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Captain's Log


IF You Could... PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Thursday, 01 August 2013 00:00

Long time readers will remember columns on trading where I introduced the concept of “addition by subtraction” as it applied to category standings in fantasy baseball.

Simply put, you could make a trade that a) wouldn’t gain your team any points in the standings, and b) where you would take the short end of the trade and still gain points in the standings by taking away points from one of your competitors.

The Jerry Beckham League, as noted in the draft prep article that Todd Zola and I pen in January, is a league where all the parameters mirror the NFBC format. Of course, that is done so that the drafters can get a head start on their research and strategy for the NFBC by drafting in a much cheaper league with the same setup in December.

And, part of mirroring the NFBC leagues is that the league is a “no trade” league. But what if I could make a trade in that league? Actually, I pose the question only to give you a nice example of an addition by subtraction trade.

First, here are the overall standings as of the morning of July 31. (Perhaps the column is also a birthday wish for my late brother Rod, who died way too early several years ago).

As you can see, I have a very tenuous lead in this league.

Captain Hook 113.5
Risky Business 113
Liquid Hippos - JBL 111
Central Park Muggers 111
Hoboken Generals 105
Goldilocks 103.5

But, let’s take a look at the strikeout category:

Captain Hook 969
Central Park Muggers 917
Goldilocks 909
Risky Business 895
Liquid Hippos 880

With the base of my staff consisting of Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Hisashi Iwakuma and Patrick Corbin, I have enough strikeouts that I could trade some if this were a trading league. So the play is to trade one of those starting pitchers to Goldilocks and getting back something that will help my team in another category and will help Goldilocks overtake the Muggers in strikeouts (with a nice bonus in this example of also preventing Risky Business or Liquid Hippos from gaining a point by passing Goldilocks.

Look for a category where you can make a trade like this to help your team.

Unfortunately, I can’t help this team with a trade.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 August 2013 07:00
 
Reinforcements on the Way UP PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 00:00

As those of you in AL and NL-only leagues know all too well, the free agent list often looks like the list of available restaurants in Death Valley.

But one day into Week 17 of the season, there will be several fresh cuts of meat in the NL locker. And AL players will have a shot at Matt Garza, the first crossover player of real value – maybe two if the Cubs and Yankees can agree on a deal for Alfonso Soriano.

Let’s start in the junior circuit where the immediate question is – How many FAAB units do you put on Garza? I can’t give you a specific answer, as obviously every team’s needs and resources vary, BUT you do have to realize that Garza is very likely the most impactful starting pitcher the AL will see this year via trade or callup at this point in the season.

Obviously, Soriano might be the same for hitters but I am less enthusiastic on going heavy on him, one because this reported deal is not even done as I type this but also because Soriano will not only have to adjust to AL pitching again but may have to fight for everyday at-bats in pinstripes.

There are more players to look at in the NL this week but perhaps less certainty about their value.

wood_alex

In Atlanta, it appears the Braves will soon add two pitchers to their roster. Alex Wood, who was called up at the end of May to help in the bullpen and then made one spot start in June, was sent down to the Minors two weeks ago when the Braves starting outfield all went on vacation. He continued to start at Triple-A Gwinnett and will start on Thursday, replacing the injured Paul Maholm. Prior to his callup in May, Wood had a 1.26 ERA in 57 innings of relief pitching at Double-A Mississippi. He had a 2.45 ERA in 22 innings with the Braves with 26 strikeouts and eight walks.

Wood being recalled and immediately inserted into the rotation may have settled the question of who the Braves would turn to first, but persistent reports of their intentions to send struggling starter Kris Medlen back to the bullpen would open a second rotation spot, this presumably for Brandon Beachy, who is completing his latest rehab assignment in Gwinnett.

Both pitchers will be hot targets for NL players with gaps in their starting rotation.

But there are also two new National League outfielders in Miami this week. The Marlins made the unusual move of calling up both of their top hitting prospects, outfielders Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick, from Double-A Jacksonville at the same time. While it marks the big league beginning for the organization's top two prospects, the club also decided two promising young players need more minor league seasoning. Second baseman Derek Dietrich and centerfielder Marcell Ozuna were optioned to Jacksonville, creating some holes in the lineup for either you or your league mates.

Yelich, who was the higher ranked prospect going into this season, started this season with Class A Jupiter and was then promoted to Jacksonville. He was batting .277 over 191 at-bats at the Double-A level with seven homers and 29 RBI. He's batting .314 over his last 10 games.

