Fantasy confessions: I traded Jesus

I traded Jesus.

Montero, that is. There. I said it. I have confessed my sin. I am prepared to repent. But not quite yet. There’s still seven weeks left in the baseball season.

Jesus Montero and I go way back. It was March of 2008. I had returned to fantasy baseball after a nearly two decades hiatus in which I wandered the wilderness, got married, had kids and worked like a dog. Invited by a colleague to join an American League-only roto league, one with keepers and a deep reserve list, I agreed, then spent the few weeks I had trying to make up for spending more time changing diapers than watching what makes a good change-up.

My cram skills, finely honed by 20 years of schooling, were badly rusted. So when I walked into the basement of Dan Grindstaff’s basement, which would soon be filled with pizza and beer, I sat down having done an admirable job studying the available major league talent. But the minor leagues — whoa Betsy — I came armed with nothing more than someone else’s ranking sheet and some vague notion that I would target catchers because they were so scarce (and so speedy to develop — not).

I braced myself for the ride that is an auction and survived with only one inexcusable blunder, out-bidding a smarter rival for Richie Sexton when I didn’t really need another first baseman (I guess that’s two blunders).

Then I turned my focus, or what remained of it, to the reserve draft, a snake draft with each team to have 17 picks. I began with minor leaguers closer to the the Show, but soon they were gone and I had crossed out most of the top-rated prospects. Not willing to simply give in to random guesses, I looked at what was left on my list and noticed something striking: There were a few guys with really strange names, at least in my part of the world.

Beau Mills. Got ‘im

Lars Anderson. Check.

And finally Jesus. No, not Jesus Rafael Montero, who has since batted 340 times and swatted one home run for the Cardinals organization — quick aside: If you can afford a dead roster spot next year nominate this Montero and see if anyone bites. No, I drafted the real deal, the one with no middle name, who had played all of 33 games the year before in rookie ball.

It was only later as the season would unfold that I had picked him a year or two early: While ours is a keeper league, we can only keep a player for three years at their auctioned or drafted price — or boost the salary by signing a long-term contract before the third year. I had the golden boy but it was too early, a case of premature anticipation, something I’m told is treatable.

So I dropped Montero by season’s end, then grimaced when the following season, he was taken in the reserve draft a few slots before my turn by a rival sipping tropical drinks drafting from a cruise ship via an Internet connection.

By July I had decided to trade for the following year, swinging deals for bargain-priced Sin-Soo Choo and Adam Lind. Then I turned my gaze toward Montero and pulled the trigger, giving up a moderately-priced Hideki Matsui along with Ronny Cedeno and Mike Moustakas.

Jesus had returned. I was saved. (Quite a feat as I’m Jewish.)

I kept Montero for this year, one of the building blocks for my dynasty along with Desmond Jennings, Justin Smoak and Brian Matusz. I began the year as a heavy favorite, confident because of what seemed an unparalleled keeper list. Over-confident, it turned out.

Lost to injuries for chunks of the season were Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera, Mike Cameron, Kelly Shoppach and Kendry Morales.

By the time Morales was carted off it was clear my dream of dominance was illusory. I turned to the one owner in the league whose circumstance seemed a perfect match for my own. His team appeared out of contention and he was openly talking to trade. He had a struggling and moderately-high priced Mark Teixeira and two studs in the last year of their contracts, Justin Verlander and Dustin Pedroia. I had Morales locked up for another year at a bargain basement price of $6. The proposal was straight forward: Teixeira would replace Morales and Pedroia would replace Cabrera in my lineup while Verlander would shore up a staff that was chronically short of wins. My rival would get the best-priced slugger for next year and, if that wasn’t enough, I’d add a prospect — I had half of the top 20 prospects in the league.

What followed wasn’t negotiations. My rival was ambivalent. He didn’t have the time to do the research needed to come to a conclusion about what he wanted — he had just too much going on his life to slavishly devote himself, his pursuit of fantasy hobbled by more trivial things like work, family, friends and hobbies. Our non-talks stretched out weeks. Time was running out for me: One of my other rivals had quietly assembled a team that was starting to blow away everyone else. With a Internet-less trip looming to Italy, I stepped up the pressure, but there was to be no exchange of players or vows. I left the continent with the light of first place growing ever dimmer, my only solace weeks of wine, food, natural beauty and invigorating history.

