Friday, July 31, 2009

Reasons for Veto

After much thought and consideration, I have decided to veto the trade between Kimball and Weseloh for the following players:

Shane Victorino and Cliff Lee to Weseloh
Brad Hawp, Aaron Harang and Jason Hammel to Kimball

The reasons are as follows.

1. It was made clear a few weeks ago that because of mitigating circumstances Kimball would no longer be active in the league for an indefinite period of time. This statement was made aware to me after the approval of similar seemingly-lopsided trades. Had I been aware of Kimball’s intent, I doubt those trades would have been approved either. This is not to say I’m upset, but to allow context to my vetoing of this trade.

2. Kimball is not receiving adequate compensation for this trade. Cliff Lee, last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner who has just been traded to an inferior league, has been one of the top fantasy pitchers in baseball.

Cliff Lee(2009): 7-9, 152 IP, 3.14 ERA, 107 K, 1.303 WHIP
Cliff Lee (since April 16): 7-7, 142 IP, 2.66 ERA, 97 K, 1.239 WHIP

Cliff Lee (08-09): 29-12, 2.78 ERA, 375.1 IP, 277 K, 160 ERA+
Roy Halladay (08-09): 31-15, 2.74 ERA, 394 IP, 335 K, 156 ERA+

*This is not to argue Cliff Lee is better, as good or worse than Roy Halladay, but to establish Lee’s value in comparison to Halladay, one of the top pitchers in the game. Clearly, Lee has been very impressive in comparison to Halladay.

- Lee has outscored Zack Greinke, Johan Santana, Roy Halladay, Yavonni Gallardo and Felix Hernandez in the last month.
- Will be eligible to be kept for two more seasons at a cost of a 24th and 23rd round pick.
- Is now pitching for the defending World Series Champions in a pitcher’s league. (Think CC Sababthia last season.)
- Since April 16, all but one Cliff Lee start has been a quality start.

Aaron Harang: 5-12, 4.50 ERA, 134 IP, 115 K, 1.455 WHIP
Jason Hammel: Fantasy points in his last five starts – (-19.5), 5, 12.5, (-11), (-3.5). Over his last six starts he is 0-3 with a 5.76 ERA and .352 opponent’s batting average. But, yeah, I’d take him over Cliff Lee.

- Harang and Hammel have combined for 19 quality starts this season. Lee has 18 by himself, which is as many as Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Josh Johnson and more than Johan Santana, Tim Lincecum, Chad Billingsley and Roy Halladay.
- Harang will be a 10th round keeper if kept. Hammel was not drafted and is thus a 15th round keeper.

In other words, I do not believe that an invested player would trade Cliff Lee straight up (if at all) for Aaron Harang and Jason Hammel.

3. In my mind, the trade is broken up into two parts: Lee for Harang and Hammel and Shane Victorino for Brad Hawp. When looked at from this view, I believe it give greater context to the trade. I would be surprised to see anybody construct a Victorino for Hawp trade in this league.

Consider that Victorino is out scoring ALL fantasy centerfielders and is a key part in the National League’s best lineup.

Shane Victorino
- Has outscored all fantasy centerfielder-eligible players on the season and in the last month.
- Has two more keeper eligible seasons at round 15 and 14.
- Has, on the season, outscored Brad Hawp by over 100 fantasy points.

Brad Hawp(Opening Day to May 15): .363/.437/.667, 6 HR, 11 2B, 30 RBI, 19 K, 14 BB
Brad Hawp (May 16 to present): .296/.381/.517, 10 HR, 17 2B, 34 RBI, 56 K, 31 BB

Shane Victorino (OD to May 15): .253/.296/.418, 6 2B, 3 3B, 12 K, 9 BB, 3 SB
Shane Victorino (May 16 to pres):.353/.431/.504, 21 2B, 3 3B, 33 K, 33 BB, 14 SB

I think this shows that Hawp had a great first month of the season and is falling back to normal and that Victorino had a bad first month and has had extended success for the last three months. I believe the overall fantasy points reflect this when one considers how poorly Victorino played in comparison to Hawp for the first month of the season. Since then, not only has Victorino caught up to him, he has surpassed him (along with every other centerfield-eligible player).

Hawp Notes
- Is the 8th ranked right field-eligible player on the season.
- Is the 32nd ranked right field-eligible player in the last month. (Behind players such as Jason Kubel, Jeff Francoeur, Jack Cust and Franklin Gutierrez.)

In conclusion, under normal circumstances, I would accept this trade. I feel that people should suffer the wrath of their stupid decisions. But this is not a normal situation. I don’t clearly understand Kimball’s intentions for next season, and feel that if he were for sure going to be in this league next season, he would never EVER trade Cliff Lee unless it was for Jesus or something. The motivation behind the trade in addition to its lopsidedness has led to my disapproval of it.

If either Kimball or Weseloh can provide a sound argument for the trades passage or a more suitable deal, I will gladly listen. But as of now, I don’t feel this trade is in the best interest of the league in the future. Because, as we all know, the best interest of this league is vital to national security.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

There Goes Adam Drinking The Cool-Aide Again or Why Albert Pujols Sucks

Let the rant begin...

I don’t want to get in a debate over who the best baseball player in history was (let alone who the second greatest player was), but I do feel a need to make some sort of retort to one Mr. Keller who recently tried to argue Albert Pujols was the second greatest baseball player ever to live. Here are his words:

“Best Baseball Players of All-Time: 1. Babe Ruth* 2. Albert Pujols 3...doesn't matter; everyone else is mortal. *-while it is true that Pujols is in fact a better hitter, Babe Ruth was a pretty darn good pitcher before he ever swung a bat for the Yankees.”


“haha ok, so i was joking about Pujols being a better hitter than the Babe, but look at the numbers...nobody in the history of the game has been better the first nine years of their career, and Rogers Hornsby is the only right handed batter ever to have a better nine year span than Albert (1921-29 with the Cardinals, Giants, Braves and Cubs in case you were wondering)...Hank Aaron has the numbers most similar to Albert year in and year out, but Pujols' career Batting Average is 30 points higher, Slugging % is 75 points higher and On-Base % is 50 points higher...Also, since his Major League debut, Albert leads the NL in AVG, HR and RBI - the career triple crown - and in each category the only guy in 2nd who is even close is Todd Helton, who's batting average is 8 points behind Pujols from 2001-2008. Nobody is more consistent, nobody has started better, and one more thing; at 29 Pujols is just now entering into his prime.”

Before I continue I want to make a few things very clear. First, stats are like Bible verses, they can mean different things to different people. I can lay out a statistical argument that Albert Pujols is not the best player in the National League this year. I can also lay out an argument suggesting he is the greatest baseball player of all-time. So I do not want to get into some kind of statistical debate and argue in circles all day. All I want to accomplish is letting Adam know that Albert Pujols, at the very least, has some very steep competition for the number two (or one) spot as the greatest player ever.

Second, Albert Pujols is a great player.

Third, Babe Ruth is a great player.

With this said, Albert Pujols sucks.

Case Number One: Ted Williams

Ted Williams is considered by some to be the greatest hitter to ever live. He made his major league debut at the age of twenty and played 18 seasons with the Boston Red Sox. It must always be remembered that Williams lost three seasons (from age 24 to 27) because he was serving in the Air Force during World War II. Here are the period comparisons to Albert Pujols.

From Age 21 to 24
Williams: .366/.497/.654, 96 HR, 110 2B, 22 3B, 388 BB, 132 K
Pujols: .334/.412/.613, 114 HR, 138 2B, 7 3B, 220 BB, 227 K

From Age 27 to 29 (Noting that Albert’s numbers are incomplete, but also noting that Williams age 27 year was his first season after the War since he was 23.)
Williams: .351/.498/.639, 95 HR, 121 2B, 20 3B, 444 BB, 132 K
Pujols: .339/.446/.631, 97 HR, 101 2B, 1 3B, 262 BB, 143 K

Ted Williams’ On-Base Percentage from 1939 (rookie year) to 1951 (age 31)
.553 (22 years old, 143 games in 156 game season, 2nd in MVP voting, 1.287 OPS, 235 OPS+)
.499 (217 OPS+)
.497 (first year back from WWII, 215 OPS+)
.499 (205 OPS+)

In 1957, Williams had an .526 OBP and a 233 OPS+ at the age of 38. Between 1940 and 1958 Williams never had an OBP bellow .442 and had a slugging percentage bellow .600 three times (.594, ’40; .556, ’51; .584, ’58).

Final Thoughts:
Ted Williams had only one season where he played at least 100 games and did not have an OPS of at least 1.000. Albert has had two seasons where he hit under 1.000. Williams is also the last player to ever hit .400 in a season. And while I expect Pujols to surpass him (assuming health), Williams did hit 521 home runs in his career. After returning from WWII Williams never struck out more than 50 times in a season. In 1941 Williams walked 147 times and struck out 27 times (he also slugged .735 that season, making he the youngest player to ever have a SLG over .700. Only Ruth, Bonds*, Gehrig, Hornsby, McGwire*, Bagwell, Foxx and Sosa* have ever surpassed .735).

