Thursday, 29 March 2012

Crappy Trade Proposals (CTPs)

We have all received a random, lame attempt by another fantasy owner to steal away our best players in a bad trade proposal.

Have you ever received a Crappy Trade Proposal (CTP) in your fantasy baseball league? If so, how crappy was it?

Share your worst CTP and we’ll read it on an upcoming podcast!

Here’s a recent one of my own:

In 2010 right in the midst of Josh Johnson having an amazing early season run (on his march to the NL ERA crown), a fellow owner in my league offered me bench player Ty Wigginton straight up for the Marlins’ ace. Best of all, he was offended when I rejected the offer and was outraged by the fact that I would not want a player with multi-position eligibility on my team.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Running on Empty: Cheap Stolen Bases in Fantasy Baseball

Drafting power in fantasy baseball is always a good option. After all, a home run results in an increase in batting average, a run scored and an RBI (or possibly several). Drafting speed on the other hand often helps in only one category (stolen bases). With reliable power and speed guys hard to come by (where have you gone, Grady Sizemore?), most fantasy owners draft for power and find themselves in need of stolen bases once the season begins. However, when picking over the waiver wire, there are several options for cheap steals available. Unlike with other stat categories, playing time is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to getting speed into your fantasy line up. After all, if a player comes on as a pinch-runner in the later innings and steals a base, you have received the stat you needed even though he isn’t a starting position player. Here are some options for cheap steals from the waiver wire:

Juan Pierre (PHI)
The Phillies have a crowded outfield with Shane Victorino, John Mayberry and Hunter Pence (not to mention the presence of Laynce Nix and Domonic Brown). However, Pierre should get his fair share of opportunities to pinch run in addition to the odd spot start. Throw in the fact that the Phillies lack a truly effective lead-off hitter (no offence to the 33-year old Jimmy Rollins) and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if Pierre ends up the season with 20+ stolen bases. Sure Pierre was only successful in 61% of his stolen base attempts last year. However, he is only 2 seasons removed from a major league best 68 swiped bags.

Ben Revere (MIN)
Chances are, the Twins’ outfielder will be available in your fantasy league. The fact that he will most likely be used as a fourth outfielder will scare off your fellow fantasy owners. However, Revere has fantasy value to bring to the table. His defense alone should help ensure he gets his fair share of ABs and the uncertain situation in right field could have Revere in the line up more often than not. 30+ stolen bases wouldn’t be a surprise.

Jason Bourgeois (KC)
Even a trade to the Royals may not mean a starting outfield job is guaranteed for Bourgeois. However, he can play at second base and may find some time there in Kansas City this year. With Johnny Giavotella demoted and Chris Getz’ limited skill set, the speedy Bourgeois may get into the line up enough to nab 30 SB. That could be a magic number for those fantasy squads in need of late round speed.

Alcides Escobar (KC)
Escobar offered speed and little else in 2011 and his decent minor league batting average may yet carry over into the majors. In the meantime he should get regular playing time at shortstop this year (albeit most likely out of the #9 spot in the Royals line up). Regardless, he showed some speed last year and could put up 20-25 SB.

Rajai Davis (TOR)
Before his season ended with a torn hamstring, Davis was seeing sporadic playing time with the Blue Jays in 2011. However, when he did play, he ran. In fact, he delivered 34 SB (and had 45 attempts). Considering that fact that he only had 49 singles, it’s pretty clear that when Davis is on base, he runs. Even though he will see limited playing time, he should spell Eric Thames in left field against lefties and may see time off the bench as a pinch runner in the later innings. Don’t rule out 30 SB for this crafty base stealer.

So go ahead and load up on power in your fantasy drafts. If you need some cheap speed in the later rounds or on the waiver wire, there should be a few options for stolen bases in your fantasy league.

