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Lessons Learned From Movies: Lessons Learned From Movies

Chris Liss

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson

Jeff Erickson is a co-founder of RotoWire.com and the only two-time winner of Baseball Writer of the Year from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He roots for the Reds, Bengals, Red Wings, Pacers and Northwestern University (the real NU).

-----Original Message-----
From: jeff@rotowire.com
Sent: Tuesday, May 6, 2008 6:32pm
To: Christopher Liss
Subject: Charging






I'm going to be all over the place this week. There's plenty of things to talk about, but none seem worthy of devoting an entire article to. So let's just throw a few topics on the wall and see what sticks.


- Our colleague Dalton Del Don will often discuss recent movies that he's gone to see in the theater in his href="http://www.rotowire.com/blogs/viewcomments.htm?id=1902">MLB Blogs for RotoWire, and sometimes even tie it into a fantasy concept. I don't get out nearly as much - a common theme with a lot of parents, I'm sure. Instead, we'll often rent movies from Netflix or buy DVDs for our kids. We recently bought Finding Nemo, a movie that I had somehow managed to not see until just a couple of weeks ago. Of course, I've now seen it (at least, parts of it) five or six times over. Anyhow, there's a few lessons that you can take from it for your fantasy leagues.


"Fish are friends, not food."


In poker, an inexperienced player at the table is often called a fish, and they're targeted by the sharks at the table. If you clean a fish out playing in a cash game or tournament, it's a good thing. Plenty others will fill their place, and if you knock them out of a tournament, it puts you one step closer to winning. The analogy isn't a perfect one for fantasy baseball, however.

Yes, there are fish in your fantasy leagues, and you want to beat them, but you don't want pick them clean so that they never come back. A great league is one that keeps everyone active and has them return from year-to-year. If you're the one that's proposing and consummating deals that clearly take advantage of the new guy, not only will they be embittered, but the rest of your league mates will take notice and will make it hard for you to do other trades.


"How do you know if they're ready?"
"Well, you never really know, but when they know, you know, y'know?
"


Generally speaking, we take an empirical approach to fantasy baseball. A players stats often will indeed tell the story about what to expect about him going forward, and guide us to make the right decision about him, whether it's at the draft table, trading with a competitor, or just deciding whether to sit or bench a guy in a given week. Sometimes that's not enough, and you have to trust your instincts and intuition. We watch, listen to and read enough about baseball to have that sense over time, whether it pertains to veterans or rookies first getting the call. Don't ignore the stats, by all means, but if you have a strong instinct, more often than not it'll be right and you should follow it.


"Just keep swimming."


Fantasy baseball is often a game of persistence. If you fall behind in April and May, don't panic, it's a long season. An 0-4 start in your fantasy football league is almost always a death knell, but the equivalent in your baseball league might make it harder to get in the money, but it doesn't have that sort of finality. Like "Dory" in the movie, if you keep plugging away at it, you might just end up at your chosen destination.


- The Orioles announced that Steve Trachsel would remain in the rotation for at least one more start this week, despite his 7.43 ERA and his generally atrocious skill set. It was a bad enough decision to sign him and insert him into the starting rotation, but to keep him in? For what purpose? Are they really going to be able to pull off another trade like they did last year, landing Scott Moore and Rocky Cherry for him? I really like what they've done with their team this offseason, finally committing to rebuilding for the future with the Erik Bedard and Miguel Tejada trades. They got good value in both, and will likely end up doing the same for Brian Roberts later this summer. They went out and spent on premium talent in the draft, landing Matt Wieters and Jake Arrieta, after sticking to slot in past drafts. Previously, they've resisted the urge to fully rebuild, but Andy MacPhail has them on the right path finally. That's why keeping Trachsel is so vexing.


What can we make out of this from a fantasy perspective? If you're looking to rebuild in your keeper league, if a player isn't going to be part of your future foundation, you shouldn't hesitate to to deal him if there's interest. If you're trading for the future, stay active on the waiver wire, but keep in mind your overall goal when you're picking players up. Don't waste time on space-fillers like Trachsel - look for someone that could evolve into premium talent, for you either to keep, or to trade as part of a package for a better keeper.


- I got shut out of the Max Scherzer sweepstakes in all of my leagues this year, so I wasn't too upset to see him lose his first start last night against the Phillies. The boxscore for his start doesn't look that great, but he pitched better than it looks. Stephen Drew committed an error that extended the costly third inning, making three of Scherzer's five runs allowed unearned (Ed Note: That scoring decision has been reversed from an error to a hit, making those three runs all earned for Scherzer.). The Phillies also did a good job of working the count against him, something that most other teams aren't going to be able to do. I think that a pretty good comparison is between Scherzer this year and Tim Lincecum last year - there will be some games where he'll get hit or struggle with his command, but he's going to be a monster by the end of the year and certainly in 2009. I tried to spend half my FAAB dollars in the NFBC for him, but it wasn't enough - the winner of him in my league spent $615 of his $1000 budget on him, and the average across the leagues in the main event was $585.