Case Number Two: Walter Johnson

I won’t go into too much detail, but here are some of the arguments for him being the best pitcher of all-time.

417 Wins (second all-time)
110 shutouts (MLB record)
Career 2.17 ERA (11th all-time)
3509 strike outs (9th all-time)
1.06 WHIP (8th all-time)
147 ERA+ (4th all-time).

Case Number Three: Ty Cobb

I went too long with the Ted Williams deal so I’m only going to list the records Ty Cobb is in the top 10 all-time.

Career Batting average: 1st (.366)
Single-Season BA: 8th (.420)
Career OBP: 9th (.433)
Career Games Played: 5th (3035)
Career Runs Scored: 2nd (2246)
Career Hits: 2nd (4189)
Single-Season Hits: 8th (248)
Career Doubles: 4th (724)
Career Triples: 2nd (295)
Career RBI: 7th (1937)
Career Stolen Bases: 4th (892)
Career Runs Created: 5th (2522)

Note: Ty Cobb is 11th all-time in career extra base hits. George Brett is 13th.

Ty Cobb retired in 1928 and was among the first class to be voted into the hall of fame with Walter Johnson, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Babe Ruth and received more votes than all of them. Cobb was voted as the best major league player ever by baseball writers in 1950.

There are more, but I’m getting tired and lazy. In 1998, The Sporting News listed their version of the Top 100 MLB Players. The top 10 were Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Hank Aaron, Lou Gehrig, Christy Mathewson, Ted Williams, Rogers Hornsby and Stan Musial. (Barry Bonds ranked 34th, Ken Griffey Jr. was 93rd... this was in 1998 mind you.)

Anyway, the point is to say that while Pujols is very good, he’s still got a long way to go if he wants to be in the discussion for best baseball player ever. That’s all I’m trying to say. I’m going to go eat my dumplings now.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rivalries and the Case of the Monday's

Over the course of time, man has used rivalries to keep things spruced up a bit. It is a time honored tradition of nonsensically hating another person for inconsequential reasons. (Note: I want to let you all know I wrote all of those words correctly on the first try. No joke. Yeah, I can’t believe it either.)

It is these truths that are self-evident to some individuals who are observant of details to notice said self-evident truths:

- God hates St. Louis.
- Woody-Gott hates Jesus.
- Cain hated Abel (RIP Abe).
- Main Street hates Wall Street.
- Stewie hates Lois.
- Fox News hates facts.
- Albert Pujols hates heterosexuals. (It is the only reason why he would like to take balls so much. I mean he takes them high, he takes them low, he takes them in the dirt, outside and inside; what more evidence do you need? None of the Royals players do this, therefore they are not gay.)
- The Chiefs hate the Raiders, Broncos, Chargers, winning, touchdowns, tackling, the draft, losing money and fans.
- Jason Whitlock hates white people at the Power and Light District along with salads.
- And, of course, everyone hates Jason Wiley.

It is with this in mind that I tell you all to never make a deal on a Monday.*

Two weeks ago today (I’m writing this on a Monday, but you’re reading this on a day that is likely not Monday) I made a pact - more of a challenge really - with Kyle Morris as to the outcome of our season series.

The deal was simple. The winner of the season series between our two fantasy teams would be the beneficiary of a hot dog and a beer at a Royals game courtesy of the loser, with the tie-breaker being total points.

A name for said challenge has not yet been developed. Kyle named it something, but I remember not liking it much and quickly forgot it. Beer Dog Cup maybe? I can’t remember what it was he called it.

* It should be noted that upon making this pact Grady Sizemore, Josh Hamilton and Carlos Quentin landed themselves on the DL; Evan Longoria strained his groin; Tom Glavine was released from the Braves; Andrew McCutchen, who played in three games (all of which were his first games in the Majors), outscored every player on my fantasy team (he had 24 points); I scored the fewest points in a week I have ever scored in fantasy baseball (156 to be exact). The very next week, in a matchup that I did not have a bet on, I scored 414 points.

Anyway, I feel there needs to be more publicity for rivalries that I know exists in this league. Here are some suggestions.

RIVALRY ONE: Andrew Wessley vs. Erik Johnson
SUGGESTED NAME: Really Annoying People Cup
REASON: Andrew and Erik, as of now anyway, are the only two owners to have won a The League title. So, this is really a Yankees/Red Sox kind of rivalry. And we all know what we think of when we think of THAT rivalry: Douche bags.

RIVALRY TWO: Joel Schilb vs. Adam Keller
SUGGESTED NAME: The Overrated Cup
REASON: Joel and Adam came into The League with much hype, boasting of their “stacked” rosters and “great pitching”. A good reference point for this Cubs/Cardinals rivalry: Two teams that think they are good, but really are never really that good. This isn’t to say they don’t get lucky every once in a while. I mean, Joel actually made the playoffs last season. I wonder who he sold his soul to in order to get that result. Or maybe he just offered his body up to Albert Pujols as a sacrifice. Don’t get any ideas Tony.

RIVALRY THREE: Ben Nielsen vs. Andrew Wessley
REASON: Andrew and I have combined for the last four fantasy league titles (Two baseball, one football and one basketball). It only makes sense to have one more war to settle the score.

RIVALRY FOUR: Jeff Kimball vs. Kyle Morris
SUGGESTED NAME: Useless Information Bowl
REASON: Kyle and Kimball know a ridiculous amount of information. Some of it is very useful, most of it is not. Kimball, being the trusted and wise master of useless information, and Kyle, being the young protégée, each spent a significant amount of time back in the day researching and storing large quantities of facts for Scholar Bowl in their Blue Springs High School days. There is no way that previous sentence is grammatically correct, but I’m going to go with it anyway.

RIVALRY FIVE: Tony Allen vs. Jason Wiley
REASON: We all know why. (Hint: Think “gay”. Do you get it now, Joel? No? Figures…)

I recommend all of you partake is some kind of rivalry, it adds to the suspense. If you’d like to start one with me, it would probably be smart to get me to agree to it on a Monday the week I’m facing you. That tends to work out well.

Monday, May 18, 2009

One Quarter Way Thoughts

We are one-quarter of the way through the fantasy baseball season and here is what I know: I have no clue what is going on. I shall prove this with the following facts about each position as related to fantasy.


Going into Monday, the following three individuals have scored the most fantasy points at the catching position:

Victor Martinez, Brandon Inge and Bengie Molina.

I’ll let that set in for a little while…

Now for players four through ten:

Russell Marin (HEY! He’s good!)
Kurt Suzuki (Oh no…)
Mike Napoli
John Baker
Yadier Molina (Oh God…)
Rod Barajas (WHAT?!?!?!?!)
Joe Mauer

In order for Mauer to get into the Top 10, he had to hit .429/.529/.804 with six homers, 16 runs batted in and twelve runs scored in 56 at-bats. That’s it. That’s all he had to do.


Much of the odd Top 10 is due to injury. Joe Mauer and Brian McCann have both spent time on the disabled list and Russell Martin had an April slump. Brandon Inge’s move back to third and Martinez first base eligibility has helped as well.

Fun WTF Fact: John Buck leads all catchers with three triples. That is precisely one more than… Ivan Rodriguez.

First Base

God bless first base, for it has been everything I expected it to be. Pujols is leading the way, Teixeira and Howard are comparatively sucking and Adrian Gonzalez leads all first basemen with 15 homers. Okay maybe I didn’t expect that part.

Fun WTF Fact: Lyle Overbay, in fewer at-bats, has more fantasy points than Derrek Lee. This is not a compliment.

Second Base

Someone once said second base was one of the weakest positions in fantasy (Kyle). I beg to differ:

Twenty hitters have scored 200 or more fantasy points so far this season. Five are second basemen. That means 25% of the best fantasy hitters are second basemen. Weak. And of those five, none of them posses the name “Dustin Pedroia” or “Brandon Phillips” or “Robinson Cano” or “Dan Uggla.” I throw Uggla in there simply because he was kept… and despite he is the TWENTIETH ranked second baseman. 20. We also avoid talking about Alexei Ramirez.

Okay, no we won’t. THRITY-EIGHTH!!! 38!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Joel, for the love of GOD, get a freakin’ different second baseman!!!

Fun WTF Fact: Of the top five second basemen – Ian Kinsler, Marco Scutaro, Orlando Hudson, Aaron Hill and Chase Utley – three (3!) of them were undrafted. Weak.


This should be easy; Hanley Ramirez, Jimmy Rollins, Jose Reyes one, two, three, right?


Jason Bartlett is number three? Marco Scuatro is number one? Asdrubal Cabrera is number four?


Fun WTF Fact: Recently waived Yunel Escobar has more fantasy points than Jimmy Rollins… by 24 points… in 21 fewer at-bats. Hell, Edgar Renteria has more fantasy points than Rollins.

