March 2007

NFBC projections

Thanks for everyone’s comments on the first NFBC post. There were a lot of good hitters (Damon, C.Guillen, B.Hall, etc.) and closers (M.Rivera, Street, Hoffman) available when we took Carpenter, but we couldn’t pass up on the value of getting him in the 4th. I’ve never had a 1-2 like Santana and Carpenter, it will be fun to find out what that’s like!

Anyway, I finished putting the complete 2007 NFBC Chicago league 4 draft

into my program tonight, generated the projected standings and here’s what we have (Pat and I are team 12):

13 .2845 1071 270 1062 138 104 44 3.872 1106 1.256 104.5
12 .2755 1041 271 1028 135 83 72 3.615 1076 1.223 95.5
5 .2806 1077 291 1086 109 93 74 4.110 1175 1.316 95.0
6 .2841 1062 242 981 160 96 11 3.844 1075 1.262 90.5
1 .2804 1106 286 1073 101 65 107 3.802 897 1.301 88.5
9 .2865 1149 252 1071 104 84 47 3.819 1022 1.275 88.5
3 .2831 1034 235 955 152 82 92 3.847 1095 1.270 84.5
8 .2911 1059 219 925 147 65 54 3.682 918 1.248 80.5
2 .2765 1041 298 1027 127 90 49 4.058 1156 1.320 77.0
7 .2756 999 267 947 110 108 44 3.811 1256 1.307 74.5
14 .2741 1032 259 967 173 86 62 4.003 1095 1.307 72.5
4 .2860 995 253 1009 90 90 53 3.867 1075 1.275 70.0
11 .2778 1006 280 1044 100 84 106 4.014 964 1.325 63.5
10 .2906 950 220 906 112 69 84 3.936 972 1.306 58.0
15 .2835 1007 224 900 136 64 56 3.879 936 1.265 57.0

(Note that in the complete draft results spreadsheet, an "R" next to the team number indicates that I counted this as a reserve pick and didn’t include the player in the projected stats, so these represent projections for the opening day 23-man roster for each team. Obviously waiver wire and bench players will influence this, but this is still pretty useful for comparing the strength of each team’s draft.)

As expected, we’re right near the top of the league thanks to the expected awesomeness of Santana and Carpenter, plus a lot of sluggers and enough speed and bullpen to get by. The extremely low AVG obviously hurts us, and obviously we’re taking a huge risk on the production of our key youngsters, Chris Young and B.J. Upton. But I’m using the same overall set of projections for everyone, so if the projections equally balance risk and reward for all players, then our upside is pretty high…

What’s particularly encouraging about this is that we are projected for only 1261.2 IP, 10th out of the 15-team league. However, we are projected to lead the league in ERA and WHIP by fairly sizable margins, so we should be able to take some additional risks to rack up more W and K’s without risking our lead in those categories. And there’s the value of those two aces!🙂


Ongoing NFBC update

11:10 p.m. — OK, here’s the story. For those of you who haven’t heard,the East Coast got pummeled by a major snow and ice storm between Thursday and
Friday. So by the time I got to work Friday morning, my flight to Chicago that afternoon had already been cancelled, along with every other flight out of
the three major NYC area airports. After a frantic online, phone call and
AIM search (with Pat’s travel agent), I managed to get on an 8:00 flight this morning. Problem is, it was out
of Islip, the Long
Island regional airport. I got there in plenty of time, but there’s
only one de-icing machine for the entire airport, and as of 10:30 they hadn’t even de-iced the two other planes
scheduled to leave before us. Obviously I wasn’t getting out before noon or maybe even later, so I gritted my teeth, cancelled the flight
and headed home.

I got home just in time for the draft to start at 1:00 p.m. ET, and must give major props to the
NFBC organizers who set up the conference call dial-up for those of us who were
trying to participate remotely. Pat worked the draft on-site, and I texted
suggestions and thoughts to him throughout, while listening to the draft on the
conference call and working the draft on the laptop. It wasn’t ideal, but at
least I was in the game. I had to split after 18 rounds so Pat finished up the
rest with only sporadic input by me. (There were three picks I would have done VERY differently than he did, but I won’t name names. My boy did a fine job flying solo under unexpected circumstances.)

