Decision, decisions

I’m holding off on another Thursday Theriots for the time being. Too much going on in life between adding a second job and prepping for my auction draft.

I did make a few big decisions the last couple days about my other fantasy team though.

The rules in this league are that if the player is 25 or younger when drafted or picked up on waivers, he can be a keeper for life. Each keeper takes pick from the middle of the draft, so everyone still has a chance at a first rounder every year.

Keepers:

Buster Posey

Eric Hosmer

Howie Kendrick

Will Middlebrooks – Wary of him this year, but worth a wait-and-see approach

Hanley Ramirez

Andrew McCutchen

Mike Trout

Matt Wieters

Jered Weaver

Stephen Strasburg – Who I originally drafted while he was still in college. Not allowed anymore in this league.

Wade Miley

Yovani Gallardo

Brett Anderson

Trevor Bauer

Chris Tillman – I traded Danny Hultzen to my brother to get him. Has the potential to do something special this year I think.

Dropped:

Jacob Turner – Has never lived up to the hype. I’m done with him.

I have 11 picks to make now. Outfielders and perhaps a SS will be priorities, along with SP depth. Relievers will come late.

What do you think? Did I make the right calls?

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Thursday Theriots for 2/21/13 – Fantasies do come true

Hey everyone. Seems like there’s a lot to talk about on the fantasy side of the ledger today, so let’s get to it…

ESPN just released its big fantasy package this evening. I always find this to be a great starting point for figuring things out in each of my leagues. What’s really key for me is the auction values they provide. There’s so much variation compared to the auction league that I’m actually in that the next link really helps…

Complete ZiPS projections. It’s the most exhaustive prediction system out there, so if you’re going to pick one to use, this is it.

So the basic strategy as I see it this year. Start with ESPN, update based on ZiPS, modify the numbers to fit the league. Hopefully in some meaningful way. I mean, it can’t go worse than last year…

Definitely suggest checking out Eno Sarris’ Thursday chat on Fangraphs. Lots of fantasy questions, plus a healthy amount of beer.

Patrick Dubuque has a great line related to fantasy and real life:

Your daily life plays a factor in how you build your roster. I can speak of this from experience: as a young naïve college student, I was once free to scour the internet for changes in the wind, and kept myself on top of all the latest rumors. In my twenties, from my cubicle, I could still check every once in a while when I knew the boss wasn’t wandering the halls. Now, my vocation keeps me away from the computer, and baseball essentially dies for eight to ten hours at a time, long enough of a span for both my closers to lose their jobs and get traded for each other as long relievers.

That’s basically how I feel these days. I have an hour at lunch to check non-work things. I’m lucky to spend a few minutes updating my rosters, then catching up on Fangraphs and ESPN.

And to end this all, my other league, which does a slow offline draft with numerous keepers, has started to ramp up. Decisions on keepers are due in a week. More on that in another post…

Happy birthday Ryan Langerhans!

I want to wish a wonderful 33rd birthday to the one and only Ryan Langerhans!

For those that weren’t here from the beginning, the reason I named this blog after Ryan was that we share the exact same birthday. Kind of neat in a really dorky way.

Here are some other February 20th baseball birthdays:

Jurickson Profar – 1993!

Julio Borbon – 1986

Vinnie Pestano – 1985

Ryan Sweeney – 1985

Brian McCann – 1984

Justin Verlander – 1983

Livan Hernandez – 1975

Derek Lilliquist – 1966

Bill Gullickson – 1959

Roy Face – 1928

Tommy Henrich – 1913

Sam Rice – 1890

Not a bad group at all. One hall of famer. One pitcher (Verlander) who may be on his way. A stud catcher. And the top prospect in the game.

Top 5 – Favorite sporting events

Think I’ll make this into a regular sort of thing here at Langerhans’ Loogy. I’ll start with an easy one, top 5 favorite sporting events.

  1. MLB Opening day – The season starts, you have six months ahead of you of wonderful baseball. Games on throughout the day, so even if you’re at work you can keep up with all the action.
  2. Tour de France mountain stages – I’m admittedly a huge Tour de France geek. I get so hyped up for the event every year. And the best part are the mountains, when the top contenders always make a run for it. (On a side note, I want to mention that for the first time in decade, the tour went through the city I lived in for nine months, Sète. If you were watching, that was during stage 13 where there was a huge hill about 10-15 miles from the end. So neat to see where I spend so much time.)
  3. NCAA men’s basketball round of 64 – It’s hard to choose between these two days and the sweet 16, but I think this one tops them all. You get the potential for huge upsets and four games going on at once. It’s fast-paced and so much fun.
  4. College World Series – It’s an extended event, but the best of the college baseball season. Love that Stony Brook and Kent State made it last year, which made it that much more special.
  5. NCAA lacrosse championships – The best sport out there that doesn’t get enough pub. High-level lacrosse is a beautiful thing to behold.