Did you get a chance to see him pitch yet, either last week in his debut or last night against the Phillies? If so, what was your general impression of him? How much of your budget would spend on him if he's still available in any of your leagues?


- If you've missed out on the Scherzer Sweepstakes, how willing are you to speculate on future callups, if your league allows for that in free agent pickups? If you can do so, who would you target first, Homer Bailey, Jay Bruce or Clayton Kershaw? Or do you have another prospect still in the minors in mind? I think it makes sense to preempt some of the bidding wars that you see on these guys when they get called up, and I'm in a couple of leagues where you're allowed to do that, but that option is rarely used.


So, do you have any movie lessons you want to tie into fantasy baseball? Or is there a team that is doing something that makes no sense to you? I've thrown a lot of spaghetti at your wall - did anything stick here? Fling back whatever you'd like, and we'll go from there.


-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Liss
Sent: Tuesday, May 6, 2008 10:03pm
To: jeff@rotowire.com
Subject: Re: Charging

I just saw American Gangster - pretty good. I think Denzel Washington is better as a bad guy (he was great in Training Day, too) than a good one. Is there a lesson to be learned from that? Probably not. I'm used to being the bad guy - the one who mocks the misfortune of my fellow owners.

Here's an internal RotoWire email I forwarded to Dalton a couple weeks ago (Dalton outbid me for Ben Sheets in the Staff League):

"NL        MILWAUKEE AT CINCINNATI

          NOTE: MILWAUKEE PITCHER Ben Sheets LEFT THE GAME IN THE TOP

          OF THE SIXTH INNING DUE TO A STRAINED RIGHT TRICEPS.

what a shame. and such a surprise, too."

Probably harder to get deals done when you put the bull's-eye on your back like that, but that's part of the fun of fantasy sports, I think. You do have to know where to draw the line, though. One of our former colleagues from Broadband Sports mocked me for not splitting a $12,000 survivor pool before Week 17 and losing. Said something like "pigs get slaughtered." Yeah, hilarious after I just turned down my $4000 share.

What else can you learn from American Gangster? Well, once Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington's character) got the quality heroin supply hooked up from Thailand, he was set. Schuler and I do the same thing in the Staff League, drafting good minor leaguers and dealing them in season for players who will help us this year. Even though we finish the year with terrible minor leaguers, we know there's always a fresh supply in the following season's draft. Of course, they're not as advanced as the guys we dealt. but because we've emptied our minor league roster, we have room to add more players. That's a hidden bonus you get for dealing minor leaguers for active players - you open up extra minor league slots that you fill at no cost.

Finally, don't pay off the crooked cops. Lucas put a bomb in Detective Trupo's (Josh Brolin) prized car to let him know he wasn't going to be bullied by a rip-off artist. Likewise, just because you're desperate for steals, or some dumping team (which happened last year) tries to pressure you into doing a deal by threatening to trade a star to your competitor, don't go for it. I'll pay $1.10 or even $1.15 on the dollar for a player I need, but if you're trying to make me pay $1.50 or more just because it helps me somewhat in the standings, I'm not going to do it (the only exception being if it were very late in the season and that small bump virtually assured me a title). Every time two teams make a trade, there should be a collective windfall. And that windfall doesn't have to be split exactly 50/50, but once you get past 35/65, it's better to pass out of principle.

I watched some of Scherzer's outing against the Phillies, and he didn't look too good. In fact, he got some very questionable strike calls (Carlos Ruiz struck out looking on a called strike that was positively Glavine-esque). Scherzer had a lot of movement on his ball, but he wasn't commanding it very well. He looked a bit like Felix Hernandez when Hernandez's command is spotty. Of course, there are worse things to be. I also missed out on the Scherzer sweepstakes so I was hoping he'd get bombed. The last thing my struggling teams need is some phenom to be striking out 12 in seven innings every game for somebody else's lucky squad.

And I am in a league where you can pick up prospects before they get called up, and I already have Kershaw. I'd take him over Bailey because of Bailey's struggles last year, and the difference in their respective home parks, but I'm concerned that the Dodgers are playing it too cautiously with Kershaw - limiting his monthly innings even in the minors. (I suppose that cuts both ways because maybe they're counting on him for more major-league innings later in the year). As for Bruce, that's all about playing time, and you know about that situation better than I do. I think it's close between Kershaw and Bruce. Obviously the The Great American Ballpark works in Bruce's favor.

