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Monday 22nd May 2017

Do you want to learn Mastersball's tricks of the trade to win at the NFBC?  The Masters of the NFBC is the place.

We hear the adage every year, ‘spring training stats are meaningless.’ Yet every year we see ADP impacted by preseason stats. Should ADP be affected?

This time of year it seems every time a potentially fantasy relevant player has a hot streak or goes yard twice there is a surge in his average draft position. Conversely, we see ADP slide when a hurler gets hit hard more than once. Is this justified?

Early on most pitchers are just getting their work in. On a given day one pitcher may just be focused on establishing his fastball command, throwing nothing but the heater. This is the functional equivalent of batting practice (professional hitters who can drive a fastball knowing a fastball is coming are a dime a dozen). Other pitchers might be working on their changeup, firing 10 to 15 big fat matzah balls down the heart of the plate at 83 mph in rapid succession. Unless you’re actually watching the games unfold to see the story behind the stats, a player’s line from an exhibition game is really more subject to noise which precludes us from deriving any truly useful fantasy knowledge.

Let’s look at some of 2010’s preseason sluggers and if they were able to carry their results into the regular season when the games count.

2011 Preseason 2011 Regular Season
Player HR BA OBP SLG OPS HR BA OBP SLG OPS
Jake Fox 10 .297 .325 .797 1.122 2 .246 .313 .443 .756
Mike Morse 9 .364 .421 .818 1.239 36 .303 .360 .550 .910
Kila Ka'aihue 7 .397 .462 .845 1.306 2 .195 .295 .317 .612
Alex Gordon 6 .343 .459 .729 1.187 23 .303 .376 .502 .878
Aubrey Huff 6 .369 .391 .692 1.084 12 .246 .306 .370 .676
Luke Hughes 6 .246 .265 .569 .834 7 .223 .289 .338 .627
Alex Rodriguez 6 .388 .444 .898 1.342 16 .276 .362 .461 .823
Mark Trumbo 6 .297 .316 .662 .978 29 .254 .291 .477 .768
Russell Branyan 5 .429 .492 .768 1.260 4 .238 .330 .479 .809
Chris Davis 5 .362 .387 .741 1.128 3 .250 .296 .408 .704
Alcides Escobar 5 .364 .400 .636 1.036 4 .254 .290 .343 .633
Ben Francisco 5 .362 .439 .667 1.106 6 .244 .340 .364 .704

So what does this tell us? The answer is as a general rule you’re better off focusing on the regular season stats from the previous year and ignoring the raw stats from preseason games. In the spirit of Dennis Green, these players are who we thought they were. We didn’t need spring training games to tell us that Mike Morse could rake. We knew Morse was good from his performance during 98 games in 2010 (.289/36/15/41/0). We knew Kila Ka’aihue was a AAAA player who had a long swing that would get exposed, just as it had previously during cups of coffee in September. And yet we were fooled, at least collectively, as represented by Kila’s rising ADP as spring training progressed and NFBC draft day approached. Jake Fox was another who duped people in AL Only Leagues and as a late round pick in Mixed Leagues. Aubrey Huff and Alex Rodriguez also saw a slight bump in ADP last year as their bats sizzled in March.

At the same time, what happens in spring training is not meaningless. Ideally we need to contextualize the stats to make them more useful. Watch as many games as possible. If Aaron Hill hits two bombs (he didn’t), find out if they were both against a Dan Haren who was using his full arsenal of pitches, or if they were against an inexperienced rookie from A ball, who hung a 75 mph curve ball up in the zone, and JJ Putz, who is working on a cut fastball and thus may be throwing that pitch exclusively throughout certain stretches.

Of course it is impossible to watch all of the games. That’s why we here at Mastersball have Perry Van Hook scouting players daily in the Cactus League and Brian Walton giving you highlights from action down in the Grapefruit League (if you haven’t been reading the Cactus League Notes and the Grapefruit League Notes, you’ve been missing out on some great stuff).

If I can’t watch the games and I’m left with the raw compiled stats over all of the exhibition games, when it comes to veteran hitters that are raking, all that tells me is that they’ve probably got their timing of the fastball down and they are probably healthy. That’s good to know, but I’m not going to let that influence where I’m going to draft somebody unless it’s someone coming off of an injury.

Hanley Ramirez (.409/.519/.773) is healthy and driving the ball well. His shoulder is fine. Draft him with confidence. Hanley’s ADP was 17 in February but has recently moved up a couple of notches to 15.

ARod’s swing looks great as well (.292/.370/.625). His knee and shoulder issues don’t appear to be of any concern. Yet his ADP has barely moved from 58 a month ago up to 56. Owners are still understandably gun-shy about whether or not the 36-year-old vet can stay healthy over a 162 game season.

With Mike Napoli I need to see him in the lineup everyday. That hasn’t happened to this point. His ankle is still not 100% after having the entire off-season to heal. Napoli’s ADP is holding steady at 39 and indicates owners are being much too dismissive of the risk in drafting this catcher who has to stoop for hours and put pressure on his lower legs most every day. Oh, and he’s also battling a groin problem.

Justin Morneau’s struggles this spring (.107/.167./.107) would be of no concern if he were coming off a healthy season. It often takes 35-50 AB’s to get one’s timing down. Not to mention hitters may be experimenting with their swing, but for someone who hasn’t been an asset at the plate since June of 2010, I need to see more before I invest. Even though he may only cost you a 16th round pick, there’s little to warrant confidence at this point. If you do gamble with Morneau be sure you have a plan B. Consider handcuffing Chris Parmalee (SEP: .355/.443/.592). Obviously a small sample size, but he’s a cheap insurance policy which you can usually get in the 30th round (ADP 517) that might return something in the event that Justin is shut down.

Ike Davis has Valley Fever and ironically his ADP has risen to seven spots up to 148. Perhaps some drafters are confused. This isn’t a good kind of fever. Unlike ‘disco fever’ that had everyone excited during the 70’s, Valley Fever’s severity of symptoms can range anywhere from being similar to a cold virus that saps your energy for a month, or it can be worse than mononucleosis on steroids. Conor Jackson downplayed the virus when he contracted it in 2009. Every time he thought he was getting better the symptoms would resurface. He ended up playing only 30 games (.182/.264/.253) before being shut down for the season. His career has never really gotten back on track. I’d wait until I’d see Davis playing in back to back games and showing some strength at the plate before I’d consider Davis as a gamble at CI.

Andre Ethier looked strong at the plate when I saw him and in just 19 AB’s he has six doubles, a triple, and a home run. His ADP has fallen from 109 to 117, as drafters must be concerned that he missed time due to back stiffness. His power outage last year was due to a knee injury. He had surgery in the fall and his knee is healthy now. So the back malady is a new and unrelated issue. A fantasy drafter should never ignore back problems, but I’m not much concerned about this…yet.

Chase Utley on the other hand would have to do something amazing for him to be back on my radar. He hasn’t appeared in a game yet and there’s still no timetable on his return. Coming off of an injury-plagued season and with skills in decline at age 33, Utley’s ADP has fallen from 77 to 90. That’s not enough. He’s not even a consideration for me in the first 12 rounds.

Adam LaRoche has only 8 AB’s with a double and a single. With an ADP of 338, Adam has considerable upside, but expectations should be kept low until he shows the ability to drive the ball and the ability to make hard throws in the infield without aggravating his shoulder.

Adam Dunn had an emergency appendectomy early last season and I think it may have impacted his power outage more than most people realize. He has looked decent enough at the plate (.294/.478./.706) and might only cost you a 15th round pick (ADP 212). If you miss out on the top tier first basemen and can afford the hit on BA it might be worth rolling the dice here.

Two weeks ago we examined why Ubaldo Jimenez and Hiroki Kuroda were pitchers to avoid this year. Let's look at a few other hurlers who will be moving into new digs this year and how the move will affect their fantasy value.

Trevor Cahill saw his ERA rise from 2.97 to 4.11 and his WHIP from 1.11 to 1.43. That was rough sledding for Cahill owners last year. That's good for you because it creates a buying opportunity in 2012. Cahill is being drafted in the 18th round. He moves from the Coliseum, a pitchers park with lots of foul territory, to Chase Field, which is much friendlier to hitters. On the bright side, less foul territory and facing the pitcher should lead to a few more K's. Trevor already improved his K/9 rate from 5.4 to 6.4 last year. The move to the NL might spike that rate to around 7, in which case Cahill's upside is about 165 to 170 K's. Cahill also suffered from having one of the worst defenses in the AL behind him. The Athletics UZR rating of -22.1 was 25th in the Majors in 2011. That's all behind him now, as the Diamondbacks fielded the best defense (55.8 UZR). That will likely slip a little with the defensively challenged Jason Kubel replacing defensive stalwart Gerardo Parra in left field. Still, Arizona's defense should remain very good. This should help his ERA a smidge, and with his 56% GB rate, the HR damage Chase inflicts should be minimized. The move to the NL could have Trevor sporting a 3.50 ERA along with serviceable win and K totals. He will be a cheap end of rotation pick for you in the later rounds.

Erik Bedard isn't really more injury prone than Darren Dreifort. It just seems that way. If you draft Bedard, you have to assume that he'll probably get injured at some point. When healthy and in the right environment he can be an asset. Bedard pitched effectively for the Mariners in Safeco before the trade to Boston and getting sequestered in Fenway. He should find the sailing smoother moving out of the brutal AL East. Erik posted a 3.62 ERA with an 8.7 K/9 rate. The move to the NL should see those numbers improve to about 3.20 and 9.2 respectively. That makes Bedard a 200K pitcher if he could just stay healthy for a full season. Granted, the odds of that may be about 20%, but I'll take a floor 16+ starts with those rate stats for the cost of a 21st round pick. If you're lucky you'll get more. If you're not so lucky, add 16 starts from Bedard and 18 from serviceable FAAB pickups and you've got a decent return on your investment.

The Rockies acquisition of Guillermo Moscoso looks so bad there must be something we don't know about because on paper this move makes no sense. A 55% fly ball rate, a .221 BABIP that will rise, and a 4.23 FIP in a pitchers park all take residence at Coors Field. Unless someone on the Rockies staff has a magic elixir that will add an effective 2-seamer to his arsenal, this is someone to avoid even as a 30th round pick.

Moneyball failed to bring home any awards from the academy. However with a little bit of luck, moving pitcher C.J. Wilson could bring home an award from the BBWA if everything falls into place. CJ leaves the Ballpark in Arlington for the pitching friendly confines of the Angel Stadium of Anaheim. He also leaves a very good defense (Texas UZR 25.9) for a great defense (Anaheim UZR 42.4). His Home/Road splits are very interesting, posting (3.69/1.23) at home and (2.31/1.15) on the road. With an ADP of 70 in the NFBC, the time to buy low on CJ is now.

Mark Buehrle (ADP 309) moves to Miami and a league that will be kinder to his ERA and a home park that will likely turn a couple of his Home Runs into long fly outs. Buehrle's FIP (3.98) didn't fully support his ERA (3.59), but that's a recurring theme in his career, so there may be something in his profile that resists FIP's pull. However, Buehrle will inherit what projects to be a below average defensive unit. Expect 125 K's and a 3.50-3.75 ERA.

If you're thinking about drafting Aaron Harang outside of NL only leagues this year, we need to talk. Harang's ERA was 3.64 last year. Looking at his home/road splits gives us insight on what to expect from Aaron as he moves away from Petco Park. In 2011 he sported a nifty (3.05/1.21) at home, and a not so nifty (4.70/1.64) on the road. If your strategy is punting ERA, WHIP, and Wins, then Aaron Harang will make an excellent addition to your staff.

On the opposite end of the spectrum Edinson Volquez leaves the launching pad known as Great American Ball Park for pitching Nirvana. He struggled of and on with his command during the course of the season. That's a common ailment for pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery. Edinson displayed flashes of brilliance, often cruising along with great command and dominance for 2-3 innings before suddenly losing his ability to locate his breaking balls, getting behind in the count, and then grooving fastballs in hitter's counts as opposing teams teed off. The results in the box score were so ugly the Reds sent him to Louisville for 13 starts to figure things out. In Triple-A his command improved (83/29 K/BB rate). The ace that struck out 206 batters with a 3.21 ERA back in 2008 is still inside waiting to come out. He needs to learn to trust his stuff more and Petco should facilitate that process. If you want to take a flier on Volquez it will cost you a 21st round draft pick. If he slips past that don't be afraid to take a chance on this arm.

We all want the shiny new toy. Whether we’re industry writers trying to make a name for ourselves, or cagy NFBC veterans trying to prove our mettle to rest of the world, everyone wants to be the one to grab the young studs with upside. The problem is that this champing at the bit to draft hyped players drives up their price and decreases the chance for profit for those who invest in those same up-and-comers. So, the question becomes what good is it to draft the young thoroughbred with ‘upside’ if he has to reach that upside for us just to break even on our investment?

Well, these are guys I see generating buzz this draft season, and while they all indeed attractive, for the most part, it is potential we are savoring a lot of the time.