Anyway, we knew it would be unpredictable when Utley went fifth overall,
Holliday went 10th and Hafner (DH only) went 11th. Vladdy was our first choice
but went eighth, so we opted for Cabrera’s four-category upside over
Wright’s additional speed. (Yes, we may regret that later, but you make the best decision based on available information at the time.) It got stranger after that, as Derrek Lee went 15th, far earlier than expected… then our second choice, Teixeira, went right before us.
So with our 18th pick, we had multiple choices we never anticipated being able
to choose from: Santana, Sizemore and Jeter. We love Grady and Jeter, but Santana was too good a
value at that point and we took him.

Meanwhile, Furcal went 29th overall, Oswalt went 34th, K-Rod
went 37th and Nathan went 41st, all of them a few to several picks earlier than expected. We had hoped for Brian Roberts in the fourth
round, but fearing being shut out of prime speed guys altogether, we took him
in the third; Figgins went two picks later. And then there was Cris Carpenter
sitting there in the fourth (49th) so, once again, we felt we had to take the
best available player, one who was at least a round beyond fair value. I’ve never had two big aces before, I wonder what it will be like!

From that point it was a scramble to build out the offense and bullpen,
as can be plainly seen, since we didn’t anticipate taking a starter before the sixth or seventh round and instead we already had two after four rounds. Folks, don’t try this at home. We did have a shot at some speed guys throughout the
next few rounds, but feeling we would have a harder time finding power bats, we
opted for Sheffield and Sexson. And then to compound the
problem, guys like Kinsler, Kendrick and Barfield all went several rounds
earlier than we had anticipated.

By the time the ninth round came around, there was no choice
but to take Chris Young… let’s hope he pans out like last year’s ninth round
speed stab, Corey Patterson! Same deal with Upton in the 15th… let’s hope that
our friend Bill Chastain is right and Upton plays all over the place, enough to
get 30 or so steals. We’re gonna need ‘em. From that point on it was pretty much "best available."

Obviously our batting average is going to be weak, we’re
still short on speed, and a third closer wouldn’t hurt. But compare this team
to what we had last year coming out of the draft, and realize it’s actually not too bad, possibly even pretty good:

* Catchers:

2006: Martin and Barajas

2005: Barrett and Lieberthal

Edge: Martin will give us more steals than Barrett, with
a decent average and some pop. All Barajas has to do is play to be better than
Lieberthal. Even, possibly a slight edge this year.

* Corners:

2006: Sexson, M.Cabrera and Lowell

2005: Thome, Glaus and Encarnacion

Edge: Cabrera will lift this trio to a higher average
than last year, and his handful of steals will make a wash with Encarnacion. A
little less power but otherwise virtually identical. Even.

* Middles:

2006: Roberts, O.Cabrera and DeRosa

2005: Loretta, Jeter and Belliard

Edge: Roberts won’t match Jeter but he’s very solid at worst and I’m banking on a breakout season (.300/18/65/35/110) that could approach what Jeter did last season.
Cabrera is better than either Loretta or Belliard, and DeRosa figures to be
comparable. A lower average from this year’s trio, but more speed and
comparable power. Clear edge to 2005, but only because of Jeter’s greatness… and Roberts could close that gap.

* Outfielders:

2006: Sheffield, Burrell, C.Young,
Hawpe and Hermida (or Griffey)

2005: Guerrero, Sizemore, Swisher, Patterson and Rios

Edge: Obviously a big edge to 2005, particularly in
speed. This year’s quintent all have upside and should be comparable or maybe better in the
power categories, but can’t possibly match last year’s average, speed and run-scoring.

* Utility:

2006: Upton

2005: Sh.Green

Edge: If Upton plays enough he’ll be a major upgrade over Green’s meager season, obviously and
particulary in terms of speed. Let’s hope the super utility role agrees with him.

