Mike looks back on the team he bought in last week's Tout Wars auction, and explains how he will gauge his success.
Last Saturday, I had the privilege of participating in my fourth Tout Wars NL-only expert league auction, which was my first Tout Wars auction representing Baseball Prospectus. As always, it was an honor simply to be included among so many great fantasy players and baseball minds, and to rub elbows with experts whose work I’ve been reading for the last 15-20 years. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over sitting in a room with Ron Shandler, Lawr Michaels, and Peter Kreutzer and talking baseball with them.
For those of you that followed over me here from my old blog Roto Think Tank, the words I’m about to write already ring like a familiar mantra in your ears. For my new readers that only know me from Baseball Prospectus, my strategy in Rotisserie-style auctions is always the same:
The Giants didn't play their best five games, but it was good enough to beat a very good Cincinnati team to advance to the NLCS.
If you put enough gas in your spaceship and just keep flying, you’ll eventually get to a planet that looks just like this one. There’s a guy just like you and one just like me, and every letter the guy like you is reading was written exactly like the letters that I am actually writing. The only difference is that, on the other planet, Hideki Matsui was looking for a changeup, but Pedro Martinez threw him a fastball, and Matsui took it for a called strike three. The Red Sox kept their three-run lead. And it took eight years before Grady Little was ultimately scapegoated for a Boston loss and pushed out.
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It comes down to one last deciding game between the Reds and Giants, with Latos and Cain taking the bump for the two clubs.
The vintage Tim Lincecum was resurrected at Great American Ballpark in Game Four, tossing 4 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Barry Zito to lead the Giants to an 8-3 win that evened the series at 2-2. This afternoon’s contest is for all the marbles. To get you ready for the appetizer of a four-course baseball meal, here are the PECOTA odds and projected starting lineups for Game Five:
The Reds lost the pitcher but won the battle. Now will they win the war?
From game one to game 162, the Reds rotation stayed perfectly intact. The only time a sixth man started was in August, when Todd Redmond was called up for a day to work the second game of a doubleheader. That durability turned a rotation that was merely pretty good into a huge asset.
The Reds second baseman has gotten better, or at least, not worse.
Sam Miller and I were talking about baseball analysis oddities on Sunday. One such weird thing is context, especially with stats like on-base percentage. Since then I have searched for a player whose OBP remained steady in the face of the league-wide decrease. The idea being that the perception about this player’s OBP shifted without the values necessarily increasing (relative to themselves). Luckily, I found my player in Brandon Phillips:
A top prospect dealt twice, the player with the biggest smile in baseball found a home in Cincinnati.
Following a string of poor performances after promising low-minors work, Brandon Phillips was handed a chance to be the Reds' full-time second baseman in 2006. In a Cincinnati offense that often has troubles with scoring runs, Phillips has provided power and speed at a low cost. He's also one of the few successful acquisitions from the Wayne Krivsky era in Cincy--but that's a topic for another day. What slowed down Phillips' development, and why did he return to productive baseball upon his move to the Senior Circuit?
Derek tackles a Sheets-Harang duel, and one pitcher gets the better of it in the return of Prospectus Game of the Week.
The Reds, who lead the wild card race and are within scratching distance of the Cardinals for the lead in the NL Central, started off the major trading by dealing their starting shortstop (Felipe Lopez) and their starting rightfielder (Austin Kearns) to the Washington Nationals for a gift basket of middle relievers--Gary Majewski, Bill Bray, and Darryl Thompson--along with infielders Royce Clayton and Brendan Harris. The big trade was an acknowledgment of the weakness of the Reds bullpen--even now, with their new, improved bullpen, the Reds are still tenth in the league in WXRL, and fifteenth in Adjusted Runs Prevented--and a decision to emphasize defense. Still, that doesn't change the fact that the Reds surrendered two youngish full-time position players, one of whom was an All-Star last year, for three no-name relievers and a couple of role players.