Tagged: Fantasy Baseball

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.


Are You For Real

It is now almost a month into the season and we have seen some surprising performances.  The question is which ones will continue and which ones will go back to what we expected. We use that big sabermetrics term called regression to explain the fact that all performances come back to earth.  This leads to those great trade high/low questions everyone is asking this time of the year.  Yet for some reason all I hear in my head is some teenage girl saying “Are you for real”.  That is truly what we want to know as we try to make our lineup changes, waiver wire pickups, and trades.  It can be easy to say that every guy outperforming his numbers will drop and those underperforming will pick it up.  This is true for many players, but not all.  No one is going to give up on Miguel Cabrera who was the #2 overall pick this year.  He has too many good years to think that his position rank of 15 (3B) per ESPN is for real.  There are no numbers at this point of the year that I am willing to take that override the 11 years we have seen prior.  At 31 we may see him decline some, but he should be fine for several more years to come.  I decided to go position by position and pick out guys that are far from their expected values to tell you if they are for real.  Make sure you understand that For Real means they may continue what they are doing good or bad, while Not for Real means they will see their numbers return to what was expected. For ease of reference all player position ranks and ADPs I use will be from ESPN as of 4/28/14

At catcher an injury throws some extra questions at the #1 rated catcher this year, Devin Mesoraco.  He has been on our radar for years.  He was a post hype guy that was so far post hype he was not even post hype hyped.  This was demonstrated in the fact he was undrafted in most leagues.  He however found his way onto many teams with his unsustainable .468 average.  Truefuly, that is unsustainable for everyone.  I have to say that I do believe he can be a top 10 Catcher this year if he gets back on the field at or near the end of his 15 day disabled list time. His former manager never has been very friendly to the young guys.  The new managerial staff seems to be giving the young guys plenty of leash to run.  If someone drops him and you have room on your DL grab him.  He is worth taking a lottery ticket on. He is For Real (well maybe not .468 for real, but you know what I mean)

On the other side, Carlos Santana is rated 52 after having an ADP of 74.5.  That is a giant slide in production.  I have never been as high as others on his upside.  I do love that he is eligible at three positions.  Guys like this help in daily move leagues to fill out your lineup on those Mondays and Thursdays.  This start is Not For Real.  You can expect a rebound here.

Pujos has flashed back to his 2010 self.  Rated #3 at 1B he has made us remember why he was the #1 overall pick for many years.  Maybe the feet were that bad.  I am beginning to think they were a problem for longer than we knew.  I do not expect him to hold up as the #3 guy all year, but if I have him I am not trading him. I also would not trade for him as his owner will want much more than his preseason value.  Pujos is probably maybe For Real.  Okay, that was a terrible(sounds better if you pretend Charles Barkley is saying it) answer.  The truth is I want to believe he is back.

Adrian Gonzalez, He hit 40 HRs with Petco as his home field once.  He hurt his wrist and it seems that it took time to get his power stroke back.  We have seen this with wrist injuries before.  I say he is For Real.

Jose Abreu is rated #1 right now.  He may not be the #1 1B, but if can keep his K Rate down he is For Real.

Edwin Encarnacion  looks to be his old self after 2 great years.  I will be staying away because this start may be For Real.  With 25Ks in 25 games something seems to be wrong here.  He had only 62 Ks in 621 PA last year.  He is over a 1/3 of the way there in just 107 PA so far this year.

Prince Fielder  has me nervous but as I said about Miguel earlier he has a long track record that is hard to ignore.  The only issue that concerns me is that last year was not up to his previous standard. I am sticking with him for now and saying this start is Not For Real.

Brandon Phillips  is off to a poor start after an offseason that the Reds tried to off load him.  He his currently rated the 28th at 2nd base.  He was the 6th 2nd baseman drafted on average.  If you can get anywhere near that value you need to sell as I think this start is For Real. 

Rated #1 at 2nd Brian Dozier is showing speed and power you rarely see from 2nd.  The scary thing is his Uggla like .217 BA.  I think he ends up as an easy top 10 2nd Baseman this year, just not a top 5 much less #1.  The .217 BA is For Real.  The 40-40 pace is Not for Real. 

