March 2009

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Yahoo Position Eligibility

Yahoo is pretty vague about their position eligibility, but it seems to be 10 games.  Here are a few interesting eligibility notes for Yahoo:

  • Catcher: Pablo Sandoval.  He may be a top 10 catcher.
  • First Base: Adam Dunn.  In Yahoo leagues he's being drafted right before Garrett Atkins and Chris Davis.  Dunn is probably the safest of the three.
  • Second Base: Ian Stewart.
  • Shortstop: Alexei Ramirez, Felipe Lopez.
  • Third Base: Miguel Cabrera.  Ranks behind only David Wright at the hot corner.
  • Outfield: Alexei Ramirez.  There is certainly big value in being able to use Ramirez at 2B, SS, and OF.

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ADP: Yahoo Vs. ESPN

Continuing on the ADP theme, let's take out MDC and just compare Yahoo to ESPN.  The biggest differences in average draft position:

Player YH ESPN Diff
Placido Polanco 213.2 134.7 78.5
Adam LaRoche 231.5 156.1 75.4
Matt Wieters 114.3 187.1 72.8
Bengie Molina 142.7 194.8 52.1
Adrian Beltre 158.5 112.2 46.3
Conor Jackson 173.5 128.1 45.4
Justin Upton 171.2 126.3 44.9
Ryan Zimmerman 87.2 131.6 44.4
Andre Ethier 163.0 118.8 44.2
Paul Konerko 220.4 176.5 43.9
Roy Oswalt 90.6 46.8 43.8
David Price 126.2 169.2 43.0
Xavier Nady 171.5 130.2 41.3
Scott Baker 165.5 124.5 41.0
Johnny Damon 128.7 88.3 40.4
Brad Hawpe 170.4 130.4 40.0
Zack Greinke 139.8 99.8 40.0
Carlos Quentin 27.0 65.7 38.7
Melvin Mora 222.3 184.5 37.8
Jose Lopez 176.0 138.3 37.7
Torii Hunter 120.9 83.6 37.3
Victor Martinez 67.6 103.4 35.8
James Shields 99.2 63.8 35.4
Joey Votto 122.4 87.6 34.8
Derrek Lee 95.2 60.4 34.8
Ted Lilly 173.3 138.8 34.5
Alex Gordon 182.8 148.4 34.4
Rick Ankiel 195.1 161.9 33.2
Brett Myers 148.7 181.2 32.5
Milton Bradley 174.7 143.2 31.5
Carlos Pena 112.4 81.2 31.2
John Lackey 85.4 54.8 30.6
Jorge Posada 144.7 175.2 30.5

Others of note:

Player YH ESPN Diff
Bobby Abreu 95.2 67.4 27.8
Joba Chamberlain 95.2 121.0 25.8
Garrett Atkins 72.8 98.1 25.3
B.J. Upton 17.4 42.6 25.2
David Ortiz 40.3 65.0 24.7
Adam Dunn 71.4 95.8 24.4
J.J. Hardy 98.5 121.9 23.4
Mike Napoli 168.5 145.3 23.2
Javier Vazquez 125.7 148.4 22.7
Felix Hernandez 88.3 65.8 22.5
Derek Lowe 149.4 127.1 22.3
Derek Jeter 78.8 56.5 22.3
Roy Halladay 46.7 24.9 21.8

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ADP: Comparing MDC, Yahoo, ESPN

I always use Mock Draft Central Average Draft Positions on this site, even though I do most of my drafts with Yahoo.  This is dangerous, because the rankings of the fantasy league provider have a strong influence on ADPs for that site.  In other words, MDC's ADPs may be very different from Yahoo's and ESPN's.

I pulled together ADP numbers for MDC, Yahoo, and ESPN to see which players have the biggest variance.  Here they are, filtered to only players I  have earning $10+ in 2009.  The numbers are the ADPs for MDC/Yahoo/ESPN.

