparing them to the Yankees. That's low.
For a Met fan in the 80's watching Carter play was an incredible gift, especially on defense. Crouching behind the plate before every pitch he was almost like a Little League dad--but not an overbearing one--to the Mets pitchers. He'd set a great target and you could feel--even through the TV screen--how he was willing the pitches from the mound past the batter into his glove. Every time you see highlight of Gooden's rookie year, when he's zipping bullets over the black or dropping his amazing hook, you cannot separate Carter from the picture. He's the number one cheerleader, doing everything he can from behind the plate to help the pitcher make his best pitch. Between Hernandez, Carter and the talented pitching staff the Mets boasted a defensive cohesiveness that was present, alert and pro-active. Sometimes so much so that they needed to be calmed down--sometimes the pitchers would tell Hernandez to stay away, other times he warned them not to dare throw another fastball--such as with Orosco pitching to Kevin Bass. Carter was the lynchpin of all of this and it was a pleasure to watch.
Any chance Ike Davis would make this list in a deep NL league? He could be an injury bounce back sleeper pick.
Jose is the x box that the kids want for Christmas but the Dad can't actually afford, and demands of the kids "What do you need a new X Box? Didn't I get you that Nintendo for Christmas only two years ago? (Jason Bay)"
Well said about a plan. In an 11 team NL only league I've found the best 'plan' is actually to start with your dream roster and work from there. If you wanted Kemp or Braun budget $40 and go from there--it's a simple excel sheet to make and plug in the values. Start backwards, plug in $1 for backup catcher 5th and 6th starter, last OF, maybe mid, and then see how much it leaves for your stud outfielders. First time auction drafters don't always realize that by blowing half their payroll on 5 studs in the first hour will leave them with little to bid as the draft rolls on. It's also fun to see how owners tend to recall past drafts and hold their money watching bargains roll by--we saw Halladay go for $25 his first year with Phillies in one case. Of course, even best laid plans go awry. Last year I budgeted $42 for Hanley, got him for 'only' $38 and was thanking my stars until...he delivered a $5 season.
They'll spend it unwisely like a guilty divorced father buying an overpriced bauble for his neglected child in a vain attempt to be a good dad. That's what the Mets owners are to Mets fans right now--see exhibit A - Jason Bay.
sure--but how many years does he get to ride on that boat? Isn't that what we said about Fernando Martinez for the last however many years?
How many pinch runner can you name who've stolen 40 bases in a season in the last 40 years? Or 30 bases? 20? Pinch runner is only a position in September.
wow--hard to believe we Met fans could be pining for the return of M Donald Grant!
that's a pretty high WHIP for Niese.
The interesting thing for the Mets was that it was a damned if you do damned if you don't spot that a rich club finds itself in. They had the $ and the talent to make the deal and the NY market dictates that they go for it whenever possible. But even while they were hammering out details of the extension--and Johan had them over a barrel, Met fans would have never forgiven the Mets if they'd failed to break the bank for him--wily analysts were breaking down how Johan's slipping skills gave the Mets a brief window to capitalize on his performance. Just like the Pedro deal. The Mets signed a pitcher for multiple years but only got two good ones.
Agreed - it's not an apples to apples comparison. Baseball has a long season for a reason. There's a reason fans don't pay attention to the NBA until the playoffs start: we don't need to. If your team's in the playoffs, they've got a shot. If not, you're already lining up good mojo for the lottery drawing.
But the question is: Is it a lie if the liar thinks he's telling the truth?
One of Boras's strengths is that he's able to state these absurd assertions with a straight face. He takes one odd angle and twists it to make a case for a great truth.
Oliver Perez pitched well against the Yankees, Phillies and Braves, and that's what he sold to the Mets.
Wainwright was taken on the cheap last year by savvy owners and now they are ready to reap the rewards. I'd say that's a good barometer of how deep a league is. Some held on to Santana as well, but may be on the fence if he's even worth holding on to. I have to think Tabata is a safe bet at $12.
I say the same thing. Oh wait, I'm a Mets fan. I'm going to take, uh, this pile of coupons and Victor Zambrano Cy Young trophies for Scott Kazmir's lifetime WARP
I don't know how being an HBO ranks it on the obscure meter, but for my money *61 was an excellent movie. The production designer told me it was quite a task painting all of the seats in the stadium blue to make it pass for Yankee stadium
Way to take on the juggernaut that is Boras! As Mark Twain would have said:
There's lies, damned lies, and statistics. And then there's all that BS that comprises those damned big ass binders that Boras trots out every off season!
It's a trade: you don't get something without giving something up. Acquiring Marcum looked great at the time. Marcum pitched well before the break and faltered in September. Lawrie broke out. We'll see what 2012 holds.
check out the story - it debunks the myth of Brainstorming as roadmap to creative holy grail -- there's a few paragraphs discussing how specialization leads to efficiency which echoes what you wrote about the same.
well said about DeNiro, The Fan is just a cheap version of his character from Cape Fear -- the book is a great read (Bang the Drum, that is, not The Fan)
One option would be to tear down Dodger Stadium and build a football stadium at Chavez Ravine, then build a new baseball stadium downtown near Staples.
Ben--did you catch the story in the latest New Yorker about Brainstorming?
Having lived in LA since 2000 and witnessed the ups and downs of the Dodger in the past decade, topped off by the soap opera called The McCourts, I still can't get my mind around that Bud Selig has been taken again by Frank. First, Bud, in his haste to find a suitor for the Brewers, nixes Attanasio's bid for the Dodgers and sticks him with the Brewers. Then he patches things by accepting Frank's absurdly leveraged offer. Now Frank is the scourge of MLB and hated even more by LA fans, and he stands to net a billion dollars and hold the trump card because Bud couldn't get the precious parking lots away from him. And for all of this bravado and keen guidance, Bud gets a $22 million per extension. At that rate you'd have thought he was a Wall Street CEO! Honestly, you cannot overstate the LA fans wrath for Frank. If he retains anything after the sale it will dampen attendance and enthusiasm for the team. Bud, please retire before you get fooled again.
