Archive for March, 2008

Fantasy Baseball 2008 – Hitter Draft

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

In my last article, Fantasy Baseball 2008 – Pitcher Draft, I discussed my strategy for pitchers. Drafting hitters is a little more involved due to the number of positions you must field. For a general overview of the scoring system and position requirements for both my 21 and 40 man rosters see Fantasy Baseball 2008 – Introduction.

Let us start by looking at the deviations from the standard 5×5 stats for each league. As you should know, the basic 5×5 stats for hitters are R (runs), HR (home runs), RBI (runs batted in), SB (stolen bases) and AVG (batting average). Both leagues use these categories plus two more, in addition the 40 man league puts a little twist on stolen bases by subtracting CS (caught stealing), or in other words net steals. The 21 man league adds 2B (doubles) and 3B (triples), while the 40 man league adds TB (total bases) and OBP (on base percentage). So what do we need to consider for our drafts?

SB vs SB – CS

Last year in MLB, there were 8 players with 40 or more steals. The average success rate was 82%. Of the top 8 base stealers, the success rate did not deviate more than 5%. Given the fact that Jose Reyes, the leading base stealer with 78 SB/21 CS had a net of 57 was still better than the second best Carl Crawford with 64 SB/15 CS and a net of 49, it was clear that the slightly different scoring category was not going to make that much of a difference.

Who I ended up with, Jerry Owens (32 SB, 24 net), Brandon Phillips (32 SB), Chris Young (27 SB, 21 net). I will be hurting at SB and SB – CS this year, I’m not even starting Owens.

2B and 3B

HR is obviously perhaps the most important statistical category for hitters. An HR accounts for at least a HR, a R, a RBI and a slight bump in AVG (and in the 40 man league 4 TB and a slight bump in OBP). 3B are a bit of an anomaly only 5 hitters were in double figures last year, and only two Curtis Granderson (23) and Jimmy Rollins (20) had 20 or more. 2B on the other hand is a little more common, 32 players had 40 or more and three Magglio Ordonez (54), David Ortiz (52) and Matt Holliday (50) top the 50 2B mark. In contrast there were only 5 players to hit 40 or more home runs. My goal then was to pick up Granderson or Rollins if available and rate hitters with high 2B totals a little higher.

Who I ended up with, Adrian Gonzalez (43 2B, 3 3B), Jeff Francoeur (40 2B, 0 3B), Carlos Guillen (35 2B, 9 3B).

TB

A lot of my research into 2B and 3B was carried over to the TB category. TB requires power and speed, so some spill over is expected from SB and HR. There were 26 players with 300 or more TB in 2007. Of these, 6 topped 350; Matt Holliday (386), Jimmy Rollins (380), Alex Rodriguez (376), Hanley Ramirez (359), Prince Fielder (354) and Magglio Ordonez (354). With so many players to choose from in this category, I was sure to look for player that would contribute in other areas as well.

Who I ended up with, Matt Holliday (386 TB, 120 R, 36 HR, 137 RBI, .340 AVG, .405 OBP), Chipper Jones (310 TB, 108 R, 29 HR, 102 RBI, .337 AVG, .425 OBP), Nick Markakis (309 TB, 112 RBI, .300 AVG) Robinson Cano (301 TB, .306 AVG).

OBP

Plate presence or patience is what OBP is all about the largest contributer to OBP are BB (Base on Balls/Walks), however, HBP (hit by pitch/positive) and SF (sacrifice fly/negative) make a minor contributions (where-oh-where is Biggio?). Since BB will let me ballpark above average achivers in this category. I took a look at the top 17 in BB. That produced a spread from Barry Bonds (132) to Prince Fielder (90). Looking through the list, I noticed that the majority were power hitters. Only one player, Todd Helton had less than 20 HR (17). Remarkably he had the second most BB (116). Remarkably only 5 of the 17 players had an AVG of .300 or better, while only 7 players had a OBP lower than .400. What I took away from this was OBP was some what a way to off set power hitters AVG.

Who I ended up with, Chipper Jones (.425 OBP, .337 AVG, 29 HR), Jim Thome (.410 OBP, .275 AVG, 35 HR), Matt Holliday (.405 OBP, .340 AVG, 36 HR), Pat Burrell (.400 OBP, .256 AVG, 30 HR).

Regular 5×5

Of course not everthing goes to plan. In the 21 man league, I received the first draft pick. That was a no brainer Alex Rodriguez (143 R, 31 2B, 0 3B, 54 HR, 156 RBI, 24 SB, .314 AVG). By the time it got back around to me, I had to pick up a second baseman Brandon Phillips (107 R, 26 2B, 6 3B, 30 HR, 94 RBI, 32 SB, .288 AVG) my next pick was Jake Peavy. I was a little more satisfied with picking 5th in the 40 man league. Matt Holliday (120 R, 36 HR, 137 RBI, 386 TB, 7 SB – CS, .340 AVG, .405 OBP) was followed by Ryan Braun (91 R,34 HR, 97 RBI,286 TB, 10 net SB, .324 AVG, .370 OBP) who only played 113 games last year. I followed these two up with 3 straight pitchers, Sabbathia, Putz, and Verlander.

