Captain's Log

The 2016 Fantasy Baseball Season Starts Soon PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 07 October 2015 00:00

What a long strange trip it’s been. True we could say that about every baseball season whether real life or for our fantasy teams, but it did seem both longer and stranger for my fantasy teams this year as well as for many MLB teams.

Too long in fact for a handful of major league managers who have already been let go or will have been by the time you read this, although frankly I never thought Matt Williams had the temperament to lead a major league franchise.

What about our fantasy teams? We can’t fire that manager. We can, however, attempt to improve both his drafting and in-season management. And by we, I mean you. But I am trying to help you with this column and Todd, Lawr, and all the writers here at Mastersball are here to help you. All year long – not just prior to your draft. Because in today’s fantasy environment, if you play in a league and want to win, whether you are playing for pesos or matchsticks, it should almost be a year round cycle.

Traditionally, the months after the baseball season ends are for watching the playoffs, enjoying college and/or pro football, giving thanks for everything we have whether with family or friends or even alone at Thanksgiving, and then celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Festivus for the rest of us in December. Then it is the new year and time to follow the MLB winter meetings and trades and getting ready for spring training and looking at new projections, whether you make your own, get them here at Mastersball or elsewhere.

But we have missed a fall event that is specific to fantasy baseball players, one that should both tie up our thoughts on the previous season and get us ready for Opening Day 2016. It is unique in both its location and baseball opportunity. First Pitch Arizona is held in Phoenix, AZ with 80-degree sunny days (yes, sometimes lower or grayer) during the Arizona Fall League. The AFL is the premier development league of major league baseball featuring top prospects from each organization (usually high A players but with some Double-A players and even some who were in the Majors for a brief time but need additional work without leaving the country for winter ball in the southern hemisphere. Incredibly, nearly 2,300 of the 3,900 players -- 59 percent -- who have played in the Arizona Fall League have made it to the Major Leagues, and 13 players have won the Most Valuable Player Award. Four players with AFL ties have won the Cy Young Award, and 25 have won the Rookie of the Year Award.

Last year, we saw highly regarded prospects Eddie Rosario and Dalton Pompey, who everyone thought would be in the Majors at some point last season. But we also saw Greg Bird, who no one projected to be with the Yankees but because we saw him in the AFL and saw the power (he led the league in home runs and runs), he was added as a minor leaguer by some but certainly was on the radar when he was called up to New York. This happens every year in the AFL. In 2011, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout were in the same outfield for the Scottsdale Scorpions. In addition to several AFL games, you will also see the Fall Stars Game, the league’s All-Star Game, at Salt River Fields.

And you can talk to many writers or broadcasters you might never have the opportunity to meet. Both Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of will be at the AFL and Callis will be one of the speakers in an AFL Scouting report for conference attendees on Friday morning along with Blue Jays’ scout Kimball Crossley.

I could go on and on but the one thing I would tell you is that many of my friends, regardless of what level or leagues they play in, find the First Pitch AZ conference one of their favorite weekends of the year and wouldn’t miss it. If you come alone or with fantasy baseball friends staying at the host hotel – the Doubletree is adequate but don’t miss the opportunity to bring your significant other. In that case, I would suggest staying at a much nicer hotel like Talking Stick Resort, which is just on the other side of the freeway from Salt River Fields, or any of the excellent resort hotels in Scottsdale. Spa and shopping opportunities and great restaurants abound.

Here is a link if you want more information on the program >

Come say hello to Todd, Lawr, Brian and I when you arrive.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 October 2015 08:23
Postseason Baseball Contest PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 30 September 2015 00:00

The National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) has just added a postseason contest for the first time, having run playoff contests in football for several years.

So whether your baseball season was not satisfying or gives you some extra money for another contest, or whether you just like playoff baseball and want a chance to win $25,000 on a minimal entry ($150), this is a contest that you may be interested in.

The contest is a points based contest with a unique scoring system that incorporates a multiplier if you pick a hitter or pitcher who survives the Wild Card and Divisional Series. You would then get twice the points he earns in the League Championship Series and three times his points if he plays in the World Series.

Each entrant picks 16 players for his teams, ten hitters (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, four OF, and a UT) and six pitchers who can be any combination of starting pitchers or relievers. Hitters get points for Singles, Doubles, Triples and Home Runs as well as RBI, R, SB, BB and HBP with a quarter-point deduction for each out made (at-bats minus hits). Pitchers get four points for a W or SV and one point for each K and IP with a deduction of one point for each earned run.

