February 2009

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2009 Baseball Bloggers League

One of my five fantasy leagues this year will be the newly assembled Baseball Bloggers League.  Here's the lineup:

  1. MLB Trade Rumors - Tim Dierkes
  2. River Ave. Blues - Joe Pawlikowski
  3. Rays Index - Cork Gaines
  4. NPB Tracker - Patrick Newman
  5. Shysterball - Craig Calcaterra
  6. Desipio - Andy Dolan
  7. Drunk Jays Fans - Andrew Stoeten
  8. MetsBlog - Mike Nichols
  9. Sox Machine - Jim Margalus
  10. Big League Stew - Kevin Kaduk and Dave Brown
  11. McCovey Chronicles - Grant Brisbee
  12. Seth Speaks - Seth Stohs

It's a great lineup; check out their sites.  We'll be playing a standard rotisserie league.

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Shortstop Rankings

Time to rank the shortstops for 12-team mixed leagues (assuming the normal 14 hitters).  Though I typically use 20 games for eligibility, I am including Alexei Ramirez here since he'll qualify shortly into the '09 season.  Felipe Lopez missed the cut by seven games and his not expected to play shortstop; he'd rank 13th.  Draft round in parentheses.

  1. Hanley Ramirez - $40.33 (1)
  2. Jose Reyes - $40.15 (1)
  3. Jimmy Rollins - $27.72 (1)
  4. Alexei Ramirez - $17.27 (5)
  5. Rafael Furcal - $15.99 (6)
  6. Derek Jeter - $13.27 (9)
  7. Troy Tulowitzki - $11.95 (9)
  8. J.J. Hardy - $11.86 (10)
  9. Jhonny Peralta - $11.80 (9)
  10. Michael Young - $10.53 (7)
  11. Miguel Tejada - $9.74 (10)
  12. Stephen Drew - $8.67 (8)
  13. Orlando Cabrera - $6.03 (14)
  14. Mike Aviles - $5.77 (13)
  15. Edgar Renteria - $4.32 (23)
  16. Ryan Theriot - $3.98 (16)
  17. Yunel Escobar - $3.34 (16)
  18. Cristian Guzman - $2.40 (25)
  19. Asdrubal Cabrera - $2.39 (28)
  20. Khalil Greene - $1.00 (19)
  21. Jed Lowrie - $0.40 (23)
  22. Jason Bartlett - $0.36 (21)

Jerry Hairston Jr. and Brandon Wood are two who would become interesting with more playing time.

Since we last discussed Drew, I've refined by dollar value while holding his ranking in a similar spot.  I know finite24 is a big Drew believer; here's his case.

As you can see, no one can hold a handle to Hanley or Reyes.  If you have a shot at one, you have to take it.

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Roundtable: Disappointment and Goals

This week's fantasy roundtable asked:

What was your biggest fantasy disappointment from 2008? What is your goal for 2009?

Click here to read the answers.

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The Value Of Low-Inning Starting Pitchers

Yesterday we combined Matt Wieters with Rod Barajas to create the fourth-best catcher in fantasy baseball.  One commenter argued:

You can't simply add projected stats for Wieters and Barajas and say that together it is a $17 value in the 11th round...In a lot of leagues you don't have roster room to carry three catchers. Taking up a roster spot on a catcher with an unknown entry date to the majors and a veteran in front of him can hurt you.

Good point.  With certain pitchers, though, we can assume that if they aren't pitching they're on the DL, making it less costly to carry their replacement.  That's not always true - Max Scherzer could go to the bullpen or Rich Harden could miss starts without officially hitting the DL.  But for the sake of this exercise let's assume that these guys start and pitch well when healthy and are on the DL otherwise.

The three I want to look at are Harden, Joba Chamberlain, and Max Scherzer, all of whom are projected to throw fewer than 170 innings.

For this exercise we'll add in innings of Randy Wolf as the replacement-level DL pickup you'll combine with your ace.  I have Wolf down for a 4.54 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, and 7.3 K/9.  Here's what we get:

  • 145 inning of Harden + 55 of Wolf: 3.49 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 215 Ks, 14 W, value of $29.30, 6th among SPs
  • 143 innings of Joba + 57 of Wolf: 3.58 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 206 Ks, 13 W, value of $25.37, 10th among SPs
  • 155 innings of Scherzer + 45 of Wolf: 3.97 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 208 Ks, 12 W, value of $18.73, 18th among SPs

Harden is an 11th round pick, Joba a 9th rounder, and Scherzer a 16th rounder.  It's true that things can go wrong with this strategy and it doesn't work in every league.  But it's also true that these guys could pitch more innings than projected or you could replace them with someone better than Wolf off the waiver wire.  There is something to be said for drafting this type of low-inning, strong ERA/WHIP/K rate starting pitcher while only counting on 140-160 IP.

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Razzball: 20 Risky Pitchers

Head on over to Razzball to see their 20 Risky Pitchers For 2009.  They did the math.  Guys I like who are unfortunately top ten injury risks, by their metrics: Ricky Nolasco, Brett Myers, Andy Sonnanstine, and Johnny Cueto.  These guys are typically being drafted late enough where it's worth the gamble.

