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…