Emilio Bonifacio has done this before.  He has created a game they use on the Fantasy Focus Podcast.  Which although they are doing good job, the new host have no understanding of the game. If you know the game is is definitely Bonifacio.

Anthony Rendon see the Fantasy Targets Blog.  FOR REAL!  

3rd Base is a train wreck this year!  Injuries have destroyed the ratings.  Looking at the top ten drafted, other the Miguel, everything looks as it should due to the injuries.  The surprises here are Nolan Arenado who was a great post hype buy in my book this year.  He has a good pedigree and a great home field.  He is For Real. 

.394 BABIPs are unsustainable so Trevor Plouffe is Not For Real.

Alexei Ramirez is looking like the guy I thought he would become years ago.  The problem is that was years ago and he has not shown anything like this the last couple of years. With that said he has hit 21 HRs in a season (Rookie Year 2008) and stole 30 bags (last year).  So somewhere in there is a 20-20 guy, I just think at 32 we may never see it come out.  This start is Not for Real. With that said he could still be a 15-15 guy and valuable to your team.

I’ll make this quick like Dee Gordon, he is For Real.  (well the speed is, not the .353 Ba)

J.J. Hardy has no HRs so far this year and that is what you drafted him.  He will hit 20 HRs this year so this start is Not For Real.

Bryce Harper plays the game aggressive and that is making him a risky player.  He has talent and he has passion for the game.  I just do not know when or if he will put it all together and stay healthy.  He is looking like the guy you can only plan for 130 games a year.  So after a slow start and now he is injured what can we expect from him the rest of the way.  This start is Not For Real, however the injury risk is ForReal.

Charlie Blackmon has really helped those that had him on their rosters this year.  Now find that guy in your league that believes what the stats say this year and unload him now.  I am not saying he is bad he just is not this good.  Make sure you tout that he is the #1 rated player overall.  Just don’t tell them that this is start is Not For Real.

Here are two PED guys that we all have questions about.  Melky Cabrera is off to a hot start, the kind of numbers he only put up in one other season.  Ya, that one he got hit for PED use.  I may be a skeptic on him as I say Not For Real because I am worried how his next test turns out.  With that said I think that Nelson Cruz is For Real.  Maybe I am a hypocrite because I believe in one and not the other.  I feel that Cruz has shown his power before and I feel more strongly it was not all PED enhanced.  In addition, he should thrive at Camden Yards.

Chris Colabello simply Not for Real.  He is a great story.  I am rooting for him as he lives a dream that he has worked hard for.  I just simply can not advise for him.  The one thing I will say his 2013 AAA numbers are amazing, however he was 29 years old.

Johnny Cueto is dealing like we know he can.  The problem is will the injury bug bite him again.  This start is For Real.  Just beware of the injury risk.

Now for the reason so many people advise you to get hitters first and fill in your pitching staff later. There are 5 pitchers of the top 12 rated SPs that carried an ADP of 260, which means they were not drafted in most leagues.  They are Jason Hammel, Aaron Harang, Martin Perez, Scott Kazmir, and Tim Hudson. I think that Scott Kazmir is For Real.  The Rangers Believe in Martin Perez and although he will not be this good he is For Real. I am not buying any of the other starts to Hammel, Harang, and Hudson are Not For Real.

I am afraid I may have been wrong on Homer Bailey, I thought he finally turned the corner. I have to say at this point I have to say this start is For Real. Here is the glimmer of hope for those that want to believe it is not for real, his BABIP against is .414.

Matt Cain is struggling to start this year. He had some troubles last year also.  I do not see any signs that he is this guy.  I feel that he can turn it around so this start is Not For Real.

Here is the key to closer being for real.  Now this is a secret and don’t tell anyone.  If they are the closer they are for real right up till they get removed from the role.  Then the next guy is for real until he is replaced.  This repeats forever kind of like the decimals in π.

Just remember its still just one month into the season.

