Captain's Log

The George Springer Derby PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Thursday, 17 April 2014 00:00

While George Springer is owned as a minor leaguer in most AL keeper leagues, some AL redraft leagues and lots of mixed leagues will have a chance to bid this week on a potential 30-30 hitter.

In case you aren’t familiar, the Houston outfielder played last year at Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City and totaled 37 home runs and 45 stolen bases. Okay, he won’t hit that many in the American League and his .303 batting average last year is likely going to take a severe hit against major league pitching, where he will miss a lot of balls. But he is being called up in April, not missing all of April and most of May as do many top minor league prospects who are held back for financial reasons. I still think if he adjusts well (no one can predict the mental adjustments no matter how good the tools), a 30-30 season would be in reach. The 24-year-old right-handed batter does play his home games in a favorable park and gets to visit both Arlington and Anaheim, which treat right-handed hitters well.

So how much will it take to roster Springer this weekend?

Obviously, league factors differ, but what was the winning bid in your league on Mike Trout a few years ago? Really, the numbers aside from the BA are comparable at least in HR/RBI/SB – Springer doesn’t figure to score as many runs as the Angel phenom.

I suspect that in the NFBC format in leagues where he wasn’t rostered on draft day (and in some of those he has already been dropped with all the injuries forcing owners to make tough decisions), it will take a minimum of 500 FAAB units to have a good chance to land Springer.

I won’t be able to bid on him there – in the 15-team main event, one of my opponents drafted Springer in the 17th round (where Greg Morgan and I drafted Dan Straily – but we did draft Javier Baez in the next round) while in the 12-team Rotowire Online Championship, my partner and I drafted him in the 27th round.

But he will be in my lineup on Friday – I hope you have him on a team already or get a chance to add him this weekend – he will be fun to watch.

Last Updated on Friday, 18 April 2014 01:05
Week Two = Patience & Diligence PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 00:00

As always, the early season reminder for your fantasy teams is PATIENCE.

Your star outfielder is not going to hit .200 all year and your ace starter will get some wins and your second SP will come off the DL. Too often we see people panic and make drops, or even worse, trades that will haunt them the rest of the season.

The trades are worse because not only are you trading low but you are potentially strengthening your opponent at the same time. That is not relevant in NFBC leagues but the poor drops are. In my AL keeper league of almost 30 years, I put in a rule several years ago after one impatient owner thought his draft had been terrible and traded most of his expensive players for cheap contracts, prospects and first-round draft picks for the following season. The problem, aside from virtually being out of play for the rest of the season, is that as drafted his team would have finished in the money. Give peace and your players a chance.

At least the ones you can’t replace easily. For the first few weeks in almost any league, there are lots of good choices and there is no particular reason if you drafted a player who was or is a mistake to not get a better player from the free agent pile ASAP.

Personally, I would not drop any of the short-term DL players in any format – Aroldis Chapman, Doug Fister, Hisashi Iwakuma, David Robertson, Wilson Ramos and likely Mark Teixeira will come back and contribute to your team later. But unless you have DL slots in your league, Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, Patrick Corbin, Miguel Sano, Jarrod Parker and Jameson Taillon should all be dropped – they won’t be back this year. In keeper leagues, hopefully you have the DL slot or enough roster space to keep them for the future, but if not and you can contend this year, remember that is always Job 1.

Depending on when you drafted or how deep your league is, here are a few slightly under the radar players I would look to add this weekend:

Jason Kubel, OF, MIN – With Chris Colabello (likely already picked up but if not put at the top of the list) for now entrenched in the DH slot, Kubel will have to fight for at-bats in left field, but they can’t keep his bat on the bench.

Conor Gillaspie, 3B, CWS – Gillaspie, not Matt Davidson, won the third base job for Robin Ventura’s club and is an underrated hitter.

Jesus Guzman, 1B/OF, HOU – Guzman doesn’t have a clear position but they have to find at-bats for a good hitter with some pop in his bat (two home runs in the first week).

Ichiro Suzuki, OF, NYY – Yes I know he was poor last year – flip the calendar already, he is hitting over .400 and will get some steals, and in case you didn’t remember, the rest of the Yankees' outfielders are on the all-brittle team.

