February 2008

The Second 411 Chat

Just a reminder that the second 411 chat will take place on MONDAY, MARCH 17 at 3:00 PM ET.   A link will be available on the MLB.com homepage.  Please note that you need an MLB.com user ID and password to participate.  Refer to the previous chat post for a link to the signup page for your free MLB.com account.  Get your questions ready!

Save the Closer!

Hi guys,

Last year of 3 year, 12 team, 5×5 keeper league.  We get to keep 5 guys so I need help choosing my 5th guy.  My current keepers are Johan, Reyes, Matt Holliday, Aramis Ramirez.  I have CB Young (OF), Bedard, Torii Hunter, Putz & K-Rod to choose from.

Tried shopping to upgrade but no one is biting.  I also have the snake pick since I won the league last year.  Keeper deadline is this Wednesday.

Josh in NY


Nice keeper list.  I can see why you won the league last year!  Neither CBY nor Torii Hunter are clear cut top five rounders.  Despite Young’s immense power/speed potential, his low batting average keeps him in the rounds 6-8 range.  Although Bedard has gone before Putz/K-Rod in almost every mock draft I’ve seen, and as much as it pains me to pass him up, you’ve already got Johan!  I’m also at the wheel in one of my keeper leagues (13 team 5 keepers), and it’s just too risky to leave a top closer unprotected.  There are only about 8 or so safe options as your #1, and it’s very likely that at least 2 unprotected closers will be taken before you make your first selection.  If you’re lucky, that leaves you with the likes of Jose Valverde/Huston Street, both of whom bring significant risk (tendency to implode, injury history).  Now here’s the tough part…which closer should you keep?  I’d lean slightly towards Putz due to some health concerns surrounding K-Rod over the past couple of years and the mileage on his arm, but you can’t go wrong with either of these guys.  Flipping a coin might be the best solution!

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com

No Need to Run Wild

Hey Guys,

I was asked to inherit a team in a 7×7 mixed roto keeper league.  I’ve only done non-keeper head-to-head leagues and could use your opinion…I get to keep four players and Jose Reyes will definitely be one of them.  Which three would you recommend keeping out of these players:  Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Carlos Beltran, Chone Figgins, Scott Kazmir, and Dan Haren?  Also, I have first overall pick in the draft.


Rockville Centre, NY


I’d go with Teixeira, Beltran, and Cano.  Beltran’s a legit second rounder in mixed leagues this year while Teixeira is a great late second-early third round pick.  Beltran played much of last season with tendonitis in both knees and though offseason surgery will likely keep him out of early Spring Training games, he should be near 100 percent by Opening Day.  Beltran may not run quite as much as he used to, but 20 steals to go along with 35-40 homers and 100+ RBI sounds like a keeper to me!  Teixeira’s in line for a monster season after belting 17 homers and knocking in 56 in just two months with the Braves last year.  As for the pitchers, I’d pass on both.  Reports today of a possible Kazmir elbow injury are very concerning considering his fragile health history and though I like Haren, you’re almost certain to get him (or an even better pitcher) back with the first pick in the draft.  So the choice comes down to Cano or Figgins, and the key here is that you’ve already got Reyes.  You don’t need Figgins.  Stolen bases shouldn’t be a problem!  Hang onto Cano and enjoy the 90 plus RBI from your second baseman.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com 

MDC.com experts mock draft

Thanks to the fine folks at www.mockdraftcentral.com for inviting me to participate in their pre-season expert draft #3. While this site is not affiliated with MLB.com in any way, I must give a shout out to the awesome value this site provides as a draft prep tool. Yes, every draft is different, but being able to test out different approaches and strategies and draft slots is absolutely invaluable to thorough draft-day preparation. You have to be prepared to deal with a "living" draft, that evolves and changes with every pick, and doing reps on MDC.com helps create a comfort level with every pick.

