February 2009

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Reader Leagues

I noticed people are setting up RotoAuthority reader leagues in the comments of various posts, and I think that's cool.  Feel free to use the comments on this post for that same purpose.


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Defining Sleepers

Mike Bock of Fantasy Hurler recently gave his definition of a sleeper.  He is of the opinion that a sleeper must be an obscure player who is not chosen in the first half of the draft.

For me, a sleeper is something much different.  For me it's just an undervalued player.  Isn't that what we're all really after?  A player the market does not value correctly, whether he's drafted in the fifth round or not at all. 

Take Tim Lincecum one year ago.  He was a well-known pitcher with ace potential and big league experience.  He was being drafted in the 11th round.  I had him as the tenth best fantasy starter, so to me he was a huge sleeper.  Lincecum was the type of pick that won leagues in 2008.  I don't want my favorite websites or magazines to ignore or shortchange guys like Lincecum because there's too much hype or he's not a deep enough sleeper.

Two other players who won leagues in '08: Cliff Lee and Carlos Quentin.  They fit Mike's definition of sleepers; they went undrafted.  But to me they're no different from Lincecum.  They are just players the market undervalued.


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Outfield Rankings

Next up, our outfielder rankings.  These dollar values apply to 5x5 mixed leagues with the standard categories and roster size.  I used 20 games for eligibility.  These rankings are extra-tentative since tweaks in playing time could change things quite a bit.

Alexei Ramirez would be worth $13.11 as an OF, while Felipe Lopez checks in at $3.29.  On to the rankings (draft round in parentheses):

  1. Ryan Braun - $31.62 (1)
  2. Grady Sizemore - $27.98 (1)
  3. Matt Holliday - $25.93 (2)
  4. B.J. Upton - $25.33 (2)
  5. Carlos Beltran - $24.88 (2)
  6. Alfonso Soriano - $24.69 (3)
  7. Carlos Lee - $21.25 (3)
  8. Josh Hamilton - $20.74 (1)
  9. Matt Kemp - $20.71 (4)
  10. Manny Ramirez - $20.55 (2)
  11. Vladimir Guerrero - $20.18 (4)
  12. Nick Markakis - $18.11 (3)
  13. Jay Bruce - $17.36 (9)
  14. Jacoby Ellsbury - $17.30 (5)
  15. Jayson Werth - $17.07 (12)
  16. Jason Bay - $17.04 (3)
  17. Nate McLouth - $17.01 (6)
  18. Carl Crawford - $16.60 (3)
  19. Bobby Abreu - $16.48 (6)
  20. Alex Rios - $16.34 (4)
  21. Hunter Pence - $16.16 (7)
  22. Corey Hart - $15.78 (5)
  23. Curtis Granderson - $15.62 (5)
  24. Nelson Cruz - $15.23 (12)
  25. Carlos Quentin - $15.23 (4)
  26. Ichiro Suzuki - $14.83 (3)
  27. Adam Dunn - $14.77 (6)
  28. Ryan Ludwick - $14.44 (8)
  29. Torii Hunter - $13.67 (10)
  30. Magglio Ordonez - $13.07 (6)
  31. Shane Victorino - $13.03 (5)
  32. Chris Young - $12.49 (10)
  33. Johnny Damon - $12.12 (10)
  34. Jermaine Dye - $11.91 (8)
  35. Andre Ethier - $11.83 (10)
  36. Raul Ibanez - $9.83 (10)
  37. Vernon Wells - $9.50 (9)
  38. Adam Jones - $8.86 (18)
  39. Brad Hawpe - $7.63 (12)
  40. Conor Jackson - $7.59 (18)
  41. Lastings Milledge - $6.87 (12)
  42. Ryan Spilborghs - $6.10 (27)
  43. Xavier Nady - $6.03 (13)
  44. Mike Cameron - $5.29 (27)
  45. Milton Bradley - $5.26 (12)
  46. Coco Crisp - $5.04 (27)
  47. Rick Ankiel - $4.95 (19)
  48. Delmon Young - $4.94 (22)
  49. Willy Taveras - $4.71 (13)
  50. Mark DeRosa - $4.64 (16)
  51. Justin Upton - $3.80 (20)
  52. Shin-Soo Choo - $3.69 (24)
  53. Denard Span - $3.60 (19)
  54. Michael Bourn - $3.36 (27)
  55. Adam Lind - $3.25 (23)
  56. Pat Burrell - $3.21 (13)
  57. J.D. Drew - $3.05 (24)
  58. Randy Winn - $2.87 (27)
  59. Ty Wigginton -$2.78 (18)
  60. Elijah Dukes - $2.72 (24)
  61. Carlos Gomez - $2.61 (25)
  62. David DeJesus - $2.30 (27)
  63. Jack Cust - $2.26 (28)
  64. Nick Swisher - $1.66 (17)
  65. Fred Lewis - $1.44 (23)
  66. Jody Gerut - $1.26 (ND)
  67. Jeremy Hermida - $0.97 (17)
  68. Josh Willingham - $0.54 (28)
  69. Luke Scott - $0.53 (22)
  70. Jeff Francoeur - $0.36 (24)
  71. Jason Kubel - $0.24 (28)
  72. Jose Guillen - $0.22 (27)