* Juan Pierre photo by Keith Allison (Jeff Cox, Juan Pierre) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
* Jason Bourgeois photo by SBoyd (Jason Bourgeois 2) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
* Rajai Davis photo by Keith Allison on Flickr [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Fantasy Baseball Podcast - March 25, 2012

New podcast is available! Joined by guest Jason Consoli from Fantasy 6th Man. We discuss Joakim Soria, Johan Santana and Andy Pettitte. Jason talks about the services available through Fantasy 6th Man, and we talk about the spring performances of Yadier Molina, Howie Kendrick and Raul Ibanez. We also address fantasy baseball emails.

Just click on the icon below to visit the podcast website. You can listen live from the site, download the podcast or follow the icon to iTunes to download the show for free. Enjoy!

Fantasy Baseball Podcast

Friday, 23 March 2012

Who’s Who? Fantasy Baseball Player Stats Tell the truth

When deciding upon which fantasy baseball players to draft and which to leave for the next owner, often we are apt to go with players that get a lot of attention in the media or those ‘hot hands’ that may (or may not) deliver the stats for your fantasy baseball team. When taking a closer look at statistics, it can often be misleading as to which is the better player to add to your fantasy team. By simply comparing individual player stats side-by-side, we can often get a better idea of a player’s fantasy value, especially when it comes to draft position. After all, where a player is drafted is one of the most important things to consider when building value into your roster.

Let’s consider a few players heading into 2012 based upon their 2011 performance and see if the numbers back up the hype.

When considering any player, it is often easy to get caught up in the hype (or ‘over-hype’) of one player versus another. Putting all hype aside and looking strictly at the bare numbers helps to cut to the chase. We’ll start with some infielders:

Player #1 put up the following stats in 2011 and is currently being drafted 52nd overall:
.293 BA, 26 R, 9 HR, 25 RBI, 7 SB
Player #2 put up the following numbers in 2011 and is currently being selected 184th overall:
.272 BA, 24 R, 7 HR, 19 RBI, 5 SB

Player #1 is Brett Lawrie. Player #2 is Jason Kipnis. Lawrie’s ADP is 132 spots higher than Kipnis. Is it worth it? You decide.

Moving on to outfielders, player #1 put up the following stats in 2011 and is currently being drafted 29th overall:
.259 BA, 87 R, 23 HR, 89 RBI, 23 SB
Player #2 put up the following stats in 2011 and is currently being drafted 82nd overall:
.243 BA, 82 R, 23 HR, 81 RBI, 36 SB

I, for one, would gladly give up 53 draft positions to get B.J. Upton (#2 player) instead of Andrew McCutchen (#1 player).

Moving on to pitchers, player #1 put up the following stats in 2011:
171 IP, 3.74 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 173 K
Player #2 put the following numbers on the board in 2011:
141.2 IP, 3.68 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 168 K

Player #1 is Michael Pineda who is currently being drafted 90th overall and player #2 is Brandon Beachy being drafted out of the 136th spot. I’ll take Beachy every day of the week.

The lesson to be learned? Don’t believe the hype. Believe the numbers.


Thursday, 22 March 2012

Pair of Aces: Baseball and Poker Deal Excitement

As a baseball fan, I hear a lot of people say that Baseball is boring, and I know they probably doesn't understand the game. Well, at least that is what many people will tell you when you ask whether they follow the game.  Many people see many games in a microcosm.  They may watch a couple of innings where there does not seem to be a lot going on and miss out on the real excitement.  The game is eerily calm until there is a sudden crack of the bat and the fans are going frantic as their favorite player just hit a 430 ft shot over the fence.  There is another game that is equally as deceptive and that is the game of poker.

Poker is another game where at first glance there appears to be next to nothing going on.  In reality, that is really what is happening.  For long stretches of times the cards are dealt and there may be a single raise with the other players folding.  The pot is then pushed to the raiser and play continues around the table.  This is very similar to those pitcher duels that go for several innings with both teams being set down in order.

This can all change in poker in one hand.  Instead of everyone folding to a player's raise, another player decides to re-raise the hand.  The original raiser is clearly ready to battle and throws in a four-bet, indicating that he has a huge hand.  Now, his opponent decides to throw down the gauntlet and move all-in.  The original raiser decides to make the call and put his tournament life at risk.

