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Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Yesterday, the Rangers' signing of Ranger-killer Vladimir Guerrero became official as the two sides completed the $5 million (plus incentives) deal agreed upon earlier in the week. Guerrero figures to DH for Texas, leaving the outfield to be roamed by Josh Hamilton, Julio Borbon and Nelson Cruz in left, center and right, respectively.
Most negatively affected by the signing is now fourth outfielder David Murphy, who will be regulated to irregular playing time in the outfield or at DH. While before the signing he may have made a nice late-round pick with power potential, his fantasy relevance appears to have evaporated with Vlad on board. Keep in mind, though, that he is playing behind two of the riskier players in baseball in Vlad and Josh Hamilton, who will be replaced by Murphy during their missed time.
Despite an excellent health record over his 12 major league seasons, I believe Vlad's health can no longer be counted on. His swing, in several ways, is similar to Gary Sheffield's swing. Both players pull lasers when they make solid contact, and both players' bodies also end up in contorted positions when they swing and miss. When these two players get fooled by a change-up, they show it with their jerking necks, whipping bats, and twisted torsos.
It came to me as no surprise when Sheffield had shoulder and wrist injuries towards the end of his career and it would be no more of a surprise if Vlad developed shoulder problems because of his aggressive swing, or if his aging knees finally give way in the near future.
Putting the potential for lost playing time aside, Vlad does still harbor tremendous baseball hitting abilities. His last three seasons in an Angel uniform look like this:
Not more than two years ago he was posting monster seasons with .300+ batting averages and close to 30 home runs, and even in a career-low year hampered by injuries he managed to still hit near .300 with 15 home runs. Keep in mind that the move to Arlington Ballpark should benefit his overall line slightly and batting in the heart of the potent Ranger lineup should keep his run and RBI totals satisfactorily high. With normal age regression and a degree of rebound expected, Vlad could certainly produce a season with a .290s batting average and 20-25 home runs if he remains healthy for most of the season.
The most troubling aspects of Vlad's 2009 season in my opinion are his walk and strikeout rates. His strikeout rate has been creeping back up to the level it was at when he first broke into the league, though it is still relatively low to league average 20 percent, and his walk rate was a career low in 2009. Although he has the deserved reputation as a free-swinger since he usually leads the league in swinging at balls outside of the zone, Vlad has throughout his career always been able to draw walks at an above average 10 percent rate. In more than one season in his career he has even drawn more walks than he struck out—a feat typically reserved for more patient players. Last season, however, his walk rate was halved to about five percent and while it could rebound back to where it had been, consider it a possible warning sign for continued decline.
Overall Vlad should still post decent fantasy numbers with a batting average perhaps in the high .280s with around 20 home runs and peachy run and RBI totals so long as he avoids any major injuries. Regardless, he is not going to be somebody I will especially target in drafts, and even if he falls to the final rounds there is a chance I still pass up on him because something to keep in mind is that he will be losing his OF-eligibility and will become a DH-only player. There is just something unappealing about a DH Vladimir Guerrero that leaves a bad taste in my mouth, one I want to avoid.
In AL-only leagues, of course, he holds value and there is a point where I would pull the trigger on him, though it is too far away from the season to say exactly where. In most mixed leagues, however, my feeling is that even in the last round I would have a hard time picking the roster-constricting Guerrero over some of the other players who might be available then.
Posted by Paul Singman at 5:03am (5) Comments
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Today I have a "can do" energy. Earlier in the off-season, I ranted about how often fantasy gurus use "if" and "but" to give a politician's non-answer answer to a difficult question. These answers appear to be informative, but upon closer inspection end up meaningless. In this article, I'm going to rant about the opposite: how often gurus vastly overstate the likelihood of many events.
As we get closer and closer to fantasy draft season, the popular type of discussion will be "is Player X a first-round draft pick?" Obviously, to be first-round-worthy, a player must be one of the very best baseball players in the world. So, superlatives come naturally when describing these men.
When making our case for, say, Jose Reyes to be a first-round pick, it seems important to not only discuss what is likely to happen according to some projection or forecast that we have, but also to talk about what MAY happen. "He's projected to steal 40 bases, but we know he could easily steal 70 or 80 this season (especially if he is healthy)."
I heard one expert on a podcast say that he felt Justin Upton was a first-rounder, adding that he probably had a 20 percent chance of being the NL MVP next year. 20 percent! There is only one player in baseball that warrants that kind of percentage, and he plays first base for the Cardinals. If every first-rounder had an equal chance at the MVP and no other players had a shot, that still means that each first-rounder has less than a 20 percent chance (12 players, two awards). Never mind that as often as not the MVP is won by the lowly Joe Mauers of the world. (By the way, I often pick on folks from this podcast, not because I dislike it. On the contrary, it is one of the few that I enjoy listening to.)
Don't get me wrong—what a player CAN do is important. What a player is EXPECTED to do—which is a function not only of what he can do, but how LIKELY he is to do it—is the most important. But, since in fantasy a player's upside is also important (but, particularly in the case of potential first-rounders, not nearly as important as his expected or projected forecasts), we care also about what he can do.
The problem and the danger is CAN can mean anything. If you've ever had the pleasure of chatting with someone who just had his/her first quantum physics class, he/she will often tell you that "there's a chance that we are both really in Siberia right now." This is technically somewhat true, only extremely unlikely—like one in a chugillion (made up number that is impossibly large). The same on a slightly less cosmic scale holds for fantasy advice. "He could steal 70 bases" can mean one in 20 or one in five.
There are lots of theories about why people tend to think rare events are far more likely to occur than they actual are—Prospect theory, Robust Control, etc. In the case of the fantasy gurus and even our general selves, I have a simple theory:
When we think to ourselves or attempt to justify our valuations to others, we naturally talk about what a player can do—as we should. But it seems small to say that the reason why we think Upton is worth the seventh pick overall is because he has a 4 or 5 percent chance to put in an MVP-type season. No one thinks they should get out of bed for that. So instead we start throwing around big numbers like 20 percent.
Posted by Jonathan Halket at 6:20am (0) Comments
1. Starlin Castro: Castro has a full tool shed to work with, including quick wrists that aren't hitting for much power now but should support average power as his body fills out. At just 19 years old, his plate discipline is a long way off, but he's slick and consistent with his glove already and projects as a defensive asset at shortstop.
2. Josh Vitters: It's tough to know what to make of Vitters at this point. His plate discipline has been hugely disappointing and his overall performance the definition of inconsistent. But he's just 20 years old and a good defender, and you could make the argument that his all-around bat projects a plus asset, including more home run power than I originally thought.