Third Base

You want to know who has more fantasy points than Kevin Youkilis, Mike Lowell, Chipper Jones and Chris Davis (who was fantastically drafted in the sixth round – by Joel of course)? Brandon Inge and Chone Figgins, duh.

Fun WTF Fact: Alex Gordon was drafted in the third round. THE THIRD ROUND! I still can’t get over that…

Left Field

Raul Ibanez is the fourth best fantasy hitter, fifth best fantasy player in baseball right now. He was drafted in the 17th round. Are people starting to figure why March’s draft was so stupid right now? Seriously! And it’s not like Ibanez has sucked recently either.

Ibanez Season Averages from 2004 to 2008: .291/.354/.477, 22 HR, 97 RBI, 34 2B, 85 runs

Did I mention he played in SEATLE and signed in hitter friendly PHILIDELPHIA this winter? But no, lets draft freaking Chris Davis in the sixth round, that makes sense.

Looking at left field reminded me of the Adam Dunn/Ryan Howard comparison I made at the beginning of the season. Let’s check in to see how that is doing.

Adam Dunn: .292, 11 HR, 30 RBI, 22 runs, 32 BB, 40 K, 182 Fantasy Points
Ryan Howard: .266/ 8 HR, 28 RBI, 25 runs, 16 BB, 44 K, 159 Fantasy Points

As a refresher, Ryan Howard went in the second round while Dunn went in round thirteen. Jason drafted both of them.

Fun WTF Fact: Jason is an idiot.


Coco Crisp is the number two fantasy centerfielder. Seriously, number two. More points than all other centerfielders except for one, Carlos Beltran. Coco Crisp. Number two. TOTALLY saw that coming.

Other things I TOTALLY saw coming:
Jayson Worth scoring the fourth most fantasy points of any centerfielder.
Adam Jones becoming the greatest centerfielder of all-time.
Johnny Damon is still alive.
Denard Span matters.
Nick Swisher’s epic start followed by an epic collapse. (They were actually talking about him being the MVP a few weeks ago, remember that? ESPN sucks.)
Coco Crisp, Jayson Worth, Adam Jones, Johnny Damon, Denard Span and Willy Taveras all have more fantasy points than Grady Sizemore. (Not that it will last, but seriously, who thought that would happen after six weeks?)

Fun WTF Fact: In Sizemore’s first four seasons in the majors, he had an OPS+ of 123, 132, 122 and 128. So far this season, his OPS+ is 81. His OPS is down almost 150 points. Yep, totally saw that coming.

Right Field

Injuries to Ichiro and Josh Hamilton shook up the top ten right fielders a bit, but it is, otherwise, normal.

Except, of course, for that whole Jayson Worth/Denard Span thing. Sheesh…

Fun WTF Fact: Mark Teahen has scored more fantasy points than Magglio Ordonez. I actually did see that coming… sort of.

Starting Pitchers

Zack Greinke. Yeah, I totally expected him to have an ERA of 0.60 and a 766 ERA+ six weeks in to the season. At this rate, Greinke will have 1248 fantasy points at the end of the REGULAR FANTAY SEASON. I knew this was going to happen.

I also had complete confidence Wandy Rodriguez would be a better pitcher than Josh Johnson, Tim Lincecum and Yovani Gallardo.

It should be noted top five round picks Brandon Webb, Francisco Liriano, Roy Oswalt, John Lackey, Jon Lester and James Shields are not in the top FIFTY in pitching. FIFTY!!! That means six of the ten pitchers taken if the first five rounds are not even in the top 50. Please remember this going into next season. Please.

Zack Duke, undrafted, has more fantasy points than Erik Bedard, Rich Harden, Aaron Harang, Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, Josh Beckett and all the guys I mentioned above.

Johnny Cueto. Johnny. Freaking. Cueto. Ugh…

Edwin Jackson. Edwin. Freaking. Jackson. Ugh…

Randy Wolf. Randy. Freaking. Wolf.

Fun WTF Fact: Barry Zito has more fantasy points than Francisco Liriano, Jon Lester, John Lackey and Brandon Webb. Barry Zito.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kimball Redux: The Rise of the Odd Man

After five weeks, Kimball has scored the most fantasy points of any team this season. He completed this after I questioned both his keeper and draft strategies. Through the first five weeks, I look pretty stupid (not the first time, won’t be the last).

Here is a re-rundown of Kimball’s draft through the perspective of the first five weeks. Sure a lot of things can change in the next 19, but we haven’t gotten that far yet.


Round One
Justin Morneau

There were five first basemen taken in the first 18 picks of the draft. Here is where they rank in fantasy points as of Monday:

1 Albert Pujols – 237 (1)
2 Justin Morneau – 165 (3)
3 Miguel Cabrera – 146 (10)
4 Ryan Howard – 128 (15)
5 Mark Teixeira – 125 (17)

At least in terms of the first five weeks, one had a better shot at choosing a poor first baseman than a highly producing one. When one factors in that Pujols was almost a dead lock to go first overall, that means one had 1-in-4 chance of choosing a top 5 first basemen. Kimball ended up with the guy Kyle, Andrew and Jason thought they were getting.

Granted, Teixeira, Howard and Cabrera will not do this poorly all season (in comparison to other first basemen), but I’m sure Kyle would have rather had Morneau over Teixeira the past five weeks.

Round Two
Roy Halladay

Stud. I said when Kimball drafted him I felt he was one of only three guys worth taking in the first three to four rounds (Johan Santana and Brandon Webb were the other two) and Halladay did not disappoint. Hey, I do get some things right every once in a while…

Round Three
Alex Gordon

He’s on the DL, so he’s technically a bust. He’ll have to have a huge second half to justify going in the third round.

Round Four
Alex Rios

Rios is apparently the only Blue Jay who cannot hit. He’s the second early season bust in a row for Kimball. Out of his first four picks, two have been busts so far.

Round Five
Robinson Cano

Second base has been loaded so far this season. Three of the top four second basemen were not even drafted (Marco Scutaro, Orlando Hudson, Aaron Hill). Chase Utley, Brain Roberts and Brandon Phillips aren’t even in the top five, that’s how loaded second base is.

So, saying Cano is rated 8th isn’t so bad. I’m sure Kimball is doing just fine with his .321 average, 21 runs, 6 homers and 18 runs batted in.

Round Six
Joey Votto

Third rated pure first basemen, fifth amongst all first base eligible players. Votto has 156 points in the Utility spot for Kimball, which I’m assuming is in the top half of The League right now… but I don’t know if that is true.

Round Seven
John Danks

He has had a couple of bad starts, but overall Danks has been one of the more reliable pitchers in the first five weeks. And given some of the other pitchers taken ahead of him (i.e. Scott Kazmir, Kevin Slowey, Daisuke Matsuzaka… the list goes on), Danks almost looks like a steal at round seven.

Round Eight
Yunel Escobar

A bit of a bust here so far, but it’s a position where really nobody has been any good. Rollins, Reyes and Ramirez have all slumped (by their standards) so far. But he was never going to have a shot at any of them as Rollins was kept and Reyes and Ramirez were off the board. Round eight was high, but it hasn’t killed him so far.

Ryan Theriot has been playing better than Escobar and has been starting for Kimball.

Round Nine
Joe Saunders

An unbelievable reach, but is the only guy who can beat Greinke. Right…

His shutout of the Royals skews his total season value a little bit, but he’s been a very consistent pitcher for Kimball, which is more than what most of the top 10 round pitchers can say.

Round Ten
J.J. Putz

30 fantasy points this season. Thirty.

Round Eleven
Ted Lilly

Lilly is 4-2 with a 3.11 ERA… yet he wasn’t drafted in the top 10 rounds. Pitching was so oddly and poorly drafted this season.

Round Twelve
Mike Gonzalez

Has been a solid closer so far.

Round Thirteen
Pat Burrell

A bust so far, but you can take a bit of a hit like this at round thirteen.

Round Fourteen
Jonathan Papelbon (Keeper, Second Time)

Has been shaky at moments, but has been a top closer so far.

Round Fifteen
Josh Johnson (Keeper, First Time)

A top five starting pitcher in the first five weeks. 15th round. Of course.

Round Sixteen
Shane Victorino (Keeper, First Time)

Victorino is tied for fifth amongst pure centerfielders and seventh amongst all centerfield eligible players. Shane is essentially a second-tier centerfielder right now, which isn’t bad for a sixteenth round keeper.

Round Seventeen
Scott Shields


Round Eighteen
Bengie Molina

Before 2008: .310/.407/.717, 86 OPS+
2008: .322/.445/.731, 98 OPS+
2009: .289/.555/.844, 112 OPS+

Round Nineteen
David Murphy


Round Twenty
Mike Pelfrey


Round Twenty-One
Ryan Theriot

Has played better than Escobar, and is a top five pure shortstop.

Round Twenty-Two
Ian Stewart


Round Twenty-Three
Jorge Posada

He’s on the DL right now, but he had a great start to the season, hitting .312, 5 homers and 20 RBI.

