Thursday, March 12, 2009

FAB eve!

10 ½ hours until the Ruth Conference FAB begins, and the pre-FAB jitters have kicked in. Is my first offer queue destined for a bunch of Big Red Zeroes? Am I overbidding on bullpen help? Do I really need that particular fourth outfielder? Will I actually get any work done at the office tomorrow? For the answers to all these questions (and more you never wanted to ask) stay tuned for the FAB recap.

Good luck to my fellow Ruthians. Except in cases where we're bidding on the same players, anyway.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A No Brainer For The Bees

The Ruth Conference is activated, huzzah! And now it's time for the returning champs to make some contract extensions.

Hmm... Chase Utley, Dan Haren and David Wright? Yes, yes and yes.

Concerns about Utley's hip aside, the only brief flicker of a question* is whether or not to extend Ichiro in place of one of the above. But Ichiro's contract - left over from when I took control of the team in their second year - is awfully pricey. At $11M he'd actually cost more than Utley, Haren or Wright. And as much as I love the way he plays, within the context of Gameday Ritual he's just not worth that much in place of one of these three. So I make my call and move on.

After all, maybe I can grab him in the FAB...

* One could also argue that I should at least have considered reupping Jose Valverde at $9M, but with Joakim Soria already on the team at only $4M, I don't think I'll regret my choices.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Multi position eligibility

We all know how valuable a player can be to a team when he is able to be used at multiple positions during the season. Well here is your cheat sheet for this season...

The following are the top 50 players from last year, based on FP/G, who are eligible at multiple positions going into this season:

And here are the remaining 50 players with multi position eligibility:

Hint: you can click on the table images to zoom in for a closer look.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ah, .500

Well, this is a nice feeling. The Blackland Bees just won their 12th game of the season - the one that guarantees at least a .500 record - in time for a nice little break during All-Star Week. Of course, if the folks at Gameday Ritual hadn't dropped the .500 requirement to return to Champions Leagues I wouldn't be here celebrating this now slightly-less-meaningful milestone. But still, it's a victory worth pausing over.

The thing I find most interesting is the difference in this team between last year (when I couldn't get the team to .500 at all) and this year (when the team has not coasted, but not barely staggered, either, to .800). The answer lies entirely in the pitching. Being out from under the last of the really bad contracts that my predecessor left me with at the beginning of the 2007 season gave me a shot to do some serious work on the staff in the FAB this year.

In the end, I don't think it's necessarily that my pitchers are overly amazing (though new acquisitions Bannister and Kuroda have generally done well) as much as it is having pitchers who can be counted on to put up a good fight for the potentially game-changing SP Matchup bonus points that the Ruth League has turned on. Having a true ace (Haren, in my case) and solid guys at #s 2 and 3 seems to be critical in this format in a way that it isn't in leagues that don't have the SP matchup bonuses.

My predecessor had built a team of expensive hitters (Ichiro, Wright, Utley and an overpaid Michael Young) and had neglected pitching badly. He paid for it in his one season and I paid for it last year. But with those guys' contracts expiring after this season and some very nice prospects (Jay Bruce, Evan Longoria) already signed for that blessedly sweet league minimum .5M, I'm already starting to plan how the team will look in 2009. By the the Bees will resemble their roots so little that it will be hard to remember back when they were know by their original, first-season-performance-appropriate nickname, the Muckdogs.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In Like a Lion, Out Like Lion Food

Just read a great post by yankeehawk in the Clemente League (A Tale of 2 Teams) who runs the USA Rangers. Great reading and the antithesis of what I thought would happen to my team when May rolled around. He makes a great point of knowing your team and where you're going after the first month of the season. I highly recommend it.

