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Monday, June 01, 2009
The Rockies outfield situation is a true logjam right now. While logjams can cause frustration for fantasy owners who see their players drop into time-shares, logjams are also great places to look for hidden talent.
Right now the Rockies are going predominantly with the lineup of Brad Hawpe in right, rookie Dexter Fowler in center, and Ryan Spilborghs and Seth Smith splitting the duties in left. That is merely their predominant lineup. Some nights Spilly will slide over to center and a player not even mentioned yet, Matt Murton, will get the start in left. And then there is center fielder Carlos Gonzalez who is raking to the tune of .333/.421/.598 in Triple-A. That makes a potential six players for three positions.
Right now Hawpe is the only definite everyday starter as he is having himself a very nice season, batting .348 with seven home runs and 39 RBI thus far. With a relatively cheap contract and the Rockies slow start however, Hawpe is most likely going to be traded sometime before the trading deadline.
Fowler is having a decent season in the majors; not good but not bad either for a rookie. I do not see him getting sent down to Triple-A and the Rockies probably want him playing everyday, so his playing time seems fairly secure to me.
The other three players—Spilborghs, Smith, and Murton—are all involved a crapshoot as to who will end up getting the most playing time the rest of the way. Right now Murton (who was mashing Triple-A pitching before getting called-up, albeit as a 26 year old) is the odd man-out, although that can change at any moment's notice.
Despite Gonzalez' success in Triple-A, he most likely will remain there until September when he could be a late call up. The Rockies want to see increased maturity and sustained success from him before potentially rushing him to the majors as the A's did last year.
Although murky now, by mid-summer the Rockies outfield situation should be somewhat resolved. My advice is simply to remain aware of what is going on in the Rockies outfield and the player I'd be looking to jump on at the first sign of increased playing time is Matt Murton because 1) he is not owned in most leagues and 2) has the skills to put up solid numbers if given the playing time. Right now you can let him sit in free agency, though.
Posted by Paul Singman at 9:43pm
Quick - name the right-handed reliever in the Mets bullpen that throws 98 mph. It isn't J.J. Putz, at least not these days. Tonight, as in the recent past, Putz hasn't looked sharp, throwing mainly low-90's fastballs and few split-fingers. If you're looking for holds or a few cheap saves, I'd start perusing in the Bobby Parnell aisle.
Posted by Jonathan Halket at 10:19pm (0) Comments
There's been talk lately of the Brewers looking for a front-line starter (like they did last year with C.C. Sabathia). Jake Peavy has been mentioned, and apparently Javier Vazquez (whom I discussed in my article today) is a guy that the Braves could consider dealing as the deadline approaches (h/t MLBTR). This would open up a spot for super-prospect Tommy Hanson even if Tom Glavine comes back healthy and effective (a big IF for sure).
If the Brewers were to acquire a pitcher like this, they'd likely need to trade a top prospect or two (Mat Gamel, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress, etc) and maybe a younger major league player, and the move would push someone out of their rotation. Jeff Suppan would be the smartest move, though Braden Looper and Dave Bush wouldn't necessarily be 100% safe, depending on how they're pitching at that time.
Posted by Derek Carty at 12:05pm (0) Comments
Posted by David Gassko at 10:51am (0) Comments
I know David Gassko rolled out the official welcome wagon yesterday, but I thought I'd pop in too and welcome you all to the new THT Fantasy website (especially now that we don't have to worry about articles getting lost in the shuffle if we publish more than three per day — they're all easily visible on our shiny new homepage now!)
David already announced Buy on the Rumor, so I simply want to echo his sentiments. THT Fantasy currently provides mostly strategy or in-depth analytical pieces, and I think this new blog will serve as a perfect complement to what we're currently doing. It will allow us to communicate with you quickly, in an easily accessible format, and provide our insights into current events that otherwise wouldn't make it into a full article.
To give a little background, the original concept behind Buy on the Rumor was a blog to discuss rumors floating around and what the fantasy ramifications would be if said rumor were to actually happen. "Hey, did you hear Corey Hart might get traded? If he does, that would likely give more playing time to Jody Gerut, Frank Catalanatto, or maybe Mat Gamel." We felt that this kind of preemptive information would be important for fantasy owners who 1) might need to make a dash to the waiver wire (especially in the case of closers) or 2) are simply trying to place a remainder-of-season value on certain players (such as part-time players for AL and NL-only leaguers).
Once we had this down, we decided to take it a step further and include all kinds of news items, not just rumors. Hopefully you guys enjoy this new feature as much as we hope you will. The THT Fantasy team made a few posts over the weekend in anticipation of the grand opening, so be sure to check in on those — it's all still pretty relevant. On days when we post a lot, also be sure to check the mini-calendar that appears on each Buy on the Rumor page so that you don't miss anything.
