Fantasy Baseball Pools

I got into fantasy baseball about 4 years ago.  Up until then I had resisted because I was worried about what it would do to my personal life.  I started slow.  A mixed league roto with a snake draft and unlimited transactions for next to no money.  It was fun, I finished 3rd in my first year and 2nd in my second.  Learned a lot about the format and what to look for in players.   Last year the commissioner and his side kick vetoed a trade I made when I was in third place, the first veto in the four years I had been playing in that league.  Guess who was in first and second place at the time.....needless to say I am not participating again this year.

Two seasons ago, a good friend of mine asked me to play in his league.  It was AL only 12 team keeper league with an auction draft.  The other owners are very good players and really stay on top of things.  This league is much more competitive and last year the winner took home over 2 grand.  I have not finished in the money yet.  This is year three of "the plan" and I get to keep 8 players on Team BALCO.  By my account I have 13 potential candidates.  I decided to seek some advice from the experts.....

Today, Dick(that's me) needs some help determining who to keep on his team. The question he poses is:
League size: 12 teams
League format: Roto
League stats: 5 X 5 OBP, HR, R, RBI, SB / W, S, WHIP, ERA, K
League draft: Auction
Roster size: 9 pitchers, two catchers, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, MI, CI, 5 OF, DH, 4 reserve spots
Keepers: 8 total
Special rules: $3 per transaction, AL only
Keepers / salary / contract status
Jorge Posada C / $13 / 2 years left
Adam Lind OF / $1 / 1 year left
Juan Rivera OF / $1 / 2 years left
Alexei Ramirez SS / $8 / 1 year left
Brandon Wood 3B / $1 / 1 year left
Edwin Encarncion 3B / $3 / 2 years left
King Felix / $29 / 2 years left
David Price / $1 / 1 year left
Justin Duchscherer / $1 / 1 year left
Armando Gallarraga / $1 / 1 year left
Bobby Jenks / $21 / 2 years left
Jason Frasor / $1 / 2 years left
Scott Downs / $8 / 2 years left
Lind, Rivera, Ramirez, Price for 11 bucks total are no brainers to me. I like Posada and King Felix as well. Two spots open max 4. Interested in hearing your thoughts.
I want to keep a closer but Jenks for 21 may be draftable at that salary. I would prefer not not keep either of the Toronto closer candidates due to the uncertainty surrounding the role. Throw in Gregg and the fact that the Jays are going to suck and not have many opportunities…..
I like the thought of keeping a cheap 3B, but Wood will have to fight for his playing time and EE is coming off wrist surgery. Tough to make a call there.
Cheap SP arms are always welcome. Will Gallarraga bounce back? Will he even start for Detroit? Duch didn’t throw at all last year and I just don’t know about keeping him. I like the fact he pitches in a big park and the AL west may be a bit weaker with LAA taking a step back. But the Mariners are loading up.
Still trying to pick up some cheap OF speed, but difficult to get my hands on. Spring Training may answer some of my questions. Draft day is March 27th so I got a bit of time.

Whew, that’s a lot of detail, but I needed a bit more information to properly answer Dick, which he supplied.
Lind, King Felix and Price are the three that jump out at me. I realize Hernandez is expensive, but having a top 5 SP for the next two years cannot be passed up. Price at $1 is too great a value to let slip, and Lind is exactly the same. Rivera for the next two years that cheap cannot be let go, either.
Time to eliminate some choices. The situation in Toronto for Downs and Frasor became muddied when Gregg signed on. That bullpen is too crowded for my liking, and with neither pitcher having a set role, I would avoid both, especially since there are no points given for holds. Jenks is too costly, I just think you can get another closer for the same price or less in the draft. I’ve been watching Gallarraga in Detroit for a couple of years now, and see him as a SP5 on a fantasy squad at best.
Since the draft is at the end of March, I would wait to decide on Ducscherer. What I’ve read so far is positive, and if he’s fully recovered, I take him as my 5th keeper. He’s not a strikeout pitcher, but the rest of the peripherals are there to be enjoyed.
Ramirez at $8 is well worth the cost. It is entirely possible that you could find a similar SS in the draft for a comparable cost, but then again, depending on your league members, I would expect that the price of a SS that gives you 80 R/20 HR/80 RBI/15 SB/.280-.290 would be something about double what Alexei costs you here.
Of the two 3B, I don’t trust either of them, but I’ve been burned by Encarnacion for the past couple of years and he’s a risk with his surgery, as noted. Wood is finally getting his chance to play with Figgins moving on to Seattle, and I’d expect him to hold the position unless he has a total meltdown in spring training. At a buck, he is worth taking a chance on, again like with Ducscherer, if you can hold off on making a decision until you see what shakes out this spring, you would be well served.
That leaves us with Posada. My hatred for catchers is legendary, but I do believe you can get another couple of years out of Posada, and at $13, he’s not overly expensive for an AL-only league. If you agree that Posada is a top 5 catcher in the AL, then it is next to impossible to let him go back into the draft.
Thus, I suggest the following be kept on this team:
  • Jorge Posada C / $13 / 2 years left
  • Adam Lind OF / $1 / 1 year left
  • Juan Rivera OF / $1 / 2 years left
  • Alexei Ramirez SS / $8 / 1 year left
  • Brandon Wood 3B / $1 / 1 year left
  • King Felix / $29 / 2 years left
  • David Price / $1 / 1 year left
  • Justin Duchscherer / $1 / 1 year left
If Ducscherer doesn’t look good in the spring, then I would swap in whichever of the Toronto RPs you think has the best chance to close. I like Frasor at this early stage, and I like his cost, but it is really about who has the best chance to shut down games.  These 8 players will cost you $55 of your total budget, leaving you $205 to spend on the remaining 19 roster spots. That should be sufficient to build a competitive team, assuming you can snag a couple $1 sleepers.
Good luck this fantasy season, Dick, and remember to keep coming back to read our fantasy goodness.
If you have a fantasy keeper question, I highly suggest you send it over to the team at Fantasy Game Day.  They got back to me quickly and provided some follow up.  To get in touch with them click here.