I decided to wait until the end of May to see if it was time to jump ship. After rolling off 4 straight wins, we're holding steady. Although the first week of June meant a 100 point GOFBW by a first place team who's beat beat me up down and crossways since this league started. But it was a very positive May, which is why I preached earlier about not giving up until June rolls around. Now we find out what June has in store, with a matchup against the 2nd place team in my league this week. 3 games out of first, 2 games out of playoff spot so this one is a bit important. I still don't have what I believe is a playoff caliber team, but we're going to ride this as long as it's going.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Tale of 2 Teams

Its half way through the last day of the week and my USA Rangers are losing to Avid Hunters 219 to 285 in the Clemente Conference.  Meanwhile the New York Yankees just picked up their 5th straight win.  The USA Rangers started off fast and now were fading to a .500 record at the conclusion of this week.  The MLB Yankees started off slow and are cruising to a .500 record.  Both teams have had key injuries, yet were going in opposite directions.  

So what is the deal here?  Always the aggressive owner, I am always looking at my players and doing everything I can to make my teams better.  Its not uncommon for me to make nearly 70 plus transactions over the course of the season through trades, waivers and free agency.  However, before I make a move, I look at each player and try to determine if they are a keep or drop.  And so... this week I was looking at my roster and began to notice a common thread developing.  Being a lifelong Yankee fan, I noticed a similar, but opposite thread running through the Yankee lineup.  

What did I learn?  Well, simply put there is a significant difference in statistical output between April and May among or key offensive players.  Huh?  Let's take a deeper look without getting too sabermatic.  

Here are the numbers for key offensive players on the USA Rangers for April and May...

APRIL         MAY

Granderson .375 .531 3 doubles .217 .241 1 double
Sizemore .289 .402 2 HR .232 .232 5 HR
Weeks .208 .333 3 HR .222 .340 4 HR
Hunter .317 .367 4 HR .253 .325 2 HR
Cabrera M .299 .370 5 HR .200 .250 1 HR
Reynolds .255 .343 7 HR .209 .293 1 HR

For the six players above, they are currently averaging a drop of 0.069 points in their batting averages.  OBP is worse at a negative average drop of 0.111.  HR's with exception of Sizemore all dropped.  The six players above hit 21 HR's in April, in May that number dropped to 13, a difference of 7 HR's.  The best player in May so far is Hunter who is hitting a cool .253 with 2 homeruns.   As for Granderson, the secret behind the number of doubles is the fact he missed most of April and despite playing all of May to date, as accumulated just 1 lousy double.  

Now lets look at some key MLB Yankee players 


Abreu .269 .319 4 doubles .329 .398 7 2B
Jeter .277 .303 0 HR .300 .378 2 HR
Giambi .164 .315 5 HR 3 2B .333 .478 4 HR 5 2B
Cano .151 .211 2 HR 3 2B .352 .395 2 HR 7 2B
A-Rod .289 .343 4 HR .333 .417 2 HR 

Essentially, as the weather warmed up, so did the Yankees.  The Yankee five are as a group averaging nearly 0.100 points better in the batting average and a nice 0.115 average increase in OBP.  The Yankee five had 11 HR's in April vs 10 in May.  That is not even counting the fact that A-Rod played 23 games in April vs only 6 to date in May.  More importantly, look at the doubles.  When I listed doubles in both graphs it was due to the fact there was a difference of at least 2 or more doubles.  

In the USA Rangers case, the only mentioning was Granderson who is hitting 2 fewer doubles despite more games.  In the Yankees case, Abreu is hitting three more doubles, Giambi 2 more and Cano 4 more.  So not only have the Yankee 5 increase their batting averages and on base percentages, but they are hitting more homeruns and even more importantly, hitting far more doubles.

Its amazing how in two months of play, teams in real life and in fantasy can have a Dr. Jeckle Mr. Hyde complex.  The challenge in fantasy, is trying to determine where your team is going as we head into June.  This is make it or break it time.  Even if your team sucks right now and your in last place, you still have a chance to make a run for the playoffs.  