Switching gears for a second, Ervin Santana and Cliff Lee are making me realize how much I like the "last year's bums" strategy, but they also fit into "post-hype sleepers". And you can add in Eric Hinske, Gavin Floyd and Carlos Quentin among other "failed" prospects. I wish I had been even more aggressive with those strategies this season. I'm still waiting on the Mariners to give Jeremy Reed his freedom, so he can do the same.

It's also crazy how a pitcher like Scott Olsen can get by with smoke and mirrors for six games, and then suddenly throw a legit eight-strikeout gem. With that in mind, I'd keep an eye on Andrew Miller and Manny Parra as far as prospects who have struggled. Other players to watch: Darrell Rasner, Bailey, as you mentioned, and why not throw in hitters like Travis Buck and recent Indians call-up Ben Francisco. One last player who's been killing it but doesn't have a place yet to play is Ronny Cedeno of the Cubs. He was a solid prospect a couple years ago, but had a terrible 2006 as a young player in the majors and got buried behind Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot and Mark DeRosa. But none of those three are anything special, and Cedeno's still just 25 and has some upside.

-----Original Message-----
From: jeff@rotowire.com
Sent: Thursday, May 8, 2008 1:42am
To: Christopher Liss
Subject: Re: Charging

I too love the "Last Year's Bums" theory, a term I think that our colleague Gene McCaffrey from Wise Guy Baseball first coined a few years ago, as part of his annual book to advise both roto players and CDM Diamond Challenge players. I'll throw one more name into the mix, though I really like a lot of the ones that you mentioned. Like Gavin Floyd, he was called up way too soon, and even initially had some success at the major league level. That pitcher is the Rays' Edwin Jackson, who is *still* just 24 years old. He pitched reasonably well down the stretch last year, including a complete-game gem in the heat at Texas where he was still throwing in the high-90's in the ninth inning. That game was one of those "signature significance" starts that you've referred to in the past. His overall numbers may look mediocre right now, but four of his six starts have been against the Red Sox and Yankees. His schedule isn't the be-all end-all (ask Cliff Lee after tonight), but I'm willing to think that there are better days ahead for Jackson.

Maybe I should be more optimistic about Gavin Floyd, too. I don't get the same vibe with him as I do Jackson, even though he's already had two near no-hitters this season. I don't like hi


I'm going to be all over the place this week. There's plenty of things to talk about, but none seem worthy of devoting an entire article to. So let's just throw a few topics on the wall and see what sticks.


- Our colleague Dalton Del Don will often discuss recent movies that he's gone to see in the theater in his href="http://www.rotowire.com/blogs/viewcomments.htm?id=1902">MLB Blogs for RotoWire, and sometimes even tie it into a fantasy concept. I don't get out nearly as much - a common theme with a lot of parents, I'm sure. Instead, we'll often rent movies from Netflix or buy DVDs for our kids. We recently bought Finding Nemo, a movie that I had somehow managed to not see until just a couple of weeks ago. Of course, I've now seen it (at least, parts of it) five or six times over. Anyhow, there's a few lessons that you can take from it for your fantasy leagues.


"Fish are friends, not food."


In poker, an inexperienced player at the table is often called a fish, and they're targeted by the sharks at the table. If you clean a fish out playing in a cash game or tournament, it's a good thing. Plenty others will fill their place, and if you knock them out of a tournament, it puts you one step closer to winning. The analogy isn't a perfect one for fantasy baseball, however.

Yes, there are fish in your fantasy leagues, and you want to beat them, but you don't want pick them clean so that they never come back. A great league is one that keeps everyone active and has them return from year-to-year. If you're the one that's proposing and consummating deals that clearly take advantage of the new guy, not only will they be embittered, but the rest of your league mates will take notice and will make it hard for you to do other trades.


"How do you know if they're ready?"
"Well, you never really know, but when they know, you know, y'know?
"


Generally speaking, we take an empirical approach to fantasy baseball. A players stats often will indeed tell the story about what to expect about him going forward, and guide us to make the right decision about him, whether it's at the draft table, trading with a competitor, or just deciding whether to sit or bench a guy in a given week. Sometimes that's not enough, and you have to trust your instincts and intuition. We watch, listen to and read enough about baseball to have that sense over time, whether it pertains to veterans or rookies first getting the call. Don't ignore the stats, by all means, but if you have a strong instinct, more often than not it'll be right and you should follow it.


"Just keep swimming."


Fantasy baseball is often a game of persistence. If you fall behind in April and May, don't panic, it's a long season. An 0-4 start in your fantasy football league is almost always a death knell, but the equivalent in your baseball league might make it harder to get in the money, but it doesn't have that sort of finality. Like "Dory" in the movie, if you keep plugging away at it, you might just end up at your chosen destination.