Springer is Here

We all have the idea that we know when certain things are going to happen.  I for instance knew Spring came on March 20th this year.  That is what the calendar said anyway.  I had my Scotts Turf Builder with Halts Crabgrass Preventer all ready to go.  It turns out that in the northeast mother nature has delayed spring this year. Now, I am two weeks behind in my yard maintenance schedule.  Let it to the Houston Astros to wreck another one of my scheduled event.

They, unlike mother nature, decided to have Springer come early this year.  Every year I follow the top end prospects that due to labor agreements are held out until sometime in early June.  The cause is the Super Two rule, which is a way for many teams to save a year of arbitration on their top prospects.  In simple terms the top 22% of players with service time between 2 and 3 years are eligible for arbitration.  It is hard to roster these prospects in leagues that have a small bench (0-4 players). Now in dynasty leagues and keeper leagues, where you have 28 plus man rosters, these players should already be owned.  If they are not go directly to your team and find a way to add them. But, on those smaller rosters you just can not afford to zero production from these spots for two plus months. These prospects can be a difference maker for you when they get promoted. Timing and choosing the right prospects can make a difference in your title chances. Just like my lawn care I have a plan that is mapped out on the calendar. I want to add one or two of these guys to my teams with limited bench spots by the end of May. If, I can afford to lock up a roster spot at that time. I also planned on writing an article in mid May that covered prospects and why it was time to add them.  With Houston messing that all up I guess I will get ahead of the game by putting out that article today.

Springer’s was owned in just 2.1% of ESPN leagues and jumped to 77.1 in a day. This shows that people see the importance of owning prospects like Springer.  The real question is, what are the other 22.9% of leagues waiting for?  If you missed out on Springer, which most of you did, you should start thinking about what other prospects could make a difference this year and beyond.  I am watching closely and may need to change my strategy.  It seems that the atmosphere on holding back prospects until the Super Two date may be changing.  I have seen several comments from player agents regarding the perception that prospects are held back only for their teams financial gain.  In addition, teams are signing their young players to deals that buy out those arbitration years. This means that you may need to act sooner than later on prospects that may help you this year.

Here is my list of prospects I expect to have a fantasy impact this year and beyond.

Byron Buxton, OF:  Consider the top prospect in baseball by many, it would seem only a matter of time before he is in the Show.  I would say that I am a little hesitant of this due to a sprained wrist that has held him out so far this year.  With the late start and type of injury, I feel it may be August or later in the season until he gets a chance.  I will be watching closely when he returns to action to see if he shows any signs of lingering effects of the wrist injury.  If he looks healthy, he is a must own in keeper leagues.

Oscar Taveras, OF:  He has been the prize prospect in an organization that turns out prospects more often than most.  I do not believe Bourjos or Jay will keep him out of the lineup if he stays healthy and performs as many believe he can.  At some point in his career he should hit 30 Hr with a .300 average.  He may even steal 15 bags someday.   This year though think 18Hr .280 average from June on, which would help most of your teams.

Gregory Polanco, OF: If you have a need for speed get him on your roster.  He has 40 SB potential. 20 HRs are possible if the power continues to develop. The Pirates have no one that should keep him out of the lineup. I think he is a lock to be promoted in that early to mid June time frame.  Watch for the projected Super Two day and strike before that.

Trevor Bauer, SP:   Once bitten twice shy.(great song) I am sure some of you have been bitten by him in the past. I have been a victim of his, too.  Just remember that he has great stuff and sometimes that takes time to harness.  He has looked great so far this year  in the minors and had an excellent spot start for the Indians. If you see that the indians need a starter, he will be called on. You will want to add him then because, this may be the time he puts it all together and is up for good.

Archie Bradley, SP: He is one of the players whose agent has expressed that his player is not in the show only due to Super Two rule. Bradley had an ERA below 2.oo between High A and AA last year. He may be the top pitching prospect in baseball.  I for some reason feel that he will show just enough to earn a promotion on or around the projected Super Two day.  Not that the Diamondbacks are waiting for that day. I just feel he needs just that much work at AAA.  The Diamondbacks also have some ocean front property they are selling near their stadium.