One thing David didn't mention is that, to go along with our new homepage, you can access it easily by going to thtfantasy.com. Should be easy to remember.
As for me, I know you haven't heard much from me lately, so you have my apologies. Not to fear, however; I should be getting back on a regular schedule now.
That's all for now. Hopefully you guys enjoy the new setup. Be on the lookout for even more new features and analysis in the coming weeks and months! If you ever have any questions, comments, or suggestions for things you'd like to see at THT Fantasy, always feel free to shoot me an e-mail.
Posted by Derek Carty at 1:45am (0) Comments
With the first two calendar months of the season in the books, the time to look towards next season is occurring whether one wants to or not. Even if you think your team needs just a couple more weeks to recover, the other four or five teams at the bottom of the pack may think otherwise and make decisions that force your hand. For standard leagues, this essentially means focusing on the upcoming fantasy football season. For keeper leagues, though, it means something entirely different. Well for at least the week or two it takes to restructure your roster for a run at the league championship in 2010. In other words, bailing.
Bailing is an interesting phenomenon in 2009. The rules from the Official Rotisserie Baseball Handbook spoke specifically about player contracts in subsequent years. Essentially, the game was intended to be of the keeper league variety and AL- or NL-only. Then came the internet with its ease of standings calculation and free mixed leagues from internet service providers looking to bring eyeballs to their websites to bury traditional rotisserie baseball.
Before long, the game of “rotisserie baseball” morphed in “fantasy baseball” and its most popular format was the mixed league re-draft version. After several years of this, most participants playing fantasy baseball don’t know any better. So bailing becomes just another phrase with no real meaning.
For the hardcore minority who know only the “pure” version of the game, bailing brings all sorts of mixed feelings. On one hand, you understand and accept it as a rational decision by those who see little chance of finishing in the money this season and look to improve those chances for the following season. On the other hand, you know it destroys the competitive balance of the current season by juicing the teams who receive the players from the bailing team while watching the bailing team drop in the counting categories and give points to those teams who happened to be trailing the bailing team before hand.
The question is how to balance the two competing forces. Like water going downhill, teams in keeper leagues will find a way to prepare for the next season when they are no longer competitive in the current one. Mitigating the competitive destruction bailing wrought, or attempting to do so, is the goal.
The unhip way to do it is to allow a free-for-all that puts no limits on who and what can be dealt from the bailer to the bailee. Typically, this leads to a team dealing Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes for Gerardo Parra and Buster Posey. This is a scary environment and doesn’t ameliorate the corrosive and divisive effects of the bail.
So the next to come is the in-season salary cap. Essentially, the goal is not to unlopside the bail trade, but keep any one team from acquiring both Pujols and Reyes. Instead, each goes to separate teams for a player whose future value (a combination of salary, ability and control) is greater than the current value of Pujols or Reyes. This retains the freedom each team has to make whatever deal they feel best serves their future interests but prevents a team from supercharging his roster with two or three superstars.
From this point, the subjective evaluations of the bailing team turn towards the subjective evaluations of the other teams. Whether it is a commissioner veto or a league wide one, the teams not involved in the trade get final say on whether the bail trade moves forward.
Or rules can be established prescribing a fixed amount of distance between teams in the standings determines who can and cannot trade or a fixed distance between players salaries/round drafted are set. Penalties can also be assessed towards the teams who decide to violate these rules such as costing a team a draft penalties such as hits in draft order or salary cap.
All these efforts are attempts to balance the ability of a losing team to construct a more successful team for the following season(s) versus the inherent unfairness of the bail trade. All are also efforts to balance the subjective player valuations of the two teams involved in the bail trade versus those of the other six, eight, 10 teams in the league whose seasons are not completely sunk or hoping to still make a run for the Yoo-hoo.
And that is how teams are compelled to think bail even if they do not want to do so.
Are there solutions to the bail crisis or are there just not-as-bad options?
