May 2009

Fantasy Baseball Expert Interview: Geoff Stein

geoff2.JPG

Welcome back to the newest installment in our series of
interviews aimed at giving readers insight into the minds and backgrounds of
those fantasy writers and pundits who have reached the level of
“expert.” It seems there has been an explosion in the number of
people claiming the title in the last few years, but no one seems to know where
they come from. These interviews aim to change all that, while also giving
aspiring “experts” (such as myself) some advice on both how to break
into the industry and ways to improve your fantasy skills.

 

Our guest this week is Geoff Stein, the operations manager
for Mock Draft Central.

 

In
your opinion, what makes you a fantasy expert? (basically the polite way of
asking – why should people listen to you?)

 
I don’t think people should listen to me.  I like to point things out and
allow people to make their own choices/decisions.  I’m not a “do this”/”don’t
do that” type of writer;  instead I
focus on producing an original, entertaining piece that makes people
think/informs.

(more…)

Expert League Update: Ya Heard?

This past weekend, I traveled to Arkansas for a
wedding.  It was a great one.  You know how you go to a ballgame or stay out
too late one night and when you wake up the next day you’ve lost your
voice?  It almost always means you had a
good time the day before.  Well I took
that to the next level.  When I woke up on
Monday, I had lost my hearing.  Couldn’t
hear out of my left ear.  Spent most of
the recap lunch staring at my plate wishing the food would disappear without me
actually having to eat it and pretending to follow the conversation around
me.  Guess that means I had an awesome
time on Sunday.

 

Because of the weekend events, I didn’t follow my expert
league match-up at all.  Even forgot to
set my lineup for the weekend before I left on Friday.  You know what?  Didn’t matter.  The results didn’t change a bit.  I won 5-4-1, the exact same result that would
have occurred had I scoured the wire for last second free agent fill-ins and stared at
the scoreboard all weekend.

 

lost hatch.jpg

Like many fantasy players, I can get caught up in the
obsession and pay too much attention to every at-bat, pitch, and play.  It’s too bad “time spent hoping” isn’t a
fantasy category, as I would clean up. 
While I usually enjoy following my players extremely closely, it’s still
nice to see that you can step away for a few days without consequence.  Fantasy baseball isn’t like the Hatch in “Lost.”  You don’t have to push the button every 108
minutes to prevent the end of the world, even though it often feels that way.

 

Someday I might forget to put a pitcher in and it will cost
me a few categories.  But today I take
comfort in knowing that even in an intense expert league, it’s possible to step
back for a few days without changing a thing. 
Gives me time to focus on other matters. 
Like getting my hearing back.

 

I’ll be back tomorrow with an interview featuring Mock Draft
Central’s Geoff Stein.  Until then.

Mailbag: How To Regain Interest in a Lost Season

Dear Internet Man Who
Lives in My Computer,
I have a question. This is the time in the fantasy baseball season when I have
trouble staying motivated. I start going away on weekends to go to weddings or
bachelor parties or the beach or, more likely, the office, and fantasy baseball
isn’t always the top item on my list of things to catch up on during the week.
Plus, especially in my points league, the status quo seems to be sorting stuff
out so I feel like I’m destined to finish in 4th to 7th place no matter what I
do. Nobody good is available on waivers, at least anybody who will make a real
difference in my performance, and I’m too lazy to trade with anybody but the
guy who low-balls me four times a day. Any advice about how to keep my interest
up and make a move?
Sincerely,
metsfankrod
PS – okay, maybe more like 6th to 9th place.

 

Hey, good to hear from you again Krod Mandoon.  How is your epic quest to ruin television
going?  From what I hear, you are almost
there.  Congrats.

 

im-on-a-boat.jpg

Losing interest as the season goes on is a common problem,
though one not always caused by “my life is too awesome to care” syndrome,
which you seem to possess.  If I was
traveling every weekend to hang out with my friends or go to the beach, I’d
probably lose interest too.  Sounds pretty
nice.  Your office is probably on a
boat.  Jerk.

 

If you are still fielding trade offers and checking the
waiver wire, it sounds like you are not quite a lost cause yet, which is
terrific.  There is nothing worse than
being in a league where guys completely check out in May (Ok, maybe a couple
things are worse – plague, famine, Coldplay). 
I hope no matter how much you stop caring, you always log-in at least
once a week for 30 seconds to set your lineup. 
If you can’t do that, you should give up fantasy baseball as a hobby
because such behavior can ruin it for everyone. 
Now please put your hands up everyone, the only way I exit my soap box
is through crowd-surfing.

