Category: Uncategorized

All is Fair in Love, War, and Keeper League Trades

Alright, so I added a part to that saying.  The statement is still true, mostly.  Well lets be honest, somehow none of them are true anymore.  I am sure that there are many divorced people and other scorned lovers that have found that courts do not agree with this saying.  The war part still gets me every time the media talks about the rules of war.  The Geneva Convention was last updated in 1949 and set the guidelines for war.  Finally, we have the veto rules for trades that hopefully keep teams from working together.

It sounds great to have the rules to keep people civilized.  What we find is that people will do what they want when it comes to these areas.  Love is such a strong feeling that you can not hardly stop yourself from doing foolish things.  Most of us have been there and if you have not I hope you are someday.  It is great to feel a love that makes you act in foolish ways, even if that love is lost at some point.  War is a horrible thing that unfortunately we may never get rid of.  The rules try to make it more civilized.  The rules only work if both sides play by the same rules.  Because, at some point people will get desperate to win and all the rules are forgotten by one of the sides.  Same is true in fantasy baseball.  We all want to win and sometimes people have been known to cross the line of fair play.  Long standing leagues have fallen apart due to this need to win.

But who says what is fair?

In redraft leagues this is much easier to recognize.  As everyone should be playing for this year.   The real problem comes in those keeper and dynasty leagues.  How do you tell what is a fair deal when it can affect teams for several years to come?  This is why I believe that All is Fair in Keeper League Trades!  Lets say a team is dumping salary and getting little in return, this does not make it unfair and can actually hurt the team taking on the better players in the long run.  This is one team selling out to win this year while another packs it in to set themselves up for next year or years.  It is what makes keeper leagues so interesting.  Leagues that have salary, contracts, or rounds tied to players give fantasy baseball so much more depth in strategy.

It is always frustrating when you are in a dogfight for the championship only to see that your rival just loaded up on hitters from an also ran.  This is just means you now need to either hope for the best and trust your team or up the ante.  This can make for some wild trading after all star break.  Whenever you can you should be trying to win now.  Just know that if you are out of it in a keeper league there is so much to be gained.  This is why I think that there should almost never be a vetoed trade in keeper leagues.

Now what I did not say is that  you should drop your veto rules.  Maybe adjust them or clarify what type of trades should be looked at as vetoable.  You do not want to lose a long standing league over something that is clearly wrong.  So don’t let your feelings get hurt when your fellow owners make a trade where one team is looking ahead while the other is playing for right now.  Even if it really hurts your chances of winning that year, don’t organize a veto party.  A veto can hurt this type of league as much as a bad trade.  Realize that it was a missed opportunity for you to make a trade and then try to counter it if you feel your team needs it.  This is what keeper leagues are all about.

What we find in the saying, all is fair in love and war, is that when people are passionate about something it can cause them to act in ways that are not appropriate.  So, we find ourselves trying to regulate them.  This may work to a point but it will never keep everyone in line.  Lovers will still do things that no one understands.  War still causes men to do unspeakable things to others.  The fantasy team owner will still try to win at the cost of his league.  Passion is what makes life great and dangerous.  Try only to tame the passion when it truly hurts others(in keeper leagues anyway).  Remember that they will need to live with those decisions and how it affects their teams in the years to come.

Keeper Targets

I am always targeting players I think will improve my keeper teams for this year and beyond.  I know, everyone says don’t make any changes until a month or more into the season.  I agree, you should trust your preparation and see how it all shake out.  However, why not take the opportunity to improve your team when someone else lacks trust in the team they built.  I always have guys that I think will have a significant change in their value each year.  This is how you keep your keeper team stocked year in year out.  I target them whenever I see an opening.  That is, if I was unable to acquire them in the auction or draft.   Last year, I did whatever I could to get Goldschmidt on my teams.  This really helped me out last year and his value as a keeper for this year is the added bonus.  Sometimes you have the opportunity to  trade low for theses players when they are slumping.  Other times, I will trade for them when someone else thinks they are selling high.  Here is a list of the players I am looking to acquire this year in my keeper leagues.

Catcher:

Jonathan Lucroy

Lucroy has flashed a contact rate of 86% and 87% the last two years.  He hit a respectable .280 last year even though his BABIP was 20 points lower than his three year average. Then you add in that he had 18 HRs.  Lucroy was ranked 7th http://www.baseballwhiz.com/c-rankings.html and had an AAV of just $9. per ESPN.  I think he can outperform his projections and have a 70/20 85/5/.310 season.  He will be a top three catcher next year when the ranking come out.

Brian McCann

This pick is easy to prove.  He played 8 full seasons in Atlanta.  In those he had no fewer than 18 HRs .  He now plays for the New York Yankees.  He bats Left Handed.  Turner Field vs Yankee Stadium.   I see a new season high for HRs coming.  I’ll say 27 to be safe but if they find him extra ABs(DH) he could cross the 30 mark.  Also $9 AAV per ESPN.  By the way, he will hit in Yankee Stadium for as many as 81 games next year, too!

