Roster Doctor – 6/11/09

Welcome to THT Fantasy’s Roster Doctor. If you’d like your team to be analyzed by one of our fantasy baseball experts, please send your full roster to this address. Also be sure to include your league’s player pool (mixed, AL-only, NL-only), number of teams, scoring format (roto, head-to-head, points, etc.), categories, whether or not it’s a keeper league, and any other pertinent information. If your roster is selected it will be analyzed in a future Roster Doctor column.

Player Pool: Mixed
No. of Teams: 12
Categories: Traditional 5×5
Scoring Type: Roto
Other Notes: Daily updates

C – Matt Wieters
1B – Mark Teixeira
2B – Ian Kinsler
3B – Alex Rodriguez
SS – J.J. Hardy
OF – B.J. Upton
OF – Curtis Granderson
OF – Adam Jones
Util – Hank Blalock
BN – Ben Francisco
Bn – Elvis Andrus
BN – Nick Swisher
BN – Jarrod Saltalamacchia
DL – Grady Sizemore

P – Dan Haren
P – Josh Johnson
P – Chris Carpenter
P – Ryan Franklin
P – Andrew Bailey
P – J.P. Howell
P – C.J. Wilson
B – Derek Lowe
B – Ricky Nolasco
DL – Justin Duchscherer

It is a shame this is not a keeper league because otherwise your catching tandem of Salty and Wieters would be incredible. Instead, both are mediocre catchers for this season but who knows how good Wieters will be when he settles into the majors.

Your infield is flawless besides Hardy but as I’ve said to previous Hardy owners in this column, you are better off holding onto him than expecting to get anytihng back in a trade. I do still expect him to have a significantly better second 3/5ths of the season than his first 2/5ths. And Andrus is a worthy replacement if I am wrong about Hardy.

As it should be in a three-OF league, your outfield is very good and will only get better when Sizemore returns, which is looking like it will happen sooner rather than later. Swisher is a great backup who should be plugged in during his periodic hot streaks.

Considering the depth of your outfield, Francisco should be cut because I do not see him fulfilling any role or purpose for your team. He does provide some steals but your team is solid enough with steals with Kinsler, Upton, Granderson, Sizemore (when he returns), and Andrus (who I would consider starting over Hardy while he continues to slump).

This certainly is a top half stolen base team—you would have to trade for another speedster to rise to the elite level—but I feel you will place well enough in steals that it is unnecessary to make a trade that would possibly sacrifice your other hitting categories for the sake of gaining two or three points in stolen bases.

Moving to your pitching, it is clearly dominant. You lucked out so far with Carpenter and Johnson but in general I would say it is not the best of ideas to select pitchers coming off Tommy John surgery (advice for next year). Lowe is also solid and Nolasco is worth holding onto for his potential. With the roster spot freed up from cutting Francisco, I would take an early stab at one of the potential closers Derek mentioned in this Buy on the Rumor post.

Therefore if one of them pans out, you can continue your process of trading closers to bolster your team elsewhere. A strategy that requires some dedication; I think it beneficial for the other readers to see how you put it:

I am always chasing saves because I constantly trade away my closers in packaged deals to acquire other players. It has helped me put together trades that have netted most of the big names on my roster.

Being first to jump on newly anointed closers has its place in fantasy baseball. For all of you too proud owners (a category I fall into sometimes) there is no shame in joining the digging through the rummage of free agency to find the next closer, especially when it leads to you winning hardware in September.

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  1. Chris R said...

    What’s to doctor?  I prefer seeing flawed teams here—and suggested remedies—instead of teams that are already likely to win.

  2. Jason Mccoy said...

    Man!!!  Is this guy in a 12 team league with 11 dummies?  I mean, how in the world do you draft A-Rod, Mark Teixeria, Grady Sizemore, Ian Kinsler, B.J. Upton, Dan Haren?  And if he didn’t draft all of those players, then he traded for them and his league mates are still dummies.  Man, if this guy is not in first place with this team then he is the biggest dummy of them all.

  3. Charlie said...

    I am so glad you posted his comments on how he obtained all those 1st and 2nd round picks..otherwise this would have slotted into my pet peeve of non-competitive league analysis.

    I have used that same strategy as I have traded Heath Bell (small oops) for Matt Holliday and more recently, Fuentes for B.J Upton.

  4. digglahhh said...

    Amusing saracsm aside, Chris’s point is entirely valid.

    My comment if I was in your postion, Paul? Nice job; now find a more competitive league next year!

    He’s got 5 players normally drafted in the top 25, plus Granderson and legit top tier pitcher in Haren. He also managed to roster the top prospect in the game. Further, he currently has four guys who went undrafted who were annointed closers at some point. That indicates that not only were his leaguemates unsavvy at the draft, but they are inactive on the wire too. (And, if he garnered some studs through trades involving closers, he must also have been able to draft some higher level closers as well).

    Frankly, analyzing this roster is a waste of your time, Paul. And, reading it is a waste the time of those serious players in highly competitive leagues who a site like THT is specifically positioned to draw. 

    I think another requirement for roster doctor submissions is you indicate, in addition to your roster, at what overall pick you drafted each player (or if they were scooped as a FA).

