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Tuesday, June 04, 2013
On May 21, the Supreme Court of Fantasy Judgment was presented with a case involving a dispute over a trade. This is not uncommon; a lot of the cases submitted to the Court are disputed trades. What made this case stand out was that the league had unique keeper requirements which ended up as the reason the proposed trade was ultimately rejected. As I have discussed before, trades in keeper leagues get more leniency because of the many factors that go into such deals besides pure present-day value. In this case, it was the keeper rules that ended up sealing its fate.
The trade was made in a 13-team mixed AL/NL keeper league whose teams are required to protect 13 players each year. However, players in CBS’ top 50 preseason ranking are ineligible to be protected. This means the top 50 players in CBS’ 2014 projections will be available in the pool of players to be drafted.
As with many rotisserie leagues, this is a 5×5 league for scoring categories to determine the standings and prize money. For offensive players, the five categories are on-base percentage, home runs, runs batted in, runs scored and stolen bases. For pitchers, the five categories are wins, earned run average, WHIP, strikeouts and saves. Statistics are cumulative throughout the course of the season; head to head games aren't part of the league.
Team A traded Ben Revere (OF-PHI), Kyuji Fujikawa (RP-CHC), Hisashi Iwakuma (SP-SEA), and Adrian Gonzalez (1B-LAD) to Team B for Billy Butler (1B-KC), C.C. Sabathia (SP-NYY), Craig Kimbrel (RP-ATL), and Yoenis Cespedes (OF-OAK). No evidence was submitted indicating any alleged collusion or malfeasance, so the Court operated on the presumption that there is no collusive conduct between the parties.
At first glance, the trade looked inequitable. Kimbrel could be considered an elite fantasy player given his dominating numbers as one of, if not the most, premier closers in baseball.
But, because this is a keeper league, trades tend to be evaluated differently. A trade that may look uneven or lopsided could easily pass muster in a keeper league based on factors other than simply statistics. Grave Diggers vs. Chilidogs, 4 F.J. 5, 8 (January 2012). These other factors include salary cap flexibility, contractual status of players, and long-term planning at the expense of the current season. Smittydogs vs. Moneyball, 1 F.J. 32, 33 (June 2010); Winners vs. Seven Shades of Shite, 3 F.J. 97, 102 (July 2011) (holding that team owners in keeper leagues with no hope of contending in the current season must make critical roster management decisions of whether to trade established players to help build for the future).
However, this keeper league is unique in that the top 50 players cannot be retained. Because of that, the Court cannot know for sure whether any of the players involved in this trade will be eligible for retention next year. That does not mean we cannot speculate or make assumptions. Of all the players involved in this trade, the most likely candidate to be included in 2014’s top 50 rankings is Kimbrel. But even that is a stretch given he was not in the top 50 for 2013 according to three of CBS’ top fantasy writers (see http://fantasynews.cbssports.com/fantasybaseball/rankings/roto/overall/latest).
Assuming that none of the players involved in this trade will be ranked in the top 50 for 2014, then they will all be eligible to be kept next year. This bodes quite well for Team A, which is clearly getting the better end of this deal in terms of present day value as well as long-term benefits for next season.
This trade represented an even swap in terms of the players’ positions involved. It included the exchange of a first baseman, outfielder, starting pitcher and relief pitcher. Based on this, the deal did not represent a specific positional interest by one team. There were no salary cap or contractual ramifications in this trade since players are kept year to year assuming they fall outside of the top 50 preseason rankings. Furthermore, the record was devoid of any information regarding where these teams were in the standings or the composition of the rest of their respective rosters.
Since all of the foregoing factors and elements of a keeper league trade were eliminated from the analysis, we had to look at a statistical comparison of the compensation being exchanged. Again, we had an even swap of positions so we directly compared the players to one another.