This story is a great read. Even better would be the legends behind the stories. For instance, it's a great part of baseball lore that Babe Ruth was sold by Boston to the Yankees to finance "No! No! Nanette!", a Broadway musical. Not only does this help to explain why a baseball team would make a seemingly catastrophically bad decision, but it even rubs salt in the wound. Are there any great stories out there other than "The Giants admired Barry Zito from across the Bay and decided they needed to another Barry". All rational fans thought Zito should have topped out at $85 million. What prompted the Giants to overpay by $40 million?
PS - thanks for the Wayne Garland quote--
Wasn't Winfield's a 10 year deal? Plus some personal services and foundation money that they fought over at the end?
Miggy would make A Rod look like Brooks Robinson at 3rd. Good enough even to balance out what Jeter does to detract.
I hear you, that you don't believe trading Prince is their intention. What I'm saying is even if they change their mind in 2 or 4 years, good luck trading Prince. Who can take on $23 million per for 5 remaining years? And how much would Detroit kick in? For a good example of how challenging it is to unload a cumbersome contract see exhibit A: Alfonso Soriano. Cubs cannot pay enough of his remaining $50 plus million to get any team to offer a decent deal. That is the big concern with these contracts--as the player ages and his performance rapidly declines--the high AAV makes the contract unbearable. Now, as a baseball fan I'd be happy to eat my words in 4 or 5 years, simply for a change of pace. But I wouldn't bet on it.
Not unlike a capable attorney representing a guilty criminal trying to get off, you make an admirable case for an unlikely outcome. If you want a good comp from this winter for the Delgado example, refer to Jose Reyes. Low salary first year of the deal, feast or famine team that regularly hosts fire sales as if they're the bastard spawn of Charlie Finley. In the last decade the Tigers have proven consistent huge spenders--dating back to absurd deal they gave Juan Gonzalez. they don't sign to trade. Granderson contract was a case of keeping one of their own, and they dealt him in an old-fashioned fair exchange of talent according to need. It was in no way a salary dump. Derek Lowe also not a comp. Braves overpaid and only managed to 'dump' Lowe for the final year by eating $10 million of the $15 million owed. Vernon Wells is actually the best comp, in that he was dealt with plenty of money owed and minimal money transferred. This is only because the Angels experienced a moment of idiocy. Do you think the Jays thought trading Wells was an option when they signed him? I'd say odds of Fielder being traded are about 1 in 100.
is your team the Fleder Mice? A nod to the famous original mice or the original famous mice themselves?
Speaking from experience--and I concede that each and every Met fan experience is at once both singularly tortuous and universally--that is in the Mets universe--anxious--I would say that the state of apathy--that duck the head in the sand of either alternate sports fan rooting or neglecting sports altogether--is always only temporary. You can run, but you can't hide. No matter how far away you go as a Mets fan, you unconsciously root for them to turn a corner in your absence so you feel it's safe to return. Just like when you turn the TV off when they go down 6-1 in the 4th, you know in true Mets fashion they'll rally in the 9th--only to come up short when someone lines into a game-emding triple play. (unassisted).
ah the current mental state of a Mets fan--vacillating between damning hypotheticals of underperforming, overpaid ex All Stars--which 'recovery' would yield most trade value? ugh. of course, the alternative is wondering what we might have gotten for Reyes last July---certainly a package that might have jum started the road to recovery just a little sooner.
maybe you're right. maybe Burnett would be better--are arms more desirable at the trade deadline? what is the chance that AJ in Citi Field could dazzle enough by July to look attractive?
It's all context - this must be the Met fan in me speaking but I'm guessing Bay bounces back to a modicum of value in a more likely scenario than Burnett does--so only way trade is worth it is if it's pure salary dump. THis, I'm afraid to say, may be where the Mets are right now and next year too --wasn't this year supposed to be the first without the salary albatross?--after we lost Ollie and Castillo n Beltran--oh why bother?
Every true Met fan thinks this is in his heart--keep Bay: he'll be at best mediocre. Trade him to the Bronx and dollars to donuts he's an All Star.
Yes, don't overvalue rookies. Don't bid $15 on Aroldis Chapman. However, if you're smart, you can leave a pitcher spot empty for the end of the draft, when no other team has an open pitcher spot and can't outbid you. Then you can grab a rookie pitcher for a buck and wait until his June call-up. Or do the same with Starlin Castro. I've picked up Castro, Hanson, Votto, Bruce all a few months early in very deep leagues this way. You may lose an active roster spot for the first week of the season, but you've got excellent prospects ripening on the vine.
the Phillies don't have to worry themselves with pissing off Boras because they're too laden with contracts to be bidding on his clients anyway.
agreed - I have Greinke at $21 in a 9 team NL only and 11 team NL only - so he'd be $26 in each in 2012. Based on your assessment he sounds like a $26 pitcher, sure, but given that 3.83 --even if it's dubious--that's got to be worth a few dollars discount for scaring off other bidders. I'm inclined to toss him back and hope to get him in the low 20's.
Ironically Padres will get more out of flipping Quentin than the White Sox will get trading him now. Chisox blew it by not dealing him at last year's break, surely he would have fetched a more impressive package then.
You're all missing the point. Dickey is expressing the lengths he'll go to get out of his Mets deal. That's how toxic the Mets are right now. Their best starter that last two seasons (correct me if I'm wrong) is climbing one of the world's largest peaks and it's a win-win. He does it and gets the glory. He injures himself and he's liberated from Citi Field. Next thing you know Mike Pelfrey will be taking up heli-skiing, skydiving and bullfighting.