Marisnick was also playing in the Jacksonville outfield. He was batting .295 with 12 homers and 46 RBI over 264 at-bats at the Double-A level. Marisnick also had 11 stolen bases, and this may give him more value than Yelich for the balance of the season. Long term, Yelich’s power and likely higher average will make him the more valuable outfielder.

Beyond trying to get one to bolster NL fantasy outfields, it will be interesting to see if both hitters can handle the upgrade in competition at the major league level and, if they can, whether the Marlins will look at the possibility of trading Giancarlo Stanton this off-season as he heads into his first arbitration-eligible year.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 08:38
 
Ways to Put Your Team Into Contention PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 00:00

For many baseball fans and fantasy players, the four-day All-Star break is very painful – no box scores, no lineups to decide upon, no stats to try and judge improvement in players or teams.

Face it, you are addicted and the withdrawal is maddening.

What you should be doing is paying even more attention to your teams! Have you made improvement in your weak categories? Are you gaining points in certain categories? Do you have players who aren’t getting enough at-bats to contribute to your counting stats?

Well, if you haven’t I would guess you have decided your team is not in contention. Maybe you looked at all the categories and decided you could not gain enough points to overtake the team in front of you. But did you look at taking points away from them?

How do you take points away from them?

Well, there are lots of different trades to make. Sure, you can trade some of your extra stolen bases – you are twenty bags ahead of the team in second place in your league – for a minor closer to get a few more saves and gain a point or two. But sometimes that trade partner is impossible to find. Okay, how about trading a good source of steals that is not helping you in any other categories? (Everth Cabrera, I am looking at you) But the key is where you trade him, and I would suggest if you can’t get the deal you want, trade him to a team that is just below the team(s) ahead of you in the total standings.

If that team can gain a few points in the SB category and those are points that belong to your opponents, you have “gained” points on those teams. Teams ahead of you losing points is just as good as you gaining points. Hopefully, you can do both.

And another reminder that you don’t have to get the best of every trade, especially at this point in the season. I wrote a couple of weeks ago that we had reached the real halfway point in the season – 81 games played. While traditionally people call the All-Star Game the “halfway” point, it is much closer to 60% of the season for many teams. In fact, the lowest number of games played by MLB teams right now is 92 – that is 57% of the season, while there are a couple of teams who have played 97 games, which is 60% of the games they are likely to play. Well, okay, 59.9% - but remember not all teams will play 162 games because of all the early rainouts, some of which will not be made up. This will more than balance out any play-in games that might be necessary).

Trading now should totally focus on categorical standings – well, at least for those of us trying to “cash” in our leagues. Yes, if you are so far out of it that you should be managing your team for next year, you are looking to obtain value (even potential value) for your player assets.

So trading a $25 Alex Rios for a $19 Ernesto Frieri makes perfect sense if you have the offense covered or get back an outfielder who will contribute something so that Frieri’s saves will help you gain points.

Double bonus if you put Rios onto a team that will pass your competitor(s) in stolen bases. Likewise, overtaking that same competitor in another category where you are 1st and 2nd would result in a two-point swing in the standings.

Another thing to watch right now are players who will be coming back from the disabled list. Last month, or even last week, you could have obtained Curtis Granderson much cheaper than you can today with reports that his rehab is going well. I like Granderson to contribute in August and September (don’t delude yourself that he will help this month), but if you can’t trade for Granderson, the flip side is you should look to trade Gardner or Ichiro or certainly Almonte because the Grandyman will take at-bats away from some if not all of them once he returns.

So even though Gardner may be contributing at a $20 rate, I would trade him for half of that right now if it would help in some category (and you know he is not stealing bases at the rate you expected anyway).

Now get back to your league’s standings and find ways to help your team …and keep you busy for a few more days.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 July 2013 10:28
 
Strategy for Shandler's Monthly Contest PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 00:00

Lord Zola’s questions for his Knights this week were about Ron Shandler’s new monthly rotisserie contest (see details at RonShandler.com). Had they entered a team and what did they think about the contest and their strategy to win a one-month competition?

For those of you who didn’t enter the contest or haven’t read about it (see MastersBlog), the contest is a 4x4, 30 man roster for one month’s play with 23 starters and seven reserves who must fit the salary cap with prices based on performance to date.

Most of the answers were the obvious two camps – those who had entered and those who weren’t aware of the contest or didn’t have time to enter before the June 30 deadline. And several shared their teams.