Aaron Harang, SP, ATL – For now at least, behind a good Braves team, Harang is a decent spot play (not as good as his first game this year but not as bad as you remember). Next week he has a start at the Mets on Tuesday.

Edinson Volquez, SP, PIT – On my personal scary list but had a very good first start and is home Monday against Milwaukee and it could be a two-start week.

If you are truly desperate for saves, Shawn Kelley may get a few more (but not a lot) before David Robertson comes back in two weeks. And while Jonathan Broxton is due back in Cincinnati this week, Manny Parra might still get a few matchup or two-inning saves for the Reds.

Again, while you need to be diligent on free agents, be patient with some of your players who will come around – Please.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 02:28
One Last DC Draft - Express Version PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Monday, 24 March 2014 00:00

Last Friday, I did my last DC (Draft Challenge) in the NFBC. This Mastersball entry, as my non playing co-pilot is Lord Zola, was an express draft – all 50 rounds done in one sitting.

Sadly, this one lasted five and a half hours as we had some drafters apparently new to the system and perhaps the concept. But, the field did include former NFBC Champion Terry Haney, who managed on several occasions to nab the player who was at the top of my short list for that round's pick. But that is the nature of a snake draft and you must push past the irritation and get a good team. So here is the beginning of my draft by rounds with thoughts still stuck in my head and then the roster by position for your analysis.

I was drafting out of the 10 hole – not what you want but as they say, "When they give you lemons, make great lemonade."

1.10 - Adam Jones – A very safe 100/30/100 hitter with some steals and a good BA

2.06 - Yasiel Puig – With all of my clear targets gone, I felt it was Go Big or Go Home time

3.10 - Mark Trumbo – I had a list of the Tier 2/3 SP (Kershaw being Tier 1 and promoting Jose Fernandez from Todd’s fourth tier) and with only Kershaw, Darvish, Scherzer and Strasburg drafted in the first two rounds, I felt I would bet that one of the remaining eight pitchers in my queue would fall to me in the 4th round and preferred that bet to the fact that one drafter behind me might take Trumbo’s power (most left in draft) with one of their two picks. Didn’t happen, so…

4.06 – Craig Kimbrel – So I switched gears to take the best closer off the board and get the strikeout boost which would promote one of my pitchers up a tier.

5.10 – Anibal Sanchez – Happy to get one of the Tier 4 pitchers there

6.06 – Jose Altuve – I was actually looking for Everth Cabrera here but he went at 5.15, so taking the best MI option available

7.10 – Kyle Seager – In this round, I was nipped on Prado and Cain, so I took the best 3B available

8.06 – Doug Fister – Not sure why he fell but glad to have him as my second starter (also Tier 4)

9.10 – Jason Castro – I was looking for Frieri or Jennings but they went right before my pick, so I took the best catcher with the top-11 already gone

10.06 – Alexei Ramirez – After my Castro pick, I thought about getting my second closer or Danny Salazar, but he and Frieri and Grilli disappeared so I addressed two key needs at SS and speed

11.10 – Jered Weaver – Happy to take quite a discount on a very good pitcher (another Tier 4) and again, add Kimbrel’s extra strikeouts and see how much more attractive Weaver would be

12.06 – Jim Henderson – The closer pool was thinning far too fast but Henderson should be fine and I can add K-Rod cheaply

13.10 – Russell Martin – Before things got really ugly at the position, I chose Martin over Miguel Montero

14.06 – Jose Veras – I took Veras over Nate Jones for my third closer and it’s really hard to find saves at this point in the draft (only Hawkins/Brothers and Feliz/Soria were left)

15.10 – Avisail Garcia – Three players I had queued went in this round (Reddick, Estrada and Ventura the pick in front of me) but glad to add my third outfielder, who I think will have a big year

16.06 – Drew Smyly – This one not only for Todd but to solidify my core starting pitchers (on picks 5-8-11-16) Not sure anyone has four better here (but will check later)