With every subsequent blow--losing Reyes, mounting debt, lines at the Shake Shack, I say to myself "It just can't get any worse". And then it does. Another pitcher gets injured. Management pisses off players. We sign Rob Johnson. These days being a Mets fan is like being a character in a Beckett play.
Reading about Bethancourt with that cannon of an arm and long swing with pop makes me conjure up images of a young Benito Santiago. Is that a fair comp?
Ironically, the Wilpons could cite their free-spending ways back in the Minaya era as proof that they were unaware Bernie was scamming everyone. Their free-spending ways only shows that they were drinking the KoolAid along with everyone else, and it's only recently, once the music has stopped, that they are reigning in their spending.
yeah, i know, nothing a Mets fan wants to hear, but more fodder to speculate upon.
This is so incredibly depressing. As a Met fan all I can say is, 'But I thought today was the first day of the rest of my life?" Wasn't this season the one we were looking forward to? When Beltran's, Castillo's and Perez's contracts came off the books? Ugh -- it feels like M Donald Grant days all over again
This makes so little sense you wonder if it's an act of a cheapskate owner who is too frugal to splurge for the whole outfit --Reyes, Wilson--so compromises by over-paying for an accessory to placate his GM. Or...this is a signing to show Reyes that the Fish are serious about signing talent to surround him in Miami
Kemp is an interesting example of an athlete who had to wait for the game to come to him; the 'gearing down' he did was often mistaken for lackadaisical play, but I saw it more as the frustration that all players can experience at trying to master the skills of a game in which failure is part of the game.
His patience at the plate this year was remarkable and demonstrated an incredible leap forward in maturity. His ability to take curves and smack line drives to left is Federer-esque, and pitchers who dared throw him fastballs all too often were serenaded by Randy Newman's signature 'I Love LA' signalling another Kemp walkoff HR (man I hate that term)
Many predicted Davey Lopes would help Kemp's SBs and many were right - note though, that these mentorships are not a given--outside of Duncan in St. Louis and Mazzone in Atlanta there are few coaches who have great track records of this kind.
If any player is worth $20 mil per for 8 years it would be a guy like Kemp at his age now. WIth some of these contracts teams must understand they are paying a little for the bargain they scored the last couple of years, and sure, when he's 34 he won't put up a $20 mil season. But if it's close to $15 mil--and it very well could be--it's money well spent.
At this point your best bet for Nolasco is this play:
Let another owner pay too much for him on draft day
Wait until said owner is frustrated by another Nolasco 8ER start (there's 3 a year)
Offer him peanuts for Nolasco
Enjoy Nolasco's better than average #'s the rest of the year on the cheap
Mind you, this only works in deep auction leagues, but if you're not in one of those why are you playing at all?
as a non-Dodger fan living in LA I don't buy it. He is a prideful guy, first one out of the dugout to bear-hug his teammates when they drive in the winning run. He plays all out, and for ballplayers who play that way they run into walls occassionally.
I grew up an Orioles and Colts rooter in Brooklyn in the 70's so I can understand an Oriole fan in Fresno. I met Cal at a baseball card show after his rookie year and I thought he was a god. Somehow I will always associate the bright orange tops with Game's 1 and 7 in 1979. For Game One it was the opening night celebration for the favored O's who surged ahead early on DeCinces GS and held on after I'd gone to bed. And then Game 7 when the collapse was complete and the O's brought me to tears.
What's all too sad is that while it's nice to bring back a uniform, it's no substitute for the Oriole Way and Earl Weaver and everything that made the O's dominant--if underachieving as far as championships. The O's have been suffering for so long who knows how long it will be --if ever, it seems--that they'll return to even a modicum of the glory of the late 60's and 70's.
Maybe it's a chicken or egg--do you hold off on the retro logo until the team justifies it by playing like the team that wore the cartoon bird--or do you wear the bird in hopes of reviving the franchise?
I've been a Nolasco fan and have 'owned' him for the lat 3 years in one league or another. It seems his typical start was 6IP of either 1K or 8K --he either had incredible stuff or didn't--and then McKeon --who still manages like it's 1974--would leave him one IP too long and before you know it he'd blown his quality start. So he'd finish with a high ERA, decent WHIP, good K, and no victory.
Perhaps this is just a narrow scope from personal experience but I'd be shocked if other Nolasco 'owners' wouldn't testify to the same.
He is great if you underpaid, frustrating if you paid real value.
At $14 last year he was ok.
well said - every year it's anyone's division for the taking
I disagree with all of the pundits who see the Sabathia extension as a win for the Yankees. Sure, they had no choice, they're short on pitching and this is merely the manifestation of a deal delayed when they signed him in the first place. truly it should be viewed as an 8 or 9 year deal beginning 3 years ago and judged accordingly--would you give a pitcher a 9 year deal? More importantly, though, what will kill the Yankees is these projected geriatric years. Paying upwards of $70 million to 3 players way past their primes - A-Rod, Tex & CC--in 2016 is a burden, even for the Yankees. Go back to Beltran signing with the Mets. It was only because the Yanks flinched at the luxury tax and couldn't get him. If they thought that was prohibitive, one can only imagine what their payroll will look like in 2016.
well said - replay was inconclusive - in that case it was an ump who insisted on challenging the 'throw beat the runner' rule--perhaps because it was 2 in the morning?
this is a good one
no way--who the hell wants the Mets n Yankees in the same division--6 times a year is already too many Subway series games
HI-Larious--For the 'holding the glove' there's also the element of betrayal. The player holds the offending equipment in the other hand, kind of like the boss calling in the worker who's screwed up a deal. While holding the glove the player is threatening the glove with firing "I'm not sure it's safe to put you back on. I don't know if I can trust you on the next ground ball". Of course this is for show, much in the way the middle manager chews out his underlings merely to placate his bosses. --for similar behavior see : manager's reactions to players errors.
