February 2009

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Projecting Saves

I'd like your help in projecting saves totals.  Here's what I came up with, mostly based on gut feel.  What would you change?

Name SV
Jonathan Papelbon 40
Mariano Rivera 40
Joe Nathan 40
Francisco Rodriguez 40
Brad Lidge 40
Jose Valverde 38
Joakim Soria 38
Jonathan Broxton 38
Brian Fuentes 37
B.J. Ryan 35
Bobby Jenks 35
Francisco Cordero 34
Brian Wilson 33
Mike Gonzalez 32
Kerry Wood 32
Matt Lindstrom 31
Heath Bell 30
Carlos Marmol 30
Chad Qualls 30
Matt Capps 30
Joel Hanrahan 29
Frank Francisco 28
Huston Street 27
Joey Devine 27
Trevor Hoffman 27
George Sherrill 20
Chris Perez 20
Troy Percival 15
Brandon Lyon 15
Mark Lowe 15
Dan Wheeler 10
Chris Ray 10
Joel Zumaya 10
Jason Isringhausen 10
Tyler Walker 10
Kevin Gregg 8
Ryan Franklin 8
Grant Balfour 7
Brad Ziegler 7
Fernando Rodney 5
Jon Rauch 5
Manny Corpas 5
Rafael Soriano 5
Miguel Batista 5
Carlos Villanueva 5
Jason Motte 5
Jensen Lewis 4
Eric Gagne 4
Scot Shields 4
J.J. Putz 4
C.J. Wilson 4
Scott Downs 4
Jeremy Accardo 3
Rafael Perez 3

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Johnson, Garza, Or Cueto?

Cesar writes in to ask:

Just looking at the 2009 season only (not future years) which of these three pitchers do you expect to post the better fantasy numbers?  Randy Johnson, Matt Garza, or Johnny Cueto?

If, for some reason, all three guys pitched exactly 200 innings, it'd be Johnson by a landslide (worth nearly twice as much as the other two).   But, I am currently operating with projections of 160 IP for Johnson, 185 IP for Garza, and 175 IP for Cueto.  The narrows the gap considerably, but I still have the Big Unit worth almost $5 more than Garza (who is pennies above Cueto).

Johnson figures to have the edge in ERA and especially WHIP, mainly because he's tougher to hit than Garza or Cueto.  Better control, too.  Johnson and Cueto should beat Garza in K/9.

So I prefer Johnson over the kids, but I like Cueto's chances of a further breakout over Garza's.  Cueto gets to pitch in the NL Central and whiffed almost a batter per inning in '08.  If his HR per flyball comes down to Earth and he hones his control, he could be a monster.

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Girardi Wants 30 Starts For Joba

Yankees manager Joe Girardi wants 30 starts for Joba Chamberlain, and ESPN's Rob Neyer has already weighed in on how unlikely that is.

You may recall that our panel of experts predicted, on average, 143 innings for Joba in 2009.  That alone makes him the 18th best fantasy starter, without factoring in replacement-level inning you can get if he hits the DL.  Great value with the 100th pick (9th round).

Just for fun, though, what could Chamberlain do in 30 starts?  Assuming 5.44 innings per, that's 163.33 innings.  He'd be worth $24.58, 10th among starters.  163 innings isn't that crazy - Will Carroll predicted 175, and Peter Abraham went with 160.

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2009 RotoAuthority Silver League

The man himself, Mike Silver, is back for the second edition of the RotoAuthority Silver League.  It's pretty much the same as the RotoAuthority League, but Silver is the commissioner instead of me.  If you win the Silver League, you get the option of taking one of the open spots in the RotoAuthority League with me in 2010.  Last year the Silver League had co-champions so we took both.  Details:

  • 12 Teams
  • Rotisserie Scoring
  • Daily Rosters
  • Draft Date/Time: 3/21/09 2:30pm CST (don't apply if you can't make the draft)
  • Roster Set up: C, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OF, OF, OF, OF, OF, Util, SP, SP, RP, RP, P, P, P, P, P, BN, BN, BN, BN, DL
  • Scoring: Traditional 5x5 (R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, K, W, SV, WHIP, ERA)
  • Max Games per position: 162
  • Max Innings Pitched: 1500
  • Buy In: $100 (using Leaguesafe) - All money must be paid 5 days before draft date.
  • Pay-outs - 1st: $900 (and promotion to Dierkes' League, 2nd: $200, 3rd: $100

Make your case for inclusion in the comments, and include your email address.  Mike will pick 11 people and email them.

McLouth, Victorino, and Hart

Several readers wrote in asking me to discuss three five-category outfielders who are drafted around the same time: Nate McLouth, Shane Victorino, and Corey Hart.

First, the issue of draft position.  Mock Draft Central has these ADPs: 60.44 for McLouth, 50.90 for Victorino, and 56.81 for Hart.  So these are all 5th/6th round types, with no one lasting past the 7th.