  1. Matt Wieters: 125.7/114.3/187.1.  Wieters is a 10th or 11th round pick at MDC or YH, but a 16th rounder at ESPN.
  2. Andre Ethier: 113.3/163.0/118.8.  This time YH sticks out like a sore thumb, letting Ethier slip to the 14th instead of the 10th.
  3. Zack Greinke: 146.2/139.8/99.8.  If you want Greinke in an ESPN league, you'd better be ready to take him in the 9th round.
  4. Ted Lilly: 199.71/173.3/138.8.
  5. Joey Votto: 78.3/122.4/87.6.  Votto in the 11th round on YH?  Wow!
  6. Roy Oswalt: 74.0/90.6/46.8.  Roy isn't much of a bargain in ESPN leagues.
  7. Brett Myers: 139.9/148.7/181.2. 
  8. Derek Jeter: 99.2/78.8/56.5.
  9. Johnny Damon: 114.4/128.7/88.3.
  10. John Lackey: 92.4/85.4/54.8.
  11. Carlos Quentin: 39.0/27.0/65.7.
  12. Torii Hunter: 111.0/120.9/83.6.
  13. Shane Victorino: 50.3/56.2/85.8.
  14. Bobby Abreu: 60.1/95.2/67.4.
  15. Victor Martinez: 79.3/67.6/103.4.
  16. Troy Tulowitzki: 104.0/70.2/98.6.
  17. Aaron Harang: 158.92/151.7/176.9.
  18. Justin Verlander: 123.2/127.6/155.9.
  19. James Shields: 81.6/99.2/63.8.
  20. Adam Dunn: 61.8/71.4/95.8.

Other big names:

  • Rich Harden: 123.8/91.6/104.1
  • B.J. Upton: 19.8/17.4/42.6.  Upton's a 4th rounder at ESPN.
  • Roy Halladay: 46.9/46.7/24.9.
  • Mariano Rivera: 83.9/64.5/63.9.
  • Javier Vazquez: 137.0/125.7/148.4.
  • Matt Holliday: 14.1/36.5/27.8.  Holliday is a great 4th round pick in Yahoo leagues.
  • C.C. Sabathia: 35.4/22.5/16.4
  • Francisco Rodriguez: 76.7/57.8/64.2
  • Joe Nathan: 77.3/61.5/61.3
  • Brandon Webb: 46.8/39.3/28.6
  • Ian Kinsler: 10.7/13.7/26.5.  Huge ESPN bargain.

Notable absences:

  • Not in YH top 268: Kenshin Kawakami, Jered Weaver, John Maine, Gil Meche, Justin Duchscherer, Adam Jones, Johnny Cueto, Jim Thome
  • Not in ESPN top 200: Nelson Cruz, Kawakami, Weaver, Kelly Johnson, Rickie Weeks, Maine, Meche, Chad Qualls, Duchscherer, Mike Gonzalez, Jones, Felipe Lopez

I won't give out MDC data since you have to pay to subscribe (it's worth it).  But here is a spreadsheet comparing the ESPN and Yahoo data.

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Q&A With The Fowl Balls

I recently did a fantasy baseball Q&A with The Fowl Balls.  Check it out.

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Undervalued Players: Hitters

Here's my list of undervalued hitters for 2009. Whether they're sleepers or not, I think these players will outproduce their draft positions.

  • Chase Utley, 2B.  Second round?  Yes please.  My projection only calls for 525 ABs.
  • Matt Kemp, OF.  Fourth round is pretty early, but a strong AVG, 20 HR, and 30 SB puts him in the running for the top 5 outfielders.  And who's to say a power breakout isn't on the way for the 24 year-old?
  • Jay Bruce, OF.  I think he can jack 30 HR and steal 10+.  I'll take that in the ninth round.
  • Chris Davis, 1B/3B.  Sixth round, still like him.  If he hits 30 HR with 100 RBI you won't regret buying the hype.
  • Mike Napoli, C.  14th round, 20+ HR from the catcher spot.  I like him even with a .248 AVG.
  • Joey Votto, 1B.  If you're going for a 1B in this 6-7th round tier, go for Votto's upside (and speed).
  • Nelson Cruz, OF.  Obviously I'd prefer him to go in the 20th round rather than the 11th.  But the guy has a shot at 25 HR and 15 SB.
  • Jayson Werth, OF.  Similar story to Cruz, but he's going a little later in drafts.
  • Ryan Doumit, C.  Pretty solid starting catcher for the 11th round.
  • Derek Jeter, SS.  He's not what he once was, but he'll help you and is going around the 9th.
  • Matt Wieters, C.  Hype shouldn't necessarily scare you off.  Give me 375 ABs of Wieters and a month of replacement level and it was easily worth an 11th round pick.
  • Kelly Johnson, 2B.  As an 18th round pick he still doesn't get proper respect.
  • Mark Reynolds, 3B.  Does .259-28-85-85-8 work for you?  That'd be worth more than a lot of 3Bs going before him (Reynolds goes in the 22nd).
  • Adam Jones, OF.  I'll board this bandwagon, love the power/speed types and he's going in the 16th.
  • Felipe Lopez, 2B.  Any 2B power/speed guy deserves better than the 27th.  And it's always nice to play your home games in Arizona.
  • Ramon Hernandez, C.  Nice value in the 22nd round, moving to Cincy.
  • Ryan Spilborghs, OF.  Double digit power speed possibility, undrafted in most leagues.
  • Adam LaRoche, 1B.  Maybe the cheapest 25 HR you'll find on draft day.  Can he shake the slow starts for his contract year?
  • Justin Upton, OF.  My projection for him isn't amazing, but can't you just see him going crazy?  It's only a 19th round pick.
  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C.  Another where my gut feel beats my projection.  Might be ready for a breakthrough.