17.10 – A.J. Pollock – Having lost some of my favorite double-digit HR/SB contributors, I reached for Pollock here but check the results in September

18.06 – Adam LaRoche – My third CI and some needed home runs

19.10 – Dee Gordon – IF in fact he platoons at 2B for the Dodgers, he will add a LOT of needed stolen bases and for now is my third MI

20.06 – Chris Owings – Okay, not for long as it looks like Owings has won the job in Arizona and will be a very productive hitter (and I can pick the one that does the best Down Under)

21.10 – Chris Iannetta – Wanting a third starting catcher (and hoping to pair with Conger later)

22.06 – Nathan Eovaldi – A nice NL pitcher who I think will break out for my fifth SP

23.10 – Drew Stubbs – Reports are that Stubbs has won the centerfield job for the Rockies and will lead off at least part of the time

24.06 – Garrett Jones – A two position player for roster flexibility and some added power

25.10 – D.J. Lemahieu – My second 2B and more speed

26.06 – Josh Fields – If named the closer, I will have four (at least to start the year) and some won’t have two – may not be needed to win this particular league but I want to win the overall money too

27.10 – Conor Gillaspie – Has won the third base job and gives me my second 3B plus more lineup options

28.06 – Tanner Scheppers – This may be a great two way pick as Scheppers (who has great stuff) is now in the Rangers rotation when he was thought to be in the mix with Feliz and Soria – maybe he will return there

29.10 – J.B. Shuck – A very good fourth OF for the Angels and very playable when Hamilton is on vacation

30.06 – Zach Lee – May have won the fifth spot in the rotation but if not just a call away when Maholm doesn’t work or Beckett is re-injured

31.10 – Robbie Ross – In case he wins the fifth spot for Texas

32.06 – Alex Colome – Ditto for Tampa

33.10 – Josh Collmenter – Spot starts or relief roles a valuable arm

34.06 – Eric Stults – The Padres fifth starter in a good park

35.10 – Bruce Chen – Very good spot starter, especially if the Royals are really good

36.06 – Aaron Sanchez – Tremendous prospect who has just won a Toronto rotation spot

37.10 – Chris Capuano – Would be very valuable if he gets into the Red Sox rotation

38.06 – Jordan Pacheco – Do you know who the backup catcher is in Colorado? Also behind Morneau at first base

39.10 – David DeJesus – Very good for extra outfielder/UT

40.05 – Nick Punto – Valuable like Swiss army knife – 2B/3B/SS eligibility

41.10 – Carlos Corporan – I got sniped earlier on Conger so will back up Castro instead

42.06 – Antonio Bastardo – For the name but what if the Phillies can trade Pap?

43.10 – Paul Maholm – Zach Lee insurance

44.06 – Sean Marshall – Not fully healthy or he would be in the committee while Chapman is out, but could get back there and be useful later in the season as well

45.10 – Andy Dirks – Like a second half pickup when there aren’t any

46.06 – Vidal Nuno – Yankees rotation far from stable

47.10 – Brandon Cumpton – In competition for Pirates' fifth starter or could get called up later

48.06 – Brian Flynn – One of Marlins' top pitching prospects

49.10 – Miguel A. Gonzalez – Sent down by Phillies but will be in rotation later in the year

50.06 – Juan Perez – 4th outfielder for the Giants who has played very well this spring and last year and how healthy are Pagan and Morse?

I hope you read (or skimmed) all of those, but let’s look at the roster:

C – J. Castro, R. Martin, Iannetta, Corporan

1B – Trumbo (OF), LaRoche, Pacheco

3B – Seager and Gillaspie + Punto (2B/SS as well)

2B – Altuve, LeMahieu + Gordon will qualify

SS – Ramirez, Gordon, Owings

OF – A. Jones, Puig, A. Garcia, Pollock, Stubbs

OF – G. Jones (1B), Shuck, Dirks, Perez

SP – A. Sanchez, Fister, Weaver, Smyly, Eovaldi, Scheppers

SP – Z. Lee/Maholm, Colome Stults, B. Chen, Aa. Sanchez, Nuno, Cumpton, Flynn, Gonzalez

CL – Kimbrel, Henderson, Veras

RP – Fields, Ross, Collmenter, Bastardo, Marshall

Lots of position flexibility to maximize HR and SB (hitters can be switched on Mondays and Fridays).