- The Orioles announced that Steve Trachsel would remain in the rotation for at least one more start this week, despite his 7.43 ERA and his generally atrocious skill set. It was a bad enough decision to sign him and insert him into the starting rotation, but to keep him in? For what purpose? Are they really going to be able to pull off another trade like they did last year, landing Scott Moore and Rocky Cherry for him? I really like what they've done with their team this offseason, finally committing to rebuilding for the future with the Erik Bedard and Miguel Tejada trades. They got good value in both, and will likely end up doing the same for Brian Roberts later this summer. They went out and spent on premium talent in the draft, landing Matt Wieters and Jake Arrieta, after sticking to slot in past drafts. Previously, they've resisted the urge to fully rebuild, but Andy MacPhail has them on the right path finally. That's why keeping Trachsel is so vexing.


What can we make out of this from a fantasy perspective? If you're looking to rebuild in your keeper league, if a player isn't going to be part of your future foundation, you shouldn't hesitate to to deal him if there's interest. If you're trading for the future, stay active on the waiver wire, but keep in mind your overall goal when you're picking players up. Don't waste time on space-fillers like Trachsel - look for someone that could evolve into premium talent, for you either to keep, or to trade as part of a package for a better keeper.


- I got shut out of the Max Scherzer sweepstakes in all of my leagues this year, so I wasn't too upset to see him lose his first start last night against the Phillies. The boxscore for his start doesn't look that great, but he pitched better than it looks. Stephen Drew committed an error that extended the costly third inning, making three of Scherzer's five runs allowed unearned (Ed Note: That scoring decision has been reversed from an error to a hit, making those three runs all earned for Scherzer.). The Phillies also did a good job of working the count against him, something that most other teams aren't going to be able to do. I think that a pretty good comparison is between Scherzer this year and Tim Lincecum last year - there will be some games where he'll get hit or struggle with his command, but he's going to be a monster by the end of the year and certainly in 2009. I tried to spend half my FAAB dollars in the NFBC for him, but it wasn't enough - the winner of him in my league spent $615 of his $1000 budget on him, and the average across the leagues in the main event was $585.


Did you get a chance to see him pitch yet, either last week in his debut or last night against the Phillies? If so, what was your general impression of him? How much of your budget would spend on him if he's still available in any of your leagues?


- If you've missed out on the Scherzer Sweepstakes, how willing are you to speculate on future callups, if your league allows for that in free agent pickups? If you can do so, who would you target first, Homer Bailey, Jay Bruce or Clayton Kershaw? Or do you have another prospect still in the minors in mind? I think it makes sense to preempt some of the bidding wars that you see on these guys when they get called up, and I'm in a couple of leagues where you're allowed to do that, but that option is rarely used.


So, do you have any movie lessons you want to tie into fantasy baseball? Or is there a team that is doing something that makes no sense to you? I've thrown a lot of spaghetti at your wall - did anything stick here? Fling back whatever you'd like, and we'll go from there.


-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Liss
Sent: Tuesday, May 6, 2008 10:03pm
To: jeff@rotowire.com
Subject: Re: Charging

I just saw American Gangster - pretty good. I think Denzel Washington is better as a bad guy (he was great in Training Day, too) than a good one. Is there a lesson to be learned from that? Probably not. I'm used to being the bad guy - the one who mocks the misfortune of my fellow owners.

Here's an internal RotoWire email I forwarded to Dalton a couple weeks ago (Dalton outbid me for Ben Sheets in the Staff League):

"NL        MILWAUKEE AT CINCINNATI

          NOTE: MILWAUKEE PITCHER Ben Sheets LEFT THE GAME IN THE TOP

          OF THE SIXTH INNING DUE TO A STRAINED RIGHT TRICEPS.

what a shame. and such a surprise, too."

Probably harder to get deals done when you put the bull's-eye on your back like that, but that's part of the fun of fantasy sports, I think. You do have to know where to draw the line, though. One of our former colleagues from Broadband Sports mocked me for not splitting a $12,000 survivor pool before Week 17 and losing. Said something like "pigs get slaughtered." Yeah, hilarious after I just turned down my $4000 share.

What else can you learn from American Gangster? Well, once Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington's character) got the quality heroin supply hooked up from Thailand, he was set. Schuler and I do the same thing in the Staff League, drafting good minor leaguers and dealing them in season for players who will help us this year. Even though we finish the year with terrible minor leaguers, we know there's always a fresh supply in the following season's draft. Of course, they're not as advanced as the guys we dealt. but because we've emptied our minor league roster, we have room to add more players. That's a hidden bonus you get for dealing minor leaguers for active players - you open up extra minor league slots that you fill at no cost.

