March 2006

411 League Draft results

We just completed the 411 Listener League draft, the one that started it all. Now in its fourth (or maybe fifth?) year, this draft had to be the most unpredictable anyone could’ve imagined… check out some of these early picks!

Johan Santana (1st round, 4th overall)
Carlos Beltran (1, 7)
Derrek Lee (1, 12)
Felix Hernandez (2, 18)

And those were just the first two rounds! Our boy Stray from Detroit sure mixed things up… here are the complete results, courtesy of our pal Mitch (Statistical Anomolies) and MLB Radio Fans dot com.

And, for my own egotisical, narcissistic gratification, here are the projected final standings using Baseball Prospectus’ PECTOA weighted mean averages (in other words, conservative projections):

RK PTS TEAM BA R HR RBI SB W SV ERA WHIP SO
1 92 Schwartzstops .281 1248 297 1156 144 80 115 3.69 1.26 1001
2 83 Havalina Lumber Co. .280 1137 250 1032 140 122 24 3.64 1.22 1423
3 75 Statistical Anomolies .281 1194 338 1215 97 102 74 4.14 1.32 1179
3 75 Southern Incontinents .280 1097 259 1023 121 87 88 3.54 1.25 1103
5 70 Bloo Meenies .280 1130 262 1001 157 88 49 3.76 1.26 1163
6 62 Birds of a Feather .278 1188 332 1185 127 62 69 3.94 1.29 837
7 61 Stray Dogs .275 1108 290 1065 118 75 90 3.73 1.25 974
8 57 So. Larson Hamptonians .276 1160 328 1178 87 72 67 3.85 1.26 852
9 56 Soggy Cheeseballs .277 1171 299 1101 128 60 94 3.96 1.32 829
10 55 Texas High Heat .288 1047 231 934 143 119 22 4.17 1.32 1292
11 50 Gluttons .279 992 251 954 109 93 75 4.08 1.30 1235
12 48 Argyle Gargoyles .276 1016 237 915 130 77 77 3.81 1.27 1106

(Not bad with the HTML, huh??.)

So Siano doesn’t get mad at me, there are several caveats to these projections:

* Anyone can use any projections they like and get different results, but I trust BPro
* These include the two bench spots for all teams, figuring that everyone will keep their lineup full on Mondays and Thursdays, etc.
* Several teams had shoddy Internet connections and thus got stuck with autopicks they did not want… this happened to me just once and it was a player (Brad Penny) who I didn’t mind getting, although it was a few rounds early

Here’s how my draft went:

Rd Schwartzstops POS
1 Ramirez, Ma OF
2 Figgins, Ch 2B
3 Jeter, De SS
4 Nathan, Jo RP
5 Ryan, BJ RP
6 Holliday, Ma OF
7 Glaus, Tr 3B
8 Huff, Au 1B
9 Webb, Br SP
10 Giles, Br OF
11 Haren, Da SP
12 Jenkins, Ge OF
13 Mench, Ke OF
14 Penny, Br SP
15 Pierzynski, AJ C
16 Sweeney, Mi 1B
17 Bonderman, Je SP
18 Weathers, Da RP
19 Shields, Sc RP
20 Loaiza, Es SP
21 Dejesus, Da OF
22 Patterson, Co OF
23 Valentin, Ja C
R1 Adams, Ru SS
R2 Durham, Ra 2B

A few guys went a pick or two before me so I had to go for Plan B, but overall I’m very happy. No obvious panic picks (IMO), and I somewhat made up for the Patterson NFBC debacle by taking him here in the 22nd round. I probably overcompensated for my fear of a weak OF with the Giles-Jenkins-Mench salvo, but that only cost me a middle infielder and I wasn’t too worried after getting Figgins and Jeter early.

Here’s how it looks as a lineup:

POS Schwartzstops
C Pierzynski, AJ
C Valentin, Ja
1B Huff, Au
3B Glaus, Tr
CO Sweeney, Mi
2B Figgins, Ch
SS Jeter, De
MI Durham, Ra
UT Dejesus, Da
OF Ramirez, Ma
OF Holliday, Ma
OF Giles, Br
OF Jenkins, Ge
OF Mench, Ke
SP Webb, Br
SP Haren, Da
SP Bonderman, Je
SP Loaiza, Es
SP Penny, Br
RP Shields, Sc
RP Weathers, Da
RP Ryan, BJ
RP Nathan, Jo
BN Adams, Ru
BN Patterson, Co

If Patterson gets off to a good start, I’ll get him in there. Adams has some power/speed upside and if he slumps early, can be easily replaced by several comparable players off waivers.