19 of the 25 hitters are starters or platoon.

Very good in Saves (only one other team has three).

Only three other teams have three starting catchers.

But there are six months to go with just these players so we will see who survives in addition to who produces. I want to not only win this league but have enough points to be in the overall leaders for all DC leagues – there is $20,000 to the overall winner.

Your questions/comments are always welcome here or in the Forums or on Facebook

Last Updated on Monday, 24 March 2014 08:48
Tout Mixed Draft Review PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Friday, 14 March 2014 00:00

While the Tout Wars drafts in NYC are auction leagues, a 15-team mixed draft league was added last year, and I was glad to be back for my second year in the league.

My team faded to fourth place last year and I hope to do better in this year’s contest. To start, I drew the second slot in this year’s draft (the priority for slot selection given in order of last year's finish) which was held Tuesday evening (if you didn’t watch the draft live, HERE is a link to the completed rosters and the draft by rounds).

A few important notes before I give you my team or you inspect rosters – Tout leagues now use on-base percentage instead of batting average. In addition, there is only a four-man reserve squad. The other key difference is that when you FAAB a player, they must be in your active lineup for the upcoming week. Another unusual aspect to this league is that the first FAAB run will be run on March 23. Okay, onto my picks.

The good news was that I would get a stud contributor in four or five categories with my first selection – the bad news was waiting almost two rounds to see who they left me in the second round. After NFBC’s Tom Kessenich selected Mike Trout with the first pick, I took Miguel Cabrera and his massive OBP.


That made me much happier in the second round when strangely Carlos Gomez was available, and I readily clicked DRAFT. What I don’t understand is 13 other teams passing on Gomez and his counting stats just because his OBP might be lower than last year’s median .330. But pairing CarGo2 with Miggy would put me well above average.

Two picks later, I took my first pitcher, Marlins’ ace Jose Fernandez (fourth off the board after Kershaw 1.09, Darvish 2.06 and Scherzer 2.15).

On the 4/5 turn, I was looking for the best bats I could find and selected 1B/OF Mark Trumbo at 4.14 followed by C Carlos Santana and his projected .377 OBP balancing Trumbo nicely and giving me solid counting stats at C1.

I was planning on taking Everth Cabrera on the next turn but he went at 6.08, so I took Jose Altuve for my 2B slot and then took Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez at 7.02.

Readers of my earlier draft articles know I think Khris Davis of the Brewers is set to break out in a big way this year and I was happy to draft him in the eighth round and add my pick at 9.02, Dodger starter Hyun-Jin Ryu. A few interesting notes on trends in this draft and then I will list my full roster with draft slots at the end.

One thing you can count on if you are thinking about the next position to attack or player you want is that someone is likely to pull them off the board while you watch. That happened with several infielders and on the secondary closer run (Cishek 10.04, Papelbon 10.05, Rafael Soriano 10.06 and even Fernando Rodney 10.08 all disappeared from my queue in the tenth round). Then there was the final closer run, when Joakim Soria (22.09) and Josh Fields (22.10) were taken when I was going to take either one or both in that round/turn.

There was definitely a heavy discount applied to the starting pitchers who have injury issues this spring in this draft. Here are the four prominent examples with their Tout draft slot and NFBC ADP

Cole Hamels went at 12.02  (NFBC avg 6.12, latest 13.15)

Hisashi Iwakuma went at 11.12  (NFBC avg 8.10, latest 12.03)

Doug Fister went at 12.09  (NFBC avg 11.04, latest 13.10)

Kris Medlen went at 23.02  (NFBC avg 9.04, latest 23.10)

I was the one who took Medlen as my seventh starting pitcher with the outlook that if he has surgery, he will be my first drop (again an early FAAB run) or if he is on the disabled list I can DL him (unlimited DL slots in Tout leagues) and add a replacement.