 

But since you seem to care a little about fantasy
baseball (you are reading this blog after all), here are four suggestions on
how to jumpstart your interest.

(more…)

Marry, Bury, Date: Week 8

Welcome back to another week of Marry, Bury, Date — the
childhood game I’ve hijacked to provide the framework for my initial foray into
providing expert fantasy baseball advice.

 

The premise of the game is simple.  Three names are thrown out and the participants
must pick which one they would Marry (ie commit to long-term), Bury (get rid of
forever), or Date (could be fun in the short-term).  When considering trade offers or waiver wire
pick-ups, fantasy players are faced with these same three decisions all the
time, so in an effort to help aid these choices, I’ll name one player who I
like for the rest of the season, one player who I think could help in the
short-term, and one guy I wouldn’t touch in this space each week.

 

Thumbnail image for old prom2.jpg

After I’m done, if you want to whisper to the player that I
“like ’em, like ’em” that’s up to you. 
If you do, I look forward to the awkwardness that ensues all the way
through the Junior High Prom.  Maybe I’ll
get my courage up and ask them to dance during Oasis’s “Wonderwall.”

 

This week’s picks are below.

(more…)

Fantasy Baseball Expert Interview: Todd Farino

baseball_card_todd3.jpg

Welcome
back to the newest installment in our series of interviews aimed at giving
readers insight into the minds and backgrounds of those fantasy writers and
pundits who have reached the level of “expert.” It seems there
has been an explosion in the number of people claiming the title in the last
few years, but no one seems to know where they come from. These interviews
aim to change all that, while also giving aspiring “experts” (such as
myself) some advice on both how to break into the industry and ways to improve
your fantasy skills.

Our guest this week is Todd Farino, the founder of Fantasy
Baseball Search
and the creator of our Expert League.

 

In your opinion, what makes you a fantasy expert?
(basically the polite way of asking – why should people listen to you?)

 

I don’t really like to call
myself an expert.  I’ll leave that to the readers.  I love to analyze
baseball from a strategy POV.  I think the reason why I have success and
hopefully why people should listen to me is I don’t beat around the bush. 
I tell it like it is.  Some analysts won’t risk their reputation on tough
calls, but I will.  I have a history of winning, playing tough
competitors, and backing up everything I say.  If people want to take
advantage of skills that I have built over the past 18+ years the more to
them.  I still feel I have alot of growth left to do and I’m constantly
revising my strategies every season.  The key to winning is to stay
ahead of everyone else.  I do that the pretty well so far and I don’t
succumb to the pressures of the industry.  I’m very raw in that sense.

(more…)

Mailbag: What To Do About Rickie Weeks?

rickie weeks.jpg

Any suggestions for
how to replace Rickie Weeks? It’s a 12 team league with an MI spot, so needless
to say, the 2B and SS options on the wire are pretty Weeks.

 

I see what you did there at the end.  It’s funny because his name is descriptive of
the situation.  I get jokes.

 

Losing Weeks is a tough blow, but you should be able to
survive it, especially since it sounds like you had him slotted into your
middle infielder slot.  Playing in a
league that uses a MI position is a mixed blessing in these situations.  It does thin out the overall player pool, but
it also gives you much more flexibility when targeting a replacement.

 

I’m assuming you are exploring all your trade options and
like all owners who lose a guy for the year, you’re hairline deep in low-ball offers.  If it’s clear you have excess in another
category, you should move it to balance to fill your new hole, but only after
you negotiate past all the insulting Scutaro-for-Santana type proposed deals
and you check-in with Alexei Ramirez’s owner to find out just how disgusted he
is with the White Sox alleged budding star (you never know, it’s possible you
could get him with a low-ball offer of your own).  You might even have a power surplus, since
you got a surprising number of bombs out of Weeks before his injury (though
there was no chance he was going to keep it up and hit 30 plus on the
season.  And since there is absolutely no
way we’ll ever know if that’s true, I stand by it 100%). 

 

Assuming you can’t make a trade, I’d look at the following
guys who are available in many 12-team leagues.

 

iwamura.jpg

Akinori Iwamura
He’s a career .282 hitter and is batting over .300 so far this year.  He’s also stole 8 bases this year as the Rays
continue to be extremely aggressive on the basepaths.  He replaces Weeks speed in your lineup and
doesn’t hurt you anywhere but in homers. 
He also has a sweet name which makes him sound like a villain in “Heroes.”  You could do worse.

 

Christian Guzman
How a guy hitting .377 at the top of the lineup for a team that scores over
five runs a game can be owned in fewer than half of all leagues is a mystery to
me.  He won’t contribute much to your
power numbers, but he’ll give you A+++ production in batting average and runs.  At MI, I’d rather have a guy who puts up huge
numbers in two categories than a player who puts up slightly better than
mediocre numbers in all five.

