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Rounding Third: 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).

Week 5 Primer - Droppers Regret, Schedule Quirks, FAAB Results

A good league forces you to make tough decisions on whom to drop in addition to who to pick up. And thus, regret is a normal aspect of fantasy baseball, beyond simply whiffing on a guy at the draft table - here's looking at you, Jesse Chavez. So far my biggest in-season regret is dropping Marcus Stroman in AL Tout Wars. I saw Stroman pitch in the Arizona Fall League and heard the various minor league and pitching experts on the various panels coo about his talent while lamenting his lack of size. More than once the comparison was made to Roy Oswalt - though to be fair, anytime there's a short right-hander with talent, he gets compared to Oswalt. But listening to those kudos put Stroman on my endgame radar and I spent a buck on him at the end of the Tout auction. But then he had a rough spring and got sent down, and in my infinite wisdom I dropped him after all of two weeks, only to see's Rob Leibowitz snatch him up the next week. Now I see that the Jays are lining up his starts to match Dustin McGowan, so as to make for an easier swap, and it makes me sad. I'm not going to see the fruits of my investigation into his skills, and worse a competitor will be able to do so, on the cheap. Keep patient folks and drop the lesser talented player even if in the short-term it means rostering a guy with no current role, at least in deep leagues like Tout.

Week 5 Noteworthy Schedules

Unlike last week, there are a lot of teams with short schedules. A whopping six clubs have just five games this week, featuring off-days Monday and Thursday - Baltimore, Detroit, Houston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington. And you have to be careful to watch how each team handles their fifth starters with the layoff. Prior to Anibal Sanchez going on the DL, the Tigers were going to skip Drew Smyly yet again. The Orioles, however, plan to use all five starters this week, rather than skipping one to keep the others on schedule.

There's only four teams with seven games this week - Cincinnati (all seven games at home), Colorado (three games in Arizona and then four games in Coors Field against the Mets), Milwaukee and Tampa Bay. With the Rockies-Mets series, Bartolo Colon is the lucky winner that gets to avoid Coors Field, and Jordan Lyles will do the same for the Rockies (though he draws the Rangers in Coors next Monday followed by a start in Cincinnati for his two-start week, so no great shakes there).

As you might imagine, there are more interleague games this week. Here are this week's interleague series, with the home team listed first:

- Orioles-Pirates (Tue-Wed) - I won't mind seeing the inevitable '79 World Series retrospectives. The O's have two RH starters going, so Ike Davis and Travis Snider will both play. Is this a good spot for the Bucs to sneak in Gregory Polanco? Now that they've had two series apiece against the Reds and Cardinals, it might be a perfect lower-pressure situation to put him. My money is on a Friday callup against the Blue Jays.
- Pirates-Blue Jays (Fri-Sun) - Speaking of that series, what do the Blue Jays try to have their players avoid to match their opponents that avoid their home turf in Rogers Centre? Grass allergies?
- Astros-Nationals (Tue-Wed) - Thanks to injuries to Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman, the Nats won't get to enjoy using the DH as much as they could have otherwise. They might also be without Danny Espinosa, who got hurt Sunday.
- Twins-Dodgers (Tue-Thu) - All three Dodgers starters have spent time in the AL, so this won't be that much of a "fish-out-of-water" scenario. There could be some aging Scandinavians in Minnesota (sorry, that's redundant - note my last name) still thirsting to avenge first the pilfering of the Lakers and then the 1965 World Series. C'mon Mike Pelfrey, time to protect the honor of Zoilo Versalles!

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. And then refer to Paul Sporer's excellent Pitcher Value Meter to settle any ties in your starting pitching 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
Wheelin Down Huston Street Mark Melancon (MR) 150 90
SlickRick in da Hizzouse Joe Smith (MR) 128 125
Tiger Slappy OC2 Drew Smyly (MR) 111
Release the Kraken Alfredo Simon (MR) 65 24
Big Stick Ballerinas Matt Joyce (RF) 48
High Hopes Jason Hammel (SP) 36 25
Big Stick Ballerinas Trevor Bauer (SP) 31
Wheelin Down Huston Street Dallas Keuchel (SP) 30
Wheelin Down Huston Street Collin McHugh (MR) 30 13
High Hopes Travis d'Arnaud (C) 22
ChrisLiss4President Cameron Maybin (CF) 15
ChrisLiss4President Franklin Morales (MR) 15
PANAMA RED Scooter Gennett (2B) 5
Big Stick Ballerinas Chris Denorfia (RF) 4
Banged Up Bravos Alberto Callaspo (3B) 1

Simon has two starts this week, including one against the Cubs. I had "keep them honest" bids in on Melancon and Smith, but I already have three closers and lead my league in saves, so getting one of those two was not a priority. I might regret Drew Smyly - he was originally on my team, but I dropped him after his abbreviated start last week, knowing he was going to be skipped this upcoming week, at least before Anibal Sanchez got hurt. Tiger Slappy knows what he's doing, too. But in a 12-team league, I valued the spot more than the player, especially with me waiting for Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale both on the DL. Ironically, my pitching in that league has been strong despite those injuries - it's my hitting that has been lacking. Heading into Sunday's play, I was in third place with 70 points, but the first place team, "Wheelin' Down Huston Street," is first overall among 1,248 teams in the Online Championship. Eric Townsend, take a bow.