Dollar values using their 2008 numbers: McLouth at $25.54, Victorino at $20.29, and Hart at $14.08.  Based on '09 projections I have McLouth at $17.08, Victorino at $13.09, and Hart at $15.85.  McLouth would further separate himself if he makes good on his stated goal of 30-35 steals.

As far as consistency goes, I've seen McLouth's second-half decline used as a red flag.  But the guy hit well in July and September, so can we really identify a trend from that?  Victorino was similarly inconsistent, while Hart kept a fairly even keel until an awful September.  Maybe the career-high 157 games wore him down.

Here's my recommendation: forget these three and take Jayson Werth or Nelson Cruz in the 11th or 12th round.  Werth, at least, is no more risky than McLouth, Victorino, or Hart.  Another who fits the McLouth/Victorino/Hart mold is Curtis Granderson, who's going at 50.42.

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Closer Report

Our last closer report came back on January 15th, so it's time for a fresh update.  Draft round in parentheses.

  • Red Sox - Jonathan Papelbon (5).
  • Phillies - Brad Lidge (6).
  • Mets - Francisco Rodriguez (7).
  • Twins - Joe Nathan (7).
  • Yankees - Mariano Rivera (7).
  • Royals - Joakim Soria (8).  Soria's being drafted earlier than he was back in January.
  • White Sox - Bobby Jenks (9).
  • Astros - Jose Valverde (10).
  • Angels - Brian Fuentes (10).  Fuentes moved from the 11th to the 10th round, but remains a solid pick.
  • Blue Jays - B.J. Ryan (11).
  • Cubs - Carlos Marmol (11), Kevin Gregg (28). Gregg dropped from the 19th round to the 28th.  Marmol pulled out of the WBC in part because he's battling for the closer job with Gregg.  The Cubs say they haven't decided and will wait until they're 3/4 of the way through spring games to do so.  Obviously Marmol is the favorite.
  • Dodgers - Jonathan Broxton (11).  Broxton will pitch in the WBC.
  • Reds - Francisco Cordero (13).  This month Cordero threw off a mound for the first time since his September foot surgery.  He'll pass on the WBC.  He might be a little better in '09 if he's injury-free.
  • Indians - Kerry Wood (13).
  • Pirates - Matt Capps (13).  Still nice value.
  • Giants - Brian Wilson (14).  The Giants would like him to use his slider and changeup more this year.
  • Braves - Mike Gonzalez (15).  Rafael Soriano (28) is coming back from elbow surgery, and he plummetted down the ADP chart in the last month.  Soriano's elbow is reportedly healthy, though, so he's become a mild sleeper.
  • Rockies - Huston Street (16), Manny Corpas (27).  Street dropped back a round, while Corpas dropped many rounds.  Street pitched hurt in '08, so he should bounce back.  Corpas is expected to close for Panama in the WBC.
  • Padres - Heath Bell (15). Moved up a round, but he's still great value.  Bell lost 25 lbs. this winter using Wii Fit.
  • Marlins - Matt Lindstrom (15).  Moved up four rounds since last time.
  • Athletics - Joey Devine (16), Brad Ziegler (18).  Could be a co-closer situation.  Devine's stock rose a round since last time.  Ziegler will pitch in the WBC, Devine will not.  The A's added Russ Springer and Mike Wuertz since the last time we looked at closers.
  • Brewers - Trevor Hoffman (16).  From the 18th to the 16th round.  The Brewers also have Eric Gagne back on a minor league deal.
  • Nationals - Joel Hanrahan (18). Doesn't have much competition.  Solid value pick.
  • Tigers - Brandon Lyon (20).  Fernando Rodney (undrafted), Joel Zumaya (28).  Lyon may have the closer job, but drafters have an odd amount of faith in him.  Zumaya and Rodney still want to close.  I'll bet Zumaya takes the job from Lyon by June.
  • Diamondbacks - Chad Qualls (22).  Jon Rauch (28) and Tony Pena (undrafted) are next in line.  Qualls has officially been named the closer, yet his draft position dropped four rounds.  Explain that.  The D'Backs added Tom Gordon, but he won't be ready for the start of the season.
  • Rays - Troy Percival (23).  Had offseason back surgery and may not be ready at start of season.  Other closing candidates: Dan Wheeler (27), Grant Balfour (26), and Jason Isringhausen (28).  Izzy needs seven saves for 300, but he'll need to make the team first.
  • Orioles - George Sherrill (24), Chris Ray (28).  Sherrill's shoulder is feeling better.  He's dealing with a mild hamstring strain but is projected as the Opening Day closer by manager Dave Trembley.  Ray had Tommy John in August '07 and is in good healthHe'll get save chances too.  Why did all of these guys drop so far since last time? 
  • Rangers - Frank Francisco (25).  C.J. Wilson (28) is healthy now and wants his job back. Derrick Turnbow (undrafted) and Eddie Guardado (undrafted) are other possibilities.  Francisco dropped several rounds, as if mock drafters simply forgot about the Rangers' Opening Day closer.
  • Cardinals - Chris Perez (27).  Chris Carpenter (27), Jason Motte (28), Ryan Franklin (28), and Kyle McClellan (undrafted) are in the running as well.  All of these guys fell in draft position since last time.  Perez remains the favorite and a great pick this late.
  • Mariners - Tyler Walker (undrafted), Mark Lowe (undrafted), Miguel Batista (undrafted), Roy Corcoran (undrafted), David Aardsma (undrafted), Josh Fields (undrafted).  Mixed leaguers don't even want to speculate on this one.  Brandon Morrow (18) is preparing as a starter.  Walker, who is dealing with a sore quad, is the frontrunner at MLB.com, though Geoff Baker likes Lowe.
  • Francisco, Qualls, Hanrahan, Bell, Street, and Lindstrom are my favorite undervalued closers at the moment.