* Starters:

2006: Santana, Carpenter, Capuano, Jennings and Loaiza (or Nolasco)

2005: Webb, Bonderman, Suppan, Jf.Weaver and Loaiza

Edge: Huge edge to this year. Even if our bottom three
stink again, that can’t be worse than last year’s Unholy Trinity. And it’s
entirely reasonable to think that Santana and Carpenter will far exceed even the
excellence we got from Webb and Bonderman last year. Finally, remember that Capuano is a "List of 12" guy this year who halved his walk rate in ’06 without losing much of his strikeout rate!🙂

* Bullpen:

2006: Gagne, Fuentes, Otsuka and Rauch

2005: K-Rod, Ryan, Shields and Duchscherer

Edge: Huge edge to 2005, although a healthy Gagne could
make this relatively close. And if Chad Cordero gets traded, now we’re on to
something… hey, we can hope can’t we?

* Reserves:

2006: Votto, LaRoche, Pence, Pedroia, Griffey (or Hermida),
Kuo, Nolasco (or Loaiza)

2005: Kendrick, J.Bartlett, N.Logan, Br.Anderson, S.Mori,
G.Mota, Fossum

Edge: Only one of the prospects needs to pan out to match
what we got from Kendrick, and all three of them could secure MLB jobs in short order: LaRoche > Betemit, Pence > Burke/Scott/Biggio/Lane and/or Votto > Hatteberg. If two or more pan out, this will be a huge edge
this year.

So, loooking at it today I don’t think we can win the country but
I didn’t think that after the draft last year either, and we battled to sixth
place. The key, like last year, will be finding value on the free agent wire like
we did with Eric Byrnes, Chuck James and Takashi Saito. I don’t know if we’ll
be as fortunate this year, but if we are, we should be in great shape.

I’ll post projections for our team, and projected standings,
once I get the complete draft results. Thanks for everyone’s comments, I appreciate the feedback. G’night!



* * *

7:35 p.m. ET — The draft is over and I’ve completed our roster below, including our seven reserve picks. Interestingly, while we pursued a very different strategy as last year by virute of the opportunistic Santana/Carpenter picks, the overall strengths and weaknesses of last year’s and this year’s teams are very similar. More commentary on that and other topics to follow later tonight after everyone else here is asleep.🙂


* * *

4:20 p.m. ET — We’re into the reserve rounds of the NFBC Draft and since I’m not helping out "live" at this point (more on that later), here’s a quick update of our team through the first 18 rounds. Hope you’re all sitting down, since this isn’t the typical Schwartzstops squad:

C – R.Martin, LA (12th round)
C – R.Barajas, PHI (21st)

1B – R.Sexson, SEA (6th)
3B – M.Cabrera, FLO (1st)
CI – M.Lowell, BOS (18th)
2B – B.Roberts, BAL (3rd)
SS – O.Cabrera, ANA (10th)
MI – M.DeRosa (19th)

UT – B.Upton, TB (15th)
OF – G.Sheffield, DET (5th)
OF – C.Young, ARI (9th)
OF – P.Burrell, PHI (11th)
OF – B.Hawpe, COL (13th)
OF – J.Hermida, FLO (17th)

SP – J.Santana, MIN (2nd)
SP – C.Carpenter, STL (4th)
SP – C.Capuano, MIL (14th)
SP – J.Jennings, HOU (20)
SP – R.Nolasco, FLO (26th)
MR – J.Rauch, WSH (23rd)
MR – A.Otsuka, TEX (16th)
CL – E.Gagne, TEX (8th)
CL – B.Fuentes, COL (7th)

Reserves: K.Griffey Jr., CIN (22nd), D.Pedroia, BOS (24th), J.Votto, CIN (25th), H.Pence, HOU (27th), A.LaRoche, LA (28th), H.Kuo, LA (29th) and E.Loaiza, OAK (30th)

(Loaiza may be dead to me, but I guess he’s not dead to Pat!)

That’s right, we took Johan and Carpenter as our top two starters after they both dropped to what we felt was a round or more past their fair value. If rule #1 is don’t overpay for starting pitchers, and rule #2 is "have a plan and stick to it", then rule #3 is take advantage of opportunities when they arise… we felt these were great opportunities that we had to pursue.

Needless to say that had us scramling to assemble an offense, and other than a few low AVG guys and some health risks, we like how this is shaping up. I just got off the phone with DePirro (like I said, more on that later) and our reserve picks are adding great depth.

Full recap coming soon!


Surely when novelist Stewart Sterling invented the saying, “Once
burned, twice shy,” he didn’t have fantasy baseball managers in mind. Even so, the
old adage isn’t reserved solely for unlucky, heartbroken lovebirds. 