Mike Stanton, or Giancarlo as he prefers, currently has an ADP of 23, but in recent drafts I’ve often seen him go early 2nd round or even late 1st. I love Giancarlo, but his price is not attractive to me. We all know about his upside. He mashed at Double-A back in 2010. Some touts see him as the next Babe Ruth. That’s all fine and dandy, but let’s look at his actual fantasy production in the majors thus far. In 2010 in 100 games Stanton posted (.259/45/22/59/5). Projected over 150 games the totals come to (.259/67/33/88/7). In 2011 Stanton put up (.262/79/34/87/5). Very consistent production two straight years, but not something that entices me to spend an early 2nd round pick on. Yes Stanton has outstanding potential, but will he breakout this year or like Adrian Beltre will he bust out a few years down the road. The outfielder did become more patient and increased his BB% from 9% in the first half to 15% in the second half last year, but his 68% contact rate doesn’t scream batting average upside. Stanton stole five bases, but was also caught five times, so a surge in steals doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Stanton is an OF with almost no speed and a .260ish BA. That’s not the ideal offensive cornerstone given position scarcity in the infield player pool and the relative abundance of outfielders. What if he turns out to be another Adam Dunn with a slightly better BA? Is that worth such a high pick? Jay Bruce (.256/84/32/97/8) put up slightly better numbers last year, has similar upside this year, and has an ADP of 47. I would take Bruce in the 4th before I’d take Giancarlo in the 2nd.

Brett Lawrie stormed onto the fantasy scene in August last year, compiling a fine line in just 43 games (.293/26/9/25/7). This has (.290/30/25) written all over it, doesn’t it? Maybe. No doubt the potential is there. With the power-speed combo at 3B it’s justifiable taking him at his current ADP of 43. At the same time the risk is very high. Forty-three games is too small of a sample size to have much confidence in. During his first 26 games Lawrie posted (.340/15/7/20/4) but pitchers started to adjust and in his last 17 games Lawrie put up just (.214/11/2/5/3). Can Lawire make the changes to justify his lofty ADP? The answer to that question will determine whether or not you want to take the plunge here. I’m on the fence, but his excellent bat speed has me leaning ‘Yes.’ The power and speed are legit (he stole 30 bags at Double-A in 2010). There is considerable batting average risk, but the reward is great given what follows in your third basemen cheat sheet. There is room for profit here even in the third round.

We’ve all heard by now that Yu Darvish is not Daisuke Matsuzaka. How "this one is different." Déjà vu all over again. I vividly recall hearing similar mantras back in 2007 when Matsuzaka joined Red Sox nation.

Over his seven-year career Darvish posted an 8.87 K/9 rate, a 3.75 K/BB ratio, a 1.99 ERA, and a 0.98 WHIP. During Daisuke's eight-year stint in Japan, the hurler posted an 8.69 K/9, a 2.75 K/BB ratio, a 2.94 ERA, and a 1.14 WHIP. Yu is taller, has better command, and throws with more velocity than Matsuzaka. Of course, all of this is true, but as the sage of wisdom Bill Murray once proclaimed, “It just doesn’t matter!”

The aforementioned is trumped by the fact that Yu is still a rookie with no MLB experience and is used to pitching every 6th day. That’s not what I’m usually looking for in an 8th round pick (NFBC ADP of 122 currently, but that will surely rise as we approach the end of March). I’ll likely stay away, but I want to watch him this spring to see how he responds to pitching on shorter rest and in his new environment before submitting the final verdict.

A roto savant somewhere once said, ‘There’s no such thing as a pitching prospect.’ While this proverb isn’t true in the absolute sense, living by it has helped me avoid many a minefield during drafts over the years. I can live with the fact that I miss out on heavily hyped rookie pitcher that actually pans out every once in a while because I avoid so many busts it more than makes up for it. Enter Matt Moore. There are no blemishes here. Some will compare him to David Price, but Price lacked that third quality pitch as a rookie. Moore doesn’t. He has an excellent fastball, an excellent curveball, and a good changeup. His minor league numbers are off the charts, and when he was called up late in the season he didn’t miss a beat. During the playoffs he had ice in his veins. So what’s not to like? Nothing, except that he’s still a rookie getting drafted in the 6th round. That’s too early for someone without a track record in the big leagues. I need to see what happens once teams get to face him and second and third time, once they get more film, better scouting reports, and start to make adjustments. Resist the temptation. Don’t give in. Just say no to Matt Moore.

If you don’t wear a hairpiece, Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) your ERA instead. Sabermetricians commonly preach regression to the mean, and to that end FIP is used as a common indicator of regression candidates. Just how valid is this? If your ERA is lower than FIP is it really the result of luck? When a pitcher has a high strand % is it really just a fluke? Don’t some pitchers just bear down and turn it up a notch in high leverage situations allowing them to be more effective when it counts? Is an extremely low BABIP a result of a pitcher being lucky or a result of his stuff inducing weak contact that leads to more outs? In short does FIP lead us astray or can it be used as a reliable indicator of overvalued and undervalued pitchers heading into 2012 NFBC drafts? Let’s look at some data:

 

Pitcher
2010 ERA 2010 FIP 2010 FIP-2010 ERA 2011 ERA 2011 ERA-2010 ERA
Clay Buchholz 2.33 3.61 1.28 3.48 1.15
Tim Hudson 2.83 4.09 1.26 3.22 0.39
Trevor Cahill 2.97 4.19 1.22 4.16 1.19
Jon Garland 3.47 4.41 0.94 4.33 0.86
Jonathan Sanchez 3.07 4.00 0.93 4.26 1.19
R.A. Dickey 2.84 3.65 0.81 3.28 0.44
Felix Hernandez 2.27 3.04 0.77 3.47 1.20
Bronson Arroyo 3.88 4.61 0.73 5.07 1.19
Wade Davis 4.07 4.79 0.72 4.45 0.38
Jaime Garcia 2.70 3.41 0.71 3.56 0.86
David Price 2.72 3.42 0.70 3.49 0.77
Randy Wolf 4.17 4.85 0.68 3.69 -0.48
Ted Lilly 3.62 4.27 0.65 3.97 0.35
Jeremy Guthrie 3.83 4.44 0.61 4.33 0.50
Cole Hamels 3.06 3.67 0.61 2.79 -0.27

 

Listed above are the 15 pitchers with the greatest differential between their 2010 FIP and their 2010 ERA, limited to pitchers with 150+ IP that year.  The average FIP-ERA differential among these pitchers in 2010 was 0.84, while the average differential between 2011 ERA and 2010 FIP was 0.65.  As you can see, owners that stayed away from these regression candidates were quite happy that they did, with only two exceptions (Wolf and Hamels). Now let us look at 2011 ERA-FIP differentials.

 

Pitcher 2011 ERA 2011 FIP 2011 FIP-ERA 2012 NFBC ADP
Jeremy Hellickson 2.95 4.44 1.49 151
Ricky Romero 2.92 4.20 1.28 108
Johnny Cueto 2.31 3.45 1.14 176
Joe Saunders 3.69 4.78 1.09 471
Jair Jurrjens 2.96 3.99 1.03 244
Ryan Vogelsong 2.71 3.67 0.96 267
Jeff Karstens 3.38 4.29 0.91 471
Jered Weaver 2.41 3.20 0.79 40
Hiroki Kuroda 3.07 3.78 0.71 215
Josh Beckett 2.89 3.57 0.68 121
Wandy Rodriguez 3.49 4.15 0.66 214
Bronson Arroyo 5.07 5.71 0.64 532
Ervin Santana 3.38 4.00 0.62 203
Bruce Chen 3.77 4.39 0.62 470
Jhoulys Chacin 3.62 4.23 0.61 227

 

Notice that Saunders, Karstens, Arroyo, and Chen don’t project to be drafted in 30 Round NFBC drafts, but the rest in the table are probably not going to return the value most owners are expecting this year. This list does not mean you shouldn’t draft these pitchers. It means that, all else being equal, you should expect something closer to 2011 FIP when projecting their 2012 ERA. Hiroki Kuroda moves from a pitcher’s park in Los Angeles to a hitter’s haven in New York and will have to face a DH each time through the lineup. Instead of facing teams such as San Diego in Petco and San Francisco in AT&T Park, he’ll face Boston in Fenway and Toronto in the Rogers Centre.   That won’t help him resist FIP gravity.  

Even with some modest regression Jered Weaver is still plenty valuable and he’ll once again have Vernon Wells (UZR/150 of 11.7) Peter Bourjos (UZR/150 of 8.1) tracking his fly balls (49% FB rate) in Left and in Center, respectively.

There is no doubt that Joe Saunders benefited from the Diamondbacks being the best defensive team in baseball last year according to UZR, but he also had a 77% strand rate that won’t happen again this year, not to mention a 27% hit rate that was very fortunate. Saunders’ 2011 FIP is a good forecast of what to expect this year.

Cincinnati had the 3rd best Team UZR rating last year and that may have played a role in Johnny Cueto outperforming his FIP by so much. Cueto should regress some, but his GB% increased from 42% in 2010 to 54% in 2011. An elite infield comprised of Scott Rolen, Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto and Paul Janish gobbled those ground balls up. This year Zach Cozart (UZR 4.1 in just 77.1 Innings last year) will take over SS for Janish. Draft Cueto expecting 140K’s and 3.20 ERA with upside IF he stays healthy. Just missing this list were Justin Verlander (2.40 ERA 2.99 FIP, ADP 20) and James Shields (2.82 ERA 3.42 FIP, ADP 72). They both should regress and are likely to be overpriced on draft day. Let’s turn things around and see which pitchers might be a value based on last year’s FIP.

 

Pitcher 2011 ERA 2011 FIP 2011 ERA-2011 FIP 2012 NFBC ADP
John Lackey 6.41 4.71 1.70 639
Derek Lowe 5.05 3.70 1.35 558
Ricky Nolasco 4.67 3.54 1.13 307
Brandon Morrow 4.72 3.64 1.08 154
Jonathon Niese 4.40 3.36 1.04 305
Ubaldo Jimenez 4.68 3.67 1.01 148
Brian Duensing 5.23 4.27 0.96 666
Ryan Dempster 4.80 3.91 0.89 253
Zack Greinke 3.83 2.98 0.85 53
Jeff Francis 4.82 4.10 0.72 676
Rick Porcello 4.75 4.06 0.69 377
Fausto Carmona 5.25 4.56 0.69 648
J.A. Happ 5.35 4.69 0.66 577
Zach Britton 4.61 4.00 0.61 438
Chris Volstad 4.89 4.32 0.57 492

 

All of these hurlers with an ADP of over 450 are obviously being drafted in NFBC Slow Drafts but the market isn’t projecting them to be draftable in NFBC Main Event 30 Round drafts. This is the third straight year that Nolasco’s ERA failed to live up to his FIP, so he may be the exception to the rule. In 2010 Morrow had a 4.49 ERA and a 3.16 FIP. This is the second straight year he’s posted a large ERA-FIP gap. With 203 K’s in just 179 IP Morrow’s dominance is no secret as reflected in his 11th Round ADP. If you want to buy some stock in Morrow’s upside you’ll have to pay for it.

Any FIP gains Ubaldo might have received this year will be wiped out with a downgrade to the Indian defense and of course facing DH stacked offenses. Niese however is an interesting case.  Along with his lower FIP Niese also had a 7.89 K/9, a 3.13 K/BB ratio, and a 51% GB rate. Unfortunately, the Mets had the worst defense in the entire Major Leagues last year according to UZR. The Andres Torres acquisition presents an upgrade in Center, but that is the lone bright spot in this severely challenged defensive unit, and Torres glove in CF can’t help with Niese’s ground balls. The fences getting moved in at Citi Field don’t help things either, even though his FB rate was only 28%. In the end the Mets’ defensive issues make Jonathon an ambivalent pick.  He should certainly improve but don’t chase the FIP here.

Dempster is a bounceback candidate even though he traded in some ground balls for line drives in 2011. His LD rate increased from 16% to 21%, but his other peripherals remained solid. Greinke is another poised to have an improved ERA in 2012. His K/9 jumped from 7.40 to 10.54 with the move to the NL. His Command improved from 3.3 to 4.5. The one chink in the armor was an increase in LD% from 18% to 22%. Porcello makes the list but I’m not buying due to Detroit’s defensive problems and Porcello’s low strikeout rate.

History teaches us that history teaches us nothing. With the signing of Prince Fielder in the Motor City, Mike Illitch, Dave Dombrowski, and Jim Leyland illustrated just how true this is. It was just four short years ago that those brandishing the English D rejoiced at the signing of Miguel Cabrera. With Curtis Granderson, Magglio Ordonez, Gary Sheffield, Carlos Guillen, and Placido Polanco forming an already formidable lineup, the front office stopped just short of printing World Series tickets in January. The media boldly predicted the Tigers would score over a thousand runs. In the eyes of many, playing out the regular season was just a formality, as the Tigers were destined to a division title if they could stay healthy.  Destiny had other ideas as Detroit lost the first seven games of the season en route to a last place finish in the division and the third worst record in the entire American League.

Scoring runs was not a problem before or after the addition of Miggy. In 2007 the Tigers ranked third in runs scored. The oracle of 1,000 runs prophesied for 2008 never materialized, instead they tallied 821, considerably fewer, but still good enough to rank fifth. The rest of the story lies on the other side of the ledger. The Motor City Kitties gave up 797 runs in 2007, but saw that total balloon to 857 in 2008. The signing of the mighty Marlin slugger set off a chain of events that would decimate the roto value of the entire Tiger rotation.

In 2007 the Tigers had the fourth best defensive team according to UZR with a 32.8 rating. In 2008 that rating plummeted to -60, next to last. Brandon Inge’s elite glove was bumped from third base so that Miggy, who ranked near the bottom in UZR for the 2007 Marlins, could take over. Carlos Guillen was moved from SS to 1B so that Edgar Renteria could boot ground balls up the middle in his stead. Cabrera’s defense at the third was so bad (UZR/150 of -36.8) he was moved to first after a couple of weeks, which forced Guillen to move again to kick balls around over at the hot corner. Defensive musical chairs ensued as the Tigers tried desperately to end the train wreck in the field.  It would never end until game 162 was put in the books.

