February 2008

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My Keeper Roster

My favorite fantasy baseball league is one I do with a friend and have been in for years.  It's a keeper league that uses a live auction.  Standard 5x5 categories with no bench, 14 hitters, and 9 pitchers.  If a guy hits the DL you get an injury replacement.  Our draft is March 9th, and our keepers are due soon.  Each team gets up to ten keepers, so inflation is huge.  Often, top and mid-tier players are priced at double the dollar values you might have for a non-keeper league (and this is reasonable given the amount of talent kept cheaply).

I have a very pitching-heavy team, but was unable to strike any deals for position-playing talent this winter.  Typically I am better at acquiring good pitchers off the waiver wire rather than position players.  Here is the look of my team currently:

C - Jarrod Saltalamacchia - can keep for $4
C - Ramon Hernandez - can keep for $13
1B - Lance Berkman - can keep for $23; free agent after '08
2B - Howie Kendrick - can keep for $4 and lose after '08, or give a raise at $4 per additional season. So if I want him through '09 I have to pay $8 for him in each of the '08 and '09 seasons.
SS - Julio Lugo - cannot keep
3B - Alex Gordon - can keep at $10
CI - Kevin Youkilis - can keep at $4
MI - Kelly Johnson - can keep at $5
OF - Carlos Beltran - can keep at $41 and lose after '08, or give raise at $4 per year
OF - Manny Ramirez - can keep at $43
OF - Chris Young - can keep at $4
OF - Corey Hart - can keep at $4
OF - Mark Teahen - can keep at $13
DH - Felix Pie - can keep at $4
SP - Chad Billingsley - can keep at $4
SP - C.C. Sabathia - can keep at $32
SP - Jamie Shields - can keep at $4
SP - Javier Vazquez - can keep at $4 and lose after '08, or give a raise at $4 per year
SP - Felix Hernandez - signed through '09 at $12 per season
SP - Rich Hill - can keep at $9
SP - Jeremy Guthrie - can keep at $4
RP - Kevin Gregg - can keep at $4
RP - J.J. Putz - can keep at $4 and lose after '08, or give a raise at $4 per year

So I ask of you: which ten to keep?  Here are my initial thoughts to consider before you advise.

  • I am unlikely to keep Salty, Ramon Hernandez, Gordon, Youkilis, Teahen, Pie, Guthrie, or Gregg.  Some of you may suggest keeping Gordon and/or Pie but from experience I can get these guys again at similar prices in the auction.  And I'd prefer sure things in my offense, for the most part.
  • I am likely to choose just one of Kendrick/Johnson.  Kendrick has the name value, but lacks power and a good spot in the batting order.  Johnson comes out higher in my dollar values and could lead off for the Braves.  I am leaning toward KJ.
  • In this league, Berkman at $23 is good value, as is Sabathia at $32.  I am likely to keep both.
  • Beltran at $41 at least deserves some consideration, as top tier talent is scarce in this league and he's a five category guy.  Manny at $43 is probably a pass.
  • Hart and Young are pretty much locks to be kept.
  • It would be really hard to not keep any of Shields, Vazquez, Felix, Hill, and Putz.  I hate to lock in six of nine pitchers since I'm good at finding them, but these are all great value.  Billingsley would normally be kept but with six pitchers already he's questionable.
  • If I sign Putz and Vazquez through '09, I'm at $73 for six pitchers.  I'd prefer not to spend more than $80 on pitchers, so the other three would be late bargain picks.
  • Overall, I am leaning toward keeping Berkman, Johnson, Young, Hart, Sabathia, Shields, Vazquez, Felix, Hill, and Putz.  What would you do?

The Dirty Dozen

We've got the 12 teams that will battle it out in the 2008 RotoAuthority Fantasy League.  Thanks to all those who applied.  Everyone appeared formidable.  Here's a look at each league member.

Tim D. runs RotoAuthorityYou know me, I am the guy behind MLBTradeRumors.com and this site.  Happily married, went to UIUC, live in the burbs of Chicago, enjoy Arby's.  I am just a guy who loves baseball.

Randy runs Los GeniusMoney manager in NY.  33, engaged.  Playing fantasy baseball and football for over a decade.  Frequent poster on RotoAuthority.  I believe free leagues are a waste of time, and that the Red Sox will repeat.

Jeff runs the Volvo StationwagonsI'm a civil engineer and fantasy baseball geek (in my age-27 season) currently living in a small town nobody's ever heard of on the eastern shore of Maryland.  I've been playing fantasy baseball for seven years and have taken second place in more leagues than I can count; it seems to be some sort of habit. 