Javier Baez, SS: This guy has real power and speed hitting. He hit 38 HR and while stealing 20 bases between two levels last year.  He followed that up with a great spring where he clubbed 5 HRs before being demoted. His biggest problem may be Starlin Castro is blocking him. If Castro hits as he did last year, that may not be a problem. However, if he find his groove again, Baez may need to find another position.  They will find a way to get Baez in the lineup by the All Star Break if he continues to hit.

Hunter Morris, 1B:  He is not near the top of the prospects out there, however opportunity is everything.  The only players blocking him are Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay.  I think we can all agree that there is a good chance both of them could play themselves out of the lineup.  They have each done it before.  Morris has power and if he can repeat his 2012 numbers he could find his way into the Brewers lineup.

These Pictures all have a chance to be promoted, as always with young pitchers be aware of innings limits and Tommy John. (The surgery, not the man)

Kevin Gausman

Noah Syndergaard

Mark Appel

Jonathan Gray

Keep an eye on Addison Russell, SS.  I think he is a year away, but some think he could be called to the show this year.  If he is you want to own him.

As always these are fluid situations for all prospects. Keeping a watchful eye on them is important.  Injuries, production, and finances all affect their timetables.

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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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/


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.


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

Catcher Rankings

1. Buster Posey
      He should have plenty PA with the new Posey rule in effect to help protect him from injury.  This is not to mention the fact that the Giants seem to find ways to keep his bat in the line up by utilizing him at first base and DH in interleague play.  So you can expect non typical PA for a Catcher from Posey.  This makes him my top catcher this year.

2. Carlos Santana
     Santana is another candidate who will have a high PA total for a Catcher as the Indians used him at first base and DH last year.  Now there is even talk of putting him at third base.  I am not sure how that will work out but it shows their commitment to get him to the plate. 

3. Joe Mauer
     It may be the last year we can list Mauer under the catcher section.  This is good news for this year, however he does not have the power to be a top level first baseman. With that said his double digit home runs and .300 plus average and counting stats look great at catcher.  Lets hope that they find him 20 games at catcher so he can continue to help fantasy owners fill their catcher spot.

4. Yadier Molina
     If we were talking about real baseball he would be the top catcher no doubt!  However, this is fake baseball and he still is a guy you want.  They have to beg him to come out of the line up.  He has a very good line up around him that combined with a plus .300 average and double digit power will give you good counting stats from a catcher.

5. Jonathan Lucroy
     Hitting his prime years Lucroy could have breakout potential.   He has upside of 20 home runs and .300 average. I could see him ending the year as the top catcher. He has hit .320 in 2012 and had 18 HR last year.  He is a good value as the fifth catcher.

6. Brian McCann
     If he can stay healthy he should be a great fit for the Yankees.   He hit 20 plus homer runs for 6 staight years in Atlanta.  With the change in scenery he may approach 30 Home runs.  If you wait and can get McCann late he is a steal.

7. Wilin Rosario
     There is a lot to love about Wilin, power, average, and Colorado.   But, wait he had just a 1% bb rate in the second half! This does not make me feel very comfortable as we’ve seen this kind of plate discipline wreck a guys potential. [See Francoeur]  If he can not find a way to take a walk it could lead to a major step back. I will avoid him this year but, I understand why some will take the chance.

8. Matt Wieters
     He has had 20 plus home runs the last three years, but his batting average and obp have not been impressive.   He shows the ability to improve and catchers are often late bloomers. So he is a good choice if you miss out on top catchers or wait till late in single catcher leagues.

9. Salvador Perez
     If you are looking for a breakout candidate Sal may be your man.  He is young enough to take the next step, has shown the skills, and I think it is only a matter of time till he breaks out.   He has the ability to hit .300 with 20 plus bombs.

10 Wilson Ramos
     He could be a top catcher if he could stay on the field.  16 round trippers in under 300 at bats. With his good contact rate he could be an average helper, too. In single catcher leagues he is a great option as there will be good options on the free agent list if he can’t stay on the field.