A good friend of mine and regular commenter on this blog got me in touch with his former roommate who happens to the content manager over at FantasyBaseball.com.  After a brief introduction, I decided to ask him the same question.  He came back with this:

I actually think you should keep most of your guys.  I'll put my comments under each one....
Jorge Posada C / $13 / 2 years left
I don't love Posada but AL-Only catcher are hard to find so you must keep him.
Adam Lind OF / $1 / 1 year left
Your easiest call to keep.
Juan Rivera OF / $1 / 2 years left
For sure - he is worth $10+ in your format.
Alexei Ramirez SS / $8 / 1 year left
Also an easy call to keep.
Brandon Wood 3B / $1 / 1 year left
Also an easy call to keep.  He is worth a dollar in deep mixed leagues this year.  He won't help your average but he is getting first crack at the 3B job for them and could hit 20 home runs,
Edwin Encarncion 3B / $3 / 2 years left
He is an easy "yes" too.  I know you have concerns about the wrist but the Jays are planning on having him play 3B just about everyday because they have committed Bautista to the OF.  He should hit 20+ home runs this year and that isn't the Jays fans in me talking!  Look at some of his past seasons - the power is there and he is still young.  He would go for way more than this on AL draft day.
King Felix / $29 / 2 years left
Expensive, but you need a stud pitcher in AL-Only IMO. So yes.
David Price / $1 / 1 year left
A steal - possibly a stud soon.  Either way you should get plenty of K's.
Justin Duchscherer / $1 / 1 year left
I say yes.  He is a big risk but the skills are there.  Even if you could get 100 innings for your one dollar you would be getting a good deal from him.
Armando Gallarraga / $1 / 1 year left
I'm going to say no but barely. You already have 3 good starters and I don't think he is very good.  I also think that he could end up in the bullpen again.
Bobby Jenks / $21 / 2 years left
He's not a good deal at this price and is a tough call.  You need a one good closer in AL-Only leagues.  Look at what closers went for in your league last year and how many you think will be available this year.  If you want to email me some of that information I will give you my definitive advice on him.
Jason Frasor / $1 / 2 years left
He is an easy call - keep.  Good one dollar middle relievers are useful in AL-Only leagues.  They keep your ERA and WHIP down, chip in a few wins and vulture saves and because their innings totals are lower they allow stud starters like Hernandez to weigh more heavily on your ERA and WHIP.  Also, he could end up closing.  Don't worry about how bad the Jays could be - there is little correlation between the quality of a team and the quality of their closer.  Teams like the Royals and Pirates have produced some decent save totals over the past decade.  If the Jays haven't picked a closer by your draft day (I think Gregg will win the job but might not keep it all year) then I think you should by Gregg on draft day.  He could come at a discount because no one else can pair him with Frasor. 
Scott Downs / $8 / 2 years left
I would throw him back but consider buying him on draft day.  If he is healthy in spring training, then he is one of the best relievers in the AL.  Look at his numbers from the start of 2007 to the day he hurt his ankle last year - they are amazing.  He was clearly not the same pitcher after the injury but is likely 100% again.  You could get an outstanding ERA, WHIP and a few vulture saves when they want to use a lefty.  If you could get him for $1-3, and Gregg for $15 or so, you could have 3 good TOR relievers for under $20 and you could use at least 2 most weeks.  For all of Toronto's flaws, they have good relief pitching most years.

His final thoughts ended up being this:

Now that I know its 8, here are my picks,
Adam Lind OF / $1 / 1 year left
Juan Rivera OF / $1 / 2 years left
Alexei Ramirez SS / $8 / 1 year left
Brandon Wood 3B / $1 / 1 year left
Edwin Encarncion 3B / $3 / 2 years left
King Felix / $29 / 2 years left
David Price / $1 / 1 year left
Bobby Jenks / $21 / 2 years left
You can roll with 2-3 relievers and still exceed 1000 innings.  I would definitely own Jenks and buy Thornton at the auction- you get all of CHI saves for $23-25.  Hope that Jenks keeps the job all year and you will still get good MR numbers from Thornton.  
I know that you will likely choose to keep Posada and cut Encarnacion or Wood.  I believe Encarnacion will get 500+ at-bats this year as long as Toronto doesn't acquire anyone else, which is very unlikely at this point.  At Posada's age and position, injuries are a definite concern.  I would sooner send a couple bucks on Shoppach, Buck etc.  As for Wood, I don't like his low average but he has lots of power upside, has been a top prospect for years and the Angels seem intent on finally giving him a long leash so that he can break through.  I like to think about profit with keepers - I don't think Posada will give you much more than $13 in production but you could get $10 in production from Wood.

