Articles by Clay Link

A listing of all the articles written by Clay Link for the RotoWire Blog.

Players I Whiffed On – 2018 Edition

This was a pretty good season for me.

I won the overall championship in The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational and finished top 10 in the NFBC RotoWire Online Championship among 1,764 teams.

However, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. And realistically, nobody wants to hear about my successes anyway. It’s my opinion that in this game, looking at one’s failures is more productive than looking at one’s successes, so I wanted to take some time to look back at what I got wrong.

This is just scratching the surface:

Jose Peraza, SS, CIN – This was probably my biggest whiff of the season, and it was with a player on my favorite team. What I saw with my own two eyes in 2017 was beyond ugly. Part of it was body language — he wasn’t confident at all — but the numbers backed it up: no power (.066 ISO), no patience (3.9 percent walk rate), a 21.6 percent line-drive rate (down nearly six percentage points from 2016). I thought an ADP around pick 200 was way too high. I guess the lesson here is that it’s OK to overlook some warts and gamble on a player with pedigree outside the top 175 or so, especially when he plays a premium position, plays in an advantageous home park and helps in a scarce category.

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Tout Wars Review: H2H Points

It was a surreal experience last weekend taking the ferry from lower Manhattan and arriving at Richmond County Bank Ballpark, home of the Staten Island Yankees, for the 2018 Tout Wars auctions.

This was just my second year competing in Tout Wars, and there was a major change in my league: the decision was made to move from H2H categories to a H2H points format.

This change had a dramatic effect on how most of us valued players and production. Knowing your format is so important — if you play in anything other than a standard 5×5 Rotisserie league, you can’t just draft from a standard cheat sheet or gauge value based on ADP.

The scoring system:

Hitting Points: Single=1, Double=2, Triple=3, HR=4, BB=1, Strikeouts=-.5, Runs=1, RBI=1, Stolen Base=2, Caught Stealing=-1

Pitching Points: Win=5, Loss=-3, Save=5, Blown Save=-3, Strikeout=1, Walk=-1, Out=1, Hit Allowed=-1, Earned Run=-1

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AL LABR Review: Hits and Misses

Last weekend I took part in my second AL-only LABR auction.

For the uninitiated, LABR (pronounced “labor”) stands for League of Alternative Baseball Reality. Founded in 1994, it was the first high-profile experts league of its kind. Check out its Wikipedia page.

To say it’s a tremendous honor to be a part of the league would be a huge understatement. The entire weekend is a blast, hanging out in Arizona and talking baseball with the best minds in the industry.

There were a few of key lessons I learned in my first year. My crucial mistakes:

  1. I didn’t spread my budget around as well as I should have and ended up with three $1 hitters on my team (four $1 players total).
  2. I valued volume over skills too much on the pitching side.

With that in mind, and with a core of key players pinpointed that I wanted to build around — Giancarlo Stanton, Blake Snell, Mike Clevinger, Wilson Ramos, Dustin Fowler, Blake Treinen, Keone Kela, and A.J. Puk were all players that I knew I liked more than most — I set about creating what will hopefully be a championship-winning team.

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Tout Wars H2H Review

Thirteen dollars.

That’s how much I left on the table in last Friday’s Tout Wars mixed head-to-head auction. It’s something I’ll have to live with. Maybe I should just go ahead and get a “$13” tattoo because this is who I am now.

But seriously, $13 left on the table should not prevent me from winning this league. Yes, I should have better gauged the auction dynamics and paid up for some top-end talent as it was drying up (going to $33 for Starling Marte, $30 for Charlie Blackmon are two examples of missed opportunities), as I then could have gotten in on the fun of dollar days. However, having more money than anyone else late allowed me to get a lot of the players I like this season, and really, I could have paid one additional dollar for any 13 players on my roster and I’d still be happy with the relative values.

This is a 12-team mixed league with the standard 23-player active rosters (14 hitters, nine pitchers) and seven bench spots. Each owner had $260 to fill their 23 active spots. It’s a H2H categories league with OBP replacing batting average and K/9 replacing strikeouts.

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King of the Dish: 14-team Auction Review

Draft season is flying by.

On Wednesday, I took part in my seventh draft/auction of the season. Only two more to go.

Wednesday’s auction was perhaps the most interesting one I’ve taken part in so far this spring. Put on by the kind folks at SportsVault, King of the Dish is a 14-team, 5×5 mixed rotisserie league that uses OBP instead of average and saves-plus-holds instead of saves. Each roster consists of 23 active players (14 hitters, nine pitchers), including two catchers, and three bench spots. Each owners had $300 to spend in the auction to fill those 26 spots.

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Nine Pitchers Who Could Reach 20 Holds

Hold the phone.

You’re telling me more people are incorporating holds into their fantasy leagues? It sure seems that way, whether it’s as a standalone category or as saves-plus-holds, rather than just saves. I’ve come around to the stat myself.

Counting holds adds another wrinkle and element of strategy to fantasy baseball. Holds make monitoring back-end bullpen battles a lot of fun, and in saves-plus-holds leagues especially, auctions and drafts play out much differently. Owners are typically hesitant to spend much on closers in that format, and rightfully so, meaning there is more being spent elsewhere. While closers generally rack up more saves than the top setup guys, holds are far more plentiful around the league and rather easy to find on the waiver wire. That said, pinpointing the premiere holds contributors can separate you from the pack.

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The Thom Brennaman Blues

“Boy oh boy, Cowboy…”

So says Thom Brennaman to “Cowboy” Jeff Brantley when things just aren’t going right for the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are my team, but I can’t help but laugh in many of these instances, simply at Brennaman’s sheer disgust with what’s going on on the field. As many know, Thom wears his heart on his sleeve, to say the least. I remember fondly a particular David Holmberg start last year against the Braves — it was August 21.

Holmberg looked generally awful, giving up a home run to Andrelton Simmons in the first and then issuing three walks — including one with the bases loaded — in a five-run second inning. As each run for Atlanta crossed the plate, Thom grew increasingly repulsed and eventually apathetic to what was going on. Before long, he was (almost) completely ignoring the action and droning on about other things, solemnly tossing it to Jim Day in the stands when he felt like it and randomly offering up lunches with his dad for charity. “Who wants to eat lunch with a Hall of Famer?”

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