Check out all the coverage for fantasy football at LWOS. I am heading up the fantasy department there now. http://lastwordonsports.com/2014/07/14/fantasy-football-rankings/
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/
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.