3. Brett Jackson: I was not a believer in Jackson's upside heading into the 2009 draft, but the initial numbers show more power and sneakier speed than I was expecting.
4. Jay Jackson: Jackson's fastball/slider combination is above average but not overwhelming. A third pitch would be a nice touch, but his stellar endurance will make sure that whatever repertoire he settles on will be put to use as a member of the starting rotation.
5. Hak-Ju Lee: The $1.15 million dollar signing bonus Chicago gave Lee in 2008 is looking like a strong investment in the early going. Lee has the ability to be great defensively, his speed is elite, and his bat looks fairly advanced for a 19-year-old.
6. Kyler Burke: Burke has a solid mix of skills, and he put everything together to tear up the Class-A Midwest League in 2009. He has a lot more to prove, as he was a bit on the old side for A-ball, but his career is off to a nice start.
7.Andrew Cashner: Cashner has a slick fastball/slider combination, but it seems better suited out of the bullpen at this point. Giving the bullpen idea further legs, his command comes and goes and his endurance is questionable to say the least. If I were a betting man, I would say his future lies as Chicago's setup man.
8. Chris Archer: Archer's control needs work, but he has a potent fastball/curveball combination and has produced a successful Midwest League season.
9. Chris Carpenter: I was a big fan of Carpenter heading into the 2008 draft, but his post-draft numbers were a turn-off. 2009 was an uneven but successful season, raising his stock as a potential back-of-the-rotation starter.
10. Ryan Flaherty: Considering that Flaherty turned 23 years old halfway through 2009, his Single-A season didn't do much for me. He showed more power than expected, which I want to see more evidence of against better competition, but the rest of his offense was ho-hum.
St. Louis Cardinals
1. Shelby Miller: Miller was a steal at No. 19 overall in the 2009 draft. His fastball has projection, his curveball could quickly turn into a plus offering, his mechanics are top-notch for a high schooler, his frame is athletic, and his endurance is enviable. It's hard to find faults.
2. Lance Lynn: Lynn has an intimidating presence on the mound, but he's not a big swing-and-miss kind of guy. He has a strong four-pitch mix and solid sinking action in everything he throws. He has a good chance to be a mid-rotation starter.
3. Jaime Garcia: The Tommy John surgery appears to have been a success, and Garcia hasn't missed a beat. He never had an overpowering fastball to begin with, but the sinking action remains. His groundball rate and plus curveball could turn him into a mid-rotation mainstay.
4. David Freese: Freese appears to be in line for St. Louis' starting gig at third base in 2010. The organization's confidence in him raises his stock. He won't be anything special, but with his average plate discipline and potentially above-average power, his bat should play at third base.
5. Allen Craig: Craig's position may have finally been settled as left field, and he has a strong enough bat to stick there. With his poor plate discipline I have to question his overall upside, but a .270 batting average with 20-25 home runs seems plausible.
6. Robert Stock: I think Stock has a future behind the plate. His defense will develop, and his arm is as good as it gets. On offense, there is a lot to question, but his raw power is for real, as evidenced by his Appy League debut.
7. Anthony Ferrara: Ferrara joined the Cardinals organization with an injury history, but it appears to be behind him. He has a nice three-pitch mix and has good projected endurance. There is a lot to like in his live left arm, but a lot to prove.
8. Daryl Jones: Jones is an athletic outfielder with average contact skills and plate discipline. I've been a big supporter of his for a while, but his power has yet to develop. Without power he doesn't have a major league future.
9. Pete Kozma: It may be impossible for some to comprehend, but I think we have reached a point where Kozma is actually underrated. He provides a solid glove at shortstop, some workable plate discipline and contact skills, and some sneaky instincts on the base paths. He's not a star in the making and will never live up to the first-round expectations, but a long career as a serviceable shortstop or utility infielder could be in his future.
10. Eduardo Sanchez: Sanchez's stuff is good, but it does get a bit overrated. What separates him from the other relief prospects is his at times sharp, but inconsistent, command. Yet, at just 20 years old, his control will get even better.
Posted by Matt Hagen at 6:00am (7) Comments
Friday, January 15, 2010
Aubrey Huff | San Francisco | 1B/OF
2009 Final Stats: .241/.310/.384
Needing a 1B with some pop in his bat, preferably a lefty, the Giants signed Aubrey Huff to a one-year, $3M deal this week. According to manager Bruce Bochy, Huff will hit fourth and play most of the time, largely at 1B and possibly in LF. This would be a change from his role in 2009, and the Giants clearly hope they're going to get better results, too.
Huff's .253/.321/.405 start with Baltimore in 2009 wasn't awful, but it was underwhelming, so Baltimore shipped him to Detroit in mid-August. The Tigers said they wanted another, more versatile bat, since Huff could play the outfield as well as either corner spot. Instead of exploiting his versatility, however, manager Jim Leyland inexplicably mired Huff in the DH spot, platooning him with Marcus Thames, even though Thames had only shown a .047 OPS platoon split on the season.
In Leyland's defense, Thames had shown a larger split in the past, and Huff wasn't exactly tearing the cover off the ball, either. Huff played in just 28 of the Tigers' 45 remaining games, hitting .189/.265/.302, and Detroit lost the first-place spot it had when he arrived, finishing a game back of first-place Minnesota and 9.5 games behind wild card Boston. This wasn't all Huff's fault, of course (Thames hit .254/.347/.305 over the same span), but his dismal production didn't help, either.
A variety of factors came together to make Huff's 2009 look worse than it actually was. First was luck, as his .198 BABIP was well below his career .292 BABIP (.297 from 2006-8). Huff's HR%, which has hovered just over 10% in his career, dropped to 9.3% in 2009 with the O's and a career low 6.5% with the Tigers. That bad streak is only accentuated by the favorable 2008 numbers he had. He brought home the Silver Slugger in 2008, thanks to a .304/.360/.552 line—but that can be explained by a 14.3% HR rate and a .310 BABIP.
His venue in Detroit was a problem, too. His BABIP in Comerica last season was .228, which looks like more bad luck, except that fits precisely with his career BABIP in that stadium. His HR rate could have also been hurt by Detroit's home park, too, since he had one HR and three 2Bs in 72 PAs there in '09.
As you can see from the GP mini-browser, most of his other numbers, particularly plate discipline and contact percentage, have remained steady. That suggests Huff's core skills are intact, but that (absent other streaks of good or bad luck) you should expect a line more like 2007 than either '08 or '09—which is almost exactly GP's predicting for him.
