Mike explains how to utilize experts' advice to become the best fantasy player you can be.
In Kurt Vonnegut’s Hocus Pocus, Eugene Debs Hartke spends the latter half of the novel teaching inmates in a prison in upstate New York. While he was able to teach some of his students successfully, some were merely interested in using Hartke as a walking encyclopedia.
(some of the inmates) used me as an ambulatory Guinness Book of World Records, asking me who the oldest person in the world was, the richest one, the woman who had had the most babies, and so on.
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Michael looks at his best and worst Value Picks for the 2012 season.
As the season winds down, Value Picks takes a fond look back at our picks from the season, looking at the hits and misses we collected in our efforts to find value among the overlooked players on your league’s waiver wire. As with assessing fantasy players, the notion of “value” can be slippery to pin down, especially when looking at players who are largely castoffs from other fantasy squads.
A look at why there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to valuing a player
In the game of baseball, environment often plays a role in determining a player’s worth. For example, a pitcher who is skilled at inducing groundballs may be more valuable than his flyball-prone counterpart in a home-run-happy ballpark like Coors Field. This same pitcher will be less valuable, though, if he plays on a team like the Detroit Tigers that has a porous infield defense. Or consider a position player who is gifted with the bat but has a poor glove. This player isn’t much of a problem in the American League because of the DH rule, but in the National League, a player with fielding deficiencies often has nowhere to play (just look at Jim Thome this year).
In other words, value is often about context. The same holds true in fantasy baseball, although it’s a factor that’s considered less frequently. Often, we pretend we’re all playing the same game. We’re not.
BP's newest column examines which players are worth keeping in various fantasy formats
Welcome to the off-season here at Baseball Prospectus Fantasy! This week, you'll notice our writers transitioning from our in-season Value Picks column to The Keeper Reaper, which will likely run through October and November. While many owners who play in redraft fantasy baseball leagues take a breather over the next couple of months, we know that keeper league owners are active year-round and are always looking for advice. As such, this column should be of great use to keeper league owners who are trying to decide which players are worth keeping for the 2012 season and which should be thrown back. The goal of keeping a player is to reap as much excess value as possible, and The Keeper Reaper will help you to do so.
If you happen to be one of the dedicated redraft leaguers who pays attention year-round, first, congratulations; you're a fantasy player after my own heart, and your team is going to benefit from your hard work. Second, these articles should still have a lot of utility for you since their aim is to discuss a player's potential (primarily for 2012) and where they rank among their peers—things that are important no matter what kind of league you're in.
The Dodgers coach discusses coming to the United States, his playing experiences, and those who influenced him.
Manny Mota is known to most baseball fans as one of the best pinch-hitters of all time, but he might be better described as one of the game’s finest ambassadors and gentlemen. A coach for the Dodgers since 1980, the 71-year-old Mota came to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 1957 and went on to play for the Giants, Pirates, Expos, and Dodgers for 20 big-league seasons, retiring with a .304 lifetime average and 150 pinch hits. He encountered prejudice along the way, having emigrated to a country that didn’t see racism totally disappear with the breaking of baseball’s color barrier a decade earlier.
Rob McQuown covers more potential draftees for the Scoresheet supplemental draft, which begins in a few hours for most leagues.
One of the best aspects of playing Scoresheet baseball is the accessibility of the people who run the game. Jeff Barton, whose comment to Part 1 helped level-set expectations for what the best teams might have, is an active participant on the game forums and blog, where veteran owners also weigh in with their hard-earned experience. Since this is the time of the year when Scoresheet has a few “abandoned” teams looking for friendly homes, it is good to keep in mind that while good teams are indeed quite good, the bar isn't usually set unbelievably high, and while there's a pride of accomplishment in turning a franchise around in Scoresheet baseball, the task isn't nearly as daunting as that faced by real-life GM's who take over for predecessors who may have set the team back for many years.
For example, as noted yesterday, the team in the “300” league is charmed, and was fortunate enough to receive a trade offer of Jason Heyward for Javier Vazquez last year, which helped another team win a championship but became an even better deal for Team McQuown with Vazquez becoming a “crossover” in the offseason and Heyward being, well, Heyward. Long story short, without any other trades which could be called “great”, the team was in such a bad situation that one expert forum respondee noted, “I see only three definite keepers, trade all the slots you can. Definites: Votto, CarGo, Ethier.” [keeper slots can be traded for players or picks]. The team has had 2 straight awful weeks, and still remains in first place this year, however. “Results may vary”, as they say, and even yours truly and the team's co-manager didn't see the turnaround happening so quickly. (kudos need to go to co-manager Brian Joseph - Baseball Daily Digest Editor and he who was smart enough to see a great year coming from Barry Zito, not to mention Mike Leake's immediate impact).
A July conversation with baseball's best prospect from the preseason on Oriole arms, the duties of a catcher, and more.
Widely regarded as the game's best prospect coming into the season, Matt Wieters hasn't yet put up the numbers anticipated of him, but given that many of those expectations sat somewhere between Johnny Bench and a pinball machine, that shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. Called up by the Orioles on May 30, to no small amount of hype, the 23-year-old switch-hitter out of Georgia Tech is certainly holding his own, both at the plate and behind the dish. He simply hasn't yet been the monster that scouts-or PECOTA-have projected, but it's still seen as just a matter of time. Matt Wieters has a very bright future.
Talking to the Twins' star backstop about hitting, catching, power, and shaking off.
No one questions Joe Mauer's ability to hit. One of the best young players in the game, the 24-year-old Mauer finished the 2006 season with a .347 average, becoming the first catcher ever to win an American League batting title. Among the tallest regular backstops in baseball history at 6'5", the Twins standout does face questions about his power numbers and whether he'll remain a catcher deep into his career. Mauer was out of action for five weeks with a strained quadriceps muscle earlier this season, but is hitting .302/396/.455 with four home runs.
BP Radio correspondent Graham Bensinger sat down recently with NL manager Tony La Russa to discuss all things All-Star.
Baseball Prospectus: Before we get to your book, obviously you're in the heart of a baseball season. The All-Star Game is fast approaching and after the players are voted in, with the additional selections you have, and the tremendous level of talent you have right here with the Cardinals, how difficult does that make it for you?