Saturday, September 27, 2008

2008 Hurlie Awards (Ben's picks)


For me, the Fantasy MVP is all about value. Fantasy seasons aren't won in the first round (though they can certainly be lost there). They're won in the late rounds, when the guy you took a flyer on busts out in a huge way, carrying you to the title. With that in mind, my top three fantasy MVP candidates are:

1. Ryan Ludwick -- A lot of teams got a lot of value out of a guy who probably went undrafted and snagged in the FA pool.

2. Carlos Quentin -- Ditto. Hard for me to put him after Ludwick (being a White Sox fan), but Ludwick did a little more for your AVG and rate stats, in a few more AB.

3. Ian Kinsler -- Possibly should be higher, given that he plays a position that's such a death trap offensively this year. But no one counted on a 18 HR/26 SB/.319 year out of him.


1. Cliff Lee -- Remember my thing about it being about value? Um, yeah. Lots of people expected a 22-win, 2.41 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 160+ K season out of this guy. You drafted him in the last round, because you were running out of SPs you could actually name. And he ... delivered.

2. Ervin Santana -- If I'd told you you were getting 15 wins, 200 K, a 3.33 ERA, and a 1.11 WHIP, you'd've been a little disappointed out of drafting Santana, because Johan did really well in Minnesota, and now pitching in the NL, you'd think he'd do bett... wait, ERVIN put up that line???

3. Chad Billingsley -- Edges out Edinson Volquez because (a) his Wins, ERA & WHIP were a little better (as of this writing), and (b) unlike Volquez, he's decided how to spell his first name.


1. Jacoby Ellsbury -- He only really helped you in one category. But 49 steals is probably enough to put you in the money in that category by himself, and he didn't hurt you with a Juan Pierre/Michael Bourn-esque slaughtering of your AVG.

2. Alexei Ramirez -- Yes, I'm a White Sox fan, but that's not the point here. A 20 HR/12 SB/.294 season out of a guy who can cover 2B, SS, or OF is fantasy gold. (He falls to 3rd if your league uses OBP instead of AVG.)

3. Evan Longoria -- Of course, a 25 HR/7 SB/.277 season out of a guy who (in some leagues) is SS-eligible is nothing to be laughed at, either.


For this, I'm defining the contenders as "the guys you thought *might* be worth a mid- to late-round flyer on." In other words, sleepers. That's why I'm leaving out the out-of-nowhere guys in this category.

1. Rich Harden -- Injury-plagued season ... career ... but if you guessed he was going to be (more or less) healthy all year and give you some solid numbers, you made out. If you guessed it late in the draft, you *really* made out.

2. Nate McLouth -- Those of you who saw a 26 HR/21 SB full-time CF were rewarded. The rest of us ... weren't.

3. Shane Victorino -- I saw Victorino on a couple of sleeper lists, but I didn't buy it. Guess I was thinking of the soccer player. He duplicated a very good fantasy season and proved his naysayers (namely, me) wrong.


In order to disappoint, you have to be good enough to have expectations. So, guys like Austin Kearns and Andruw Jones (1 fewer HR, and .200 lower AVG than Carlos Zambrano) are exempt. (Anybody besides me halfway expect Jim Bowden to trade Elijah Dukes for Jones?)

1. Troy Tulowitzki -- What happened? To go from a 3-category stud (4 if you use runs) shortstop to Adam Kennedy is mind-blowing.

2. Kosuke Fukudome -- No one really knew what to expect, but ... yeesh. Who knew that "Kosuke Fukudome" was Japanese for "Shannon Stewart"?

3. Tony Pena Jr. -- In spite of what I said above ... No one expected him to hit. But I think it could have reasonably been expected that he'd have an OPS+ of over 5. Didn't happen.

Dishonorable Mentions: Victor Martinez (leave me alone in my shame) and Paul Konerko (the slowest professional athlete in the world -- I once saw him lose a footrace to a sumo wrestler).


Kevin said...

No Timmy for Fantasy Cy Young but you put Billingsley and Volquez and Ervin in there? Really? Seriously? C'mon, dude. He led the damn majors in K's and his peripherals were right there.

Spot on with the other categories so I am going to assume you just forgot to include him. Actively excluding him from this list is a serious oversight. Otherwise, I'm in agreement about most every category....

Ben Lea, staff blogger said...

Er... Um...

Could I claim that I was foiled by an incompetent assistant?

Or ... how about that I wrote that under the influence of some fantastic 12-year-old Jameson Irish Whiskey? (That part is actually true. Jameson, the official beverage of my little corner of Fantasy Hurler. See, good people of John Jameson and Sons, doesn't that have a lovely ring? I *am* available to discuss sponsorships...)

Anyway, with the benefit of sobriety, yeah, pure oversight. I'd still put The Oxymoron behind Cliff Lee in terms of *fantasy* value, given where you had to draft them both. But he certainly should have been second.

And yes, I'm going to keep calling him "The Oxymoron" until it catches on. Why "The Oxymoron"? Because he's a tiny Giant!

In short, to butcher some Latin, in vino mea culpa.

Kevin said...


I've never heard a better excuse for an oversight in my life :) Mmmm, Jameson, the official Irish Whiskey of Fantasy Oversights.

Yeah, C-Lee had an unbelievable year, and I also would give him the trophy over Timmeh. So I'm glad there was a reason behind it. I do like the name, though. The Tiniest Giant of All Time....

Could the Jameson also be the reason behind the Soto (ROY) oversight as well? I love Soto so much I want to have another son just so I can name him Geovanny :) Ellsbury had a long period this year of being very ineffective. He was on fire for about a month, but other than that he was....bleh.....

Also, in retrospect Pedroia needs more love than Kinsler due to the fact that he was healthy all year...

In all honesty, as I increase my intake of Goose Island 312, my thinking becomes tangential. Maybe I'm a couple beers away from true enlightenment....

Go go White Sox, Dammit!

Daniel Aubain said...

Was Tony Pena Jr really on enough people's radars to qualify as a disappointment?