In the first part of the contest (WC and DV), you can have a maximum of three players from any team but must have at least one player from each team. In the LCS, the maximum grows to six players from any team but you must still have at least one player from all four teams. In the World Series portion, you must have eight players from each team. In all cases, you can keep players or choose all new players in each segment of the contest.

The contest will be limited to 400 entries and the awards will be:

1st Place - $25,000
2nd Place - $5,000
3rd Place - $4,000
4th Place - $3,000
5th Place - $2,000
6th Place - $1,500
7th Place - $1,000
8th Place - $900
9th Place - $800
10th Place - $750
11th Place - $700
12th Place - $650
13th Place - $600
14th Place - $550
15th Place - $500

If having a postseason fantasy team appeals to you, here are the relevant links:

RULES > ... sp?id=1507

SIGN UPS > ... sp?id=1507

I think you will see a few Mastersballers there if you play.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 October 2015 09:11
Down to the Wire in Tout Mixed Draft League PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 23 September 2015 00:00

Alternatively titled the rise and fall and rise of Grey Albright and Perry Van Hook in the 2015 Tout Mixed Draft League. Let’s take a look at the standings for this 15-team mixed, 5x5 league with on-base percentage instead of batting average.

On July 5, my team had 86.5 points, 8th in the standings, while Albright’s team had 84 points and was in 9th place. The leader at that point was Adam Ronis with 116 while Rudy Gamble was in 2nd with 104. Let’s call that the baseline and look at the points by category for both teams.

PVH 11 9 8 15 15 4.5 2 8 6 8 86.5
GA 7 7 12 9.5 9 10.5 9 4 4 12 84

George Springer had just gone on the DL the week prior, and Freddie Freeman was still on the DL. At that point, I was still trying to gain in the saves category with Tyler Clippard and hoping Fernando Rodney might get his job back and I even added Neftali Feliz (although that experiment lasted two weeks). From that point on, I used Clippard only as the best pitcher available until mid-August, when I dropped him entirely and went to nine starting pitchers.

One month later on August 2:

PVH 9 7 3 11 12 5.5 2 11 7 10 77.5
GA 5 4 10 9.5 8 10.5 10 7 11 12 81

Freeman was back but would never get back to playing the way he was at the beginning of the year while Springer was still on the DL and Devon Travis was back on the DL, where he would stay for the rest of the year.

Here is how both teams looked on September 6:

PVH 8 6 4 9.5 11 13.5 2 14 11 12 91
GA 9 4.5 9.5 9.5 9 11 11 8 9 13 93.5

Springer came off the DL in the prior week and I was now up to 6th place. Albright was up to 4th place. Last week, I gained 2.5 points and moved up to 5th place but Albright had gained ten points and was in 3rd place.

The standings to start this week were:

Rudy Gamble 111.5
Adam Ronis 111
Gray Albright 103.5
Greg Ambrosius 94.5
Perry Van Hook 93.5

But after Monday’s games, they had changed again:

Adam Ronis 110.5 -0.5
Rudy Gamble 108 -3.5
Grey Albright 103.5 NC
Perry Van Hook 95 1.5

With two weeks to go (absent any play in games), the question will be how many points will be lost above me and how many points I can gain. I looked at the categories yesterday and saw that with continued performance I might gain eight points on points I can gain. That would mean taking some points away from all three teams above me, but of course they may also gain points in other categories.

Should be an exciting end to the season. You can always check the progress of all six of the Mastersballers playing in the four different leagues at, or click on the heading on our “You Look FAABulous” column each Monday.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 September 2015 08:32
DON'T Give Up on Your Team PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 16 September 2015 00:00

Whether you lost your first game or lost your first round pick to injury DO NOT give up on your team.

Look, injuries are a fact of life in the NFL, where the motto has to be “Next Man Up”. You can’t use an injury or loss to quit on your commitment to the other teams in your league, and let me tell you from personal experience that managing a team to winning the league feels even sweeter if you do it after a devastating injury in Week 1.

So let’s take a look at some of the key injuries from Week 1 with an eye on which players you should target via the free agent process this week.

In all of the high stakes football contests and most of the regular leagues, there are no IR slots available for you to use, and even if there were, Dez Bryant, whether he is out four, six, or eight weeks isn’t being officially put on IR anyway. You just need to view your roster differently to maximize your lineup until the injured player returns.

Dez Bryant – Broke a toe as you may have seen on Sunday night. Bryant was immediately declared out 4-6 weeks by the Cowboys and will have surgery on the foot. I would look for his absence to be six weeks – some are speculating longer but today’s athletes are in much better condition and medical procedures are vastly improved. You don’t simply replace Dez Bryant though. The best you can do is look at the other Cowboy receivers if any of (in this order) Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley or Devin Street are available because they will all get increased targets, as will TE Gavin Escobar, and I would put him above Street in a pickup list.

