February 2008

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True .300 Hitters

The research of Ron Shandler and Co. says:

The .300 hitters most often come from the group with a minimum 86% contact and 11% walk rate.

Let's loosen those thresholds to 84% and 9% and see who reached 'em in '07 (minimum 300 plate appearances).  Turns out that 14 of the 30 players found hit .290 or better in '07.

Magglio Ordonez 86.7% 11.3% 0.363
Chipper Jones 85.4% 13.8% 0.337
Albert Pujols 89.7% 14.9% 0.327
Vladimir Guerrero 89.2% 11.0% 0.324
Todd Helton 86.7% 17.2% 0.320
Jose Vidro 89.6% 10.3% 0.314
Scott Hatteberg 90.3% 12.0% 0.310
Kenny Lofton 91.2% 11.0% 0.303
Jeff Kent 87.7% 10.3% 0.302
Victor Martinez 86.5% 9.9% 0.301
Garrett Atkins 84.1% 10.0% 0.301
Casey Kotchman 90.3% 10.7% 0.296
Joe Mauer 87.2% 12.3% 0.292
Brian Roberts 84.1% 12.5% 0.290
Mike Lamb 85.5% 10.4% 0.289
Hideki Matsui 86.7% 11.8% 0.285
Josh Bard 85.1% 11.4% 0.285
Conor Jackson 88.0% 11.3% 0.284
Andre Ethier 84.8% 9.3% 0.284
Jose Reyes 88.5% 10.2% 0.280
Luis Gonzalez 87.9% 10.8% 0.278
Barry Bonds 84.1% 28.0% 0.276
Brian Giles 87.4% 11.7% 0.271
Justin Morneau 84.6% 9.8% 0.271
Johnny Damon 85.2% 11.0% 0.270
Gary Sheffield 85.6% 14.5% 0.265
Marco Scutaro 88.2% 9.4% 0.260
David DeJesus 86.3% 9.6% 0.260
Carlos Ruiz 86.9% 10.1% 0.259
Brian Schneider 86.3% 12.1% 0.235

  • Of course the intriguing guys are the ones at the bottom!  DeJesus seems likely to bounce back to the .290 range. 
  • Ruiz I have at .271-11-56-50-5, a solid $7.67 value.  A .290 average could add a good three bucks to his value though.
  • I have Morneau hitting .281, making him worth $13.19.  A .300 average makes him a $17 player.

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Technical Difficulties

Unfortunately RotoAuthority has experienced some technical difficulties.  I'm working hard to restore all the posts; thanks for your patience.

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Free 2008 Fantasy Baseball Projections - Update

Free 2008 fantasy baseball projections at RotoAuthority.com - this time with a fresh update.  As always, I ask that you each bring me five new readers.  Also I strongly encourage you to sign up for our RSS feed or to receive posts via email.  The focus of this update was more accurate AB and IP totals.  Feedback is welcome.

These dollar values apply to a 12-team, 5x5 mixed non-keeper league with 23-man active rosters and $260 budgets.  Negative dollar values mean you should not draft those guys in such a league.  If your league isn't of this type I can't help you with adjustments.

Use the filters in the spreadsheet to view by position.  For example hit the drop-down in column J, select Custom, and then select greater than or equal to 15 to see only catchers with 15+ games played.

Note that my values place a premium on pitching and speed that you will not find elsewhere.  I used methods from Art McGee's How To Value Players For Rotisserie Baseball to create the values, and the logic is quite sound.   But even if you completely agree with the dollar values found here, they would never correspond directly with your draft order. 

For example, I truly believe Jake Peavy can be the third-most valuable player in all of fantasy baseball in 2008.  But since his average draft position is 20.20, picking him third would be dumb.  Additionally, Jake has higher injury risk/volatility than a position player does.  So don't build a pitching/speed team devoid of the other categories just because my system likes those types.

Download 2008_rotoauthority_projections_22208.xls here.

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The Fourth Pick

Of my five leagues this year, one is the Fantasy Baseball Search league.  The draft is March 3rd, and I believe you're going to be able to watch it live.

The draft order has been set, and I get the fourth pick.  Let's analyze the options here, since this is crucial and at least 8% of you will be faced with the same pick. 