What was the effect on the starting pitching? To avoid the errors of a small sample size, let’s look at the only two starters that were in Detroit’s regular rotation start to finish both in 2007 and in 2008. Jeremy Bonderman only started 12 times in 2008, and Kenny Rogers only started 11 times in 2007, so they were excluded from the tables, but their WHIP stats followed the same pattern:

Pitcher

2007 ERA

2008 ERA

Δ ERA

2007 WHIP

2008 WHIP

Δ WHIP

Robertson

4.76

6.35

1.59

1.475

1.660

0.185

Verlander

3.66

4.84

1.18

1.230

1.403

0.173

Avgerage

4.21

5.59

1.38

1.352

1.531

0.179

So what happened? Did they both fall apart?  Let’s look at FIP to isolate their pitching skills.

Pitcher

2007 FIP

2008 FIP

Δ FIP

2007_BABIP

2008_BABIP

Δ BABIP

Robertson

4.62

4.95

0.33

.308

.341

.033

Verlander

3.99

4.18

0.19

.279

.296

.017

Average

4.30

4.56

0.26

.293

.318

.025

Their increase in FIP was slight, but their ERAs increased more than a full run.  They pitched perhaps just a smidge worse, but their ERA’s got hammered because the fielders were converting fewer balls in play into outs, and these BABIP numbers can’t be explained by a significant rise in line drive rates as Justin lowered his 1% while Nate’s went up just 1%.

Turn the page now to 2012. Inge has been kicked to the curb again.  Cabrera has lost some weight this off-season, but his range will still be terrible.  Cabrera and Fielder both finished near the bottom of the 1B UZR ratings in 2011. Detroit gets a slight downgrade at 1B and a monumental one at 3B. Leyland is talking about moving Inge to 2B. This has all the makings of another circus in Lakeland this spring. The Tigers have 3 DH’s (Delmon Young the LF being the 3rd) and yet all of them project to be in the field on a regular basis, much to the chagrin Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, and Doug Fister. These pitchers still have very high ceilings, but with the added weight of the Prince their floor has lowered considerably. Verlander was my #1 rated starting pitcher before the signing.  I drafted him in a December draft, but at this point, unless something unexpected happens (ie. Leyland announces that Fielder will DH and Cabrera will go back to 1B and Inge to 3B) it’s safe to say I won’t be drafting the reigning AL MVP and Cy Young winner in any NFBC Leagues this year. FIP had already indicated Verlander was a candidate for regression. Last year he posted a 2.40 ERA and a 2.99 FIP. If you’re going to take him he’s going to cost an early 2nd round pick (ADP-20) and that’s just too expensive for my tastes. Scherzer is currently being drafted in the 10th round (ADP-148). There are much safer options available in the 11th and 12th round. Doug Fister has been going in the 12th round (ADP-174).  Fister is an interesting problem. One might gamble on him hoping that his high ground ball rate (48% last year, 50% in the second half) will force Leyland to start Inge at 3B and alternate Fielder and Cabrera between 1B and DH on days that Fister takes the mound. The caveat is that Fister had a soft schedule after the trade. In his 11 games with the Tigers he faced the Twins, Athletics, Rays once, and the Indians four times. So take his 1.79 ERA and 0.839 WHIP he compiled during 11 games in Detroit with a grain of salt as it skewed his 2011 ERA/WHIP down slightly to 2.83/1.06.  Nevertheless, his 3.02 FIP on the season was still very solid. Porcello is the cheapest of the litter, with a current ADP of 377.  He posted a 56% ground ball rate in the second half last year. That’s not someone I want in my active lineup with the extremely limited range of Fielder and Cabrera at the corners and possibly Raburn at 2B.  Porcello has been inconsistent the last couple of years, with his poor stretches often coinciding with dips in velocity. He says he’s starting his offseason routine earlier this year so that he can maintain better velocity right out of the gate in April.  There is nothing wrong with taking him as a ‘dart’ at the end of the draft, but I will be looking elsewhere. Even if everything goes perfectly for him this season, he still doesn’t strike out enough batters.Last year he posted a career high with 104 K’s in 182 innings.

What shall we expect from Prince this year? Truth is nobody knows.  One should expect an adjustment period as he learns the nuances of all of the new pitchers. Miguel fared quite well his first year up north, but his BA, OBP, and SLG % took slight hits. After posting .323/.385/.561 in 2005, .339/.430/.568 in 2006, and .320/.401/.565 in 2007, Miguel dipped slightly to .292/.349/.537 in 2008 during his first regular exposure to AL pitching.  For what it’s worth, over the last three years vs. the American League during interleague play, in 45 games and 163 AB’s Fielder hit .245 with 28 Runs, 13 HR’s and 37 RBI’s. He is going from a hitter’s park to a pitchers park.  I’ve seen some metrics list Comerica as a Hitter’s park recently, but as a season ticket holder 2007-2008 I say rubbish.  Fielder produced .326/.437/.659 with 24 HR’s at home, but only .272/.393/.476 with 14 HR’s on the road. The move to Comerica should cut into his production slightly, and that makes his 1st Round ADP (12) too expensive for my blood.

The biggest fantasy beneficiaries of this signing are Miguel Cabrera and Brennan Boesch.  Miguel’s 3B eligibility (once he plays 10 games of course) and a smattering of extra runs with Prince’s presence easily push him ahead of Pujols on my list as the top Infielder on the board. Leyland has said that Boesch will hit second in front of Cabrera and Fielder. If you believe in lineup protection, that has to be music to your ears. Watch Boesch this spring to determine if his power is back and that the ligament in his thumb is fully healed. If healthy, Boesch should be a decent source of runs and modest power for someone with an ADP of 232.

Long time no see.  Sorry for the absence, it has been a trying summer.  That said, something recently posted on the NFBC forums got my attention, so much so that I felt inclined to address it in this space.

The original theme was the poster’s lament that he did not go with his gut, feeling that Curtis Granderson would have a very good season and instead allowed himself to be swayed by the so-called experts, who were not as optimistic.  A few more general comments followed, with the standard “there are no experts” mantra.  The thread in question can be read HERE.

My objective is not to discuss the notion of fantasy baseball experts - been there, done that.  My objective is not to express ire that a group of which I am a member is being taken to task.  Load me up with sodium pentothal or snare me with Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth and you will get an earful, much of it will not be complimentary to some of my fantasy baseball brethren.   No, today I wish to address something that is particularly frustrating to me, and that is the expectations from a person perceived to be, advertised as or is self proclaimed as an expert.

Basically, I feel much of what is expected from an analyst is at best unfair, and at worst, wrong.  The job of an analyst is not to tell you what is definitely going to happen but rather what is most likely to happen.  The problem is, what is most likely to happen is not always what happens.  I know this analogy is not perfect, but it works.  I have a pair of dice, what is your guess of the total after I roll them?  The most likely outcome is seven.  The proper answer, based on the available data is seven.  If you guess anything other than seven, you are going with your gut.  The job of the fantasy analyst is to look at the data and tell you the equivalent of rolling a seven.  Here is where the analogy breaks down.  Probability says that even though seven is the most likely result, it only occurs 16.67 percent of the time.  This is not the time or place to discuss it, but the minimal expectation when it comes to player projection is 70%, which is the accepted accuracy of the Marcels, a weighted average system so simple that even a money can do it.

The point is, the job of the analyst is to absorb the data and decide what is most likely to happen.  Different analysts use different data.  Some may use scouting data, others a computer spreadsheet.  Some data is open to interpretation; other has an accepted means of application.  As a numerish disciple, I will focus on the spreadsheet genre.

With the caveat that not every analyst is as schooled in numerish (see Sodium Pentothal comment), a reputable analyst crunches the appropriate numbers and offers what probability dictates in the most likely outcome.  Again, not everyone crunches the proper numbers or draws the proper conclusion, but I digress.  The analyst should produce a completely objective expectation, representing the most likely outcome.  Bringing it back to the 70% success rate, if there are 100 players with the exact same history, they should each have the same projection, with 70 of them being “right” at the end of the season.

Let us now segue into the notion of a gut call.  Unless your name is Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, my personal contention is gut calls are not wise.  Do I make them?  Of course I do, everyone does.  We would not be human otherwise.  But, the fact remains, it is best to avoid them.  Here is the way I look at it.  If I use my gut, there is usually a reason.  Whatever the reasoning was, I should rightfully apply it to all similar players.  Smith had a great September; my gut says he will carry that over to next season.  Proper projection theory would study the probability that a great September is carried over and every player that had a great September would be given a bump, otherwise the decision is subjective, replete with bias.  Again, everyone, including me is guilty of this so who am I to judge?  What I am judging, so to speak, is what is expected of an analyst.

Perhaps my pet peeve is the complaint that so and so never goes out on a limb.  Hey, that’s a GOOD thing as it shows they understand projection theory.  That said, the better analysts can certainly point out what it would take for the player to end up on the good side of that mysterious 30% missed.  To take myself to task, here is my spring profile of Granderson, the impetus of this conversation:

“Granderson's fly ball rate is increasing which is good for power but bad for batting average, especially when he strikes out as much as he does.   If you can cover the average, Granderson will give you homers.  But beware; he has missed some games two of the past three seasons.”

For the record, I had him hitting .264 with 29 homers in 550 at bats.

Maybe I hinted at the power, but I completely swung and missed at the necessary event that could result in a break out and that is an improvement versus southpaws.  Of course, this is exactly what happened, though there are strong signs there is some good fortune involved as his contact rate against lefties is still poor.  When he has made contact, he has done more with it, which is not all good luck, but that is a story for another day.

My point is, saying Granderson would hit .264 with 29 homers in 550 at bats was the equivalent of guessing seven.  Based on his history, that was the proper expectation.  In retrospect, I wish I mentioned the lefty thing, but to upgrade the projection would have been akin to guessing ten or eleven, and there was just not tangible evidence to suggest that is the likely outcome.   Was it a possible outcome?  Absolutely.

Tying everything together and using Granderson as the specific example but this should be more of a global comment, I do not feel it is fair to take a so-called expert to task for “missing” on Granderson.  He was part of the 30%, he rolled boxcars.  If you drafted Granderson, feeling this was his break out year, congratulations.   But, I ask you, did you draft others for the same reason, whatever that was?  If not, was your Granderson call “right” or “lucky”?

 

Today, we are going to present some data, for entertainment purposes only.   What I have done is determine the value earned through June according to NFBC Classic specifications.  I realize the competition is a draft and not auction, so dollar values do not really apply, but I trust that enough participants are at minimum familiar with dollar values so the exercise has some utility.  If not, just consider them a number to measure value and look at them in relative terms – the higher the number, the better the first half performance.  Also included is the first half rank which can be compared to the ADP.

For those more into the numerish, you will find there are 210 hitters and 135 pitchers with positive value.   I use a 69:31 hitting to pitching split.  The values ARE NOT adjusted for positions.  In a league of this nature, the only significant impact of forcing positions would be adding about $5 to each catcher.  The other positions would remain basically unchanged.

So without further ado, here are the first half values earned, NFBC style.  A downloadable spreadsheet with the data is available at the bottom of the list.

Player

ADP

$ Value

rank

Albert Pujols (1B, StL)

1.08

$26

27

Hanley Ramirez (SS, Fla)

2.55

$9

179

Troy Tulowitzki (SS, Col)

3.74

$25

31

Miguel Cabrera (1B, Det)

4.84

$34

8

Joey Votto (1B, Cin)

5.87

$29

16

Carlos Gonzalez (LF, Col)

6.22

$28

21

Carl Crawford (LF, Bos)

7.78

$9

172

Ryan Braun (LF, Mil)

8.24

$43

2

Evan Longoria (3B, TB)

9.12

$10

163

Robinson Cano (2B, NYY)

10.57

$27

22

Adrian Gonzalez (1B, Bos)

12.34

$41

3

David Wright (3B, NYM)

13.49

$4

276

Alex Rodriguez (3B, NYY)

14.72

$26

28

Mark Teixeira (1B, NYY)

16.96

$30

15

Josh Hamilton (LF, Tex)

17.71

$11

152

Roy Halladay (SP, Phi)

17.77

$28

18

Prince Fielder (1B, Mil)

19.08

$34

9

Matt Holliday (LF, StL)

19.44

$18

71

Matt Kemp (CF, LAD)

19.8

$49

1

Ryan Zimmerman (3B, Was)

21.54

-$6

579

Ryan Howard (1B, Phi)

21.8

$23

35

Kevin Youkilis (3B, Bos)

22.33

$20

60

Jose Reyes (SS, NYM)

25.79

$40

4

Dustin Pedroia (2B, Bos)

26.19

$20

55

Nelson Cruz (RF, Tex)

26.9

$17

82

Tim Lincecum (SP, SF)

27.17

$16

94

Andrew McCutchen (CF, Pit)

28.04

$26

29

Joe Mauer (C, Min)

28.39

-$12

905

Felix Hernandez (SP, Sea)

29.95

$16

88

Ian Kinsler (2B, Tex)

30.93

$20

57

Jose Bautista (RF, Tor)

31.52

$39

6

Shin-Soo Choo (RF, Cle)

33.45

$9

180

Buster Posey (C, SF)