    Sorry to be so negative, just my opinion.

  5. Paul Singman said...


    Although you got your point across in an overly critical way, yours and Chris’ point is well taken and despite my seeming sarcastic tone, I was serious when I said I would choose a worse roster next week.

    I’ll have to do some searching though, because most of the rosters sent in are very good. Must be selection bias.

  6. digglahhh said...

    Selection bias could very well be a problem; I can see that. Chances are, if you are reading THT, in general, you know what more about baseball, and specifically statistical projections, true talent, etc. and that other stuff than most of your peers anyway. In-depth sabermetric analysis is a goldmine of fantasy-relevant info.

    FTR, I don’t see my comment as being overly critical, except perhaps to the leaguemates of the person who submitted the roster – though I’m pretty comfortable in my assertions about their fantasy baseball acumen – that is to say, accurately critical. Saying that reading an analysis like this is a waste of my time is a simple objective statement for which it is impossible for me to be overly critical (though possibly dishonest, I guess) due to the nature of the statement. (And, it doesn’t say anything about your ability to dissect and analyze said roster, btw) Claiming that this might be a waste of your time is actually subtley flattering, if anything…

    The point of writing this (and the reason why the commenting isn’t a waste of my time) is because it gives insight to you into what the readership of the “Roster Doctor” column wants to see. The beautiful thing about the [fantasy] baseball geek community is that there is little gatekeeping. The whole landscape is open enough that you can talk to the vast majority of thought leaders, give meaningful feedback that will be heard, insert yourself in conversations, and sink or swim on the merits of your ability to contribute to the discourse.

    Five years ago, the knowledge gap was whether your leaguemates knew about rotoworld or not. Now, rotoworld is totally mainstream – it’s owned by CBS, isn’t it. THT is one of those next level sites; it caters to the serious fan, those who incorporate a scientific mind into their pursuit of appreciating the game. Analyzing a team w/ five first and second rounders is probably a diversion from your core audience. And, asking for advice when you have that team is like the a group of summer camp counselors playing the kids in basketball and then running the full court press…

    I’m not trying to be a jerk; I’m just a faithful THT reader voicing a strong opinion. Keep doing your thing guys; you’re my favorite site of your kind!

  7. Paul Singman said...

    Alright, fair enough. We both agree that I should analyze a roster that more desperately needs to be doctored next week so your suggestion will be responded to.

    Thanks for chiming in.

  8. Steve W. Rosenbaum said...

    I need to add one SP to my lineup.  After exploring several trade possibilities—no takers—I am left to select one of these from
    our waiver pool:
            Joe Blanton
            Vin Mazzaro
            Matt Palmer
            Jeff Niemann
            Randy Wells
    Blanton would appear to be the obvious choice.
    Your opinion would be greatly appreciated.

  9. Derek Carty said...

    Steve W. Rosenbaum,
    I’d have to go with Blanton or Wells.  Both are pitching better than expected, but the skills are there in our limited 2009 sample.  I’d probably choose Blanton if pressed, though Wells could easily end up being the better of the two.

  10. digglahhh said...


    I’d probably go with go with Wells, though it’s not so far from a pick-em situation with Blanton. Blanton pumping out the Ks is kinda encouraging, but I’ve just seen so much mediocrity from the guy that I’d rather bet on the lesser known quantity in Wells. For me, that would be an easier “fail” to live with, if it didn’t work out.

    Blanton’s K jump is rather strange. Sure we see power pitching numbers develop in guys as progress, but Blanton seems old for that ship to still be in port. He’s a tough guy to figure out. Wells has had a pretty good K rate throughout most of his minor league career. The success he’s had seems to mirror his skill set. That’s a good sign. (Mainstream sports media snickers as we refer to the “success” a pitcher who is 0-3 has had)

  11. Drew said...

    I am actually in a very competitive league but but to this point using three strategies, all of which I gleamed from my Fantasy Football background and learning from other.

    1) Laddering

    There is no term for this and I have not seen any other fantasy player specifically talk about this. What I did was decide what player I wanted at a specific position and build enough equity through several trades to acquire that player. Let me explain with an example:
    My man crush on Mark Teixeira knows no bounds. I knew I wanted him before the season started. My auto draft netted me Conor Jackson. Sweet. So my first trade I gave up Joe Nathan and a bunch of hyped nubile “sleepers” and netted Derek Lee and Brian McCann. I trade McCann for Granderson and then I put another multiplayer closer deal together where I gave up Lee along with K-Rod and some undesirables and got Prince Fielder. I had “laddered up” from waiver wire quality Conor Jackson to Prince Fielder; just a tier below Teixeira. Then I did the same thing again- traded Fielder and some other players to get Teixeira. I think it is especially important to do this and acquire studs at 1st Base and all outfield spots because non-production there will bury you relative to the field.

