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Rounding Third: Shut Out - Week 5 Primer

Jeff Erickson

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

Shut Out

I've consistently missed out on the top free agents in my NFBC Main Event league, which is bad enough. Often the most valuable free agents are the ones you can grab early on in the season - not only do you get a longer stretch with them on your roster, but as the season progresses, there are fewer emerging breakouts and job changes. But I'm also off to a miserable start, particularly on the hitting side of the ledger, where I have the second-lowest batting average in the entire contest. Every week I see Justin Upton homer two or three times, realizing I could have had both him and Jose Bautista, and I'm filled with regret. It's only April, I get it, but it's tough to dig out of the hole, especially in the qualitative categories.

NFBC Main Event

Team Player Bid Runner-Up Jose Valverde (MR) 476 417
Team Bouyack Kevin Gregg (MR) 113 88
deadmoney2 Yuniesky Betancourt (3B) 70 37
|| Zefurs Lv.1 || Justin Grimm (SP) 66 39
Pollos Hermanos Edinson Volquez (SP) 44 21
Team Bouyack Nick Tepesch (SP) 43 21
Four Headed Monster Matt Magill (SP) 39
And I'll Go Mine Juan Francisco (3B) 36 31
Big Alameda Machine Ryan Roberts (2B) 32 1
Yucca Valley Bombers Roberto Hernandez (SP) 27
El Scorchos Alberto Callaspo (3B) 23
Pollos Hermanos Aaron Hicks (CF) 22 20
Big Alameda Machine Jordan Pacheco (3B) 20 1
Team Bouyack Craig Gentry (CF) 17 2
deadmoney2 Conor Gillaspie (3B) 15
deadmoney2 Colby Lewis (SP) 10 5
|| Zefurs Lv.1 || Jonathan Pettibone (SP) 8
Low Talkers Hector Santiago (MR) 8 8
Low Talkers Luis Valbuena (3B) 8 2
Pollos Hermanos Darwin Barney (2B) 7
Full Grown Guppies Mike Carp (LF) 4 Ruben Tejada (SS) 4
angry scottish lady-main-rel Cory Luebke (SP) 3
Professional Jason Motte (MR) 3
Big Alameda Machine Rick Porcello (SP) 1
deadmoney2 Jeff Locke (SP) 1

Despite all my reservations about Jose Valverde, I have just one full-time closer in Aroldis Chapman, plus Andrew Bailey until Joel Hanrahan returns, and then a couple of speculation plays. So I put in a pretty high bid on Valverde, and then upon reflection bumped it up a couple of times. As a result ... I didn't come close to landing him, falling over $100 short in the bidding.

But that's ok! I had plenty of contingency bids. I held my nose and bid $41 on the off chance that Kevin Gregg holds the Cubs' job for the next few weeks. That fell well short. My sneaky two-start starter, Nick Tepesch, went for twice as much as I bid. Even my stash for later player, Colby Lewis, was outbid by at least two teams.

It's time for me to recalibrate my FAAB bidding for the NFBC. It's been stated that the conversion from a $100 budget to a $1,000 budget doesn't apply linearly, and I think that's true. But it's more than just that. This is a no-trade league, and it's one with a grand prize. Both of these factors encourage aggressive, early bidding on potential difference makers. I was ok with missing out on Jose Fernandez and Tony Cingrani for the prices they cost, but should I have been? I'll say this much - if there's a big free agent on offense available, I will not let it go lightly.


Team Player Bid Runner-Up
Deep Fried Trout Andrew Cashner (MR) 349 195
Beer & Chicken-VI Nate McLouth (LF) 159 69
Deep Fried Trout Kevin Gregg (MR) 151 99
Deep Fried Trout John Axford (MR) 79
Del Mar Kyle Kendrick (SP) 69
Del Mar Nick Tepesch (SP) 69
Team 317 Daniel Straily (SP) 65 43
Beer & Chicken-VI Cameron Maybin (CF) 59
Kostas Krew Chris Johnson (3B) 44 27
Del Mar A.J. Pollock (CF) 29 1
Team 317 Matt Dominguez (3B) 15
Del Mar Darwin Barney (2B) 13
Del Mar Hector Santiago (MR) 11
Smoke Show 317(2) Edinson Volquez (SP) 9
Smoke Show 317(2) Clayton Richard (SP) 8
Reach Carlos Pena (1B) 7
Reach Ted Lilly (SP) 7
Reach Rajai Davis (RF) 3 1
RoundTrippers! Trevor Bauer (SP) 3
Chris Liss Rocks Luis Valbuena (3B) 3
Reach Jose Veras (MR) 1
RoundTrippers! Marwin Gonzalez (SS) 1
Fast Ball Juan Pierre (LF) 1
Deep Fried Trout Lonnie Chisenhall (3B) 1

The only two players I bid on this week were Straily and Cashner. Cashner's bids were in another universe than mine, but I was the #2 bid on Straily. There's a reasonable chance that he could get more than one start for the A's this go-around, particularly if he pitches anywhere near as well as he did last week. Look at the names on this list versus the names above, and you can see the big difference in a 15-team league versus a 12-teamer.