That was also the reason I took Andy Dirks with my last reserve pick at 27.02. I will DL him and pick up either another hitter or perhaps a pitcher if I have a greater need there.

I did draft Javier Baez, the talented, young Cubs power hitter with my pick in the 22nd round. That was after other drafters had speculated on George Springer (16.09), Yordano Ventura (18.09), Taijuan Walker (19.08) and Noah Syndergaard (22.07) but ahead of Kevin Gausman (23.03), Jameson Taillon (24.09), Gregory Polanco (24.11), Tommy La Stella (25.03), Oscar Taveras (25.04), Byron Buxton (26.03) and Eddie Butler (27.09).

So here is my final roster with draft slots in parenthesis. I am glad to answer any questions here or in the Forums.

C – Carlos Santana (5.02)

C – Russell Martin (15.02)

1B – Mark Trumbo (4.14)

3B – Miguel Cabrera (1.02)

CI – Adam Lind (19.02)

2B – Jose Altuve (6.14)

SS – Jimmy Rollins (14.14)

MI – Martin Prado (10.14)

OF – Carlos Gomez (2.14)

OF – Khris Davis (8.14)

OF – Adam Eaton (13.02)

OF – Josh Reddick (17.02)

OF – Michael Brantley (20.14)

UT – Javier Baez (22.14) to be replaced with either Owings or Shuck or FA

SP – Jose Fernandez (3.02)

SP – Anibal Sanchez (7.02)

SP – Hyun-Jin Ryu (9.02)

SP – Jered Weaver (11.02)

SP – Wade Miley (18.14)

SP – Nathan Eovaldi (21.02)

SP – Kris Medlen (23.02)

CL – Casey Janssen (12.14)

CL – LaTroy Hawkins (16.14)

R1 – Chris Owings (24.14)

R2 – J.B. Shuck (25.02)

R3 – Tanner Scheppers (26.14)

R4 – Andy Dirks (27.02)

Last Updated on Friday, 14 March 2014 11:09
Hindsight is Not Always 20-20 PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00

Last Saturday night, the League of Alternative Baseball Reality – LABR convened for its 23rd auction draft. Hosted by USA Today and run by Steve Gardner, the conclave of writers and analysts serves as one of the first and most visible barometers of redraft auctions for AL and NL players.

I had two plans, although Plan A, buying Mike Trout for $40 or less, was not very likely. These auction tend to be very oversold early on the better players. So I quickly reverted to Plan B after Trout, the fifth player nominated, went for $45. That would be a severe spread the risk approach. I allotted $90 for my nine pitchers - $20 (always a +/- target) for the first three, two starters and one of the better closers, then $10 each for two more pitchers, either a SP and a lesser closer or two starters, and then ten dollars for the last four pitchers.

On the hitting side, I could get seven Tier 2 or 3 hitters around 20 dollars each and then fill out the other seven hitters for the remaining 30 dollars.

So how did that work out? Well, first here are the players I bought, with auction price in parenthesis, and my quick thoughts on their fantasy prospects for this season.

C – Jason Castro (14) - Finally got a full season of at-bats last year and hit 18 homers while batting .275.

C – Dioner Navarro (7) - I think he will hit 15-20 HR in Toronto’s launching pad and will have a positive batting average.

1B – Mark Teixeira (16) – Only time will tell how far he will come back, but 30+ HR is very likely.

3B – David Freese (12) – Even with mid teen HR output, he could have 80-90 RBI in Angels' lineup.

CI – James Loney (10) – Not exciting but solid double-digit homers with a good average.

2B – Jed Lowrie (15) – 2B/SS eligibility with 15+ HR.

SS – Asdrubal Cabrera (15) – Only danger to nice bounce back would be early arrival of Francisco Lindor and no trade.

MI – Ryan Goins (2) – Blue Jays starting 2B should have 6-8 HR and SB and 40-50 R/RBI.

OF – Norichika Aoki (19) – Could easily score 100+ runs leading off for Royals.

OF – Carlos Beltran (24) – I think he will hit 30+ in Yankee Stadium.

OF – Avisail Garcia (15) – Looking for breakout in first full season – 15-20 HR likely.