NFBC Main Event

Team Player Bid Runner-Up
El Scorchos Joe Smith (MR) 251 176
Cocktails and Dreams Hector Rondon (MR) 64 49
El Scorchos Dallas Keuchel (SP) 51 42
MORONS Collin McHugh (MR) 45 15
BN Bears A.J. Pollock (CF) 40
Spartacus Corey Dickerson (LF) 39 33
Spartacus Daisuke Matsuzaka (SP) 39 38
Dead Moneyball Chris Denorfia (RF) 38 34
Dead Moneyball Danny Farquhar (MR) 28 1
VF's FusterCluck Nate McLouth (LF) 28 27
TeamSS Tyler Flowers (C) 25 3
TeamSS Raul Valdes (MR) 22
Angry Young Flying Sausage Sam Fuld (LF) 13
movers Kurt Suzuki (C) 11
BN Bears Derek Holland (SP) 11
Team Taylor Yangervis Solarte (SS) 11
Dead Moneyball Brian Roberts (2B) 8
Oakland Eh's Mike Olt (1B) 6
Cocktails and Dreams Michael Choice (LF) 5
Angry Young Flying Sausage Chris Young (SP) 3
Team Taylor Santiago Casilla (MR) 3
Team Taylor Jon Jay (CF) 2
Metsmerizers-2 Brayan Pena (C) 1
Metsmerizers-2 Dellin Betances (MR) 1
Metsmerizers-2 Tyler Thornburg (SP) 1
Metsmerizers-2 Danny Duffy (SP) 1
Metsmerizers-2 Drew Storen (MR) 1 1
Oakland Eh's Franklin Morales (MR) 1
Oakland Eh's Yunel Escobar (SS) 1
Diamondking Carlos Torres (MR) 1
Diamondking Gavin Floyd (SP) 1
Cocktails and Dreams Jose Lobaton (C) 1
Dead Moneyball Jose Tabata (RF) 1

If you really want a player, make sure you get him. At least, that's how I mollified myself on "winning" the non-descript Joe Smith in bidding this week. I have just one full-time closer in Jonathan Papelbon, though there's a new hope that the also-non-descript Jim Johnson regains his closer job this week. I hate chasing saves, but in this game, one has no other choice. The danger is two-fold - Smith isn't exactly a dominant fireballer, and could blow up with this chance; or Ernesto Frieri could just be getting a short respite from the job like he did last year, when Dane De La Rosa teased us with the job.

But at the end of the day, in Andrew Martinez I Trust, and went aggressively after Smith and Dallas Keuchel. The reality is that by the end of the season I need 80-100 saves to do well overall, and I currently have one full-time closer. At the start of the day I was in 10th place in my league with 73.5 points - better to fail by acting too aggressively than bid cautiously and be second place in the bidding.

Meanwhile, the first place team in our league, VF's FusterCluck, has spent most of the season in the top five overall in the contest and is 14th overall right now. RotoWire's Chris Liss is 17th overall right now.

RotoWire Staff Keeper League

Wheeler in the Sky: Pick up Brandon Barnes ($2), drop Grady Sizemore (Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: $1)
Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: Pick up Brandon Cumpton ($1), drop L.J. Hoes (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1)
Jakarta Raiders: Pick up Sam Fuld ($3), drop Ivan Nova (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1)
Anderson: Pick up Craig Gentry ($7), drop Drew Stubbs (Jakarta Raiders: $3) (Erickson: $3) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1)
High-A West Madison: Pick up Randal Grichuk ($3), drop Shawn Kelley (Erickson: $2)
Uggla's Decaying Remains: Pick up Jordan Lyles ($1), drop Jose Valverde (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1)
Wheeler in the Sky: Pick up Daisuke Matsuzaka ($9), drop Steve Delabar (Frozen Ropes: $4)
Uggla's Decaying Remains: Pick up Brandon McCarthy ($4), drop Josh Johnson (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $4) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $4) (Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: $1)
Anderson: Pick up Collin McHugh ($4), drop J.J. Putz (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $4) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $4) (The Bros McKeown: $2)
The Bros McKeown: Pick up Franklin Morales ($4), drop Bud Norris (Frozen Ropes: $4) (Anderson: $3) (Anderson: $3)
Wheeler in the Sky: Pick up Donnie Murphy ($2), drop Logan Morrison
Uggla's Decaying Remains: Pick up Jace Peterson ($1), drop Chris Young (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1)
Uggla's Decaying Remains: Pick up Alex Presley ($1), drop Juan Nicasio (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $1)
Casale Industries: Pick up Joe Smith ($31), drop Jose Veras (Browns: $27) (Payne: $18) (Erickson: $15) (Schin Kickers: $14) (Uggla's Decaying Remains: $12) (Frozen Ropes: $11) (Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: $9)
Erickson: Pick up Jose Tabata ($1), drop A.J. Griffin
Anderson: Pick up Jemile Weeks ($7), drop Darwin Barney (Liss and Shoe's Dynasty: $1)