In fact, one might argue that fantasy managers, when deeply disappointed
by a player expected to carry their team, become even more resentful, bitter and
vindictive than those merely harmed by a romantic entanglement.

Past owners of Derrek Lee, Brad Lidge, Jhonny Peralta, Jeff
Kent, Brad Wilkerson, Marcus Giles, Adrian Beltre, Eric Chavez, J.D. Drew, Morgan
Ensberg, Coco Crisp, Nick Johnson, Jorge Cantu, Aubrey Huff, Jeremy Hermida,
Sean Casey, Cliff Floyd, Jason Lane, Jonny Gomes and Javy Lopez can all attest to the
miserable feeling. 

And that’s just the hitters!

I’ll leave Ted Lilly and the gang of arm spoilers to Cory. 

Friends of the fantasy community, fellow citizens; we must
learn to practice a wise word, a word best highlighted in the hook of Don Henley’s
1989 classic hit, “Heart of the Matter.”


And while Mr. Henley never explicitly dedicated the song to
fantasy managers, you certainly can’t rule out the song was ahead of its time.

Either way, consider finally forgiving the aforementioned hitters
who have left you teary eyed and you may end up with a bargain!

P.S. —  Apologies for the previous Pirates’ 40-homer flub. Glad to see people holding our feet to the fantasy fire.

– Alex Cushing

2007-08 free agents

Glad you are all enjoying the projections!

Since you all know I’m a giver, here’s a list of pending 2007-08 free agents. Remember, the "contract year effect" is pretty well-established at this point, so it might not hurt to go the extra $1 on a few of these guys…