Firstbase:

Freddie Freeman

He got some love after last years 89/23/109/1/.319 fantasy line.  I think there is more to come.  A lot more.  I think he could be as high as the #2 ranked first baseman next year.  You think I am crazy, right? Check this out, he has improved each of these areas every year of his career; BB rate, K Rate, BB/K rate, Contact rate.  That is impressive and even more so, he is only 24 years old.  He hits the ball to all fields and has 30 Hr power. Everyone is saying he can not sustain the .371 Babip rate or his .443 BA with runners in scoring position he had last year.  These are good points.  My belief is that he is going to continue to develop.  He will be a .300 hitter, with 30 plus HR ceiling.  His value was all the way up to $20 AAV this year.  However, next year you will spend $30 or more to land him.

Brandon Belt

You can see what he is doing this year already.  This is what many of us have been waiting for.  He is reaching his potential and at age 26 he is reaching his prime years.  He was a steal this year at $5 AAV.  Look for the owner that wants to sell high.  Then remind him of what he gave up over the next few seasons.

Second Base

Anthony Rendon

This guy was so far under the radar this year that his AAV was just $1.4.  He was in a position battle for 2B with Danny Espinosa during spring training. I knew from the start that the Nationals wanted his bat in the lineup.  He was a third baseman until they moved him to second last year.  They did that because they have a 3B signed to a long term deal.  This is where I want to rant on the fact that Ryan Zimmerman(now on the DL with a fractured thumb) can not make a throw to first anymore.  In fact he should relay it to the pitcher…  Sorry,  I got off track.  Back to Rendon.  He is a power hitting 2B that will soon have 3B eligibility.  I expect a 80/20/80/4/.280 season.  I also think this is not his ceiling, expect more growth over the next few seasons.  For the record, I think Zimmerman will be a first baseman within a season or two, unless they can fix his shoulder.

Third Base

I will just say this, these are still the guys I have my eye on at Third base.  They are definitely buy low candidates at this point.

Will Middlebrooks

He has displayed that he has power.  Boston, at this point, seems committed to him.  I feel he has 30 Hr potential and could carry a  BA that will not hurt your team.  The fear is the injury bug continues to haunt him and someone gets hot and Middlebrooks loses his hold on the 3B job.  Get him now, stash him on your DL.  He is a low risk, high reward move right now.

Mike Moustakas

Yes, I have seen his .091 average this year.  I also just claimed him off waivers in a keeper league.  We have all heard of the great strides he’s made with KC’s hitting coach.  It is early, they are still writing his name in the lineup.  I have faith, plus I gave up nothing for him.  The ultimate in low risk, high reward move.

Shortstop

Andrelton Simmons

Where did 17 HRs come from last year?  He flashed some power in the WBC.  I admit  that this is a gut feeling from what I have come to know about Simmons.  He was drafted as a hard throwing pitcher, but wanted to play SS.  Atlanta gave him the chance with the agreement that if it did not go well he would move back to the mound.  This tells me that this guy has a true love for playing the game as a fielder.  He is committed to proving what he can do.  He has already proven his fielding prowess. So,  this is where the gut part comes in.  He wants it, and those with his ability and drive tend to succeed.  For the numbers, he has a contact rate of 90% for his career.  Not many of those guys hit .248 as he did last year.  I see a .249 Babip that regresses to the norm this year and jumps his BA up to the .290 range.

Outfield

Billy Hamilton

This guy will single handedly win you the SB category for years to come.  Ya, not may HR’s or RBI’s.  I think he can carry a .260 average and will score plenty of runs.  Hamilton has been an enigma in auctions and drafts this year.  He will be an enigma for opposing teams this year when he gets on base.  He will steal a 100 bases in a season, soon.

Matt Kemp

We all know this guy.  However, his struggles have dropped his value so far down.  The risk is definitely worth taking.  He will never threaten 40-40 again.  But, a 30-15 from an outfielder is worth more than the $14 AAV he carried this year.  I would not overpay to get Kemp, however if you can sell high on one of your players good starts, go for it.

Pitchers

Never, Never, Never rely on them as a keeper.  Think Tommy John.  Sorry, that was not meant to hurt your feelings Braves fans.

 

See this and many other great Blogs over at http://www.baseballwhiz.com/

 

Some losses are bigger

I have played fantasy football and baseball for over 20 years.  I have had plenty of wins and losses in that time.  I have been commissioner or co-commissioner of leagues.  I have had the task to replace owners who have quit the league or even those that we did not ask back. But, today I lost a friend and a good owner in my football league.