Contract questions are not considered in a sabermetric vacuum. Reyes plays in a huge media market, the city that never sleeps. Crawford toiled in baseball backwater, home of the early bird special. When a NY player has a great season it's trumpeted around the baseball world. Metrics may argue one case about his glove work, but his good plays make the highlight reels. While few expect Reyes to hit .350 the rest of the year, if he finishes above .320 with 60 SB's he'll get Werth $.
This is the under-reported, under-esamined crux of the matter. When Fox wanted to sell the Dodgers, a definitively iconic franchise, the best Bud and MLB could find was Frank McCourt? Once again, it's the scions of Bowie Kuhn who are to blame for their failure as stewards of the game. Given that one fifth of the income earned in this country goes to gazillionaires surely it can't be that hard to compile a short list of grown-up baseball fans with money to spend who will resist the urge to suck the $ out of their teams a la Gordon Gekko and actually try to invest $ to win a pennant or two. Sure Frank and Jamie are punchlines, but for them you can blame Bud.
It's late June. Honestly projecting a 1.27 WHIP for Vazquez for the rest of the season?
hey superhero - you realize of course that an odd number of teams in each league necessitates an inter-league matchup every day of the season?
thanks - thinking positively and hoping it's not a dead cat bounce - doubled down on Pedro Alvarez (cheap keeper) and Matt Holliday (best OF avail) as well - tryin' to stay healthy!
I was bid up to $24 for Kelly Johnson in 2 NL only keeper leagues- in 2nd in both - he haunts me in every boxscore - I hate doubling down but couldn't resist - please be right about him
Lowe is putting up good swing n miss numbers - any chance his WHIP will be better than 1.39 rest of the year?
Based on Mattingly's comments on the radio I'd say he favors Jansen--he did not even mention Padilla when discussing the closer situation
This column is must-read, but pushing Adams loses cred. For years any owner worth his salt has known to round out his RP staff with a low WHIP low ERA possible closer in waiting with a Petco zip code - From Linebrink to H Bell to Adams to whoever is next in line - Adams is at the top of the list of non-closers worth a few bucks in our NL only league. Please check the CBS lists - not just ESPN and Yahoo - leagues that tend to be 6 team mixed leagues rife with All Stars at every position.
so now's the time to sell high on Morton and Garland eh? Lohse too?
Good questions - short answer is that's part of the fun of sports. The 'best' team doesn't always go home the champion. Look at NY Giants beating Pats in almost perfect season. No sports fan would argue with that--except those in Boston.
Forget the 'integrity' of the playoffs issue by adding one team--I don't have a problem with the WC team winning the Series in the current format--and the '5th' team wouldn't dilute that much. All teams are equal come the playoffs--you can't judge by regular season records due to unbalanced talent spread through divisions. Not to mention injuries. So be it. But again, what is to be gained --other than $$--by adding a 5th team? You do NOT add teams in the mix a la the NFL's final weekend which has fun time-zone playoff scenarios unfolding. You are just as likely to deflate the drama of the final weekend as you are to increase it. And for what? Fox? TBS? TNT? ABC Family? Forget it. It's bad enough we've been subjected to Joe Buck announcing the post season for what seems like forever. Bring back Keith Jackson, Al Michaels and Jim Palmer fer cryin out loud.
All good points, however, if you add 2 more teams and inject them into the last ten years in both leagues scenarios I would bet that you dilute the suspense of the final two weeks--and especially the final weekend--at the cost of dilating the post-season. I would vote no.
The addition is also so small in many cases you're just turning the classic 163rd game into a 'playoff', as in the case of Rockies-Padres. But what if we need a 163rd game just to get to that point?
MLB has yet to have to deal with the nightmare of 3 teams tied after 162 and mucking through the round-robin it would entail, but it has come close. Should that happen, once this 'extra round' has been added, the 7th game of the WS would be on Thanksgiving.
I think this expansion sucks and isn't needed.
The ironic thing is that supporters argue that adding a 5th team keeps more teams 'in it'. But that's not the case. With 2 weeks to go there are always a handful of teams 'in it'. And by the final weekend it's 3 teams fighting for two spots - usually with division crown spicing up the mix. How does this system add suspense or drama? It will take the air out of the final weekend.
The extra round WILL mess with the schedule, it cannot be slotted it easily in the same way the NCAA slotted in the play-in games. Isn't the 4 vs. 5 round going to merely replace the 163rd and 162nd games we've enjoyed the last few years?
Take 2007 - Mets vs. Marlins - the Mets collapse--but it's ok because they get the 5th WC slot!
2008 - Mets vs. Marlins - see 2007
Twins vs. Tigers 2009 etc.
There's little to be gained in adding a 5th team -
per the 'League founders' decree--first Saturday of the season--Bonifacio went in the reserve round this year
Marc - at this point consider adding 'sell high' as a recommendation. In deeper leagues lucky owners who grabbed Bloomquist can possibly cash in by dealing him now for a player like Lopez on Colorado or an SP who started slow.
A few years ago I parlayed Emilio Bonifacio's torrid April into slumping, slow-starting Roy Oswalt. 'nuff said.
what do ya think?
A little help here--I've got to choose between starting Aaron Harang or Kyle Lohse for last SP spot this week.
Team leader in RBI's with 81? Is that because they're so evenly distributed? How often does a team have such even distribution?
Scour the play 'Man & Superman'--there ought to be some appropriate gems in there.
Christina - RE: Samarzdzija and the future of handcuffed contracts similar to his. Will teams wise up and steer away from deals such as these which limit their options? In hindsight--not even that because most agreed it seemed foolish and exorbitant at the time--it seems the cost to the Cubbies isn't just $10 mil but also the cost-benefit of the space he's taking up as his window closes. Think we'll see fewer of these albatrosses in the future?