I returned resigned to second only to realize even that consolation prize was slipping from my grip. Dumping season had begun, a few rivals had strengthened their squads, and then my bad luck with injuries tag-teamed with a nasty and unexpected turn of events at the trade deadline: Ron Gardenhire decided John Rauch, my second closer, wasn’t mediocre enough, and traded for Matt Capps.

There weren’t a lot of dance partners left: Most teams were still in contention to finish in the money. I didn’t have excess to trade except prospects. I sent out offers to two team owners I thought had given up the current season, one a blockbuster that was lost in email — he traded instead with a rival. A second owner was slow to get back. I sat by the computer, awaiting a response. It was my high school prom all over again.

Then, just to stir the pot and vent, I placed all my studs for next year on the trading block. At long last the second owner replied. Over the course of a day we hammered out a deal: I traded away Lonnie Chisenhall and Tanner Scheppers for two months of Josh Beckett, injury risk and all.

Later I was to swing a deal with the rival that leads the field by 30 points, trading Max Scherzer and Jemile Weeks for Colby Lewis, Alexei Ramirez (who is in the last year of his contract) and Mitch Moreland.

Neither trade upset me: I don’t think Chisenhall or Scheppers will contribute too much next year, Lewis and Scherzer are a wash and I really like Moreland’s chances to surprise as a poor man’s Billy Butler.

But between those trades I pulled another. With Rauch out as closer I needed another and I still had to make up ground in wins, batting average and steals just to hold on to second place.. I called the only owner in our league who seems always cool, and said Hey Jude (he gets that a lot), let’s deal. He asked me who I wanted. Brian Fuentes, Brett Cecil, Nick Markakis and Jacoby Ellsbury, all either in the last year of their contracts or over-priced. Now who would I give back, he asked. Marco Scutaro, I said, J.D. Drew. And then the words came tumbling from my mouth like a Mookie Wilson ground ball slipping through the wickets of Bill Buckner.

Jesus Montero.

In the back of my mind I was already rationalizing the move: He was entering his third year next season and probably would begin in the minors, he still couldn’t catch all that well, first base wasn’t an option and the Yankees seemed intent on trading him. He had only been hitting well for a couple of weeks. I already had Matt Weiters on my squad and could get by without a second stud catcher. I liked Eric Hosmer, only in his first year of a contract, even more.

But for the second time in two years I had lost Montero and it still feels like a kick in the gut, a self-inflicted one at that, no small feat when you consider my lack of flexibility. Ellsbury going down for likely the rest of the year, a risk I knowingly assumed, makes it even worse.

Which brings me to this: In your time playing fantasy baseball, which one move caused you the most anguish? And for those whose wound is not so fresh, what, if anything, have you learned?

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  1. Brad Johnson said...

    I have a pretty fresh wound of my own. As we’ve talked via email, my league is a 12 team auction with unlimited keepers at a cost of draft price +$7. I drafted Stephen Strasburg for $8. It was the coup of the draft (although I also snagged Liriano for $4 and Carlos Santana for $1). Strasburg would anchor my rotation for the next 4 years at a considerable surplus value. I would only consider trading him for Pujols, Hanley, Braun, Heyward, Lincecum, and real cash.

    And then, disaster. Or rather the worst 15 day injury plague I’ve ever suffered. You see, we have deep rosters, MI, CI, 2 C, 5 OF, in addition to the always standard spots. And in addition to that I was in an extended dogfight for 1st place with another team (it’s already decided that we will be #1/2).

    The first hit I took was Carlos Guillen. He was already my backup 2b/OF playing behind Ricky Weeks and Ian Kinsler in the infield while split starting in the OF (I had a bad unit of 5 at the time). Ok whatever, I don’t need Guillen for anything, to the waiver wire you go.

    I can’t even remember what happened next. Justin Morneau bumped his head. Jason Bay bumped his head. Shane Victorino took some quality time. Ian Kinsler finally succumbed to injury again. Carlos Santana was broken. Raul Ibanez got banged up but avoided the DL. Strasburg hit the pine. Mike Adams rested for the minimum. Last but not least, Carlos Pena hit the skids.

    The crux of the problem was two-fold. We have only 3 DL and 5 bench spots, so sitting all 10 of my injured players wasn’t an option. The injured players were most of my better ones too. So I was forced to pursue trades, of which I made two. But it’s the Strasburg trade I regret.