Abreu, Bobby NYY OF Club option
Affeldt, Jeremy COL LHR
Alfonseca, Antonio PHI RHR
Alou, Moises NYM RF Club option
Anderson, Marlon LAD 2B
Armas, Tony PIT RHS Mutual option
Ausmus, Brad HOU C
Bako, Paul BAL C
Barajas, Rod PHI C Club option
Barrett, Michael CHC C
Benitez, Armando SF RHR
Bennett, Gary STL C Mutual option
Benson, Kris BAL RHS Club option
Biggio, Craig HOU 2B
Blum, Geoff SD 3B
Bonds, Barry SF LF
Boone, Aaron FLA 3B
Borowski, Joe CLE RHS Club option
Bradley, Milton OAK OF
Branyan, Russell SD 3B
Brocail, Doug SD RHS
Buehrle, Mark CHW LHS
Byrd, Paul CLE RHS Club option
Byrnes, Eric ARI OF
Cairo, Miguel NYY 2B
Cameron, Mike SD OF
Carrasco, Hector LAA RHS Vesting, conditional option
Casey, Sean DET 1B
Castillo, Luis MIN 2B
Castro, Ramon NYM C
Chacon, Shawn PIT RHS
Cirillo, Jeff MIN 3B
Clark, Brady MIL OF
Clark, Tony ARI 1B
Clayton, Royce TOR SS
Clement, Matt BOS RHS
Colon, Bartolo LAA RHS
Conine, Jeff CIN IF
Cordero, Francisco MIL RHR
Cormier, Rheal CIN LHS Club, conditional option
Cruz Jr, Jose SD OF
DaVanon, Jeffrey ARI OF
Dessens, Elmer LAD RHR
Dotel, Octavio KC RHR Mutual option
Dunn, Adam CIN OF Club option
Dye, Jermaine CHW OF
Easley, Damion NYM 2B
Eckstein, David STL SS
Elarton, Scott KC RHS
Erstad, Darin CHW 1B Club, conditional option
Eyre, Scott CHC LHR Player option
Feliz, Pedro SF 3B
Floyd, Cliff CHC OF Club, conditional option
Fogg, Josh COL RHS
Fossum, Casey TB LHS Club option
Franco, Julio NYM 1B
Franklin, Ryan STL RHS
Fultz, Aaron CLE LHS Club option
Gagne, Eric TEX RHR
Garcia, Freddy PHI RHS
Giles, Marcus SD 2B Club option
Glavine, Tom NYM LHS Club, conditional option
Gomez, Chris BAL SS
Gonzalez, Luis LAD OF
Graffanino, Tony MIL 2B
Green, Shawn NYM OF Mutual option
Grudzielanek, Mark KC 2B Conditional option
Guillen, Carlos DET SS
Guillen, Jose SEA OF Mutual option
Hatteberg, Scott CIN 1B Club, conditional option
Hawkins, LaTroy COL RHR Mutual option
Hernandez, Livan ARI RHS
Hernandez, Roberto CLE RHS Club option
Hillenbrand, Shea LAA 1B Vesting, conditional option
Hinske, Eric BOS 1B
Hoffman, Trevor SD RHR Vesting, conditional option
Hunter, Torii MIN CF
Isringhausen, Jason STL RHS Club option
Izturis, Cesar CHC SS Club option
Jenkins, Geoff MIL OF Club option
Jennings, Jason HOU RHS
Jones, Andruw ATL OF
Jones, Todd DET RHR
Julio, Jorge ARI RHR
Kendall, Jason OAK C
Kennedy, Joseph OAK LHS
Kent, Jeff LAD 2B Vesting, conditional option
Kielty, Bobby OAK OF
Kim, Byung-Hyun COL RHS
Klesko, Ryan SF 1B
Koskie, Corey MIL 3B Vesting, conditional option
Lamb, Michael HOU 3B
LaRue, Jason KC C
Lawrence, Brian COL RHS Club option
Lieber, Jon PHI RHS
Lieberthal, Mike LAD C Club option
Linebrink, Scott SD RHR
Lo Duca, Paul NYM C
Lofton, Kenny TEX OF
Lohse, Kyle CIN RHR
Lopez, Javy COL C
Lopez, Rodrigo COL RHS
Loretta, Mark HOU 3B
Lowell, Mike BOS 3B
Mackowiak, Rob CHW 2B Club option
Maddux, Greg SD RHS Club option
Mahay, Ron TEX LHR
Martin, Tom COL LHR Mutual option
Martinez, Ramon LAD 2B Club option
McDonald, John TOR SS
Mesa, Jose DET RHR
Miceli, Dan TB RHS Club option
Mientkiewicz, Doug NYY 1B
Millar, Kevin BAL 1B Vesting option
Miller, Damian MIL C
Miller, Trever HOU LHS
Miller, Wade CHC RHS
Milton, Eric CIN LHS
Mirabelli, Doug BOS C
Moeller, Chad CIN C
Molina, Jose LAA C
Myers, Mike NYY LHR
Nathan, Joe MIN RHR Club option
Nixon, Trot CLE OF
Norton, Greg TB 3B Club option
Nunez, Abraham PHI SS Club option
Ohka, Tomo TOR RHS
Oliver, Darren LAA LHS Vesting option
Ortiz, Ramon MIN RHS
Ortiz, Russ SF RHS
Palmeiro, Orlando HOU OF
Park, Chan NYM RHS
Patterson, Corey BAL OF
Paul, Josh TB C
Perez, Neifi DET SS
Perez, Odalis KC LHS Club option
Pettitte, Andy NYY LHS Player option
Piazza, Mike OAK C
Pineiro, Joel BOS RHS Conditional, mutual option
Posada, Jorge NYY C Player option
Reitsma, Chris SEA RHS Club option
Rincon, Ricardo STL LHS
Riske, David KC RHR Club, conditional option
Rivera, Mariano NYY RHR
Rodriguez, Ivan DET C Club option
Rogers, Kenny DET LHS
Romero, J.C. BOS LHR
Rowand, Aaron PHI OF
Saenz, Olmedo LAD 3B
Sanders, Reggie KC OF
Schilling, Curt BOS RHS
Silva, Carlos MIN RHS
Smoltz, John ATL RHR
Springer, Russ STL RHS
Stewart, Shannon OAK OF
Strickland, Scott SD RHS
Sturtze, Tanyon ATL RHR
Suzuki, Ichiro SEA RF
Sweeney, Mark SF 1B
Sweeney, Mike KC DH
Tavarez, Julian BOS RHS Vesting, conditional option
Thomson, John TOR RHS
Timlin, Mike BOS RHS
Tomko, Brett LAD RHS Mutual option
Torrealba, Yorvit COL C
Uribe, Juan CHW SS Club option
Valentin, Javier CIN C Club, conditional option
Valentin, Jose NYM SS Vesting, conditional option
Vazquez, Javier CHW RHS
Vizcaino, Luis NYY RHS
Vizquel, Omar SF SS
Wakefield, Tim BOS RHS Club option
Walker, Todd SD 2B
Ward, Daryle CHC 1B Mutual option
Weaver, Jeff SEA RHS
Wells, David SD LHS
Wells, Kip STL RHS
Westbrook, Jake CLE RHS
White, Rondell MIN OF Vesting option
Wickman, Bob ATL RHR
Wilkerson, Brad TEX OF
Williamson, Scott BAL RHR
Wilson, Craig ATL OF
Wilson, Preston STL OF
Witasick, Jay OAK RHR Club option
Wolf, Randy LAD LHS Vesting, conditional option
Wood, Kerry CHC RHS
Woodward, Chris ATL SS
Wright, Jaret BAL RHS
Young, Michael TEX SS Club option
Zambrano, Carlos CHC RHS