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Baseball America Top 100 Prospects - ETA 2009

Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list came out today.  Let's look at those who have an estimated time of arrival of 2009, since these players might have an impact in fantasy baseball.

1. Matt Wieters, Orioles.  Eighth among fantasy catchers, even with only 375 ABs projected.  Add in some replacement level performance and you can get even more from the roster spot.  It's hard to find anyone who doesn't believe the Wieters hype, even though he hasn't played at Triple A or the Majors.

2. David Price, Rays.  I've projected Price at a 4.34 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, and 7.0 K/9 in 130 big league innings.  He's certainly capable of crushing that projection, based on his stuff.  Price tossed 129.3 total innings in 2008, so it'd be surprising to see him get far past 160 in '09.  Of course, if you can spare the roster spot you can add 40 innings of league average performance from another player.

3. Colby Rasmus, Cardinals.  If Rasmus gets 500 ABs, I think he'd be worth a buck or two.  He could flirt with 20/20, but will he hit for average as a rookie?

4. Tommy Hanson, Braves.  An injury could open up a spot in the big league rotation for Hanson.  With 200 IP, I think he could be worth around $10.  Having pitched 138 in '08, his ceiling might be in the 170 range if the Braves want to be careful.

6. Travis Snider, Blue Jays.  Even with 500 ABs I don't see much mixed league value here.  But he's similar to Price in that projections only take you so far.

7. Brett Anderson, A's.  We're not hearing a ton about the Oakland lefty in fantasy circles.  Could be worth $5-6 with 200 IP.  He's only 21 but is quite polished.

8. Cameron Maybin, Marlins.  Might be worth $7-8, as he could steal 25 bags.  Could post a nice runs total atop the Marlins' order, too.

10. Neftali Feliz, Rangers.  I'm not sure the control is there for him to have rookie fantasy success.

11. Trevor Cahill, A's.  Similar fantasy outlook to Anderson, though his control isn't as good.

12. Pedro Alvarez, Pirates.  Would the Pirates promote him that aggressively?  PECOTA doesn't seem him succeeding as a rookie.

15. Dexter Fowler, Rockies.  Crowded outfield in Colorado, but he'd be worth $5-6 over a full season (20+ SBs).

17. Lars Anderson, Red Sox.  Another guy PECOTA doesn't see as quite ready.  It'd take an injury in Boston for him to get a shot this year.

19. Alcides Escobar, Brewers.  He's a defensive-minded guy, but in a full season he'd be a 20 SB threat at shortstop.

20.  Gordon Beckham, White Sox.  An offensive-minded middle infielder is always big in fantasy.  Still, let's see him mash in the pros first.

22. Chris Tillman, Orioles.  Rookie success would surprise me. 

23. Justin Smoak, Rangers.  In general Baseball America seems kind of aggressive with these 2009 ETAs.  The Rangers appear set at the corners for '09.

25. Brian Matusz, Orioles.  Another guy where we don't really have a pro track record to work with.  But, everyone says he'll move quickly.

27. Matt LaPorta, Indians.  Might not hit for average, but appears big league ready and could top 20 HR as a rookie.

31. Derek Holland, Rangers.  Awesome prospect, but big league ready?  Some of these guys probably need a few months dominating Triple A before mixed leaguers should think about them.

32. Wade Davis, Rays.  See Holland.

33. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates.  Could be worth a few bucks as a rookie given the 20 SB potential.

34. Mat Gamel, Brewers.  Off to a rough start, being the last one to report to camp and having a shoulder impingement.  The numbers suggest decent rookie pop.

36. Austin Jackson, Yankees.  Center field is one of the Yanks' weakest positions, but Jackson didn't hit enough at Double A to thrill me from a fantasy perspective.

