March 2008

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McLouth Not A Lock To Start Yet

For some silly reason, Nate McLouth and Nyjer Morgan are said to be in a "dead heat" for Pittsburgh's center field job.

This is a situation I'll be monitoring on RotoAuthority, as McLouth is a favorite power/speed sleeper of mine.  I have him at .263-15-48-74-22 in 450 ABs, a $4.42 value.  But if McLouth gets 550 ABs, he could approach 20 HR and 30 swipes, helping him outrank bigger outfield names like Jason Bay and Vernon Wells.  Hell, I have Manny Ramirez at just $10.11, a function of a 479 AB projection.  It just shows you how large of a factor playing time is in preseason projections.

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Hardball Times Mailbag

My latest Hardball Times fantasy mailbag is up; check it out.  On a related topic, Tom Haudricourt handicapped the Brewers' rotation vacancies in a post today.

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More On Spring Training Stats

John Dewan came up with this piece of info a few years back:

A hitter with a positive difference between his spring training slugging percentage and his lifetime slugging percentage of .200 or more correlates to a better than normal season.

John was kind enough to reply to my email asking for clarification on his statement.  He told me he'd use a sample size of 35 ABs or more and that "better than normal" relates to SLG primarily.

Given that info, here are the players who currently qualify for improvement based on their '08 spring stats:

  • Andre Ethier (.680 against .464 career)
  • Carlos Guillen (.708 against .450 career)
  • Brian Anderson (.638 against .353 career)
  • Jorge Cantu (.739 against .450 career)
  • Placido Polanco (.674 against .416 career)
  • Curtis Granderson (.791 against .493 career)
  • Chris Burke (.763 against .377 career)
  • Mike Morse (.816 against .399 career)
  • Ivan Rodriguez (.921 against .479 career)
  • Ron Belliard (.784 against .412 career)
  • Yunel Escobar (.722 against .451 career)
  • Josh Hamilton (.972 against .554 career)
  • Melvin Mora (.694 against .438 career)
  • Craig Counsell (.686 against .347 career)

Do you think any of these guys will top their career SLG?

2008 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Shortstops

Sleepers, undervalued, profitable players, call 'em what you will.  In general, some guys who may not be getting enough respect in your mixed league.

  • I would be concerned if I didn't get a Top 8 shortstop: Reyes, Ramirez, Rollins, Jeter, Furcal, Guillen, Young, Tulo.  Jeter and Tulo are reaches in the fourth round, so I often find myself with Furcal or Young in the sixth or seventh.  Tejada in the seventh: not for me.
  • Orlando Cabrera around the 11th round is not a bad pick.  Say he hits .300 with 90 runs and 20 steals, he's right up there with Furcal, Guillen, Young, and Tulo.
  • Julio Lugo in the 20th round is solid, maybe for your MI slot based on your needs.  I see something like .270-8-55-70-25.
  • J.J. Hardy and Khalil Greene don't impress me - if either is your starting shortstop, you screwed up.
  • Stephen Drew's a popular sleeper pick...if it's a 12 team mixed non-keeper league I'd pass.  If it's deeper or keeper then sure.
  • Ronny Cedeno might be able to sneak in and earn a few bucks if he's traded to Baltimore.
  • If I squint hard enough I can almost picture Yuniesky Betancourt as a sleeper.  He's 26, he could add some power and swipe ten.
  • Anyone else you like as a shortstop sleeper?

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What It Takes To Win: RBIs

Time for another installment of  What It Takes To Win.    In this series, I examine my keeper league and determine the necessary thresholds to finish strong in each category.  I feel that my league is fairly standard: 23-man rosters, 12 teams, normal 5x5 categories.  I've got three years of data to work with, and my goal is to finish at least third in each category.  10 points times 10 categories equals 100 points, enough to win the league.  Last time I looked at home runs.

In looking at three years of data for my league, I've determined that 1141 RBIs should earn you at least third place in the RBI category.