    I sent Rickie Weeks ($10), Drew Storen ($1), Yovani Gallardo($21), and Strasburg ($8) for Jose Reyes, Miguel Cabrera ($29), Matt Holliday, Chris Carpenter, and CC Sabathia.

    Obviously, that’s a lovely influx of talent to acquire, but losing Strasburg’s services for the next 3 seasons is a little sad.

    To finish the story, I also traded Morneau ($20), Joyce ($1), Markakis (non-keeper), and Volquez ($4) for V Mart, JJ Hardy, Nelson Cruz, and Ichiro. Since then my team has gone from a 1 point lead to a 14.5 point lead with a score of 107 to 92.5 to 71 (and a bunch of 60’s after that).

  2. Jonathan Sher said...

    Brad – I hope a first-place finish will soften the blow; it’s hard to give up a guy whose talent you were the first (in your league) to identify. I’ll have to settle for second-place — at best — and that may be a struggle. I recently lost ARod who the Yanks will be in no hurry to bring back and Conor Jackson, who was supposed to be part of my health insurance policy.

    I’m curious what was available in your free agent market as a 12-team mixed league should leave some talent. My 12-team A.L-only league leaves almost nothing of note among free agents so injuries often leave you with no other options but trades. I’m also in a 14-team mixed draft league and while I have had my share of injuries — Cruz, Arod and Carlos Gonzalez most recently — I’ve been able to get fill-in pieces all year and keep well ahead of the pack.

    Strasburg is an unbelievable talent but his health future is uncertain. Did you make the trade before his latest arm issues?

    Montero has been mostly healthy — his August injury last year I think was his first and only — and it’s just a matter of time and opportunity. He may not stick at catcher but he has a chance to be a punishing hitter wherever he plays.

    Back to your trades, the first makes sense even with the pain of losing Strasburg—that’s a great haul for this year and the $29 price tag on Carbrera isn’t bad.

    Which categories were you targeting with the trades?

  3. Brad Johnson said...

    The trade was made 2 days before he came off the DL the first time.

    I was mainly targeting R, SB, and OPS. I led RBI by a fair margin (20 at time of trade, 40 now) and was locked into 2nd place in homers with the closest team 10 behind me and the team ahead leading by 25. In R I was 7th but only 20 back from the leader. That has shrunk to 10 and I’m in 3rd now. SB I was looking to gain 1 point in (which I’ve since gotten with Reyes and Ichiro) and OPS I’ve gained 3 points and hope to gain 2 or 3 more. On the pitching side of the ledger, I have a clean sweep, perfect 12’s in all categories with only W’s as an assailable stat. That was why I brought in Carp and CC. I also needed a 2nd catcher to replace Carlos Santana, I was using Jonathan Lucroy at the time. Posey is my other C. I started the year with Posey and Santana on my bench and Wieters and Jeff Clement starting (I did manage to snag Chris Snyder later which saved me some headaches).

    As for the waiver wire, there are definitely some gems to be found, but the position side is fairly barren. Fred Lewis is probably the best guy on the block right now (he was on my team at the time of the injury wave) and then there’s a significant drop off after that. Most teams have their extra bench mostly tied up in position players so there are plenty of solid arms to choose from. Recently I acquired Michael Brantley, Omar Infante, and Mitch Moreland from the waiver wire. Brantley and Moreland might even end up as keepers with a minimum $8 cost. I think the league might be a little below my fantasy talent level as it stands right now. We’ll see next year when all of the teams who sold early for loads of keepers are more active. There have been wide scale rule changes to promote competition.

  4. Brad Johnson said...

    And yes, if I win, the extra $70 will be well worth losing Strasburg. I may even manage to reacquire him as I’ll be looking to do a lot of keeper swapping in the offseason.

  5. Jeffrey Gross said...

    Interesting article, but one question—why trade Max Scherzer and Jemile Weeks for Colby Lewis, Alexei Ramirez and Mitch Moreland? Personally, I feel that Scherzer has much more talent and upside than Lewis (who I love, mind you), but let’s pretend that part of the trade is a wash.

    Why give up Weeks though? If Ramirez wasn’t at the end of his contract for your league, I could understand that, but Ramirez for the rest of the year+mitch moreland (who doesnt deserve to clean Chris Davis’ sneakers) seems unnecessary give Weeks’ upside.