Posted by Eric Hinz at 12:37am
If someone asked you who the best pitcher has been this season, what would your answer be? Zack Greinke and his 0.84 ERA? Johan Santana and his rejuvenated strikeout rate? Tim Lincecum and his continued dominance? According to LIPS ERA, you'd be wrong with all three guesses. Instead, LIPS ERA would herald the name Javier Vazquez:
2009 LIPS ERA leaders through 5/30/09
+----------+--------+----+------+------+----------+-------+------+-------+ | LAST | FIRST | GS | IP | ERA | LIPS ERA | K/9 | BB/9 | xGB% | +----------+--------+----+------+------+----------+-------+------+-------+ | Vazquez | Javier | 11 | 70.3 | 3.58 | 2.71 | 11.00 | 2.05 | 45.30 | | Santana | Johan | 10 | 66.0 | 1.77 | 2.72 | 11.73 | 2.73 | 31.29 | | Lincecum | Tim | 10 | 65.3 | 3.03 | 2.89 | 11.57 | 2.62 | 47.24 | | Greinke | Zack Z | 10 | 75.0 | 0.84 | 2.90 | 9.72 | 1.44 | 43.96 | +----------+--------+----+------+------+----------+-------+------+-------+
Vazquez doesn't beat Santana out by much, but the fact that he is on this list (and at the top, no less) says something. While some fantasy owners would view Vazquez as the answer to a "one of these things is not like the other" question, I (and faithful readers of THT Fantasy) would vehemently disagree.
If you recall, back in January, I introduced a new method for evaluating pitchers called CAPS (Context Adjusted Pitching Statistics). CAPS focuses on strikeouts, walks, and ground balls—fundamental pieces to any analysis of a pitcher—and goes a step further by adjusting for the context under which they were produced. CAPS adjusts for the following:
CAPS showed that Vazquez would be entering a favorable new environment and had been unlucky, not only in terms of the usual BABIP, HR/FB, and LOB%, but also in terms of his peripherals (i.e. strikeouts, walks, and ground balls). Here's what I said about Vazquez then:
No matter how much bad luck he faces in terms of HR/FB (which will greatly improve moving away from Chicago), BABIP, or LOB%, I can't see Vazquez's ERA being held above 4.00 as it has four out of the last five years. In fact, his QERA hasn't been higher than 3.35 over the past three years, and there's a good chance his actual ERA ends up there in 2009. Plus, with the strikeout adjustments, he could strike out over 230 batters if he reaches his usual innings total. Huge fantasy value to be had here.
Vazquez's CAPS K/9 for 2006-2008 were 9.4, 10.1, and 9.7, respectively. While 2009 is still young, here we are on June 1 and his K/9 currently sits at 11.0. This puts him on pace for 250 strikeouts, above even my seemingly high prediction (to compare, ZiPS was the most optimistic of the major projection systems at 202). He obviously won't strike out that many batters, but he is undoubtedly the real deal. If you weren't a reader of THT Fantasy at the time or didn't have the opportunity to draft Vazquez, then my reason for writing today is strictly for you. Buy Javier Vazquez now!
Now I'd like to throw out my own "one of these things is not like the other" challenge. While Vazquez surely belongs on the above list, what makes him different from the rest? Take a look at that ERA: 3.58. That is a high ERA for a guy as talented as he is. While he might never live up to his LIPS ERA—he always seems to struggle with at least one of his luck indicators—his ERA should decrease. He's currently experiencing a bit of bad luck with all three of the luck indicators, and once it evens out a bit, Vazquez could easily post an ERA in the low-to-mid 3.00s. (And as a side-note, his DIPS WHIP is 1.02 to go with his massive strikeout numbers).
This means that Vazquez is one of the best pitchers in baseball but won't demand the same price tag as a guy like Greinke. This is especially true since so many owners have been burned by him before and since he's seemed to pitch inconsistently this year.
Right now, he should be at the top of anyone's trade target list who doesn't already own him. The only pitchers I prefer to Vazquez at this point are Santana and Lincecum and maybe Jake Peavy. One could make a case for Greinke and maybe Dan Haren, but I'd probably take Vazquez if push came to shove. Own C.C. Sabathia? Roy Halladay? Cliff Lee? Josh Johnson? If you do, I wouldn't hesitate to make a one-for-one trade for Vazquez. You'll likely be able to get him for less than that, but if it comes right down to it I'd make the deal and expect an upgrade.
Posted by Derek Carty at 12:32am (13) Comments
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Rays OF Matt Joyce was recalled from Triple-A this weekend, and he's a must add in AL-only leagues. Mixed leaguers should keep an eye on him as he isn't guaranteed of playing time starting off. Gabe Gross and Gabe Kapler, however, aren't tremendous and certainly aren't long-term options, so there will definitely be an opportunity for Joyce to take some regular playing time if he plays well.
Posted by Derek Carty at 11:23pm (0) Comments
There was a rumor yesterday that Brewers OF Corey Hart could be traded in the coming month or two. Apparently, "the Tigers, Giants, and Red Sox either have scouted Hart or discussed him." If Hart were to get traded, recently-acquired Jody Gerut might benefit the most with more playing time, though Frank Catalanatto could also be an option. There would be at least an outside chance of Mat Gamel getting regular playing time if the team decided to move him to the outfield.