There you have it.  That is fantasy baseball in all it's glory.  The thing I have to say about it is that you inevitably become a BIG fan of certain players over the course of a season.  For 2010, I am thinking that I will be cheering louder for E5 than anybody at the Dome.  If his wrist looks good in spring training, I may end up hanging onto him for 3 bucks.  Token Blue Jay.  Gotta have one.....

I am interested in hearing your opinions on my keepers.  If anyone can provide some insight or even just some random thoughts on the topic, please feel free to do so.

Because clearly I'm not a big enough junkie, I also found the time to help with a fantasy pool for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.  I still remember when my good friend who works there called and asked me about helping him get it started.  We basically created the pool from scratch and now it is now going into it's forth year.  My title that I sign all e-mails sent to him relating to the pool is:

Senior Fantasy Adviser/Advisor to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

Jokes.  Anyways, I finished  4th or 5th last year and ended up walking away with an authentic Expos hat and a signed Fergie Jenkins baseball with certificate of authenticity.  Not a bad haul for the $10 dollar entrance fee.  The thing I like about it is you only have to select your players once.  No transactions.  You just hope that they avoid injury.  I had Jose Reyes at SS, Rickie Weeks at 2B and Vladdy in the OF.  These guys cost me first place for sure last year.  I also really like that the scoring categories and their values are unique.  Complete games are rewarded greatly.


I’m ‘gonna repeat” says ‘09 winner Ryan Mullin

St. Marys – The prestigious 4th Annual Baseball Fantasy Pool sponsored by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is about to begin, and the reigning champ, Stratford’s Ryan Mullin, is calling his shot!

“I wasn’t lucky last year, I was good, and I’m ‘gonna repeat” boasted Mullin, 28, who will attempt to retain the crown in 2010 and take home the one hundred dollar grand prize and four field level seats to see the Toronto Blue Jays.

The 2010 pool, offering more than one thousand dollars worth of prizes, has a format that is extremely user-friendly. It is a one-page form, and entrants simply choose one player from various groups of five who they feel will perform better than the rest. To make it even easier, next to each player’s name on the entry form is their 2009 point total using the 2010 formula. From there, the fun begins. Should names be checked randomly or, do baseball instincts take over? Did he top out last year? Did he under-achieve? Was he hurt? Was his production up or down due to who hit behind him? Is it his team that makes him good? Does being Canadian matter? Only the entrant can answer those tough questions, but checking out last year’s point total is a good starting point.

A pair of new categories will make the pursuit of bragging rights a tad tougher.

“I think that these will be the toughest categories to pick from because, sure, Dempster had a good year last year, but Bedard, Harden and Francis were all hurt so who knows what will happen in 2010,” said Ball Hall Director of Operations Scott Crawford.

“And speaking of players who were hurt, the ‘Come-backers’ category is very interesting because you have one former Cy Young winner and four former all-stars included”.

“Ball Hall President & CEO Tom Valcke has set his sights a little more modestly than Mullin, having finished in 108th place last year, compared to his 142nd showing in 2008!

Deadline for entry is Wednesday, March 31st, 2010.
Forms can be emailed to baseball@baseballhalloffame.ca, faxed to 519-284-1234, or mailed to CBHFM Fantasy Pool, P.O. Box 1838, St. Marys, ON, N4X 1C2. There is a ten dollar entry fee by cheque (payable to “CBHFM”) or credit card.

If you need a form call 519-284-1838 or email baseball@baseballhalloffame.ca

Over $1000 worth of prizes to be won!  

11 In-season prizes: 

All-Star prize (1st place at time of 2009 All-Star game): 2006 AL MVP Justin Morneau autographed ball

Best points/per game average at end of season – autographed ball

Best Month (wins CBHFM hat), Best Week (wins autographed ball), Best Day (wins book) at end of season

The best in the last 30 days! (To be determined on the 30th of each month) – Ernie Whitt autographed induction card

Grand Prizes: 

First place: $100 and four field level jays tickets to one game in 2011

Second place: Autographed baseball bat (you choose from Lasorda, Walker, Fernandez, Gaston, Jenkins, etc….)

Third place: Autographed baseball (you choose from Lasorda, Fernandez, Jenkins, Walker etc…)

Fourth & Fifth place: New Era Major League Baseball hat of your choice

Cost: $10 per entry

Deadline: Wednesday, March 31st at 11:59pm EST.

1 comment:

  1. This is the best fantasy pool ever. WOW. amazing prizes.