Does Carpenter really have that much left in the tank? I'd take the over on a 1.20 WHIP. What does the panel say?
Somehow every other game I've watched of spring training features the Nats--I live in LA so it doesn't quite make sense--and in each of them Morse has mashed the ball--not just mammoth moon shots but bullets to left on breaking balls that he's waited on. If he hits anything like this during the season he is definitely a top sleeper---just as sure as the old classic pundits will tell us that it's the Jayson Werth effect on the lineup making everyone better because they're seeing more fastballs
Richie - I appreciate your humor, but as the scion of a family of journalists, as much as I cringe when folks write 'pretty unique' or confuse it's and its, I recall that on posting boards--even one as full of erudite and educated individuals as this one--there is a spontaneous quality that forgives minor transgressions.
In my mind's sentimental Mets eye--the one that sees only grainy images of Shea and moments from Kiner's Korner--I will always spell Milan with one 'L', thoug I'll never forget how he he tugged to the bat to his ear leaning in over the plate.
perhaps next year you could add that to the Fantasy Picks categories! he can compete with Lastings Milledge. You can even name it the Brandon Phillips award
JJ Putz really that good?
Cutting Luis Castillo will in no way solve the myriad of problems facing the Metropolitans. But for all the fans who have suffered through watching his fading limp imitation of a Wee Willie Keeler start the bat and the body toward first before the pitch is released swing, it is one less painful image to endure.
I cannot count the number of times I banged my head against the wall trying to understand what team had offered Luis 4 years at $20 mil in order to force the Mets hand to top it--until one day the urban legend that the signing was the fulfillment of a promise to Santana was floated.
As much as that sounds absurd to me, I cannot for the life of me replace it with a more rational explanation.
Bring on the grandson of Felix Milan!
you say potato, I say Felix Milan. at this point you've unsold me enough on Harang, I think I'll put him up early and watch as he clogs someone else's roster's SP spot for $5--but if his WHIP ends up anywhere under 1.30, so help me Pat Zachary!
Stauffer fits into the 'Once a prospect, now a sleeper' category. Two years ago Fantasy Sites were all over his debut and he garnered a high FAAB in anticipation of his start--which was a flop. To veteran owners his name is not new, so he's not exactly a sleeper--more like a guy many may have given up on who rewards faith surprisingly.
Barry -- funny sh*t. We Met fans are nothing if not imaginative in our spins on limited expectations--it's in our DNA. Even if Capuano or C Young pitch well for April they'll fall apart by Flag Day. Even Beltran playing well enough to merit a trade to the AL feels like a reach. Thanks for bursting my balloon on Harang--he burned me for $9 last year and like a trod-upon bar floozy--did I mention I was a Met fan?--I was ready to try him at Petco for a buck--of course that's where he blew his arm out in relief in the 14th inning, right? better than missing the playoffs due to a taxi cab crash near LGA.
no kidding-- can we get a little more depth here? --- Minor will have so much press in the first week he'll go for $10 in my league--last year Latos went for $13
169 IP of 1.20 WHIP and 3.25 ERA with solid k's and decent wins is easily worth $17
If you've got more than a buck apiece for you 3rd RP, 6th--and perhaps 5th SP, your second C, MID, last OF and one of U or COR or both then you probably didn't spend enough to get a stud who can really help you.
In deep leagues the temptation is become enamored of sleepers--all veteran fantasy players cherish war stories of who they got for 3 bucks and later finished 10th in MVP voting--but more often those dollars are better spent topping someone's bid for a Cargo or Hanley.
Good to see values for deep NL-only auction to put things in perspective. With Lee, Garza, Greinke and Marcum switching leagues it definitely pulls pitching prices down--you put together a decent staff for cheap. I see no reason to hit $20 for any SP and the $ is better spent in the OF and a top tier at a mid inf spot
Problem in two words: Mixed leagues. Why bother? Hearing GMs in mixed leagues beef about anything is like hearing trophy wives complain about Caribbean island vacation options. Only rankings I can be bothered with are geared toward 10-team NL only auction, anything less is for children. Same goes for pundits who play in multiple leagues. Play in a dozen leagues and you're bound to win one of them, just like if you spread enough chips on the roulette board one of them will pay--but we won't hear about the losing numbers. This isn't meant personally in any way, but please--not only does Andre Ethier have one of the best swings in all of baseball, he was raking last year until he got hurt. He hits for power and gets on base--can he hit lefties consistently? Only time will tell. In my league he'll go for at least $25 and has a 50-50 chance of earning it. What more can you ask for?
Yeah why so bearish on Axford?
For every experienced veteran GM in a keeper league there is no recurring nightmare like the "I have $80 left and 8 spots to fill and a pitcher named Snell is the best on the board". I lived that one year and paid $24 for him and clearly I have not gotten over it. Better to overpay 3 or even 5 dollars for a player you love--Hanley, Albert, Utley etc.-- than curse yourself later. You'll more than likely bid $2 instead of $5 on a 5th starter later in the draft and at that point it's a toss-up. The simplest way to prepare for the draft is plug in your keepers and then plug in your dream roster with real prices. Once you start doing that you'll realize you've only got a buck apiece for your last OF --or maybe last two, same for last starter --or maybe two, and your last RP and Utility, mid etc.If you know what your roster will look like having over-budgeted for your favorites then you'll be able to deal with it later in the draft. Last year Halladay snuck through early in our 11 team NL keeper for only $28 and we all kicked ourselves all year over it. Just because I had Hanson, Nolasco and Lincecum was no reason for me to let him go that low. If you get the half dozen players you want--you may need a plan B in some instances, Uggla for Utley etc. -- then you won't walk away from the draft with the woulda coulda shoulda's.