Finally, don't pay off the crooked cops. Lucas put a bomb in Detective Trupo's (Josh Brolin) prized car to let him know he wasn't going to be bullied by a rip-off artist. Likewise, just because you're desperate for steals, or some dumping team (which happened last year) tries to pressure you into doing a deal by threatening to trade a star to your competitor, don't go for it. I'll pay $1.10 or even $1.15 on the dollar for a player I need, but if you're trying to make me pay $1.50 or more just because it helps me somewhat in the standings, I'm not going to do it (the only exception being if it were very late in the season and that small bump virtually assured me a title). Every time two teams make a trade, there should be a collective windfall. And that windfall doesn't have to be split exactly 50/50, but once you get past 35/65, it's better to pass out of principle.

I watched some of Scherzer's outing against the Phillies, and he didn't look too good. In fact, he got some very questionable strike calls (Carlos Ruiz struck out looking on a called strike that was positively Glavine-esque). Scherzer had a lot of movement on his ball, but he wasn't commanding it very well. He looked a bit like Felix Hernandez when Hernandez's command is spotty. Of course, there are worse things to be. I also missed out on the Scherzer sweepstakes so I was hoping he'd get bombed. The last thing my struggling teams need is some phenom to be striking out 12 in seven innings every game for somebody else's lucky squad.

And I am in a league where you can pick up prospects before they get called up, and I already have Kershaw. I'd take him over Bailey because of Bailey's struggles last year, and the difference in their respective home parks, but I'm concerned that the Dodgers are playing it too cautiously with Kershaw - limiting his monthly innings even in the minors. (I suppose that cuts both ways because maybe they're counting on him for more major-league innings later in the year). As for Bruce, that's all about playing time, and you know about that situation better than I do. I think it's close between Kershaw and Bruce. Obviously the The Great American Ballpark works in Bruce's favor.

Switching gears for a second, Ervin Santana and Cliff Lee are making me realize how much I like the "last year's bums" strategy, but they also fit into "post-hype sleepers". And you can add in Eric Hinske, Gavin Floyd and Carlos Quentin among other "failed" prospects. I wish I had been even more aggressive with those strategies this season. I'm still waiting on the Mariners to give Jeremy Reed his freedom, so he can do the same.

It's also crazy how a pitcher like Scott Olsen can get by with smoke and mirrors for six games, and then suddenly throw a legit eight-strikeout gem. With that in mind, I'd keep an eye on Andrew Miller and Manny Parra as far as prospects who have struggled. Other players to watch: Darrell Rasner, Bailey, as you mentioned, and why not throw in hitters like Travis Buck and recent Indians call-up Ben Francisco. One last player who's been killing it but doesn't have a place yet to play is Ronny Cedeno of the Cubs. He was a solid prospect a couple years ago, but had a terrible 2006 as a young player in the majors and got buried behind Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot and Mark DeRosa. But none of those three are anything special, and Cedeno's still just 25 and has some upside.

-----Original Message-----
From: jeff@rotowire.com
Sent: Thursday, May 8, 2008 1:42am
To: Christopher Liss
Subject: Re: Charging

I too love the "Last Year's Bums" theory, a term I think that our colleague Gene McCaffrey from Wise Guy Baseball first coined a few years ago, as part of his annual book to advise both roto players and CDM Diamond Challenge players. I'll throw one more name into the mix, though I really like a lot of the ones that you mentioned. Like Gavin Floyd, he was called up way too soon, and even initially had some success at the major league level. That pitcher is the Rays' Edwin Jackson, who is *still* just 24 years old. He pitched reasonably well down the stretch last year, including a complete-game gem in the heat at Texas where he was still throwing in the high-90's in the ninth inning. That game was one of those "signature significance" starts that you've referred to in the past. His overall numbers may look mediocre right now, but four of his six starts have been against the Red Sox and Yankees. His schedule isn't the be-all end-all (ask Cliff Lee after tonight), but I'm willing to think that there are better days ahead for Jackson.

Maybe I should be more optimi


I just saw American Gangster - pretty good. I think Denzel Washington is better as a bad guy (he was great in Training Day, too) than a good one. Is there a lesson to be learned from that? Probably not. I'm used to being the bad guy - the one who mocks the misfortune of my fellow owners.


Here's an internal RotoWire email I forwarded to Dalton a couple weeks ago (Dalton outbid me for Ben Sheets in the Staff League):



"NL MILWAUKEE AT CINCINNATI

NOTE: MILWAUKEE PITCHER Ben Sheets LEFT THE GAME IN THE TOP

OF THE SIXTH INNING DUE TO A STRAINED RIGHT TRICEPS.


what a shame. and such a surprise, too."