And one last non-sporting sporting event on to

Thursday Theriots for 2/14/13 – Puppy love

I do want to wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day. There’s only one link today, because it discusses an issue that’s close to my heart.

I’ve never in my life read an article that touched me quite like Jerry Crasnick’s piece on Mark Buehrle and his pit bull. It was extremely well-written and discussed the central issues in a clear, coherent way. Basically, pit bulls are banned in Ontario. Mark Buehrle owns a pit bull. It’s part of his family. So he has chosen to spend the season living away from his family so that he won’t run afoul of the ban.

Here’s my personal note. I am an owner of a pit bull, Alice. She was rescued from the back of a house in Akron, where she was chained up. The humane officers know she was used as a breeding dog and quite possibly as a fighting dog. She has the scars to prove it. She waited a year and a half to get adopted from Pawsibilities, the Humane Society of Greater Akron. When my wife and I decided we wanted a dog, we went to the shelter and fell in love with Alice. You can’t explain the feeling you get when you make eye contact and know that’s your dog. It just happens. And guess what? She’s the sweetest, most loving animal I’ve ever known.

Since adopting Alice two years ago, we have gone on to adopt another dog, Zeke, and have become involved with quite a few animal-related organizations. This ranges from fostering dogs to participating in dog transports to putting together fundraisers. My wife has really spearheaded it all, so I should give her credit and ask you to check out her site at thatanimallady.com.

Getting back to the original point of this post, Mark Buehrle has been a very positive force in the animal community. He is an outspoken supporter of numerous organizations and initiatives. Our hope is that he will help remove the law banning pit bulls in Ontario. You know, his family is both human and canine, just like ours. He is being forced to split his family apart due to a law that by all measures does not need to be in the books. In Ohio, we helped remove breed-specific legislation (BSL) from the laws, so it can be done elsewhere. And perhaps Mark Buehrle is the right person to energize that movement.

Are you an animal owner? Do you and your animals have a connection to baseball? I would love to hear your thoughts…

Thursday Theriots for 2/7/13 – All about prospecting

Thursday Theriots for this week focus on the young guys.

An incredible article from Ben Badler at Baseball America about the difficulty of scouting international prospects. As it says in the article, it’s like scouting JV-level players with bigger bodies. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to figure out who stands out and what price is associated with each player. Scouts have a unique talent, one that’s so often overlooked at the major-league level.

Keith Law’s Top 100 Prospects – This is the article I wait for every single year. It’s impressive how much information he puts into each write up. It’s crazy reading the comments about guys thinking he did a terrible job because someone was rated lower than they thought. Just silly.

Also very happy that the O’s have players at #3, 26, 50 and 100. And Machado would likely have been a top 5 guy if he didn’t lose eligibility.

ESPN’s Fantasy Baseball Top 300 – Another list I wait for all offseason. Surprised Braun is ranked above Trout, but I can’t complain. What I really wait for is the auction value list, which is key for my auction draft.

In case you missed it (and I’m sure you all did), I had a little back and forth with Buster Olney via Twitter on Tuesday. I absolutely hate how he uses misleading stats for the sake of the “common reader” and called him out on it. He didn’t like it too much. But I think Keith Law said it best yesterday: “Pitcher wins are a useless stat.” End of story.

Alright, keeping it short for today, as I’m fighting off sickness the best I can…

Ranking the stadiums I’ve visited

For a while, I tried visiting a new stadium every year, whether it was in the minors or majors. I haven’t kept that up, but I have been to a few. Here are my personal rankings for the stadiums I’ve visited.

  1. PNC Park, Pittsburgh – I can’t believe I’m writing this, but PNC blows all other stadium experiences away. The stadium is beautiful and has gorgeous views of the water and downtown. The atmosphere is friendly and I’ve had good luck talking with players before games.
  2. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore – Retro done to perfection. My “home” park if I have one.
  3. Miller Park, Milwaukee – It’s fun. Neat indoor/outdoor stadium. Plus the original sausage race.
  4. Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati – There’s a huge gap between the first three and this one. Nice modern park, but a bit boring.
  5. Nationals Park, Washington DC – It feels like it needs time to season. Potential to move up this list.
  6. Progressive Field, Cleveland – There’s not much that’s particularly interesting here.
  7. Memorial Stadium, Baltimore – My first stadium experience, though it’s hard to remember since it was so long ago.
  8. Wrigley Field, Chicago – I know, it’s sacrilege. The stadium just felt so old and cold.
  9. RFK Stadium, Washington DC – Made for football and it always felt like it.
  10. Olympic Park, Montreal – Playing in a dome just doesn’t feel like how you should play the game.

Special mention: Canal Park, Akron – I live about 10-15 minutes away from here, so if I want to see a game, this is where I go. It’s quite well designed and every seat is close to the action.

Parks I’d like to visit that are within driving distance: Comerica Park in Detroit, stadiums in Columbus, Toledo, Louisville

What about you? Agree that Wrigley is horribly overrated or think I should go back to Stadiums 101? Let me know…