Round Twenty-Four
Scott Baker (Keeper, First Time)


Round Twenty-Five
Cliff Lee (Keeper, First Time)

Lee has five straight quality starts and 23 strikeouts… and is 1-3 in those starts (1-5 on the season).


Now some of you will view this post as an elaborate way for me to jinx Kimball – and if I had written this a season or two ago, I would have agreed with you. But what I have found is that none of my voodoo magic ever works on my opposing fantasy players. So with this said, a large tip of my hat to Mr. Kimball, for somehow defying the laws of logic to create what has been the most productive fantasy team in The League for the first five weeks. Well done, good sir. You are a gentleman and a scholar.*

*This doesn’t mean I don’t hate you right now, though.

Monday, May 11, 2009

So Kimball Sucks (and other thoughts)

Week In Review

Flying Monkeys over Inoculators

Zack Greinke fantasy points = 82.5
Phil Hughes fantasy points = (-42)
Flying Monkey Margin of Victory = 60 points

Do the math…

Polk County Homer-Hulks over Bill James; Bitch

First of all, I want it to be noted that I will use a different punctuation every time I write out Andrew’s team name in full; because any team name with a punctuation in it sucks.

Second, expect a redo of Kimball’s draft analysis in the near future.

Finally, explain this to me:
Kimball – 2187 fantasy points (most in The League); 3-2 overall
Jason – 1765 fantasy points (second fewest in The League); 3-2 overall

I hate Jason…

Speaking of the devil…

Krunk Smurfs over Saints

And now I know why Jason is 3-2.

Texas A-Roids over Viva El Birdos

I think the Birdos were a little premature with that press conference.

Cockies over Zou

The good news is, as Erik wanted, he did not start 0-5 to start the season. The bad news is that 1-4 isn’t much better.

5 Things I Think I Think or Ideas I Stole From Peter King

1 I think some people take this blog waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously. People need to understand this is a quasi- “Trash Talking” blog, written to provoke others in the league to trash talk as well (though that rarely happens). Readers should understand three things: Don’t take anything personally, I will always focus on the negatives of your team and its players and your team will never be as good as mine even if my record is 0-24. In other words, just have fun with it.

2 I think Joel would be far better off having Alberto Callaspo on his fantasy team than Alexei Ramirez (who Joel kept).

3 I think I smell a steroid scandal involving three things: The League, A-Roids and El Birdos. I think…

4 I think it is weird that going into Sunday Jorge De La Rosa has more fantasy points than CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Jon Lester, Joba Chamberlain, Josh Beckett, Roy Oswalt, Scott Kazmir, Francisco Liriano, Cole Hamels, Fausto Carmona, Brandon Webb, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Brett Tomko. Okay, maybe not so much Jon Lester… but still.

5 I think 2009 Magglio Ordonez is the same as 2009 Mike Aviles.
Maggs: .286 SLG , 19 K/119 PA, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 0 2B, 10 runs
Mikey: .283 SLG, 21 K/105 PA, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 3 2B, 8 runs

2009 Albert Pujols would be the opposite.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bird Flu

[The following is a transcript from a 5/3 press conference with The League Commissioner, Ben Nielsen.]

Thank you for coming. Before I begin, I want to make a quick statement on the subject I’m sure you are all here to talk about. After I address this, I will take no further questions on the matter.

We are very concerned about the sexual harassment charges brought upon Viva El Birdos owner Adam Keller. The League considers Ms. Ching-King a valuable asset to our league and will support her through this current matter.

Per The League rules, no action can be taken Mr. Keller during an investigation. I will decide how to handle Mr. Keller after the legal process has concluded.

As always, The League takes all of these matters seriously and will continue to support law enforcement in their investigation.


REPORTER: Mr. Nielsen, Ben Shpigel, New York Times. Are there any The League rules on having heavily armed security forces at press conferences? Will that change after last week?

NIELSEN: To be frank, we never thought this would be an issue. Generally, there is common sense when dealing with reporters, but Adam, frankly, is not known for common sense. I do understand Adam to be very concerned about the recent Swine Flu pandemic, but I don’t think this was the right way to approach the problem.

To answer your second question, yes, there have been discussions about press conference decorum.

REPORTER: Dave van Dyck, Chicago Tribune. What are your personal feelings on Adam’s moves in the first month?

NIELSEN: Well, there’s really nowhere to go but up when your Opening Day first basemen is Chris Duncan, is there?

I ultimately believe, in a 24 week season, that he’s going to have to rely too much on Dan Uggla, Aubrey Huff and his awful out field to produce and keep him in matchups. By the end of the season, he’s going to learn what owners before him learned about Felix Hernandez and Dan Haren – not being consistent over a full season – and will find why Kyle Lohse was available in round 20.

Van Dyck: And the Price/Fielder for Rollins trade?

NIELSEN: Again, it is not hard to upgrade from Chris Duncan, but trading for a first baseman seems a little bit foolish this season if you are not trading for Albert Pujols. First base is deep this season, Adam would have been better off picking up James Loney from waivers. Wait… he did.

To my knowledge Loney is the tenth ranked first baseman and has scored more fantasy points than Fielder. Heck, Chris Duncan has scored more fantasy points than Fielder to this point. It seems a waste to trade a top shortstop the caliber of Rollins for a first baseman that is not even the best first baseman on your team and then go out a pick up another first baseman.

And let’s not ignore that he traded for a pitcher who is not even in the majors and has one career MLB start. He could have gotten a lot more for Rollins.

REPORTER: Stan Hochman, Philidelphia Daily News. Do you think Adam really doesn’t know who Bill James is?

NIELSEN: I’m not going to question an owner’s intelligence… but Adam is an idiot.

HOCHMAN: Can I quote you on that?

NIELSEN: In bold letters if you like.

REPORTER: Selina Roberts, Sports Illustrated. What are your thoughts on the AROD allegations and is there any penalty for starting known steroid users on one’s fantasy team?

NIELSEN: AROD is a fine player – future hall of famer – but he’s never been a clutch guy. Playing well in these circumstances would require him to be clutch and I don’t see that happening.

If he’s having an off year by his standards and the Yankees are out of it by late July, early August, I could easily see the Yankees shutting him down and getting him that second surgery he is going to require anyway. That will leave Adam in the same hole where he is now, except the matchups will be far more important then.

As for penalties, Adam’s not going to know what hit him if he chooses to start AROD.

ROBERTS: Did you know AROD is gay?

NIELSEN: The dude kissed his reflection in a mirror, what else am I supposed to infer from that?

And by the way, Selina, never write another book again.

Last question…

REPORTER: Neil Best, Los Angeles Times. After four weeks, what are your thoughts on the season?

NIELSEN: I think four weeks tells you nothing about your fantasy team. There are always a few things you learn about your team, but nothing substantial enough to make a determination of who is going to be great and who is not.

For example, I feel safe in saying that Zack Greinke is not going to maintain his 0.40 ERA or that Marco Sutaro is still going to be the fifth best fantasy hitter in September. There is still a lot left to learn about a lot of these teams.

With that said, here is one thought on each team:

Flying Monkeys: Jeff has had the fewest fantasy points scored against him in the first four weeks by a significant margin. When that luck turns and when Greinke starts having excellent starts instead of miraculous starts, we’ll have a better feel for what kind of team Jeff has.

Bill James, Bitch: I’m curious to see what Andrew does with Russell Martin.

A-Holes: Kyle needs to find a way to stabilize his pitching and hope that Teixeira and Upton start figuring some things out quickly.

Homer-Hulks: Kimball’s team hurts by brain.

Cockies: The best think that could happen to Joel is if he trades Santana for hitting. The sooner he does it, the better the rewards.

Zou: Erik could easily win only four matchups this season and just as easily win 20.

Viva El Birdos: Enjoy it while it lasts, buddy.

Smurfs: Has scored only 1332 fantasy points (only Tony is worse) and has allowed 1602 fantasy points (fourth most), yet he is still .500. I don’t know what to make of this.

Saints: Oh Tony…

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Extended Review(ed): Andrew Wessley

Yesterday I posted a bland review of Andrew’s draft just to aggravate him. Here is a bit more extended version of my thoughts on Andrew’s draft.

A quick reminder of Andrew’s Top 10
1 – Miguel Cabrera (1)
2 – Carlos Lee (2)
3 – Brandon Philips (3)
4 – Carl Crawford (3)
5 – Bobby Abreu (5)
6 – Francisco Rodriguez (5)
7 – Torii Hunter (6)
8 – Derek Lowe (9)
9 – Gil Meche (14)
10 – Russell Martin (Kept)

I think Andrew got the sixth best player in the draft with his tenth pick, which is a nice deal for him. I think Kyle and Kimball will regret passing on him for Teixiera and Morneau respectively.

Andrew did whiff on his second round pick. Of all of the outfielders available, Carlos Beltran, Manny Ramirez and Nick Markakis were all better options than Carlos Lee. Lee will still be fine, I just think he could have had a better outfielder here.

