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THT's Fantasy Archives
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Yesterday, the O's traded Aubrey Huff to the Tigers for minor league RHP Brett Jacobson. Huff will mostly DH for the Tigers, putting Carlos Guillen back in left field and cutting heavily into Marcus Thames's playing time. Thames was an underrated source of power who probably won't play more than 30 or 40 percent of the time unless someone gets injured. Clete Thomas will also lose a bit of playing time.
The player who hasn't been mentioned much throughout all this is the guy who stands to benefit in Baltimore: Ty Wigginton. If you'll remember, Wigginton was a guy whose underlying skills I said I liked last off-season, and now he has a relatively clear path to playing time in Baltimore. He has 1B, 3B, and OF eligibility in most leagues, and has even played 5 games between 2B and SS, so he has MI eligibility in many leagues as well.
If he can play MI in your league, he becomes an immediate 'must pick up' in 12-team mixed leagues and deeper if you need power. He has very good power, a tiny bit of speed, and an above average BA (.260 right now, but he has cut down on his strikeouts and the BABIP is unlucky). Full disclosure: Eriq Gardner and I picked him up in the KFFL Experts League we're playing in (12-team mixed w/ 28-man rosters).
Posted by Derek Carty at 12:48pm
Manager Lou Piniella will make an official announcement later today, but it looks like Kevin Gregg is out as Cubs closer. The pick up is Carlos Marmol (if he's not already owned) followed by Angel Guzman. I wouldn't bother with John Grabow except in deep NL-only leagues.
Posted by Derek Carty at 12:47pm
Two weeks ago, I got the idea to hold a mock auction for the 2010 fantasy baseball season.
Although it may seem early to begin contemplating next season when we have about six weeks left in the current one, many people who play fantasy baseball have already started to think about next year. In many keeper leagues, the trade deadline has just passed or will be coming soon, and many teams are trying to position themselves for success in 2010.
Sometimes, it's hard to sort through values when so many things can happen between now and next April, but I figured the best way to get started was to take the "wisdom of crowds" by recruiting a bunch of smart fantasy baseball enthusiasts and conducting a mock draft on my blog. To add to this crowd-sourcing project, I told all of the participants they would be competing for a prize. The masses—that means you—will be voting on the team that did the best job in drafting.
So what players' stock has risen this year? What players' stock has fallen? Where will breakouts like Mark Reynolds, Ben Zobrist, Aaron Hill, Justin Upton, Zach Greinke, Wandy Rodriguez and Ubaldo Jimenez be picked next season?
Our first mock draft of 2010 may hold some clues.
We conducted two rounds daily. Each day, I asked the participants to give me a list of the 20 best players remaining, sorted by draft priority. As a result, I was able to not only administer this draft, but also to get inside the participants' heads and measure variation in their valuations.
For example, on day one, all participants would have drafted Pujols, Hanley, Braun, and Utley in the first round. These guys are solid bets to be there next year. Will Mark Reynolds also be in the cream of the crop? Right now, it's too early to tell. A couple of drafters had him high. But many others didn't have him listed as a top 20 player.
From the looks of the draft and into the minds of the participants involved, players whose stock has risen for 2010 and who could escalate higher in the coming months include: Carl Crawford, Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Joe Mauer, Ryan Zimmerman, Kendry Morales, Pablo Sandoval, Jayson Werth, Jon Lester, and Javier Vazquez.
In turn, here are some players on the wane whose stock could fall much further than what you see below: David Wright, Jose Reyes, Manny Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rios, Jake Peavy, Brandon Webb, and Francisco Rodriguez.
It's also clear by this draft that second base is experiencing a bit of a renaissance. By round five of this draft, most of the teams had already lined up their second baseman. In contrast, talent at shortstop seems meager, especially with Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins falling to second/third round territory.
What are your thoughts? Who was over-drafted and who deserves the newfound respect? Also, please vote in the poll of who had the best draft. I've sorted the draft by rosters. Plus, a prize is on the line.