Agreed, however PECOTA always seems bearish on everything. Great pitchers don't project over 15 wins, sluggers are topped at 35 HRS--except for Ryan Howard. If you look at the top 15 hitters and pitchers they always appear to project for off or slightly-off years. Why must it be so bearish?
Inspired by the recent exhibit featuring his work at the Huntington in Pasadena perhaps you'd consider highlighting the brilliant insights of Charles Bukowski to accompany a future 'Transactions' column?
Or that he makes comeback tours that inspire his fans to drop everything to catch his appearances?
I nominate Billy Beane.
2nd closer! Consider yourself lucky! In my 11 team NL-only I targeted him at $17 as my primary closer. Five picks into the draft someone throws him out there, so I follow my plan...bid...$17, not going any higher I tell myself. and I don't. And neither does anyone else, so he's mine at $17. All according to plan and on budget: until he goes and stinks up all of April. And May. And June and you know the rest. Perhaps you ought to write about tapping our inner Kenny Rogers (not the pitcher) and knowing when cut losses and pull the plug on a closer when's got nothing but WHIPS that look like ERA's waiting for you. This year I'll stick with keeper Brad Lidge at $11 and pray.
Don't sleep on Nolasco--his peripherals are always strong. Watch his ERA drop a run this year as wins 17.
'Fan interest' is a difficult thing to define as far as I'm concerned. Go to the park and between the local version of dot racing and kiddie cams you get the feeling that the experience is more tilted toward drawing in the casual fan and not the hard core rooter. A typical MLB team doesn't market to a BProspectus reader, they've already got us locked in for life. They're shooting for semi-baseball fans, and when sports shoot for the margins they tend to latch on to ideas such as expanding playoffs, because if you're just a random semi-interested sports fan, if you find out your home team may go to the post season all of the sudden you're injected with civic pride and opening your wallet, whether it's national pastime or tiddlywinks.
Which team is more/less worthy? The division winner of a weak division? Or the wild card with fewer victories? Or more? I think if you look at the 'best team left out' since the Wild Card, you'd be hard pressed to find a squad that suffered a major injustice for being sent to play golf early. But if you consider the Giants who won over 100 games only to lose out to the Braves, they may have been a better team than the other division winners that year. Or not.
Emillion-- good points, however as for your last assertion it ain't necessarily so. Back in the day with only East - West divisions it was possible to have all 4 divisions locked up by the final week, rendering that week a snooze. One extra team may or may not add to the race depending on how many teams close in on that magic 88 win mark.
Isn't there a fundamental flaw to the premise of the article? How can you assume teams will have their rotations set to even start their ace in the one game do-or-die? Only teams that can afford to coast the final week can adjust their rotations accordingly, so are we assuming that with 2 wild cards neither would be fending off a 3rd challenger that final week? When the CC Sabathia Brewers edged out the flailing Mets they relied on the big man every four days, thus making him available only for Game Two of the NLDS (and ineffective). If the Brewers had to face the Mets in the do-or-die he may or may not have been available, depending on which teams had dropped to the wayside by then.
They have 4 starters with projected WHIP's under 1.20. That is absolutely frightening.
Good point on Cards close to 100% attendance, however, what is the fallout of a Pujols departure? Especially if returns 9 times a year in Cubbie blues? One can envision a Doomsday scenario for the Cards like this, so in essence what Dewitt must face in negotiations is what price will he pay to avoid that possibility? Could the Cards survive Albert's exit? Perhaps.
Aaron- I see your point but I think there's more to it than that. If we can all agree that a 'good' Reyes 2011 puts him in position for asking for something in the neighborhood of 7/130--give or take a little on either--if the Mets don't think he'll be worth even 2/3 of that $ 4 years into the deal is that Madoff $ trouble speaking or simply a prudent GM who doesn't believe in Omar-spending to put together a good team? Just because you have the $ doesn't mean there are great things to spend it on. The last Mets WS team was put together through wise trades--Ventura, Leiter--if I'm not mistaken it was often a case of being willing to pay a player who was All Star but not superstar and taking the short term $ hit --a la Mike Hampton --and filling the rest of the lineup with Jay Payton. This seems to be a formula for many teams who actually exit October with shiny jewelry to boast of--i.e. SF Giants or Cards 2006. Not saying it works every year, but non-superpowers --teams who are not Bosox, Yanks or Phils--seem to win it all every other year. Look at it another way: when the Mets open their wallet what happens? Jason Bay. Johan Santana. Carlos Beltran. Billy Wagner. Luis Castillo. Oliver Perez. Pedro Martinez. Some of these were good risks that paid off in particular years, but overall it's been bad. C+/B- at best. Now we've got Jason Bay for $16 mil for the next 3 years in LF. Great! If Reyes isn't worth close to 7/130 then I'm ok with seeing him go--it will hurt, yes. Last two thoughts. First, recall when they let Alfonzo go? No one gives credit for the ones you let get away that you called right. Secondly the other elephant in the room is Wright's next contract. Mets may have to choose between them for the face of the franchise. Gotta figure that's a no brainer.
Let's say Reyes play 150 games, hits .290, .350 OBP and .450 SLG with 14 HR's and 60 SB's--if you're the Mets what kind of deal are you willing to make?
You can't reasonably expect him to improve on that over the next five years, and he'll likely decline, how quickly is hard to say.
Is he worth $15 million a year for five years? Will he seek more? Are there teams out there who would pay him more?
Am I off by a lot here? As a Met fan it's not easy being objective--aw, let's face it: as a Mets fan nothing is easy these days.
