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Rounding Third: Week 4 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).

Week 4 Primer, Bryce Harper, Patriots Day, FAAB Results

The news that manager Matt Williams benched Bryce Harper on Saturday broke right as James Anderson and I hosted RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today. My knee-jerk reaction was that Williams was carrying on the "grit over talent" mentality that seemed pervasive at his last stop in Arizona, and I think to a certain extent that's true. The play in question was innocuous enough to me - he was out by a mile whether he was going full bore or not. Robinson Cano and Brandon Phillips, to name two players, do that peel-off to the dugout before reaching first base as well. They never get benched, though there are some that call them out on that practice.

That it was Harper in question also fueled my reaction. He's been under scrutiny from the time even before he was drafted. It's possible that he's immature or even a jerk, but it's way too easy to assume the worst about him without knowing the actual truth. Last year he got hurt by playing all-out, and the criticism was that he needed to learn how to preserve himself. He missed a game earlier in the week with a quad injury - isn't it possible he was trying to preserve himself from injury on that play?

I get that Williams is a new manager establishing his way of running things on the team, and if he enforces his way on the young phenom, it lends him credibility with everyone else on the team. I suspect that you'll see one set of reactions from players and ex-players, and another set from people like me that don't spend any time in clubhouses, but rather observe from afar. I'm willing to acknowledge that some of these “right way to play the game” issues probably matter more than I give them credit. But I also think that they matter less than the credit given by those that present the game to us.

Patriots Day

Be aware of the early game Monday, especially in leagues where your entire weekly roster locks with the start of the first game for the week. It's hard to criticize this game in the wake of last year's tragic event, and it's certainly a tradition for Boston fans, but it's a real pain in the fantasy world. Monday is a day that we're getting our new free agents set for the lineup, and we're trying to get a lot of injury information from the weekend. Losing those extra hours makes it awfully difficult to set an optimal lineup. Also, playing this game the night before, even with it starting one hour earlier than usual, seems really awful for the two teams involved. Given how much time it takes to wind down from the game and setting up the next day, there's practically no down-time, especially from the employees behind the scenes trying to make everything work.

Week 4 Noteworthy Schedules

The schedule is quite full this week - there are no teams with the dreaded five-game slate. In fact, a number of teams are in a stretch where they aren't off at all for two weeks.

The following teams all have seven games this week - Diamondbacks, Orioles, Red Sox, White Sox, Cubs, Reds, Indians, Tigers, Astros, Royals, Mets, A's, Phillies, Pirates, Padres, Cardinals and Nationals. Because of the busy schedule, the marginal two-start guys carry less value.

Here are the interleague matchups for the week (home team listed first):

Nationals-Angels (Monday-Wednesday) - David Freese missed two games over the weekend and then was the DH on Sunday - perhaps he'll miss at least one of these games. Otherwise, Raul Ibanez is at risk to miss playing time. He'll almost certainly sit Wednesday when the Angels face lefty Gio Gonzalez.

Giants-Indians - Here's where moving Carlos Santana to third base really pays off for the Indians, though it hurts Lonnie Chisenhall. The Giants will be rolling three right-handed starters in the series, so Ryan Raburn will also find playing time sparse.

This week's Coors Field series has the Giants in town. Ryan Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain draw the short straw with starts in Coors.

For more on the pitching matchups, please check out our indispensable Projected Starters Grid. I use that frequently to aid my free agent bidding and my lineups, both for two-start starters and for matchups.


In this section I'll try to list as many of the free agent results as I can from my Sunday deadline leagues. Due to time constraints, the commentary will frequently be short.

