Author Archive

Trade Leverage Is A Hoax

When last we met practically a year ago (ahem, December 19), we discussed trade negotiations – specifically one of my standard processes. Although I think a forthright and (semi) honest conversation is the surest approach to building a mutually beneficial swap, not everybody likes the way I conduct my trade talks. Common complaints include that I’m asking the other owner to do all the work while giving up their leverage.

To the former point, um, no. To the latter point, also no.

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A Standard Framework For Trade Negotiations

Yesterday, I spent a decent chunk of my afternoon arguing with another writer on Twitter about trade etiquette. A part of me wonders why I engage in these online debates. In some ways, it’s very natural. As a teenager, arguing in an online baseball forum is how I developed the writing skills I need for my trade. Arguing online is almost a compulsion reinforced over half my life.

In other ways, have you ever stopped to wonder how weird it is to use the incredibly advanced technology of the internet to seek out and engage in an argument with a stranger? So weird, right? I don’t go around eavesdropping on people in Target, waiting for a hot take with which I disagree. Although… that sounds like a fun YouTube series.

Anyway, I digress. Today we’re going to discuss my standard process for engaging in trade negotiations. I find this is the easiest way for everybody to get what they want in a minimal amount of time. Some of you may disagree. That’s fine. I don’t understand it, but that’s fine.

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Brad Johnson Baseball Chat: 12/18/2018

Below is the transcript to today’s chat.

3:50
Brad Johnson: We’ll get started in a few minutes

3:58
Steven: Ottoneu points-style dynasty league. What kind of trade value, in terms of prospects, do you think these Dodgers pitchers have: Maeda, Wood, Stripling?

3:58
Brad Johnson: Maybe like a $2 Carter Kieboom

3:58
Brad Johnson: There are basically 2 types of prospects in ottoneu – monsters like Vladito and guys who don’t matter

3:58
Brad Johnson: Kieboom, if $2, is one of the few who lives in the space between.

3:59
Brad Johnson: I don’t think you can get a premium prospect for any of those guys

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Highly Custom League Of The Week: WAR Wars

This is the fifth installment of the Highly Custom League series. Previous entries covered 2×2 Roto, Split Auctions, Roto-to-Head, and Rotating Divisions. Today we’ll discuss a format I once tested three or four seasons ago.

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Rule 5 Draft: Who To Watch

The Major League Rule 5 draft kicked off at noon today and finished a few minutes later. In typical rapid fire, 14 unprotected players were selected to go join new teams. Inevitably, some of them will be traded before the start of the season. Others will be returned to their original club.

The beauty of the Rule 5 draft is that the worst teams pick first. These are the clubs that are 1. most likely to keep their selection and 2. most likely to play their picks. You don’t find Odubel Herrera or Brad Keller by hiding them under the dankest corner of the bench. In fact, the 11 teams with the best record in 2018 made a total of zero selections. This likely reflects their intentions to continue competing at a high level – they don’t have the flexibility to nurse the types of players usually selected in the Rule 5 draft.

That said, a few of the 14 selected players could have a fantasy impact in 2019.

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Brad Johnson Baseball Chat: 12/11/2018

We talked a lot about Andrew McCutchen and various Mets/Yankees/Marlins rumors. Then we talked about other topics. Here’s the transcript.

3:53
Brad Johnson: We’ll get started in a few minutes

3:57
Mets fans everywhere: Also, best baseball pun of the offseason is given the Mets track record, they’ll try to trade for Realmuto but end up with some fake muto.

4:00
John: Any former MLB players who missed all of 2018 (due to injury or playing out of the country)  that might surprise in 2019? (ala Miles Mikolas or Eric Thames a couple of years ago)

4:00
Brad Johnson: I don’t see anybody notable on the radar, heard about a couple return attempts, but they weren’t Thames/Mikolas caliber players

4:00
Brad Johnson: Or even Colby Lewis

4:01
Brad Johnson: I’m browsing 2017 leaderboards for guys who disappeared in 2018. Corey Seager and Dinelson Lamet spring to mind, although that’s probably not what you meant.

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A Dynasty Constitution From Scratch

A good dynasty league requires a constitution – a set of rules and clauses to govern the league above and beyond those stipulated by your fantasy vendor of choice. I recently designed such a league which I named Dynasty To Be Named Later or DTBNL for short. The constitution – a 1,800 word whopper – includes every custom rule plus just about anything from the FanTrax rule page I thought might be the slightest bit important to know.

Today’s post has two purposes. First, to enumerate certain details that must be included in a successful constitution. Second, to highlight some of the custom rules I’ve baked into this particular dynasty league.

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Replacement Level At Other Infield Positions

On Tuesday, I let slip a little secret I’ve been nursing for a few months – namely that replacement level middle infielders appear to be one WAR players. The incongruity of that statement – that replacement level equals one – has led to some public misadventures in player analysis. That’s a real world problem.

From a fantasy perspective, my conclusion was simple: don’t go out of your way to draft middle infielders. For somebody completely new to fantasy baseball, that seems like a big ol’ DUH! However, for most of my life, fantasy gospel stated that middle infield is scarce and therefore production up the middle is worth more than the same production at another position. Now it has flipped, although not enough to bother over-drafting other positions.

My advice for 2019: draft the best statistical fits for your roster. Don’t worry about position. And for Ruth’s sake, don’t worry about catchers. Now, let’s peek at replacement level for catcher, first base, and third base.

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Worst Trade Ever – And What To Do About It

For fantasy junkies like me – and probably you – deep keeper and dynasty leagues are the zenith of modern civilization. I’m not here to extol their virtues. It suffices to say that they scratch a certain itch – the one you had as a kid when you were daydreaming about running your own major league club.

These deep formats also have something in common. No matter what, somebody is eventually going to make a horrific-looking trade. However, the way a trade looks on paper can be deceptive. Yesterday, the Cardinals traded a lot for Paul Goldschmidt. Some (ahem, me) might say they dealt too much. They also unmistakably improved their 2019 roster in a way that only minimally weakens their future chances at winning. It’s important to consider how a deal affects competition.

Another consideration is that apparently lopsided trades still work out in the “losing” owner’s favor pretty frequently. I’m going to make up some numbers now. Based on all the trades I’ve seen that are widely panned as unfair but also aren’t clearly unconscionable, I estimate somewhere between 35 to 40 percent of them ultimately favor the loser. From my perspective, the crowds aren’t very wise. So, even though your rival probably gotten more in a sketchy looking swap, it doesn’t mean they’re totally screwed. This is akin to winning a hand of Texas Hold ‘Em after being behind on the flop. It happens all the time.

So, the lede is thoroughly buried. Now why are we here again? To talk about unconscionable trades and the immediate steps a good commissioner should take. While the design of a league should encourage trading – negotiations are half the fun! – too many terrible trades can be ruinous.

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Brad Johnson Baseball Chat: 12/4/2018

Here is today’s chat transcript which coincided with the big Pat Corbin news.

3:13
Brad Johnson: Hey folks, sorry about the delay. I guess some part of me knew a simple doctor appointment would take 2 hours

3:14
Brad Johnson: We’ll get started in a moment.

3:17
Brad Johnson: Alright, let’s do this

3:17
Trevor: How many prospects is too many for an ottoneu team attempting to contend?

3:17
Brad Johnson: As is often the case, it really depends on context. I often operate with no more than 1-3.

3:18
Brad Johnson: I mostly acquire mine over the offseason for players I can no longer afford to keep. I’ll also try to scrounge whatever $1 guys get left over in the draft. I got Acuna and Soto this way, but that was pure luck.

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