33.93

$2

303

Victor Martinez (DH, Det)

35.17

$17

75

Adam Dunn (DH, ChW)

36.08

-$5

515

Justin Upton (RF, Ari)

36.86

$30

14

Jon Lester (SP, Bos)

38.19

$13

121

Dan Uggla (2B, Atl)

39.79

$1

332

Cliff Lee (SP, Phi)

40.78

$24

34

Jacoby Ellsbury (CF, Bos)

42.2

$34

10

Clayton Kershaw (SP, LAD)

43.1

$22

38

Alex Rios (CF, ChW)

44.41

$3

289

Justin Verlander (SP, Det)

47.37

$36

7

CC Sabathia (SP, NYY)

47.42

$19

65

Jason Heyward (RF, Atl)

48.58

$2

299

Brian McCann (C, Atl)

49.76

$22

43

Jimmy Rollins (SS, Phi)

50.22

$18

69

B.J. Upton (CF, TB)

52.05

$21

50

Brandon Phillips (2B, Cin)

52.3

$20

59

Mike Stanton (RF, Fla)

54.69

$18

70

Ubaldo Jimenez (SP, Col)

55.14

-$2

432

Justin Morneau (1B, Min)

55.49

-$4

488

Jayson Werth (RF, Was)

55.73

$10

154

Adrian Beltre (3B, Tex)

56.61

$21

53

Rickie Weeks (2B, Mil)

56.63

$25

30

Cole Hamels (SP, Phi)

57.75

$27

25

Hunter Pence (RF, Hou)

57.76

$24

33

David Price (SP, TB)

58.45

$18

72

Josh Johnson (SP, Fla)

58.64

$10

157

Jered Weaver (SP, LAA)

60.28

$31

12

Jay Bruce (RF, Cin)

60.82

$27

23

Adam Wainwright (SP, StL)

61.93

injured

injured

Andre Ethier (RF, LAD)

63.19

$17

73

Tommy Hanson (SP, Atl)

64.8

$18

68

Ichiro Suzuki (RF, Sea)

65.51

$16

93

Alexei Ramirez (SS, ChW)

65.89

$16

86

Carlos Santana (C, Cle)

66.18

$10

160

Dan Haren (SP, LAA)

68.21

$20

56

Derek Jeter (SS, NYY)

71.17

$6

221

Drew Stubbs (CF, Cin)

71.33

$27

26

Yovani Gallardo (SP, Mil)

71.89

$5

250

Paul Konerko (1B, ChW)

72.07

$33

11

Chris Young (CF, Ari)

72.42

$24

32

Zack Greinke (SP, Mil)

77.56

-$1

392

Francisco Liriano (SP, Min)

79.1

-$5

556

Matt Cain (SP, SF)

79.19

$16

87

Martin Prado (LF, Atl)

79.71

$12

142

Roy Oswalt (SP, Phi)

80.67

-$2

417

Mat Latos (SP, SD)

81.63

-$1

365

Shane Victorino (CF, Phi)

82.34

$22

42

Carlos Marmol (MR, ChC)

82.48

$11

150

Billy Butler (DH, KC)

84.45

$12

135

Colby Rasmus (CF, StL)

85.23

$14

104

Aramis Ramirez (3B, ChC)

86.08

$15

96

Max Scherzer (SP, Det)

86.4

$2

320

Pablo Sandoval (3B, SF)

89.14

$3

285

Heath Bell (CL, SD)

91.46

$14

113

Joakim Soria (CL, KC)

92.01

$5

247

Chris Carpenter (SP, StL)

92.09

$1

328

Brian Wilson (CL, SF)

92.49

$16

84

Elvis Andrus (SS, Tex)

93.7

$22

41

Delmon Young (LF, Min)

94.39

-$1

393

Pedro Alvarez (3B, Pit)

94.72

-$8

682

Kendrys Morales (1B, LAA)

94.96

injured

injured

Neftali Feliz (MR, Tex)

95.14

$5

249

Corey Hart (RF, Mil)

95.46

$6

231

Casey McGehee (3B, Mil)

97.47

-$1

372

Kelly Johnson (2B, Ari)

99.07

$13

129

Chad Billingsley (SP, LAD)

99.6

$0

356

Michael Young (DH, Tex)

100.13

$22

37

Mariano Rivera (CL, NYY)

101.35

$14

114

Juan Pierre (LF, ChW)

101.42

$7

203

Stephen Drew (SS, Ari)

102.64

$13

119

Ben Zobrist (2B, TB)

104.1

$19

61

Curtis Granderson (CF, NYY)

104.81

$40

5

Geovany Soto (C, ChC)

105.51

$0

348

Mark Reynolds (3B, Bal)

106.13

$15

98

Brett Gardner (LF, NYY)

107.43

$15

100

Rajai Davis (CF, Tor)

107.6

$5

236

Jonathan Papelbon (CL, Bos)

110.99

$7

206

Chase Utley (2B, Phi)

116.17

$0

355

Mike Napoli (C, Tex)

116.6

$4

270

Jonathan Sanchez (SP, SF)

117.26

$1

321

Nick Markakis (RF, Bal)

117.68

$13

122

Gordon Beckham (2B, ChW)

118.12

$4

265

Aaron Hill (2B, Tor)

118.94

$4

259

Clay Buchholz (SP, Bos)

120.13

$3

277

Daniel Hudson (MR, Ari)

120.63

$13

128

Shaun Marcum (SP, Mil)

121.09

$14

112

Francisco Rodriguez (CL, NYM)

122.43

$8

184

John Axford (MR, Mil)

124.52

$13

130

Starlin Castro (SS, ChC)

125.22

$21

52

Matt Wieters (C, Bal)

126.82

$7

212

Nick Swisher (RF, NYY)

129.12

$13

124

Torii Hunter (RF, LAA)

129.98

$8

186

Miguel Montero (C, Ari)

130.89

$13

120

Ted Lilly (SP, LAD)

131.14

-$4

492

Angel Pagan (CF, NYM)

131.81

$8

195

Brett Anderson (SP, Oak)

132.06

-$2

411

Vladimir Guerrero (DH, Bal)

132.86

$7

213

Michael Bourn (CF, Hou)

132.98

$28

20

Howie Kendrick (2B, LAA)

133.76

$17

76

Brandon Morrow (SP, Tor)

134.33

$0

362

Matt Thornton (MR, ChW)

135.5

-$8

666

Chris Perez (MR, Cle)

137.42

$10

161

Aubrey Huff (1B, SF)

137.43

$9

178

Jonathan Broxton (CL, LAD)

137.47

-$6

575

Adam Jones (CF, Bal)

137.92

$22

45

Chone Figgins (3B, Sea)

139.28

-$7

617

Ryan Dempster (SP, ChC)

139.81

-$4

503

Jose Valverde (CL, Det)

140.79

$11

146

Wandy Rodriguez (SP, Hou)

142.19

$8

194

Ian Desmond (SS, Was)

142.77

$8

183

Huston Street (CL, Col)

144.72

$11

147

Vernon Wells (LF, LAA)

145.22

$5

253

Gio Gonzalez (SP, Oak)

145.33

$16

89

Carlos Lee (LF, Hou)

146.03

$13

123

Brian Roberts (2B, Bal)

147.55

-$1

395

Kurt Suzuki (C, Oak)

148.24

-$1

373

Carlos Quentin (RF, ChW)

149.28

$19

63

Jorge Posada (DH, NYY)

150.28

$3

286

Colby Lewis (MR, Tex)

151.94

$3

278

Joe Nathan (CL, Min)

152.46

-$9

739

Adam Lind (1B, Tor)

152.7

$23

36

Tim Hudson (SP, Atl)

153.42

$8

182

Andrew Bailey (CL, Oak)

154.18

-$2

402

Rafael Furcal (SS, LAD)

155.02

-$10

774

J.J. Putz (MR, Ari)

159.04

$12

139

Jeremy Hellickson (MR, TB)

159.41

$9

168

Bobby Abreu (DH, LAA)

160.77

$14

103

Hiroki Kuroda (SP, LAD)

162.19

$8

192

Craig Kimbrel (CL, Atl)

163.02

$18

67

Austin Jackson (CF, Det)

163.14

$11

149

Neil Walker (2B, Pit)

165.34

$15

101

Josh Beckett (SP, Bos)

166.78

$20

58

Francisco Cordero (CL, Cin)

168.04

$14

111

Phil Hughes (MR, NYY)

168.4

-$17

1064

Madison Bumgarner (SP, SF)

169.85

$1

342

Jose Tabata (LF, Pit)

171.68

$10

158

Leo Nunez (CL, Fla)

172.38

$10

165

Ricky Nolasco (SP, Fla)

173.43

$1

327

Ryan Franklin (CL, StL)

173.8

-$16

1062

John Danks (SP, ChW)

174.66

-$3

450

Jason Bay (LF, NYM)

175.06

$4

262

Matt Garza (SP, ChC)

176.19

$1

326

Carlos Pena (1B, ChC)

176.44

$14

106

David Ortiz (DH, Bos)

177.54

$27

24

Joel Hanrahan (MR, Pit)

180.45

$17

78

Derrek Lee (1B, Bal)

180.5

$3

287

Gaby Sanchez (1B, Fla)

180.51

$21

51

Adam LaRoche (1B, Was)

180.65

-$8

686

Jhoulys Chacin (MR, Col)

181.02

$14

109

Andres Torres (CF, SF)

181.66

$0

352

Drew Storen (CL, Was)

183.45

$14

107

Ike Davis (1B, NYM)

184.33

$5

254

Coco Crisp (CF, Oak)

185.19

$18

66

Denard Span (CF, Min)

185.54

$5

244

Ricky Romero (SP, Tor)

188.17

$16

85

C.J. Wilson (MR, Tex)

190.27

$14

117

Brandon Lyon (MR, Hou)

190.45

-$12

946

Edinson Volquez (SP, Cin)

194.2

-$10

807

Manny Ramirez (DH, TB)

194.85

-$14

1045

Michael Cuddyer (RF, Min)

195.86

$15

97

Trevor Cahill (SP, Oak)

197.28

$8

185

Tsuyoshi Nishioka (SS, Min)

197.79

-$12

940

Brad Lidge (CL, Phi)

198.6

injured

injured

Grady Sizemore (CF, Cle)

198.6

$0

358

Ian Kennedy (SP, Ari)

198.92

$17

74

James Shields (SP, TB)

200.34

$28

19

Dexter Fowler (CF, Col)

202.38

-$2

410

Brett Myers (SP, Hou)

202.98

-$3

466

Jordan Zimmermann (SP, Was)

208.54

$14

115

Chris Iannetta (C, Col)

208.84

$6

229

John Lackey (SP, Bos)

209.31

-$16

1061

Alfonso Soriano (LF, ChC)

211.54

$14

116

Travis Snider (LF, Tor)

211.96

-$8

658

Brian Matusz (MR, Bal)

212.3

-$17

1065

Javier Vazquez (SP, Fla)

213.71

-$14

1037

Ian Stewart (3B, Col)

215.49

-$15

1058

Ryan Raburn (LF, Det)

216.18

$0

349

Juan Uribe (3B, LAD)

217.33

-$4

511

Kevin Gregg (CL, Bal)

219.32

$2

298

John Buck (C, Fla)

220.21

$1

330

Carlos Zambrano (SP, ChC)

223.73

-$1

387

Jorge De La Rosa (SP, Col)

224.72

$2

301

Sean Rodriguez (3B, TB)

224.96

-$2

437

Jaime Garcia (MR, StL)

225.55

$9

167

Carlos Beltran (RF, NYM)

225.63

$22

39

Luke Scott (LF, Bal)

227.07

$3

295

Carlos Ruiz (C, Phi)

228.51

-$4

479

Ervin Santana (SP, LAA)

231.23

$2

313

Will Venable (RF, SD)

231.37

$1

322

Fernando Rodney (CL, LAA)

232.16

-$5

535

Frank Francisco (CL, Tor)

234.85

-$2

424

Jason Kubel (RF, Min)

234.91

$7

205

Edwin Encarnacion (3B, Tor)

235.09

-$1

374

Danny Espinosa (2B, Was)

236.37

$20

54

James Loney (1B, LAD)

236.51

$5

238

Mike Aviles (3B, KC)

237.34

$3

292

Raul Ibanez (LF, Phi)

238.13

$8

199

Alcides Escobar (SS, KC)

238.86

$6

224

Edwin Jackson (SP, ChW)

240.53

-$3

442

A.J. Pierzynski (C, ChW)

243.07

$5

243

Omar Infante (2B, Fla)

243.41

$0

347

Chris Johnson (3B, Hou)

243.42

$5

248

Brandon League (MR, Sea)

244.82

$9

173

Tyler Colvin (RF, ChC)

245.78

-$14

1048

Jhonny Peralta (SS, Det)

247.18

$22

46

Magglio Ordonez (RF, Det)

247.99

-$10

819

Aroldis Chapman (MR, Cin)

248.3

-$10

793

Travis Wood (SP, Cin)

248.55

-$9

708

Yadier Molina (C, StL)

249.78

$5

232

Anibal Sanchez (SP, Fla)

250.21

$16

90

Lance Berkman (RF, StL)

250.74

$29

17

J.P. Arencibia (C, Tor)

251.37

$7

207

Asdrubal Cabrera (SS, Cle)

251.45

$30

13

Gavin Floyd (SP, ChW)

252.01

$3

293

Chase Headley (3B, SD)

252.85

$12

143

Russell Martin (C, NYY)