UPDATED projections – March 6

Sorry to those of you who have already downloaded and started tinkering around with the original set of projections, but here are new batting and pitching files, updated March 6 with these changes:

* Most importantly, replaced one set of base projections with another… without naming names, let’s just say I took out a set that I didn’t think was realistic and replaced it with another set from a provider who I feel is a little more credible. The revised numbers don’t show a huge difference because these are after all averages, but in a few places they do seem a little more reasonable.

* Took out CS for hitters (a few providers didn’t include it) but added "EYE" (BB/SO) since we care a lot about plate discipline;

* Corrected the projections for both Jose Reyes and both Abraham Nunez, plus a few other minor player_ID mapping tweaks.

Finally, to re-state my response to a few of the comments…

I’m purposefully not providing these in Excel, since I’m effectively giving away something our partners and other providers charge for, so this is out of respect to them and their products. However, as mentioned before, I can’t stop someone from trasferring them into Excel and then circulating them via some other means, right?🙂

Thanks for the great response to this and for listening to the show, I hope this helps everyone get their draft strategy ready!



I’ve been promising these for weeks, and the time has come… combined average projections from five of the biggest providers in the business. Out of respect to them and all of our partners, I won’t say who, but trust me you’ve heard me talking about all of them on the show in the past. A few caveats:

* These are not "my" projections, they are merely averages of the projections provided by these sources. So if you don’t like one projection or another, I don’t wanna hear about it!

* Also don’t blame me if some of the names on the list seem a little odd. Why bother with a projection for Jeromy Burnitz or Matt Herges? Hey, they’re on the list, I average ’em up and pass ’em on.

* And, some of the position/role assignments might not be entirely reliable, so don’t use this list to determine position eligibility. I’ll be using this strictly for stats, nothing more. (The team/league assignments, however, should be accurate as of February 27, when I last updated that part of the spreadsheet.)

* To my eye, these projections seem a little conservative on the whole, although an average projection that calls for 49 homers for Ryan Howard can’t be all that conservative!

* The number of projections averaged for each player is provided… obviously those with 5 projections are likely to be more predictive than those with 1 or 2.

* A couple of the projection systems provide stats for the player on a "what if" basis… if this guy played in the Majors this year, what would he do? Other systems are based on what they guy will do… so again, these should be discounted for younger players and those who are less likely to appear in the Majors this year. Chip Cannon could hit 24 homers this year, according to these projections, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be in the Majors to do it.

* The OBP value for hitters is not exacting, since not all of the sources provided the HBP and SF values needed to calculate it. In case anyone cares, I calculated it as ((H+BB)/(AB+BB))*1.05, tacking on the five percent increase as a proxy for HBP and SF. But who cares, it’s the BB vs. SO ratio we care about anyway.🙂

* Similarly, not all sources projected saves… as we know those are based more on opportunity than anything else. Focus on WHIP and K/BB for potential (and actual) closers.

* Finally, remember that any projection is a living them and is heavily dependent on a player’s health and opportunity as much as their performance record. Bernie Williams is projected for 321 at-bats, but he’s got to find a job first.🙂

HERE THEY ARE!! Right-click and "save as" to download batting and pitching… one file for each, saved as .pdf’s. Enjoy!