Captain's Log

Crystal Ball Effect - 2016 Auction in November PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 18 November 2015 00:00

Comrades Lawr Michaels and Don Drooker have already given you a recap of their bidding at the XFL draft held at First Pitch Arizona a few weeks ago. Here are a few comments on my efforts in that auction.

The Xperts Fantasy League (XFL) is a keeper league using a 5x5 format (with on-base percentage replacing batting average), a 23-player live auction draft in early November with a $260 budget and a supplemental snake draft in late March to round out the 40-man rosters.

So we have to start with my keeper list (if you want to see where most of those players came from my review of the 2014 auction is here) with brief commentary.

C – Russell Martin $23 (remember it is an OBP league so Martin is a top offensive catcher)

1B – Adam Lind $6 (solid power plus good OBP)

2B – Dee Gordon $11 (doubt any explanation required)

OF – Starling Marte $13 (ditto)

OF – Billy Burns $4 (2015 farm pick with great speed/R/OBP at a cheap price)

OF – Aaron Hicks $6 (obtained in a pre-draft trade with Ron Shandler for a March draft pick)

OF – Mark Canha $4 (2015 farm pick who also qualifies at 1B – value at this price but I think the second year player gets more at-bats in 2016)

P – Luis Severino $4 (2015 farm pick)

P – Santiago Casilla $6 (one dollar March supplemental pick last March)

P – Ken Giles $10 (Phillies closer was a 2015 free agent – 5+5 as keeper)

Farm players: Dominic Smith (1B, NYM), David Dahl (OF, COL), Jorge Alfaro (C, PHI) and C.J. Edwards (P, CHC)

Obviously, I had a lot of holes to fill in the auction but I had $173 to do it with – not the highest total but second of those with more than $150 available. Here are the players I bought, again with a brief comment.

C – Yasmani Grandal $15 (teens power with good OBP)

3B – Adrian Beltre $23 (good price for consistent quality production)

CI – Brock Holt $2 (great end game buy with multi-position eligibility)

SS – Erick Aybar $4 (value contributor even now in Atlanta)

MI – Ian Kinsler $19 (one of top middle infield producers every year)

OF – Hunter Pence $32 (auction price for one of the few power options available at OF)

UT – Evan Gattis $7 (had lots of options in the end game but wanted the power and had good OBP cushion)

P – Jaime Garcia $16 (decent price assuming completely healthy next spring)

P – Joe Ross $15 (I think the younger Ross cemented a rotation spot and proved his value last summer)

P – Drew Smyly $13 (had the option to keep him at $20 which I thought was too much but happy with this price in the auction)

P – Andrew Heaney $12 (will be fixture in the Angels’ rotation with upside over 2015 numbers)

P – Nate Karns $4 (an end game price I was very happy with for new Mariner SP)

P – Cody Anderson $2 (hopefully the right choice for my second end game pitcher)

Finding some nice bargains in the latter stages of the auction allowed me to spend only $251 of the $260 maximum (remember it is a keeper league so the prices do matter). That was a 67/33 hitting to pitching ratio which was possible due to the value of my three pitching keepers.

As mentioned in other columns, the next step towards completing our 40-man rosters in the XFL will be a 17-round supplemental draft in March. With four farm players among my keepers, I will have 13 picks to both add to my active players and likely add more prospects. Clearly, adding some extra power at CI or OF and trying to find a third closer and more starters will be the aim approaching opening day, but I think I have a very solid starting roster.

As always, I'm glad to answer any questions about my team or the XFL auction or rosters.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 November 2015 09:45
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
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