253.25

$9

169

Yunel Escobar (SS, Tor)

253.98

$16

92

Marlon Byrd (CF, ChC)

254.07

$1

325

Jake McGee (MR, TB)

255.57

-$11

858

Scott Rolen (3B, Cin)

255.85

$4

264

David Aardsma (CL, Sea)

257.85

injured

injured

Mitch Moreland (1B, Tex)

258.88

$12

132

J.J. Hardy (SS, Bal)

259.21

$12

131

Jonny Venters (MR, Atl)

259.67

$11

148

Freddie Freeman (1B, Atl)

259.72

$12

140

Scott Baker (SP, Min)

259.91

$12

136

Kila Ka'aihue (1B, KC)

261.76

-$11

840

Peter Bourjos (CF, LAA)

262.18

$5

246

Nate McLouth (CF, Atl)

262.89

-$3

444

Michael Pineda (SP, Sea)

264.31

$19

64

Jake Peavy (SP, ChW)

265.45

-$2

426

Logan Morrison (LF, Fla)

272.38

$9

181

Franklin Gutierrez (CF, Sea)

273.12

-$10

827

Tim Stauffer (SP, SD)

274.6

$10

153

Johnny Cueto (SP, Cin)

275.02

$12

137

Michael Morse (1B, Was)

275.52

$21

48

Erick Aybar (SS, LAA)

277.18

$17

77

Miguel Tejada (3B, SF)

277.18

-$3

461

Alex Gordon (LF, KC)

277.77

$21

49

Erik Bedard (SP, Sea)

278.11

$10

155

Chris Coghlan (CF, Fla)

278.22

$4

263

Ty Wigginton (3B, Col)

279.5

$13

118

Jair Jurrjens (SP, Atl)

279.9

$17

80

Ryan Theriot (SS, StL)

280.26

$8

188

Chipper Jones (3B, Atl)

281.07

$9

175

A.J. Burnett (SP, NYY)

284.52

$5

233

Julio Borbon (CF, Tex)

285.43

-$4

509

Bronson Arroyo (SP, Cin)

285.7

-$5

557

Cliff Pennington (SS, Oak)

285.73

$1

339

Garrett Jones (RF, Pit)

286.3

$6

227

Jonathon Niese (SP, NYM)

286.77

$5

255

Jose Lopez (3B, Fla)

287.23

-$10

767

John Jaso (C, TB)

287.87

-$5

537

Miguel Olivo (C, Sea)

288.93

$10

162

Josh Willingham (LF, Oak)

288.98

$10

159

Jeff Niemann (SP, TB)

293.67

-$10

803

Brandon Belt (1B, SF)

294.07

-$10

782

Chris Sale (MR, ChW)

294.92

-$4

480

Derek Lowe (SP, Atl)

295.57

-$1

386

Rafael Soriano (CL, NYY)

295.62

-$10

775

Jason Bartlett (SS, SD)

295.74

$7

216

Clayton Richard (SP, SD)

297.14

-$5

518

Wade Davis (MR, TB)

297.83

-$4

489

Carl Pavano (SP, Min)

298.82

-$3

452

Seth Smith (RF, Col)

299.08

$16

95

Mike Minor (SP, Atl)

302.74

-$9

744

Alex Gonzalez (SS, Atl)

304.3

$4

266

Matt Capps (CL, Min)

306.28

$6

228

Bud Norris (MR, Hou)

306.57

$8

193

Josh Thole (C, NYM)

306.7

-$4

504

Justin Smoak (1B, Sea)

308.29

$9

177

Hong-Chih Kuo (MR, LAD)

308.38

-$12

944

Koji Uehara (SP, Bal)

309.2

$3

288

James McDonald (MR, Pit)

309.77

-$6

603

Brian Fuentes (CL, Oak)

309.94

$0

354

Jonny Gomes (LF, Cin)

310.43

$9

171

David Freese (3B, StL)

310.51

-$1

364

Nyjer Morgan (CF, Mil)

310.54

$3

291

David Murphy (LF, Tex)

310.74

-$1

397

Johnny Damon (DH, TB)

310.98

$17

83

Ryan Madson (MR, Phi)

310.99

$10

156

Mike Moustakas (3B, KC)

311.87

-$10

813

Ben Francisco (RF, Phi)

312.32

$1

334

Nick Hundley (C, SD)

312.62

-$6

561

Domonic Brown (RF, Phi)

312.7

-$4

505

Bill Hall (2B, SF)

313.35

-$4

478

Ryan Doumit (C, Pit)

313.97

-$4

510

Kyle Farnsworth (MR, TB)

314.09

$11

144

J.D. Drew (RF, Bos)

314.74

-$3

458

Reid Brignac (SS, TB)

314.77

-$11

832

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C, Bos)

314.8

$0

359

Ryan Ludwick (LF, SD)

315.46

$15

102

Placido Polanco (3B, Phi)

316.28

$12

134

Brian Duensing (MR, Min)

316.34

-$6

596

Michael Brantley (CF, Cle)

316.81

$13

126

Alexi Casilla (SS, Min)

318.05

$5

242

Yorvit Torrealba (C, Tex)

318.49

-$2

439

Jon Rauch (MR, Tor)

318.88

$0

360

Derek Holland (SP, Tex)

319.24

-$5

539

Jesus Montero (C, NYY)

319.41

minors

minors

Brandon Beachy (SP, Atl)

321.64

$5

241

Aaron Harang (SP, SD)

321.69

$2

306

Cameron Maybin (CF, SD)

324.34

$9

174

Daniel Bard (MR, Bos)

324.77

$3

296

Kyle McClellan (MR, StL)

324.89

-$1

381

Homer Bailey (SP, Cin)

325.53

-$3

467

Kyle Drabek (SP, Tor)

325.91

-$16

1060

Jake Westbrook (SP, StL)

329.74

-$13

972

Rod Barajas (C, LAD)

329.78

-$1

396

Desmond Jennings (RF, TB)

330.49

minors

minors

Matt LaPorta (1B, Cle)

330.56

$5

251

R.A. Dickey (MR, NYM)

330.56

$1

345

Dallas Braden (SP, Oak)

330.81

-$6

597

Hideki Matsui (DH, Oak)

331.3

-$1

369

Chris Young (SP, NYM)

334.85

$24

32

Marco Scutaro (SS, Bos)

334.98

-$3

456

Jed Lowrie (SS, Bos)

335.44

$2

309

Danny Valencia (3B, Min)

336.05

$4

267

Carlos Gomez (CF, Mil)

336.85

$6

225

Brett Cecil (SP, Tor)

337.09

-$14

1035

Carlos Carrasco (MR, Cle)

338.06

$8

198

J.A. Happ (SP, Hou)

338.57

-$11

893

Kevin Slowey (SP, Min)

339.77

-$10

788

Rick Porcello (SP, Det)

339.9

-$9

693

Daric Barton (1B, Oak)

341.83

-$5

536

Alex Avila (C, Det)

342.74

$17

81

Johan Santana (SP, NYM)

344.76

injured

injured

Fausto Carmona (SP, Cle)

346.75

-$13

1022

Ivan Nova (SP, NYY)

349.62

-$3

465

Alexi Ogando (SP, Tex)

350.45

$13

127

Jose Contreras (SP, Phi)

351.03

-$5

538

Joel Pineiro (SP, LAA)

352.23

-$7

615

Juan Rivera (LF, Tor)

353.13

$4

271

Evan Meek (MR, Pit)

353.18

-$10

776

Randy Wells (SP, ChC)

353.57

-$13

1020

Octavio Dotel (MR, Tor)

354.14

-$6

591

Brett Wallace (1B, Hou)

355.73

$7

217

Brandon Webb (SP, Tex)

356.93

injured

injured

Daisuke Matsuzaka (SP, Bos)

357.25

-$9

706

Brad Hawpe (1B, SD)

357.46

-$3

460

David DeJesus (RF, Oak)

357.82

-$1

363

Yuniesky Betancourt (SS, Mil)

358.94

$2

316

Lorenzo Cain (CF, KC)

360.59

minors

minors

Cody Ross (LF, SF)

361.97

$5

237

Jeremy Guthrie (SP, Bal)

362.97

$0

351

Randy Wolf (SP, Mil)

362.98

$7

204

Mike Pelfrey (SP, NYM)

364.47

-$8

649

Eric Young (2B, Col)

366

-$10

768

Mark Trumbo (1B, LAA)

366.2

$15

99

Kevin Kouzmanoff (3B, Oak)

366.81

-$4

494

Clay Hensley (MR, Fla)

367.17

-$9

745

Joe Blanton (SP, Phi)

369.33

-$11

881

Luke Gregerson (MR, SD)

369.77

-$5

520

Dustin Ackley (2B, Sea)

370.46

-$7

637

Ryan Hanigan (C, Cin)

370.6

-$2

418

Lyle Overbay (1B, Pit)

372.19

$3

290

Jason Motte (MR, StL)

373.04

-$1

368

Chris Capuano (MR, NYM)

373.65

$1

333

Jason Hammel (SP, Col)

374.54

-$3

451

Roger Bernadina (CF, Was)

376.65

$4

256

Jonathan Lucroy (C, Mil)

377.59

$8

190

Russell Branyan (1B, LAA)

378.46

-$11

890

Jon Garland (SP, LAD)

379.94

-$8

665

Chris Narveson (MR, Mil)

381.79

-$1

371

Phil Coke (MR, Det)

383.01

-$12

915

Scott Podsednik (LF, Phi)

384.18

minors

minors

Chris Snyder (C, Pit)

385.43

-$3

472

Mark Buehrle (SP, ChW)

385.56

$2

302

Jim Thome (DH, Min)

385.83

-$6

587

Marc Rzepczynski (SP, Tor)

386.25

-$3

462

Dan Johnson (1B, TB)

387.16

-$15

1056

Clint Barmes (SS, Hou)

387.49

-$5

514

Scott Downs (MR, LAA)

387.74

$2

310

Joel Peralta (MR, TB)

388.04

-$3

475

Sergio Romo (MR, SF)

388.29

$1

340

Pat Burrell (LF, SF)

388.86

-$1

375

Ramon Hernandez (C, Cin)

390.15

$4

258

Matt Joyce (RF, TB)

390.22

$19

62

Cory Luebke (MR, SD)

391.51

$2

315

Brennan Boesch (RF, Det)

391.76

$22

40

Justin Masterson (MR, Cle)

391.76

$7

202

Jordan Walden (CL, LAA)

391.99

$9

170

Melky Cabrera (CF, KC)

394.28

$22

44

Xavier Nady (1B, Ari)

394.52

-$1

379

Orlando Hudson (2B, SD)

394.55

-$1

399

Freddy Sanchez (2B, SF)

395.66

$3

281

Tyler Clippard (MR, Was)

395.72

$5

235

Brent Morel (3B, ChW)

397.27

-$5

525

Sean Burnett (MR, Was)

397.63

-$5

547

Wilson Ramos (C, Was)

398.23

$1

337

Maicer Izturis (2B, LAA)

398.28

$10

164

Wilson Betemit (3B, KC)

398.85

$4

273

Joaquin Benoit (MR, Det)

399.47

-$6

572

Kenley Jansen (MR, LAD)

399.53

-$6

581

Barry Zito (SP, SF)

399.91

-$9

729

Brad Penny (SP, Det)

399.97

-$7

638

Jeff Francoeur (RF, KC)

400.97

$21

47

Tommy Hunter (SP, Tex)

401.76

injured

injured

Mike Adams (MR, SD)

403.38

$7

200

Alberto Callaspo (3B, LAA)

403.78

$7

215

Brayan Pena (C, KC)

405.56

-$4

502

Hank Conger (C, LAA)

410.8

-$6

564

Brandon Allen (LF, Ari)

411

minors

minors

Orlando Cabrera (2B, Cle)

411.09

$8

196

Mark Ellis (2B, Col)

412.08

-$3

470

Ivan Rodriguez (C, Was)

412.79

-$6

602

Brandon McCarthy (SP, Oak)

413.19

-$2

423

Todd Helton (1B, Col)

413.46

$14

105

Justin Duchscherer (SP, Bal)

413.87

injured

injured

Jason Vargas (SP, Sea)

414.39

$4

274

Chris Davis (1B, Tex)

415.11

-$8

668

Kosuke Fukudome (RF, ChC)

416.37

$1

336

Chris Carter (1B, Oak)

416.8

-$13

993

Mark DeRosa (3B, SF)

416.82

-$13

987

Juan Miranda (1B, Ari)

419.74

-$2

403

Chris Getz (2B, KC)

419.84

$8

189

Hisanori Takahashi (MR, LAA)

420.59

-$4

491

Scott Kazmir (SP, LAA)

421.69

-$13

965

Zach Britton (SP, Bal)

422.8

$5

245

Mike Leake (SP, Cin)

422.97

$4

269

Andrew Cashner (SP, ChC)

424.18

-$8

664

Casey Blake (3B, LAD)

425.55

-$1

377

Skip Schumaker (2B, StL)

426.44

-$3

469

Carlos Guillen (2B, Det)

426.51

injured

injured

Melvin Mora (3B, Ari)

427.43

-$9

742

Michael Saunders (CF, Sea)

428.34

-$9

753

Milton Bradley (LF, Sea)

428.74

-$5

542

Felix Pie (LF, Bal)

429.13

-$9

698

Luke Hochevar (SP, KC)

429.76

-$6

594

Ryan Kalish (CF, Bos)