DeSean Jackson – Left the Washington game early with a hamstring injury which reports say may keep him out another 3-4 weeks. Jackson is having an MRI so watch for the results of that for a better picture. Both Pierre Garcon (likely rostered) and Andre Roberts (likely available) will get an increase in targets. It is not so clear whether Ryan Grant will become fantasy relevant but in very deep leagues or where you miss on a higher target, he is worth a look.

T.Y. Hilton – Bruised his knee on the turf in Buffalo and will likely be held out of this week’s game as the Colts are protective of their best receiver. Donte Moncrief, if available, is the player you want to get. I would also expect both of the Colt tight ends to be more involved in the passing game while Hilton is off the field.

Note on WR targets – you want to prioritize your waiver claims with the available players in your league by how many targets they are likely to see and still figure out how much the team will pass to receivers or possibly incorporate tight ends or running backs into the game plan. That would put the Cowboy receivers ahead of the Redskin receivers. Moncrief may have the shorter window now but also has a larger upside later in the season.

Andre Ellington – Will be out 2-3 weeks with a PCL injury to the knee. Chris Johnson will now be the starter for the Cardinals. Rookie David Johnson, who had a nice 55-yard catch and run for a TD last Sunday will also get more time and has more upside than Johnson. Both would be very playable against da Bears this week.

Honorable mentions

Derek Carr – The Oakland Raiders quarterback may miss this week’s game, and if so, the value of rookie receiver Amari Cooper takes a serious hit. I wouldn’t drop him but I would bench him, assuming there are decent alternative options.

Terrell Suggs – Is enough of a presence that if you have the Ravens DST, I would seriously look at upgrading. Suggs is the rare player who raises the level of his fellow defensive players in addition to making his own contributions.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 September 2015 08:38
Captain Morgan Scout Online Championship Team PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 02 September 2015 00:00

Following up on last week’s column that showed the first three rounds of the Scout Online Championship draft that Greg Morgan and I are doing, I wanted to recap our draft.

As a reminder, this is a 12-team PPR league where lineups will be QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE and two Flex spots (RB/WR/TE) in addition to your kicker and defense. We were drafting from the two hole, so here are the picks in order with my brief comments.

1.02 Le'Veon Bell, RB, PIT – Might still be the #1 RB without the two games

2.11 T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND – Big play receiver and favorite of Andrew Luck

3.02 DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU – Great going for the ball and no longer in Andre Johnson’s shadow

4.11 Greg Olsen, TE, CAR – More targets with Kelvin Benjamin out; could be #1 TE this year

5.02 Ameer Abdullah, RB, DET – Rookie showing great skills moves into Reggie Bush role

6.11 John Brown, WR, ARI – Big play receiver could easily lead Cardinal receivers this year

7.02 Joique Bell, RB, DET – Injury pushing down his draft spot but should still be a top-20 RB

8.11 Torrey Smith, WR, SF – Can get deep and Kaepernick has huge arm

9.02 Rashad Jennings, RB, NYG – I still think he is Giants best RB and a good pass catcher

10.11 Ty Montgomery, WR, GB – Should be Packers third wideout with Jordy Nelson out

11.02 Eli Manning, QB, NYG – Great receivers and check his numbers for last half of 2014

12.11 Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, CAR – Rookie there when (not if) Jonathan Stewart goes down

13.02 Charles Clay, TE, BUF – Big tight end with very good hands for whomever is the Bills QB

14.11 Allen Hurns, WR, JAC - #2 receiver for Bortles and the Jaguars

15.02 Philly Brown, WR, CAR – Sneaky pick – may be leading wide receiver for Cam Newton

16.11 Zach Zenner, RB, DET – Powerful runner in case Bell has problems

17.02 Jordan Norwood, WR, DEN – Vying for slot receiver for Peyton Manning

18.11 Tyrod Taylor, QB, BUF – Eye opening pre-season, great college career, can run and pass

19.02 Indianapolis Colts DST – Check their schedule for first four weeks

20.11 Chandler Catanzaro, K, AZ - Very strong leg and offense that can sputter + good defense

A pretty strong team in my opinion. Now we need to be vigilant on the waiver wire to adjust to anything that may happen – and there are always surprises and breakthroughs in the NFL. I will report on how we are doing in our quest for best record and most points and run for the playoffs, but always glad to answer questions here or on the message boards.

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 September 2015 23:26
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