I've lived in LA for over ten years as a non-Dodgers fan, just an observer of the Frank n Jamie show. This year's recipe--spend for decent pitching--smart move--spreading the risk--no Jason Schmidt debacles repeated here, minimizing the years. Offensive acquisitions are definitely unspectacular but it comes down to where they are at the Break and if they're willing to spend money then. Their pitching can keep them within half a dozen games of a playoff spot--especially in NL West--and a big bat pickup can help squeeze them into October. Otherwise the only fun to watch will be in the courtroom.
As a Mets fan it's encouraging to see them finish high in any ranking, whether it's offseason acquisitions or ballpark restroom cleanliness.
In my 11 team NL only once he crosses the $45 threshold starts one of the signature do-not-miss-this-moment in the draft. Funny thing is, teams that spend 20% of payroll on Pujols don't always do so well.
It's a great gambit by Pujols because he is forcing the hand, establishing the 10-year - $300 million benchmark. If the Cards step up , fine. If not, all suitors can spend the season trying to clear payroll to prepare for the winter 2011 Pujols sweepstakes--a la the NBA where teams prepare for potential free agents many seasons ahead.
While many --including the Cards--may be bearish on Albert's odds of getting an A-Rod size deal--did anyone expect the inflation we saw with Werth and Crawford this past off season? In crunch time a few teams dig deep in their pockets and spend on what they perceive to be guaranteed value--and nothing appears more guaranteed than Albert's production.
Will he decline? Sure. Will he be worth $300 million for the next decade? Unlikely. Just as Werth and Crawford and probably Cliff Lee won't approach two thirds of their value either.
But just as every fantasy owner who's been in an auction league knows, when Albert comes up for bid, it's tough not to go a few extra dollars to land him.
Someone please explain why bumping the Opening Round from 5 to 7 games is inherently 'better'? I prefer the differentiation in strategy of the 'short series'. Consider the series outcomes: when a team sweeps in 3 there is nothing gained by insisting on a perfunctory Game Four. When a team wins in 4, odds were slim they'd lose that lead. And when teams win in 5, hey, that's plenty of excitement--witness this year's Ranger-Rays. Managers had to choose when to throw their respective aces and when to hold them back, all while considering the cost of taxing their arms should they move on. What more could you want? What do you gain by making the opening round 7 games? Not much.
As a roto-purist whose roots and fandom go back to the first book in 1984 with the green cover I see it as 'the more things change...'. In all the war stories of how the Steinbrenners and Goners claimed their pennants there was always a cheap Dravecky or Reuschel or Price who delivered 14 wins for $2 and was their team's MVP. In a deep league--the only kind worth playing in--you need a little luck to win. Paying $31 for a Halladay or Lincecum season is just value, not luck, but getting Carlos Silva's lucky first half for $1 --or less--must have launched many lucky teams toward the money last year, so there will always be merit in the strategy.
In general it seems the risk is higher in pitching than in hitting. There are more $25 pitchers who've had $5 seasons than there are hitters who've done the same. Pitchers are more prone to injury, increasing their odds of missing extended time and being ineffective when they return, whereas hitters, provided they get the AB's, usually manage to turn even the most disappointing season into something credible. Witness Aramis Ramirez last season, useless for a long time, and then injecting teams with life in August. It also depends on the diligence of the other owners. In some leagues it's rare for a gem to fall through the cracks during the season, in others owners tune out or hoard their FAAB for the stud OF who changes leagues at the deadline. I always find 2 or 3 closers emerge from nowhere during the season (Axford e.g.), so I never pay for a 2nd.
My ex-co-GM hasn't forgiven me for my Australian honeymoon in 2004 that left Roberto Alomar on our active roster for two weeks and cost us the pennant!
Let's keep burning incense at the altar of (semi) baseball purity and stave off that extra wildcard as long as possible. Bud and his boys are going after the Goose with the Golden Egg in seeking to expand the playoffs. I give him credit for devising the current system, it's working very well. Like Dusty's Giants who won over 100 games and lost to the Braves. If they expand now do we get the great Twins-Tigers one game playoff? Or the Padres-Rockies? Part of what gives the baseball season its legitimacy is that even good teams sometimes miss the party. Don't give us these 'every kid gets a prize' playoffs. No November baseball!
I'm wondering if you're saving Voltaire's Refutation of Miracles for the pennant race, the post-season, or the Mets chances at being involved in either of the above.
And Tony Reagin is that GM who's hoarded his $ only to find there's no stud OF left to bid on, so he breaks the bank for a Vernon Wells. Reminds me of the bidding war for Ian Snell at our draft a few years back, when he fetched $24.
RE: Friedman cooling his heels and and saving $ in a glutted market, isn't it odd how sometimes it seems that everything a GM needs to know he may have learned playing fantasy baseball? Friedman's play on Manny and Damon sounds like that of a clever GM in an auction draft, who's keenly noted the position depth and waited until he's the only one left to fill that position, leaving himself to score a $15 player for $3 when there is no other team to bid against him.
Trader Bob, if the American dollar continues to plunge, and trades at say 80 cents come this November, then I would agree with you. Or if global warming triggers a mass migration north of the border. Or both.
I'll take the under on 3 years / $40 million right now for Papelbon. As multi year deals at $4 mil per for 8th inning specialists become more in vogue --witness the A's "I'll take two!"--clubs are beginning to learn that the difference between 8th and 9th relievers is thinner than ever, and it makes less sense to pay the premium. It's looking more likely that teams allocate to $ to stockpile good relief talent in general, leaving less $ available for the diva closer. K Rod only got 3 years for $36 mil from the Mets because they were a team with $ and a glaring need. With the Yanks out of the market who will overpay for Papelbon?
Christina - from the Creative Nickname Dept--thank you for 'Gorzo the Magnificent' - we can only hope someone in the DC media picks it up and makes it stick--beats T-Gorz any day of the week.