    I’d rather have Scherzer+the risk of Weeks, personally. Perhaps you could shed some more light? (Interesting article BTW)

  6. Jeffrey Gross said...

    In terms of moves which have caused me the most anguish, I cite two I made this season:

    -In need of WHIP and Ks and with Kendry Morales (before injury), Prince Fielder and Joey Votto, I traded Joey Votto for Dan Haren in May. Haren, for me, has a 4.72 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 4 W and a mere 100 K in 122 IP.. Meanwhile, for the other guy, Votto is hitting .335 with 21 HR, 63 R, 60 RBI and 6 SB. Talk about a buy low move gone awry.

    -Two months ago, I also traded Ricky Nolasco, Buster Posey and Gio Gonzalez for Tim Lincecum and Feliz. I thought I was selling Gio and Posey high, especially with Carlos Santana and a then not struggling Ryan Doumit on my team. For my team, Lincecum has a 4.50 ERA, 4 W, a 1.50 WHIP and “only” 67 K in 72 IP. Feliz has 12 saves, but a 4.57 ERA (good WHIP/K’s, however).  For the other guy, Gio has a 2.84 WEA, 3 W, 1.30 WHIP and 3 W. Nolasco has 87 K in 73, with 9 W and a 3.45 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. And of course, just to rub it all in, Posey, since I traded him, is batting .362 with 28 R, 36 RBI, 8 HR and Santana is on the DL and Doumit has gone down in flames. ugh

  7. Jonathan Sher said...

    Jeffrey – Scherzer clearly has more upside but I also considered the following:

    (1) Scherzer is more of an injury risk, though this year has been by far his healthiest.

    (2) Scherzer will be entering his third year of a contract in our league next year so he must have his salary bumped to keep longer—either $7 for each of the next two years of $12 for each of the next three. Lewis will be entering his second year and will cost me $4 next year, after which I can keep him at that price for another year or long-term him at $9 or $14. Since I still have a team I think can win next year, the potential savings ($3-$8) could prove helpful.

    (3) Texas is likely to be a better team than Detroit the next few years which may translate to more wins for Lewis.

    (4) As someone who is looking to win next year, I think Moreland will contribute more than Weeks will even though Weeks may have more long-term potential.

    (5) Moreland night also qualify as a rookie, which would allow me to keep him on my reserve list and get in his stead at auction the best prospect available at 1B or DH, then swap them before the start of the season.

    (5) Our league allows 15 keepers and Weeks was very borderline—he’d have to win the stating job out-of-the gate. That’s possible, since Ellis is likely gone after this year, but not probable – he’s lost a lot of games to injuries in his brief minor league career and I suspect the A’s start him in AAA next year with a possible call-up after the all-star break.

    (6) I’m in second with three teams breathing down my neck. Weeks’ potential doesn’t help me this year. Moreland has helped.

    I’m curious why you are down on Moreland, especially in comparison to Davis. Moreland has been a doubles machine with the body to hit more home runs, especially playing in Texas, and has shown good plate discipline and hasn’t had adjustment issues at any level.

    That Votto trade hurts. Yes, Haren is likely to regress to better numbers but I like Votto better even if Haren is producing as in years past. In fantasy I am in the camp of spending as little as possible on starting pitching, my $31 on John Lester this year notwithstanding. That said, when you have excess in one area and desperate need in another, it’s easy to make a move like that.

    I don’t think too many people saw Lincecum nose-diving like he has; the velocity has been dropping for a number of years but his performance has fallen off a cliff.

  8. Jeffrey Gross said...

    Thanks for the full response Jonathan.

    Perhaps I am too far down on Moreland and too reliant on MLS’ MLE Calc, but his minor league numbers do not particularly inspire me. In the PCL,
    he was only hitting an .855 OPS clip, which the MLS MLE pegs as worth a .242/.312/.390 (702 OPS) triple slash. His current numbers (at least from when I covered him for my AL WW piece this week) arent much better: .270/.325/.324 (649 OPS). He’s not going to slot in the top 6 spots of the lineup, and while playing 7-9 in the Rangers lineup is less damning than 7-9 in the Royals lineup, such is less than ideal for Runs opps (and limited RBI opps, as hitters in lower 1/3 of the lineup tend to go AB with more outs (less sac flies)).

    Hence, I dislike Moreland because, despite average walking ability, I do not see the power as something special. His .200 ISO in the PCL ranks 69th overall. (amongst hitters with a 100 PA minimum). That ranks behind plenty of power fizzles such as Micah Hoffpauir. He has some upside, obviously, but I’m not sold he’s useful until he proves something, which he has not yet.