 

Alberto Callaspo
Another guy who isn’t getting enough pub. 
He’s been trending upwards over the last several seasons and is now
batting .338 with 16 ribbies and runs scored. 
He’s batting second in the Royals lineup, and while his RBI pace may
slow down a little, he’s still going to provide similar overall value to a
dozen guys who have much higher ownership numbers.

 

If all those players are owned, send me an email and we can
try to come up with another approach. 
Thanks for reading.

Rain Delay – Another Roundtable

Once again real life is interfering with my fantasy life, so the Mailbag will not run until tomorrow.  But to hold you over, here is the roundtable discussion from this week where myself and eight guys who actually know what they are doing give advice on this season’s unlikely power hitters.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090520&content_id=4833260&vkey=fantasy&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

body {margin:8px} .tr-field {font:normal x-small arial} Thanks for reading, I’ll be back tomorrow.

Marry, Bury, Date: Week 7

Welcome back to another week of Marry, Bury, Date — the
childhood game I’ve hijacked to provide the framework for my initial foray into
providing expert fantasy baseball advice.

 

The premise of the game is simple.  Three names are thrown out and the participants
must pick which one they would Marry (ie commit to long-term), Bury (get rid of
forever), or Date (could be fun in the short-term).  When considering trade offers or waiver wire
pick-ups, fantasy players are faced with these same three decisions all the
time, so in an effort to help aid these choices, I’ll name one player who I
like for the rest of the season, one player who I think could help in the
short-term, and one guy I wouldn’t touch in this space each week.

 

prom.JPG

After I’m done, if you want to whisper to the player that I
“like ’em, like ’em” that’s up to you. 
If you do, I look forward to the awkwardness that ensues all the way
through the Junior High Prom.  Maybe I’ll
get my courage up and ask them to dance during All-4-One’s “I Swear.”

 

This week’s picks are below.

(more…)

Expert League Update: When Things Go Wrong in H2H Leagues

Another week, another win for my merry band of miscreants in
the Fantasy Baseball Search Expert League. 
This time, I caught starting pitching guru Evan Dickens on an off week
and swept all five pitching categories on my way to a 7-3 victory.  The win puts me back in first place in my
division as we reach the quarter point of the season, thus setting me up for a
devastating collapse later on.  Pride
cometh before the fall indeed.

 

But my stellar performance in the league isn’t what I want
to talk about today (and it’s almost certainly not what you want to read).  Instead, let’s discuss the most annoying
things that can occur during a head-to-head matchup.

 

bauer shadows.JPG

The H2H format magnifies every little event during the
course of the baseball season.  A play
that’s barely noteworthy or ignored completely under a roto format can cause a
fantasy manager to have a Kiefer Sutherland level meltdown in a H2H league (the
recent head-butt story is just further proof that there is a Vonnegutesque
blending of fact and fiction going on here. 
Jack Bauer is coming to life. 
Christmas trees and terrorists, beware). 

 

It’s because the impact of a misstep is felt immediately and
can’t be made up for over the course of the full schedule.  It’s also because players who prefer the H2H
format tend to be action junkies and far less rational than their roto-playing
counterparts (I have absolutely no proof of this, but like any good lawyer,
I’ll stick to it til I die).

 

So here is one H2H player’s countdown of the five most annoying
things that can happen during the course of a week.  I find that the more unlikely the event, the
angrier I get, so the list is ordered accordingly.  I’m sure I’m missing something, so a more
expansive version may be coming in the future, but here is what I’ve got for now.

(more…)

Fantasy Baseball Expert Interview: Jon Williams

Jon Williams headshot.jpg

Welcome
back to the newest installment in our series of interviews aimed at giving
readers insight into the minds and backgrounds of those fantasy writers and
pundits who have reached the level of “expert.” It seems there
has been an explosion in the number of people claiming the title in the last
few years, but no one seems to know where they come from. These interviews
aim to change all that, while also giving aspiring “experts” (such as
myself) some advice on both how to break into the industry and ways to improve
your fantasy skills.

Our guest this week is Jon Williams, the founder of Advanced
Fantasy Baseball
.

 

In
your opinion, what makes you a fantasy expert? (basically the polite way of
asking – why should people listen to you?)

I suppose a lot of people think that winning championships qualify you but I
would disagree. People should listen to me because I make decisions and endorse
players based on the evidence rather than hunches and following the crowd. In
fact I love when the crowd disagrees with me.

(more…)