For those looking for a bigger rebound, remember that Huff is changing teams, ballparks and leagues—his 261 PAs of .250/.272/.341 baseball with the Astros in 2006 are the sum of his full-time NL experience. Keep in mind also that 2009 was the first time since 2006 that he'd played the field more than he'd DHed, which might have worn him down, explaining that weak second half. Since Bochy plans to play him in the field so much, this could prove a further problem for Huff's chances in San Francisco.
Bochy will have Travis Ishikawa (.261/.329/.387 in 2009) in case Huff falters, and GP actually sees both players as having virtually identical seasons (.255/.325/.424 for Ishikawa). That means San Francisco may have dropped $3M for a guy who's about as good as the lefty 1B they have. That, and the fact that they're happy to land a cleanup hitter who should deliver a .440 SLG, says a lot about the free agent market, if not the bad choices of the Giants. Don't make the same mistake; Huff should only be a starter in deeper NL-only leagues.
Brett Myers | Houston | SP
2009 Final Stats: 6.4 K/9, 2.2 K/BB, 4.84 ERA
Houston inked Myers to a one-year, $5.1M this week, including an option for 2011. Josh Shepardson beat me to the punch in his very nice piece in Buy on the Rumor on Sunday, but I'll add my .02 here.
Because he lost most of 2009 to a bad hip, Myers' numbers for last season aren't a real measure of his worth. Because he's bounced from starting to closing since 2007, it makes both '07 and '08 harder to judge, too. But the mini-browser is still a picture of a guy with some skills to offer the Astros, if he can survive the squeeze of Minute Maid Park.
Myers is a power pitcher with a two-seamer and a four-seamer that combine with a very nice curve to produce some good strikeout numbers. But his pitches aren't so good that opposing hitters don't get a hold of one now and again and rip it over the fence. Check that HR rate on the mini-browser: He hasn't dipped below 1.2 HR/9 since he was a closer in '07, and his career average is 1.4. This is further reflected in his HR/FB ratio, which has always been elevated (15.5% career). In 2009, that ballooned to a whopping 24.3%, a sure indication that his stuff was way off.
But his ERA will be higher than other power pitchers as a result of this tendency, even when he's healthy. As Josh points out, Myers will move from one hitters' park to another; his career HR/9 in Minute Maid is 1.2 in just 22 IP, a fairly good indication that we should expect the same from him in Houston. Myers compensates for those homerriffic tendencies by inducing groundballs (47.3% GB rate career), which makes the defense behind him that much more important—and ERA that much dicier to predict.
That's another problem, as he'll be going from a good defense in Philly (27.9 UZR in 2009, fourth in the NL) to a below-average one in Houston (-17.7 UZR, tenth in the NL). Houston's defense will be different in 2010, swapping a -13.9 UZR Miguel Tejada for (most probably) Tommy Manzella (no minor-league UZR available), who is expected to be a significant upgrade. And they've brought Pedro Feliz (5.3 UZR) to replace Geoff Blum (0.3 UZR). That will be an improvement, but it will still be a step down from what he had in Philly.
So what can we expect from Myers? That GP projection reflected his uncertain role and destination at press time, so his K and IP numbers are low for a starter, while his K rate is a tad higher. The ERA and WHIP feel about right, though perhaps a bit on the low side because of that diminished defense; wins will also be harder to come by with Houston (14th in the NL in runs scored) than they were in Philly (first in the NL in runs scored).
That makes Myers a decent mid-rotation fantasy option who will deliver the Ks for you (expect a rate somewhere in the high 6s and low 7s) while bruising your ERA now and then and bringing about 10-15 wins.
Adam Dunn | Washington | 1B-OF
2009 Final Stats: .267/.398/.529
Dunn has been Old Reliable in fantasy (and real) baseball, delivering 40 HRs, 100 RBI, 100+ BBs, and 160+ Ks nearly every year between 2004 and 2009. The first exception came in 2006, when he only drove in 92; the second came in 2009, when he managed a "mere" 38 HRs. Sadly, you could see him pressing for this milestone down the stretch: after his 38th longball (preceded by a 5-25 run since HR No. 37), he whiffed 12 times in 37 ABs, hitting just .108 in those eleven games.
That production ranked Dunn 24th among NL batters in standard roto leagues, thanks to the .249 career BA he also consistently brings. He's much more valuable in saber leagues, as those walks give him a .398 career OBP, but he still brings plenty to the plate to any league due to his steadiness and predictability.
Even better, he's cut back on those whiffs since tickling 200 Ks in '04 and '06, when his K rate crested 28%. He still hovers in the 25+ neighborhood, but you've got to take improvement where you get it, particularly since he's done it without losing ground in the other areas. And, as you might expect, cutting back on the Ks helped his BA rise from .244 from '02-'06 to .256 since then.
Many of us thought his move last season from Cincy to Washington, in a less friendly ballpark surrounded by a weaker lineup, would hurt him significantly. But Dunn was as strong as ever, improving over his 2008 stats in nearly every area.
You can see the elevated H% in the mini-browser that contributed to some of that improvement. Dunn's longball swing has always produced a higher H%, and 2009's H% was helped by his 21% LD rate, his highest since 2006. He's also consistently brought high HR/FB rates, but his 21.1 HR% in 2009 was in line with his career 22.4%, so luck wasn't the whole story of his season. What we're seeing is a slight uptick made more pronounced by his relative downer of a 2008, when his H% was 35, and his GB% with the Reds was a career-worst 37.2%.
The wonderful thing about Dunn is that he makes us commentators seem so smart by being so reliable—2008 was a down year only because of the slight drop in BA and SLG, as he hit all those other marks listed above. His consistency and his health (Dunn's thumb cost him 41 games in 2003 and his knee cost him 6 games in 2007, the only times he's been on the DL in his career) make him one of the better choices in fantasy.
But that predictable value isn't always that impressive, partly because of the BA drag on your lineup. Like the Christmas package from your grandma that you know will contain another sweater, you know what you'll get in Dunn—even if it's not exactly what you want. Count on him for another year like the one you see at top, with a BA in the .260s, around 40 HRs, 100 RBI, 100 BBs, and 150+ Ks. The Nationals lineup around him is somewhat improved, as Ryan Zimmerman and Nyjer Morgan continue developing, while Elijah Dukes gets another chance to make good on his promising talent; continued growth should boost his R and RBI production.
That makes Dunn a great bet to finish in the same mid-20s neighborhood in the 2010 roto rankings; his value is dropped a bit if he loses OF eligibility in your league, but he's still someone who stands on the edge of elite status in standard roto, an edge he crosses over in saber leagues.
