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…

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…

Preview: Reflections on a fantasy baseball season gone wrong

I have a confession to make. It takes me forever to write anything. It’s one of the reasons I was never able to complete my dissertation. So I’m using the early posts in this blog to get my feet wet again, to relearn how to write in a semi-coherent manner.

That said, I’m going to be introducing an extended set of articles over the next month or so. They’re all related to looking back on my season in fantasy baseball. You see, I had a really bad year in one of my leagues so I’m using this to figure out just what happened. A good thought exercise leading to the upcoming season.

I’m proposing the following set of posts, but don’t worry if it grows beyond this.

1. The league that actually went somewhat well
2. Setting up the rules of the game
3. Roster construction – beginning and end
4. Offense
5. Defense
6. Lessons learned from this season and looking forward to 2013

Really hope you enjoy the posts and get some good ideas about how to land a better team at your next draft.

Transactions and why I take joy in them

You’re in the middle of the season and you need to add steals. You have plenty of pitching, so you target Dee Gordon. (This has to be a really deep league for you to have Gordon, but play along.) Another team offers to take Mark Buehrle off your hands in return. Do you do it?

It depends on your situation. Will those extra steals really help you that much? Can you bear Gordon’s weak bat? Will you miss Buehrle’s steady but unspectacular production? Are you able to keep the players beyond this year? Etc. etc.

Why is this seemingly mundane scenario so interesting? Because it’s something that happens every hour of every day in real life. Teams are built and dismantled over months and years of transactions. GMs have to decide on a daily basis how to construct a team, how to maneuver to optimize for both short and long term success. Just imagine the number of players that pass through waivers each week, each a decision that the GM and his staff have to make. Get lucky and you can grab a useful reliever. Get unlucky and the player is back on waivers next week. (I’m looking at you Eli Whiteside.)

I am simply fascinated by transactions for some reason. I love that there is so much risk involved. The Blue Jays may come out ahead in the short term in the Dickey trade, but it could be disastrous for them in 5-6 years. I don’t think I could handle dealing with this amount of pressure, hence why I’m not one to make a ton of fantasy baseball trades. (Though I’m known for scouring the waiver wire.) I love the complexity of baseball’s transaction system. Rosters, trades, waivers, drafts (rule IV and V!), options, DFAs, arbitration, free agency. It all adds up to a fascinating game within a game.

And perhaps my favorite oddball transaction? The rule V draft. We all know it’s not half as interesting now that the rules for time you can keep players has changed, but it still amazes me that teams go to the depths to draft guys, both in the major and minor league portions. Seriously, how much do you have to know about other systems to draft players onto your AA team? It’s a wizardry that the vast majority of us can only ever aspire to.