Saturday, March 1, 2008

Putting my money where your mouths are

Wow, that didn't sound right at all.


Here's the challenge, fellow Hurler staff and vast and faithful readership:

Who do I keep?

Backstory: I'm in a lawyers' league. You should get in a lawyers' league. It's as if Mike McD took up Marinacci's invitation. These guys are busy and of independent means.

I won't kiss and tell, but it's a big buy-in. I've finished in the money every year I've been in the league (15 teams; top four pay out). I have a 42" plasma in the basement that was purchased solely with winnings from this league.

But I've never won.

This year, we're taking our 30-man rosters (25 active) and keeping eight.

It's a 5x5 with two additional categories: Slugging percentage on offense, K/BB ratio on defense.

Here are my seven provisional holdovers:
  • Joe Mauer (15-team league; two active catchers)
  • Jimmy Rollins
  • Carlos Beltran
  • Matt Cain
  • Chad Cordero
  • Troy Tulowitzki
  • BJ Upton
I ask you, vast Fantasy Hurler readership (and fellow bloggeristas): Who do I keep as the eighth?

  1. Jason Isringhausen. This is the safe pick; with 15 teams, having two established closers is a major coup. I've been betting that Isringhausen stays healthy for years, and have been justly rewarded each time.
  2. Rickie Weeks. Is this the year? Has the hindrance been injury, opportunity, or lack of talent? Could be a ca. 1996 Steve Finley with 2B eligibility; could also play in fewer than two dozen games.
  3. Howie Kendrick. I still think he's this generation's Bill Madlock, but I can't imagine keeping Madlock in today's climate -- even in a pool of 15 teams and eight keepers. Is Kendrick one of the top 120 producers in baseball?
  4. Ben Sheets. Can I rely on keeper-level production out of Sheets? I don't think so.
  5. Oliver Perez. I really don't think so.
  6. Andruw Jones. Fat guy walking. I think this guy's cooked like a Christmas goose, and that he and Joe Torre will spend the summer on the front page for all the wrong reasons. I could be wrong.
  7. Joba Chamberlain. This would be a message keeper, and probably no more. Right?
Other things you may want to know:
  • I pick 14th of 15, and it's serpentine
  • Starting next year, it's no longer serpentine
  • Owners are very hitting-heavy
  • Owners are equally veteran-heavy
  • Closers are overvalued, and no more than five in-hand closers will be in the draft
  • One owner may actually keep Garret Anderson
  • You must have 10 active P, two C, then one at each remaining position. All remaining active roster spots (totaling 25) are at your discretion
  • Most owners cycle pitchers to some degree
Comment away, people. I've lain awake too many nights already trying to get to the bottom of this.


Mike Bock said...


Attorney league, and I wasn't invited?

Matt said...

I would immediately strike Weeks, Kendrick, Perez, and Jones from the list. The first three because you should be able to get them later in the draft (especially if most owners are veteran heavy drafters). And Jones, because you clearly couldn't live with yourself if you didn't follow your gut on that one. If you're wrong, oh well. He's bound to disappoint his new owner when he keeps him next year.

So that leaves Izzy, Joba, and Sheets. For what it's worth, I agree Isringhausen is the safe pick - and if you don't feel you can replace his production in the draft, then you need to keep him. Sheets has the highest upside for 2008, but with that all important injury asterisk of course. My pick though, is Joba. Sort of a wild card, but with more long term upside than the other two. His stock is down suddenly because of the bullpen announcement, but pre-announcement he was going very high. The Yankees rotation is not deep; he'll be a starter - for a high powered offensive team - sooner rather than later.

Hope that gives you something to chew on. Good luck in the league.

Edwin said...

I would not keep Joba. Joba will likely be Jonathan Broxton in '08. Cashman seems absolutely committed.

I doubt that all of the owners will remain veteran-heavy in the draft, after 120 players are being kept and the league is going keeper.

I would also not get sucked in to the closer madness. Cordero has been terrible, as you probably know. Keep Isringhausen over Cordero and play the draft like a hawk. Grab Brian Wilson and Bobby Howry, or something of the sort.