NFBC - RotoWire Online Championship

Team Player Bid Runner-Up
Big Stick Ballerinas Aaron Harang (SP) 117 24
Tiger Slappy OC2 Kyle Farnsworth (MR) 87
Release the Kraken Jarrod Dyson (CF) 53
ChrisLiss4President Ike Davis (1B) 45
Banged Up Bravos Dillon Gee (SP) 37 22
ChrisLiss4President Gerardo Parra (RF) 33
Tiger Slappy OC2 Omar Infante (2B) 22
Banged Up Bravos Jason Vargas (SP) 11
Big Stick Ballerinas DJ LeMahieu (2B) 7
High Hopes Dayan Viciedo (LF) 5
Belmont Ave Bombers Scott Feldman (SP) 3
Belmont Ave Bombers Derek Norris (C) 1
Glenneration X Jonathon Niese (SP) 1

NFBC Main Event

Team Player Bid Runner-Up
MORONS Ike Davis (1B) 150 48
VF's FusterCluck Trevor Bauer (SP) 145 38
War Softball Monkeys Colby Lewis (SP) 127 20
El Scorchos Derek Jeter (SS) 71
TeamSS Jordan Lyles (SP) 47
Cocktails and Dreams Jarrod Dyson (CF) 42 7
Spartacus Matt Harrison (SP) 39
Metsmerizers-2 Juan Uribe (3B) 28 5
Oakland Eh's Josh Fields (MR) 28
Oakland Eh's Jake Odorizzi (SP) 28 13
War Softball Monkeys Carlos Quentin (LF) 28 1
Diamondking David Carpenter (MR) 22
Dead Moneyball Maikel Cleto (MR) 18
El Scorchos Alberto Callaspo (3B) 17 4
VF's FusterCluck Jordan Walden (MR) 17 2
Oakland Eh's Kevin Kouzmanoff (3B) 14 3
TeamSS Anthony Recker (C) 14
Dead Moneyball Craig Gentry (CF) 14 10
Cocktails and Dreams Kyle Gibson (SP) 13 2
El Scorchos Daniel Webb (MR) 10 6
Team Taylor Tyler Chatwood (SP) 7
Valar Morghulis Jonathan Schoop (2B) 6
Dead Moneyball Hank Conger (C) 4
Metsmerizers-2 Juan Francisco (3B) 3

I thought that I was being really clever by bidding $17 on Trevor Bauer - ha! It turns out that I wasn't especially close. With J.J. Hardy getting hurt Sunday night, I increased my bid on Jeter by $20 - oops! He was released the previous week, and I had Yunel Escobar in that spot. I understand the risks involved with him, but I wanted an improvement on my shortstop-eligible players and it looks like that lineup at least is going to score a ton of runs.

Webb was a speculative pick betting against Matt Lindstrom. With Jim Johnson losing his job, I have just one closer, and have Johnson, Edward Mujica and Webb all on my roster. That's an untenable situation for the long run, as I'm missing out on starts already this week. Two of those three will be cut in the next couple of weeks most likely.

RotoWire Staff Keeper League

Erickson: Pick up Jonathan Broxton ($15), drop Antonio Bastardo (High-A West Madison: $17) (Erickson: $15) (Next Stop Dumpster Fire: $6) (Frozen Ropes: $5) (Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: $4) (Anderson: $3) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1)
Anderson: Pick up David Carpenter ($6), drop Brian Wilson
Frozen Ropes: Pick up Collin Cowgill ($4), drop Josh Fields (Frozen Ropes: $4) (Erickson: $3) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1)
Casale Industries: Pick up Wade Davis ($1), drop Moises Sierra
High-A West Madison: Pick up Kyle Farnsworth ($21), drop Brandon McCarthy (Jakarta Raiders: $17) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $17) (The Bros McKeown: $17) (Erickson: $15) (Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: $13) (Schin Kickers: $13) (Jakarta Raiders: $11) (Browns: $9) (Frozen Ropes: $8)
Erickson: Pick up Jonny Gomes ($3), drop Nyjer Morgan
Erickson: Pick up Dallas Keuchel ($3), drop Michael Saunders (Erickson: $3)
McLovin's Spoonful: Pick up Kevin Kouzmanoff ($6), drop Justin Ruggiano (Anderson: $4) (Erickson: $1)
Jakarta Raiders: Pick up Colby Lewis ($22), drop Brandon Barnes (The Bros McKeown: $7) (Erickson: $5) (Erickson: $5) (Next Stop Dumpster Fire: $1) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1)
The Bros McKeown: Pick up Bud Norris ($3), drop Didi Gregorius
Next Stop Dumpster Fire: Pick up Drew Pomeranz ($1), drop Justin Grimm
Anderson: Pick up Drew Stubbs ($2), drop Jemile Weeks (Browns: $1)
Jakarta Raiders: Pick up Jordan Walden ($3), drop Wandy Rodriguez (Jakarta Raiders: $3)
Uggla's Decaying Remains: Pick up Chris Young ($1), drop Alex Presley