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Roundtable: Player Evaluation Vs. Strategy

Derek Carty of The Hardball Times hosted this week's roundtable.  His question:

What do you think has a greater impact on one's ability to win a fantasy baseball league: player evaluation or strategy?

Click here to read the answers.

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What It Takes To Win: Summary

A balanced strategy that I have found effective is to aim for fourth place in each roto category.  If you pull that off, you'll have 90 points in your 12-team league.  We just finished up our What It Takes To Win series, which attempts to determine which stats are needed for fourth in each category (12-team mixed leagues with 14 hitters (2 catchers), 9 pitchers, 3 bench spots, and 2 DL spots).  The summary:


  • .283 AVG
  • 285 HR
  • 1111 RBI
  • 1154 R
  • 175 SB


  • 3.73 ERA
  • 1.26 WHIP
  • 1270 K
  • 95 W
  • 100 SV

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What It Takes To Win: Saves

Next up in our What It Takes To Win series, saves.  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 (2 catchers), 9 pitchers, 3 bench spots, 2 DL spots.

In my two leagues last year that fit this format, the save totals for fourth place were 119 and 102.  Looking at the data you guys sent in from your leagues, my figures are on the high side.  I'll suggest you aim for 100 saves.

I do worry about saves in my leagues.  But two things I don't do are worry about individual projections or draft the big-name closers.  I just try to have three of the game's 30 closers, and if another comes available I will do everything I can to get him too.  In one league I was rostering seven closers at one point.  Not only was I padding my saves total, but I was reducing the supply of this precious commodity.  I would then shop 'em around.  The strategy requires you to be on the ball in terms of the waiver wire.

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Odds & Ends: A-Rod, WBC, Auctions

Links I've had lying around...

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First Base Draft Trends

Assuming a 12-team league, let's take a look at the typical draft trends for first basemen using Mock Draft Central data.

The first round usually contains three first basemen: Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, and Ryan Howard.  In my book, Cabrera and Howard are similar in value but Pujols is worth a good $8 more than them.  Pujols' average draft position is 2.39, and he'll never go later than fifth.  Cabrera is just 26 in April, and his second half was insane, so he stands a good chance of closing that $8 gap.

Three more big name 1Bs drop in the second round: Mark Teixeira, Lance Berkman, and Justin Morneau.  Not that he'll be bad or anything, but I don't think Morneau is justified here.

The third round often sees Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, and Kevin Youkilis chosen.  Fielder strikes me as a mild bargain at 25.02, but Gonzalez and Youkilis are going dangerously early.

I like to try to get a $10+ player at every position, and I have 14 1Bs reaching that dollar value.  9 of the 14 will be off the board when the third round closes, creating the impression of scarcity if you don't have one yet.

The next group of 1Bs doesn't get moving until Chris Davis in the 6th round.  Davis may be a victim of too much hype, but he remains capable of 30 HR and 100 RBI without the cost of a third-round pick.  Carlos Pena will go right after Davis.  Both players carry some risk of a detrimenal batting average.

In the 7th round we see two "safe" picks in Derrek Lee and Garrett Atkins, plus the intriguing Joey Votto.  Might as well go with Votto for the upside and the possibility of 10 steals.

Still don't have a first baseman?  You're probably going to have to settle for less-than-ideal production unless you hit on a sleeper.  You'll see Aubrey Huff, James Loney and Carlos Delgado move in the 8-9th rounds.  These three, Loney especially, do not thrill me.

The dog days of the draft produce these picks: Jorge Cantu (13th), Paul Konerko (15th), Hank Blalock (16th),  Nick Swisher (16th), Jason Giambi (17th), Conor Jackson (18th) Pablo Sandoval (19th), Carlos Guillen (20th) and Casey Kotchman (20th).  Sandoval is solid here if he qualifies at catcher in your league (11 games played).  Out of this bunch, I'll take Jackson.  He's 27 in May and had a couple of 5 HR months last year; you never know.

In the last round of the draft, you may see Adam LaRoche, Casey Blake, and Mike Jacobs taken.  LaRoche is a very affordable 25 HR bat, and he's entering his contract year.  Jacobs is similar minus the contract year.

Undrafted: Todd Helton, Lyle Overbay, Billy Butler, and Ryan Garko.  Butler is your breakout candidate here.  Also keep an eye on Gaby Sanchez, Chris Duncan, and Matt LaPorta.

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