J.A. Happ | Philadelphia | SP
2009 Final Stats: 6.5 K/9, 2.1 K/BB, 2.93 ERA
Happ was one of the better surprises in the Philadelphia lineup, as he blossomed from a young arm of the future to a pitcher of the here and now, earning second place in RoY balloting. He started the year with strong bullpen performances, then switched places with starter Chan Ho Park when the Korean righty struggled. The move turned out to be great for both of them, as Park shaved nearly 4.7 runs off his ERA and 0.6 off his WHIP, and Happ merely continued to excel.
He finished ranked 26th among NL pitchers in roto value, leading to that close RoY voting, where he finished ahead of Tommy Hanson, who is generally regarded as a much better talent. But looking behind his 2009 numbers are a few signs that a correction is coming.
The biggest of these signs is the 85% strand rate in 2009, well north of where it should be and a good indication that his ERA was artificially deflated. His 3.0 walk rate sits right at the edge of acceptability, even if it's improved over his previous years (both '07 and '08 are relatively small samples), and his strikeout rate is also on the border of Joe Average.
The other place he sits on the borderline is in hit trajectories; that 2009 0.9 GB/FB ratio you see in the mini-browser puts him right near the flyball-pitcher threshold. Citizen's Bank Park is a tough place for that kind of pitcher to flourish, and he was right about league average with a 9.6% HR/FB rate. Any unlucky rise in that rate in 2010 doesn't bode well for a flyball pitcher, even a fringe-y one.
He also saw a bit of luck in 2010, as he was helped by a rather low .270 BABIP, and (as noted in the Myers writeup above), Happ undoubtedly benefited from the strong Philly defense. That defense will, with the exception of Feliz, return in 2010; his outfield defense is, with the exception of Raul Ibanez, very strong, which is important for a flyball pitcher (even a marginal one).
The overall portrait, then, is a young pitcher with borderline skills who nonetheless succeeded in 2009, making him an excellent candidate to give some of those gains back in 2010, especially at Citizens' Bank Park. He'll also be better scouted, and more exposure could reveal further flaws.
He's still a good pitcher for the middle or end of your fantasy rotation, but he won't really rack up the strikeouts, and the potential for an ERA explosion is a fuse waiting to be lit. Let other owners be taken in by his moderately lucky 2009 and don't go the extra dollar—hold firm on that GP $8 projection. Don't expect to see Happ ranked anywhere near this high in 2010.
Kelly Johnson | Arizona | 2B
2009 Final Stats: .224/.303/.389
One of the bigger disappointments for fantasy owners and Braves fans, Johnson fell off a cliff in 2009. Two straight seasons of OPS in the .800 territory plummeted to below .700, and Martin Prado took the keystone job from Johnson when he hit the DL. Cut loose by the Braves, Johnson signed with the Diamondbacks, who are willing to pay $2.35M to see if he can regain those gaudy MIF numbers in 2010.
Some of Johnson's disappointing 2009 can be written off to wrist tendinitis, which landed him on the DL for 20 days in July; it most likely had been bothering him for even longer before that. This is supported by the fact that he hit .261/.358/.493 after that point, but Prado was hitting even better, so Johnson only started 12 of the remaining 38 games, despite such improvement.
Furthermore, that hit rate in his mini-browser shows a big drop in his H% in 2009. Despite a rise in his contact rate, that's more than enough to account for his BA losses, and the wrist injury would certainly account for the power outage. At 28, Johnson is far too young to experience significant age decline, and he's been in the league too long for pitchers to suddenly find massive holes in his swing.
Arizona should be a great place for him to regain his confidence, as Chase Field is much more hitter-friendly than Turner Field, and Arizona has few legitimate contenders to that spot. Ryan Roberts and Rusty Ryal got some PT at the keystone last year, and both are better as bench players, while their best minor-league second baseman, Mark Hallberg, is a year away at best.
He should also hit leadoff, a spot Arizona has long had a problem filling, as Chris Young lacks the patience and Stephen Drew lacks the speed for that spot. Johnson's no speed demon, either, but he could crack double-digits in steals on an Arizona team that has become more focused on the SB under A.J. Hinch. The GP projection is based on PT play (175 PA), so you can follow its ratio predictions, but bump up his counting stats and value predictions accordingly. Note that low Sentiment score, too, a sure sign that other owners will be bearish on Johnson.
So many signs point to a rebound that Johnson is someone you should be able to grab at a bargain price. He's the kind of player who can contribute in nearly every category, without blowing the doors off of any of them, making him an excellent addition to your lineup. Don't go crazy, but don't be afraid to risk an extra buck or two on Johnson if he's still within your budget. You won't be sorry.
If you like these projections and mini-browsers, don't forget to get a jump on your competition by picking up a copy of Graphical Player 2010. You'll get the full browser for each player, as well as insightful commentary from the best baseball writers on the web.
And leave your player suggestions in the comments below. As I inch closer, I'll keep counting down the top 2009 roto producers, adding in recent signings and reader requests each week.
Posted by Michael Street at 2:00am (8) Comments
Waiver Wire Offseason
Jose Valverde | Detroit | RP
2009 Final Stats: 9.3 K/9, 2.7 K/BB, 2.33 ERA
“Papa Grande” is the sort of guy the term “closer” conjures images of. He's a flamethrower who is so intimidating, he appears to be a fire-breather as well. He's had a WHIP under 1.2 and a K/9 over 9 for three straight years now. He frequently hits 98, and his fastball averages almost 96 mph. The fast gun in Comerica should help him hit triple digits on occasion. His split-finger fastball ends many an at-bat with a demonstrative celebration from the emotional closer.
As a fantasy owner, it's good to note that Comerica—and some other AL Central parks as well—should contain many of his numerous flyballs. And his arm has been very healthy for three years, with the time missed in 2009 being due to a calf injury that he showed he was over. The over-sized contract Detroit lavished on him should insure that unless he's hurt, 100-mph-throwing Joel Zumaya won't displace him as closer, even if Zumaya is 100%.
The only reasons to be cautious at all with Valverde are that he'll be facing AL hitters now, which should be less of a transition for a closer than for a starter or middle reliever (since, presumably, NL teams don't let their pitchers bat against closers), and the walks. Valverde's control improved in 2008 but reverted back to his career norm in 2009. He's susceptible to his emotions, and if things aren't going well, he can get wild, leading to even more trouble. But, he's a closer, and has a closer's short memory. Expect him to be among the best “second-tier” closers in the AL in 2010.