Just missed: Aaron Rowand, Cody Ross, Daniel Murphy, Kosuke Fukudome, Hideki Matsui, Juan Pierre, David Murphy, Chris Dickerson, Travis Snider, Chase Headley.

Guys I don't like at their current draft positions: Hamilton, Quentin, Ichiro, Nady, and Burrell.

Potential bargains: Kemp, Bruce, Werth, Pence, Cruz, Jones, Jackson, and Spilborghs.

For certain guys in their early 20s, I'd use the dollar values as a mere suggestion.  We know guys like Bruce, Upton, and Jones are capable of breakout years.


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Yahoo Leagues Are Live

Yahoo Fantasy Baseball went live last night; sign up now so you can reserve the date you want!


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Multiple Position Eligibility

The 23 positive-value mixed league players who played at least 10 games at more than one position in 2008:

Name C 1B 2B SS 3B OF $ VAL
Miguel Cabrera 0 143 0 0 14 0 27.84
Russell Martin 149 0 0 0 11 0 23.23
Chris Davis 0 51 0 0 32 0 18.22
Alexei Ramirez 0 0 121 16 1 11 17.27
Victor Martinez 55 10 0 0 0 0 15.61
Adam Dunn 0 19 0 0 0 141 15.23
Garrett Atkins 0 61 1 0 94 0 14.21
Kevin Youkilis 0 125 0 0 36 2 12.92
Mark DeRosa 0 1 95 1 22 59 8.79
Aubrey Huff 0 24 0 0 33 0 8.47
Conor Jackson 0 68 0 0 0 77 8.05
Felipe Lopez 0 1 101 13 13 17 7.45
Jose Lopez 0 13 139 0 0 0 7.25
Carlos Guillen 0 24 0 0 89 2 6.40
Mike Aviles 0 0 28 91 7 0 5.77
Brandon Inge 60 0 0 0 51 13 5.70
Jorge Cantu 0 66 0 0 129 0 3.83
Ty Wigginton 0 0 0 0 82 30 3.25
Asdrubal Cabrera 0 0 94 20 0 0 2.39
Nick Swisher 0 71 0 0 0 97 2.12
Hank Blalock 0 34 0 0 31 0 0.88
Pablo Sandoval 11 17 0 0 12 0 0.49
Jed Lowrie 0 0 3 49 45 0 0.40


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Third Base Rankings

Time to post up the third baseman rankings.  These dollar values apply to 5x5 mixed leagues with the standard categories and roster size.  I used 20 games for eligibility.

Those who had between 10-19 games played at 3B in 2008: Miguel Cabrera ($27.84), Russell Martin ($8.71), Felipe Lopez ($3.75), and Pablo Sandoval ($0.49).  On to the rankings, draft round in parentheses:

  1. Alex Rodriguez - $35.14 (1)
  2. David Wright - $34.78 (1)
  3. Chris Davis - $18.22 (6)
  4. Aramis Ramirez - $17.45 (3)
  5. Evan Longoria - $16.78 (2)
  6. Garrett Atkins - $14.21 (7)
  7. Chipper Jones - $12.99 (5)
  8. Kevin Youkilis - $12.92 (4)
  9. Mark Reynolds - $11.27 (25)
  10. Adrian Beltre - $11.16 (18)
  11. Chone Figgins - $8.80 (7)
  12. Ryan Zimmerman - $8.52 (9)
  13. Aubrey Huff - $8.47 (8)
  14. Edwin Encarnacion - $8.20 (10)
  15. Alex Gordon - $7.67 (14)
  16. Carlos Guillen - $6.40 (21)
  17. Kevin Kouzmanoff - $6.17 (27)
  18. Mark DeRosa - $5.10 (16)
  19. Jorge Cantu - $3.83 (13)
  20. Ty Wigginton - $3.25 (18)
  21. Troy Glaus - $2.24 (25)
  22. Casey Blake - $1.46 (24)
  23. Hank Blalock - $0.88 (18)
  24. Melvin Mora - $0.36 (19)

Just missed the cut: Mike Lowell, Ian Stewart.