21 man starters

POS PLAYER ROUND (pick)
C Russell Martin 4 (40)
1B Adrian Gonzalez 12 (120)
2B Brandon Phillips 2 (20)
3B Alex Rodriguez 1 (1)
SS Carlos Guillen 5 (41)
OF Chris Young 7 (61)
OF Nick Swisher 8 (80)
OF Jeff Francoeur 17 (161)
Util Josh Willingham 19 (181)

40 man starters

POS PLAYER Round (pick)
C Mike Napoli 23 (225)
C J.R. Towles 19 (185)
1B Nick Swisher 9 (85)
2B Robinson Cano 7 (65)
3B Ryan Braun 2 (16)
SS Troy Tulowitzki 6 (56)
MI Kelly Johnson 17 (165)
CI Chipper Jones 12 (116)
OF Pat Burrell 16 (156)
OF Michael Cuddyer 20 (196)
OF Matt Holliday 1 (5)
OF Nick Markakis 8 (76)
OF Chris Young 11 (105)
UT Jim Thome 15 (145)

In my next article, I will briefly discus moves I’ve already made and trade options I think I have from my bench.

Until next time.

-3monkeys 

Fantasy Baseball 2008 – Pitcher Draft

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Given the basic league scoring rules I posted in Fantasy Baseball 2008 – Introduction, a few interesting observations come to light.

In the 40 man league we can see that there are 4 statistical categories that favor releivers and 3 that favor starts. For relievers, especially closers:

  • S – Saves
  • WHIP – (Walks + Hits) /Innings Pitched
  • K/BB – Strikeout to Walk Ratio
  • ERA – Earned Run Average

Saves should be obviously a reliever stats. WHIP should seam reasonable as a reliever stat as well, but to back it up with some data of the top 25 pitchers in projected WHIP, 23 are relievers and only 2 are starters, Johan Santana (7th) and Jake Peavy (20th). J.J. Putz, Jonathon Papalbon and Takashi Saito are the top three relievers, all with projected 0.92 WHIP. K/BB is a little more evenly distributed between the top 25, with SP edging RP 13 to 12. However, of the top 10 there are 8 RP and only 2 SP, and the numbers drop off quickly. For example the top K/BB projection is 5.46 for Rafael Batencourt, 10th is Bob Howry, at 4.20 and 25th is Scott Baker (SP) at 3.51. ERA might not seem as obvious but, considering their role relievers consistantly put up great ERA numbers. Of the top 25 ERA projections there are only 3 SP, Johan Santana (16th), Jake Peavy (20th) and Brandon Webb (23rd). The top 3 relievers are Jonathan Pabelbon, J.J. Putz, and Joe Nathan. By comparision Pabelbon is projected at a 2.00 ERA where Webb is projected at 3.10.

Starting pitchers have two obvious statistical categories in their favor, W (wins) and K (strikeouts). The final category PCT (winning percentage) is pretty much a toss up between relievers and starters. Looking at the projections, Justin Verlander is looking at a 0.720 PCT (18/7), while J.J. Putz is looking at a 0.714 PCT (5/2).

Given all of this info it is clear that a team could dominate by selecting the top closers and avoiding starting pitchers. This is not quite what I did, but here is what I did do.

PLAYER TEAM POS W S K ERA WHIP W% K/BB
J.J. Putz SEA RP 5 40 77 2.130 0.92 0.714 5.13
Takashi Saito LAD RP 3 35 74 2.250 0.92 0.500 4.35
C.C. Sabathia CLE SP 17 0 191 3.320 1.17 0.654 4.44
Justin Verlander DET SP 18 0 188 3.460 1.21 0.720 3.08
Chien-Ming Wang NYY SP 17 0 103 3.720 1.30 0.680 1.78
John Maine NYM SP 15 0 185 3.920 1.31 0.577 2.43
Jeff Francis COL SP 16 0 163 4.160 1.34 0.615 2.55
Phil Hughes NYY SP 13 0 139 4.120 1.33 0.650 2.17
Jake Westbrook CLE SP 14 0 111 4.150 1.36 0.583 1.91

Notice, I have more SP than I originally planned. This was mostly due to the fact that once I started picking up RP other owners realized what I was doing and snatched up the better ones quick. So I addapted a little and switched to SP. I think this is good overall given that SP are more prone to injury than RP. I will definately need depth at SP. By my rankings I was able to pickup 5 of the top 25 pitchers with 3 more in the top 75 only Jake Westbrook lies out of my top 100, and he had a great outing yesterday in spring training going 6 innings, 8 K, 0 H, 0 BB, 0.00 ERA. Overall in spring training he is 3-0 with 14 IP and an ERA of 0.00.