When the cards are flipped over, the original raiser is ahead with a pair of aces and his opponent is behind with a pair of kings.  At this moment, the aces are well ahead to win.  Now the fans of the player with the kings are going crazy calling out for a king to hit the board.  The first three community cards are dealt and a king is missing.  Fans of the player with the aces are screaming for the hand to hold while the other fans are still calling for a king. 

The turn call falls a deuce and the player with aces is not even watching as the pressure is great.  The river card is dealt, and it is a king!  The fans of the player with kings erupt as their player was victorious in the hand.  Fans of the player with aces gasp or fall silent as their favorite player has just been knocked out.  That player is now crushed and sitting on the sidelines wondering what could have been.

As you can see, poker is very much like baseball in that it is a game where it looks like nothing is happening and then can change into an excitement filled game in an instant.  That may be why ESPN annually broadcasts the World Series of Poker in addition to their normal sports programming.  If you have never taken up the game of poker, you should definitely give it a try.  Soon you will be able to draw your own parallels between baseball and poker.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Fantasy Baseball Podcast - March 20, 2012

New fantasy baseball podcast available. Joined by "The Fantasy Doctor" discussing spring training news and the Toronto Blue Jays fantasy prospects for 2012.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Let’s Go Blue Jays: Fantasy Baseball Options North of the Border

When considering options for your fantasy baseball team, it is never a good idea to be a “homer”. In other words, be very careful about selecting players from your favorite team just because you follow them and would like to see them on your fantasy roster. My favorite team is the Toronto Blue Jays. Always has been. Always will be. However, I will never let my allegiance get in the way of winning my fantasy baseball league. Neither should you. That being said, it is worth a look at a few prominent Blue Jays and their potential fantasy impact in 2012. Some you will want to grab, others you’ll want to avoid.

Jose Bautista (OF/3B)
It’s not just his multiple position eligibility that makes Bautista so valuable (although, it certainly doesn’t hurt!). Since overhauling his plate mechanics in late 2009, “Joey Bats” has become the most feared slugger since Barry Bonds. He is a leader in the clubhouse, on the field and on fantasy rosters across North America. A dip in production in the second half is a little worrisome but the Jays’ slugger remains top ten material on draft day. If he ever got any help in the line up, look out.

Brett Lawrie (3B)
Call me pessimistic but I am a little concerned with the degree that so many fantasy owners have jumped all over Lawrie this season. With only 150 big league at bats to his name, Lawrie is being drafted like a 10-year veteran in some leagues. I for one would advise a little more caution at this stage of his career. There is no doubt that he is a special talent but he has shown a knack for being injury-prone at times and until he makes his way through the league a second time, I am reserving judgement. Ask me again in July. Until then, I am playing it safe and letting Lawrie go to another owner in the early rounds.

You’ll take the power (23 bombs and 78 RBI as a rookie) but that batting average (.219) and propensity to whiff make him the Mark Reynolds of the catcher set. With Travis d’Arnaud nipping at his heels, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arencibia the subject of trade rumors as early as this season. If you shore up batting average at another position, grab him for the home runs.

Sergio Santos (RP)
 I’m not letting the signing of Francisco Cordero worry me. I’m pegging Santos as a top ten closer in baseball for 2012. Cordero has been brutal lately and is around for his experience and will act as an insurance policy. Santos should be given every opportunity to succeed. Originally drafted as a shortstop, Santos is really coming into his own as a pitcher and should be dynamite in 2012.

Ricky Romero (SP)
Sure, I’m a Jays fan but I know a number one, “ace” starter when I see one and Ricky doesn’t fit the bill. He has improved recently but a lack of command and a weakness for the big inning knock Romero down a few pegs in my book. There are safer bets at the draft table.

Morrow scares me more than just a little. We’ve seen this act in Toronto before and he was called A.J. Burnett. All the talent in the world with poor results. If you are in love with the strikeouts, by all means pick him up. However, you had better load up on the Tums if you want to watch him pitch. Also, say goodbye to any chances you may have at the WHIP and ERA categories while you are at it.