Jay runs the Socks Without PartnersI'm a 32 year old computer programmer from Long Island, New York. Much to my girlfriends chagrin (Who still refers to this as "imaginary baseball") no matter where I am movies, dinner, bars you will usually find me checking my crackberry every 30 minutes or so. When I'm not watching baseball you will usually find me wandering aimlessly through Manhattan with my ipod blasting the likes of Bob Mould, Frank Black, or The Pogues.

Aussie Dan runs the Aubrey Huff's $34.99ersI’m a 29 year old Australian, living in London.  I like the smell before it rains in Australia but dislike words deliberately spelt incorrectly and hair dressers named after a ‘clever’ play on words.  I’d like to win one of these things sometime soon…

Daniel runs the Urine TroublesI'm 24 years old and a recent graduate of Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.  I'm a transplanted Red Sox fan whose heart followed Manny from Cleveland to Boston.  When I'm not waiting for waivers to clear or hawking over StatTracker, I bide my time with good friends, good music, and good beer.

Melissa runs Ms. Behavin'I’m a graduate of Pomona College (Go Sagehens!) and the University of Washington, currently working as a Biostatistician with a focus on cancer research.   I’m going to try to win this thing just like the rest of you, so don’t take it easy on me, just because I’m a girl, and nearly old enough to be your mother (37 years old...hey, I'm younger than Bret Boone!) 

Chris runs Greek God Of WalksI am 23 years old and currently finishing my MBA at Crummer Graduate School of Business in Winter Park, Florida.  As you may have guessed, I am a die hard Red Sox fan and am still beside myself after the Super Bowl.  I have been affectionately dubbed "The Peyton Manning of Fantasy Sports" by the regulars in my fantasy leagues for my regular season aptitude and postseason ineptitude.

Thomas runs Men With WoodI am a 29 year-old lawyer in Chicago (I'm the ESPN all-star checking my phone for box score updates during depositions).  Last January I forced my girlfriend and I to move from a Comcast-exclusive apartment to a building that allowed Directv when it looked like the MLB Extra Innings package was going to be Directv exclusive.

Darrell runs Philly Phliers38 year old Lawyer working in NYC living in Philly area.  I may be the elder statesman of this group but I am a crafty veteran who knows how to win.  I reserve the right to rename my team to Philly CreamCheese should circumstances prove otherwise.

Tim K. runs Santa's Magic JanitorsI am a 37-year-old newspaper delivery boy; I don’t need the money but I like the feeling of riding my ten-speed down an empty street at five in the morning.  I enjoy musical theater, military history and the novels of Pauly Shore; occasionally I read them in the original Latin but I prefer the meticulous translations done by Umberto Eco (especially the whimsical illustrations).

Adam and Patrick run Dizzy Llamas25 year olds living and working in Boston, MA. They are 12'3" and 350 lbs. (combined, not individually...that'd be some kind of record) and enjoy spending their days pretending they're not 25 years old and working in Boston by playing rec league basketball, softball, dodgeball, and volleyball during the week. They're both sick of destroying public league competition and excited about the challenge of this league.

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Hardball Times Mailbag

My mailbag is up at Hardball Times now.  It's more strategy-oriented than anything.  Feel free to email rotoauthority@gmail.com with more mailbag questions.

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RotoNation Talks To Ron Shandler

This is worth a read; Derrick Eckardt of RotoNation did an interview with Ron Shandler of Baseball HQ fame.

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2008 RotoAuthority Silver League

UPDATE: We had to change the draft date and time to March 15th at 3pm CST.  Please let us know in the comments if you applied but are no longer available.

I've chosen the 11 for the primary RotoAuthority league I mentioned earlier, and everyone has paid up.  So we'll be watching that league closely throughout the season.

But there was a ton of interest beyond the 11 I went with.  Good, competitive players willing to pony up $100 for a serious but fun league.  So, let's set up another league!  I won't be in it (I'm in five already).  Participating in it and commissioning it will be my friend Mike Silver.

  • Probably be a standard 5x5 roto league with 12 teams.
  • Draft is set for Sunday March 15th at 3pm CST, so you have to be able to make that.
  • Winner automatically gets in RotoAuthority primary league for '09, if interested.
  • This league is likely to be dissected a bit on the site as well.
  • $100 buy-in sent to Mike via PayPal by March 7th.  Total prize pool will be slightly less than $1200 because PayPal takes fees.
  • Any other rules to be decided by Mike.
  • Make your case for participation in the comments, and be sure to leave your email address.  Mr. Silver will choose the 11 he likes and set the league up.