OF – Adam Eaton (17) – Eaton was off to a good start last year before the injury, and leading off for the White Sox every day, he should steal 20+ and score 80+ runs. Also has a little pop.

OF – David DeJesus (2) – A full season could mean 10-10 contributions with decent average.

UT – Anthony Gose (2) – Only non-starter in the lineup but could steal enough bases to make a solid contribution.


SP – Jered Weaver (18)

SP – Anibal Sanchez (21)

SP – Jose Quintana (10)

SP – Ricky Nolasco (4)

SP – Hector Santiago (7)

SP - Dylan Bundy (1)

CL – David Robertson (19)

CL – Josh Fields (8)

RP – Luke Gregerson (2)

Reserves – Yangervis Solarte (2B), Bruce Chen (SP), Eduardo Nunez (SS), Matt Lindstrom (RP), Jose Alvarez (SP), Chris Parmelee (1B/OF)

So the roster doesn’t look sexy – it is a red chip team. BUT 13 of 14 hitters are starters. Winning at-bats has long been the principal aim of the “spread the risk” auction strategy. Look at the scrubs on some of the other rosters who will not get anywhere near the at-bats thus chances for Runs or RBI that regular players - even lesser hitters will accumulate.

Only Gose is a projected part-time player for Toronto. Now that could change in two ways. Gose has an option left and Moises Sierra does not, so the Blue Jays could send him down to start the season. On the other hand, neither Melky Cabrera nor Jose Bautista is a picture of health, so there could certainly be more at-bats if Gose is the fourth outfielder on the roster, which he is right now.

But I did address that (as well as MI insurance) with Yangervis Solarte and Eduardo Nunez in the reserve rounds. The Yankees are saying that Nunez will play some third base (more if the Kelly Johnson experiment fails or if Johnson has to play at second base). In addition, the best hitter and most versatile defender so far in spring training for the Yankees has been Yangervis Solarte, a second baseman by minor league stats but who can play third base and has already played in the outfield.

One other thing to consider is the LABR rules for lineups and reserve players. You cannot just bench one of your auction bought starters and sub in a reserve. If a “regular” is not on the DL or sent to the Minors, you would have to drop them to activate a reserve. Reserve players, however, can be moved up and down each week. So two reserve players could effectively rotate based on matchups, and that is one of the reasons I made sure to draft a starting pitcher and a playable reliever in Bruce Chen and Matt Lindstrom. I can put one in the lineup for Dylan Bundy and then flip them back and forth each week – for home starts and matchups for Chen or if Lindstrom is getting save opportunities for the White Sox.

Several other owners did this but some did not. Also having reserve players that are playable is very helpful in trades where it is a way to upgrade another team’s active lineup (or give them the lineup flexibility).

None of that information means I am perfectly happy with my draft. While I was fine with a spread the risk strategy and looking at the AL hitters in tiers thought I could field a competitive team from the less expensive players, I did make one key error. While I like the four outfielders I paid double-digit auction dollars for, I would have been better off to spend a few more dollars for a corner infielder where the pool thins dramatically.

But that would have to have been with a better third baseman because both the Tier 2 first basemen, Eric Hosmer and Albert Pujols, went for several dollars more than we project them to earn. And buying Hosmer, who I like this year at $28, or Pujols, who is questionable for anything close to a full rebound at $29, means there is not profit even if they do better than projected.

I actually bought Freese to be my CI thinking I might be able to get a decent price for Xander Bogaerts, who we project to earn $15. Bogaerts came up two rounds later and went for $19, which prompted me to roster Beltran, who was the next player nominated and in my opinion the best power hitter left, for $24. The alternative at that point would have been to pay more for Josh Donaldson, who I have nowhere near as much confidence in for power numbers in 2014.

I do think there are several hitters who are good bets to earn more than projected value, but we shall see. I also think the pitching is good, especially if either/both Josh Fields closes for more than the first month for the Astros or Dylan Bundy is good when he enters the Orioles rotation – likely mid-season.

Fortunately, the league is not based on projections. Let’s see how the team looks six months down the road.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 March 2014 19:52
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