While I hadn’t entered the contest, I did look at the replies as they entered my inbox. And when Lawr Michaels shared his squad that had only one reserve pitcher, I made my first reply to the group – “looks very short on pitching.” This quickly turned into a discussion of strategy where I was somewhat surprised by the opposition to my suggestion that with twice a week lineup changes – Monday and Friday – most of the reserves should be pitchers.

This is not something I suggested without quite a bit of experience with the twice a week format. You see, the FBPC main event which debuted this year with a $50,000 grand prize as well as the now defunct WCOFB both used the Mon/Fri lineups, as has Mastersballer Greg Morgan. In fact, Greg has two teams both in the top ten in the FBPC this year, one with his father and one named Captain Morgan (thus you can easily guess his partner). Our Captain Morgan collaboration twice won our league and finished in the top ten overall in the WCOFB.

So I feel pretty strongly that the strategy for Shandler’s contest would be to have five of my seven reserves be pitchers so I could maximize my number of starts each week. When I had a good SP with a two-start week, I would keep him in my lineup both periods. When one of the starts is risky for a non-stud starter, I could sit him that period. And, if I didn’t have enough good to great starts, I could play an additional reliever since the category is not saves but saves + holds. In fact, since there is no WHIP category (W, K, Sv+HLD, ERA), both the high strikeout setup relievers as well as high strikeout starters who walk too many but have decent ERAs are more playable.

Pitchers are a less stable group than hitters, and in a one-month contest you should be able to choose hitters with a higher reliability of loss of playing time than in a season-long event. Of course, that means that you should maximize roster versatility with very good players with multi-position eligibility, so Matt Carpenter would be high on my list regardless of his salary. I would also carry a player with catcher eligibility that plays another position just in case. With Evan Gattis now on the DL, my first choice there would be Cleveland’s Yan Gomes.

It will be interesting to see the composition of the winning rosters in August (the contest extended a few games to compensate for the All-Star break). I suspect they will have a minimum of 13 pitchers on their rosters.

Now I will disclose the reason I did not enter the contest, as I told Ron and then sent to Todd and the Knights. I play in 13 leagues and currently lead seven of those with only two teams out of contention, and have even made the decision to not be in Las Vegas for the high stakes FF drafts in September to fully concentrate on my baseball efforts.

Flags fly forever – and most of those have $ instead of stars on them.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 July 2013 10:31
 
It's Halftime - Do You Know Where Your Team Stands? PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 00:00

The MLB season, and games for at least rotisserie leagues hit the halfway point over the coming weekend, and that begs my question: Do you really know where your team stands?

I don’t mean first place--or fourth place specifically--although it’s always nice to be competing for the title or a spot “in the money.” I mean where are your players in each category? Are they accumulating the counting stats at an average rate for your league, or have some early adjustments put your squad firmly on track to gain points in any/some of the categories?

It not good enough to say a team is 12 home runs behind the team above in the standings. That team be pulling away/gaining at a good pace over the last few weeks. So, knowing the breakdowns in the counting categories is very helpful in not only setting your lineup on a weekly basis but also in evaluating if/when you should make a trade to shore up a particular deficiency.

Some weeks ago I noted that I only had a handful or points in the stolen base column in the Tout Mixed Draft League that I am in this year. I wasn’t concerned at that time about the slow start because my team had Jose Altuve at 2B, Jean Segura at SS, and both Austin Jackson and Bryce Harper in the outfield. Together with at least a large handful each from Paul Goldschmidt, Todd Frazier, and Kyle Seager I thought I would be fine in that column and rejected a trade offer for speed.

After steadily gaining on the teams in front of me--capped by a twelve bag week thanks to Segura and to having Jackson back from the DL--I am now in 5th place in the category with 71, just three swipes below three teams ahead of my team. And though I will never overtake Greg Ambrosius (Stats/NFBC), who has 95 after last week, (well unless he sells off Jacoby Ellsbury or Ben Revere in a trade) I am just fine with fourteen points in the category.

To the point, for players you may have drafted, it is pretty much time to look at a more realistic projection of what they will contribute to your team this year. Keeping it simple, you could either multiply the counting stats by two, or you could add what they have at the end of this week with what Todd projects for the balance of the year. With players acquired by trade or as free agents, look at their rates of production and see whether that has been steady or like your other players whether there has been an increase/decline because of playing time increases/decreases.

This may be some extra work to be sure but you will find it will certainly pay off in the next month or two as you get your team ready for the home stretch.