Anyway, the contestants and draft order were as follows:

  1. Joe Badalucco (SportsBuff)
  2. Darryl Houston Smith (Fantasy Baseball Mafia)
  3. Brendan Roberts (ESPN)
  4. David Martorano (RotoWire)
  5. Scott Swanay (Fantasy Baseball Sherpa)
  6. Knox Bardeen (Crooked Pitch)
  7. Ryan Bowyer (RotoTimes)
  8. Christian Peterson (LeagueSafe)
  9. T. Heaney & R. Garcia (KFFL)
  10. Joe
    Ribando (Fantistics)
  11. Cory
    Schwartz (MLB.com)
  12. Todd
    Farino (Fantasy Baseball Search)

* Here are the pick-by-pick results:


* Here is a transcipt of the live chat during the draft:


* And finally, to the meat of the story… the MDC projected results:


Now here’s the interesting part… check out how those projections compare to the projected standings using my own customized projections (based on the "composite projections" spreadsheet posted earlier this month)… Download mock_draft_results_022508.xls

(Note that I drafted it as I would for a "real" draft for the most part… only four starters, all with good strikeout rates, and as many saves as I could muster. More speed and a little less power than usual, but no obvious holes on offense as long as the kids hit.)

As noted after last night’s draft, I don’t think I am drafting to the projections, but it’s nice to see when my numbers match up so closely with the "blind" numbers of the MDC projections! Either way, be confident friends, the 411 is representing out there in the fantasy world…


In with the Young, Out with the Old

Hey guys.  Good to have you back for another season.  One quick question.  In a ten team league where we have 5 keepers (which for me are Hanley, Pujols, Tulowitzki, Ichiro, and Bedard), would taking Russell Martin with my first pick (6th round) and Sheff with my next be the beginning of the end for my draft??

Tucson, AZ


Even with the lack of depth at catcher this year, I’m not one to advocate taking a backstop too early (third round or earlier).  But snatching up Martin in what amounts to the 6th round (even in a ten teamer) is a flat out steal.  Getting a potential .300/20+/85/20 guy at this position who’s only 25 years of age is something you shouldn’t even think twice about.  As for Sheffield, I’d stay away…far away!  The 39 year old has been hampered by injuries for the past two seasons, and last year saw his batting average drop by over 30 points from his career mark.  Though hitting in an outstanding lineup should give Sheff plenty of RBI opportunities, I’m just not convinced he can stay healthy for an extended period of time.  Selecting him in the mid rounds (12 and later) as a low risk high reward pick is fine.  Targeting him as an elite option is simply asking for trouble.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com      

More Draft Orders Revealed!


1.    The Cali Hens
2.    Land O Lakes BB
3.    New York Giants SB42
4.    FlyingHampsterWeasels
5.    Godzilla
6.    The Crawdaddyfish
7.    Ernie McKraken
8.    Assdrubal My Hero
9.    Da Chicks
10.    Elijah Dukes
11.    Fantasy God
12.    Joahn MANtana
13.    The Crawdogs
14.    Ghouse
15.    Welch’s Grape Juice
16.    GMAN


1.    Golden Arms
2.    Las Vegas Jacks
3.    Jose Offerman
4.    Bronx Bombers
5.    Neil of Fortune
6.    Ghetto Revival
7.    Team Darkness
8.    He Must Have Misremembered
9.    Doozer the Abuser
10.    Robbie
11.    Secretary Not Sure
12.    Paramount


1.    MPLS Mashers
2.    Kyle Gass Project
3.    Belesta Chiefs
4.    Beamer Woodsiders
5.    USC
6.    Tom Tucker
7.    TheFolksyPhoenicians
8.    Border Reivers
9.    Liquid Revolution 4
10.    Dusty Baker’s Dozen
11.    Charlie’s Husslers
12.    Warning Track Power


1.    Spartans
2.    Johan’s Mets
3.    Degeneration-X
4.    Satan’s Little Team
5.    Mud Hens
6.    WVU Mountaineers
7.    Team Dime
8.    Wicked Jays
9.    Wright5Vilma51
10.    Reyes Is God
11.    Team Bring It
12.    Traded For Kobiaski


1.    Coffey is for Closrs
2.    Hollyweird Champs
3.    Manhattan Marauders
4.    The Blackening
5.    I See Death People
6.    Montgomery Biscuits
7.    Ukranian Love Tank
8.    Paper Champs Again
9.    Roid Rocket
10.    Love Me Sexy
12.    Hommage totheSchmooz
13.    Waylon’s Warriors

Mock draft update

Siano and I participated in the FantasyBaseballMafia.com mock draft last night; here is the complete pick-by-pick rundown if you are interested:


Here are the projected standings as provided by MDC:


For comparison, click here to download the Excel version of the projected standings I came up with using the projections I’m working against this year.