Our commish service lists all the contingencies bids when processing the FAAB, so don't be thrown by my $15 bid on Broxton trumping the $17 from Peter Schoenke, as he prioritized Kyle Farnsworth over Broxton.

Keuchel has two reasonably decent starts this week and a good strikeout rate. This is a weekly stream, with the potential to see if he's worth investing in for the long run.

Mixed LABR

Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Ike Davis awarded to Baseball Prospectus for $16.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Ike Davis: $3, $3, $11, $5, $2.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Kyle Farnsworth awarded to RotoExperts for $12.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Kyle Farnsworth: $2, $4, $5, $6, $6, $7.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Danny Espinosa awarded to RotoExperts for $4.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Danny Espinosa: $1, $3.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Kyle Gibson awarded to for $4.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Kyle Gibson: $2, $1, $2, $2.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Adeiny Hechavarria awarded to Rotowire-Colton for $3.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Jarrod Dyson awarded to Baseball HQ for $3.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Jarrod Dyson: $1, $3.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Derek Dietrich awarded to Rotowire-Erickson for $3.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Jordan Lyles awarded to Baseball Prospectus for $3.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Kevin Kouzmanoff awarded to USA TODAY Sports for $2.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Kevin Kouzmanoff: $2.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Robbie Ross awarded to Fangraphs for $2.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Robbie Ross: $1, $1, $2.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Alfredo Simon awarded to for $2.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Alfredo Simon: $2, $2.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Anthony Bass awarded to Bloomberg Sports for $1.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Anthony Bass: $1.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Carlos Torres awarded to Rotowire-Colton for $1.
Mon Apr 21 12:01 AM ET: Wei-Yin Chen awarded to Baseball HQ for $1.

Because I won FAAB bids on Dee Gordon and K-Rod already this season, the rest of my FAAB bids here in a 15-team league are going to be small beer. That's ok, I'm getting my money's worth so far from the earlier big bids. The only thing that makes it tough is that there are no $0 bids, so in case of injury I need to save $5-7 for September and can't stream as adequately as others.

In related news, I just made a big trade in that league, swapping Johnny Cueto for Pedro Alvarez. I'm a believer that Cueto's ratios are real, but I also wanted to cash in on his health and strikeouts now. The team is in fourth despite injuries to Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton and Casey Janssen among others, but I'm dead last in homers, so even accounting for Beltre and Hamilton, I needed more power.

AL Tout

Andy Behrens: pur BBoesch LAA 1
Mike Podhorzer: pur JFrancisco Tor 9
Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton: pur DRoss Bos 0
Mike Podhorzer: pur ARomine Det 8
Chris Liss: pur VNuno NYY 4
Joe Sheehan: pur CRamos TB 3
Joe Sheehan: pur MPelfrey Min 1
Rob Leibowitz: pur WDavis KC 0
Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton: pur CFien Min 0
Jeff Erickson: pur ERomero TB 1
Jeff Erickson: pur JMaxwell KC 1
Jason Collette: pur NMartinez Tex 1
Jason Collette: pur DWorth Det 1
Rob Leibowitz: pur SSizemore NYY 1
Rob Leibowitz: pur JIglesias Det 0
Rob Leibowitz: pur MStroman Tor 1

I'm taking one speculative shot at the back-end of the Rays rotation, betting against Cesar Ramos and Erik Bedard by picking up Enny Romero. Justin Maxwell replaces the demoted Robbie Grossman, who I had far too many shares of this year.