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Sweet 16 fantasy baseball sleeper SP

I haven’t blogged in a while, but I’m back with a March Madness tradition: my Sweet 16 fantasy baseball pitchers list, which I write every year to point out sleeper and bargain hurlers.

I’m focusing on pitchers with an Average Draft Position of 200 or higher, according to RotoWire’s free ADP report from NFBC and Fantrax leagues and mocks, as of March 13.

This leaves out numerous middle-round arms I like (Lance McCullers, Jeff Samardzija, Garrett Richards, Danny Duffy and Kevin Gausman included), and I chose not to include injured but hyped Ervin Santana.

1. Taijuan Walker, Diamondbacks (203.58 ADP)

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How Much Should You Expect to Lose With Your Top Picks?

I came across an interesting article by Fangraphs’ Mike Podhorzer on Twitter this morning, wherein he shows that last year’s breakouts typically fail to earn their keep the following. It’s well worth a read. But I started wondering to what extent they fail relative to every expensive player. Because – after all – every top-50 list fails in the aggregate to live up to its preseason billing for the simple reason that players outside the top-50 before the year will wind up on it by year’s end. There’s nowhere to go but down for every set of players in the Top-10, Top-20, Top-x.

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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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NL LABR – Upon Further Review

When we first completed the NL LABR auction Sunday night, I was pleased with my team. Though I didn’t quite meet my target of spending $190 of my $260 budget on hitting (instead my split was $179/81), I thought that I pieced together a strong offense, hitting most of my intended slots with players that fit in well for each. By intended slots, as an example, I mean that I roughly had a $30 slot that I filled with a $29 Cody Bellinger, who was worth $33 according to my projections and valuation in the RotoWire software. Throughout the top end of my roster, I found other similar perceived bargains. I was even pretty happy with my purchases made in the mid-game. However, I think that not sticking to the original budget plan is going to ultimately hurt me, as my endgame players are fairly weak.

Before I go into detail about the players I purchased, and the circumstances under which we drafted, here’s a link to the results.

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Steering Into the Skid – Results from the “Beat Jeff Erickson” Draft

My baseball draft season began in earnest Tuesday night with the “Beat Jeff Erickson” contest in the NFBC’s RotoWire Online Championship. As a quick reminder, there are two components to this contest – your 12-team league, and an overall contest that over 1,700 entries last year, at $350 per person. There’s no trading in the league, and the pressure to do well in the overall contest in addition to the individual league creates the incentive to contend in all categories.

That said, there’s a difference between competing in all categories, and exiting the draft with a perfectly balanced team. For starters, the latter concept is mostly an illusion – we think we have balance, but injuries and managerial whims often conspire from attaining that balance, let alone the volatile nature of the game. You may very well think you have 90 saves in the bag after a draft, but you might have 30, or you might have 120. The latter is fine, except that you probably invested more resources than you needed to hit your target number, preventing you from contending in other categories overall.

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