  • There is zero chance Alex Rodriguez is available at #4.
  • Hanley Ramirez is likely to go second, but he could certainly fall to me.
  • I expect Jose Reyes to go second or third, but he is another possibility for me.  If I see Reyes at #4, I have to take him.
  • If things go according to Mock Draft Central, A-Rod, Hanley, and Reyes will be the first three off the board.  That would leave me with David Wright.  I can't see how I would opt for anyone else. Very safe and reliable.
  • I can picture a scenario where both Hanley and Wright are available for me.  I wrote earlier that Wright is preferable.  Can you make a strong argument for taking Hanley over Wright?
  • In a Hanley vs. Reyes situation, I've already said I want Reyes.
  • It is very likely that Johan Santana is available for me at #4 (current ADP is 12.68).  Is there any possible justification for taking him over Hanley, Reyes, or Wright?  My gut says no, my dollar values say yes.
  • At least some folks out there would consider going with Holliday, Rollins, Pujols, Cabrera, or Utley with my pick.  Does anyone dare argue one of those cases?

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Hardball Times Fantasy Mailbag

My first Hardball Times fantasy mailbag has been published; take a look.

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Cleanup Hitters - American League

As you know, cleanup hitters tend to have many RBI opportunities.  Let's take a look at each team's projected #4 hitter. 

American League

Baltimore Orioles - Aubrey Huff, Luke Scott.  The trade of Miguel Tejada leaves Nick Markakis' protection in question.  Or, Markakis could be dropped to fourth.  As a veteran with a solid final two months I'll give the nod to Huff.  He could crack 90 RBIs for the first time since '05.

Boston Red Sox - Manny Ramirez.  Entering a contract year, maybe we'll see Manny bounce back to the 35-100 level.

Chicago White Sox - Paul Konerko.  Seems to be slipping; turns 32 in March. Are his 100 RBI days behind him?

Cleveland Indians - Victor Martinez.  A bounceback year for Travis Hafner might give Martinez extra opportunities, but it'd be hard to top his 114 RBIs of '07.

Detroit Tigers - Magglio Ordonez.  Can he beat last year's 139 RBIs?  Between Gary Sheffield and Miguel Cabrera in the lineup, anything's possible.

Kansas City Royals - Jose Guillen.  Guillen knocked in 99 in '07 hitting mostly as Seattle's #3 batter.  Now he'll be between Mark Teahen and Billy Butler, which isn't any worse than Jose Vidro and Raul Ibanez.  The Royals paid Guillen $36MM to drive in runs.

Minnesota Twins - Justin Morneau.  He might be batting behind Delmon Young instead of Joe Mauer, which means fewer opportunities.  Will he knock in 110 again?

New York Yankees  - Alex Rodriguez.  He'll hit between Bobby Abreu and Hideki Matsui again, nothing new here.

Los Angeles Angels - Garret Anderson.  He'll still be behind Vlad, even if Torii Hunter replaces Casey Kotchman as the #5.

Oakland Athletics - Jack Cust, Eric Chavez.  It's a new-look lineup, without Nick Swisher, Shannon Stewart, or Mike PiazzaMike Sweeney could supplant Dan Johnson, and Kurt Suzuki replaces Jason Kendall for the entire year.  Cust drove in 82 in 395 ABs in '07, so he could be the RBI man once again.

Seattle Mariners - Adrian Beltre.  At least according to Mariners beat writer Jim StreetRaul Ibanez is another candidate.

Tampa Bay Rays - B.J. Upton, Carlos Pena.  They should bat #3 and #4, whatever the order.  Upton could be very interesting with 550 ABs.

Texas Rangers - Milton Bradley.  At least until he's hurt.  Maybe then Josh Hamilton gets a look.

Toronto Blue Jays - Frank Thomas.  A bounceback from Vernon Wells would help the Big Hurt.

Comments?  Any corrections to these?

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Thoughts On Conor Jackson

My Conor Jackson projection: .291-16-71-69-2 in 467 ABs.  The line would be worth $2.83, below Kevin Youkilis but above Ryan Garko

There's more here, however.  I am still as big of a Jackson fan as I ever was.  The high contact and walk rates indicate a .300 hitter.  And 10 HR in 182 post-break ABs shows his 25 HR upside.  Plus, Tony Clark isn't around anymore to interfere with his PT.  I see a ceiling in the $13-15 range for Jackson if everything comes together.  That's actually sniffing Derrek Lee/Justin Morneau territory, so it's nothing to sneeze at.  Jackson is going undrafted in many leagues.

I have to amend my previous statement that Joey Votto is the only legitimate first base sleeper.  Good to have longtime reader finite24 keeping me in check! 