Probably harder to get deals done when you put the bull's-eye on your back like that, but that's part of the fun of fantasy sports, I think. You do have to know where to draw the line, though. One of our former colleagues from Broadband Sports mocked me for not splitting a $12,000 survivor pool before Week 17 and losing. Said something like "pigs get slaughtered." Yeah, hilarious after I just turned down my $4000 share.


What else can you learn from American Gangster? Well, once Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington's character) got the quality heroin supply hooked up from Thailand, he was set. Schuler and I do the same thing in the Staff League, drafting good minor leaguers and dealing them in season for players who will help us this year. Even though we finish the year with terrible minor leaguers, we know there's always a fresh supply in the following season's draft. Of course, they're not as advanced as the guys we dealt. but because we've emptied our minor league roster, we have room to add more players. That's a hidden bonus you get for dealing minor leaguers for active players - you open up extra minor league slots that you fill at no cost.


Finally, don't pay off the crooked cops. Lucas put a bomb in Detective Trupo's (Josh Brolin) prized car to let him know he wasn't going to be bullied by a rip-off artist. Likewise, just because you're desperate for steals, or some dumping team (which happened last year) tries to pressure you into doing a deal by threatening to trade a star to your competitor, don't go for it. I'll pay $1.10 or even $1.15 on the dollar for a player I need, but if you're trying to make me pay $1.50 or more just because it helps me somewhat in the standings, I'm not going to do it (the only exception being if it were very late in the season and that small bump virtually assured me a title). Every time two teams make a trade, there should be a collective windfall. And that windfall doesn't have to be split exactly 50/50, but once you get past 35/65, it's better to pass out of principle.


I watched some of Scherzer's outing against the Phillies, and he didn't look too good. In fact, he got some very questionable strike calls (Carlos Ruiz struck out looking on a called strike that was positively Glavine-esque). Scherzer had a lot of movement on his ball, but he wasn't commanding it very well. He looked a bit like Felix Hernandez when Hernandez's command is spotty. Of course, there are worse things to be. I also missed out on the Scherzer sweepstakes so I was hoping he'd get bombed. The last thing my struggling teams need is some phenom to be striking out 12 in seven innings every game for somebody else's lucky squad.


And I am in a league where you can pick up prospects before they get called up, and I already have Kershaw. I'd take him over Bailey because of Bailey's struggles last year, and the difference in their respective home parks, but I'm concerned that the Dodgers are playing it too cautiously with Kershaw - limiting his monthly innings even in the minors. (I suppose that cuts both ways because maybe they're counting on him for more major-league innings later in the year). As for Bruce, that's all about playing time, and you know about that situation better than I do. I think it's close between Kershaw and Bruce. Obviously the The Great American Ballpark works in Bruce's favor.


Switching gears for a second, Ervin Santana and Cliff Lee are making me realize how much I like the "last year's bums" strategy, but they also fit into "post-hype sleepers". And you can add in Eric Hinske, Gavin Floyd and Carlos Quentin among other "failed" prospects. I wish I had been even more aggressive with those strategies this season. I'm still waiting on the Mariners to give Jeremy Reed his freedom, so he can do the same.


It's also crazy how a pitcher like Scott Olsen can get by with smoke and mirrors for six games, and then suddenly throw a legit eight-strikeout gem. With that in mind, I'd keep an eye on Andrew Miller and Manny Parra as far as prospects who have struggled. Other players to watch: Darrell Rasner, Bailey, as you mentioned, and why not throw in hitters like Travis Buck and recent Indians call-up Ben Francisco. One last player who's been killing it but doesn't have a place yet to play is Ronny Cedeno of the Cubs. He was a solid prospect a couple years ago, but had a terrible 2006 as a young player in the majors and got buried behind Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot and Mark DeRosa. But none of those three are anything special, and Cedeno's still just 25 and has some upside.


-----Original Message-----
From: jeff@rotowire.com
Sent: Thursday, May 8, 2008 1:42am
To: Christopher Liss
Subject: Re: Charging

I too love the "Last Year's Bums" theory, a term I think that our colleague Gene McCaffrey from Wise Guy Baseball first coined a few years ago, as part of his annual book to advise both roto players and CDM Diamond Challenge players. I'll throw one more name into the mix, though I really like a lot of the ones that you mentioned. Like Gavin Floyd, he was called up way too soon, and even initially had some success at the major league level. That pitcher is the Rays' Edwin Jackson, who is *still* just 24 years old. He pitched reasonably well down the stretch last year, including a complete-game gem in the heat at Texas where he was still throwing in the high-90's in the ninth inning. That game was one of those "signature significance" starts that you've referred to in the past. His overall numbers may look mediocre right now, but four of his six starts have been against the Red Sox and Yankees. His schedule isn't the be-all end-all (ask Cliff Lee after tonight), but I'm willing to think that there are better days ahead for Jackson.