I am also not a fan of the Torii Hunter pick. Again, I think Andrew would have been better served going Carlos Beltran in the second round and then Raul Ibanez in the seventh. That would have given him an outfield of Ibanez, Beltran and Abreu, which would be a far more productive fantasy outfield of Lee, Hunter and Abreu.

(Ed. Note: After the first week, an Abreu, Lee and Hunter tandem produced 53 fantasy points. Beltran, Ibanez and Abreu would have combined for 81. The difference in those points would have won Andrew his first week matchup. This is not to say it will maintain itself, but it at least made a difference in week one.)

As much as Andrew probably does not like his Lowe and Meche picks, I like them. The way the draft went, everyone was forced to reach on some pitchers. Reaching on Meche and Lowe is not a bad thing. Lowe pitches in a friendly park, with a solid offense and an excellent ability to keep the ball down and get strikeouts. It is not out of the question that Meche could be a 17 to 20 game winner this season if the Royals are able to come up with a league average offense (which I think they can). Meche was one of the better pitchers in the American League in the second half of the season in 2008 and was also in the top 10 in the AL for strikeouts. Given many of the reaches that occurred in the nether region that was the sixth through tenth rounds, Andrew faired pretty well.

Best Pick:

Gavin Floyd may end up being the best keeper prospect in the league when the season is over. A very nice pick in the twenty-first round.

Worst Pick:

I really, really, really do not like the Carlos Lee pick. I really don’t. Other candidates include: Hunter, Torii.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Reviewed: Andrew Wessley

Team: I’m Bill James, Bitch
Owner: Andrew Wessley
Draft Pick Order: 10th Overall

Top Ten Rounds Evaluation (ADP Round)*
1 – Miguel Cabrera (1)
2 – Carlos Lee (2)
3 – Brandon Philips (3)
4 – Carl Crawford (3)
5 – Bobby Abreu (5)
6 – Francisco Rodriguez (5)
7 – Torii Hunter (6)
8 – Derek Lowe (9)
9 – Gil Meche (14)
10 – Russell Martin (Kept)


It could have been worse, it could have been better.

Best (and Worst) Mid to Late Round Picks

Carlos Lee.

Carlos Lee.

Starting Positional Breakdown

C – Russell Martin: He’s okay.

1B – Miguel Cabrera: He’s better.

2B – Brandon Philips: Not as good as Cabrera or Martin, but still okay.

3B – Ryan Zimmerman: He’ll be okay.

SS – Stephen Drew: I’ve seen worse.

LF – Carlos Lee: He’s better than Willie Bloomquist.

CF – Torii Hunter: Eh.

RF – Bobby Abreu: Mr. Consistent.

UT – Carl Crawford: It could be worse.

SP1 – CC Sabathia: Keeper.

SP2 – Derek Lowe: Drafted.

SP3 – Gil Meche: Drafted after Lowe.

FLEX – Gavin Floyd: Future keeper.

RP – Jonathan Broxton: Good closer.

RP – Francisco Rodriguez: Another good closer.

RP – Brian Wilson: An okay closer.

General Thoughts:


Sarcastic Statement:

There is too much to say about Andrew.

Final Statement

*Average Draft Position by Round via ESPN’s Live and Mock Drafts as of March 14, adjusted for keepers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Post Opening Week or Week Two

Week In Review

Final Scores*

Blue Springs Inoculators – 474.5
I’m Bill James, Bitch – 453

The Inoculators scored 307 of their 474.5 fantasy points via hitting. The Inoculators won despite being out-pitched by BJB, 216 to 167.5.

Krunk Smurfs – 354.5
Viva El Birdos – 456

Where in the world did the Birdos come from? Note to Adam: do not count on complete game shutouts from Kyle Lohse and 50-plus point weeks from Emilio Bonifacio all season. Chris Young posted 62 fantasy points this week, but was still 12.5 points behind Kyle Lohse’s output for the week.

The Zou – 267
Texas A-holes – 429.5

I do not enjoy talking about the A-holes or The Zou. Next!

Rolorado Cockies – 303
Polk County Homer-Hulks – 446.5

Consider me genuinely frightened by Kimball now. Sheesh. And Josh Johnson?! Holy sh…

San Antonio Saints – 282
Flying Monkeys – 435

Tony picked up right where he left off in basketball season. Roy Oswalt, Edinson Volquez and Chien-Ming Wang all had terrible weeks. Shockingly, Todd Wellemeyer sucked. I expect Oswalt and Wang to bounce back and for Harden to have a better week next week.

*These finals do not include the points from shutouts posted by, of all people: Kyle Lohse and Aaron Harang. It should be noted that none of these points affected the outcome of any of these matchups.

Week In Preview

Blue Springs Inoculators V San Antonio Saints

General Thought: Remember all of those things I said I expected to happen, Tony? I hope they don’t happen.

Specific Thought: Tony’s three starters set for Monday – Edinson Volquez, Chien-Ming Wang and Jamie Moyer – will dictate who wins this matchup. Nielsen has nobody countering them.

WTF Thought: What makes Budweiser’s “American Ale” an American Ale? Are they suggesting that all other American made ales are not, in fact, American? And isn’t Budweiser owned by a Belgian company? Anyway, I say all of this to say that the St. Louis Cardinals are un-American.

Krunk Smurfs V The Zou

General Thought: I want Jason to win.

Specific Thought: I want Jason to win because I do not like Erik.

WTF Thought: Jason, I think your team name is now outdated because the term “krunk” has to be dead by now. This is why you need to go with a bland, yet always timely name such as: The Blue Springs Inoculators. Boring, yet somewhat compelling because you don’t entirely know what it means.

I’m Bill James, Bitch V Rolorado Cockies

General Thought: I think now would be a good time to mention that my hitting alone outscored Joel, Erik and Tony’s entire team. Not to say this will ever happen again, but you know your team sucks when one facet of another team is outscoring your entire team. Ouch.

Specific Thought: Joel had precisely two hitters who posted more than 15 fantasy points last week. Two. Remember how I said hitting meant something? Joel received 159 fantasy points in a combined effort from Johan Santana, Armando Galarraga, Ryan Dempster, Carlos Marmol and James Shields… and still lost by almost 150 points. HITTING WINS MATCHUPS!!!!!

WTF Thought: Andrew, change your team name. Any name that requires a comma sucks. Bill James Bitches would suffice. Just anything without a comma please.

Texas A-holes V Polk County Homer-Hulks

General Thoughts: I want Kimball to win because I don’t like A-holes.

Specific Thoughts: On the other hand, I want Kimball to lose so I can sleep well at night. Seriously, I have no idea where you got those fantasy points from, Kimball. And you got them despite the fact that Alex Gordon, Jorge Posada, Ian Stewart and Pat Burrell all combined for a whopping 36 points. Honestly, I’m afraid to sleep at night.

WTF Thought: Josh Johnson?! Really???

Viva El Birdos V Flying Monkey

General Thought: Adam… hat tip to you, you lucky son of a crippled monkey.

Specific Thought: Kyle Lohse. Kyle. Fucking. Lohse. Line, please!

Lohse Career: 78-80, 4.67 ERA, 1.413 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, 10 H/9, 5.6 K/9
Lohse Week One: 2-0, 1.13 ERA, 0.563 WHIP, .6 BB/9, 4.5 H/9, 4.5 K/9

Seriously? First, please note that Lohse had only eight strikeouts in 16 innings, but only gave up two runs and eight hits. This means 40 of his 48 outs were balls that were put in play. It also means 48 of the 57 batters he faced put the ball in play. You do understand how unbelievably lucky someone has to be to allow only two runs when 84-percent of the batters Lohse faced put the ball in play against him, right? For comparison sake…

Kyle Lohse Shutout: 30 batters faced, 26 balls in play. 86% BIP
Kyle Lohse Career: 5949 batters faced, 4618 balls in play. 78% BIP

Aaron Harang Shutout: 31 batters faced, 21 balls in play. 68% BIP
Johan Santana Sunday (0 ER, 7 IP): 25 batters faced, 11 balls in play. 44% BIP

If anybody here says Dave Duncan is a genious, I’m going to rip off your testicles. This was an unbelievably lucky week for Kyle Lohse. God, I hate St. Louis…

(I’m an angry elf, and slightly bitter.)

WTF Thought: Kyle Lohse?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Jeff, for everyone’s sanity, please kick Adam’s ass this week. Thank you.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Reviewed: Erik Johnson

Team: The Zou
Owner: Erik Johnson
Draft Pick Order: 9th Overall

Top Ten Rounds Evaluation (ADP Round)*
1 – Chase Utley (1)
2 – Brandon Webb (2)
3 – Ichiro (2)
4 – Jon Lester (7)
5 – Chipper Jones (4)
6 – Yovani Gallardo (7)
7 – Connor Jackson (9)
8 – Chad Billingsley (Kept)
9 – Lastings Milledge (11)
10 – David Price (13)


Here is where I’m going to differ in evaluating Erik as opposed to everyone else: Erik did not draft enough pitching. Well, let me rephrase that: He didn’t draft the right pitching.