    2) Star Method

    I read this theory somewhere and built off of it. Basically there are very few Five Star (1st-2nd round stud) players out there. My goal was to get as many of them as possible. If I can trade a 3 Star and 2 Star player to get a 5 Star guy that’s great because I’ll use the open roster spot to pick up a 2 Star quality guy off the wire (netting me 7 “stars” worth of talent).
    I thought I cleaned house when I dealt Manny (a 4 Star guy, I felt) for Grady Sizemore (a 5 Star guy for sure) but that hasn’t worked out. Also I traded a closer for BJ Upton (I did this in the midst of his slump after returning from injury) and I think he’s a 5 Star guy.
    This same method is even more effective when you’re targeting “4 Star” type guys because it is difficult to pull the elite guys off people. I try to look at my team as just a number; an overall value like a stock portfolio.
    Sometimes you just have to take chances. I stepped up and drafted A-Rod early in Round 3 and that gamble worked out (he’ll turn it around). I also took a chance on Sizemore when he was slumping and got burned (so far at least). When a guy is playing really bad for a long period of time or he’s hurt you’ve got to take a shot sometimes, especially if the price is low enough. The only things I won’t mess with are Pitchers with arm/elbow trouble and speed guys with leg issues.

    3) Psychology:

    I let everyone know that everything on my team is on sale at all times and when I want a player I let the owner know it and that I’m willing to pay more than market value. What’s great about this is that I’ll take players I think the market is currently over-valuing (potential is more important than anything) and trade them to someone so it looks like I’m getting jacked but I’m the one doing the thieving. I am in a competitive league and the guys thought I was “trading myself out of it” because I was making deals every single week (sometimes more often). If you wait until mid-year BABIP and the other metrics you use for player evaluation tend to even themselves out for the most part.
    I have found that most people treat their players like their kids; they have an unrealistically inflated sense of their abilities. I don’t think you can ever get attached to a player because doing so could keep you from pulling off a great deal.
    Too many fantasy owners are pre-occupied with the “home run deal” where you totally rip someone off. The majority of the trade proposals I get are outrageously one-sided. If someone does this I get excited because I know they want to make a trade. People that offer ridiculous trades only need to feel like they are getting the better of it so make a deal where it looks like that’s the case. This is where often times you can give up 2 players to get 1 of theirs which is the best trade you can make. I always make an argument in the text box for both sides, explaining why the deal is mutually beneficial.
    I really believe in packages of players. One of the most profitable deals looks like this: give up a closer, a guy on a hot streak, and a guy on a cold streak to get one stud player and throw away that you’ll probably waive. I intentionally pick the worst player on the opponents’ team and throw him in my deals knowing that I’ll waive him anyway.  People realy think they’re taking you to the cleaners and love the fact that you’re giving them value for something worthless. In reality you just want the stud attached to this loser and you’ll also get a roster spot or two out of it. I call this the “3 for 2 where you get a stud and a scrub.”


    I actually trade J.D. Drew twice this season. I packaged him with McCann to get Granderson and his owner dropped him after the cold streak. Then I picked him up and packaged him again, this time with multi-position scrub Felipe Lopez to get Derek Lowe.
    In the Teixeira deal I’ve talked about I did give up a lot of value. We each gave up 4 players (and I gave up 4 solid ones) but I waived 2 of the ones I got and traded the other one (David Price) in a deal w/ Werth to get Nolasco.
    The only guys I drafted that are on my team are Kinsler, A-Rod, Haren, Carpenter, Josh Johnson.

  12. Paul Singman said...

    Drew is the lucky owner of the team featured in this article if that did not become apparent to you.

    Concerning “laddering” which is an interesting strategy, usually I am against making a trade that nets me a player I want to trade right back. I mean if the quantum leap from Jackson to Teixeira cannot be done in one maneuver and instead requires those “baby steps” then you did the right thing to get what you want.

    In general, though, shopping players you just acquired in a trade tends to annoy other people (maybe I am just in leagues with grumpy people)and can lead to you to be stuck with a player you never really had the intention of keeping for a long period of time.

    If you do choose to ladder your way to a better player, one way to help you see if the net gain of the multitude of deals was positive, is to only look at the players you had in the beginning and who is new to your team at the end. Any players that were an intermediate step can be ignored, since their net + then – cancel out.

    Drew, you mention trading multiple times per week; I find that if you get to the point of trading to often, the other people in your league will start to realize you are somewhat desperate to get a deal done and maybe hold off accepting a deal until it becomes too lopsided in their favor. Obviously this did not happen in your league, but I am talking from my experiences.

    Regarding your star method, I always advocate getting top players in relatively shallow formats (12 team mixed is relatively shallow) but as you get into deeper formats and/or larger rosters depth does have its benefits.

    Psychological games do play a large part of trading and a lot of times I hear about people who were negotiating with a team and could not reach an agreement. Then, they check the league homepage and find that team traded the player they were negotiating for and become pissed off at the other team.

    Sometimes it is an unnatural bias towards the players the successful dealer had to offer, but other times it points out that you need to work on your “salesman skills”.

    One last note: your strategies are contingent on being in an active league, and for some that means they are useless since the other people won’t give them the time to negotiate deals every week. Some people are too busy with their lives or do not want to spend so much time on fantasy sports.

    Thank you for your post Drew, a lot of people can learn from what you did with this fantastic team.

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