Maybe I should be more optimistic about Gavin Floyd, too. I don't get the same vibe with him as I do Jackson, even though he's already had two near no-hitters this season. I don't like his flyball tendencies (0.66 G/F ratio in six starts) or K:BB (19:18 in 39.2 innings), and his schedule has been friendlier to this point. But he fits the profile of what to look for when sifting for "failed prospects" - previously high pedigree, no current arm injury (for pitchers), and still young enough to get another chance. You see these sorts of players emerge all the time - both hitters and pitchers.

By the way, there's a connection between "...I'm used to being the bad guy - the one who mocks the misfortune of my fellow owners..." and "... no one wants to trade with me in a couple of my leagues." Emotion shouldn't be too big of a factor in fantasy baseball, but it is. I understand, a little trash talk here and there is fun, and your example with Dalton is perfectly within reason, but there may be some other sensitive souls in your leagues that don't respond nearly as well.

You mentioned Ronny Cedeno and Jeremy Reed on your all-buried team, but what about Cedeno's teammate, Matt Murton. How can this guy not have a major league job? At least Cedeno is with the big league squad and gets a few at-bats here and there. I know that he hasn't done much this year, but this is a guy that has an .823 career OPS over 830 major league at-bats! What more convincing does it take that he can play? There's a real risk that his career stagnates, all because the Cubs can't/won't play him or trade him. I'm as much a free market guy as anyone, but don't the Cubs have some sort of obligation to find a place for him to play, at least in the AL?

Nice job of using "American Gangster." Next week, I might threaten to employ lessons learned from "The Backyardigans," or maybe go the other route and use "Battlefield Earth," but until then, how about you name a few other players that deserve their freedom, and take this baby home?

-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Liss
Sent: Thursday, May 8, 2008 2:26am
To: jeff@rotowire.com
Subject: Re: Charging

With Kosuke Fukudome and Alfonso Soriano, there's no room for Murton, but you'd think they'd at least deal him to the A's or some other sabermetrically inclined team. Murton's not great defensively, and for a corner outfielder, he's not really a slugger, but he's certainly a capable player who costs very little should a team like the Braves or Tigers need an extra outfield bat. And, of course, Murton's OPS is in his first 830 at-bats. He'd likely grow some. I could see him being a .290/.390/.480 type - probably around where Fukudome will end up.

Andy Marte jumps out at me. He was a big time prospect a few years ago, and while he hasn't hit as well in the minors of late, you have to think he still owns those skills - unless he was on 'roids. Why hang onto a replacement value player like Casey Blake when Marte should be at least that and, who knows - maybe he has a Brandon Phillips-type resurgence? I think teams need to take chances like that to win - the A's and Marlins are forced to do it all the time, and it usually works out pretty well.

What about Sean Marshall? He's already better than Jason Marquis, and he's just 25. Last year, he showed real growth, inducing ground balls and having a 2:1 K:BB ratio. He's not going to be a star, but he's a serviceable No. 4. Of course, you can't liberate starting pitchers because you wind up needing them.

I thought Jacque Jones got a raw deal in Detroit, too. He platooned for four weeks, struggled and was cut. He's just 33, and he can hit righties a little bit - why acquire him if you're just going to dump him after 79 at-bats and a .200 BABIP? He'll resurface somewhere - maybe Florida. I guess he has his freedom though.

Article first appeared 5/8/08


I too love the "Last Year's Bums" theory, a term I think that our colleague Gene McCaffrey from Wise Guy Baseball first coined a few years ago, as part of his annual book to advise both roto players and CDM Diamond Challenge players. I'll throw one more name into the mix, though I really like a lot of the ones that you mentioned. Like Gavin Floyd, he was called up way too soon, and even initially had some success at the major league level. That pitcher is the Rays' Edwin Jackson, who is *still* just 24 years old. He pitched reasonably well down the stretch last year, including a complete-game gem in the heat at Texas where he was still throwing in the high-90's in the ninth inning. That game was one of those "signature significance" starts that you've referred to in the past. His overall numbers may look mediocre right now, but four of his six starts have been against the Red Sox and Yankees. His schedule isn't the be-all end-all (ask Cliff Lee after tonight), but I'm willing to think that there are better days ahead for Jackson.


Maybe I should be more optimistic about Gavin Floyd, too. I don't get the same vibe with him as I do Jackson, even though he's already had two near no-hitters this season. I don't like his flyball tendencies (0.66 G/F ratio in six starts) or K:BB (19:18 in 39.2 innings), and his schedule has been friendlier to this point. But he fits the profile of what to look for when sifting for "failed prospects" - previously high pedigree, no current arm injury (for pitchers), and still young enough to get another chance. You see these sorts of players emerge all the time - both hitters and pitchers.


