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Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Welcome to THT Fantasy's Roster Doctor. If you'd like your team to be analyzed by one of our fantasy baseball experts, please send your full roster to this address. Also be sure to include your league's player pool (mixed, AL-only, NL-only), number of teams, scoring format (roto, head-to-head, points, etc.), categories, whether or not it's a keeper league, and any other pertinent information. If your roster is selected it will be analyzed in a future Roster Doctor column.
Player Pool: Mixed
No. of Teams: 12
Categories: Traditional 8 x 7 (standard categories plus TB, K, BB, L, CG)
Scoring Type: Head-to-Head (weekly)
C: Joe Mauer
1B: Carlos Pena
2B: Rickie Weeks
SS: Marco Scutaro
3B: Kevin Youkilis
OF: Nate McLouth
OF: Carlos Quentin
OF: Nelson Cruz
UT: Elijah Dukes
SP: Josh Beckett
SP: Javier Vazquez
RP: Scott Downs
RP: Brian Fuentes
P: Adam Wainright
P: Max Scherzer
BN: Todd Helton
BN: Rafael Furcal
BN: Mat Gamel
BN: Melky Cabrera
BN: Rickie Nolasco
BN: David Price
DL: J Smoltz
DL: J Bonderman
Randy, the owner of this team, says he is in "dead last by a mile." He fingers the blame on a rash of injuries and feels a bit confused on what to do about this, having little experience with the injury bug after some successful, healthy seasons.
This year, Mauer was on the shelf for the first month. McLouth missed some games due to strained oblique, something that also haunts Kevin Youkilis. Meanwhile, Quentin is day-to-day with a heel problem, and Dukes has some issues with a strained hamstring Adding insult to injury, now Weeks is out for the season with a wrist injury.
In a weekly H2H scoring league, health may not win a league, but it can often lose one. It's imperative to have players who will be as close to lineup locks as possible when weekly rosters are set.
All that said, it's interesting to see this league has eight categories for batters compared to seven for pitchers. In addition, two of the three extra batting categories (total bases and walks) reward more games played while one (strikeouts) tends to penalize batter starts. The same can't be said on the pitching end, where one of the extra categories (losses) penalizes more starts and the other extra category (complete games) is rare enough that it'll make no difference in most scoring periods.
It seems as though there is a stronger incentive to making sure that a team's batters are healthy in this league. On the pitching end, you can have some good closers and a couple of aces and still manage to come away with wins in the ratio categories and saves. (Randy also says his league has a 20 inning per scoring period minimum.)
First thing, first: How to replace Rickie Weeks. We don't have access to the league's waiver wire to see who is available, but judging by the size of the league, and the fact there is no middle infield position, we expect there could be some decent replacement options, including Freddy Sanchez, Alberto Callaspo, Ian Stewart, Felipe Lopez, or Akinori Iwamura. The best hope of cloning Weeks may be Stewart. The safest bet for production and playing time is Sanchez.
Fortunately, none of the other injuries his team is experiencing are serious long-term concerns. However, in the future, we wouldn't hesitate to drop Smoltz or Bonderman if a batter needs to be put on DL and create space for a healthy body. In addition, with categorical incentives as they are, and with a limping squad, it may be wise to explore trading David Price, who currently takes up a roster spot that Randy can ill afford to waste, pardon the pun.
A player like Gamel has potential, and Melky Cabrera has been doing well this season, but both don't figure to get into the lineup every day. Same actually holds true for Rafael Furcal, who sits once a week as lingering health questions trail him and demand time off.
Randy needs to have healthy batters who will be in the lineup every day. Players like Mauer, Youkilis, and Quentin will protect his batting average, but in a chase towards runs and RBIs, he'll need to reach maximum games each scoring period.
He'll dig himself out of the standings basement eventually, and fortunately, in a Head-to-Head league, if you make the playoffs, past injuries mean nothing.
Posted by Eriq Gardner at 1:44am (0) Comments
Like last week, I'm doing an in-depth analysis of Wednesday's games for players in daily fantasy baseball contests. At each position, I’ll list the top five healthy players according to my ratings, along with their prices in Draftbug. Snapdraft’s scoring is VERY similar, so the same ratings should apply, although the pricing varies enough that you could end up with a very different lineup using the same ratings. Although the discussion will focus on Draftbug, the same thought process applies in Snapdraft, and I'll include a lineup for Snapdraft at the end of the article as well.
For each position, I’ll list my ratings for the top five players, as well as any others that I seriously considered putting in my lineup for the day. Depending on the size of the contest and the buy-in, the salary cap varies between contests at Draftbug (unlike Snapdraft, which always uses the same salary cap). One change from last week is that I'll use a salary cap of 1400 points (instead of 1500). Not only does that require more interesting tradeoffs and compromises, but it is the cap used for the daily freeroll contest, which is likely to be most people's first exposure to the contests. Keep in mind that the ratings listed are specifically for Wednesday’s games, based on factors such as park, opponents, platoon advantage, and home field advantage.
