While probably not foremost on Billy Beane or Theo Epstein’s mind, Scoresheet League crossover season opened in earnest last week with the announcement of the blockbuster A’s-Cubs trade. This trade, featuring one of the greatest player-for-prospect hauls in a while, also has major ramifications for fantasy owners in each league.
Jeff Samardzija owners must have a smile as long as the Shark’s flowing locks this week, as Samardzija lands in roughly the best possible option for his future performance given the landscape at the start of the season. Not only is the park pitcher-friendly, but the generous foul territory at home helps owners get more innings from their ace starter. Naturally, Jason Hammel will see a similar bump, although potential regression in his performance and the desire to keep him healthy for the playoffs may dampen the potential boost.
Samardzija, barring a second trade in the offseason, may get squeezed by the tough crossover keeper situation. He should be fine in two-crossover leagues, but more restrictive formats may see him slide behind Miguel Cabrera, Jose Reyes, Shin-Soo Choo, George Springer, Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer, and Jose Altuve, and cause uncomfortable conversations around Adrian Beltre and Albert Pujols. Hammel is a free agent after the season, but now almost has to be traded by non-contenders to get value in single crossover leagues.
Flipping to the rookie side, we now likely know who the round 14 pick 1 is, barring the Tigers’ brass being possessed by baseball-hating aliens (the worst type of alien invasion) and trading Miguel Cabrera. Russell is a shortstop with star potential who will be on the major league doorstep, and the type of team picking first can usually ill-afford to pass on that type of player, even for very good major leaguers. NL-only owners also shouldn’t sleep on Billy McKinney. McKinney hasn’t gotten a lot of additional buzz, and may now be well down the top prospect list in the deepest organization in baseball, but he has a broad base of skills that are likely to play and translate well to Scoresheet in the long run.
The big trade doesn’t affect AL-only leaguers this year, save for Dan Straily loyalists holding out for a call-up (best of luck). Russell is clearly still a rookie keeper next year, especially since most Scoresheet leagues offer unlimited rookie crossovers. McKinney, as much as we liked him earlier, though, may not be worthwhile in AL-only leagues anymore. Although talented, he’s likely to debut before he is ready, and it’s tough to imagine him being a worthwhile crossover keeper in the future in most standard formats. On the other side, the presence of Samardzija increases the value of early 14th-round picks, and the Shark himself should be expected to go within the first three picks of next year’s draft, based upon historical trends.
In this week’s podcast:
The Outcomes are honored, and frankly, a little astonished to be joined by Joe Sheehan. Joe is the co-founder of Baseball Prospectus, a writer for Sports Illustrated, and the author of the invaluable Joe Sheehan Newsletter. He's also a veteran of many a Scoresheet and simulation baseball league. Joe and the Outcomes take a reverential tour of fantasy baseball history, with stops in Long Island, San Francisco, and parts unknown. He also shares some nuggets of team-building philosophy gleaned both in his original go-round and in his return to Scoresheet in the annual Mock Draft. The Outcomes also manage to discuss the complete works of Aaron Sorkin, history’s self-proclaimed greatest author, and find out more about the curse of Moon Township, PA. The Three True Outcomes Podcast: it’s funnier than a Gilbert and Sullivan parody.
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As for Joe & Jay's Bogaert pick in the first round, well, it's understandable, but something of an example of how some Scoresheet managers overthink matters. Yes, shortstops were a weak lot this year, but unless it was predicted Bogaert was going to be a stud right away, it is better to draft someone who would be more predictably outstanding for his position: Anibal Sanchez, for example, with the 23rd pick out of two leagues, I'm sure someone even more reliably outstanding was available. It doesn't matter who is the best or how high they rank, it just matters how much better he is.
Perhaps, Bogaert was the most outstanding player available - it is too hard to tell who was taken, because they drafted using the previous year's numbers, while Scoresheet since "updated" that draft page using this year's player/number list. So, obviously the first pick wasn't Markakis, it must have been Trout. No. 2 couldn't have been Spence - no doubt McCutchen. No. 3 was an NL pitcher. It could have been Wainwright, but the number is 1001, which must have been Kershaw who was just behind R.A. Dickey in innings in 2012.
So, J & J took Bogaert & Profar ahead of Price, Scherzer, and Verlander . . . and also Braxton. That was December, I guess just before the consensus of scouts put Braxton on a rocket ship to number 1?
I don't mean to be mean. They were generous and brave to participate in the first place - and we benefit from their doing so. My first two picks this winter weren't so hot either. I'm just trying to make some interesting points here.