Here would have been my first five picks if I were Erik:

1 – Brandon Webb (also actual pick)
2 – Jake Peavy
3 – Ichiro (also actual pick)
4 – James Shields
5 – Francisco Rodriguez

As has been discussed, and will be discussed again and again, Erik was really the only team lined up to draft pitching heavy and still be in good shape. What Erik needed to supplement in his draft was reliable, red-flagless starting pitching. Now, of course, this does not mean that none of these pitchers will ever suffer from injury (see: Brandon Webb), but the amount of red flags laying around with Erik’s keeper selections is enough to make Wall Street jealous.

A quick reminder of Erik’s keepers: Tim Lincecum, Cole Hamels, Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett. All four of whom have serious injury or recession risks ahead of them. Again, this does not mean they will get hurt or injured, but if they do and Erik has nothing to back them up with, you can kiss his season goodbye.

Erik chose to supplement those four with Webb, Lester, Gallardo and Price. Outside of Webb, Lester is not the greatest fantasy player due to his strikeout rate and he already has some injury risk (though not severe). Gallardo is coming off major surgery and has never pitched a full major league season. David Price started the season in AAA and has about 18 innings of big league experience.

With the changes in pitching scoring, it favors the individual pitcher’s performance and not his team (10 pts for QS instead of 10 pts for W’s). With this in mind, Peavy becomes more valuable in this league than in other’s because his team’s performance isn’t so heavily weighted on his production. James Shields is a more proven and steady pitcher fantasy-wise than Lester and is less of an injury risk (and makes more sense being drafted in the fourth round than Lester). Francisco Rodriguez, while not high on Erik’s importance, was the best available arm in the fifth round. He will score about as many points as an above average starting pitcher and would add consistent points.

Personally, I’d rather go into a season backing up Erik’s big four with Webb, Peavy and Shields, than what he actually selected. Given how Erik’s roster is set up, he would have had a better chance at winning with Peavy on his roster than Utley or Shields over Lester.

Best (and Worst) Mid to Late Round Picks

Raul Ibanez. How this guy dropped to round 17 in unbelievable to me given some other team’s issues with left fielders. Anyway, it is an absolute bonus for Erik to get Ibanez for such little cost.

Lastings Milledge. So bad of a pick that it makes taking David Price in the 10th round look like a steal.

Starting Positional Breakdown

C – Chris Iannetta: Let’s face it, after the big three there really isn’t much out there when it comes to catchers. Taking a flyer on a guy who plays in Colorado can’t be too bad of an idea can it?

1B – Prince Fielder: If he wants to, he could hit 50 homers, something Erik isn’t used to.

2B – Chase Utley: Even though I think Erik should have gone Peavy here, it doesn’t mean I think Utley sucks. The guy can rake.

3B – Chipper Jones: I have a hard time seeing Jones go a full season at the pace he set last year before he got hurt. If he does, it will help solidify a strong infield.

SS – Orlando Cabrera: Cabrera has a good shot at finishing in the middle of the pack for shortstops.

LF – Connor Jackson: Hits for a decent average, but he doesn’t hit for a lot of power.

CF – Lastings Milledge: Ouch.

RF – Ichiro Suzuki: When is this guy’s legs going to go? Isn’t he like 34 or something? (He’s 35.) Wow, they make’em differently in Japan don’t they?

UT – Raul Ibanez: You know, Erik took Connor Jackson over Ibanez in the seventh round. At the end of the season who do you think is going to be worth a seventh round pick, Ibanez or Jackson?

SP1 – Tim Lincecum: Strikeout machine that could break down at any moment.

SP2 – Brandon Webb: A stud who should see an added bonus more than others with the pitching changes.

SP3 – Cole Hamels: Will be on the DL in 5, 4, 3…

FLEX – Chad Billingsley: Will be meeting Lincecum and Hamels on the DL in 5, 4, 3…

RP – Kerry Wood: Eeeks!

RP – Chad Qualls: Double eeks!

RP – So Bad I Don’t Know Who To Put Here: That’s not good…

General Thoughts:

No one will rely on health more than Erik this season. If his pitching stays upright, he should be back in the playoffs.

Sarcastic Statement:

I like you, Erik.

Final Statement

Erik’s, Erik. What else is there to say. Erik is Erik. (Note: Only Andrew is going to get this joke… maybe.)

*Average Draft Position by Round via ESPN’s Live and Mock Drafts as of March 14, adjusted for keepers.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reviewed: Jeff Kimball

Team: Polk County Homer-Hulks
Owner: Jeff Kimball
Draft Pick Order: 8th Overall

Top Ten Rounds Evaluation (ADP Round)*
1 – Justin Morneau (2)
2 – Roy Halladay (2)
3 – Alex Gordon (10)
4 – Alex Rios (4)
5 – Robinson Cano (7)
6 – Joey Votto (6)
7 – John Danks (15)
8 – Yunel Escobar (n/a)
9 – Joe Saunders (15)
10 – J.J. Putz (n/a)


Excuse me, I’m going to need an adult beverage before I begin…

One didn’t work, I’m going to have to go back for another. Hold on…

[Eight drinks later…]



[Four days ago, in a small church room in Bolivar, Missouri, Jeff Kimball sits amongst several strangers at an "Overdraftaholics Annonymous" meeting and begins to pour out what has been ailing him for the last several days.]

Kimball: Hello, I’m Jeff Kimball and I’m an overdraftaholic. A few weeks ago, I drafted Alex Gordon at least seven rounds too high.

[Mutters from the rest of the group of “I’ve been there buddy.”]

Group Leader: I’m glad you can admit that, Jeff. Now for –

Kimball: Wait, I’m not done yet. I also took John Danks in the seventh round.

[A few glance from some of the members suggest that Kimball is a hard-core overdraftaholic.]

Group Leader: I’m glad for your honesty, Jeff. Now –

Kimball: I also took two 15th round projected picks with my seventh and ninth round picks.

[One group member begins to cry, another man curses aloud. The Group Leader is starting to feel over-burdened and starts to sweat a little.]

Group Leader (voice trembling): Good… good, Jeff. We’re going… we’re… work thru this... we will.

Kimball (his face devoid of emotion): I also took two players in the top 10 rounds who were not even drafted in the top 21 rounds of normal, non-keeper drafts.

[Mass suicide occurs.]

Kimball (amongst the carnage): What? What did I say? Aw, come on guys!


Best (and Worst) Mid to Late Round Picks

Um… Jorge Posada. Yeah, Posada could be a steal in round twenty-three. He could…

Let’s go with rounds one thru 25 (minus round 23 of course). Look, I’m just going to assume that Kimball had a list of guys he wanted and just went with it no matter the round. I’m sure that’s what he did. Positive. I hope…

Starting Positional Breakdown

C – Jorge Posada: Well, it was either him or Bengie Molina…

1B – Justin Morneau: I would like him a lot more if I knew Joe Mauer was healthy and that Carlos Gomez was going to take the necessary steps to be a good leadoff hitter this season. Alas, I don’t know either of those things.

2B – Robinson Cano: It could be worse. A mid-range second baseman at best.

3B – Alex Gordon: For Kimball’s sake, the Royals season’s sake and for my sanity, I hope Alex Gordon goes off this season. Oh Lord, I hope.

SS – Ryan Theriot: Theriot is an excellent mid-range option at shortstop. Theriot will split time with Yunel Escobar for Kimball. Escobar is another mid-range guy. Kimball has a lot of those mid-range kind of guys on his team.

LF – Pat Burrell: I suspect a drop off from Burrell this season from last. I also don’t like all the good pitching he is going to see in the AL East.

CF – Shane Victorino: The Flyin’ Hawaiian is an excellent gel guy in a lineup full of gel guys.

RF – Alex Rios: Has a high ceiling, but you have to wonder if he’ll ever reach it. His strikeouts and lack of power concern me.

UT – Joey Votto: A good prospect for a breakout season in a hitter’s park.

SP1 – Cliff Lee: Massive drop-off forthcoming in a fortnight. Just wanted to say “fortnight” that’s all…

SP2 – Roy Halladay: One of only three pitchers I felt could reasonably be picked in the top three rounds. Oh, and he’s really good.

SP3 – Scott Baker: DL’d for the moment. Solid pitcher, but you’ve got to worry about his strikeout rate in relation to fantasy.

FLEX – Josh Johnson: Supposedly, he’s going to win the NL Cy Young… and so are half the other pitchers in the National League. I hate preseason predictions.

RP – Jonathan Papelbon: Stud. Health is an issue, though.

RP – J.J. Putz: Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… It could be worse I suppose…

RP – Kevin Gregg: Oh God, it got worse.

General Thoughts:

I’d rather not talk about it…

Sarcastic Statement:


Final Statement

I’d still rather not talk about it. Really, I don’t want to. Seriously, shut up, I don’t want to talk about it!