Just as Votto may have to deal with Scott Hatteberg, Jackson's PT may be affected by Chad Tracy.  Tracy had microfracture knee surgery, so he's anything but a sure thing.  But he's healthy, he'll play a corner and take PT away from Jackson and Mark Reynolds.  Fantasy owners hope for Hatteberg to be traded and (I hate to say this) for Tracy to miss the '08 season.

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RotoProfessor Grills Beat Writers

Here's a feature worth bookmarking.  Roto Professor has an Ask The Experts series, where they hit up beat writers of each team with fantasy questions.  I like it.  So far he's covered the Padres, Pirates, and Tigers - check it out.

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Fantasy Baseball Closers

Fantasy baseball closers are ever-changing, and require constant vigilance.  You'll need to be lightning quick to pounce on the latest closers.  Changes can occur due to injury, ineffectiveness, or even salary.  RotoAuthority.com will constantly monitor and update this post so that you always know who has the closing gig for every team.  The first pitcher listed is the current closer; the second/third are the next in line for saves.

If you have closer info or corrections, leave them in the comments with a link and I'll update the post.  Or, email me.

Updated 9-3-08 at 10:30am CST. Most recent changes in red.

American League

Baltimore Orioles - George Sherrill (if healthy), Jim Johnson (if healthy), Alberto Castillo, Jamie Walker.  Sherrill is on the DL with shoulder inflammation, and Johnson is also having shoulder issues.  Tough to find an Orioles reliever who had a decent August, so pursue saves here at your own risk.

Boston Red Sox - Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen, Justin Masterson.  The Sox weren't able to add a reliever at the deadline.

Chicago White Sox - Bobby Jenks, Octavio Dotel, Matt Thornton, Scott Linebrink (if healthy).   Linebrink is on the shelf with shoulder inflammation.

Cleveland Indians - Jensen Lewis, Rafael Perez, Masa Kobayashi, Ed Mujica, Rafael Betancourt.  Lewis has jumped to the front of the line.

Detroit Tigers - Joel Zumaya (if healthy), Fernando Rodney, Kyle Farnsworth, Todd Jones (if healthy).  Zumaya is injured again and out of the picture, so look to Rodney for saves in Detroit.  Jones may be out for the season.

Kansas City Royals - Joakim Soria, Ron Mahay, Ramon Ramirez, Leo Nunez.  Soria and Mahay have both been elite this year.

Minnesota Twins - Joe Nathan, Eddie Guardado, Jesse Crain, Matt GuerrierPat Neshek is out for the season.  Everyday Eddie is back in the fold, this time as a setup man.

New York Yankees - Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte, Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras.  New acquisition Marte has struggled.

Los Angeles Angels - Francisco Rodriguez, Scot Shields, Jose Arredondo, Justin Speier.  K-Rod is challenging the saves record.  Shields has regained his eighth inning job.  Speier has had a rough go of it.

Oakland Athletics - Brad Ziegler, Joey Devine, Huston Street.  Ziegler has been incredible, and has supplanted Street in the short term.  Devine is also in the mix.

Seattle Mariners - J.J. Putz, Roy Corcoran, Sean Green, Mark Lowe.  Morrow has returned to Triple A to work his way back as a starter.  Putz has his job back, but he's being babied for the season's final month.

Tampa Bay Rays - Troy Percival, Dan Wheeler, Grant Balfour, J.P. Howell, Chad Bradford.  Percival is off the DL and presumably back in the closer role.

Texas Rangers - C.J. Wilson (if healthy), Frank Francisco, Jamey Wright, Joaquin Benoit.  Wilson is out for the season with elbow surgery, and Guardado was traded.  Francisco has a huge strikeout rate and gets first crack.

Toronto Blue Jays - B.J. Ryan, Scott Downs (if healthy), Jeremy Accardo (if healthy), Jesse Carlson.  Downs is clearly second in line, though he is playing through a twisted ankle.

National League

Arizona Diamondbacks - Brandon Lyon, Jon Rauch, Tony Pena, Chad Qualls, Juan Cruz.  Rauch could step if Lyon continues to struggle.  Pena could be next if both fail.

Atlanta Braves - Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano (if healthy), Blaine Boyer, Manny Acosta, Will OhmanJohn Smoltz is out for the season.  Gonzalez is the one to own, with Soriano's elbow acting up once again.

Chicago Cubs - Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol, Jeff Samardzija.  Wood is back from his blister problem, and has the ninth inning back.  Marmol has been looking good since the break, while rookie Samardzija has entered the mix with a mid-90s heater. 