1. The Sports Banter – Albert Pujols
2. Hamboners – Hanley Ramirez
3. The Devil Wears Prado – Ryan Braun
4. Dan’s Dukie Blasters – Chase Utley
5. Evil Empire – Mark Reynolds
6. Unruhlies – Alex Rodriguez
7. .Beyond the Box Score – Tim Lincecum
8. He Thrills B. Mills – Carl Crawford
9. The Fat and the Furious – David Wright
10. The Juicy Danglers — Matt Holliday
11. The Juicy Danglers — Justin Upton
12. The Fat and the Furious — Prince Fielder
13. He Thrills B. Mills — Miguel Cabrera
14. Beyond the Box Score —Matt Kemp
15. Unruhlies — Ian Kinsler
16. Evil Empire — Evan Longoria
17. Dan’s Dukie Blasters — Mark Teixeira
18. The Devil Wears Prado — Jose Reyes
19. Hamboners — Grady Sizemore
20. The Sports Banter — Justin Morneau
21. The Sports Banter – Ichiro Suzuki
22. Hamboners – Ryan Howard
23. The Devil Wears Prado – Joe Mauer
24. Dan’s Dukie Blasters – Derek Jeter
25. Evil Empire – Brandon Phillips
26. Unruhlies – Johan Santana
27. Beyond the Box Score – Dan Haren
28. He Thrills B. Mills – Manny Ramirez
29. The Fat and the Furious – Brian Roberts
30. The Juicy Danglers — Jimmy Rollins
31. The Juicy Danglers — Ryan Zimmerman
32. The Fat and the Furious — Jason Bay
33. He Thrills B. Mills — Carlos Beltran
34. Beyond the Box Score — Zach Greinke
35. Unruhlies — Roy Halladay
36. Evil Empire — Troy Tulowitzki
37. Dan’s Dukie Blasters — Bobby Abreu
38. The Devil Wears Prado — Kevin Youkilis
39. Hamboners — Adrian Gonzalez
40. The Sports Banter — Dustin Pedroia
41. The Sports Banter – Josh Hamilton
42. Hamboners – Javier Vazquez
43. The Devil Wears Prado – B.J. Upton
44. Dan’s Dukie Blasters – CC Sabathia
45. Evil Empire – Curtis Granderson
46. Unruhlies – Brian McCann
47. Beyond the Box Score – Ben Zobrist
48. He Thrills B. Mills – Aaron Hill
49. The Fat and the Furious – Lance Berkman
50. The Juicy Danglers — Robinson Cano
51. The Juicy Danglers — Joey Votto
52. The Fat and the Furious — Felix Hernandez
53. He Thrills B. Mills — Carlos Lee
54. Beyond the Box Score — Jacoby Ellsbury
55. Unruhlies — Nick Markakis
56. Evil Empire — Victor Martinez
57. Dan’s Dukie Blasters — Justin Verlander
58. The Devil Wears Prado — Aramis Ramirez
59. Hamboners — Adam Dunn
60. The Sports Banter — Alfonso Soriano
61. The Sports Banter – Alexei Ramirez
62. Hamboners – Cliff Lee
63. The Devil Wears Prado – Josh Beckett
64. Dan’s Dukie Blasters – Nelson Cruz
65. Evil Empire – Adam Jones
66. Unruhlies – Jonathan Papelbon
67. Beyond the Box Score – Nate McLouth
68. He Thrills B. Mills – Yovani Gallardo
69. The Fat and the Furious – Adam Lind
70. The Juicy Danglers — Jayson Werth
71. The Juicy Danglers — Matt Cain
72. The Fat and the Furious — Raul Ibanez
73. He Thrills B. Mills — Michael Young
74. Beyond the Box Score — Andrew McCutchen
75. Unruhlies — Kendry Morales
76. Evil Empire — Hunter Pence
77. Dan’s Dukie Blasters — Shane Victorino
78. The Devil Wears Prado — Josh Johnson
79. Hamboners — Andre Ethier
80. The Sports Banter — Jon Lester
81. The Sports Banter – Adam Wainwright
82. Hamboners – Pablo Sandoval
83. The Devil Wears Prado – Torii Hunter
84. Dan’s Dukie Blasters – Johnny Damon
85. Evil Empire – Mariano Rivera
86. Unruhlies – Alex Rios
87. Beyond the Box Score – Joe Nathan
88. He Thrills B. Mills – Jake Peavy