Ed was a good guy, the kind of guy that could make you laugh in a heartbeat.  He was a friend long before I started this league.  We worked together for several years in the Hanover fire department.  He loved the cowboys and always went the extra buck for their players. Ed had a great spirit no matter what hand he was dealt.  I know, we played a lot of poker, too.  But, he had several tough hands dealt to him in life. He always handled them better than I think I could have.  He fought hard and deserves a rest. I hope he is at peace now.

How do you replace an owner that has been there from the beginning?  How do you have someone take over his team? So many questions. But, the real ones are always, why him? Why now?  I do not have those answers right now. I hope I will someday.  All I know is, Ed’s family, friends, and even his fantasy football league have taken a great loss today.

ESPN Standard league Values

I used the composite projections supplied by Fantasy411 @ http://fantasy411.mlblogs.com/ to make hitter and now Pitcher values for ESPN standard leagues.  Use these values to help you in your ESPN standard leagues.

composite-projections-

The composite projections take an average of up to 14 different projections.  This gives you a great average of all high and low projections.  Which makes these very safe estimates.  I feel that these values should are then also very safe. I feel anyone you can get at the prices listed here is a good value.This means that there is a little wiggle room for the players you have a good feeling about.  You will need to make adjustments for players values as the position battles work themselves out.

ESPN Standard league Values

I used the composite projections supplied by Fantasy411 @ http://fantasy411.mlblogs.com/ to make hitter values for ESPN standard leagues.  Use these values to help you in your ESPN standard leagues.  Look for Pitcher Values soon!

Composite Projections ESPN Standard Hitter Values

Is It Time To Build For The Future?

Keeper leagues are my favorite fantasy league to be a part of.   There is always a reason to check your team, do research, and dream of your team taking home multiple titles.  As a whole, I find that keeper leagues keep people’s attention which creates an environment favorable for trading.  I have used this time of year to make trades that have pushed my teams to titles and also to build for the future.  Just last year I found myself in no mans land in the rankings.  I had a limited chance to make a run to just get in the money.  I decided it would do me better to build for the future.  It was time to have the great sell off.  The thing you want to make sure of in your sell off is that you have a plan for the future.

How do you build that fantasy dynasty?  First rule is to always build with position players.  The amount of injuries that pitchers have along with the fact that there are very few pitchers who year in year out are great.  The ones that are constantly  good are already priced at a level that lessons their keeper value.  Hitters have a much more steady track record.  You still have the ups and downs with some(Jason Heyward), but there are many more hitters than pitchers sustaining a certain level of production.

Now that we are focused on hitters, lets look at your current keepers?  Where are you strong, and where do you have holes?  The last thing you want to do is handcuff yourself with 3 first basemen.  Do not limit your roster flexibility, even though they may all be values.  Find the positions you need to fill and then start looking for players that have good keeper value at that position.  Hopefully, you will find one on a team in or near contention.  Putting that team in the WIN NOW mode.

Next, you need to KNOW the team and the owner of the player you covet.  No not who they are, but how they run their team, what type of players they like, what they think they need to win, and how much do they like the player you want.  If this is a keeper league, you probably have been playing more than this year.  If so, I always look back and try to see how that owner builds their rosters.  Who they bid on.  What kind of players they bid an extra $1 on.  This will give you an idea of what type of player to offer them.  Also, look at what trades they have made in the past.  Have they given up young talent in the past to try to win now?  Have they traded a star player for a closer before?  Do they have a log jam at a position?  Do they have a significant lead in a category?  Is there a category where they are close to or bunched up with other teams.  Last, is to find out how much they like the player you want and if there are any guys you have that they want.  Its great when you get a chance to talk to the guys in your league about baseball.  There is always information to be gleaned from these conversations.  They want to tell you how this guy they drafted is amazing, or how they are not sure what to do with the three first basemen they have.  People want to tell you their thoughts on their team.  Let Them!!!

This seems like a lot of research, right?  Well, yes it is.  However, if you want to build that dynasty, you need to take the time to find a player with keeper value.  One that will turn a profit for years.  You then need to move players that are not going to have keeper value to you.  Remember, for every team that is trying to rebuild there is one trying to WIN NOW.  That guy does not care if he has to dump a bunch of players at the season’s end.  His goal is to get that trophy, yahoo bath, bragging rights, or cold hard cash NOW.  Help him win today, let him help you win next year, and the next year, and …

It is not easy to decide to rebuild.  I had to make that choice last year in my Home league.  It was time to rebuild after finishing in the money two out of the last three seasons and a near miss in the other.  My team had some cap issues and contract issues.  I had been that WIN NOW guy.  Which is what you should be almost every year.  I hate giving up.  Even worse is looking at the standings for the last month and seeing my team drop to dead last.  I ended with one of the leagues lowest point totals ever.  It is worth it now as I have just moved into first place in that league.   Amazing that one year ago I chose to rebuild and ended the season in dead last.  I feel good about my team, and think I am set up for the next few years.  However, I will be working those trading lines from the other side this year.  Back in my WIN NOW mode!!!!