    By contrast, by the way, Chris Davis is hitting .335/.396/.540 (similar ISO), but with an OPS about 100 pts higher (granted, a higher BABIP) and a history of some MLB success (limited and spare 2010 PT excepted, Davis was great in the second half of 09 and in 08 playing action)

  9. Jeffrey Gross said...

    Also, Re: Votto, I agree with you. I was convinced Votto was a top 3 1B entering the season (behind Cabrera and Pujols, ahead of Fielder), but with Fielder struggling and in need of SP, I figured Votto was my best chip (especially with Ichiro allegedly anchoring my BA/R).

    Oh woe is my team. I was in first in all 3 of my money leagues by a large margin entering August and I’d been there all season. Since, I’ve dived hard to third in one league, second in another. My third league I stand to lose 3-4 points in W/Ks as I max out innings, but hopefully I can at least take the crown there (8 point ahead of second)

  10. Jeffrey Gross said...

    Though I basically covered what I said about him in my column, here is what I exactly wrote about Moreland (it’s more organized in thought):

    Mitch Moreland | Texas | 1B | 1 percent Yahoo! ownership
    YTD: .267/.377/.422
    MLE: .242/.312/.390

    Who is Mitch Moreland? He’s another first baseman in the “guys who aren’t Chris Davis and play first base for the Rangers” bloodline. Moreland was posting solid numbers in Triple-A (.289/.371/.484, .316 BABIP) before getting called up to the show, but Minor League Splits is less than bullish on his major league equivalent production. Per MLS’s manual MLE calculator, Moreland’s .855 OPS in the PCL is worth a .702 OPS in the majors (.242/.312/.390 triple slash line).

    Though Moreland’s 29 doubles in 412 PA indicates doubles power which may translate into HR potential at the Arlington, Moreland’s AAA stint came in the hitter friendly PCL. His .195 ISO ranks 69th overall amongst all PCL hitters with 100+ PA. Let’s pretend that somehow, by some miracle, Moreland’s AAA ISO were to directly translate into his exact MLE ISO. Then you would essentially have Jason Kubel, who is going to get more PT down the stretch than Moreland (even with Thome around and mashing) and play in a more premium lineup spot (almost exclusively batting fourth, fifth and sixth in a more premium lineup (the Twins, as a team, have a .344 wOBA, third best in baseball)).

    Though Moreland’s MLE numbers are better than Jorge Cantú‘s .270/.325/.324 line for the Rangers thus far, his numbers are nonetheless lackluster, his playing time is questionable and his prospective lineup placing (bottom third) is less than enticing. (Though batting in the bottom third of the Rangers’ lineup means a lot more than it would compared to, say. the Royals’ lineup.) Moreland’s been productive in the majors thus far (45 at-bats), but he is hardly someone worth picking up (let alone watching). No stamp of approval here. Just pick up Jim Thome.

  11. Jeffrey Gross said...

    Sorry to make yet another comment, but I misspoke about Moreland’s current production. His YTD line is actually .291/.400/.491 (.361 BABIP, 29.1% K%). I accidentally cited Jorge Cantu’s numbers on the Rangers in my previous comment.

  12. struggler said...

    I dig the Buyer’s Remorse topic of the article. I can only contribute remorseful droppings from this year but they evoke a similar feeling.

    I drafted Hart in the 16th round since I felt he was extremely undervalued as a possible 20/20 guy. I dropped him early on when he was losing PT to Jim Edmonds.

    I grabbed Floyd off of waivers from an impatient owner.  I was extremely happy until he blew up vs the Indians and followed that up by throwing a gem vs. Tampa while on my bench. I have no patience for that kind of erratic inconsistency so I ditched him.

    Onto the catchers. Just like every year, I punt catcher and draft Napoli in the 17th round.
    Having owned Napoli last year, my patience with Scioscia runs thin and I drop him a day before the injury I had been wishing upon Jeff Mathis for the past year and a half comes to fruition.

    I replace Napoli with Olivo who I ditch for Posey upon call up.  With the Super-2 Deadline looming, I decide to also grab Santana and let them duke it out.

    Posey hits like Wieters was supposed to but I fall in love with Santanas production (OBP league). Posey falls into a week long slump so, I kick him to the curb. Certainly not going to carry 2 rookie catchers.

