Author Archive

Kicking Rocks: Fantasy Darwinism

They’re baaaaaaaaaack!

Remember the jumpers? That’s right, just three games into the regular season and they have returned. You know who I’m talking about. They’re the ones in your league who just can’t seem to control themselves. They’re the ones with the itchy trigger fingers when it comes to the waiver wire. They’re the ones who have to make a trade right now. They’re the ones who blow through the majority of their FAAB budget before the end of April. And you know what…? They’re the ones who trash their fantasy season before it even really starts. Read the rest of this entry »

Avisail Garcia & Dee Gordon: Waiver Wire

It’s a tough time of year to start making waiver wire suggestions as these first few days of the season are all about managers tweaking their lineups to see what works best while fantasy owners are adding and dropping at a fairly rapid rate as they jockey for position within their leagues. Still, we like to try and steer you in the right direction as many of us who do these waiver articles are thinking more about the long-term. The deep-league waiver wire pieces are covering the players who ownership percentages are usually under 10-percent while the regular waiver pieces cover many of the rest. Figure the regular waiver articles are geared more towards leagues with 14 teams or fewer. So with that, here’s who I think is worth grabbing and holding onto for the year. Read the rest of this entry »

Lobaton, Suzuki and Buck? Oh My!

Happy Opening Day to you all. Hopefully you were able to enjoy at least some of it and didn’t spend your entire day sweating managerial decisions, pitcher blow-ups and closer changes too much. Obviously if you have a chance to pick up a player like Matt Lindstrom or Francisco Rodriguez, then fine, make your move, but looking back and playing the ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda’ game with your draft because Cliff Lee gave up eight earned runs to the Rangers does nothing positive for you. It’s the first day. Just relax. It’s a long, long season.

As a result of it being so early in the year, we have limited things to discuss with regard to the catcher position. Rather than try to force something out of one day’s worth of numbers, we’re just going to look at a few catcher situations that will probably require more of your attention than just the cursory glance. If you are using one of the following backstops on your roster, you may want to take note. Read the rest of this entry »

Catcher Tiers — April 2014

As we get ready to start the 2014 MLB season on American soil this Sunday, it’s time to break out the Positional Tiered Rankings for the first month of the season. I started with the RotoGraphs Positional Rankings and then added in statistical history, projections and my own thoughts for each player and grouped them together to house similar value levels with each other. It’s a helpful tool to use for trading purposes as you can gauge just how much value you may be giving away or getting back in a deal. Here’s how I’m seeing the catcher position this year: Read the rest of this entry »

Kicking Rocks: Fantasy Tweakers

It never fails. Every year, just before the season begins, my job description changes from fantasy writer to crisis negotiator. I go from offering breakouts, busts and strategic draft plans to talking fantasy owners off a ledge as their anxiety, impatience and insecurities push them closer and closer to idiotic trades that will decimate their team in the long run. Like Crash Davis taking young Ebby Calvin under his wing, I attempt to subdue their panic with trite cliches of, “patience is a virtue” and “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Some I am able to help. Others are too far gone. If you’re reading this right now, step away from the panic button. It’s going to be okay. Read the rest of this entry »

Eat the Average, Draft Arencibia

Before I go gushing over all that crazy, delicious power, allow me to qualify the title statement and tell you that I’m strictly talking about drafting him as the second catcher in a two-catcher league. The position is extremely deep once again, so using him in a 12-to-14-team league as your primary backstop is not the way to go. I would consider him as my primary in a deep AL-only league, but for the sake of this discussion, I am speaking in terms of complementary help in most mixed leagues that require you to start two backstops.

Now let’s gush!

When Geovany Soto was diagnosed with a torn meniscus and word broke that he would be out for 10-to-12 weeks, I immediately bumped J.P. Arencibia up my draft boards. With that power in that ballpark? It seemed like a no-brainer for someone who, while averaging just 421 at-bats over his first three seasons, averaged just over 20 home runs and 63 RBI per year. Now with a bigger role in Texas and in a more productive lineup, that power is indeed, as David Wiers put it in Tuesday’s Roto Riteup, borderline tantalizing. Read the rest of this entry »

Contract Year Panda

Whether I’m still waiting to draft or scouring my league for trade targets to improve my roster, I always like to go through the list of impending free agents and see who might be primed to take their game to the next level with the hopes of cashing in on the open market. It’s not an exact science and I have yet to find enough data to support the notion that most players perform above their career rates during the final year of their contract, but with some players you’ve watched closely for a few years, your gut feeling is usually enough. This year, there were a number of names on the list whom I thought capable of taking that next step, but the one that stood out to me the most was Giants third baseman, Pablo Sandoval. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Mike Moustakas Breaking Out?

No, I’m not talking acne which would obviously bring up a whole different debate. I’m simply posing the question based on expectations, past performance and current spring totals, so get your minds off the juice and let’s get on with it…

If there is anyone in the major leagues whose current performance should make him the poster boy for the debate over how much credence we should give to spring numbers, it’s Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas. Though he did hit 20 home runs in his first full season, he posted a woeful slash line of .242/.296/.412 over 614 plate appearances. Last season, he followed it up with a dismal campaign that not only saw his slash line turn to an even uglier .233/.287/.364, but also came with a power decline and just 12 long balls. But this spring things seem to be a whole lot different. Over 35 Cactus League at-bats, Moustakas is batting an impressive .486 with four home run and 15 RBI. He has a .558 on-base percentage and is slugging at a rate of .943. Crazy, right? But now the question that seems to be on everyone’s minds is whether this is an impending break-out or just another case of a hot spring ready to cool. Read the rest of this entry »

Kicking Rocks: The Trade Bully

We all know that bullying is a major problem in social circles and the negative impact it has on the psyche of those at the wrong end of the conflict can be devastating at times. It happens everywhere we look and no matter what the circumstances are, it is a problem that needs to be addressed. There’s bullying in schools, there’s bullying at work and you know what…? There’s bullying in fantasy baseball.

That’s right. Ever been on the receiving end of an over-aggressive league mate who browbeats you to the point where the game no longer feels like a game?  Trade negotiations become such a nightmare that you avoid the phone calls or face-to-face conversations to spare yourself the abuse that comes along with them? I’ve seen it happen and I’ve seen many a person drop out of a league because one guy, and in some cases multiple guys, feel that the only way to get what they want is by bulldozing. Well, they say that the only way to deal with a bully is to show strength and stand up to them, so this is me fighting the good fight and telling you trade bullies out there that this is your official notice. You think it’s a harmless tactic to get a deal done? I say it stops right here. Read the rest of this entry »

Howard Bender’s 10 Bold Predictions

While they say “go big or go home,” these bold predictions tend to be a double-edged sword for us. We want to go bold, but we don’t want to be so outlandish that our predictions are unrealistic. We want to be right, but hedging our boldness only leads to the obligatory “these predictions aren’t so bold” comment which makes us feel shame for wimping out. I’m hoping to walk that fine line between wishful thinking and practical conjecture, but I tend to lean towards the outrageous, so I’m just going to have some fun here. Read the rest of this entry »