Cincinnati Reds - Francisco Cordero, Jared Burton, David Weathers.  Burton deserves first crack if Cordero goes down; he was just activated from the DL.

Colorado Rockies - Brian Fuentes, Manny Corpas, Taylor Buchholz, Matt Herges.  Corpas lost his job to Fuentes due to a terrible April.  Corpas has been better lately, but Fuentes will keep the job until season's end.

Florida Marlins - Kevin Gregg (if healthy),  Matt Lindstrom, Joe Nelson,  Arthur Rhodes, Doug Waechter, Renyel Pinto.  Gregg has a knee injury, so Lindstrom and Nelson will handle closing duties.

Houston Astros - Jose Valverde, Doug Brocail, Chris Sampson, LaTroy HawkinsValverde has struggled, but he'll keep his job.

Los Angeles Dodgers - Takashi Saito (if healthy), Jonathan Broxton, Chan Ho Park, Hong-Chih Kuo, Joe Beimel.  Broxton will take closing duties with Saito out for most of the remaining season.  Kuo has been lights out and makes a great source of Ks.

Milwaukee Brewers - Salomon Torres, Eric Gagne, David Riske.  Torres has a hold on the ninth inning.  Who would've thought all three of these guys would be healthy and he'd be closing?

New York Mets - Billy Wagner (if healthy), Luis Ayala, Al Reyes, Scott Schoeneweis, Aaron Heilman.  Ugly situation, but new guys Ayala and Reyes should get a shot.

Philadelphia Phillies - Brad Lidge, Chad Durbin, Tom Gordon (if healthy), Rudy Seanez, J.C. Romero.  Gordon may be out for the season.  Lidge is back after a minor injury.

Pittsburgh Pirates - Matt Capps, John Grabow, Tyler Yates, Craig Hansen.  Capps is off the DL, and should get his job back shortly.

San Diego Padres - Trevor Hoffman, Heath Bell.  Definitely an erratic '07 for Hoffman, but he seems safe for now.

San Francisco Giants - Brian Wilson, Keiichi Yabu, Tyler Walker, Merkin Valdez (if healthy). Wilson's job is safe, though control has been an issue.

St. Louis Cardinals - Chris Perez, Kyle McClellan, Jason Isringhausen (if healthy), Ryan Franklin.  Perez seems to have a lock on the job, after Izzy and Franklin failed.

Washington Nationals - Joel Hanrahan, Saul Rivera.  Rauch was traded and Chad Cordero is out for the season, so Hanrahan gets a look.  He's got a strong K rate but questionable control.

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5 Things You Didn't Know About Tim Dierkes

I'm going to veer off the topic of fantasy baseball for one post.  You've been warned.

David Chase at the fine Brock for Broglio blog asked me and some other bloggers to post five things people might not know about me.  Here goes.

1. The best concert I ever saw was Weezer at the Metro in Chicago when they came back from their long hiatus.  I had an extra ticket that I bought for $20 at the Dominick's TicketMaster (there was no line).  I sold the ticket for $100 on eBay and bought two t-shirts with the money.  Dynamite Hack opened for Weezer, and they were terrible.

2. I love fast food.  So much that I might start a blog about it one day.  I love Arby's, Wendy's, McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, and most things like that.  And I get super-excited when my wife and I kick it up a notch and go to Outback, TGI Friday's, P.F. Chang's, etc.  No fine dining for me! 

3. When I was eight, I got to meet then Secretary of State Jim Edgar by winning a bicycle safety poster contest.  He later become governor of Illinois.  I won a red Schwinn bike for my "Be Safe, Wear a Helmet" poster.  I never wore a helmet when riding my bike, ever.

4. Many people meet their spouses through mutual acquaintances, or in various social settings.  My story with Agnes is far more interesting.  Junior year of college, a buddy and I decided to go to a random class in which we were not enrolled.  The goal was to goof around, and perhaps meet girls.  I sat down in Anthropology 102 next to Agnes and we hit it off.

5. As a kid I once got tennis elbow from throwing a baseball so often.  I'm only 25 now but sadly I can't remember the last time I really aired it out in a game of catch.  This and #2 might give you the impression that I'm an overweight fellow but I'm really about 6 feet, 175 lbs.

I will tag Crooked Pitch, Seamless Baseball, and Rotisserie Baseball Musings to get in on the action.

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