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2008 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Catchers

Let's get back to basics and find undervalued players at each position.  I'm definitely interested to hear your sleepers in the comments.  We'll start with backstops today.

  • I have a feeling the word is fully out on the Cubs' Geovany Soto; hell, he's on the cover of the new Baseball Prospectus annual.  I have him at .279-18-68-58-0, an $11.98 value (sixth among catchers).  Soto's being picked in the 14th round, foolishly after Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
  • Playing in a smaller market, Houston's J.R. Towles gets less press than Soto.  I value him at only pennies less though, with a .271-11-57-60-11 line.  Russell Martin is the only other backstop projected to reach double digit swipes.  New Astros baserunning instructor Gary Redus will work one-on-one with him, which bodes well.  Towles is being drafted in the 17th round, foolishly after Ivan Rodriguez.   
  • Carlos Ruiz projects at .271-11-56-50-5, a $7.67 value.  That puts him 10th in my rankings, but he is being drafted in the 25th round as if he's the 20th best catcher.
  • I'm a Ryan Doumit fan; I have him at .271-13-51-48-2 in 350 ABs.  If he manages to find 450 ABs (maybe via an Xavier Nady trade), he's up there with Soto and Towles.
  • Michael Barrett and Ramon Hernandez were absolute studs in 2006; now they're chopped liver.  Barrett would need a trade or injury to find full-time duty.  A healthy Hernandez could work his way up the Orioles' batting order and post a 20-80 season.
  • Dioner Navarro is making some sleeper lists on the virtue of two fine months to close out his '07 season.  Here's something to consider: if he can replicate his August-September '07 performance for all of '08, he's the sixth best catcher in fantasy baseball at .294-18-69-75-0 (not far behind Jorge Posada).  Remember that as he goes undrafted in your mixed league.

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Roster For Fantasy Baseball Writers League

UPDATE: Eric at FakeTeams has a look at how the draft played out in full.  Here's a look at each roster by position.

MONDAY: Last night I participated in a draft for a league compromised of fantasy baseball bloggers.  I had the sixth pick (I took Jimmy Rollins).  I also couldn't resist taking two premium catchers.  My offense seems a little light though.  It was a 12 team 5x5 league with a snake draft.  Here's my roster; what do you think?  Criticism is welcome.

C - Russell Martin - Round 3
C - Joe Mauer - Round 6
1B - Derrek Lee - Round 4
2B - Kelly Johnson - Round 13
SS - Jimmy Rollins - Round 1
3B - Josh Fields - Round 15
CI - Todd Helton - Round 10
MI - Orlando Hudson - Round 17
OF - Carlos Lee - Round 2
OF - Matt Kemp - Round 8
OF - Nate McLouth - Round 18
OF - Luke Scott - Round 19
OF - Moises Alou - Round 21
DH - Hank Blalock - Round 20

SP - Cole Hamels - Round 5
SP - Roy Oswalt - Round 7
SP - Javier Vazquez - Round 9
SP - Ted Lilly - Round 14
SP - Derek Lowe - Round 16
SP - Bronson Arroyo - Round 22
RP - Bobby Jenks - Round 11
RP - Matt Capps - Round 12
RP - Kerry Wood - Round 23

Bn - Bill Hall - Round 24
Bn - Chad Qualls - Round 25
Bn - Rick Ankiel - Round 26

And for another vantage point on the league, check out Edwin and Derek's rosters.  Do they have me beat?  Also here's the Fantasy Hurler team.

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Verducci On "Best Shape Of My Life"

SI.com's Tom Verducci has a funny column outlining ten spring training lies we always hear (he calls them lies, I call them cliches).  As you know, I've been keeping a running list of guys who lost weight, plan to run more, are tinkering with a new pitch, etc. 

Nine Bo Jacksons

I have a recommendation for you this evening.  A RotoAuthority reader, Isaiah, has started an excellent fantasy baseball blog called Nine Bo Jacksons.  I spent the last half hour reading it and I'm really digging it.  I'll add it to the sidebar.

Isaiah's IPDS (Idiot Proof Drafting System) maybe be of special interest to you (not saying you are idiots!)  Basically Isaiah has done something I was too lazy/ignorant to do, but many of you have requested.  He took my projections and made a spreadsheet that customizes the dollar values for different types of leagues.  AL/NL-only, different number of teams, etc.  Check it out!

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Hardball Times Mailbag Questions

Last week's Hardball Times Fantasy Mailbag was a good time.  Hit me up at rotoauthority@gmail.com with your questions for consideration for this week's mailbag.

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