Joel Zumaya | Detroit | RP
2009 Final Stats: 8.7 K/9, 1.4 K/BB, 4.94 ERA
In short, the Valverde signing reduced to almost nil the chance of having a late (or cheap) pick of Zumaya turn into something advantageous. With his shoulder going “pop” in July, and a visit to Dr. James Andrews for surgery in August, he was already a bit of a longshot. We love the talent he has, and before he “popped” his shoulder, he was exceeding 100 mph with regularity in 2009. But we're going to keep this short and assume that even if is “healthy” in 2010, his control won't make it back until 2011 at the earliest. Without saves to prop up his value, he has almost no fantasy significance.
Vladimir Guerrero | Texas | OF
2009 Final Stats: .295/.334/.460
You know that the bar is set very high when a player can hit almost .300, post a 106 OPS+, and people are talking about him in hushed tones as if he has some fatal disease. Well, nobody really knows what to make of Vlad's knees, but his B-R “Similar Batters through [age] 34” list is pretty imposing, with four HOF members already, and guys like Frank “Big Hurt” Thomas, Manny, Bagwell, Juan Gonzalez, and Rafael Palmeiro on it as well.
There are some striking differences between “Big Hurt” and Vlad, but both have serious knee problems, and while Thomas wasn't the same at ages 35+, he still managed to amass 2500 more PA with a .265/.382/.518 batting line after his age 34 season. Now, Vlad's moving to Texas, and statistically, that doesn't show up as a big upgrade in ballpark for him, and with Rudy Jaramillo happily in Chicago (no doubt awaiting Lou's retirement), the “magic potion” for hitters in Texas may have lost its “magic.” But, at the very least, there should be no reason to downgrade Vlad after the move. And while it's obviously smart to exercise caution here, don't forget that even without the steals, Vlad has the ability to be a very good 4-category player ... and he could be a huge bargain, as people are already writing him off as a goner.
Robinson Tejeda | Kansas City | SP?
2009 Final Stats: 10.6 K/9, 1.7 K/BB, 3.54 ERA
Picking up starter-eligible pitchers can be a good strategy, spending almost nothing to amass a “pitching staff” that can win three of the four “standard” categories. Anyway, back in September, we offered this “crack” about the Royals and Tejeda:
Good news for glass-half-full people in KC, in a season where they seemed to deliberately avoid debuting players while giving playing time to bad veterans. Tejeda seems to have finally found a home for his mid-90s fastball and almost Marmol-ian lack of control in the bullpen. He's allowed just 54 hits with KC ... in two seasons (92.2 IP)! But leave it to the run-amok Royals to mess with one of the few things that was working, moving him back to the rotation. At least it's a move that has very good upside, but we're thinking it's more likely to leave the half-full glass cracked.
Well, the four starts he made from that date onward gave us more of the same ... just 11 hits allowed in 20.1 innings, with SIXTEEN (16) walks and three homers! Using the great P-I feature at B-R, Marmol is in fact the leader in H/9 over the past two years among pitchers with 100+ innings, and No. 2 is—you guessed it—Tejeda. Clearly a guy who has walked 5.2 batters per 9 innings isn't a prime candidate for WHIP help, and unless a league uses strange categories, it's hard to envision him being helpful in fantasy in 2010, or beyond.
Matt Palmer | Los Angeles | SP?
2009 Final Stats: 5.1 K/9, 1.3 K/BB, 3.93 ERA
We're sticking to our guns on this one. The peripherals are right, and his 2009 performance is the aberration. Palmer is a great story, and maybe a movie could be made, and he did have a nice K/9 rate in 2008 in Triple-A, despite his 1.5 WHIP, so he's probably not worthless in an MLB context. But for fantasy purposes, he's going to bring pain and suffering, and not the joy of an 11-2 season with a sub-4 ERA again. He's currently about sixth in the Angels rotational depth, but he's much more likely to be used in low-leverage relief work (meaning he gets left in to take a beating) and emergency starts.
Zach Miner | Detroit | SP?
2009 Final Stats: 6.0 K/9, 1.4 K/BB, 4.29 ERA
Remarkably, Tejeda, Palmer, and Miner were the next 3 ERA+ guys who are Starter-eligible relievers in 2010. Miner is another mediocre pitcher who, like Palmer, would require quite a few breaks to be a useful fantasy asset. He remained about the same against LHP in 2009, but righties solved him in a big way, teeing off for a .302/.381/.503 batting line. The BABIP can be expected to come down a little bit from the .314 he posted, but he's somewhat of a groundball pitcher (around 47% career), and ground balls have higher BABIP implications than flies. All in all, just consider it a warning to stay away.
Here is a 16-page preview of Graphical Player 2010. You can order the book from Acta Sports here..
Posted by Rob McQuown at 3:59am (5) Comments
Monday, January 18, 2010
As I'm in no way affiliated with James himself, the projections, or Baseball Info Solutions, there were some things I wasn't entirely clear on and some questions I couldn't answer. Luckily, a member of the BIS team who works on the projections (Ben Jedlovec) read the article and was kind enough to offer an explanation for some of the things I and the THTF readers noted. I'll post his two e-mails in full.
And here's the second one:
So there you have it. Some insight into the thought process behind the Bill James system from someone working on the inside.
Given what Ben says about the inner-workings of the Bill James system, it appears that the projections for most veteran players should indeed be comparable between projection systems (at least as far as any projection system goes — they all assume a slightly different league average from each other). The James system might only seem more optimistic because: 1) they actually are optimistic about some rookies, 2) the run environment is inflated because a lot of veteran bench-type players don't get projected, and 3) the run environment is further inflated (over previous seasons) because the system doesn't attempt to forecast injuries, opting to give a relatively higher number of players a full season of at-bats.
Whether or not this means we actually can compare, say, Alex Rodriguez's Bill James projection to his CHONE projections isn't 100 percent certain — we'd need to run some tests, as we would with any other fantasy baseball theory — but I think Ben provided us with some very interesting food for thought.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to let me know.
Posted by Derek Carty at 3:36am (1) Comments
The writing was on the wall last season for Carlos Beltran when he was confined to exercising in a pool for a significant part of the year. All of the symptoms - right knee pain with weight bearing, pain with any type of jogging or running, cutting and pivoting, swelling - all screamed to an articular cartilage problem. The "bone bruise", as it was diagnosed, was actually Osteoarthritis (OA). Bone bruises are painful much in the same way as OA, but they get substantially better given enough time. OA really does not.
It is now announced that he underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee today - a surgery that will certainly sideline him for three months, and in most cases for people who have this done, longer. It is interesting to note that Beltran went with his own physician - Dr. Richard Steadman (Colorado), who is one of the foremost leaders in microfracture surgery anywhere.
Could he be back in three to four months? Sure he could, but it is not likely. Every knee is different, and depending on the location of the cartilage defect, the size and the depth of the defect, recovery could be different. Not to mention that each individual deals with injury differently, and perceives pain differently. There's really no easy answer.