11. Evan Gattis
     El oso blanco forced his way into 354 at bats.  The Braves let McCann walk so he will have a shot at 400 to 500 at bats and maybe more if the use him in left field again.   Be aware that the Braves brought in Doumit and have Bethancourt climbing the organizatioal ladder.   One or both may steal PA from the white bear. He is a great story and carries a big stick so 20 to 30 home runs are possible. We will see if he can handle the role or if he will end up chasing odd jobs again.

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!!!!

1B Ranks “Gold Mine or fools Gold?”

Rank First Base Team
1 Joey Votto Reds
2 Prince Fielder Tigers
3 Paul Goldschmidt Diamondbacks
4 Albert Pujols Angels
5 Adrian Gonzalez Dodgers
6 Edwin Encarnacion Blue Jays
7 Chris Davis Orioles
8 Freddie Freeman Braves
9 Anthony Rizzo Cubs
10 Billy Butler Royals
11 Mark Reynolds Indians
12 Allen Craig Cardinals
13 Mitch Moreland Rangers
14 Yonder Alonso Padres
15 Brandon Belt Giants
16 Paul Konerko White Sox
17 Ryan Howard Phillies
18 Brandon Moss Athletics
19 Kendrys Morales Mariners
20 Lance Berkman Rangers
21 Eric Hosmer Royals
22 Corey Hart Brewers
23 Mark Teixeira Yankees
24 Ike Davis Mets
25 Adam LaRoche Nationals
26 Justin Morneau Twins

I found their to be some big differences in opinions on Goldschmidt.ph_502671   ESPN’s mid May rankings http://espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/story/_/page/2013mayranks1B/fantasy-baseball-first-base-rankings-rest-2013-season have his average ranking of 4th for 1B.  Not counting Posey who I feel is much more valuable at catcher.  Rotowire has him at ranked 3rd at 1B http://www.rotowire.com/baseball/playerrank.htm?pos=1B.  However CBS has him ranked 6th by by ,  9th by  and  6th by.  I heard them discuss on their podcast last week that he is a top 8 maybe top 10 1B. Fantasy Baseball : Fantasy News

Goldschmidt has been a hitting machine since he went pro.  I came into this season as a huge fan.  I targeted him everywhere I could and it has paid off.  If you look at his numbers for the two years he spent the minors, he hit 35 hr and .314 avg in high A then followed that up with a 30hr and .306 avg in AA.  This does not include the 8 hr and a .250 avg over 177 PA in the Majors the second year.  That is 73 hrs in his first two years as a pro.  Was his rookie campaign a disappointment with a 20 hr and .286 avg.  This would have been a much bigger deal in any year where there was not a Bryce Harper or a Mike Trout.  They overshadowed him with their super powers and game changing numbers at 19 and 20 years of age.  Yet, Goldschmidt is just 25, although compared to them he is old,  he is just reaching his prime.  He has a walk rate over 9.5% every year of his pro career and a 10.2% his rookie year.  This year he has been at a 12.5% rate while decreasing his strikeout rate each of his last three seasons.  This year it is down  to a 21.8% K  rate.

I believe he is only going to get better.  Get him now if you can, especially in keeper leagues.   I see him growing into a .300 40 hr 15 sb guy.  Hitting in the middle of the line up and  carrying a Babip that seems to be holding above .330 he will be a five category guy.  These numbers at first base will warrant first round value next year.  He has been absolute sold gold value this year with an ADP in the 8th round and an average auction price of $12.  I think that this is NOT a sell high time if you have him, if you do not have him let someone think they are selling high.  In keeper leagues, he may be the best long term 1st base keeper out there.  You as always need to knew your rules to find his keeper value, but I am sure that what ever they are he will be a valuable keeper next year.

Please let me know how you feel about my rankings.  I will gladly offer my reasons for any of the ranks.

To Stream or Not to Stream

You name the fantasy web site and you can find the streaming pitcher help section.  ESPN has TMR’s Wandy Line    http://espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/story/_/page/TMR130425/matthew-berry-wandy-line-streaming-pitcher-strategy-updated-2013.  Head on over to MLB’s Fantasy 411 and Cory Schwartz has his Pitch or ditch blog http://fantasy411.mlblogs.com/.   Over at faketeams.com you have the streamer report   http://www.faketeams.com/2013/5/11/4321642/the-streamer-report-mothers-day-edition.  Have I made my point, or should I keep going?