430.16

minors

minors

Jeff Francis (SP, KC)

430.67

-$9

734

Bobby Jenks (CL, Bos)

430.83

-$12

929

Matt Dominguez (3B, Fla)

431.63

minors

minors

Travis Hafner (DH, Cle)

432.4

$7

201

Tom Gorzelanny (MR, Was)

432.6

-$3

463

Wilton Lopez (MR, Hou)

433.48

-$4

483

Brandon Inge (3B, Det)

434

-$9

713

Kerry Wood (CL, ChC)

436.33

-$5

529

Scott Sizemore (3B, Oak)

436.37

-$6

568

Chris Volstad (SP, Fla)

436.6

-$8

681

Jack Cust (DH, Sea)

436.7

-$5

524

Jorge Cantu (1B, SD)

437.34

-$9

707

Wade LeBlanc (SP, SD)

438.36

-$12

920

Daniel Murphy (1B, NYM)

439.4

$13

125

Freddy Garcia (SP, NYY)

439.82

$5

252

Takashi Saito (MR, Mil)

440.68

-$10

821

Will Rhymes (2B, Det)

442.8

-$12

897

Nolan Reimold (LF, Bal)

443

-$5

530

Kevin Jepsen (MR, LAA)

445.4

-$13

1016

Rick Ankiel (CF, Was)

447.52

-$6

584

Dayan Viciedo (3B, ChW)

448.2

minors

minors

Jake Fox (C, Bal)

449.21

-$11

856

Lonnie Chisenhall (3B, Cle)

450.44

-$12

933

Doug Fister (MR, Sea)

451.81

$7

209

Eric Hosmer (1B, KC)

452.06

$4

268

Ronny Cedeno (SS, Pit)

453.42

$1

338

J.P. Howell (MR, TB)

453.91

-$11

841

Blake DeWitt (LF, ChC)

453.92

-$5

531

Joba Chamberlain (SP, NYY)

455.14

-$2

435

Kyle Lohse (SP, StL)

458.19

$16

91

David Hernandez (SP, Ari)

460.1

-$2

412

Andruw Jones (LF, NYY)

460.83

-$7

612

Matt Lindstrom (CL, Col)

460.91

-$3

457

Casper Wells (RF, Det)

460.95

-$4

498

Rich Harden (SP, Oak)

461.63

injured

injured

Sean Marshall (MR, ChC)

461.65

$3

294

Nick Blackburn (SP, Min)

461.7

$1

344

Dillon Gee (SP, NYM)

465.72

$6

220

Jordan Lyles (SP, Hou)

469.45

-$8

683

Grant Balfour (MR, Oak)

473.36

$2

308

Jon Jay (RF, StL)

474.04

$8

187

Bobby Parnell (MR, NYM)

476.57

-$6

562

Conor Jackson (RF, Oak)

476.71

-$2

428

Livan Hernandez (SP, Was)

478.42

$1

341

Emilio Bonifacio (LF, Fla)

478.46

$2

311

Jake Arrieta (SP, Bal)

479.34

$1

323

Brett Lawrie (2B, Tor)

480.42

minors

minors

Jayson Nix (3B, Tor)

480.82

-$6

566

Michael Gonzalez (MR, Bal)

482.87

-$11

839

Mark Lowe (MR, Tex)

484.19

-$6

606

Jason Varitek (C, Bos)

484.55

-$2

414

Chris Heisey (LF, Cin)

486.03

$7

208

Fred Lewis (LF, Cin)

486.73

-$7

631

Bryce Harper (RF, Was)

487.91

minors

minors

Jarrod Parker (MR, Ari)

488.77

minors

minors

Kevin Correia (SP, Pit)

489.24

$6

223

Barry Enright (SP, Ari)

491.48

-$14

1050

Jeremy Affeldt (MR, SF)

492.48

-$2

422

Tony Gwynn Jr. (LF, LAD)

493.31

-$3

468

Jerry Hairston Jr. (3B, Was)

494

-$1

390

Kyle Gibson (SP, Min)

494.39

minors

minors

Jeff Mathis (C, LAA)

496.11

-$9

758

Paul Janish (SS, Cin)

498.4

-$6

582

Chris Tillman (MR, Bal)

498.92

-$10

773

J.R. Towles (C, Hou)

499.21

-$9

752

Juan Francisco (3B, Cin)

499.75

-$13

962

Jesus Flores (C, Was)

500.21

-$13

977

Marcus Thames (LF, LAD)

501.69

-$10

818

Edgar Renteria (SS, Cin)

502.32

-$6

600

Joe Saunders (SP, Ari)

502.41

-$3

474

Mark Teahen (3B, ChW)

502.65

-$10

769

Jason Kendall (C, KC)

502.89

injured

injured

Lucas Duda (1B, NYM)

503.43

-$10

763

Jason Kipnis (2B, Cle)

504.85

minors

minors

Jay Gibbons (LF, LAD)

505.48

-$10

795

Brendan Ryan (SS, Sea)

506.11

-$1

370

John Lannan (SP, Was)

506.29

$0

346

Juan Gutierrez (MR, Ari)

507.58

-$10

812

Jeff Keppinger (2B, Hou)

510.13

-$2

438

Kelly Shoppach (C, TB)

510.86

-$9

697

Kyle Blanks (LF, SD)

510.91

minors

minors

Ross Ohlendorf (SP, Pit)

511.05

-$12

900

Jason Donald (SS, Cle)

511.5

injured

injured

Jesse Litsch (SP, Tor)

513

-$6

569

Mike Trout (CF, LAA)

515.19

minors

minors

Eric Hinske (LF, Atl)

516.21

$1

343

Brad Emaus (2B, Col)

518.52

-$14

1029

Corey Patterson (LF, Tor)

518.77

$14

108

Brandon Wood (3B, Pit)

519.05

-$7

627

Ryan Spilborghs (RF, Col)

520.19

-$5

555

John Mayberry (CF, Phi)

521.5

-$4

490

Josh Outman (SP, Oak)

523.27

-$3

454

Alex Sanabia (SP, Fla)

523.82

injured

injured

Wilson Valdez (2B, Phi)

525.48

-$5

553

Esmil Rogers (SP, Col)

525.71

-$13

980

Dee Gordon (SS, LAD)

529.22

-$7

625

Donnie Murphy (3B, Fla)

529.5

-$14

1047

Allen Craig (LF, StL)

530.22

$4

261

Yunesky Maya (SP, Was)

530.25

-$13

1003

Bartolo Colon (SP, NYY)

531.25

$9

176

Felipe Lopez (3B, TB)

532.14

-$9

716

Julio Teheran (SP, Atl)

533.28

-$11

831

Vicente Padilla (SP, LAD)

533.47

-$7

624

Everth Cabrera (SS, SD)

533.89

minors

minors

Mike Cameron (RF, Bos)

534.39

-$11

842

Ben Revere (CF, Min)

536.14

-$1

385

Austin Kearns (LF, Cle)

536.9

-$13

958

Ronny Paulino (C, NYM)

538.71

-$4

499

Yonder Alonso (1B, Cin)

539.79

minors

minors

Jason Frasor (MR, Tor)

542.48

-$1

394

Ramon Castro (C, ChW)

542.85

-$8

685

Brad Bergesen (SP, Bal)

543.15

-$12

922

Lastings Milledge (LF, ChW)

543.59

-$13

975

Stephen Strasburg (SP, Was)

547.2

injured

injured

Simon Castro (SP, SD)

548.53

minors

minors

Jenrry Mejia (SP, NYM)

549.71

injured

injured

Josh Bard (C, Sea)

550.65

-$12

942

Humberto Quintero (C, Hou)

551.82

-$8

655

Chris Denorfia (RF, SD)

552.2

$6

219

Adam Kennedy (2B, Sea)

554.44

$6

218

Vin Mazzaro (SP, KC)

555

-$19

1068

Jarrod Dyson (CF, KC)

555.32

-$8

653

Nick Masset (MR, Cin)

555.67

-$4

476

Manny Banuelos (SP, NYY)

557.24

minors

minors

Nelson Figueroa (MR, Hou)

558.32

-$20

1070

Armando Galarraga (SP, Ari)

560.47

-$12

909

David Ross (C, Atl)

560.65

-$6

607

Bengie Molina (C, Tex)

561.05

free agent

free agent

George Kottaras (C, Mil)

561.76

-$10

777

Matt Belisle (MR, Col)

562.17

$2

307

Jeff Baker (1B, ChC)

564.17

-$2

408

Rafael Betancourt (MR, Col)

564.35

-$6

578

Adam Moore (C, Sea)

566.72

-$13

1004

Matt Diaz (RF, Pit)

570.28

-$5

533

Ryan Webb (MR, Fla)

570.29

-$7

609

Jamey Carroll (SS, LAD)

570.56

$4

257

Josh Bell (3B, Bal)

571.05

minors

minors

Felipe Paulino (SP, KC)

572.82

-$7

618

Jonathan Herrera (2B, Col)

574.11

-$3

471

Ross Detwiler (SP, Was)

574.32

minors

minors

Santiago Casilla (MR, SF)

575.23

-$6

563

Luis Castillo (2B, Phi)

576.11

free agent

free agent

Scott Cousins (RF, Fla)

576.61

-$12

937

Kevin Millwood (SP, Bos)

578.6

minors

minors

Paul Maholm (SP, Pit)

578.76

$7

214

Jordan Schafer (CF, Atl)

580.47

-$3

464

Charlie Morton (SP, Pit)

581.85

-$2

415

Carlos Silva (SP, NYY)

582.15

free agent

free agent

Mike Montgomery (SP, KC)

582.53

minors

minors

Andy Pettitte (SP, NYY)

582.89

retired

retired

Craig Breslow (MR, Oak)

583.06

-$8

652

Sergio Mitre (MR, NYY)

583.44

-$6

598

Michael Kirkman (MR, Tex)

584.64

-$12

913

Jeremy Bonderman (SP, Det)

586.2

injured

injured

Ryan Perry (MR, Det)

588.85

-$15

1057

Mat Gamel (1B, Mil)

590.67

-$13

1002

Kyle Kendrick (SP, Phi)

595.73

-$2

427

Francisco Cervelli (C, NYY)

595.94

-$7

623

Gerardo Parra (LF, Ari)

596.55

$6

226

Tyler Flowers (C, ChW)

597.37

minors

minors

Edward Mujica (MR, Fla)

597.65

$1

324

Scott Hairston (CF, NYM)

598.95

-$6

565

Tyler Greene (2B, StL)

599.07

-$5

517

Brooks Conrad (2B, Atl)

600.33

-$7

614

Aaron Rowand (CF, SF)

600.47

-$3

441

Ryan Sweeney (LF, Oak)

602.35

-$6

560

Devin Mesoraco (C, Cin)

602.65

minors

minors

Jeremy Jeffress (MR, KC)

602.94

-$8

670

Dioner Navarro (C, LAD)

604.79

-$12

911

Sam Demel (MR, Ari)

605.11

-$6

588

Bruce Chen (MR, KC)

605.88

-$2

436

Elliot Johnson (SS, TB)

606.18

-$6

573

Jesse Crain (MR, ChW)

606.33

$3

297

Scott Feldman (SP, Tex)

607

injured

injured

Travis Buck (LF, Cle)

607.43

-$5

548

David Robertson (MR, NYY)

608

$1

331

Shelby Miller (SP, StL)

608.63

minors

minors

Zach Braddock (MR, Mil)

608.79

-$6

605

Dustin Moseley (SP, SD)

608.83

$2

319

Matt Harrison (SP, Tex)

608.92

$4

260

Andy Oliver (SP, Det)

609.19

-$12

914

Sergio Santos (CL, ChW)

610.29

$12

138

Aneury Rodriguez (MR, Hou)

610.54

-$11

837

Casey Kotchman (1B, TB)

611.41

$6

222

Jason Marquis (SP, Was)

611.5

$2

305

Trevor Crowe (CF, Cle)

612.18

injured

injured

Chris Dickerson (RF, NYY)

612.59

-$11

836

Jose Guillen (DH, SF)

613.63

free agent

free agent

Mark Melancon (MR, Hou)

614.06

$3

280

Luke Hughes (1B, Min)

615

-$6

570

Mitchell Boggs (SP, StL)

615.18

-$2

413

Wilin Rosario (C, Col)

616.6

minors

minors

Kyle Davies (SP, KC)

617.12

-$18

1066

Brett Jackson (CF, ChC)

617.36

minors

minors

Eric Patterson (2B, SD)

617.74

-$6

601

Craig Stammen (SP, Was)

617.88

-$10

766

Tanner Scheppers (SP, Tex)

618.14

minors

minors

Rafael Perez (MR, Cle)

619

$0

353

Ben Sheets (SP, Oak)

621

injured

injured

John Ely (SP, LAD)

622.35

-$10

820

Bobby Wilson (C, LAA)

622.67

-$13

989

Joel Zumaya (MR, Det)

622.7

injured

injured

Casey Kelly (SP, SD)

624.3

minors

minors

Manny Parra (SP, Mil)

625.36

injured

injured

Lance Lynn (MR, StL)

627.62

-$6

586

Don Kelly (3B, Det)

631.25

-$4

500

John Bowker (RF, Pit)

631.94

-$13

963

Matt Guerrier (MR, LAD)

632.33

-$5

540

Grant Green (SS, Oak)

633

minors

minors

Darwin Barney (2B, ChC)

633.57

$8

191

Michael Wuertz (MR, Oak)