89. The Fat and the Furious – Chris Carpenter
90. The Juicy Danglers — Shin Soo Choo
91. The Juicy Danglers — AJ Burnett
92. The Fat and the Furious — Clayton Kershaw
93. He Thrills B. Mills — Geovany Soto
94. Beyond the Box Score — Ryan Doumit
95. Unruhlies — Cole Hamels
96. Evil Empire — Derrek Lee
97. Dan’s Dukie Blasters — Chad Billingsley
98. The Devil Wears Prado — Carlos Quentin
99. Hamboners — Howie Kendrick
100. The Sports Banter — Tommy Hanson
101. The Sports Banter – Matt Wieters
102. Hamboners – Russell Martin
103. The Devil Wears Prado – Asdrubal Cabrera
104. Dan’s Dukie Blasters – James Shields
105. Evil Empire – Joba Chamberlain
106. Unruhlies – Vladimir Guerrero
107. Beyond the Box Score – Chipper Jones
108. He Thrills B. Mills – Gordon Beckham
109. The Fat and the Furious – Jason Bartlett
110. The Juicy Danglers — Jered Weaver
111. The Juicy Danglers — Wandy Rodriguez
112. The Fat and the Furious — John Lackey
113. He Thrills B. Mills — Jonathan Broxton
114. Beyond the Box Score — Ricky Nolasco
115. Unruhlies — Stephen Drew
116. Evil Empire — Roy Oswalt
117. Dan’s Dukie Blasters — Chone Figgins
118. The Devil Wears Prado — Max Scherzer
119. Hamboners — Jarrod Washburn
120. The Sports Banter — Matt Garza
121. The Sports Banter – Mark DeRosa
122. Hamboners – Brandon Webb
123. The Devil Wears Prado – Ubaldo Jimenez
124. Dan’s Dukie Blasters – Mike Napoli
125. Evil Empire – Rich Harden
126. Unruhlies – John Danks
127. Beyond the Box Score – Carlos Pena
128. He Thrills B. Mills – Scott Baker
129. The Fat and the Furious – Francisco Rodriguez
130. The Juicy Danglers — Miguel Montero
131. The Juicy Danglers — Jose Valverde
132. The Fat and the Furious — Jorge Posada
133. He Thrills B. Mills — Jair Jurrjens
134. Beyond the Box Score — Jhonny Peralta
135. Unruhlies — Dexter Fowler
136. Evil Empire — David Price
137. Dan’s Dukie Blasters — Heath Bell
138. The Devil Wears Prado — Joakim Soria
139. Hamboners — Andrew Bailey
140. The Sports Banter — Brian Fuentes
Posted by Eriq Gardner at 2:38am
Brad Lidge and Matt Capps: two closers pitching so poorly, you might suspect some other team is paying them to lose games. Except no one would pay the Pirates to lose, besides perhaps their own fans wanting to get the first overall pick in next year's amateur draft, despite it being Strasburg-less.
Capps has a 6.41 ERA for the year and a 10.71 ERA for the month of August. "Mr. Perfect" last year, Lidge is no better with a 7.27 ERA for the season and an 8.44 ERA in August. It must be those hot summer days, global warming perhaps—a process currently being sped up by the heat generated from the friction off Neftali Feliz's fastball.
The Pirates have no real replacement for Capps. Yeah, Chris Bootcheck is not happening and neither is Jesse Chavez, Jeff Karstens, or Evan Meek—but why not Joel Hanrahan? He seems at least stash-worthy to me at this point.
He has closing experience, however limited, and also is showing some signs of effectiveness, like a 10.01 K/9 rate. The walks are manageable and you could certainly blame luck for some of his problems—no one deserves a .432 BABIP except perhaps the guys tossing meatballs at the Home Run Derby. And that's with a bunch of small children roaming the outfield.