By the way, there's a connection between "...I'm used to being the bad guy - the one who mocks the misfortune of my fellow owners..." and href="http://sports.yahoo.com/fantasy/mlb/news?slug=rotowire-charging_050108"> "... no one wants to trade with me in a couple of my leagues." Emotion
shouldn't be too big of a factor in fantasy baseball, but it is. I understand, a little trash talk here and there is fun, and your example with Dalton is perfectly within reason, but there may be some other sensitive souls in your leagues that don't respond nearly as well.


You mentioned Ronny Cedeno and Jeremy Reed on your all-buried team, but what about Cedeno's teammate, Matt Murton. How can this guy not have a major league job? At least Cedeno is with the big league squad and gets a few at-bats here and there. I know that he hasn't done much this year, but this is a guy that has an .823 career OPS over 830 major league at-bats! What more convincing does it take that he can play? There's a real risk that his career stagnates, all because the Cubs can't/won't play him or trade him. I'm as much a free market guy as anyone, but don't the Cubs have some sort of obligation to find a place for him to play, at least in the AL?


Nice job of using "American Gangster." Next week, I might threaten to employ lessons learned from "The Backyardigans," or maybe go the other route and use "Battlefield Earth," but until then, how about you name a few other players that deserve their freedom, and take this baby home?


-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Liss
Sent: Thursday, May 8, 2008 2:26am
To: jeff@rotowire.com
Subject: Re: Charging

With Kosuke Fukudome and Alfonso Soriano, there's no room for Murton, but you'd think they'd at least deal him to the A's or some other sabermetrically inclined team. Murton's not great defensively, and for a corner outfielder, he's not really a slugger, but he's certainly a capable player who costs very little should a team like the Braves or Tigers need an extra outfield bat. And, of course, Murton's OPS is in his first 830 at-bats. He'd likely grow some. I could see him being a .290/.390/.480 type - probably around where Fukudome will end up.

Andy Marte jumps out at me. He was a big time prospect a few years ago, and while he hasn't hit as well in the minors of late, you have to think he still owns those skills - unless he was on 'roids. Why hang onto a replacement value player like Casey Blake when Marte should be at least that and, who knows - maybe he has a Brandon Phillips-type resurgence? I think teams need to take chances like that to win - the A's and Marlins are forced to do it all the time, and it usually works out pretty well.

What about Sean Marshall? He's already better than Jason Marquis, and he's just 25. Last year, he showed real growth, inducing ground balls and having a 2:1 K:BB ratio. He's not going to be a star, but he's a serviceable No. 4. Of course, you can't liberate starting pitchers because you wind up needing them.

I thought Jacque Jones got a raw deal in Detroit, too. He platooned for four weeks, struggled and was cut. He's just 33, and he can hit righties a little bit - why acquire him if you're just going to dump him after 79 at-bats and a .200 BABIP? He'll resurface somewhere - maybe Florida. I guess he has his freedom though.

Article first appeared 5/8/08




With Kosuke Fukudome and Alfonso Soriano, there's no room for Murton, but you'd think they'd at least deal him to the A's or some other sabermetrically inclined team. Murton's not great defensively, and for a corner outfielder, he's not really a slugger, but he's certainly a capable player who costs very little should a team like the Braves or Tigers need an extra outfield bat. And, of course, Murton's OPS is in his first 830 at-bats. He'd likely grow some. I could see him being a .290/.390/.480 type - probably around where Fukudome will end up.


Andy Marte jumps out at me. He was a big time prospect a few years ago, and while he hasn't hit as well in the minors of late, you have to think he still owns those skills - unless he was on 'roids. Why hang onto a replacement value player like Casey Blake when Marte should be at least that and, who knows - maybe he has a Brandon Phillips-type resurgence? I think teams need to take chances like that to win - the A's and Marlins are forced to do it all the time, and it usually works out pretty well.


What about Sean Marshall? He's already better than Jason Marquis, and he's just 25. Last year, he showed real growth, inducing ground balls and having a 2:1 K:BB ratio. He's not going to be a star, but he's a serviceable No. 4. Of course, you can't liberate starting pitchers because you wind up needing them.


I thought Jacque Jones got a raw deal in Detroit, too. He platooned for four weeks, struggled and was cut. He's just 33, and he can hit righties a little bit - why acquire him if you're just going to dump him after 79 at-bats and a .200 BABIP? He'll resurface somewhere - maybe Florida. I guess he has his freedom though.

Article first appeared 5/8/08

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