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SGPs for Pitching

This post deals with Art McGee's method of creating dollar values in fantasy baseball, which uses Standings Gain Points (SGPs).  If that is foreign to you, go buy Art's book ($18 well spent).  Click here to see our SGPs for offense.

RotoAuthority readers kindly sent in league data.  I know some of you create your own dollar values and need accurate SGPs.  These numbers apply to a 12-team mixed league with 14 hitters (C, C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, CI, MI, OF, OF, OF, OF, OF, DH) and 9 pitchers.

  • W: 3.3363
  • SV: 7.9856
  • ERA: 0.07819
  • WHIP: 0.01264
  • K: 32.4592
  • Avg. Team IP: 1441.6458
  • Avg. Team ER: 621.2718
  • Avg. Team (H+BB): 1875.4155

So that's what it took to gain one point in the standings in 2008: about 3 wins, 8 saves, 0.08 in ERA, 0.01 in WHIP, and 32 Ks.  Shows why it's important to wring every ounce of production out of your roster, every single day.

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More Data?

Let's get some pitching SGPs going.  If (and only if) you were in a 12-team mixed league last year with 14 hitters and 9 pitchers, I'm hoping you'll share some data.

Specifically, I am looking for the average IP, average number of earned runs, and average (H+BB) total for a team in your league.  Meaning, take the league total and divide by 12.  If you'd like to contribute, leave the info in the comments or email me at rotoauthority@gmail.com.

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Everybody Loves Wieters

You'll be hard-pressed to find a baseball analyst who doesn't love Baltimore catching prospect Matt Wieters.  Statheads talk about his historically awesome 2008, while scouts rave as well.

Orioles beat writer Jeff Zrebiec talked to Eric Stashin about Wieters' likely call-up date:

It’s hard to say when he’ll be recalled and that probably depends on how he’s performing against Triple-A pitching. If he’s dominating it like he did in Single and Double-A, I think you’ll probably see him make his big league debut in mid to late May.

If Wieters debuts in mid-May, I'd put him around 375 big league ABs for the season, maybe a bit less since Gregg Zaun is pretty solid.  In 375 ABs Wieters should be good for .296-17-63-58-2, a $12.84 value.

To account for this, drafters are taking Wieters in the 11th round, a bit after Ryan Doumit.  The good thing is that you'll have some kind of warm body taking ABs at catcher for the first 45 days of the season if Wieters is in the minors.  Let's say this guy is Rod Barajas, who is about replacement level in a 12-team, two catcher mixed league.  Adding in 100 ABs of Barajas I get this composite:

.285-21-76-70-2 in 475 ABs, worth $17.11.  Wieters/Barajas is the fourth-ranked catcher, behind only the big three of McCann, Martin, and Mauer.  But, you only have to use a 10th or 11th round pick to get this value.

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What It Takes To Win: WHIP

Next up in our What It Takes To Win series, WHIP.  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, 1.26 was necessary for fourth place.  The second league was about the same.  I found very similar results in the reader data sent in, so I'm comfortable going with 1.26 for our WHIP benchmark.

Among those with 100 projected innings, I have 28 who should be around 1.26 or less (topped by Johan Santana at 1.12).  Solid WHIP contributors you can get in the 15th round or later in most drafts: Kevin Slowey, Justin Duchscherer, Jered Weaver, John Smoltz, Andy Sonnanstine, Dave Bush, and Kenshin Kawakami.  I haven't looked closely at Koji Uehara yet but he may be another.

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Second Base Rankings

Using 20 games for eligibility, here are our tentative rankings for second basemen.  These are based on a standard 12 team 5x5 mixed league (categories: AVG, HR, RBI, R, SB).  Draft round is in parentheses.

  1. Ian Kinsler - $22.12 (1)
  2. Chase Utley - $20.16 (2)
  3. Dustin Pedroia - $18.38 (3)
  4. Brian Roberts - $16.31 (4)
  5. Brandon Phillips - $14.92 (3)
  6. Alexei Ramirez - $14.90 (5)
  7. Dan Uggla - $12.53 (6)
  8. Robinson Cano - $9.98 (7)
  9. Rickie Weeks - $9.58 (20)
  10. Kelly Johnson - $9.19 (19)
  11. Howie Kendrick - $8.50 (11)
  12. Mark DeRosa - $7.33 (16)
  13. Placido Polanco - $6.84 (20)
  14. Jose Lopez - $5.76 (14)
  15. Felipe Lopez - $5.54 (27)
  16. Mike Aviles - $5.50 (13)
  17. Asdrubal Cabrera - $2.04 (28)
  18. Aaron Hill - $1.70 (28)
  19. Alexi Casilla - $1.00 (28)

A few on the fringes, some of whom could jump up with more ABs: Mark Ellis, Kaz Matsui, Akinori Iwamura, Freddy Sanchez, and Orlando HudsonMike Fontenot could be a $6-7 sleeper if he can find 550 ABs despite Aaron Miles' presence.

I like to try to get Kinsler, Utley, or Ramirez as my starting 2B.  Failing that, Weeks and Johnson are decent guys who could turn a profit.

As far as the aggressive draft positions on Cano, Kendrick, and Jose Lopez, does anyone think they're justified?

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