Archive for March, 2012

Why I’m Down on C.J. Wilson

A week and a half ago, I published my American League starting pitcher tiers, which were based on my projections and ranked pitchers in descending order of dollar value. One of the bigger surprises was C.J. Wilson landing in the third tier, ranking 16th among all AL starters. This ranking was behind guys like Brandon Morrow, Colby Lewis and Max Scherzer, who it is likely that the vast majority of fantasy owners would draft much later than Wilson. So why am I down on Wilson? Let me count the reasons.

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Two-Start Pitchers for Week One

Maximizing pitchers that make 2 starts in a week is a strategy used by some fantasy owners, especially in H2H leagues. The owners cycle through less desirable starters each week and get a new set the next week in order to win the counting stats. The first week of the season offers a unique situation because most of the 2-start pitchers are #1 and #2 starters for a team. Most of these pitchers are already owned. Today I am going to look at some of the few 2-start “aces” that may be available in a league

(Owned % are ESPN and Yahoo)

Erik Bedard (7%, 39%) – Erik is by far the best option among the pitchers I will look at today. His main issue in the past has been staying healthy. While he has a lower chance of getting a Win than a starter on a better team, he will supply a decent number of strikeouts (ZiPS projection is 8.15 K/9). Since an owner is looking to have him around a only a week, they might as well take the chance on him stating healthy that long. In a deep league, owners should actually look to keep him until he eventually goes on the DL.

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2012 Holds Tiers: Preseason

A disclaimer I must add is that this is possibly the worst time to create holds tiers that I could ever imagine. The injuries to closers such as Joakim Soria and Ryan Madson and attempting to judge who will be their replacements make these rankings difficult. The Royals are supposedly leaning towards Jonathan Broxton, but how long will that last for? The Reds are considering going with a closer by committee, but if Sean Marshall starts locking down saves, will they be willing to move pitchers around late in games?

I did not want to get into a big guessing game in that regard. For sake of these rankings, I assumed Marshall and Broxton would close. Below my personal, not RotoGraphs’, holds tiers for the upcoming season.
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Using The Disabled List To Your Advantage

This will be a real quick hitter here, thinking about periphery stuff in terms of roster strategy…

There are no doubt going to be a goodly number of you drafting fantasy baseball teams this weekend (so many in fact that we’re trying to throw together a weekend-long marathon chat for you should you want to check in with crisis situations!). After looking at the many squads I’ve already procured through sometimes deft and sometimes drunken decisions, I’m starting to prepare for my roster spots yet to become available via the disabled list. So while this is a waiver wire piece, it’s rather a bizarro-waiver-wire piece because I’m asking you to think about it in advance. Yes, it’s a strange time of year.

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Eno Sarris RotoGraphs Chat

Let’s talk FanGraphs: The Game and other fantasy baseball. I mean, I’ll do what I can to help y’all. But, the game’s out there, and it’s play or get played. That simple. So see you at noon-thirty.

Eno’s “Sleepers”

Short but simple piece right here. I just finished drafting my 12th league, so with an “n” of 12, let’s see who I like. The simplest way to do this is to list the players I own most. So, here we go.

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FanGraphs Experts Ottoneu League: Year Two

Last season, I was a part of the FanGraphs Experts Ottoneu League. As there wasn’t a prize and I was in three other leagues, my team fell into disarray pretty quickly and I missed a bunch of opportunities to add good players in the midseason. I finished in 10th place with a team largely deserving of said finish. Therefore, when I heard there would be payouts of $600/$300/$100 for the top three places this year, I had mixed emotions. Payouts for a league I don’t have to pay into? Awesome. But my team sucked, meaning I had a lot of work to do in the auction.

The reason my team didn’t do well is, naturally, because I drafted a lot of bad players. Ottoneu gives players ample chances to make sweeping changes midseason — trading or picking up prospects, acquiring chips to trade in the offseason. But instead I just let it sit, and as such I only had 14 players worth keeping, one of whom was a $63 Albert Pujols. I threw him back knowing I needed a big budget to work with in the auction. As such, I kept the following list:

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Andre Ethier Is Going To Have a Huge Season

In 2008, Andre Ethier had a breakout season for the Dodgers, hitting .305/.375/.510 for a team that made it to the National League Championship Series. His .382 wOBA that year was good for 10th among all MLB outfielders, impressive for a player who had spent much of his first two seasons in the big leagues battling lesser players like Luis Gonzalez & Juan Pierre for playing time. The following year, the Dodgers made it back to the NLCS, and Ethier was a huge part of that success; while his wOBA was slightly down to .370 (which still made him a top-20 outfielder), he increased his home runs from 20 to 31 and left behind a string of lasting memories, since it seemed that every time you looked up in 2009, Ethier was hitting a walkoff and being mobbed by teammates at home plate. At 27 years old, Ethier had a career line of .291/.363/.490 in four seasons and had established himself not only as an up-and-coming star but as one of the few feathers in general manager Ned Colletti’s cowboy hat, considering he’d been stolen from Billy Beane & the Athletics when it became clear Milton Bradley had to go after 2005.

While the future may have looked bright for both Ethier and the Dodgers at that point, it hasn’t really worked out that way for either party. The Dodgers, saddled by the whirlwind controversies brought on by the excesses of owner Frank McCourt, went just one game over .500 over the last two seasons, not sniffing the playoffs either time. Ethier, while still relatively productive despite battling injuries, has seen his power all but disappear. A slugging percentage that was .508 in 2009 has fallen to .493 in 2010 and down to .421 in 2011, when he hit just 11 homers and had a .343 wOBA that barely placed him within the top 30 among outfielders.

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Roto Riteup: March 30th, 2012

The focus of today’s Roto Riteup will be on just one player, Marlon Byrd, and the recent trade rumors surrounding him to Atlanta or possibly Washington.

Injuries and player development are the two biggest “ifs” in both baseball and fantasy baseball alike. Will a player finally make the leap from prospect to player? From projection to production? Who will stay healthy for 550 plate appearances? It is impossible to accurately predict these things all the time, but due to recent development and injury news, some teams are left scrambling to fill out their rosters.
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The Recent Resurgence of Justin Morneau

It’s been a long time since Justin Morneau was anything close to a sure fantasy option. 2010 drafters had to decide which Morneau was the real thing, the player who hit .311/.390/.575 with 21 HR in the first half of 2009 or the player who faded badly down the stretch, killing a viable MVP campaign with an .077/.178/.179 September. Those who bought into his potential in 2010 were richly rewarded with princely production — .358/.465/.648 with 11 HR — in exactly half a season of work. Read the rest of this entry »