633.93

-$4

513

Troy Glaus (1B, Atl)

633.93

free agent

free agent

Tyson Ross (SP, Oak)

634.92

-$2

429

Adam Rosales (3B, Oak)

635.06

-$11

859

Burke Badenhop (MR, Fla)

635.17

-$5

545

Jack Wilson (2B, Sea)

635.69

-$6

585

Mike Carp (LF, Sea)

636.08

-$14

1030

Chris Ray (MR, Sea)

636.47

-$7

634

Tim Collins (MR, KC)

636.7

-$4

486

Darren O'Day (MR, Tex)

637.25

-$9

715

Mark Rogers (SP, Mil)

638.5

injured

injured

Kris Medlen (MR, Atl)

638.78

injured

injured

Dan Wheeler (MR, Bos)

639.1

-$11

834

Andrew Brackman (MR, NYY)

641.71

minors

minors

Landon Powell (C, Oak)

642.22

-$12

923

Aaron Cook (SP, Col)

642.29

-$12

912

Brian Schneider (C, Phi)

644.2

-$12

928

Josh Tomlin (SP, Cle)

644.45

$9

166

Zach Duke (SP, Ari)

646.33

-$14

1039

Luis Valbuena (2B, Cle)

646.47

minors

minors

John Baker (C, Fla)

647.11

injured

injured

Daniel Descalso (3B, StL)

647.33

-$2

404

Fernando Salas (CL, StL)

647.67

$11

151

Michael Taylor (LF, Oak)

647.67

minors

minors

Fernando Martinez (RF, NYM)

650

-$11

891

Nick Johnson (DH, Cle)

650.13

minors

minors

Alfredo Aceves (MR, Bos)

651.27

-$3

443

Craig Counsell (SS, Mil)

651.29

-$10

826

Zack Cozart (SS, Cin)

651.5

minors

minors

Luis Durango (CF, Hou)

652

minors

minors

Arthur Rhodes (MR, Tex)

652.55

-$7

608

Luke French (MR, Sea)

652.57

minors

minors

Dan Cortes (MR, Sea)

653.09

-$9

747

Andy Marte (3B, Pit)

653.33

minors

minors

Zach Stewart (SP, Tor)

654.36

-$11

888

Aaron Heilman (MR, Ari)

654.85

-$10

783

Vance Worley (SP, Phi)

655.07

-$1

389

Chien-Ming Wang (SP, Was)

655.1

injured

injured

Jacob Turner (SP, Det)

655.4

minors

minors

Cesar Izturis (SS, Bal)

655.6

-$13

955

Andy LaRoche (3B, Oak)

655.69

-$10

784

Mitch Maier (RF, KC)

656.15

-$9

714

Jason Bourgeois (LF, Hou)

656.94

$5

239

Chris Archer (SP, TB)

657.3

minors

minors

Lou Marson (C, Cle)

659

-$9

761

Scott Olsen (SP, Pit)

659.57

injured

injured

Jose Iglesias (SS, Bos)

659.83

-$13

988

Jeremy Hermida (LF, Cin)

660

-$12

938

Ramon Santiago (2B, Det)

660.57

-$10

780

Mike Jacobs (1B, Col)

660.67

minors

minors

Luis Hernandez (2B, NYM)

662.17

minors

minors

Felix Doubront (MR, Bos)

663.29

-$10

825

Ruben Tejada (2B, NYM)

663.33

-$6

567

Billy Wagner (MR, Atl)

663.55

retired

retired

Nick Punto (2B, StL)

663.6

-$6

593

John Lamb (SP, KC)

664

minors

minors

Robinson Tejeda (MR, KC)

664.09

-$11

894

Jose Molina (C, Tor)

665

-$4

501

Cristian Guzman (2B, Tex)

665.67

free agent

free agent

Taylor Teagarden (C, Tex)

666.17

-$13

992

Shelley Duncan (DH, Cle)

666.5

-$7

636

Jose Morales (C, Col)

667.18

-$10

779

Chad Qualls (CL, SD)

667.82

-$2

416

Darren Oliver (MR, Tex)

668

-$2

406

Tony Sipp (MR, Cle)

669.5

$1

329

Ross Gload (RF, Phi)

669.73

-$10

814

Jason Giambi (1B, Col)

669.92

$2

312

Gregor Blanco (CF, Was)

670.13

minors

minors

Eduardo Nunez (SS, NYY)

670.45

-$2

407

John Maine (SP, Col)

672.55

injured

injured

Lucas May (C, Ari)

673.63

minors

minors

Matt Tuiasosopo (LF, Sea)

674.63

minors

minors

Steve Pearce (1B, Pit)

674.67

-$8

659

Shawn Hill (SP, Fla)

674.78

injured

injured

Mike Fontenot (SS, SF)

675.77

-$9

696

Henry Rodriguez (MR, Was)

676.14

-$4

495

Joe Thatcher (MR, SD)

676.2

minors

minors

Mitch Talbot (MR, Cle)

676.27

-$11

874

Christian Friedrich (SP, Col)

676.75

minors

minors

Ryan Roberts (3B, Ari)

677

$17

79

Brian Bogusevic (LF, Hou)

679

-$12

930

Omar Vizquel (3B, ChW)

680

-$7

619

Garrett Atkins (1B, Pit)

681

free agent

free agent

Miguel Cairo (3B, Cin)

683.55

-$3

446

Andy Sonnanstine (SP, TB)

683.57

-$13

978

Trevor Plouffe (SS, Min)

684.17

-$7

616

Wes Helms (3B, Fla)

686.25

-$12

948

Mark Kotsay (RF, Mil)

686.78

-$9

750

Pedro Feliz (3B, KC)

687.5

free agent

free agent

John McDonald (3B, Tor)

687.78

-$9

688

Eric Chavez (3B, NYY)

688.43

-$10

791

Delwyn Young (RF, Phi)

689.33

minors

minors

Geoff Blum (SS, Ari)

689.73

injured

injured

Nate Schierholtz (RF, SF)

690.22

$4

272

Josh Rodriguez (SS, Pit)

690.83

-$13

1015

Brad Ziegler (MR, Oak)

691

-$2

419

Willie Bloomquist (LF, Ari)

691.92

-$1

388

Brad Lincoln (SP, Pit)

696.86

minors

minors

Bobby Cramer (MR, Oak)

697

-$7

620

Darnell McDonald (LF, Bos)

697.69

-$13

991

Chris Nelson (2B, Col)

698.5

-$8

657

Tim Wakefield (SP, Bos)

700.73

-$4

485

Martin Perez (SP, Tex)

703

minors

minors

Gerald Laird (C, StL)

705.13

-$12

906

Ramiro Pena (3B, NYY)

712

-$12

951

Jason Michaels (LF, Hou)

713.11

-$9

748

Casey Coleman (SP, ChC)

713.43

-$19

1067

Anthony Rizzo (1B, SD)

713.86

-$11

863

 CLICK HERE FOR SPREADSHEET .xls

 

I write this column with a bit of pause, but I trust my NFBC brethren will consider it in the vein it is intended.  A few years ago, after a series of forum discussions, the NFBC enacted what has become to be known as the Friday activation rule.  The intent was to help alleviate some of the injury-related luck and insure owners could field a full lineup for as many days as possible.  Originally, Friday substitutions were permitted for all players put on the disabled list by a designated time.  The first iteration of the rule was to allow free substitution for hitters only previous to Friday games, with pitching still subject to disabled list classification.  At the time, there was a push for eliminating the designation for pitchers as well, but NFBC management made the decision that doing so would permit too much streaming of starting pitching, a decision I personally agree with, but that is besides the point.  Actually, to be completely forthright, my personal preference would be for once a week moves and deal with it.  But, I understand how the addition of Friday moves helps marketing and growing the contest.

Recently, it has come to light that it is possible to use the Friday pitcher’s rule for a couple of unintended purposes.  The purpose of this discussion is not to editorialize or judge the legality or ethics of this quirk, but simply to describe the actions as a means to set up what is to follow.  The first utilization of this quirk is to bypass an undesirable early week start for a pitcher by beginning the week with a guy on the DL, then replacing the injured hurler with a guy with a favorable weekend matchup.  The second is to start a pitcher expected to come off the disabled list early in the week then reserve him after the Monday deadline, but before the DL tag has been removed, replacing the original pitcher with another arm.  The result here is either getting an additional start from that roster spot or improving the matchup for the second start.

As mentioned, both of these quirks were unintended and against the spirit of the original DL rule.  As a scientist, I have seen countless instances where the results were not as expected, no matter how meticulous the experiment was planned.  Heck, read about the discovery of penicillin if you want a real-life example of this scenario.  NFBC management has promised to look into these IT based accidents and to rectify the situation.  Who am I kidding; we all know who NFBC management is, Greg and Tom.  Hey, at least I did not call them “the powers that be”.  Greg and Tom have assured us they will work with the STATS programmers to provide us with a scoring mechanism that reflect the desired intent of the rule.   And their track record is such that their word should be trusted.

With that as a backdrop, back when the second transaction period was initially discussed, I proposed an idea that was bandied about, but was obviously not adopted.  In the spirit of intelligent and constructive discussion, I would like to use this space to reintroduce the concept to see if it has any legs.  But before I do, I would like to emphasize this is an idea I had way back when and it is not due to the recent consternation.  Now, as I did then, I simply believe this notion offers a bit of innovative strategy that improves upon the Friday activation rule we now have in place and what we are likely to have in place next season if this idea has no traction.

My proposal is to allow each NFBC owner a fixed number of discretionary moves, to be used when they want, for whatever reason they want.  The Friday rule is eliminated.  Say your Tim Stauffer is slated for a home start on Tuesday and road start in Colorado on Sunday.  You can take him out Wednesday and replace him with another starter with a desirable matchup or perhaps a solid reliever.  If Nick Swisher has a three-game series to start the week at home while Seth Smith is scheduled to face three righties in a four-game series from Thursday to Sunday, you can begin the week with Swisher then replace him with Smith before the Thursday games.  If Shin-Soo Choo gets hurt Friday night, you can sub in another player for the final pair of weekend games if you so desire.

To determine the number of allowed moves, a review of how we all presently manage our teams can be undertaken.  If on the average, we all do two moves every Friday, perhaps the number is 52.  If we average three, we all get 78, etc.

Every suggestion of this nature has some advantages and disadvantages as well as the need to make sure the STATS commissioner service can handle the rule.  I will now discuss this and welcome you to chime in as well; I am sure I am missing something.

ADVANTAGES

1.  Owners will no longer be at the mercy of fate with respect to the timing of injuries.  The injury to Choo was just referenced.  If he went down on Thursday night as opposed to Friday, his owners would have been afforded the chance to replace him on Friday.   As is, his owners absorbed a pair of zeroes on Saturday and Sunday.  Sometimes, a player is pitcher is hurt and is going to unexpectedly have a start skipped but not officially be placed on the DL.  When this happens, his owner can replace him if he wants.

2.  Owners will no longer be burned by scheduling alterations due to rainouts and the like.  We all set our lineups based on the information available on Sunday or Monday.  There are always several instances of pitchers having their anticipated favorable start be moved to one less desirable.  His owner can use a discretionary move to substitute in a pitcher with a better matchup.

3.  Having a fixed number of moves adds an additional layer of strategy, not unlike that associated with FAAB and how to manage your reserve list.  Do you use your discretionary moves early in the season or save them for later when you may have a better feel for what you need, but less flexibility in terms of what you have at your disposal?  Do you use them for pitching or hitting?  How many do you set aside for injuries?

DISADVANTAGES

1.  The time necessary to manage your team is increased, since at minimum, you will need to make sure you did not suffer any injuries during the previous day’s games.  I can honestly see how this can be a deal-breaker for some and I completely respect that.  To help alleviate the timing issue and restrict it to just tracking injuries after the initial Monday moves, my suggestion is to have the ability to input discretionary moves in advance.  The system would need to be set up such that we could deem a move as discretionary and set the date for the move to occur.  We would be at the mercy of fate, hoping the player moved into the lineup does not get hurt, but that would be the risk of doing the move in advance.  Of course, this means there could be additional attention necessary to set these moves in advance, but like I said, if this additional time commitment is the roadblock, I am perfectly okay with that going forward with the changes that Greg and Tom deploy for next season.

2.  The system would have to be designed so that nobody can uncover a similar unintended consequence that spurred this discussion.  Obviously, the moves would have to be tracked, which should not be an issue.   The discretionary move mechanism would have to allow only one move at a time as opposed to the multiple we can now do with each clicking of the submit button.  There would need to be a delineation of the regular Monday moves for those that want to set their regular lineup in advance.  It would be very helpful if there is an “are you sure” warning before a discretionary move is official to account for errors, otherwise someone will no doubt “waste” one of their moves correcting their mistake.   We would have to decide when the deadline would be each day, first pitch first game of does each player lock at their game time?  As mentioned, I am sure I am missing something but that is what the forums are for, to point out my omissions.

3.  Owners would need to learn the new interface which may curtail signups.  That said, if you can learn the FAAB system, you can surely learn this.

To wrap up, I realize there is always more to an idea than originally anticipated and it could be contest suicide to make a change of this nature without adequate testing.  If for some off reason this idea is deemed worthy of consideration, perhaps setting up some satellites would be the way to go, assuming of course the programming is not too difficult.  And for those that want to counter this proposal with “luck is just part of the game”, I concur.  Remember, my personal preference is for once a week lineup moves for hitting and pitching.  But since it is apparent we will not be traversing that road, I thought I would at least table an alternative to the present Friday rule.