Clearly Longoria, Jones, Youkilis, Huff, and Cantu are being drafted based on their strong 2008 seasons.  Do you see any of these five regressing?

I like Davis, but the sixth round is usually not the place for a sleeper.  Atkins, Reynolds, and Beltre provide solid veteran value, though Atkins carries trade risk.  The late-round upside plays: Encarnacion (26 years old) and Gordon (25 years old).  Davis, Longoria, and Zimmerman are also capable of monster fantasy years but at those draft positions you're almost counting on it.


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What It Takes To Win: Strikeouts

Next up in our What It Takes To Win series, strikeouts.  The goal here is to determine the stats needed to achieve fourth place in each of the ten common roto categories.  The league type: 12-team mixed with 14 hitters, 9 pitchers, 3 bench spots, 2 DL spots.

In the first league I looked at, 1279 Ks was good for fourth place.  In the second, 1268 was enough.  Reader data sent in showed more variance, but typically showed a lower benchmark than my leagues.  We'll go with 1270 strikeouts this year to be safe.

Technically you are looking for 141 Ks from each of the nine pitching spots.  But your typical closer whiffs about 65, and you should have three of those.  So you're looking for about 179 Ks from each of your six starters.

In 2008, 20 pitchers reached 179 Ks. In '07 it was 17 and in '06 it was 14.  I'm only projecting 12 to pull it off in '09, but there are always surprises.  You really can't beat Javier Vazquez for 198 Ks in the 13th round.   You can also draft Rich Harden, Joba Chamberlain, Max Scherzer, Jonathan Sanchez, Erik Bedard, Chris Young, and John Smoltz based on their strong K/9s, combining them with replacement level pitchers to reach a strong strikeout total for the roster spot.

By the way, four closers are projected to top 80 Ks: Brad Lidge, Francisco Rodriguez, Carlos Marmol, and Jonathan Broxton.


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Your Favorite Fantasy League Provider

My favorite fantasy league provider is Yahoo.  When pressed for a reason why I don't have a great answer.  I've tried most of the big ones and found Yahoo intuitive and capable.  But I am just one guy.

What's your favorite fantasy provider - Yahoo, ESPN, CBS, Fanball, All-Star Stats, or something else?  Why do you like it?  And which services are the worst?  Maybe we can do some polls as well as more scientific comparisions of the offerings.


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Fantasy Effect Of A-Rod's Steroid Use?

As you know, Alex Rodriguez admitted to using steroids from 2001-03.  Does this matter for fantasy baseball players drafting for 2009?

If Rodriguez lied in today's interview with Peter Gammons and has been using performance-enhancing drugs in recent seasons, there's no particular reason to think he'll stop for 2009.  If he was truthful, then he's been able to put up massive numbers without steroids.  Either way, we can't let the 2001-03 usage affect our 2009 projections.

The other factor is psychological.  Rodriguez is said to be sensitive, so people wonder if added media pressure and taunts from opposing fans could affect him.  My opinion is that the added hoopla won't change anything - even with the steroid stuff, it would be hard for A-Rod to garner more attention that he already gets.  The Red Sox fan holds up an A-Roid sign instead of some other insult, and the reporter asks about roids instead of Joe Torre or Madonna.  Same difference, is my guess.  If A-Rod does happen to have an off year, I don't think it will be fair to attribute it to the steroid stuff.

Rodriguez currently has an average draft position of 2.38; he's gone no later than fifth.  Maybe this will push people to start drafting Albert Pujols ahead of A-Rod, but I'd be surprised to see Rodriguez drop several spots.  Bottom line, this probably won't make A-Rod a draft bargain and if you were going to draft him you should continue to do so.


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Fantasy CPR Q&A

I recently answered a few questions for Joe Dexter of Fantasy CPR.  Check it out.


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