Another Jay to consider is Henderson Alvarez (SP) but he may be a few years from contributing anything of value in fantasy. Other jays to avoid include Colby Rasmus, Travis Snider and Brett Cecil. You’ll be better off with safer picks on draft day. Let other owners pray that these players will come through on their potential.

Just because you are a “homer” doesn’t mean you can’t call them as you see them. Fan or not, when it comes to fantasy baseball, the only allegiance you should have is to winning your league.

* Brett Lawrie photo by Keith Allison (Flickr: Brett Lawrie) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
* Ricky Romero photo by Keith Allison [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Texas Rangers Organizational Depth Chart

For anyone looking for information on the depth chart of the Texas Rangers organization for their fantasy baseball rankings, the good folks over at Chicken Fried Baseball have put up a great resource. It can be found here:

I highly suggest looking into this resource for any information you might need in regard to the Texas Rangers. 

Monday, 12 March 2012

On the Rebound: Fantasy Baseball Buy Low Candidates for 2012

Many fantasy baseball owners are obsessed with the latest ‘hot prospect’, MVP candidate or a player coming off a monster season. If you like to target these types of players, then expect to pay top dollar at the draft table or auction for Brett Lawrie, Matt Kemp or Justin Verlander. When you consider some of the strongest fantasy baseball seasons, they are often delivered by players coming off a poor statistical season or have lower expectations entering the draft/auction. Kemp was arguably the best player in fantasy baseball in 2011 and did so after a poor showing the season before. 

The key is to target players this season that may be had for a reduced price (or selected at a lower draft position) in relation to the fantasy value they will give your team. Often, this can be as simple as targeting players who have had productive seasons in the past but are simply coming off a poor year. Baseball players are people too, and as such can suffer ‘ups-and-downs’ along the way. Much like in life, these gambles don’t always pay off, however it is much safer to take a risk with a lower draft pick as opposed to getting burned by an underachieving first round pick. 

Some players of note in 2012 who may perform better than their relative auction value/draft position may dictate include:

Alex Rodriguez (NYY)
A-Rod limped his way through 2011 and ended the season with 16 HR and 62 RBI. He has spent the off season working vigorously to regain his status as one of the most feared hitters of his generation. A return to the level of 30 HR and 100 RBI would not be a surprise. After all, he achieved those levels for 13 consecutive seasons entering last year.

Ichiro Suzuki (SEA)
After 10 consecutive seasons of 200+ hits, Ichiro hit only 184 en route to a career-low .272 batting average in 2011. However, the stolen bases were still there making Ichiro one of the best base stealers in the game. This is one very proud athlete with a multitude of skills. Expect a return to 200+ hits as a drop to third in the Mariners order should provide an interesting opportunity for one of the games most skilled players.

Vernon Wells (LAA)
Wells has made a habit of bouncing back after poor seasons in the past. If he approaches his 2010 numbers, he will make the Angels brass (and his fantasy owners) very happy indeed. His contract all but guarantees he will continue to see playing time for the Halos and adding a player like Albert Pujols can only help the entire batting order in Los Angeles.

Adam Dunn (CWS)
2011 was a season of epic failure for the beleaguered White Sox slugger. It is almost easy to forget that entering last season, Dunn was one of the most consistent power sources in fantasy. He has worked hard in the off season on his swing mechanics and the change in managers certainly won’t hurt. An increase in playing time in the field may be just what the doctor ordered to get Dunn untracked. 

Josh Johnson (MIA)
It’s not that Johnson didn’t put up the numbers last season. He was lights out when he pitched. However, he was sidelined in May for the remainder of the season with shoulder issues. Injuries have limited the Marlins ace from blossoming into one of the elite pitchers in the game. His off season prior to 2011 was focused on strength training. This past off season he has concentrated on a more well-rounded approach and hopes to remain healthy for 2012. If he does, look out.