Beltran should miss the entire Spring Training schedule, but it really would not surprise me if he struggled with his rehab and has this linger into May or June. I say this due to the chronic nature of his knee pain and the fact that with any chronic, painful condition, what once were normal movement patterns can become quite altered (compensatory gait, altered balance and motor skills/proprioception about the joint).
Even if he does come back this season, what are the chances that he will have the same speed, agility, and explosiveness that has made him a fantasy mainstay for so many years? We already know that he is not a lock for a high batting average (although he has had a couple .300-plus seasons), and his stolen base totals are now going to be on life support. He has also had a three-year decline in his SLG%, ISO, and HR totals, and has become more of a ground ball hitter, as evidenced by his three-year increase in GB%.
I am ignoring him completely in all draft formats, unless it is an NL-only league with a couple of DL spots for stashing.
Posted by Chris Neault at 4:51am (13) Comments
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
If you have ever been in the position where you are giving advice to someone, you know it is always easier to "play it safe" and advise them to take the less risky route. Whether it be an investor telling you to put your money into mutual funds instead of individual stocks or even a football coach telling his team to punt on fourth-and-one instead of going for the first down; the safe route allows the person giving advice to escape any added blame in the event of something bad happening.
Of course, the result of giving safe advice is avoiding the spotlight—you cannot become the hero or the goat, and many people are fine with that fate. Not everyone feels the need to become the next Bill Belichick, and people who write about fantasy baseball are no exception.
A large part of what fantasy experts do is evaluating what players are good values, and by value I'm referring to their production versus where they can be drafted. More often than not you will hear a fantasy baseball expert pull out his favorite line: "While Player X should put up decent numbers I would not pull the trigger on him where he is currently being drafted, especially when Player Y can be drafted five gazillion picks later." By saying this patented phrase our expert has accomplished two important goals: 1) He has given what appears to be useful advice and 2) He has absolved himself of any risk related to the drafting of these players. Sure, the Player Y could bust, but since you made such a small investment in him it is insignificant.
Now, sometimes a fantasy expert gives the advice to hold off on a player in a certain position for one that can be had later, and the advice is sound. However, when an expert repeatedly says this, following his advice in an actual draft would leave you pickless in the eighth round and desperately awaiting the arrival of the 20th round so you can fill your roster with Alcides Escobar and Scott Sizemore galore. Unfortunately, you do have to select players in those difficult middle rounds, so not every pick you make can be bursting with value throughout a draft.
To help you through those rounds, you need more than just the expert who plays the value game, you need someone who is willing to absorb some risk with their advice and tell you not who to avoid, but most importantly who to take. In the past I admittedly have been guilty at times of always deferring to a player that could be drafted later, but this year one of my goals will be helping people through that 10-round stretch—from round six to 15—in drafts that I think is not only the most crucial, but also the most ignored.
Anyone can draft a competent first few rounds and the sleepers for ends of drafts are almost universally spelled out by the time drafts occur. The middle rounds are where any skill you possess in drafting will shine—where the risk of investment is still high enough and the skill of the players is decreasing quickly enough that make it the critical point in any draft. If there is going to be a part of the draft you skimp on preparing for, the middle rounds should be last on your list.
Posted by Paul Singman at 1:02am (14) Comments
This is Part 2 of my Fantasy Baseball Hall of Fame trilogy. The ground rules have been laid out in Part 1, so let’s jump right into it.
Class of 2001
Andy Van Slyke
Five inductees in this class sets a new single season high.
Dave Winfield is a shoo-in. Although relatively “boring,” his run was unquestionably great. He provided above-average batting averages and appeared regularly in the league leaders in homers, RBI, and runs. Sometimes he contributed useful steals totals to boot. Despite his peak beginning before 1980, he kept up this elite level of production for a good dozen FBHOF-eligible seasons. Frankly, it mystifies me how many fans see him as a “compiler.” Winfield was an absolutely elite baseball player, and one of the most remarkable athletes of his generation; he was drafted by the NFL and NBA in addition to MLB.
Kirby Puckett was a batting average monster who usually offered very helpful homer, RBI and runs totals. He had three absolutely awesome fantasy seasons; ’86, ’88, and ’92. From ’86 through ’95, he was probably at home in the top 30 or so fantasy players, even in his less impressive seasons. That’s enough of a balance of peak and career value to earn my nod.
Donnie Baseball really tests my stated preference for peak in this exercise. His fantasy career is nearly unworthy of mention outside of ’84 – ’89, aside from two roster-worthy campaigns in ’92 and ’93. His run from ’84 – ’87 was pretty amazing though, and while there were other legitimate power producing corners, few also hit over .330 over a four-year stretch. A four-year run as a probable first-round player is enough to earn my vote.
Dave Stewart had four really noteworthy seasons, punctuated by his averaging 21 wins per season over that span. He was also a horse, racking up 260-plus innings a year throughout that run. Unfortunately, his strikeout totals and ERA marks over that same stretch were good, but not outstanding. He had very little outside of those seasons to fill out his resume. He gets a thumbs down, but a tip of my cap.
Lou Whitaker is one who, like Willie Randolph, has more Hall of Fame support than many realize. For me, he just misses the cut in a pretty strong class. He produced very good run totals and some very respectable homer totals for a middle infielder of his era. He rarely accrued meaningful stolen base totals and was basically batting average neutral. Though the skill sets are different, I would guess that his value in his era was similar to that of Brian Roberts in his. He is something of a tough omission for me.
Kirk Gibson was basically the Bobby Abreu of his era, quiet, unsexy, and just super valuable. He was good for very good run totals, an above average batting average, 80 – 100 RBIs, and 50 – 60 combined homers and steals every year for five seasons. While a balanced set of skills is less valuable than it is normally thought to be in actual baseball, five-category contributors are gold in fantasy baseball. I can see that a quick glance at his numbers might provoke debate with my choice here, but I’m willing to wager that those who played fantasy baseball in Gibson’s heyday will rush to defend this choice.
Before looking at his numbers, I thought I’d support Parrish. Surprisingly, when I did, my opinion soured. He was a great source of dingers at a thin position, but his other counting totals weren’t much more than good and he was semi-regularly a batting average liability.
Tom Henke gets my vote. Henke got his career started a bit before closers with gaudy numbers became ubiquitous. He posted high saves totals along with elite rate stats, and struck out batters like it was going out of style for eight consecutive seasons.
HoJo falls short for me. To get in on a stretch of five or six years, they really have to be amazing. Johnson did have two absolutely fantastic seasons in ’89 and ’91, but that wasn’t enough to tip the scales for me.