Remember that as Oakland General Manager Billy Beane has said the season is really three separate periods:

April and May – to see how the players fit together and whether roster changes will help the team

June and July – to implement any roster changes – perhaps a trade or bringing up players from the minor leagues to get the team to function better;

And finally August and September to have the revised roster set and ready to play its way to the division lead (or get into the money in the case of our rotisserie leagues).

Yes plenty of time to correct many teams but not enough to waste time if there are changes you need to make to your team.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 June 2013 12:26
 
PUIGalicious PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 00:00

Well at least if you are lucky enough to have him on your Farm or Reserve squad. But what about those of us in leagues where he was available?

As I noted in a forum thread, the only question about whether Yasiel Puig (prn -pweeg) was an “All In” player in any given free agent pool is whether he will continue to get at-bats once Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier are all available in who knows how many weeks?

But over the weekend, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters that GM Ned Colletti told him to “play the players that give you the best chance of winning a game.”

While no one expects Puig to hit .400 every week, it is hard to believe there is a game where he doesn’t improve the Dodgers' lineup. Vin Scully, who has been with the Dodgers longer than most of you have been on the planet, had an interesting observation over the weekend, saying that in one week Puig had shown off all five tools and that even really dramatic players often take a month to get a chance to show they excel in all those things.

In addition to the average, Puig hit four home runs and had ten RBI, both of which tied the major league record for a player's first five games. While he hasn’t stolen a base yet, Puig has shown his speed on the bases and in the field. He also had two memorable assists from right field, throwing back to first to double off a runner and then launching a missile to third base to get another runner.

So yeah, the guy who hit over .500 in spring training and over .300 at Double-A Jacksonville before being called up last Monday is a pretty good player. What does that mean for fantasy owners? And how much did it cost to roster him this weekend if in fact he was available?

Well, in the JBL league, which is one of our first draft prep articles of the year giving subscribers pick-by-pick selections for 30 rounds (paralleling the NFBC) and where Todd and I comment on each of our picks, Puig went for $625.

In the NFBC Main Event leagues which drafted late in March, he was rostered in every one of those leagues after his spring training performance. His owners were looking for a lottery ticket this year after Bryce Harper and Mike Trout helped so many teams last year. But in two “super” leagues ($5000 entry) where he was available, he went for $425 and $560. And in 57 NFBC Online Championship leagues (12-team leagues), he went for an average of $469. In fact, most all of those bids were between $300-700 with only four bids exceeding that – three in the 700's and one at $900; and only four bids lower than $300, the lowest at $212.

In the FBPC main event where Greg Morgan and I pilot the “Captain Morgan” team, we had rostered Puig at the March (online) draft. And inserting him last week helped us move into first place, as homers and runs were our weakest categories.

In a “First Pitch” satellite for that competition that drafted online in mid-January, Puig was not drafted. While we were short on FAAB, our $263 was higher than most of our competitors and I suggested we block all the teams we could with a bid of $245. In that league we were low in HR and RBI and I thought this would be our best shot at improving in those areas. We were lucky that none of the owners who were back in the pack and had bigger purses were interested, and won at $245. The underbid was $180, so we spent more than we had to but I would have felt worse if we were just a little short on a lower bid. So we hope that by inserting him into the lineup this week, and hopefully keeping him there, we can gain a few needed points and get to 2nd place. We have been shifting between 2nd and 4th throughout the first few months.

It should be noted that in the two NL keeper leagues I play in, Puig was rostered as a minor leaguer in the first week in April.

I hope that many of you were able to draft or add him – he is a fun player to watch burst onto the scene, much like Mike Trout was last year.

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 June 2013 07:41
 
A Glimpse of the Future PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 05 June 2013 00:00

If your home leagues have a minor league draft (and really they should – so much fun to manage that part of building a franchise), you need to be prepared for Thursday evening.

Get a hall pass at home, stock the refrigerator and snack drawer, have a pizza delivered or put one in your own oven. In short, do everything to make sure you have Thursday evening set up so you are ready to watch the first two rounds of the MLB First-Year Player Draft live at 7 PM ET on the MLB Network.

If you are familiar with the names or resumes of the top draft prospects, you want to make a note about which team they are going to. If not, you will get a great introduction to several future major league stars – maybe even players on your fantasy teams. If you want some really good information before the draft, the MLB Network has a one-hour special that will introduce you to the top-50 prospects.