Another league, another Joe Smith bidding war. You can thank the Cardinals for the timing of their demotion of Kolten Wong for the lack of bids on Randal Grichuk - they made the move just before midnight ET, which was after the NFBC free agent deadline (though it wouldn't have mattered there - they lock the FA pool before games on Sunday) but just before the Tout and LABR deadlines, and two hours before the RotoWire Staff Keeper League deadline. Frankly, I'm a little surprised Grichuk was available - with 18 teams and 10 minor leaguers per team at the start of the season, nearly anyone with a pulse is owned.

The Liss/Shoe terrible twosome, prohibitive favorites heading into the draft thanks to a sick set of keepers, are actually fulfilling their promise and are in first place right now. I've won the last two years, but my keepers are a lot more expensive (see also, Mike Trout and Jason Kipnis) or have had expired contracts (I'll miss you, Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Wainwright). Thus, I lost about $150 in value before the draft started, so I knew this was going to be a tough year to contend. I'm currently in fifth, but well behind the top two and with a roster that's unlikely to contend.

Mixed LABR

Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Joe Smith awarded to Rotowire-Erickson for $15.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Joe Smith: $10, $6, $13, $3, $9, $6, $5.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Juan Francisco awarded to for $6.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Juan Francisco: $2, $5.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Phil Hughes awarded to Baseball HQ for $6.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Phil Hughes: $2, $2.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Craig Gentry awarded to Towers of Power Baseball Hour for $5.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Craig Gentry: $1, $4, $1.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Daisuke Matsuzaka awarded to Mastersball for $4.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Daisuke Matsuzaka: $2.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: David Phelps awarded to Towers of Power Baseball Hour for $4.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Nate McLouth awarded to Fangraphs for $3.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Nate McLouth: $3.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Collin McHugh awarded to USA TODAY Sports for $2.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Failed bids for Collin McHugh: $1.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Tyler Lyons awarded to Razzball for $1.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Lonnie Chisenhall awarded to Rotowire-Colton for $1.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Sam Fuld awarded to Towers of Power Baseball Hour for $1.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Jon Jay awarded to Baseball Prospectus for $1.
Mon Apr 28 12:01 AM ET: Danny Duffy awarded to Baseball Prospectus for $1.

Remember when I said last week that my bids the rest of the way would be small beer? That was before Jason Grilli went on the DL (after blowing two saves and then missing the full week this past week before revealing his injury). I already have Casey Janssen on the DL to boot. So while owning K-Rod is nice, when Smith took over the job from Ernesto Frieri, I made it a priority to go after him. It's quite possible that I will have a closer for five months.

But this is how perverse it is to be in so many leagues. I also own Frieri in AL Tout Wars, and it's not as if I can cut him there. Do I align my interests with my NFBC and LABR teams, or with Tout? It's one or the other. Aargh.

I'm currently in fifth place in the league out of 15, with 86.5 points, well-behind the newlywed James Quintong of, who has 116 points after a monster start. On the good news front, I just got Adrian Beltre back from the DL, to help me get back some desperately needed power.

AL Tout

Ron Shandler: pur CMcHugh Hou 8
Ron Shandler: pur BShaw Cle 0
Mike Podhorzer: pur BCecil Tor 0
Rob Leibowitz: pur JDMartinez Det 6
Chris Liss: pur DDeLaRosa LAA 0
Mike Podhorzer: pur JDiaz Tor 0
Jeff Erickson: pur EEscobar Min 1
Mike Podhorzer: pur JWeeks Bal 3
Jason Collette: pur WBloomquist Sea 1
Jason Collette: pur SCarroll CWS 1
Rob Leibowitz: pur AOgando Tex 0
Steve Moyer: pur RValdes Hou 1
Rob Leibowitz: pur MSierra Tor 0
Lawr Michaels: pur ACrow KC 0
Rick Wolf/Glenn Colton: pur CQualls Hou 1

A couple of these bids are Vickery adjusted, including my "winning" bid of Eduardo Escobar. I was one of a couple that bid on Collin McHugh, forcing Ron Shandler to pay $8 instead of some lower number, even though I have no idea what to make of his first two starts.

Heading into Sunday's play, I was tied for fifth in the league with 72 points, 19.5 points behind Rick Wolf and Glenn Colton. Defending champ Larry Schecter got off to a slow start and is still in ninth at 60 points, but he's on the rise.