*Average Draft Position by Round via ESPN’s Live and Mock Drafts as of March 14, adjusted for keepers.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Reviewed: Joel Schilb

Team: Rolorado Cockies
Owner: Joel Schilb
Draft Pick Order: 6th Overall

Top Ten Rounds Evaluation (ADP Round)*
1 – Johan Santana (1)
2 – Francisco Liriano (5)
3 – Derrek Lee (4)
4 – James Shields (5)
5 – Matt Hilliday (Kept)
6 – Chris Davis (5)
7 – Corey Hart (5)
8 – Carlos Marmol (6)
9 – Javier Vasquez (11)
10 – Milton Bradley (10)


My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? What the hell was Joel thinking for the first 30 minutes of the draft? And that was a rhetorical question, Joel, so please do not answer so as to not make the rest of us dumber for trying to desifer the ill fated logic that was flowing thru that organ some of us refer to as a “brain”.

Let’s start with this: Having Johan Santana, Francisco Liriano, James Shields and Javier Vazquez on one’s team is not a bad thing – it is most certainly a good thing. But this is not a player evaluation, this is a draft evaluation. And key to a draft evaluation is a little thing called “value”. V-a-l-u-e. For instance, if one is looking for an iPod and the average cost is $150 and a store is selling a brand new one for $135, than one is getting a $15 value. If one buys the same iPod for $1000, than they are either doing it for charity or they are just flat out desperate to own an iPod. I think the latter reflects Joel’s pitching strategy.

Francisco Liriano is a very good pitcher when healthy. But the problem with Liriano is that you have to add the whole “when healthy” tag to him whenever one speaks of him because, you know, he has health issues. This is why he was going in the seventh round in real drafts and was valued as a fifth rounder in our draft. Additionally, it was the appeal of keeping Liriano that made him a more interesting player. This will be his first full season of being in the big leagues since his rookie year. Expecting him to produce at a second round pick is asking a lot. And lets also not forget that Liriano cannot be kept now because he was taken in the second round – what good was there taking him there?

Here’s my suggestion: If you are hell bent on pitching, take Jake Peavy in round two. Is it a reach? Yeah, a little, but it is way less risky than Liriano. If you really want Lirano, wait for him in the fourth round. It’s still a minor reach, but you have the added bonus of keeping him and if he’s not there you still have Peavy. Additionally, as you know, Shields was still there at four. A threesome of Santana, Peavy and Shields is far more enticing than Santana, Liriano and Shields.

But here’s my bigger problem: the hellish idea that starting pitching wins this league. In 2008, only 10 pitchers scored more than 600 points. Ten. And of those 11, only five scored more than 700 points. To put that in prospective, 10 hitters scored more than 800 points last season and 62 hitters scored more than 600 points last season. And it’s not like hitters totally out-weigh pitchers in terms of roster space. Generally, a team carries 12 to 13 pitchers on their 25 man roster and there are at least 150 starting pitchers in the league at any given time – three times more than any other position on the field.

But here it comes, the counterargument: But if there are only 10 elite pitchers and a half a billion hitters, than pitchers have more value because there are not as many of them. And furthermore, if there are only ten pitchers worth having, one should spend high picks on them to get those players. WRONG! But I don’t want to go into this yet, I’m saving that for another blog and my head is about to explode out of anger and frustration.

Best (and Worst) Mid to Late Round Picks

Kelly Shoppach. A lot of people are very high on Kelly (I’m not one of them), but many would point to this pick as an absolute steal in the 19th round. Since I’m not high on him, this is probably a good sign for Joel.

75% of his draft. Honestly, I hate this draft from on so many levels, I don’t know where to begin. But with that said, Joel made the playoffs last season and I didn’t so I’ll leave it there.

Starting Positional Breakdown

C – Geovany Soto: There is some risk of regression this season, but I think he’ll end up being the second best catcher (behind Brian McCann) this season.

1B – Derrek Lee: An excellent producing first baseman in a high-octane lineup. Injuries are an issue with Lee as is the fact that he plays for a cursed team.

2B – Alexei Ramirez: Still have no idea why he was kept and I think he is more likely to suffer from a sophomore jinx as opposed to having a breakout season.

3B – Chris Davis: A very risky pick in that he strikes out a lot, but does hit for a lot of power in a hitter friendly ballpark. I had him on my team at the end of the season last year and noticed he was a very streaky hitter. Joel needs to hope Davis times his slumps for weeks that won’t hurt him.

SS – Jhonny Peralta: Ugh. I suppose it could be worse. I would mind this if 1) he wasn’t a keeper and 2) he had a stronger lineup around him.

LF – Matt Holliday: Holliday is a great hitter, but I do expect some of his power to decrease in a not so friendly park for hitters. There is also not much around Holliday, besides Jason Giambi, in terms of possible RBI situations or run scoring opportunities. It will be interesting to see how much he falls off – I don’t expect it to be too much, though.

CF – Chris B. Young: Yikes. Nice power potential, but his strikeouts are a killer. Young will have to see great improvement in this area if he wants to be fantasy relevant.

This seems like a good time to note how terribly awful Joel’s lineup is. This may also be a good time to point out that only three of these players scored more than 600 points last season. That is an unbelievable feat to build such a terrible lineup. But when you see Joel’s draft, it makes sense. Joel is going to regret this.

RF – Corey Hart: Corey. Hart. Wow. I should mention that Raul Ibanez was still on the board when Joel took Hart in the seventh round.

UT – Milton Bradley: Will give you 75 solid games this season, and will be hurt for the rest.

SP1 – Johan Santana: One of five pitchers to score more than 700 points last season.

SP2 – Francisco Liriano: Who knows what you’ll get from him in terms of a full season. If he stays healthy he should be solid.

SP3 – James Shields: I expect him, and the Rays as a whole, to regress a little this season. Call it a World Series hangover. With that said, he should still be a top 30 pitcher.

FLEX – Javier Vazquez: A consistent guy who will not light the world on fire, but will not kill your chances of winning a matchup.

RP – Carlos Marmol: He won’t start the season as the closer, but I do expect him to finish it there.

RP – George Sherrill: I question how many save opportunities he will have with the Orioles this year. Very much so.

RP – Huston Street: Streaky, talented, injury-prone, fantasy nightmare.

General Thoughts:

Joel ignored his lineup so much that it has almost rendered his top starters useless. I’m very skeptical of Ryan Dempster, Manny Parra, Armando Galarraga and Francisco Liriano being the guys Joel thinks they will be and think Joel has completely ignored the core of what makes up a great fantasy team. Add in his difficult division and I do not see a repeat trip to the playoffs in his future.

Sarcastic Statement:

Joel’s lineup is right up there with 1927 Yankees. If only he had some pitching…

Final Statement

Now would be a good time to start determining who you’re going to take with your top three overall pick, Joel.

*Average Draft Position by Round via ESPN’s Live and Mock Drafts as of March 14, adjusted for keepers.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Week One: On My Signal, Unleash Hell

Baseball: Where people get excited about John Kruk being in their living-rooms and bedrooms late at night.

Let the Fantasy Begin!!!

Oh Fantasy Baseball, how I’ve missed you so. And to think, this year I have a reasonable shot at winning simply because I’m in the same division as Jason, Jeff W., Adam and, uh, that other guy who is no good… Tony!

I want to start by thanking you guys for totally #@$%ing up the draft. It gave me renewed hope, something I desperately needed. I especially want to thank everyone who bought into this idea that starting pitching wins fantasy leagues. I also want to thank Erik for leading these stupid souls on a path of despair and loneliness by giving them false hope with your array of starting pitchers and back-to-back championship game appearances. Oh you fools…

Here’s to the worst of luck for everyone and may the baseball gods have mercy on your souls in a way that benefits me.

A Few Predictions

90% of the league is going to suck. I won’t tell you who the 10% who isn’t is, but I think you’ve got a good idea who it’s going to be.

We are all going to be mad we didn’t take Alex Gordon in the third round. Consequently, most of you will be mad made you took a pitcher instead.

There will be another steroid scandal in The League this year, but it won’t be the biggest scandal of the year. Yeah, I don’t know what that means either.

Matt Weiters, David Price and Cameron Maybin will all suck this year. The Rookie of the Year Award will go to someone none of us (except for Erik of course) have heard of before.

Jesus Christ will not return to earth during the baseball season.

The Royals will not be out of it by August; the Cardinals will be out of it by late July.

Cole Hamels and Tim Lincecum will each spend time on the DL this season. Lincecum will also fail to pitch in the All-Star Game again this season because he will, again, contract the “flu.”*

*He’ll be too hung-over to pitch.

I will not go on a single date this summer; you can take that to the bank.

The Week In Preview

Inoculators V I’m Bill James, Bitch

General Thought: I own Andrew in matchups that don’t matter.

Specific Thought: I will win by one point, guaranteed.