Of course there are several mock drafts out there, but the reality is that no one knows exactly how this draft will unfold. Will the Houston Astros try and save money again by getting their first-round pick to sign for the low end of the range allotted? This would save precious draft dollars they might use to increase their offers to other draft picks, especially when some of the high school players have college commitments that you want to buy them out of.

Will Oklahoma University’s Jonathan Gray, thought to be going first or second in this draft, have his first contract lowered by sliding down the first round due to a failed drug test for using Adderall? MLB clubs wouldn’t care much IF he has a physical condition that would give him an exemption for that medicine but will they have enough time do all the research?

Will Indiana State pitcher Sean Manaea, who was widely considered one of the top pitching prospects coming into this year, drop out of the first round due to medical concerns about a hip injury which caused him to miss almost all of this season?

This is even more interesting in my AL-only keeper league, where we get five minor league draft picks each year and many of the owners in the league are willing to risk a pick on a player who is very highly regarded. The down side of course is that such a player might be drafted by an NL team, so you have nothing to show for the pick. But the flip side is that Manny Machado was drafted several years before he was in the draft and I drafted Mike Trout after he was drafted by the Angels and played in the Arizona Rookie League, where I got to see him play in person a year before his breakout minor league season.

Among this year’s draft prospects, all of these players are already rostered in my AL league:

Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford University

Kris Bryant, 3B, University of San Diego

Jonathan Gray, RHP, Oklahoma University

Sean Manaea, LHP, Indiana State University

Colin Moran, 3B, University of North Carolina

Clint Frazier, OF, Loganville High School, Georgia

Austin Meadows, OF, Grayson High School, Georgia

Kohl Stewart, RHP, St. Pius X High School, Texas

Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas University

Of course none of these are on my Farm Roster, so hopefully NL clubs will grab all of them. 

Perry will be posting live comments on the MLB Draft on Thursday evening in the Prospects and Minor League Discussion Forum

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 June 2013 07:54
 
June - Time for Action and Not Reaction PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 29 May 2013 00:00

The calendar is just about to turn a page and with some players on your fantasy team(s), maybe you should too.

The keys to both trading and cut/add decisions in weekly transaction leagues are knowledge and patience. But with one-third of the season now already in the scorebooks, patience is no longer a virtue if you drafted a furry caterpillar unless they have or are emerging with useful wings.

You should know about those players by now but you might have added some in May that are on the line and those require care in handling lest you drop a player who is about to blossom. A key here will be projected playing time. As we have said in many articles over the years, the key to AL or NL-only leagues is having as many everyday players as you can. Maximize your at-bats. Let’s take a look at LABR’s AL auction league that I reported on back in March. I have the second-best pitching points in the league but am probably sixth/seventh in hitting points. So let’s view the at-bats accumulated by each team through yesterday (5/28).

AB rank

Team

AB

 Standings

1

KFFL.com

2234

  3rd

2

SiriusXM

2167

  5th

3

WFBaseball*

2156

  1st

4

Fangraphs

2108

  7th

5

Baseball HQ

2080

  6th

6

Colton/Wolfman

2030

  8th

7

Mastersball

1944

  2nd

8

USA Today

1808

 12th

9

NFBC/Stats

1790

 10th

10

Rotowire

1755

  9th

11

Yahoo Sports

1743

  4th

12

ESPN.com

1602

 11th

 

You can see that two of the top three teams – Nick Minnix of KFFL and Larry Schechter, whose upcoming book will be titled Winning Fantasy Baseball, have a lot of at-bats in their lineup and thus 44 and 38 hitting points respectively. And, my team is suffering with just 31 hitting points – actually higher than might be presumed from having less than 2000 at-bats after a third of the games have been played.

So who are my fringe players and what can I do with them?

Well, let’s take a look at my lineup and you can spot the problems:

C – Pierzynski & Doumit

CI – Butler, Seager & Moreland

MI – Altuve, Andrus & Y. Navarro

OF – Cespedes, L. Martin, Nava, Endy Chavez & Jeff Baker

UT – Gillaspie

Pretty clear that I have a poor collection of outfielders as far as producing counting stats. Injuries to Cespedes, who is now back, and Justin Maxwell, still resting somewhere, were the major culprits. Leonys Martin, who had really developed last year and was having a terrific spring, did not seize the CF job for the Rangers and shares at-bats with Craig Gentry. The other two-thirds drafted were Juan Rivera, who looked like he was going to be starting for the Yankees, and Casper Wells, who was in the rotation in the Seattle pasture.