Agreed, with their buckets of cash and willingness to spend it--witness bidding against themselves on A-Rod and now Soriano--the Yankees will always be able to mitigate the hindrances of limited options with money. With even classically stingy clubs investing more revenue-sharing dough in the draft, it's less likely a high first rounder falls in to Yankee territory. Can they use their YES $ to make a late first rounder a rich fourth rounder? Sure. But whether it's Ed Whitson, Kei Igawa or the next Matt Bush, the Highlanders have a proven track record of throwing piles of American currency at players yielding negative WARP, and that won't change.
Going overslot only means you can move up a few picks, but rarely is it a game-changer. If your first pick is 50th you can't wave a billion dollars and get David Price or Buster Posey. Your only advantage is scooping up the talent that other teams have deemed too pricy to pursue. So let's not overvalue overslotting.
Clearly the Red Sox spending like they're the Yankees--$23 million for limited power LF is overpaying pure and simple. All this and Gonzalez too--that's a lot of Dunkin' Donuts $.
Ha! - In honor of Movember, "The 'stache with bash"
Christina & the BP Community-- Can we all back a concerted effort to help the new Bosox first sacker to a better nickname? enough with the A-Gone's and Car-go's and V Marts and K Rod's --there will be many more superstars named Gonzalez, Rodriguez and Martinez for generations to come--please keep us from relegating them to these K Mart inspired nicknames that reek of unoriginality and renders them as a series of baseball accessories. Adrian Gonzalez has a sweet swing of incredible fluidity that's a beauty to watch. Surely there's a better way to identify him than "A-Gone".
Don't get me wrong--there are a few cases where the name seems to fit. Something about A-Rod does seem accurate in an uncanny way, but please don't make these automatic.
Drafting is for the NFL. Go Auction League or go home.
Deep NL only auction is the only way to go. No mixed draft leagues where you bench all stars, those are ridiculous.
Soto for only $9, could be a bargain. Can't go wrong with Hanley, you've got tos spend money on offensive stars. Spreading the risk on pitchers with Billingsley, Nolasco and Bailey is also wise; it's always easier to find a good starter during the year--take Randy Wells last year for example--than it is to find a 25HR player out of nowhere, and when pitchers tank they hurt bad, but barring injury most hitters reach 85% or better of their projections a good deal of the time. Stockpile the offense, gather cheap power and then trade cheap for an slow starting SP like Oswalt the last two years. (maybe not this year).
They really don't like Ibanez, huh? Or are those numbers his home splits?
It just doesn't get any more consistent than Aaron Rowand does it? He's like a fantasy league barometer. That's how you know how deep your fantasy league is. If he goes for more than $11 you are in a real league that's worth the time. If he's a $1 grab for fifth OF then you need to add a few teams.
Maybe the Mets are doing something right, even if for the wrong reasons. They made reasonable offers to lots of mediocrity--Molina, Pineiro--and came away only with a decent bat in left for a decent price (Bay). Of all the FAs they missed out on only Figgins would have been both a good fit (for OBA) and went at a relatively inexpensive price. If the Mets regulars play like the stars they once were--Reyes, Beltran, Wright--then the Mets can stay close until the break and make a deal to get Sheets--which won't cost much. If they aren't close at the break, Molina and Pineiro or Randy Wolf wouldn't have gotten them there anyway.
Winn is nothing close to Damon; Yanks are regretting signing Nick Johnson. They mis-read market for Damon falling like it has. If they'd waited they could have used Winn/Johnson $ for Damon.
It does look conspicuously like the one Delgado signed one year before they flipped him to the Mets, doesn't it?
Matthews. And Cubbies giving $15 million to Marlon Byrd will be a repeat of the mistake on a lesser level.
As a Met fan I want the Mets to be competitive again ASAP. The question is can this deal hurt them in 2011 and beyond by sapping the payroll of $16 million and a left field spot to fill. Luis Castillo's deal is a perfect example. If Omar signed him for one year at $10 million after 2007 then we'd have had Orlando Hudson for 2009. Instead we can't even grab the O-Dog for 2010 because the Castillo contract is an albatross. How will Bays deal play in 2 years? Some deals work--a la Beltran, some don't--Pedro.
what were the Indians thinking? Could no team come up with better than that package? Hadn't Carrasco's value been slipping all year?
Javy will only play for a team that's a short plane ride from Puerto Rico
Point taken, they don't have a Lincecum but the arms they got for Peavey plus Correia in a pitcher's park, add in that the Padres have better young talent than the Giants had at this time last year and it's not THAT far fetched, and from a fan's POV all you want is a team that can reasonably compete, which is what SD is with Adrian. Without him you can't give season tix away
If I'm a Padre fan I'd be angry about the team looking to deal such an incredible bargain such as Adrian. The NL West always seems to be up for grabs, and if the Giants could hold on past Labor Day this year why not SD doing the same in 2010? Do they really lose that much dealing him in July instead of now?
If you don't want to wear a cup, go play the outfield, that's how I always understood it. More than one player, when asked about how artificial turf changed the game remarked "I pitched without a cup, but if I had to play on that stuff I'd have worn one".
Is it Omar or is it the current economic model in baseball. Should teams seemingly flush with cash such as the Mets ever find themselves in such an embarrassing spot? Did dollars spent on Reyes, Beltran and Delgado prevent Omar from stocking the Mets system or are the scouting and player development departments to blame?
The simple wisdom of this story is undeniable. I will never forgive myself for not pulling the trigger quickly enough in a Geoff Jenkins etc. for Alfonso Soriano etc. swap 2 years ago! I held out for Lo Duca to get thrown in, and when I realized my stupiditiy so did the other owner and rescinded the offer. Soriano only hit more HR's than any other player from that point on and Jenkins..well...
even die hard non-Elvis Costello sports fans must appreciate that he\'s even penned staple stadium anthem...PUMP IT UP!
As a Mets fan, I sure we wish we could have traded a prospect to get us into the playoffs!