    …We know how that works out. 

    I’m currently rostering Ruiz, in first place and content.

    I guess Posey has clouded our vision but is a 20 year old catcher going to make that much of an impact over the next 3 years?

  13. Jonathan Sher said...

    Jeffrey –

    I’m less inclined to use MLE of Moreland’s AAA stat line since Moreland zipped through two levels last year (A+ and AA) and struggled some in April—after which his OPS would have been closer to .900. That may be cherry-picking on my part but Moreland moved up through the system very quickly.

    His play so far can be discounted because of sample size but he has hit well and that has put him in better stead to start next year. He’s batted 6th three times in the last week or so and that bodes well too – Washington has been gushing about the guy.

    The calculation for me was this: I rather have Moreland for two months this year, when I really need the extra bat, and all of next year, than Weeks for perhaps half a season next year. That might hurt me two and three years from now but my time horizon is shorter.

    The other nice thing about Moreland is if he continues to do well he could be a vlauable trading chip in the off-season – at $4 there would be a lot of takers.

    Davis has had imposing minor league numbers but I see his major league record somewhat differently. While he had a very promising half season in 2008, he really struggled in both 2009 and 2010—in 2009 he was striking out nearly 40% of the time and had an OBP of .284. Had Justin Smoak not gone down with an abdominal pull in July 2009 he may very well had replaced Davis last year. Davis did do much better that September, cutting down on K’s and benefiting from a BABIP of .385, but I don’t think he ever regained the confidence of Rangers’ brass. That may be short-sighted in their part but it seems to me they prefer Moreland.

    I don’t disagree that Thome and Kubel may be better pickups but in a league like mine those type of guys are never available—we have as many as 480 players on our 12 rosters, considerably more than every active player in the A.L.

  14. Jonathan Sher said...

    struggler -

    Buyer’s remorse is so much easier when you’re in first – those bad moves must be in the minority. I say that as the owner of a team in second and at risk of slipping further.

    My auction league tends to discourage impulsive moves; We have monthly free agents auction but hat’s it—no way to add a player mid-month. We also have a 17-man reserve so guys in slumps can be benched without being kicked to the curb.

    My draft league, a first for me, is another matter—daily moves with a much smaller bench of five. I’ve dropped players 31 times and traded three more away despite being away in Italy and away from a computer for a good chunk of the summer. The drops included players who have gone on to do better, including Mike Stanton. In leagues like that you need to make frequent roster moves, and just as in real baseball, the best of baseball minds will make some blunders.

    In my column next week I’ll focus on what I’ve learned playing in a relatively shallow (14-team mixed league) draft league. It’s been an eye-opener after only playing in deep auction leagues.

  15. Brad Johnson said...

    I’ve made a league high 96 moves in my 5 bench slot league. The deep rosters require much more tinkering and manipulation via the waiver wire. The 2nd place team has 80 moves, 3rd – 74, and 4th – 79. The next highest is 41.

    I actually was legitimately using churn and burn with pitchers early in the season before people realized I was getting very good production from free players and started mimicking me a little.

  16. Jeffrey Gross said...


    I do not disagree and I understand you are looking more short term, where riding out a “hot bat” makes more sense (though I wonder if “hot bats” are a real thing for players not named Luke Scott/Alfonso Soriano/Jose Guillen…), but a long term deal like this could put you in a true hole down the line.

    I assume you play AL-only based on the players listed. In a world where Orlando Hudson is the second best hitting 2B in the league, 2B is clearly a shallow position. Weeks has good AVG/OBP upside (though his power is somewhat weak) with decent speed to boot (6.9 speed score in AA this year). An AL 2B who can hit .290 with a 36% OBP clip and decent speed seems to be much more valuable than a marginal 1B/OF prospect with limited proof of success. 1B/OF are a dime a dozen compared to productive 2B in AL only formats and unless you’ve got a good buy low like Gordon Beckham on your bench, I feel that this sort of a move could cripple you in a few years. You may save $3-8 next year, but how much of that will have to be allocated in acquiring a new 2B of comparable value?