A few sayings I keep in mind during all drafts:

* It’s better to have a bad plan and execute than to have no plan at all
* No battle plan ever survives first contact with the enemy
* Or, as Mike Tyson once said, "everyone has a plan until they get hit"! :-)

My plan didn’t go flawlessly — I wanted Rollins over Jeter, K-Rod over Nathan and Barrett over Pierzynski to name a few, and just missed on them — but I feel I was able to adjust on the fly and mostly get the kind of team I like to have. And with better pitching, too! :-)

Next draft on Friday morning!

–CS

Unread E-mail of the day.

Today we take an e-mail from Dan.

Dan:

Here is my trade proposal… it’s a 16 team keeper. 5×5. (holds instead of WHIP) 30 man rosters. 12 keepers at the end of the year.

I send ben sheets, Izzy, and willy mo pena to get—bonderman, chad tracy and rocco baldelli.

Im nervous about sheets.  I like Izzy, but a closer like lidge will keep me in the top 8 in saves.

Plus Bonderman is on the FAMOUS LIST OF 12!

Thanks…….DAN

Cory:

There’s good reason to be nervous about Sheets, although in a keeper league, I’d be more patient. I don’t think this deal helps you as much in ’06 as it does long-term and you have a good enough roster to try to win now.

Dan:

I won 2 years ago and finished 5th last year.  5th might as well have been 2nd the way the points shook out.

Im getting something that seems like “keeper league paranoia syndrome” (my own diagnosis), where every one is so nervous about missing out on the next great thing (i.e king felix, bonderman, other list of 12 guys, etc.) that if a guys name isn’t flashed on every freaking list or write up that I see, I then think that its time to move them…or maybe I am just crazy.

In this particular league I think most owners are afflicted with this diagnosis.  Funny how a guy like izzy or pedro gets less interest in trade talks than guys like JJ hardy and Granderson. After a while it makes your more and more near sighted.  Soon ill need arm extenders to see whos the next “star”.

Cory:

You’re right that near-sightedness is a big issue in keeper leagues; I used to suffer from that until I realized it could be leveraged to create better values to help you win now. Frankly, you’re giving up the most valuable player in the deal — Isringhausen — and maybe the 2nd most valuable, too, depending on Sheets’ health. How will that help you win now? :-)

Draft dilemma: the five hole

I’ve maintained all winter long that the top four picks in a standard draft are going to be essentially the same in every draft: A-Rod, Pujols, Vladdy and Teixeira. I’ve also been adamant that the next 10-15 picks, starting at #5, are going to be a free-for-all and can go in virtually any order, making it better from a value standpoint to be closer to the end of the draft than the top. Well, guess what position I have in the Fantasy 411 listener league draft tomorrow night? Right, number five.

I’ve run through various scenarios in my head and right now I’m down to three players who I think are the top options with the pick: Carl Crawford, Derrek Lee and Manny Ramirez. There are arguments to be made for a few others, but these seem to be the leading candidates in most drafts… so let’s examine each one on his merits:

Carl Crawford

  • Pros: A top-five stolen base threat who also adds a good amount of power, unlike "specialists" like Podsednik. He’s only 25 and his power has increased each year, too, making an 18-20 homer season a real possibility. The D’Rays lineup should be stronger this year, so it’s not unreasonable that he could drive in 75 or more runs again and score over 100.
  • Cons: It’s hard to envision him maintaining his .290+ average with a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk rate and fewer than 30 walks every year. His plate discipline has not improved, in fact it declined last year, making a dip in average likely. And reports on the bone bruise in his hand range from, "it’s no big deal" to "it’s a very big deal." Medhead friend Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus wonders if the lingering bruise indicates a hairline fracture, although he says both are essentially treatable the same way and with the same recovery timeline.

Derrek Lee

  • Pros: He’s averaged 16 steals over the past four seasons, so he’s more likely to provide value in that category than Pujols or Bay, whose steals spiked unexpectedly last season. He’s always had good plate discipline, so he should maintain a .300 average or so, although I’m not expecting anything near .335 again. At his size and age, it’s not unreasonable to think he’ll maintain some of the power spike and sit in the 35-40 homer range for a few years. And, the Cubs lineup is much better this year with Pierre setting the table, so he’ll drive in more than 107 runs this time around.
  • Cons: Three big ones. First, the bruised shoulder. It’s said to be something he can play through, but as with Crawford, any injury risk becomes magnified when it’s a first round pick. Second, we know last year was a career year, but how much of the growth can he maintain? If he dips 10%, he’s the Vladimir Guerrero of 1st baseman. If he drops back down to his 2003-2004 levels, he’ll be a good 4th rounder, not 5th overall. And third, first base is incredibly deep this year… do I need to spend this early a pick on one when I can get Thome or Huff or Morneau or several other decent options 6-8 or more rounds later?