Carl Crawford (BOS)
Crawford never seemed to fit in with the Red Sox last season. Perhaps it was a management issue. Regardless, he lost his confidence early and never got it back. An off season wrist injury will further push him down the depth charts of fantasy owners. However, a rejuvenated Crawford has the opportunity to regain his status as one of the top players in the sport. Even if he isn’t ready to go until May, he may be worth the risk. He’ll certainly come cheap.

Shin-Soo Choo (CLE)
Choo’s issues last year weren’t confined to the field as a DUI charge combined with several injuries to decimate the season for the Indians outfielder. Don’t forget, prior to last year, Choo was money-in-the-bank for a .300 batting average, 20 HR and 20 SB. Expect a bounce back.

Joakim Soria (KC)
Right near the top of many experts’ pre-season lists entering 2011, the “Mexicutioner” stumbled early last year and even pulled himself from the closer’s role in June. His issues seemed to be based more upon his over-reliance on his cutter than any mechanical issues as his strikeout rate and control remained intact. He also went 21-for-23 in save opportunities once he resumed the 9th inning role. He should be a top closer again in 2012 and at a reduced price to boot.

Down seasons can be a warning sign of things to come. However, when it comes to players with proven past success, it can also mean a bargain may be available to the fantasy owner willing to take the risk. The good news is that risk will not be too costly.
* Alex Rodriguez photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
* Vernon Wells photo by Keith Allison (originally posted to Flickr as Vernon Wells) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
* Carl Crawford photo by Red3biggs (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
* Joakim Soria photo by Keith Allison on Flickr [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, 10 March 2012

3 Fantasy Baseball Bounce-Back Candidates in 2012

By Kevin English, Special Guest Contributor to "Dear Mr. Fantasy"

Adam Dunn, White Sox: 
It’ll be tough for the 32-year-old to regress after posting career-lows in BA (.159 – yes, .159), HR (11), RBI (42), R (36) and OBP (.292) in 415 ABs last season. The scary-low HR total snapped his streak of 7 straight 35+ HR campaigns. And while a bounce-back to that magnitude is unlikely, Dunn still has plenty of promise heading into 2012.

Often times, much is made about a player’s switch in leagues, with the general concern about hitters’ unfamiliarity with new pitchers. I’ve never really bought into that notion, but maybe it applied to Dunn. Before landing in Chicago, Dunn spent his entire 10-year MLB career in the NL with Cincinnati, Arizona and Washington. One wouldn’t think he needed a whole season to adjust to AL pitching, but it’s possible. It’s also possible he simply wasn’t able to fix a flaw in his swing, the opinion of his then-manager Ozzie Guillen.
From a value standpoint, there’s little risk in investing in Dunn. According to Mock Draft Central, he’s going, on average, 261st overall in 12-team 5x5 mocks. So if you’re hunting for power in the later rounds, don’t hesitate to grab Dunn banking on a rebound season. He’s locked into the DH role and should have plenty of RBI opportunities hitting in the middle of the White Sox’s promising lineup. He’s looked promising early in spring training action too, starting 2 for 7 with a homer, 3 walks, and 0 punch-outs.  

2012 projection: 439 ABs, .262 AVG, 31 HR, 90 RBI, 74 R, 0 SB

Jason Heyward, Braves:
Heyward entered the majors in 2010 with a tremendous amount of buzz. While he didn’t disappoint in his debut, his sophomore campaign burnt plenty of fantasy owners that bought the hype; he hit just 14 bombs and tallied a .227 AVG in 396 ABs. Now entering his 3rd season in the bigs – and with 916 major league ABs under his belt – Heyward is poised for a huge leap in production. 

Heyward tweaked his swing in the offseason, and claimed in early February that the transition was “90%” complete. It’s looked about 9% complete so far in spring training, as he’s started just 3 for 14 with 5 strikeouts. Of course, it’s still really early, and I fully expect his bat to come around before the regular season.
He has all the tools to succeed, with impressive bat speed and serious power potential. Translation – the 22-year-old phenom is primed to post career highs across the board.  