    Further, Davis’ 2009 second half and 2008 compared to first half 2008 and 2010 has to do with a K-split. As I noted in the Offseason (, After posting a putrid 41.2% strikeout rate thru his first 277 PA [of 2009], Davis was sent down to the minors to work on his plate approach. There, he managed to slice his strikeout rate to 23.6% over 194 PA and earn himself a mid-late August call up to the majors. Over those final 142 PA last season, Chris Davis only struck out 25.4% of the time. If you look at Davis’ successful stints, all revolves around the K%. Davis has contact issues but makes the most beauty with what contact he makes. His line drive percentage is nothing short of elite. I’ve said a thousand times over that Davis’ prospects for success will hinge upon his K%. I stand behind that statement.

  17. Jeffrey Gross said...

    Also, to go one step further with Davis, I punched his numbers into the MLE calc. In a translation from the PCL to the Arlington, Davis would be hitting .283/.332/.439 per MLS. I think that SLG is a bit low, given what Davis has shown in 2008-2009, but I think the BA/OBP is legitimate (given Davis’ strong LD% and low BB%).

    Personally, I peg Davis as a (rounded) .280/.335/.485 hitter with plenty of ISO upside. .485 might even be selling Davis low in my eyes.

  18. Jonathan Sher said...

    Brad -

    That is a lot of moves and it’s clearly worked for you. Just to be clear, how many active spots do you have on your roster? In my draft league there is a limit to churning and burning pitchers since there is a 1,250 inning cap—after that pitching stats don’t count. Foolish me, I didn’t realize that at first and I was pacing well above that; in recent weeks I’ve benched good pitchers in tougher ballparks/matchups so I can make each start count. Thankfully, most of my co-owners are up against the same cap and aren’t adjusting so I main gain more than I lose.

    Jeffrey -

    I agree with you about the importance of middle infielders but that was a risk I willingly took. As for Weeks, he’s played essentially a half season at AA and has MLE of .225/.281/.319, and that doesn’t take into account he will play in one of the worst hitters parks in Oakland. I do think he will hit better than that but I also think there may be a period of adjustment. If he doesn’t show that potential in 2011, it’s unlikely his owner will long-term him which means he’s a free agent in our league after 2012.

    I don’t think it will be shocking if he struggles. Scott Sizemore had a more impressive minor league record as a hitter and he flopped this year. Even Gordon Beckham struggled for much of this year.

    Second base has been exceptionally shallow this year but due to circumstances that aren’t likely to be repeated.  Pedroia, Cabrera and Roberts missed time because of injury. Beckham struggled and Sizemore flopped but I think both are likely to produce in the future. Figgins is likely to regress back towards career norms. Zobrist is still second-base eligible and Brignac and Rodriguez offer punch. Hill is likely to improve. Most of those players will be or are likely to be in our auction.

    Moreland wasn’t a hot bat when I made the trade—he had just been called up a few days earlier. I picked him because I projected him to produce and in categories which are critical for me this year. And while first basemen are a dime a dozen in draft leagues, cheap first basemen are unusual in deep auction leagues with keepers- Lyle Overbay went for $17, for example.

    I will likely seek a trade this off-season—Morales ($6), Lind ($8) Scott ($19) and Moreland ($4) all slot at 1B/DH next year though Lind, Scott and Moreland also qualify at OF this year—and I may seek a middle infielder.  ( I picked up Morales before his first year starting and traded for Lind who had been picked up before his breakout so that’s why their prices are low).

    If Davis turns it around you may make a killing in your fantasy leagues. I understand your optimism. But I don’t think Texas management shares it. He may have to seek success elsewhere. And that has opened the door for Moreland.

  19. Brad Johnson said...

    We have 2C, 1b, 2b, 3b, SS, MI, CI, 5OF, UTIL, 9P, and 5 BN (3 DL). There is a 1450 IP innings cap. After a preseason trade, I ended up with Wainwright, Liriano, Gallardo, and Johan Santana along with 5-6 RP at a given time. So I needed to churn about 50-60 IP while I waited on Strasburg and Volquez to play.

  20. Jonathan Sher said...

    Brad—That’s a standard roto setup; that’s what we have to in my auction league plus a 17-man reserve. Which pitchers have you been churning? I’m curious who has been available.

  21. Jeffrey Gross said...

    All very true. I feel this short term-long term back and forth is lost in the comments, but I think it’s very insightful stuff.

    Re: Davis, I wish the Cubs could pry him (and either Kila or Gordon) from his disapproving team. These are the opportunities which make profit great and I feel like teams are letting the Rangers’ and Royals’ distrust go to exploitative waste.

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