So what does this tell us? Two things, I think…

* The "quality" of your draft can be viewed differently depending on your perspective. I didn’t necessarily "draft to the projections", but I did draft guys who I think will have good years and be good values, so naturally my projected standings would be more favorable than those provided by MDC. And of course the standings will vary greatly based on injuries, free agent moves, trades, etc… but as a simple way of evaluating the quality of your draft, the projected standings are as good as anything else.

* Many of the categories are extremely close, meaning that small variances in expected player performance can swing the standings very quickly. It takes a long season to truly separate the good teams from the bad. The draft is critical to building a strong base for your team, but the close standings above and on MDC show that the difference between first and last place, at least on draft day, is not too huge to overcome by strong in-season management.

I’m doing another mock tonight and will post results tomorrow if time allows. Spring training is almost here!!


411 Chat Transcript

The first ever 411 chat was held this afternoon.  Here’s a link to view the Transcript                       



Show Notes for 2/19


1.  COREMAR   (Michael Needle)
2.  Minneapolis Muelkicks   (Chris Mueller)
3.  Donny Baseball   (Glenn in Chester)
4.  Giants 2010   (Paul Schnur)
5.  ND Blizzard   (Sam Sand)
6.  Ditmars Diamond Kings   (Bill Castro)
7.  Avenging Blowfish   (Tony Bartlett)
8.  Hammers Hitters   (Christine Hammers)
9.  MillerGold   (Casey Stern)
10. Round Trippers (Zach Steinhorn)
11. BATS OUT OF **** 08   (Steve Using)
12. The Archivers   (Johnny Archive)
13. Chopper Rodriguez   (Tucker Dahlberg)

2008 THE RIGHT WAY DRAFT ORDER (Marc’s league)

1.   Nasty Nate
2.   Chicago Neeko
3.   CJ’s Wild 9’s
4.   The Aces
5.   The Rynos
6.   Austin City Limits
7.   Bronx Bombers
8.   JazMeat NoVegetables
9.   Serenity Now
10.   Plainview
11.   Amazin’s Yo-Ho’s
12.   Burkinator

And finally, here’s a link to the draft results of a recent mock in which Siano (Sianimals) and Cory (Hombre X) both participated.  Thanks to Tony in Jacksonville for putting this file together.          Download fantasy_mock_draft_217.doc


Let the draft prepping begin!


Composite projections are here!

In honor of the 60th birthday today of my all-time favorite player, Ron "The Penguin" Cey, here’s a little spring training birthday present for you all… the "wisdom of the crowds" projections for 2008, combining SEVEN different premium and free projection systems from across the web into one handy resource.
Click here

to download the Excel spreadsheet, which includes one tab for hitters and one for pitchers.

A few items to note regarding these projections:

* These are not "MY" projections. I didn’t make up these numbers, I just compiled them from various sources. If you think they’re BS or don’t agree with them or whatever, don’t tell me about it, I don’t wanna hear it!

* Don’t ask me whose projections are included here, that wouldn’t be
fair to them. Suffice it to say there are some well-known industry
leaders represented, with some slightly more obscure sources included as well.

* Remember that these are projections, and NOT predictions. Just because this
projects Rick Ankiel with 28 homers, that doesn’t mean he’ll hit
exactly 28… but that’s the average expectation of several objective
projection systems.

* Pay special attention to the "PROJ" column, which shows how many different projections were used for each guy. The more projections for each guy (7 being the most, 2 being the least), the more confidence you should have in them. I threw out the data for any player who was only included in one projection system.

* Note also that these are essentially "what if" projections for younger players. I doubt anyone is really  expecting Juan Miranda to get 455 at-bats, or for Kyle Waldrop to throw 151.0 innings… these are simply projections for what the player would be expected to do given that playing time. For draft purposes, emphasize the guys with 5 or 6 or 7 projections; those with only 2-4 or so are essentially prospects.

OK, I think that covers it. I’ll be doing a mock draft with Siano and some Fantasy Baseball Mafia folks on Sunday night, so look for those results early next week. Man, am I glad there’s some baseball being played in Florida and Arizona! Hope springs eternal!!

Have fun and good luck with everyone’s draft prep…

Your pal,