His biggest obstacles remain staying healthy and moving up in the Braves lineup – heading into opening day, Heyward is expected to hit 7th according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

2012 projection: 522 ABs, .288 AVG, 27 HR, 97 RBI 99 R, 16 SB

It’s been a rocky road for EV. He was dominant in 2008, posting a 3.21 ERA and over a K/IP, but has pretty much fallen off a cliff since. He needed Tommy John surgery in 2009 and while rehabbing, was slapped with a 50-game suspension for using a performance enhancing drug. Volquez was downright awful upon returning, and didn’t improve last season when he went on to record an atrocious 5.71 ERA and 1.57 WHIP over 108.2 IP with Cincy. 

Now on to the good news. Volquez came over from the Reds this offseason in the Mat Latos trade and essentially has a rotation spot locked up. The obvious advantage is in the ballpark; whereas Great American Ballpark in Cincy is arguably the NL’s most hitter-friendly, PETCO’s spacious alleys have been a savior for many pitchers. 

Volquez has a track record of success too, and his mid-90s heater and plus breaking stuff make him a solid bet to at least help you in the strikeout department. He’ll give you a headache or two with his command, so you might be best served avoiding watching his starts. Just remember, it doesn’t have to be pretty to be effective.
One note of caution: wins are likely to be sparse since he pitches for one of the league’s worst offenses.

2012 projection: 28 GS, 186 IP, 9 W, 182 K, 3.69 ERA, 1.34 WHIP  

*Other noteworthy names: Chone Figgins (Mariners), Josh Johnson (Marlins), Francisco Liriano (Twins).
Who are you expecting a turnaround season from in 2012?

Kevin English is a blog contributor for Gold Star Games, a leading retailer of cornhole games.
* Adam Dunn photo by Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Adam Dunn") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
* Edinson Volquez photo by Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, 9 March 2012

Spring Ahead: Spring Training Stats & Fantasy Baseball Roles

When considering your options for fantasy baseball in the regular season, many owners look to put stock in the performances of players during spring training games. Pitchers are often behind their batting counterparts to begin camp and often spend time working on developing or refining pitches. Also, the big names on the mound often only pitch a few innings per outing in an effort to get warmed up as spring begins. As a result, lesser batting talents often have the opportunity to shine and as a result may put up stats that are a little out of the norm.

Also, there is the issue of a relatively small sample size. At any point during any regular season, if you were to take a slice of games and analyze the statistics you would no doubt find some oddities. Baseball has a long regular season and stats often regress to the mean. In other words, be careful not to put too much stock in spring stats as an outlier for regular season performance. There have been a few examples of spring training stats being a poor indicator of regular season success.

During spring training 2005, Toronto Blue Jays up-and-coming outfielder Gabe Gross set the franchise record with 8 spring home runs. After this impressive display, Gross managed to get himself into a grand total of 40 games for the big league team, amassing 102 plate appearances and mustering a single home run in the regular season.

What is more important than stats are the battles for positions on a particular ball club. For example, during spring training 2011, Washington Nationals Michael Morse made a push for playing time during spring games and ended up making the team and putting up impressive fantasy numbers. He increased his role from platoon player to big time producer.

For deep fantasy leagues, another key aspect of spring games is the battles for the back end of the rotation among starting pitcher candidates. A player such as Boston’s Daniel Bard will have a significantly different fantasy impact in the starting rotation as opposed to a relief role.

Getting the opportunity to see players in new roles is another benefit of spring games. A newly anointed closer such as Houston’s Brett Myers can be watched during March to see how the adjustment is being handled and if there is a good opportunity to benefit his fantasy owners.

Keep a close eye on spring training games. Just try to concentrate on individual roles rather than stats and you should be in a better position to succeed entering the regular season.

* Gabe Gross photo by imagesbyferg on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Fantasy Baseball Podcast - Relief Pitchers 2012

New podcast available. Fantasy baseball relief pitchers 2012. Previewing the position including top ten closers, sleeper relief pitchers and a rookie reliever of note for this season. Just click on the logo below to be taken to the podcast site where you can stream the podcast, download it right from the site or take the link to iTunes:

As always, feedback is strongly encouraged! Join the conversation!