Class of 2002
Following 2001’s record-setting election, 2002 pitches a shutout.
I’m actually going to go out on a limb here and not vote for Andre Dawson. He was basically done as a difference-making basestealer by 1983. His putrid on-base skills resulted in unimpressive runs totals. He also eclipsed 25 homers three times after ’83.
I thought Trammell would earn my vote as well. But upon looking at the numbers, I’m not biting. Trammell had an absolutely sensational season in 1987, and probably a second-round season in ’86. Otherwise, he probably has no Top 25 seasons to speak of.
Class of 2003
The class of 2003 offers two inductees as well as some players who didn’t earn my vote, but are worthy of careful consideration.
Steady Eddie Murray was a force in Major League Baseball for more than 15 seasons. He was also somewhat surly and menacing looking and black, this is presumably relevant to people like Dan Shaughnessy who concludes, contrary to what empiricism would dictate, that Murray and Rice were better and more feared hitters than Edgar Martinez. Really, there’s nothing much to say about Murray, so I figured I’d use the space to attack a Boston charlatan whose goal is to promulgate absurd sports-related notions with the intent to provoke discussion and dissent, thereby increasing his own popularity through hyperbole and sensationalism as opposed to the more conventional and honorable approach of dedication to mastering one’s craft.
Who were we talking about again? Ah, yes. Eddie Murray. Here’s my favorite tidbit on Murray. In what almost appears an attempt to caricature his own consistency of excellence, from ’81 – ’84, he posted the exact same 156 OPS+. Mr. Murray, please stroll leisurely and unobstructed into your spot in the Fantasy Baseball Hall of Fame.
There’s also not that much to say about Ryne Sandberg. He was an elite fantasy second baseman for most of his career. From ’84 – ’92, he hit better than .300 seven times, scored at least 100 runs six times, hit 20 or more homers five times, drove in more than 80 runs five times, and stole no fewer than 15, but as many as 54 bases in a season. In 1985 he went .305/113/26/83/54! In 1990, he posted a line of .306/116/40/100/25. Ryno probably had as a stranglehold on the top spot at second base in the fantasy game of his era as Chase Utley continues to hold in his. Sandberg earns an easy yes.
Lee Smith was a very solid relief pitcher for a long time, but he lacks a run of truly standout seasons. He posted very nice and consistent saves totals and often offered a very nice strikeout rate. In extrapolating his value however, I see more of a prolonged Bobby Jenks than a Joe Nathan. So, Smith does not earn the nod.
Fernando Valenzuela was a very tough omission for me. I strongly considered giving him my vote on the strength of a high peak. But, unlike the people of Southern California in 1981, I was able to resist Fernando-mania. At the end of the day, Valenzuela provided great strikeout numbers and tossed a ton of innings. However, he only won more than 15 games three times (though his 13 in the strike-shortened 1981 season should be mentioned), posted ho-hum WHIP numbers, and did not eclipse a 141 ERA+ throughout his run, which included several campaigns in the 100 – 120 range. I may get skewered for saying this, but frankly without the hype, Javier Vazquez has basically put together a similar run, a bit longer and a bit flatter.
Brett Butler was a very good major league baseball player. Though he’s probably most well-remembered for being one of the best bunters of the last 50 years, he had many other skills, including speed (though he posted some very ugly SB/CS ratios) and great on-base abilities. Surely, Butler helped a lot of fantasy teams in his day, in the runs, batting average, and stolen bases departments specifically. But, his contributions didn’t reach a level meriting induction.
When thinking about this exercise, I dreaded one player more than any other — Vince Coleman! Here he is, the firecracker-tossing speedster who freely admitted that he had no idea who Jackie Robinson was. If I wasn’t writing this at 8:30 in the morning, I’d run to the liquor cabinet and pour myself a glass of Scotch to sip on while I mull this over. Since it is 8:30, bourbon will have to do.
This is the one case I really felt I had to do at least a little mathematical diligence for. I wasn’t comfortable just guesstimating the value of Coleman’s steals in his time. I’m focusing on 1985 – 1987, as that encompasses the vast majority of Coleman’s case. If these three seasons are as impressive as it may seem on paper, then ’88- 90 should probably bookend it well enough to provide cause for Coleman’s election. I looked into the stolen base rates over those years and compared them with 2007 – 2009. From ’85 – ’87, Major League Baseball averaged about .8 steals per game. (There was a huge disparity in favor of the NL in terms of steals per game, which would actually weaken Coleman’s relative case in NL-only formats, as there were far more relative steals to go around.) Over the last three seasons there’s been approximately .6 swipes per Major League game. So, to put Coleman’s totals from ’85 – ’87 in today’s perspective, we can reduce them by 25 percent. This adjustment has him averaging 81.5 steals per season over than run. This is still a truly elite total, but when coupled with virtually no homers or RBIs, and an often weighty albatross of a batting average, some of the luster of those campaigns begins to chip away. His strong runs totals are really the only other positive in Coleman’s case.
It is worth noting that in ’85, ’86, and ’87 respectively, only four, four and three other players stole as many as half of the bases Coleman did. The other side of total steals is the nature of the distribution of those steals, especially among fantasy-relevant regulars. Since I have to look at so many players in this exercise, I’ve stopped short of seeing if there is any key insight to be gained from analyzing the distribution of steals. I’m confident in giving Coleman the thumbs down without further exploration. In fact, I hypothesize that such an activity would actually further weaken Coleman’s case because there were so many other truly outstanding fantasy assets at the same time who provided considerable speed contributions, including Rickey Henderson and Tim Raines, to Sandberg Eric Davis, Paul Molitor, and Darryl Strawberry.
Danny Tartabull deserves more consideration than many might think. He had a number of 30-plus homer seasons and eclipsed 100 RBIs five times. The run scoring context was beginning to pick up a bit in the late ‘80s into the early ‘90s though, so 30/100 wasn’t exactly what it was a half-dozen seasons prior. Tartabull missed time regularly, though, and had he been able to amass those additional 100 ABs per season, he would have had some really nice campaigns and made a good case for himself.
Mickey Tettleton provided a lot of pop with catcher eligibility. His batting average was consistently awful, though, and his runs and RBI totals don’t stand out. He’s worth a mention, but not a vote.
Class of 2004
The 2004 class boasts three inductees and not too many marginal candidates.