Okay then, does it work?   I have won a league streaming pitchers.  However, my long time keeper league decided to use K/9 instead on total Ks when we reorganized 8 seasons ago.  This has truly hamper anyone(me) trying to stream pitchers.  I love streaming pitchers, not that it has always worked.  I enjoy looking at the match ups each day to find the good match up.  It is so fun to find that so so pitcher with a great match up and have him whirl a gem.  However, for each match up that works out you often have one that does not.   Trust me I know.  I am a recovering Streamer.  Now add in the fact that we are using K/9 in my favorite league.  As you might guess, it has not worked as well for me the last couple of years.  So, I came into this year pledging not to stream pitchers.  I had made it almost 6 weeks before I relapsed.

I have some issues with the concept that the Pros preach.  TMR’s Wandy line is a great name.  However, the concept is lacking in some ways.  There are rarely pitchers just below the Wandy Line available for pick up.  You often are looking at guys well below the top 28 to 30 starters TMR suggest are above the Wandy Line.  My guess is the ones that are available are often below the top 50.  With ESPN showing as of right now 44 SP are 100% owned and 57 SP are 90% or higher.  TMR says”Based on ADP, the average ESPN standard league team is composed of six starters and three closers.”  That is 60 starters!!  Match ups for Pitchers below the top 50 having a good chance of throwing a gem are hard to find.  But,  if you follow his theory and have good Relievers in your line up you can maximum Wins and K’s for your team.  The risk is that you may compromise your ERA and WHIP trotting out pitchers that are below the top 50 while having a 200 start cap.  Can those extra relievers on your team counter balance the spike in ERA and whip you will get when that Gem turns into 4.2 innings pitched giving up 11 hits, 3 walks, 5 Earned Runs, and by the way 0.00 K/9.  Ya, I am talking about YOU Kevin Slowey.

The Streamer Report at Faketeams.com does do a good job of finding those few pitchers that might be available.    writes the blog and I am sure he finds his share of Gems.  I think the problem is if you look at the last few reports over mothers day weekend there are some very crocked numbers in there.  How hard are they to bounce back from.  His information is good, he is giving you names that you could pick up and I agreed with some of those picks.  Unfortunately, agreeing on Slowey can cost you a combined 7 points in ERA, Whip, and K/9.

Before you start streaming or continue streaming, make sure you know your league rules.  Total K’s compared to K/9 make a big difference.  As do Start limits.  If you have a 200 Start limit, you want the best 200 Starts.  However, if you play in a no start limit and  total K’s league it may work.  Even then be careful, as a few bad starts could cost you in the ERA and Whip lines.  I have found streaming fun, but I find wining even more fun.  If you have a league where you can stream and win great!   If not, there may be a way to let all this talk about streaming help you.

With so many Touts pushing their Pitch or Ditch Wandy line Streamer reports they may have opened up a valuable market.  It is time to find the hidden value in this the way they would on Wall Street, in Billy Beane’s Office, and in Tampa Bays extra 2%.  I am sure that someone if not several teams in your league are going to be streamers.  They are going to pick up guys who have a good match up or have a few good starts in a row.  When they do they will need to drop a player.  Most players they drop will not be helpful to your team.  But, someone WILL drop a guy that can help you.  Save your Waiver claim or your FAB money for the day when the streamer in your league can’t help himself and drops a quality player to Steam a SP who is pitching against Seattle in Seattle. That start might be a gem, but you might get a good starter who is just outside the top 30 SP.

As for me, I did fall off the wagon and could not resist Slowey this weekend.  Lesson relearned!  On the other hand, I claimed Mike Minor off waivers this weekend.  Someone dropped him to stream another SP.  Minor has been outstanding since last years All Star break.  I hope Minor can help repair the damage I did to my team when I fell from the wagon.

What do you think?  To Stream or not to Stream