WTF Thought: Fact: Carrots taste like unsalted, de-moistened, hardened peanuts.

Krunk Smurfs V Viva El Birdos

General Thought: If you really want to know how Jason’s draft went, just see how he ends up at the end of the season. I set the over/under at 3.5 total moves he makes this season.

Specific Thought: Adam’s team is not stacked and, as a result, he will lose to Jason. And Jason sucks, too.

WTF Thought: Would “Lime-Lemon Soda” taste different than “Lemon-Lime Soda”?

San Antonio Saints V Flying Monkeys

General Thought: I’d like Jeff’s team name if he got rid of the “flying” part and replaced it with “Feces Throwing”. Or something to that affect. I do like monkeys, though. Excellent mascot choice.

Specific Thought: I hope Tony pays more attention to this team than he did his basketball team. I fear he won’t. Jeff will win on the grounds that Tony doesn’t realize the season started yet.

WTF Thought: The world would truly be a better place if monkeys could fly. I believe this whole-heartedly.

The Zou V Texas A-Roids

General Thought: The “Texas A-Roids” will here to forth be known as the “Texas A-holes.” One, because I hate the state of Texas, and two, because I’m tired of steroid-related names. And Kyle is a two-time offender of this rule. Change your name A-hole(s).

Specific Thought: The Zou and the A-holes will finish in a tie, because I hate mizzou and Texas equally.

WTF Thought: Which is worse: Being called an “ass” or being called an “asshole”? And if you chose “asshole,” why? Would an “ass” include the asshole in addition to the ugliness around it? Just sayin’…

Rolorado Cockies V Polk County Homer-Hulks

General Thought: Wow, this is a matchup I’d like to avoid thinking about. So, I’ll stop now.

Specific Thought: Kimball’s team mascot picture is the best team mascot picture in all of fantasy.

WFT Thought: Do you think Homer could do equally as good of job at pitching as Sidney Ponson? In addition, I’d like to think he’d be a better golfer than John Daily (though I’m convinced John Daily IS Homer Simpson) and Homer would be a better center than Greg Ostertag. I believe everything I just wrote. Seriously.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Opening Week - Reviewed: Ben Nielsen (via Erik)

It's about time: Baseball is here. Good luck to all. An Opening Day post comes out tomorrow with the rest of the draft reviews coming out Tuesday through Friday (I promise).

For now, here is Erik's review of my draft. Enjoy.


Team: Inoculators
Owner: Ben Nielsen
Draft Pick Order: 5th Overall

Top Ten Rounds Evaluation (ADP Round)*
1 – Grady Sizemore (1)
2 – Nick Markakis (2)
3 – Brian Roberts (3)
4 – Brian McCann(3)
5 – Joe Nathan (4)
6 – Mariano Rivera (5)
7 – Carlos Pena (6)
8 – Troy Tulowitzki (7)
9 – Jose Valverde (8)
10 – Brett Myers (14)

It has been said that you cannot win a fantasy league with your first two picks, but you can definitely lose it (just ask me and my second-round Troy Tulowitzki pick last year). It is for this reason that I like Ben’s first two picks. They are both solid and steady, but yet young enough were some growth could take place this year. The only issue here is that Ben took two outfielders when he had already kept Ryan Braun (LF), Josh Hamilton (CF, RF) and Carlos Quentin (LF). So, this essentially means that Ben filled his utility spot with his first pick (in theory filling the CF spot with Sizemore and moving Quentin to the utility spot) and then proceeded to fill a bench spot with his second pick (with that pick, Markaksi filled the utility spot and Quentin was moved to the bench). And while I am a proponent for taking the best available player, it was Ben who so adamantly disliked Adam’s pick of Jose Reyes with the number four pick because he was drafting his utility spot with his first pick. I think a strong case could be made for taking Miguel Cabrera with the fifth pick, which would be a big upgrade over Carlos Pena, and then selecting Markakis (or any other top-level CF or RF) in the second round to fill his RF spot and move Quentin to the Utility role. While Ben had no guarantee that Markakis would be there to fill his RF spot in the second round, Hamilton is eligible in CF and RF so there was a very strong possibility that Sizemore, Markakis, Beltran OR Ichiro would have been there for the taking with his second pick and filled out his outfield nicely. Having said all of that, Ben now possesses solid trade bait with his wealth of stud outfielders.
While Ben got very solid values in the first three rounds, I am not a fan of the Brian McCann pick. I know the values that Ben uses say it was a “steal,” but I don’t particularly like those values. The ADP’s are based on other drafts where the scoring system does not mirror our unique league. I think the fourth round is too early to take a catcher with all the possible injuries that they may face. McCann has been one of the most durable backstops in the game for his first three years and yet he has played an average of 135 games per season. I think in the fourth round, I would prefer to draft somebody who might exceed 140 games, which McCann will not.
In drafting Tulowitzki, Ben took the last shortstop that could really separate himself from the pack. After the “big three” of Ramirez, Reyes and Rollins, there was a big drop-off to the next shortstops, Michael Young and Orlando Cabrera. In Tulowitzki, Ben got an undervalued player who can bridge that wide gap.

Best (and Worst) Mid to Late Round Picks

Kelvim Escobar and John Smoltz. I am not going to say that either of these pitchers will be relevant in fantasy baseball this year, but they both have the potential to be and Ben got them for near nothing in the 24th and 25th rounds. Reports are good on Escobar so far and Ben needs a solid season from one of these players to offset his very shaky starting pitching.

Jair Jurrjens, Andy Sonnastine and Elvis Andrus. Jurrjens and Sonnastine are nice #4 or 5 starters in real baseball, but they don’t miss enough bats to be taken in the 13th and 16th rounds. Especially when you consider that players like Paul Maholm weren’t even drafted (Maholm outperformed both Jurrjens and Sonnastine last year and has an outstanding spring – nice pick-up Kimball). As for Andrus, he is a great prospect, but what makes him so great is his glove. Diving plays don’t count for much in fantasy. Because of his speed, he will become relevant playing in that line-up, but not this year … plus Ben already dropped him.

Starting Positional Breakdown

C – Brian McCann: Very solid catcher. Should be one of the top-three catchers in fantasy this season.

1B – Carlos Pena: Struck out 166 times last year. Combine that with a sub .250 batting average and I am not a fan. As an example of our odd scoring system taking effect, Conor Jackson outscored Pena by nearly 60 points last year, but has an ADP that is about six rounds lower … go figure.

2B – Brian Roberts: Great player who does not seem to get the attention of Utley and Kinsler because he plays for the Orioles and does not hit a ton of homers. Great value in the third round.

3B – Evan Longoria: A great talent, it will be interesting to see how the league adjusts to him with a full offseason to study the film.

SS – Troy Tulowitzki: Big-time upside. We will see how he bounces back from the first real struggles he has faced in professional baseball.

LF – Ryan Braun: One of the best hitters in the game. However, it is interesting to note that he was only the eighth best LF in the league last season. Very odd, and not good for a 10-team league if it repeats.

CF – Grady Sizemore: The only thing that could mess this pick up is injuries. Sizemore is one of my favorite players to watch because of the reckless nature with which he plays. Injuries are definitely a risk here, although his back-up would be …

RF – Josh Hamilton: Another injury risk who is a top-10 player if healthy. If Hamilton can keep his head straight and body intact, he gives Ben another great bat in the outfield.

UT – Nick Markakis: Outside of Jose Reyes, this has to be the best Utility player in the league. Markakis continues to get better and that should continue into 2009 as long as he can get some protection in the line-up.

SP1 – ummmm …. Mark Buehrle?: Consistent and aging, Buehrle will need a solid year in a hitter-friendly park to anchor down Ben’s weak staff.

SP2 – Brett Myers: A strikeout pitcher in a contract year. You have to love that. A fly-ball pitcher with a tendency to give up the homer pitching in Philadelphia. You cannot like that. Who knows what Ben will get out of the first starting pitcher he took.

SP3 – Joba Chamberlain: Great strikeout pitcher. If he’s healthy and in the rotation all year, will be Ben’s ace. Injuries and Phil Hughes scare me here. Good value though for the upside.

FLEX – Kelvim Escobar: Supposedly the velocity is coming back nicely. Generally the location takes awhile to return though.

RP – Joe Nathan: Consistent and a stud.

RP – Mariano Rivera: Aging and coming off surgery. Will this be the year he finally struggles?

RP – Jose Valverde: Throws gas and gets strikeouts, but lives on the edge with his control.

General Thoughts

Ben has a great line-up and a solid core of relievers. He will need to make a deal or some nice free-agent acquisitions to sure up his starting rotation though. He has a lot of guys with good potential, but I’m guessing between Smoltz, Escobar, Chamberlain, Buchholz and Myers that at least two don’t make a significant contribution this season.

Sarcastic Statement

According to Ben, the most intelligent thing to do in this league is fill your utility spot with your first pick.

Final Statement

Ben will have a completely different team than this when the season is over. It happens every year. The only question is whether it will be better or not.