“In Canada, PM used to stand for Prime Minister, but now it stands for Paul Molitor,” or something extremely similar remarked the wizard of wordsmithing, Tim McCarver, during the broadcast of Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. Thirteen years later, my girlfriend wore this shirt to her 26th birthday party. I’m very conflicted with Molitor; he’s difficult to evaluate. He had all kinds of positional eligibility throughout his career, having played the outfield, first base, second base, and third base, in addition to DH-ing. (He also played some short pre-1980.) He regularly posted very good batting averages and awesome runs totals. He also had many seasons with rather pedestrian homer and RBI totals. He stole more than 500 bases in his career, but only swiped 40 or more four times. I’m going to give him the nod on the basis of his regular presence on the leaderboards in runs, batting average and stolen bases. But, this is nowhere near a no-brainer.
Eck earns my vote for his run from ’88 – ’92. He posted inhumane rate stats, bolstered by averaging more than a strikeout per inning and averaging 44 saves over that same period.
Dave Stieb was one of the top pitchers of his time, but rarely gets talked about. From 1981 – 1990, he won more than 15 games six times, had an ERA better than 80 percent of his league eight times (leading in ERA+ twice), made sporadic appearances on the strikeout leaderboard, and was a mainstay on the WHIP board. However, it is with true hesitancy that I give him my vote. I believe that a player rater would bear out Stieb’s consistently top-tier value. I think Stieb was most likely at the back end of the top starting pitcher tier for a considerable length of time.
Juan Samuel was Alfonso Soriano-esque. With a few more seasons remotely similar to ’84 – ’87, he would have had a fairly decent shot.
Cecil Fielder’s peak was too short to earn serious consideration, but I’m sure anybody who owned him in 1990 or 1991 was very glad to, especially since he came out of nowhere in ’90.
Class of 2005
Wade Boggs gains entry. But, like Molitor, his candidacy isn’t as strong as I thought it was going to be. Boggs was an absolute beast in the batting average and runs departments. Throughout his peak, though, he hit double-digits homers only once (a seemingly anomalous 24 in 1987). In many respects, Boggs is similar to Ichiro, who I also consider overrated for fantasy purposes. Boggs was an even batter bet than Ichiro to hit .350 and was a better run scorer than Ichiro. However, Boggs was a corner infielder and Ichiro is an outfielder. Boggs also didn’t steal bases while Ichiro contributes very well in that category. Boggs did contribute in the RBI category in some campaigns and was probably neutral in others. Ichiro is actually a liability in the RBI department most seasons.
One other interesting similarity is that, anecdotally, both Ichiro and Boggs have been identified by their teammates as among the best batting-practice home run hitters around. This has led many to believe that both players could have hit more homers, but were unwilling to suffer the presumed drop in batting average that would accompany such a change in approach. This seems plausible and similar claims have been made throughout history about a number of different players. Ty Cobb homered twice in a game allegedly just to prove to others that he “could,” but chose not to emulate Ruth. Regardless, Boggs hit .363 the year he launched 24 homers, so it doesn’t appear that the supposed either-or dynamic to his approach advanced by these third-party theorists necessarily existed. Another fun fact about Boggs is that over a 162-game stretch of the Red Sox schedule (Boggs played in 160 of them) from June of 1985 through June of 1986, Boggs hit .400.
For a span of nine seasons, from 1983 – 1991, Darryl Strawberry averaged 31 homers and 22 stolen bases a season. In the heart of than run, from 1984 – 1988, he missed averaging 30/30 for over a five-year span by less than one steal (29.2). He turned in pretty good to very good RBI and runs totals from season to season, and offered a relatively neutral batting average. Strawberry most likely spent the mid- to late-'90s as a first-round draft pick. Congrats Darryl, this small piece of redemption is yours!
Jeff Montgomery is one of the more forgotten high-caliber closers of his era, and he often posted great ERAs and saves totals. He didn’t accumulate strikeouts at a particularly high rate, and his WHIP was very inconsistent.
Mark Langston merited some consideration as well. He led the AL in strikeouts three times in a span of four seasons (he was injured the other one) and fanned 190 or more seven times in his career. He also posted several wins totals in the mid-teens, and a smattering of strong ERA totals. His WHIP numbers were often way too high for an elite pitcher, though, and he put it all together too infrequently.
So, let’s see where we stand right now, through 11 classes.
Number of players elected: 19
Number of players elected who have been eliminated for real HOF consideration: 6
Members by position:
SS: .5 (Yount is really split)
3B: 4 (including Molitor)
It looks like I may be shortchanging middle infielders, which may lead me to rue my snub of Lou Whitaker. However, it is too early to worry about these things because random distributions in regard to talent waves at positions and retirement dates haven’t begun to work themselves out yet. In other words, all patterns thus far are not yet significant or predictive.
Nearly a third of the players I elected have been officially snubbed by the actual Hall of Fame (and Mattingly will not make it, but officially remains on the ballot, so he’s not included in the six).
Several players fared better than I would have predicted they would, including Kirk Gibson who I didn’t think I’d be voting for at all, and Dave Stieb whose candidacy I knew would merit close consideration, but was initially pessimistic about. On the flip side, I thought I’d be electing Dawson and Trammell, and to a lesser extent Valenzuela.
As I deal with more close calls, I am even more appreciative of the amazing reservoir of stats we have for the real sport and the level of assurance they provide me when I make similar determinations for actual Hall of Fame worthiness. The dearth of similar, but fantasy-specific metrics, makes this exercise rather difficult and somewhat uncomfortably subjective. As a result of that, I may be erring on the side of conservatism. Again, the case of Whitaker comes to mind.
Good riddance, Vince Coleman. I’m sure I will encounter other tough cases, but perhaps none that will perplex me more than Vincent Van Go.
Posted by Derek Ambrosino at 4:29am (2) Comments
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Hey everyone. I've got some exciting news today as we announce a refreshed version of our Buy On The Rumor blog and introduce four new writers into the THTF mix.
When we first introduced our Buy On The Rumor blog, I said that much of what we offer at THTF comes in the way of theory or strategy or even player analysis, but when Marlon Byrd signs with the Cubs, we don't currently have a medium to convey our thoughts about it. The idea behind Buy On The Rumor was to provide this medium, to provide a way for us to get across succinct analysis about today's developments in the world of baseball. It would allow us to communicate with you quickly, in an easily accessible format, and provide THTF's insights into current events. As you've probably noticed, though, BOTR hasn't been very lively this off-season, but that's about to change.
Today, I'm proud to introduce four great new writers to the THT Fantasy team. These four writers will frequent our Buy On The Rumor, posting their thoughts on player transactions and rumors and whatever else they feel is important. In no particular order, let me introduce you to the new BOTR team:
As always, if any readers have any comments, thoughts, or suggestions, don't hesitate to shoot me an e-mail. We're here to provide you with the things you want, and we can only guess at what those things are unless you let us know directly.