With SLG as a category, Weeks becomes even more valuable. My recommendation is:


Assuming B.J. is 2B eligible, you'd have to play him in the OF, or make a trade.

I'd go for two front line SP with your wraparound pick. It seems as if there should be good pitching available there - but it all depends on your IP limit. If you don't have one, people will just stream and there's no point.

Then I'd look for a hitter and one of those last closers with your next wraparound. If the closer isn't there, wait for a Bobby Howry/Tyler Walker/Chad Qualls/Pat Neshek type. I would keep a close eye on Neshek, as Nathan very well might get traded.

Jeff Tripodi said...

Mike: Even if you're in an attorney league, you have to admit that you're the ringer :)

One point of clarification: This has always been a keeper league. We usually keep between three and five guys, and we're stretching out the keepers to devalue draft picks, which we're able to trade.

I can guarantee that every owner will keep at least one closer, and that no entrenched closers will last till the 14th pick.

Bob Taylor said...

Sounds to me like you already know it needs to be Isringhausen.

Edwin said...

I still keep Weeks over Cordero. You'll have to be a hawk on the WW, but you'll also have Rickie Weeks and all of his upside in the effective 10th round (in a 12-teamer) of what appears to be a long-term keeper league.

Edwin said...

Or, if there will be tons of SP available, you could throw Cain out for Cordero. Maybe that is your best move.


Matt said...

Weeks over Cordero is insanity.

With all due respect, you're not taking into account the perceived value of each player. Cordero has much perceived value; Weeks does not. If you were to in fact covet him given the league settings, you could a)keep Cordero and pick up Weeks much later than if you did it the other way around.
b) trade Cordero for much more than you could get for Weeks.

As a commodity -- which is important at this point, before any games have been played it's all conjecture -- Cordero is too valuable (granted, partly based on scarcity) to drop for Weeks.

I still like Joba. At worst, he's Jonathan Broxton, who's not a bad guy to have around. At best, he's a top 10 or top 20 SP going into next year.

Edwin said...

I don't know how sure you can be how far Weeks will fall.

It is awfully hard to make decisive statements without knowing the complete condition of your league. I understand the Cordero argument perfectly well.

ben lea, staff blogger said...

Are there Yankee fans in your league? I'm not being entirely facetious here -- one thing I think we *underexamine* in fantasy baseball (assuming there is such a thing as an underexamined aspect of fantasy baseball) is trading. As Matt said above, at some level, it's about *perceived* value, rather than *actual* value, and we all know that there are Yankee fans who have a massively out-of-proportion view of Joba's short-term value.

This is particularly true in a keeper league -- someone is likely, I think, to offer you more than Joba's *actual* value in trade for him, banking on the idea of having The Next Great Yankee(tm) forever, temporarily forgetting that the purpose of a fantasy baseball league is to ... y'know ... win. (Either that, or a team late in the season who's completely out of it may give you a lot of value so they can have him forever.)

(Understand my bias here: first league I was ever in, I spent one of two minor league picks on the college roommate of a fellow owner -- George Tsamis of the Twins. He never amounted to anything, and the other owner spent the rest of the draft teaching me new swear words, staring daggers at me, and contending that he'd never give me *anything* for him... and then did a couple weeks later, giving me way more than the pick would have been worth.)

So, I think I'd keep Joba if you think you can move him for double his value, either right after the draft or around the trade deadline. Otherwise, I'd go with Isringhausen as well -- he provides you a lot more value than Weeks (in my mind) since you'd have to use one of 4 or 5 active roster spots (is DH a position?) on a backup 2B...

Rando said...

Izzy is a must keep, he can add 4-6 pts in SV over having just Chad, and if you can find one more CL with WW watching, even more. Weeks is a tough keeper over Cain, as it might set you up for a weak team BA... but it's worth looking at it from that commodity angle.

Anonymous said...

Take the closer. A second closer in a league like this sounds like a higher reward than if you're right on some other player you listed.

Mike Bock said...

It's very, very rare that a team should keep a closer from year to year. And, when those situations do occur, it isn't for the likes of Isringhausen.

Assuming your leaguemates know what they're doing, the 2B market is likely to pretty thin. Weeks is the best bet to seriously outperform other players who might be available to you at a reasonable draft price.