Fortunately, I drafted Daniel Nava and Cole Gillaspie in the reserve rounds as they have at least filled in. But what I really need to do is find a way to trade one of my starting pitchers for an outfielder who will gain more points than Chavez or Baker. I could try and package Gillaspie there for a team weak at either 3B or CI or pray that he will get at least part time at-bats when Gordon Beckham returns in the next week or two or deal one of my first basemen for an outfielder with the same hope.

Another alternative would be to trade my only closer, Joe Nathan. I currently have seven points in saves with 17 but I would lose immediate points to the two teams with 16 and eventually to Brandon Funston/Yahoo, who has 12 and Tom Wilhelmsen. In addition, Nathan might well get me two more points with an 18 and 19 just barely in front of me. It seems to me penny wise and pound foolish to deal one of my Aces – Chris Sale or Alex Cobb - as that will drastically weaken the other four pitching categories. The flip side is that it is hard to get much of an outfielder for the likes of Mark Buehrle (although he has pitched much better in his last few starts), Jason Hammel, Dylan Axelrod, Jerome Williams or Jose Quintana.

But Pierzynski has just returned from a DL stint. Baker is getting more at-bats for the Rangers (and if they are at Moreland’s expense they are still on my team). Cespedes still isn’t 100% but is improving. Nava at least until/if Victorino is back is getting more at-bats.

So unless a perfect trade arrives in my e-mail, it may well be that the best course of action is to wait and see.

See what happens with Gillaspie.

See how fast Maxwell returns to the Astros.

Because in this particular case, trading from my strength will likely cost me more pitching points than I can make up on offense. And, the emergence of Mitch Moreland this year should soon be accompanied by the return to form of Billy Butler. My best course of action may be to see if I can get more at-bats without sacrificing pitching.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 10:43
 
This Girl Needs a D.A.D PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 00:00

madi

Not a father. Madi is the three-year-old daughter of Ladd Davies, a staff writer at The Late Round QB.

But Madi has type 1 diabetes, maybe better known to you as juvenile diabetes, an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the pancreas. Historically, the only way to deal with this is vigilant – hourly even – testing of blood sugar levels. You can barely imagine the problem this is for parents or families of these children, taking shifts throughout the day and night (even more problematic at night) to make sure they administer synthetic insulin when needed.

Enter the D.A.D – a highly trained service dog who can detect the scent on a diabetic person’s breath that can tell if they are going too high or too low on the blood sugar levels. The dog’s sense of smell is so sensitive that it can detect a high or low BEFORE it even happens. The dog will wake up out of a sound sleep if they smell their person having a dramatic rise or fall and alert them (or in this case alert Madi’s parents).

Of course, these highly trained service dogs are expensive – currently $17,000. But what peace of mind they could give Ladd and his wife, and of course Madi.

So in the community of fantasy writers, there are a number of people who have already come forth to help the Davies and I will list some of them here and give you links to get more information because ANYTHING you can do, subscribing as a twitter follower or playing in a FF league that supports this cause or even Paypalling a dollar or two, will help us get a D.A.D for Madi.

Here are some of the efforts to help Ladd and his daughter:

Jim Day (@Fantasy Taz) has been setting up FF leagues at MyFantasyLeague.com that have a $50 buy in where half the money will go towards getting a D.A.D and the other half will be paid out to the league winners. You can contact Jim or go to MFL and look for the FFHelpMadi Leagues.

Twitter Donations:

  • Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23) will donate $1 for every new follower he gets this week. His wife (@Disney__Dork) will be donating 20% of her commissions from being a Disney Trip planner to the cause.
  • Christian Hardy (@CHardySports) will donate $1 for every new follower he gets this week and $1 for every RT he gets on this tweet.
  • FakePigskin.com will be donating all Amazon commissions through June 15th to the cause.
  • John D. Beckler II (@JDBeckler) will be donating $50 for every league that is created.
  • Matt Rittle (@FFRittle) will be donating $2 for every league that is created.
  • The FF Ghost (@TheFFGhost) will be donating money made from his fantasy football banners, found here. It costs $10 for one, and $100 for a set of 12.
  • DynastySportsEmpire.com is donating the full $600 for a #FFHelpMadi league.
  • FFLockerRoom will be donating $2 for each league that is created and will also be participating in one of them.
  • Jim Day (@FantazyTaz) is auctioning off a never-been-worn Joe Montana 49ers jersey. Tweet or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it your bid.
  • Ryan Boser (@Ryan_Boser) is auctioning off a signed Percy Harvin 8 X 10. All money made from the auction will be donated to Madi’s fund. You can view the auction here.
  • @shanek72 has pledged $10 for every league that is created.
  • @Peppy_Pants will donate $5 for every league that is created.
  • Over 10 league participants have pledged to give any potential league winnings to Madi’s fund.