As of May 21:
OBP HR RBI Runs SB Yoenis Cespedes .286 8 21 21 1 Ben Revere .291 0 5 14 8 OBP HR RBI Runs SB Billy Butler .375 5 30 17 0 Adrian Gonzalez .373 4 29 11 0 W ERA WHIP K S CC Sabathia 4 3.43 1.32 56 0 H. Iwakuma 5 2.37 0.86 61 0 W ERA WHIP K S Craig Kimbrel 0 2.60 0.98 28 14 Kyuji Fujikawa 1 6.75 1.17 12 2
The greatest disparity between the two packages is the comparison of Kimbrel to Fujijkawa, and Cespedes to Revere. Team A is exponentially upgrading by obtaining Kimbrel and Cespedes in exchange for Fujikawa (who has subsequently been lost for the year) and Revere. The exchange of Sabathia for Iwakuma is an essential wash given their statistics at the time. The same could be said for the exchange of Butler for Gonzalez.
For a trade to be deemed fair and equitable, there must be discernible benefits obtained by both teams. It is plainly obvious that Team A would have greatly benefited from this trade and likely ascended in the standings given the assets he would have acquired. However, the Court could not reasonably decipher any present or long-term benefit obtained by Team B in this trade. Given the statistical comparisons, the only advantage Team B could possibly have received is a slight upgrade with Iwakuma over Sabathia. Swapping Kimbrel for Fujikawa demonstrated no possible benefit even if Fujikawa returned and avoided season-ending surgery. Additionally, Revere was banged up and, when at his best, contributes only stolen bases. Cespedes is a much greater source of the same speed plus power and run production.
Typically the Court is extremely liberal in evaluating trades made in keeper leagues because we recognize the numerous factors that go into the analysis besides merely comparing statistics. This case was unique given the applicable rules for keepers. The Court did make broad assumptions that all players involved would be eligible for retention since they likely will not be in CBS’s top 50 preseason rankings for 2014. Of course, that is a fluid process depending on how these players perform the rest of the current season. But we can only evaluate the merits of this trade at the present time and make other assumptions and projections based on stats and data currently available.
In this deal, Team B was not receiving equitable compensation. According to the information known about this league, there were no discernible benefits being afforded to Team B to justify the inequity of the compensation. The Court's role is to ensure that the integrity of the league is maintained by not allowing lopsided trades such as this from being processed. Based on the foregoing, the Court rejected the proposed trade.
Posted by Michael Stein at 11:39am
The Daily Grind provides daily match-up advice for tinkerers and daily fantasy players. I welcome advice to help make this column more effective, including notice of impending weather events, new injuries, and changes to platoon situations. Ownership rates are from Yahoo!
The daily picks are a mixture of Daily League specific advice and information for the more typical fantasy owner.
Pitcher (to start): Scott Kazmir should be playable against the Yankees, but he's also burned me on more than one occasion, so be careful about deploying him.
A.J. Griffin has the best combination of match-up, talent, and low ownership rate today. He'll face the Brewers.
Pitcher (bum): There's a whole laundry list of exploitable pitchers to chase today. I'm betting most heavily against Josh Johnson and Jeremy Hefner.
Lucas Harrell, Samuel Deduno and Clayton Richard could all get beaten up.
Hitter (power): Jayson Werth is available in some leagues and is returning from the disabled list.
Brandon Belt will face Johnson in his return from the disabled list.
Juan Francisco should be starting at first base against Griffin. He reminds me of Wily Mo Pena.
Hitter (speed): Ted Lilly will start for the Dodgers, making Chris Denorfia a good play.
Pitcher (to start): Bartolo Colon has the match-up to start, but his low strikeout total excludes him from use in some formats.
I'm surprised to find Dan Haren at 69 percent owned. I like his start against the Mets.
I'd like this Alexi Ogando versus John Lackey match-up a lot more if both lineups weren't among the best in the bigs.
Pitcher (bum): I'm actively betting against Yovani Gallardo at all opportunities. The scrappy A's lineup should do well.
R.A. Dickey needs to stop pitching hurt. The season is nearly over for the Jays and they should forcibly shut him down as soon they're ready to throw in the towel. In the meantime, start Giants.
The Orioles should continue to take advantage of the Astros tomorrow. Dallas Keuchel will start.
Hitter (power): Try Scott Hairston against Jason Vargas.
Continue to hold Belt.