Manny Ramirez

  • Pros: A clockwork orange of offensive production, averaging .315 with 40 HR, 122 RBIs and 103 runs in his five years with the Red Sox; his slow start last year dragged down what was actually another elite year. As long as he hits among Crisp, Loretta, Ortiz, Varitek and the rest, he should easily match those numbers again this year. Plus, I like to have a big outfield, and it’s not terribly deep this year in terms of top-end options.
  • Cons: He’ll be 34 this year and has to slow down at some point. He’s a headcase, and a trade from Boston, or even rumors of it, could throw off his production. He does not steal at all, and speed is always at a premium.

In some respects, who I pick at #5 isn’t really the issue… who I get (or think I can get) with my second and third round picks will ultimately influence my decision as much as anything else. If I think there’s going to be a run on speed throughout the early rounds, Crawford is the pick. If I decide to take a more balanced approach, Lee is the choice. And if I want to gamble on getting speed later with specialists like Pods, Manny is the best option. So right now I’m running multiple mock-draft scenarios in my head, trying to figure out who might be available for me with those next two picks. I probably won’t decide until it’s time to click the button around 10:04 p.m. ET tomorrow night…

Of course, I could go for David Wright or Bobby Abreu or Jason Bay or Miguel Cabrera or Johan Santana or David Ortiz…

–Cory

Predict our draft

Brought it up on today’s show. If you can correctly predict the first round of the MLB.com Fantasy 411 Listener League I’ll send you a shirt. Send your guesses to fantasy411@mlb.com. Please make your subject line read 411 listener league mock draft.

I mentioned last week that we will start posting an un read e-mail after each show that was not read on the air. Here is one for today.

Schwartz, remember how I said we will pick one e-mail that wasn’t read over the air and put it in our BLOG? Well after remembering what you said after the show I thought this one fit perfectly.

Is Patterson worth drafting in a 10 team 5×5 league? If so, when?

Lee
Ankeny, Iowa

Take it away Cory

Cory:

In a 10-team league, Patterson is probably not worth drafting for two big reasons. First, while he should be considered to have the inside track on the starting center field job in Baltimore, Luis Matos still has two weeks to overtake him. Second, Patterson’s performance so far this spring , on the heels of his brutal 2005, shouldn’t fill anyone with any confidence that he’s ready to have a rebound season. That said, when a player puts up 24 homers and 32 steals at the age of 24, as Patterson did in 2004, it’s dangerous to write him off. As of now you should expect to let pass on him on draft day, but keep him on your radar in case he secures the job……

Siano:

I agree. In a ten team league he has less value since there will be other guys to grab that have been more consistent, but he is definitely worth keeping an eye on. The one fear about Patterson for me is that he has a decent year but in spurts meaning some or most of his counting stats will fall on the waiver wire and when you pick him up he is ice cold and killing you. If he wins the CF job you may have to be aggresive with him to succeed.

List of 12

Download 2006_list_of_12.xls 

If you can’t open excel here are the names.

M Prior
D Willis
J Peavy
B Webb
J Beckett
C Silva
O Perez
J Westbrook
B Myers
J Towers
A Harang
B Arroyo
G Meche
S Chacon
J Bonderman
C Fossum
Hendrickson
R Drese

getting ready for the season

Siano here, I was knee deep in two things last week. The World Baseball Classic and getting ready for my four drafts. I need to be ready for all of them. Two are AL Only auctions (one being TOUT) and two MLB.com Draft and Trade leagues (the office league and 411 listener league). I have my lap littered with last years stats and a notepad trying to redeem myself for my first year in TOUT where I finished 9th while at the same time trying to make the jump to 1st in my other AL Only where I finished 2nd but had a chance the final weekend. I’m trying to rely a little bit more on numbers but I can’t ignore my gut which has been receiving beer since 1992 so it’s also hard to ignore physically. The one tough thing about being in "only" four leagues but taking them all very seriously is that there isn’t room for a bad draft. What happened to me in both fantasy baseball and football in 2005 was that my finish in my league I drafted second I had way more success and I don’t think it was because the second drafty was lesser competition I think it was I got my bad decisions out of the way in the first drafts. My main goal is to avoid that in 2006.

World Baseball Classic: Had the chance to do color for the Orlando pool and to be completely honest I could not have been more honored and when all was said and done more content in my wildest dreams. I was always a fan of the Classic but now I am a true believer. It was an incredible experience and I highly recommend to everyone to get your butt to a game in 2009 if not today or in San Diego.

Last thing. We have been getting such a tremendous response with phone calls on the show that is has been hard to get e-mails and IM’s in. The truth is we love the calls, it is a live radio show that was geared to be a call in affair. We love all of our listeners, but there is a different dynamic when we get to talk to you. To help combat that a little I will try to do an e-mail a day that does not get on air in this BLOG. Hopefully Cory will chime in as well.

Siano

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