I thought I would do something a little different for this week’s NFBC Zone.  Over the course of the season, I get some e-mails and private messages and I do not always get a chance to answer them all.  As it happens, the past few weeks have been a wee bit hectic for me and I have been unable to address even more than usual, so I thought I would…well…interview myself using the unanswered e-mails and PMs.

MASTERSBALL: Hi Todd and welcome to the NFBC Zone.  We would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy day to help us out.

Me: My pleasure, I am always willing to help myself out.

MASTERSBALL: Great!  Here is the first question: what makes you an expert?  What have you ever won?

Me: Are we really going down this road again?  It is getting a bit stale.

MASTERSBALL: Oh sorry, my bad.  That was a question from 2008.  Dude, you really should clear out your PMs.

Me: Ah, that explains it.  And stop calling me dude.

MASTERSBALL: Let’s try this one.  Are you planning on returning to Las Vegas?  We missed you the past couple of years.

Me: YES!  Personal circumstances have forced a shift in priorities, but assuming a few things flesh out, I am very much looking forward to returning to Sin City.  I cannot express how much I have missed the Friday AL and NL auctions.

MASTERSBALL: What do you think of Fantasy Camp?  Are you offended by your “numerish” character?

Me: I love it and HELL NO!!!  For those that do not follow the NFBC forums, Fantasy Camp is a running feature written by Doughboys, starring forum regulars in what is best described as caricatures of themselves.   The majority of the posts are parodies of current discussions.  My character talks in numbers, termed numerish and is most often translated into English by another forum regular, bjoak.   There is nothing insulting about it.  Numerish is really nothing more than playing the percentages, a topic that is currently being discussed on the NFBC forums.  My philosophy is I want to base my decisions on the odds I feel have the greatest chance of happening.  That is, I want to minimize what others may deem a gut call.  The metaphor I use is the rolling of a pair of dice, though I admit the analogy is far from perfect.  The proper prediction is for a roll of seven.  This only occurs 16.7% of the time, but of all the combinations, it is the most likely.  If you predict anything other than seven, you are essentially making a gut call.  For me, numerish is nothing more than the analysis I use to determine what I consider to be the most likely outcome.  Putting aside the fact that there is a very good chance that not all my methods are proper, assuming for the sake of argument that they are, if I guess seven every time, I maximize my chance for success.  Again, the analogy is not perfect; I am not saying there is a 17% chance of getting a decision correct.  I am only suggesting that whatever the percentages may be, I prefer to choose the path I determine has the best chance of happening, minimizing if not eliminating what amount to coin flip decisions.  That is the essence of numerish.

MASTERSBALL: What do you think of the state of the high stakes industry and what is happening with other football contests?

Me: To be honest, I prefer to leave the discussion of what is happening to some football contests to those plugged into the situations.  It really is not my place.  Obviously, I hope everything gets settled as this is no doubt a black eye on the industry, and I trust it will, or perhaps better stated, I am confident that the NFBC and NFFC will adhere to a solid and trustworthy business model so there will always be a safe and reliable platform for high stakes players.  That said, there is an area related to the high stakes industry that really worries me and that is the current proliferation of daily contests.  I am by no means knocking those that are operating daily games and certainly not chiding anyone playing them.  My concern is fantasy sports are already treading on thin ice when it comes to the non-gambling classification.  Especially in light of what has happened with the on-line poker industry, there will come a time that daily games will come under increased scrutiny and maybe perhaps is deemed a game of chance.  This could bleed over to the games we presently play.  I am part curious, part dubious of what is around the corner.

MASTERSBALL: What do you think of Doughboys idea for an “expert” NFBC league?

Me: For those unaware, this idea was recently proposed by the aforementioned Doughboys and can be found HERE.  I have a couple of different directions I can go with this.  Bottom line is if it were to come to fruition, I am in.  But truth be told, I am not really sure if it will accomplish what is intended for a couple of reasons.  If the reason is to increase the credibility in the eyes of NFBC players, that is only going to happen if the writers play against other NFBC players, not other writers.  Perhaps more importantly, to those that play in LABR and Tout Wars, I do not see an NFBC writer’s league being considered more credible.  LABR and Tout Wars have been around for several years.  I just don’t see how winning a writer’s NFBC league would be more prestigious to those in the industry.   And, like suggested, no matter who wins it, the NFBC buzz is going to be, “so what, let’s see how they do against real NFBC competition.”

That said, if the idea is packaged as a promotional tool for the NFBC, I see nothing wrong with that and think it is a neat idea.  My KDS will be 1-15.

This past week was definitely an exciting one for all of us participating in NFBC leagues.  If your team has struggled or dealt with a rash of injuries, it is very likely that you have had your sights set firmly on the calendar as June approached. Every seasoned fantasy player knows that June brings the promise of a slew of highly touted prospects passing the Super Two threshold and finally getting the call to the show and thus becoming available for NFBC owners to bid on. This past week did not disappoint those owners who were on prospect watch as several blue-chip prospects were called up in time for this weekend’s FAAB period. The three biggest names called up this week were 3B Mike Moustakas, 1B Anthony Rizzo and SS Dee Gordon.

The week began with the news that Gordon would be getting the call to replace the injured Rafael Furcal for the Dodgers.  Of all the names called up this week, Gordon was likely the most surprising player to get called up.  He is definitely the future at the position for the Dodgers and brings to the table a commodity that can be hard to find on the wire this late into the season, speed.  He actually brings a lot of speed as he stole 73 bases in '09, 53 in '10 and had tallied 21 in AAA at the time of his call-up.

Tuesday brought even bigger news, as it was reported the Royals had purchased the contract of 3B Mike Moustakas from Triple-A Omaha. Moustakas was arguably one of the most highly sought rookies on draft day this year and as such this news was bigger for those owners who drafted him in March and have been patiently waiting for this day to come.  He led the entire minor leagues in homers in ’10 with 36 and his owners are praying that he can provide a power boost from here on out. While the call-up was great news for those who drafted him it didn’t create the same frantic buzz in leagues since he wasn’t available to be bid on in any Main Event leagues this week.

The same can’t be said for Anthony Rizzo.  News of his impending call-up hit the wires on Thursday and NFBC owners likely began trying to determine how much they would have to bid to secure his services. Rizzo was the least surprising name to get the call this week as he has simply been killing the ball at AAA. The 21-year-old had a .365/.444/.715 batting line with 16 home runs in 52 games. He was part of the return the Padres received from Boston in the Adrian Gonzalez deal and it has already been confirmed by manager Bud Black that he will be his primary first basemen going forward.  Rizzo brings more pure power potential to the table than Moustakas, but he also strikes out more and will have to battle the unfriendly confines of his home ballpark.

With Moustakas off the board in almost all NFBC leagues this week, Rizzo and Gordon were the two big prizes and the bids didn’t disappoint. Both players were added in all 26 Main Event leagues.  Gordon went for $148 on average with a high bid of $293 and a low of $37.  Rizzo obliterated those numbers as he went for an average of $387.  His high bid was $539 and the low was $277.  All told Rizzo took over $10,000 worth of FAAB dollars off owners books on Sunday, an astounding number.

While these three were the biggest names of week, they were not the only ones.  Charles Blackmon (OF, COL), Jemile Weeks (2B, OAK), Mike Carp (1B, SEA), Cord Phelps (INF, CLE), Lucas Duda (OF, NYM) and Chris Nelson (2B, COL) were others names that sent owners to their computers, searching for information on the new faces in various lineups around the league. Ben Revere (OF, MIN) and Jordan Lyles (SP, HOU) were two other players who helped get the ball rolling during the previous weeks FAAB period. Many of these names served as consolation prizes for those that either missed out on the big prizes this week or found themselves so low on funds, that making a serious run on either Rizzo or Gordon was never really in the cards. Blackmon seemed to be the most popular back-up option for NFBC’ers this week and it will be interesting to watch and see if he can grab the CF job from Dexter Fowler going forward.

All that is left will be to watch and see if any of these players can be the answer to owner’s prayers. Odds are that someone on this list will emerge as a dominant force for the rest of the season.  NFBC players cast their votes with Moustakas in March and then again with Rizzo on Sunday.  Perhaps one of them will equal or surpass the production that Hosmer has delivered thus far.  Of course in the midst of all the recent call-ups we were reminded of how unpredictable it can be to invest in players making their first extended foray into the majors as the Dodgers finally sent the struggling Jerry Sands back to AAA.

If you came up short this week, take heart, there will be more names coming up soon. Desmond Jennings is at the top of the list, but he is likely already owned in many NFBC leagues.  Brett Lawrie (3B, TOR), Dustin Ackley (2B, SEA), Lonnie Chisenhall (3B, CLE) and Jason Kipnis (2B, CLE) likely will be part of the next wave of young talent to hit the scene.  If you are still sitting on a pile of FAAB you will get another chance to spend a big chunk of it, most likely as soon as next week.  Happy Prospecting!

I have never participated in an NFBC mid-season league though I plan to one day.  Never having done one, I am a bit naïve to the strategies involved.  Are owners more cautious or do they take more chances?  How much does present level of performance impact ranking, good or bad?  Now that we have a feel for the pitching, does this make it go off the board sooner or later?  How far down do injured players fall?

I decided to do an exercise that many do in the spring and that is a solo mock where I select all the teams.  Personally, I have never done this as I participate in a plethora of real mocks (is that an oxymoron?) so I have never mocksterbated, not that there is anything wrong with that.

To mix it up a bit and hopefully reduce some of the “numerish bias”, I forced myself to pick as some stereotypical drafters: scarcity guy, best player available guy, pitching guy, take a risk guy and risk averse guy.  I interspersed “what I would do” amongst the others.  Of course, it is impossible to remove all bias, because all picks are rooted in how I feel players will perform, at least with respect to healthy players.

As a backdrop, I generally still put more credence in a player’s track record than I do in current performance, unless I can identify a change in skill I consider to be real and sustainable.  If I was actually drafting in a mid-season league, I would avoid injured players like the plague and not invest even with the injury discount.  Both of these factors ended up impacting the selections.

Before I present the first six rounds of the Zola mocksterbation, please do not consider this a map of how a mid-season league will unfold as I have no clue.  I would be more than happy to address picks in terms of how I feel about the player and why I picked him in a strategic sense, but this is not a prediction of how I feel a mid season league will look.

What I Would Do: Albert Pujols, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Josh Johnson, Corey Hart, Jeremy Hellickson

Scarcity Guy: Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Zobrist, Andre Ethier, Cole Hamels, Brian McCann, David Wright

Best Player Available Guy: Adrian Gonzalez, Jay Bruce, Tim Lincecum, Adam Jones, Michael Young, Jonathan Papelbon

What I Would Do: Ryan Braun, Brandon Phillips, Hunter Pence, Cliff Lee, Zack Greinke, Andres Torres

Take a Chance Guy: Jose Bautista, Hanley Ramirez, Josh Hamilton, Joe Mauer, Eric Hosmer, Daniel Hudson

Pitching Guy: Miguel Cabrera, Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, Jayson Werth, Alexei Ramirez, Brian Wilson

What I Would Do: Matt Kemp, Shin-Soo Choo, Ian Kinsler, Dan Haren, CC Sabathia, Gaby Sanchez

Risk Adverse Guy: Joey Votto, Curtis Granderson, Andrew McCutchen, Jon Lester, Elvis Andrus, Martin Prado

Scarcity Guy: Robinson Cano, Victor Martinez, B.J. Upton, Jimmy Rollins, David Price, Colby Rasmus

What I Would Do: Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Rickie Weeks, Justin Upton, Shaun Marcum, James Shields

Best Player Available Guy: Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, Jered Weaver, Shane Victorino, Adam Lind, Mariano Rivera

Take a Chance Guy: Carlos Gonzalez, Nelson Cruz, Mike Stanton, Chase Utley, Pablo Sandoval, Josh Beckett

What I Would Do: Prince Fielder, Kevin Youkilis, Ichiro Suzuki, Tommy Hanson, Jhonny Peralta, David Ortiz

Pitching Guy: Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, Drew Stubbs, Asdrubal Cabrera, Ryan Zimmerman

Risk Adverse Guy: Jose Reyes, Matt Holliday, Paul Konerko, Adrian Beltre, Matt Cain, Heath Bell

Well, that was interesting.  While undergoing the process, how to deal with injury prone players was the most difficult part – not for me, but the “other guys”.  In real drafts, this will no doubt be one of the defining factors.  I also found it more difficult than I thought to pick objectively for the “other guys” so ultimately, this is even more of a reflection of how I currently rank the players than I expected.

Here are a couple of observations.  When I was picking as me, it was difficult to get over the stigma of where I valued the player in the spring.  Well, not difficult, but it was an uncomfortable feeling picking someone in say round three or four that I was able to get in later rounds in March.  But with injuries and the like, a player moving up a round or two is understandable.  I also noticed how non-scarcity friendly the early rounds played out.  That is, there are so many injuries to second baseman, shortstop and third baseman that taking the best player, regardless of position could be the way to go, and then worry about filling in the rest later.

If I were to actually participate in a mid season NFBC league, my strategy would indeed be to focus on these safer outfielders and first baseman and eschew anyone injured or playing hurt.  However, my catch would be to use the middle rounds to select players others have soured on that I feel will be better than they have demonstrated thus far, like Alexis Rios, Derek Jeter and Daric Barton.

Good luck to everyone playing in a mid season NFBC league.  Perhaps next year I will be able to join you.

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