The question you face is... which team is your real team.  The team you saw in April or the team playing in May.  For the MLB Yankees, the team were seeing in May is the true Yankee team.  For the GDR USA Rangers, its hard to tell.  The players are there, but unlike real life, they do not play as a cohesive unit where they can feed off each other.   As a result, this is where research and understanding your players come into play.  For example, I know Sizemore's May is not realistic of his overall season production.  Cabrera's sudden drop in May, highlights he is not a .300 ave and 5 hr a month player on average.  Neither is he a .200 ave or 1 hr either.  So I can expect some growth in numbers.  Weeks, however, is another case.  Sure he improved, but from .208 to 222 in average?  That's like saying the Nationals won two games in a row and are now somehow improved.  Fact is, looking at Weeks history, other than still picking up a few HR's, I can't really expect him to make any drastic improvements.  Thus, he is a player I can target for putting on the trade market.  

A Tale of 2 Teams, its a pain for any owner, fantasy or real.  The real challenge is, knowing which team is the one you can expect for the remainder of the year and whether or not you need to make a move.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Losing Streaks

As we plod along during week 8 in the Clemente Conference, my early season high hopes have been swimming in the muck of a 2 game losing streak.  Worse, I am losing against this week 170-110.  Here are my games to date:

1-0 USA Rangers 244   Texas Hedge 214  
2-0 USA Rangers 291    Nothing2Lose 198 
2-1  USA Rangers 266   Jaleel White Sox 293
3-1  USA Rangers 284   Schrute's Recruits 247
4-1  USA Rangers 298   Angry Cavemen 293
4-2  USA Rangers 249   Sterling Aviators 353
4-3  USA Rangers 234   Carrsallstars_cl 309
        USA Rangers 110    Advid Hunters 170 (as of wed. 11:32 PM)

At the beginning of the year, I thought I had a pretty good team.  Despite early season injuries, we went 4-1.  Now, however, my team is healthy (except Jorge Posada) and were losing?  Go figure!  What happened?  Well, my all-star roster has failed to live up to expectations to date.  

First we can start with the pitching staff.  Fausto Carmona is pitching inconsistently and his current 14.8 FP is not helping the USA Rangers bring in wins. Despite his minute ERA this year of 2.25, 0.81 points below last year when he averaged over 18 FP's a game.  Then we have Andy Pettitte who started fast, but lately been a real pain.  His 10.1 FP average is bad, but over the past couple of weeks (my losing streak) his FP's have been -4, 1, 16, -3, 7 for an average of 3.2 per game.  OUCH!  Now add Chris Young's inconsistency and the lack meeting expectations by Ian Kennedy, Brandon Backe, Andrew Miller you can see where the USA Rangers are going wrong.  Finally, the kicker these past couple of weeks, once hot Aaron Cook who started the season blazing has gone -4 FP and 3 FP in his last too outings, giving up 9 runs and 20 hits.  Not good!

Then we have the hitting, which has been worse.  Granderson started the year on the DL and recently went through a torrid slump.  Torri Hunter is only averaging 2.5 FP's right now, which is his lowest total since the 2001 season when he was at 2.4.  JJ Hardy backtracked in his development this year and is a full 1.1 FP below his 2007 average.   Other players who have hit cold spells recently have been M Reynolds, M Grudzielanek, C Floyd, and M Cabrera.  

To make matters worse, as of tonight, four of my offensive players are currently collecting negative points (Youkillis, Sizemore, Floyd and Rolen) matched by Greg Olson promptly gave up -14 points.  

Naturally, my opponent has 5 offensive players already in double digits for points and three of his SP's have collected 71 pts to my three SP's whopping 15.  Luckily, my RP's showed up for work this week, outscoring the entire rest of my team right now with 56 points out of a current total 110.  RP's scoring more than the rest of your team combined is not really the recipe for victory.

Maybe, should my losing streak continue, I could rejoice in the fact if my current opponent keeps his pace, he will score over 300 points.  Then maybe I can use the excuse its not so much the performance of my players, but the unfortunate fact my opponents recently have decided to have great weeks when they play my team.  It sure beats not having to admit maybe my team is nothing more than average.