Still, the Pirates have incentive to keep Capps as closer: To keep his trade value this offseason as high as it can be.
Unlike Capps, Lidge does have a no-brainer replacement in Ryan Madson. Madson has been excellent all year, except in June when he was—of course—filling in as closer for an injured Lidge. The problem the Phillies have in replacing Lidge is they do not want a bullpen in a state of flux while in contention, and certainly not in the playoffs.
Still, you can only sit complacent for so long until the flame of blown saves burns down the match and starts to sear your fingers. Ouch.
My point is that Capps and Lidge might be decent trade targets for those whose deadlines have not yet been passed. If you're desperate for some saves and don't want to trade away much to acquire one, see what it will take to get disgruntled owners to part with one of them. They will probably just be happy to have the nuisance off their hands.
For those who do own Lidge and Capps, you have to hang onto them. You don't currently have to start them, especially if you are engaged in more of an ERA and WHIP battle than a saves one. But if Mike MacDougal can get five saves in one week, Lidge and Capps could easily do the same. Both have good enough track records that over the final month-and-a-half of regular season they can pitch well enough to keep their jobs and get some saves along the way.
Posted by Paul Singman at 2:36am
In the last month of the season, fantasy owners (especially in rotisserie leagues) often find themselves desperately looking for help in a particular category. Perhaps the most frustrating standard category to find yourself behind in is wins. Wins are notoriously hard to predict because the correlation between wins and pitcher ability is much less than that of, say, strikeouts or ERA. I know of some fantasy purists who prefer not to use it as a scoring category at all. That said, if wins is a scoring stat in your league and you're behind in it, perhaps there is a small way to tilt the odds in your favor by using American League pitchers instead on their National League counterparts.
Why are AL pitchers more likely to record a win? Well, the longer into the game a pitcher pitches, the more likely he is to record a decision and, in particular, a win. Thus, AL pitchers are less likely to finish an inning that they've started but also more likely to start any given inning. Both are due to the fact that pitchers bat in the NL.
AL pitchers are taken out of the game for pitching reasons only. NL pitcher may be taken out or kept in the game for batting reasons. A manager may take out an NL pitcher early because his turn to bat came up and it was advantageous to pinch hit for him. Alternatively, though, a manager might keep an NL pitcher in longer if he was due to bat in the next half-inning, so as to avoid a double switch or wasting a relief pitcher. The former effect would tend to mean AL pitchers pitch more while the latter would tend to mean less. As it turns out, using data from 2008 on starting pitchers, AL pitchers pitch longer and are thus more likely to record a win.
These are data from non-interleague games only. AL starting pitchers win 37 percent of the time they start whereas NL starting pitchers win only 33.5 percent: basically AL starters are 10 percent more likely to win than NL starters. (For those wondering, this difference is "statistically significantly different"—the same is true for all the other differences, except for the probability of losing a given start.) Unsurprisingly, AL starters strike out fewer batters (and of course have a higher WHIP and ERA), so the higher win percentage does not come for free.
AL starters are much less likely to finish an inning that they started, but they still pitch more innings and face more batters than their NL brethren. (Note: I was not able to tell if a pitcher started an inning but did not record any outs.) AL pitchers even pitched about one more pitch per start. For what it is worth, a simple (probit) regression of wins on whether or not the pitcher finished his last inning of work tells us that pitchers that finish their last inning are much more likely to record a win. I haven't reported the regression's results here because regressions imply causation and I would want to control for many more effects before I'd be comfortable with the numbers.
Apparently, NL pitchers are much more likely to come out of the game early for a pinch hitter than they are to stay in the game to avoid a double switch. Even though they face an easier lineup, they don't pitch as far into games as AL pitchers. Oddly enough, in interleague games, NL starters pitch longer in AL parks than in NL parks whereas AL starters pitch longer in NL parks than in AL parks. Nevertheless, if you are desperate for wins in the final weeks of the season, everything else equal, pick up a Yankees or a Angels starter rather than one from the Dodgers or Phillies.
Posted by Jonathan Halket at 2:42am
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