You can learn more about Madi’s story and donate HERE or if you wish you can send money to PO Box 555 Gonzalez, FL 32560 making checks payable to “D.A.D for Madi.”

I know you were looking for some baseball information here but sometimes we have to deal with real issues and I appreciate any of you who can help make the situation better for Madi and her parents.

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 May 2013 09:42
 
Captain's TOUT Trade PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 00:00

This trade review was posted at the TOUT Wars website on Monday.

The Deal

05.13

Gene McCaffrey

GBalfour

Oak

Trade

05.08 @ 15:44

05.13

Gene McCaffrey

RDetwiler

Was

Acquire

05.08 @ 15:44

05.13

Perry Van Hook

GBalfour

Oak

Acquire

05.08 @ 15:44

05.13

Perry Van Hook

RDetwiler

Was

Trade

05.08 @ 15:44

Why?

Gene sent out this note: “I have one closer (Balfour), and I am entertaining the notion of dumping Saves. Any one of you can help me with this decision by offering a hitter or starting pitcher of comparable value. I know that nobody wants to witness the spectacle of my indecision; you are sensitive souls. Thank you for your consideration.”

Perry responded with the best player.

Gene has one point in Saves with one closer. He could have added another, but that would have cost him a decent player and likely points in other categories.

Perry has gotten 43 innings of excellent ERA out of Detwiler, who has allowed a fair number of base runners and shouldn’t be expected to continue with a >3.00 ERA, so dealing him has an element of sell high about it.

Reality

Gene was able to deal his near-worthless (to him) reliever for one of the more beloved young pitchers this year. As a starter, Detwiler helps in strikeouts only a little since he isn’t a K/9 guy, but Gene is in good position to gain with any increase in Ks. Detwiler should also help in Wins, even if he is not a plus in ERA and WHIP. Meanwhile, Perry, who is in the middle of the pack in Saves, has a chance to gain 5.5 easy points by adding a third closer (joining Holland and League). Perry’s risk is in strikeouts, where he could quickly lose four or five points. Gene stands to gain a few more points than Perry in the deal, but any points the frontrunner (Van Hook) would get could prove decisive.

Final Note

Phil Hertz had a piece in USA Today this week about how you can throw draft day prices out the window once the season starts, that once the season starts values change because draft prices sometimes reflect draft conditions rather than player value, and a player’s value on his fantasy team changes in context depending on how the categories in his league shake out. While Phil is certainly right that it isn’t fair to judge his recent NL Tout trade of Ike Davis ($25) for Jeff Samardzija ($14) based on the prices, figuring out what is going on in the league and how teams did, in this case on draft day, makes those prices pertinent. So how much did Balfour and Detwiler cost? Gene took Balfour in the 13th round while Detwiler lasted until the 19th. In the Tout Mixed Auction, Balfour was $11 while Detwiler was a reserve pick. I guess Gene would agree with Phil.

And as I noted in my comment on that site, there were additional benefits to this trade for my team. My closers out of the draft were Greg Holland and Brandon League. While League still has the job, it may be a tenuous hold, so adding Balfour makes sure I have two closers and hopefully a third to mix in based on schedules/matchups.

While my starting pitchers – Justin Verlander, Clay Buchholz, Hishashi Iwakuma, Wade Davis, Travis Wood, Bartolo Colon and Detwiler, have been the best in the league to date, most of that has come without my #2 SP, Jered Weaver of the Angels. So while I can mix and match the sixth starting spot to go with the three closers now, Detwiler will be more than made up for when Weaver returns from the DL.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 07:21
 
How FAABulous Was That? PDF Print E-mail
Captain's Log
Written by Perry Van Hook   
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 00:00

Hopefully, you read the reviews of the weekly free agent bidding in the different Tout Wars leagues. Even if your league uses a different format for bidding, I think there is a lot to be gained – if nothing else which hitters and pitchers the very experienced players in AL, NL or Mixed leagues thought warranted rostering and how much value they think they have.

