Author Archive

Hey! Shop Your Trades: Part 2

Yesterday’s post about shopping trades yielded some interesting comments for what I thought was a slam dunk topic. It’s my own fault that certain aspects of the example I used were distracting from the central premise. Write better dummy.

Let’s start by restating things. More than two owners (one of which is the seller) in a 12 team league should know that Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Kris Bryant are available to be acquired in the same trade. Agree? Disagree? Poll!

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Hey! Shop Your Trades

Over the weekend, we had a real doozy of a trade in the ottoneu Screw Cancer league. This is not an industry league so I’d like to start by apologizing to the teams involved in the trade. I’d usually avoid calling y’all out in an article, but this is too perfect an example.

To thoroughly bury the lede, let’s quickly talk about today’s lesson before jumping into unpacking this example. It’s one I’ve espoused before on this and half a dozen other sites. Shop your friggin’ trade offers. Especially when you’re trying to sell major assets.

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5 Under The Radar Spring Stories

Spring is sprung and all that gobbledygook. More importantly, things are happening in the baseball world. After an offseason of stasis, players are gaining value based on the early results of their offseason training regimens. Some are losing value via injury. Others will have to contend with last minute signings of key free agents. Many spring stories are flying under the radar. Here are five that caught my eye.

1. Bryce Harper fallout

There are some repercussions to the Phillies signing of Bryce Harper. Obviously, Nick Williams is no longer the starting right fielder. He was a sneaky breakout candidate entering his age 25 season with a track record of steady gains to contact rate, plate discipline, and ISO. The Phillies have options with Williams. Literally, he could be optioned, serve as an overqualified fourth outfielder, or be traded for something the club needs more. At present, that’s nothing.

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Even The Worst Trades Sometimes Work

We’ve all seen our share of terrible trades. Deals that make you say “What in Ruth’s bloody balls were you thinking.” However, I’ve noticed something over the years. These so-called terrible trades often look less ridiculous in retrospect. Not “good.” Just less bad. The lesson, I suppose, is that time can salvage a disaster. Sometimes.

Earlier this week, a patron brought an ottoneu trade to my attention, saying the league was grumbling about vetoing it. He wasn’t involved. My reaction was to wonder who even won the trade. Here are the details:

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Bullpen Sleepers of the East

My colleague Al Melchoir has steadfastly examined the bullpens of non-contenders and examined the closer landscape at large. These are excellent places to look for bargain saves. On another website of some repute, I’m tasked with setting the closer rankings. Part of that involves an in-depth preseason examination of all bullpens. Today, I’d like to share what I’ve learned about the NL and AL East.

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Halfway Through Tout Wars Draft and Hold

We’re a little over halfway through Tout Wars Draft and Hold, a 50-round battle royale. Tout Wars has a standard rule set which includes 5×5 scoring with OBP, active and reserve rosters, and a few other customizations. It’s all pretty close to standard. The Draft and Hold format is brand new. It’s basically a mashup of classic Tout Wars rules with NFBC. The most important detail to remember: there are no trades or waiver moves.

If you’re curious about the exact details, the 2019 Constitution is available online. It governs all Tout Wars leagues.

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Brad Johnson Baseball Chat: 2/26/2019

We chatted, it’s true. Alas, the chat is complete. You can read a transcript though.

Brad Johnson: Ok, we’ll get started in a few moments.

Vic: Would you keep Almora in the 27th round of a 15 team mixed 5 x 5?

Brad Johnson: If there is no other opportunity cost, I’d probably strongly consider locking in the young OFer. That’s right around his ADP in a redraft, but his age maybe makes him a bit more interesting in a keep-for-awhile setting

DynastyStarter: How much auction $ would you spend on guys like Vlad/Soto/Acuna if you could keep them at zero cost forever after the initial start up dynasty draft? Stars/scrubs seems like the logical approach to me…Get as many as possible and piece together from there?

Brad Johnson: I can’t say for certain without seeing all your settings, but my inclination is to go heavy for those guys

Yuca Yuca: In a 12-team keep forever (up to 7), do you hold onto Ohtani and Mondesi?

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April Heroes?

Every year, I curse myself for not taking more (any?) $1 shares of Kevin Pillar. I know what you’re thinking – “Brad, Pillar is always terrible.” In a very real sense, that’s true – at least in fantasy leagues where his defense is irrelevant. He’s posted a career 87 wRC+ with four very consistent full seasons of mediocrity. He’s also one of the most successful players in April, non-elite division. Behold:

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Don’t Be A Draft Room Tryhard

In video games, a “tryhard” is somebody who attempts to use advanced playing techniques despite lacking the talent to pull them off. They’re trying hard to succeed. This is usually done by imitating professional players. The results are predictably poor.

We have tryhards in fantasy baseball even if their appearance is slightly different than in popular video games. Talent has less to do with it. Few touts stream their drafts or share their inner monologue when making picks (I’m beginning to do so). As such, mimicry is mostly limited to perusing the draft results of expert leagues like LABR and Tout Wars. There is also some scope to misplay advanced strategies, but again, relatively few writers are even talking about these. Most fantasy baseball content can be categorized as rankings, player analysis, or this-is-happening-now.

In case it’s not clear, it’s considered a bad thing to be a tryhard. To paraphrase words you’ve heard before, you have to learn to walk before you can run. By trying to execute strategies beyond their means, tryhards increase their chances of failure. Of course, it’s not all bad. Failure is the best way to learn. Today’s tryhard can become tomorrow’s expert.

Here are three common ways fantasy players try too hard.

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A Classic Example of My Favorite Ottoneu Strategy

Last night, the Screw Cancer ottoneu league held their auction draft. Twelve owners (and a co-owner) came together to submit competing bids for around 200 players. Well, mostly. I entered the draft with $31 and 18 open roster spots. I vowed to draft only $1 players, reserving a $3-bid or two for the troublesome position of catcher. The result, I’m proud to say, is a pretty shiny roster.

In chats on FanGraphs and Discord throughout the early winter months, I advised countless ottoneu players to trade for expensive, elite players. “Don’t worry about running out of money,” I said. “Draft a bunch of $1 players,” I said. Yesterday’s draft is a perfect example of how to execute this approach.

The league is Screw Cancer. My team is Haliax Chandrian Explosion.

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