  • You'll need 81.5 RBIs per position player.  That's why I try not to get more than one guy who will be in the 50-60 range.  If you can get three 100 RBI guys, then you need about 77 per each of the remaining.
  • Given our threholds of a .288 average and 22 HRs and adding 81.5 RBIs, we find 18 players who fit the bill.  By the way I think this is the last time you'll find Ryan Braun outside of the first round for quite a while.
  • I have 20 guys getting to the century mark in ribbies.  33 managed it last year, 38 the year before.  So my system (and most) are conservative in projecting RBIs.

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Free 2008 Fantasy Baseball Projections - Update

Free 2008 fantasy baseball projections at - again 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.  Once again I've tweaked playing time for an update to the guide.

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 second-most valuable player in all of fantasy baseball in 2008.  But since his average draft position is 20.1, picking him second 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 the latest projections here.

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Dynamic Valuation System

Nine Bo Jacksons is at it again, creating another sweet free tool for readers to download.  This time it's an in-draft tool that helps you manage your category needs.

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2008 RotoAuthority League - Pick By Pick

Some of you have requested to see the picks from this draft in the order they were made. 

Here you go.

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New Way To Manage Your League's Money

This looks pretty sweet.  I wish we'd used it this year for the RotoAuthority league instead of Paypal, since Paypal skims a few bucks off each transaction.

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Best Picks Of The RotoAuthority League Draft

The RotoAuthority draft is in the books; in this post you'll find the rosters as well as a poll to vote for the team you think is strongest.  So far based on 186 respondents, the prevailing opinion is that Dizzy Llamas and Miss Behavin' will be battling it out for the title.

On Saturday I looked at the best picks in the first nine rounds of the draft.  Let's continue on that topic.

  • Round 10: Socks Without Partners takes Adrian Beltre with the 110th pick.  Very much in line with his ADP, this is still a fine pick.  With Edwin Encarnacion and Alex Gordon already off the board (why? this ain't no keeper league!) the dropoff at third was big after Beltre.
  • Round 11: Greek God Of Walks takes Yovani Gallardo with the 132nd pick.  Also eerily close to his ADP.  Even in 190 innings, Gallardo is a $15 pitcher with upside well beyond my projected 3.80 ERA and 1.30 WHIP.
  • Round 12: Aubrey Huff's $34.99ers takes Josh Hamilton with the 139th pick.  I buy the Spring Training mashing.  I have Hamilton at .291-24-69-75-6 in 425 ABs.  He could certainly get more ABs, and he could also get double digit steals.  Strong round with Matt Capps, Pedro Martinez, and Dustin McGowan leaving the board in shrewd picks.
  • Round 13: Volvo Stationwagons takes Kosuke Fukudome with the 151st pick.  As I've said, he could be a top 20 outfielder.
  • Round 14: Philly Phliers takes Jered Weaver with the 165th pick.  I am digging Weaver in a post-hype sleeper type of way.  It's been said his fastball has some extra zip on it this spring.  Wouldn't surprise me as a $15 pitcher.
  • Round 15: Santa's Magic Janitors takes Lastings Milledge with the 170th pick.  I had hoped he'd drop further.  Milledge with 550 ABs is a 20/20 guy, maybe even 20/30.  Great way to round out an outfield.  And his playing time is not in question at all right now.
  • Round 16: Santa's Magic Janitors takes B.J. Ryan with the 191st pick.   Ryan is a huuuuuge sleeper as a possible top tier closer.  It's not that risky when he's dropping this far.
  • Round 17: Los Genius takes George Sherrill with the 202nd pick.  This is about the time I go trolling for closers also.   There's no reason to think Sherrill can't save 30.  He just hasn't done it before is all.
  • Round 18: Dizzy Llamas takes Kelvim Escobar with the 216th pick.  Damn, that's value!  I can't see why he can't give you 170 innings and earn as much as John Maine, Jeremy Bonderman, Joba Chamberlain, or Adam Wainwright.   Preseason injuries are always overrated.

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