This week’s bidding in the mixed draft league that I am in was very interesting as both a good young power hitting outfielder in Marcell Ozuna of Miami and a speedy, young middle infielder in the Dodgers’ Dee Gordon were available. So which one did I go after and why?

Good question – glad you asked. While I am currently seventh in steals with 23, 4th thus two more points in the category is only six steals away and there are six teams behind me only 1-3 steals back. My best contributors in that category are Jean Segura, Jose Altuve, Bryce Harper and Austin Jackson. But I should also get double-digit swipes from Paul Goldschmidt, Todd Frazier and Kyle Seager, so I think I am in decent shape. Meanwhile, my middle infield slots are filled with Segura, Altuve and J.J. Hardy, all good contributors in several categories, and to play a MI in my UT slot would diminish my ability to get power from the extra hitter. Still, it was a consideration.

But Ozuna, assuming he stays in the Marlins' lineup (I think that is pretty likely given the good start he has had), would help in HR where I am currently tied for 4th/5th with 54, only two round trippers out of 3rd and five behind 2nd place; Runs where I am in the middle of the pack but can gain a quick point(s) with just one or two more; and RBI where I am third but could eventually get to 2nd place. At the same time, he would help with my on-base percentage where I definitely need to make a move.

The bottom line for my decision was that my only “weak” slot is my fifth outfielder, which is currently manned by either Fernando Martinez (a failed try last week) or John Mayberry Jr., who is playing more now but not really cementing his spot in the Phillies' lineup. My UT slot is filled by the emerging Mitch Moreland, who doesn’t look like he will gain the outfield eligibility I had hoped for on draft day. But with my corner infielders hopefully staying healthy, I have no other place to play Moreland.

So I decided to go hard after Ozuna and back the bid up with a shot at the Padres' Chris Denorfia, who is doing quite well as a full-time fly chaser for the Padres with Cameron Maybin injured. I looked at the last two weeks of bidding for likely ranges (the first two weeks have people plugging holes from draft day and more players available so the bids were higher. Last week, the highest bid for an outfielder was $13 for Oswaldo Arcia and $5 for Jordan Schafer. The previous week saw a $19 bid for Travis Snider (reasonable if you remember the BA tear he was on then) while Diamondbacks' shortstop Didi Gregorius, new to the pool, had $18 thrown at him and Yuniesky Betancourt fetched an $11 bid.

Remembering that Tout uses the Vickrey system (where the winning bid is adjusted downward to one dollar more than the runner-up bid), I felt I needed to at least be in the twenties to have a chance to get Ozuna but being in the thirties would greatly increase my chances. As one of the five teams in the 15-team league with $90+ remaining, I also felt I could stand to bid a third of what I had left to upgrade that OF spot. There were no teams with less than $50 left, one in the fifties and three in the sixties for what that is worth.

So what would you bid with $91 available?

It might help you to know that there was only one pitcher I was interested in bidding on, in part because my starters – Justin Verlander, Clay Buchholz, Hishashi Iwakuma, Ross Detwiler, Bartolo Colon, Wade Davis and Travis Wood have been terrific so far. Yes, in their last starts Detwiler and Colon haven’t maintained but as a group they have me with 18 wins, tied for 4th/5th; sixth in strikeouts with 241; first in ERA at 2.623 and second in WHIP at 1.1383. So it’s hard to replace one. The only one I am going to bid on is Brewers' rookie Hiram Burgos. I would have also bid on Jerome Williams if the new Angels' starter had not looked so poor in his last start since I had him active in LABR’s AL league.

Okay, back to decision time on Ozuna.

I bid $37 and Ozuna is now in my lineup. Surprisingly, there were only two bids for him, and Tom Kessenich's (NFBC/STATS) $27 bid meant I paid $28 for the young Marlins' outfielder.

I got even luckier with Burgos as I had the only bid, so I only had to pay $1 for him. As all free agents added each week have to be active for their first week, I will hope that Burgos has a good outing next weekend in Great American Smallpark, but if not I have some buffer in my league leading ERA and WHIP.

If you didn’t read the Tout recap on Monday, there were eight bids on Dee Gordon and the $50 bid by Ray Guilfoyle was reduced to the $39 winning bid. While I think the Vickrey system takes some strategy elements out of free agent bidding, it does work nice when there is a player you really want/need and can figure out the price you would be willing to pay if you had to but often get a break if there aren’t others that are as enamored. Great to have Ozuna and Burgos this week for a total of $29 – less than a third of my remaining FAAB budget.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 08:17
 
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