One reader last week finished second in several contests using my ratings, and concluded that "the system works more or less as advertised." While it's certainly gratifying to see someone do well using information I've provided, it's probably worth mentioning that it takes a while to really know how good you are at these contests. In the long run, they're very dependent on skill ... more than most fantasy baseball formats. However, in the short run, there's extremely high variance in the results.
1 Vazquez 15.4 199 2 Kazmir 14.9 249 3 E. Santana 14.8 249 4 Gaudin 14.2 N/A 5 Gallardo 13.9 209
This is an incredibly easy choice. I typically am willing to spend whatever it takes for the top starting pitcher, but in this case Vazquez is relatively cheap, and he's actually probably underrated by my system's incomplete ability to project innings pitched.
1 Papelbon 3.9 210 2 Fuentes 3.9 156 3 Rodney 3.5 102 4 Gonzalez 3.5 96 5 Qualls 3.5 90
In general, in a large multiplayer contest (like the freeroll), I prefer taking a starting pitcher and and reliever from the same team. However, Vazquez tends to pitch a lot of complete games, so I'm going to use Qualls instead of Gonzalez.
1 Martin .80 174 2 McCann .69 186 3 Mauer .67 174 4 Laird .61 72 5 Napoli .60 120
For hitters, my ratings reflect their per-at-bat projection. That means that I'm penalizing players who tend to get more at-bats—those who bat early in the lineup, play on teams with high on-base percentages, and don't get removed late in games. As the season progresses, I'll build some kind of estimate of plate appearances into my statistical model, but for now it's something that I just need to keep in mind when I'm making my picks. The only two reasonable choices at catcher today are Martin or Laird. I'll be using Martin. With the restriction of the 1400 salary cap, he and Vazquez are the only two top-rated players that I'll be using.
1 Cabrera .94 288 2 Pujols .82 324 3 Teixeira .78 176 4 Morneau .72 240 5 Loney .71 144
Cabrera has such a strong projection that I had hoped I'd be able to use him today. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find the room under my salary cap, so I'll be taking Loney to save salary. When I'm evaluating potential lineups, and I seem to be falling just barely short of being able to field a substantially better team, I often look for additional contests to enter that use a higher salary cap. Likewise, if I have a lot of room left under the salary cap (which doesn't happen as often), I look for contests with a lower cap.
1 Pedroia .90 234 2 Polanco .73 102 3 Utley .72 252 4 Hudson .71 96 5 Cano .70 174
Like Cabrera at first, I had hoped I'd be able to afford Pedroia. I couldn't, so I'm taking Polanco.
1 Rodriguez .86 300 2 Wright .86 306 3 Jones .83 210 4 Lowell .76 126 5 Blake .69 108
Lowell is a great bargain at third base today. Note that the gap between his projection and the top third basemen is much less than that between some of the other "bargain" players and the top players at their positions. It's becoming clear that my model "likes" the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Dox, and Tigers hitters today. But keep in mind that not all players on a team will be affected equally by a match-up. Factors such as platoon advantage, stolen base potential against pitchers who don't hold runners on well, ability to draw walks against pitchers with poor control, and more can result in some surprising rankings among players on the same team.
1 Ramirez .83 324 2 Reyes .83 318 3 Furcal .81 210 4 Jeter .65 174 5 Rollins .65 288 Aviles .64 138
In Furcal, I was able to afford I player not far from the top two, for a substantially lower price.
1 Beltran .83 234 2 Ordonez .82 174 3 Granderson .81 192 4 Bay .81 210 5 Kemp .80 210 Drew .80 96 Pierre .79 84 Ethier .76 154 Damon .74 138
I tend to look for bargains among outfielders. In general, there are more good alternatives among outfielders most days. Today is no exception, as Drew, Pierre, and Ethier (or Damon) provide good, cheap alternatives who are just barely worse than the top five outfielders. Several of these players (Pierre in particular) seem to be ending up on my team and my opponents' teams often enough that they're likely to be among those whose prices will be modified soon.
Using the same ratings, my Snapdraft team for the day is Martin, Cabrera, Pedroia, Rodriguez, Furcal, Beltran, Drew, Pierre, Vazquez, and Kazmir. That looks a lot more like an all-star team, and that's fairly typical. Snapdraft uses the same $27M salary cap for all contests. The disadvantage is that teams in the same contest tend to look fairly similar, because it doesn't force tough decisions. The advantage is that you can use the same lineup in multiple contests at the click of a button.