It might be worth betting on the Cards squeezing Matt Adams into the lineup against Wade Miley.
Hitter (speed): Try Gerardo Parra against Joe Kelly.
As reader Will H pointed out awhile back, Drew Stubbs is sneaky good against lefties. CC Sabathia isn't an easy assignment, but he's not the same Sabathia as years past either.
Top prospect Jonathan Gray has tested positive for Adderall. With the draft on Thursday, it couldn't have come at a worse time. To provide some insight, I'd estimate that anywhere from a fifth to a third of my college teammates used Adderall. In our team's case, the drug was used for purely academic reasons.
A few scattered storms in Kansas City, where the Royals take on the Twins.
Posted by Brad Johnson at 6:44am
The Dodgers sure have had problems with hamstrings this year. Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp both are on the disabled list with hamstring strains, and now Carl Crawford is dealing with a troublesome hammy of his own. With Kemp and Crawford out, the Dodgers had to do something. Thankfully, they decided to call up top prospect Yasiel Puig instead of just giving Scott Van Slyke even more playing time.
This is a “sound the alarm” situation much like Jurickson Profar’s recent call-up. Simply put, Puig needs to be owned in all leagues. Of course, many of the same questions associated with Profar’s 2013 fantasy relevance apply to Puig as well. The biggest issue fantasy owners face with either player is whether he’ll still have a job once his teammates are healthy. There’s no guarantee that Puig still will be on the major-league roster when Kemp and Crawford are back to 100 percent.
However, the Dodgers clearly need a spark, and Puig could be just what the doctor ordered. He was the darling of the organization during spring training when he recorded hits in over half of his at-bats (30-for-58, .517 AVG), ten of which went for extra bases. This season in Double-A, the 22-year-old has a .313/.383/.599 slash line with eight homers and 13 steals in 167 plate appearances.
Obviously, there’s always the matter of how quickly a rookie will adjust to playing the game at it’s highest level, but Puig has shown himself to be a surprisingly disciplined hitter for a player with so little stateside baseball experience. In his brief minor-league career, he has a 0.61 BB/K rate, which is a very respectable figure, especially considering Puig is one of the most powerful human beings in the game right now.
Seriously, go look at a picture of the guy. He’s busting out of his jersey like a mid-’90s Hulk Hogan. He’s 6-foot-3 and pushing 250 pounds. He looks more like an action movie star than a baseball player. He’s almost exactly the same size as All-Pro NFL linebacker Clay Matthews. Luckily for us, he is in fact a baseball player, and he’s really good at it.
As one would expect considering that he’s built like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Puig has completely ridiculous power. What one wouldn’t expect is that he’s not Wily Mo Pena out there; this kid is an insane athlete. In fact, Puig reportedly will see most of his time in center field until Kemp returns.
Stop and think about that for a minute. A 6-foot-3, 245-pound center fielder? “Surely, you can’t be serious,” you’re likely thinking. I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley. In Double-A this year, he was on pace to swipe 52 bases and hit 32 homers in a 162-game season. Starting to pick up on why this guy could be so special?
Since the baseball world still doesn’t know all that much about the recent Cuban import, take a look at some quotes from someone who probably knows him better than anyone in America, his Double-A manager:
For all the accolades, Puig is still somewhat of a mystery, and no one is exactly certain what he’s going to do in the glare of the bright lights and television cameras. What we do know about him is that the upside is there for a potential superstar, and in fantasy, that’s a gamble worth taking every time.
The baseball world loves player comps, so a whole bunch of hyperbolic sportswriters out there are throwing Bo Jackson comps on Puig. It’s a lazy, bad comparison because there will never be another Bo Jackson. They’re only saying it because everybody remembers how awesome Jackson was, fans get all excited when they see his name, they click on the link to the story, and the site gets a bunch of extra traffic and, therefore, money.
Here at THT Fantasy, we like to be a little more level-headed in our analysis, which is why I just described Yasiel Puig as a combination of Hulk Hogan, Clay Matthews and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Trust me, you want Clay Hulkenegger on your fantasy team.
Posted by Scott Strandberg at 3:04am
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