37. Elvis Andrus, Rangers.  Could steal 30 bags, so that alone would give the Rangers' shortstop value.

40. Brett Wallace, Cardinals.  This kid isn't expected to need much minor league seasoning before succeeding in the bigs.  Might be more of a 15-20 HR type though.

41. Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals.  The Nationals' top prospect is definitely with the right team as far as opportunity.  I like him as a sleeper, though he hasn't played Triple A ball.

42. Jordan Schafer, Braves.  He'll be a power/speed threat eventually, but expecting but big things from his rookie year may be pushing it.

43. J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays.  A catcher with double-digit pop should always be on the fantasy radar.  Could be a sleeper for '10.

50. Kyle Blanks, Padres.  He's blocked by Adrian Gonzalez for '09, and a little time at Triple A wouldn't hurt.

52. Carlos Carrasco, Phillies.  I think he could rack up some Ks as the Phillies' fifth starter.  Keep tabs on him.

55.  Aaron Cunningham, A's.  More of an AL-only type of sleeper.

56. James McDonald, Dodgers.  Another guy who could get you decent K numbers as a starter.  But, BA notes that his fastball is "very straight" and the velocity isn't great when he starts.

60. Todd Frazier, Reds.  If he comes up as a shortstop for the Reds, the 20 HR pop will be mighty appealing.

61. Dayan Viciedo, White Sox.  This guy is really tough to forecast.  He's got huge power but BA sees him as riskier than the more athletic Alexei Ramirez.

63. Aaron Poreda, White Sox.  He's got a ridiculous fastball, but not the strikeout rate to match.  Hasn't hit Triple A yet, but the White Sox rotation is unsettled at the back.

65. Michael Saunders, Mariners.  Even if the Mariners make room, Saunders will probably not generate enough offense as a rookie to make a fantasy impact.

66. Lou Marson, Phillies.  Phillies catcher doesn't really have much pop.

68. Nick Adenhart, Angels.  Another guy where the stuff outpaces the numbers. Maybe he can take the leap.

69. Jason Donald, Phillies.  If he's traded into a full-time role we could see double digit power/speed from the shortstop.

73. Taylor Teagarden, Rangers.  If his average is even halfday decent the 20 HR power from the catcher spot will play.

77.  Jonathan Niese, Mets.  Even with several vets vying for the spot, Niese could become the Mets' fifth starter. He'd be worth a buck or two as a rookie.

78. Reid Brignac, Rays.  I'm not seeing a big league opportunity or impact from him in '09.

79. Jeff Samardzija, Cubs.  Another guy whose K rate hasn't always matched up with his stuff.  I am not enthusiastic about his performance as a starter this year.

82. Adam Miller, Indians.  If Kerry Wood goes down but Miller somehow stays healthy, he could get some save opps.  Or maybe he'd just rack up Ks as a late-inning guy.

83. Michael Bowden, Red Sox.  Boston's rotation is not easy to crack.   Bowden could be a $10 pitcher with 200 IP though.  Realistically, the Red Sox don't figure to push him past 180.  One to watch for '09. 

84. Max Ramirez, Rangers.  20 HR pop from the catcher spot.

88. Gerardo Parra, D'Backs.  The Arizona OF doesn't have much power but could swipe 20.

90. Daniel Cortes, Royals.  I don't see Cortes as big league ready; he needs some Triple A time.

91. Chris Perez, Cardinals.  Good chance that Perez gets saves in St. Louis.  He's an excellent endgame pick.

97. Gio Gonzalez, A's.  Could be worth a look if you're desperate for Ks.

98. Daniel Bard, Red Sox.  Could snag a late-inning relief role in Boston eventually, but won't be a fantasy factor.

100. Jeremy Jeffress, Brewers.  He's got a triple-digit fastball; a possible long shot for saves in Milwaukee if he comes along quickly and Trevor Hoffman/Eric Gagne fail.

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Reader Leagues

I think I will do this weekly through March - a post where readers can congregate and set up fantasy leagues.  Have at it in the comments, but in the future please keep these types of comments confined to the weekly post.

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Mailbag Questions?

It's been ages since we've done a RotoAuthority mailbag.  Send your question to rotoauthority@gmail.com.  Please don't make your questions specific to your team or league - the goal is topics that are relevant for everyone.

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Odds & Ends: ADP, Napoli, Injury Risks

A bunch of fantasy links I've got floating around...

  • Brett Cecil - possible sleeper?
  • Fantasy Gameday has their "2009 Fantasy Baseball Average Draft Position and Scarcity Report" available.
  • Mike Napoli getting time at DH: good.  Possible shoulder woes: not good.  He says it doesn't affect him when he hits.
  • From a few weeks ago...nice list from Derek Carty with worthwhile injury risks.
  • Jason Kline looked at some past spring training cliches and whether they led to anything for a few Indians players.

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