AL Tout


Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton pur ZBritton Bal 2
Ron Shandler pur VNuno NYY 1
Jason Collette pur RGrossman Hou 6
Matthew Berry pur NJones CWS 0
Andy Behrens pur KGausman Bal 1
Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton pur JLobaton TB 1
Ron Shandler pur JBlevins Oak 0
Mike Siano pur HNoesi Sea 0
Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton pur DPhelps NYY 21
Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton pur CPeguero Sea 0
Jeff Erickson pur BHarris LAA 1


I lost out on David Phelps by a healthy margin to Rick Wolf and newly elected FSTA Hall-of-Famer Glenn Colton, who bid $31 on Phelps but due to Vickery they get him for $21. I had bid $7. Not much to see with my Brendan Harris addition - Brendan Ryan is losing playing time at shortstop and I wanted to have an alternative that qualified at shortstop. But Harris' shelf-life could be short with Erick Aybar on his way back soon.

More interesting is Andy Behrens' purchase of O's prospect Kevin Gausman. Tout Wars allows for speculative free agent additions of minor league players. He'll have to have him on his active roster this week, but it's a good way for Andy to add potential difference-making talent (remember, it's an AL-only league) for a low cost before he gets the call (and thus more expensive). Of course, if he stays in the minors until September, it's a wasted spot for however long Andy holds him, but the cost is right. Gausman has a 29:2 K:BB in 28.2 Double-A innings, and Dylan Bundy has been shut down since spring training.



Mon Apr 29 12:01 AM ET: Kevin Gregg awarded to Colton & The Wolfman for $16.
Mon Apr 29 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Kevin Gregg: $12, $8, $8, $5, $7, $13.
Mon Apr 29 12:01 AM ET: Jeff Locke awarded to NFBC/Stats, Inc. for $7.
Mon Apr 29 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Jeff Locke: $2, $5, $5.
Mon Apr 29 12:01 AM ET: Brandon Inge awarded to RotoWire for $5.
Mon Apr 29 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Brandon Inge: $1, $1.
Mon Apr 29 12:01 AM ET: Jonathan Pettibone awarded to RotoWire for $5.
Mon Apr 29 12:01 AM ET: Derrick Robinson awarded to ESPN - Ravitz for $3.
Mon Apr 29 12:01 AM ET: Matt Magill awarded to USA TODAY Sports for $2.
Mon Apr 29 12:01 AM ET: Juan Lagares awarded to Colton & The Wolfman for $1.
Mon Apr 29 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Juan Lagares: $1.
Mon Apr 29 12:01 AM ET: Jonathan Herrera awarded to ESPN - Ravitz for $1.

Brandon Inge is playing frequently at second base with Neil Walker hurt - for me, that's better than having Daniel Descalso as my CR. Yeah, it's that sketchy for me in that spot, but that's part of the cost of paying for both Yadier Molina and Wilin Rosario behind the plate. I also landed Jonathan Pettibone, who should stick in the rotation for at least six weeks while John Lannan is out, and he could stick beyond that, because his competition then will be John Lannan. He replaces Eric Stults in my rotation. I had a bid in on Kevin Gregg, but it doesn't break my heart that I didn't land him.

