On Friday, March 21, Mike Gianella released Version Four of his mixed league Bid Limits, which spurred an idea from Bret Sayre called Model Portfolios, wherein the fantasy staff (and anyone else on the BP roster who wants to participate) will create their own team within the confines of a standard 23-man, $260 budget. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OFx5, UTx2, and Px9 along with the following standards issued by Sayre:
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
The top four picks in redraft leagues are relatively clear-cut, but whom should you target if your selection is just outside that tier?
Depending on what you value, there’s a distinct separation in 12-team 5x5 draft formats when it comes to the fifth pick. Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt,and Andrew McCutchen all deserve to go in the no. 1-4 spots, and I don’t think there can be much debate on that. The big question facing owners picking fifth is a value-based one. I was handed the no. 5 pick in a home league, so let’s take a look at some of the names that I thought about taking there. (Note: I’m concentrating solely on 12-team leagues, so your mileage may vary).
Kershaw is a popular choice here judging by the ADPs across a few different sites. The reasons are obvious: Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball right now; he’s a good bet to help across four categories again this year; and there’s a decent amount of uncertainty with the position players who would also be the fifth-overall pick.
A look at the hitters who could outperform their PECOTA projections in the power department.
One of the fun ways we all try to outsmart our opponents in fantasy is by searching for hidden value in players who, for one reason or another, we suspect have the ability to outpace their projections (and, relatedly, their draft cost). Our Darkhorses series features staff picks for players who could very well outpace their PECOTA projections for the year and provide the top overall production in one of the standard five-by-five categories. We’ve all picked one player currently projected by PECOTA to fall outside of the top 10 and one longer shot player currently projected outside of the top 25. We’ll take a look at offense this week and pitching next. Yesterday’s look at batting average is here. And, without further ado, here are some players capable of teaching Chris Davis a thing or two about hitting dingers this year:
The fantasy crew tries to peg the top 15 picks and predict breakouts from later picks.
We know from Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster that since 2004, there is a 36 percent success rate in the ADP projecting the top 15. The most in any one year is seven of 15; the least is four. With that in mind, I challenged the fantasy team to try to guess the top 15. In addition to their stab at the top 15, I had them give their answers on the following:
What the terms of Mike Trout's rumored extension tell us about Mike Trout.
Back in the summer of 2012, when it became clear that Mike Trout was doing something we had never seen from a player his age, the word of the day was “adjustments.” Yes, Trout was accomplishing amazing things, and there was little doubt that he would be a phenomenal player, probably a Hall of Famer. But his legacy—would he be a Hall of Famer like Willie Mays, or a Hall of Famer like Andre Dawson?—would come down to adjustments.
The Angels talk contract with Mike Trout, the Royals try to decide what to do with their bullpen, and Seattle reassesses its needs.
Royals could explore multi-year deal with Greg Holland
The Royals got on the same page with their closer on Wednesday, when the sides compromised on a $4.675 million salary for the 2014 season. Kansas City Star beat writer Andy McCullough wrote in the article summing up the agreement that a longer-term pact might be in the cards.
Holland turned in a third consecutive elite season last year, recording 47 saves in 50 tries to go with a shiny 1.21 ERA that meshed well with his 1.39 FIP. He struck out 103 batters, issued only 18 walks, and served up only three home runs in 67 innings. You could easily argue that the 28-year-old was the league’s best closer.
Our first snake-style mock of the spring, with 15 teams and 23 rounds.
On Thursday evening, we hosted our first mock draft with a 15-person group of industry folks going 23 rounds deep to fill out a standard roster of C, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, CI, MI, 5 OF, DH, and 9 P of any kind. Couch Managers hosted the event. I randomized the draft order just before game time and here’s how it came out:
“The hottest debate among the Angels' minor-league staff: Who is faster, Trout or new Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos?” “My guess is Trout is more explosive in the first 20 to 30 yards, but Bourjos would catch him and nip him at the wire at 100 yards. Everyone would like to see them race.” “We’ll probably never get to see the Bourjos vs Mike Trout race even though I think people would pay to see it.” “Alas, the Angels said Sunday that such a race will almost certainly never happen. ‘We talked about it in the spring,’ said manager Mike Scioscia. ‘But we don't want four blown hamstrings.’” “The Angels will not hold a match race to determine who is faster, but if home-to-first base times are the measure, Trout gets the nod.” “(Trout’s) response: ‘Oh I don’t know. We don’t race. You’ll never know. … No one will ever know.’”
The staff gets creative in compiling offers for the Angels' star.
1. The Orioles Deal Manny Machado and Kevin Gausman
There aren't too many organizations in baseball who can boast a pre-arb one-two punch strong enough to offer a duo for Trout and not get laughed out of the room. For the Orioles, the duo of Manny Machado and Kevin Gausman is plenty powerful to accomplish that goal (of not getting laughed out of the room, that is). With an outfield of Trout, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis, the fly ball pitchers on the Orioles' staff would giggle the kinds of giggles generally reserved for Leif Garrett and David Cassidy. They could then play a Ryan Flaherty/Danny Valencia platoon at the hot corner until top prospect Jonathan Schoop was ready. It would require picking up a second baseman to compete with Jemile Weeks for the job, but those are easier to find both in free agency and the trade market than a third baseman (or a Mike Trout, for that matter).
From the Angels' side, Gausman would become the future ace of the staff and would allow them to either keep Tyler Skaggs in the minors to start the season without having to subject fans to watching any more Joe Blanton starts or use Hector Santiago as a swing man. The presence of Machado would allow them to finally move Erick Aybar (who is only owed a reasonable $8.5 million per season over the next three years) for an outfielder or just slide David Freese over to DH and continue to play Machado at third. Of course, this trade idea would have worked a lot better before the Angels traded away Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos—as Trout's natural replacement in center is now gone and having Trumbo's thump in the lineup would slightly lessen the blow of dealing away Trout. As if that's even possible. —Bret Sayre