The 21 man league was quite different. The roster for the 40 man league is set once a week. However, daily changes are available in the 21 man league. Therefore, I am able to get 2 or 3 extra starts a week based on rotation and matchups. Two of the 7 statistical categories in this league are irrelevant, CG and SHO. The league leader in SHO Brandon Webb had 3 SHO with 4 CG, only Roy Halladay has more CG at 7. It just doesn’t make sense to chase these categories since they happen so infrequently. Saves and Wins are again RP and SP categories respectively. K and L are largely SP dominated while ERA is RP dominated. Personally, I feel this leagues pitching categories are a little goofed. As I stated before, the key to pitching in this league is getting as many starts a week as possible. That being said here is how my draft went.

PLAYER TEAM POS W L CG SHO SV K ERA
Jake Peavy SD SP 19 6 0 0 0 240 2.54
Dan Haren ARI SP 15 9 0 0 0 192 3.07
Takashi Saito LAD RP 2 1 0 0 39 78 1.40
Bobby Jenks CWS RP 3 5 0 0 40 56 2.77
Fausto Carmona CLE SP 19 8 2 1 0 137 3.06
Jeff Francis COL SP 17 9 1 1 0 165 4.22
Oliver Perez NYM SP 15 10 0 0 0 174 3.56
Dontrelle Willis DET SP 10 15 0 0 0 146 5.17
Ubaldo Jimenez COL SP 4 4 0 0 0 68 4.28

Notice I included my reserves, Dontrellee Willis and Ubaldo Jimenez, since I will be trying to pitch them each week as well. Ubaldo may look like a week pick, but remember he only pitched 82 innings last year and should pitch 180 or more this year. Dontrelle might also seem like a weak pick. I picked him up due to his move to Detroit, which should give him plenty of run support this year. I think he will have a much better year this year than last year. I would like to trade Jenks for Pabelbon or Putz, but I’m sure that will need to be a multi-player deal.

My next column will address the hitters and the strategies I took into each draft.

Until next time–

3Monkeys

Fantasy Baseball 2008 – Introduction

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Well it is March again time to get into Fantasy Baseball mode for about 6 months. This year I am participating in two leagues and perhaps a third. I definitely was able to prepare more both time and quality wise. I hooked up with another avid baseball fan this year, Will Watson. Will has agreed to write a blog on all things sports for 3Monkeys, Austin Sports Guy. We consulted about our draft strategy for about a week before the drafts, focusing on both overall player talent, fantasy potential and league scoring intracasies. It was a loose definition at best, but we did take particular goals into each draft.

The first draft was an online Yahoo draft. In this league you would draft 21 players 16 starters and 5 reserves. Position requirements and scoring categories for the hitting and pitching positions are as follows:

  • Hitting: C/1B/2B/3B/SS/OFx3/Util
  • Pitching: SPx2,RPx2,Px3
  • Reserves: 5 Players
  • Hitting: R/2B/3B/HR/RBI/SB/AVG
  • Pitching: W/L/CG/SHO/SV/K/ERA

This scoring system breaks from the traditional 5X5 by adding 2B and 3B for hitters, and ignoring WHIP and adding L, CG and SHO for pitching. That being said, we used a plain vanilla cheat sheet to rank our player giving extra credit to those that had better than average or exceptional output in the categories not considered in traditional 5X5 scoring leagues. We further refined our strategy by noting the positions that had the least exceptional player, followed by the least exceptional players plus above average players (position scarcity). This was a shallow draft so some of our decisions were based on depth.

The second draft was a live draft of 40 players in which you must fill out your starting lineup of 23 players before drafting 17 reserves. Potition requirements and scoring categories for the hitting and pitching positions are as follows:

  • Hitting: Cx2/1B/2B/3B/SS/MI/CI/OFx5/Util
  • Pitching: Px9
  • Reserves: 17 Players
  • Hitting: R/HR/RBI/SB-CS/AVG/TB/OBP
  • Pitching: W/SV-BS/K/ERA/WHIP/PCT/K per BB

Again this league breaks from the traditional 5X5 scorint system a bit by modifying saves to net saves (SV-BS) and adding winning percentage (PCT) and K’s per BB. For hitting SB is modified by net stolen bases (SB – CS) and adding total bases (TB) and on base percentage (OBP). Again we adjusted for the scoring system idiosyncrasies and position scarcity. We also allowed for the fact that this would be a deep draft. This basically meant we were going to totally give up on a position in order to get better quality players across the board and take some risk on rookies or players that may or may not be called up during the season.

In my next installment, I will break down the pitching side of the draft.

Fantasy Baseball 2008 – Pitcher Draft

Until next time—

3Monkeys