RotoWire Staff League


High-A West Madison: Pick up Dylan Axelrod ($1), drop James Russell
East Coast Bias: Pick up Endy Chavez ($8), drop Jonny Gomes
Erickson: Pick up Tyler Greene ($2), drop Sean Doolittle
Tokyo Jaegers: Pick up Kevin Gregg ($23), drop Clayton Richard
(Browns: $18)
(Browns: $18)
(High-A West Madison: $14)
(Next Stop Pottersville: $12)
(Next Stop Pottersville: $12)
(McLovin's Spoonful: $9)
(Schin Kickers: $8)
(Tuffy's Goats: $8)
(Erickson: $5)
(Wheeler in the Sky: $5)
Frozen Ropes: Pick up Robbie Grossman ($3), drop Collin Cowgill
(Frozen Ropes: $4)
(High-A West Madison: $1)
Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: Pick up John Lackey ($2), drop Alfredo Aceves
(Tuffy's Goats: $4)
(Schin Kickers: $3)
Payne: Pick up Juan Lagares ($5), drop Anthony Bass
Tuffy's Goats: Pick up Ted Lilly ($13), drop Erik Bedard
(Anderson: $10)
(Next Stop Pottersville: $7)
(Erickson: $7)
(Tokyo Jaegers: $6)
(Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: $2)
Schin Kickers: Pick up Xavier Paul ($2), drop Sam Fuld
Erickson: Pick up Jonathan Pettibone ($1), drop Eric Stults
Wheeler in the Sky: Pick up Gaby Sanchez ($2), drop NO PLAYER
Frozen Ropes: Pick up Hector Santiago ($4), drop A.J. Ramos
(Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: $1)
The Bros McKeown: Pick up Jose Valverde ($53), drop Aaron Crow
(Tuffy's Goats: $53)
(Browns: $45)
(Tokyo Jaegers: $43)
(Schin Kickers: $38)
(Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: $37)
(High-A West Madison: $34)
(Erickson: $31)
(Next Stop Pottersville: $26)
(Frozen Ropes: $11)


In this league I continue to curse middle infielders as Spinal Tap did drummers. First Gordon Beckham, then the floundering of Ryan Flaherty, and now Didi Gregorius got concussed on my watch. I opted for Tyler Greene (another guy I can't seem to quit) over Steve Lombardozzi, Justin Sellers and Brendan Harris. Once again, I replaced Eric Stults with Jonathan Pettibone.

The Valverde bid was even bigger here in an 18-team keeper league with trades allowed than it was in the NFBC - that caught me off-guard. It's especially interesting given that we have an in-season salary cap of $360 that includes the salaries of the players acquired in FAAB, a bone of contention for some in the league. We'll have an interesting rules debate this offseason.

You'll notice that some "losing" bids were higher than the winning bids - that's because our commish system displays all the contingent bids along with those that were awarded. So those with the higher bids that didn't get the player had that as a secondary choice to who they ultimately were awarded.

Nolan Arenado Gets the Call

I'm in 10 roto leagues, four Scoresheet leagues and one Strat-o-Matic league - but the Strat league obviously looks back and thus doesn't count for the purposes of this survey. Of the leagues where Arenado was eligible, he was already gone before this weekend in all but one of them. If he happens to be available in your league, he's worth selling out to get. He's an elite prospect moving into a great ballpark and a pretty good lineup. They wouldn't have brought him up to be up there on a tentative basis, especially at the cost of designating Chris Nelson for assignment.

As for Nelson, this is why we pay attention to defense. The Rockies have a number of subpar defensive players - Jordan Pacheco and especially Wilin Rosario are below average for their positions, too. But Nelson was poor enough defensively that once his bat dragged, he didn't have value to the team as a reserve. I don't think he'll clear waivers, though - he might end up in another situation where he gets some playing time, but obviously the hitting backdrop won't be as good.

Interleague Issues

It's a pretty light interleague schedule this week.

PHI @ CLE (2 Games): Zach McAllister and probably Trevor Bauer get the starts for Cleveland, against Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, making his return to his original team. Delmon Young won't yet be ready to come off the DL for the Phillies. It wouldn't be surprising to see them use the DH slot to give a couple of position regulars like Ryan Howard or Chase Utley a day of semi-rest.

TB @ COL (3 Games): Alex Cobb is the Rays' only two-start starter this week, but they are both road starts, at KC, and then at Coors Field against the Rockies. Two of the three games are against right-handed starters for the Rays, preceded by three games against the Royals with them starting three righties, so I'd keep Matt Joyce in your lineup this week.

Sneaky Two-Start Pickup For *Next* Week

Under the premise of looking in advance for two-start starters, take a look at the Rangers' Nick Tepesch. He draws a decent home matchup this week against the White Sox, avoiding Boston over the weekend, and then has two road starts next, against the Cubs (in a makeup game from earlier in the month) and then at Houston.

Streaming Marlins

Scott Pianowski is right. You're better off streaming against the Marlins than the Astros, even with Giancarlo Stanton waking up. To that end, here's who gets the starts against the Fish this week.

vs. Mets (three games) - Matt Harvey, Jeremy Hefner, Dillon Gee
at Phillies (four games) - Kyle Kendrick, Jonathan Pettibone, Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay

Looking at that list, Hefner and Pettibone are probably available in most leagues. Gee and Kendrick might be around in your thinner mixed leagues.