Archive for Trades

Trading for the Final Month

We’re heading toward the end of August, which means there’s only about a month remaining in the regular season. Though I’m sure many of your league’s trade deadlines have already passed, I’m quite confident that a lot of yours have not, but are certainly coming up soon.

For the first two months or so of the season, I’m all about trading for value. That is, my preseason dollar values guide my trade offers and responses. It’s far too early to determine what my team’s strengths and weaknesses are at that point, so I just want to accumulate as much value as possible.

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Fantasy Impact: Asdrubal Cabrera to Nationals

The Washington Nationals have acquired Asdrubal Cabrera from the Cleveland Indians, sending shortstop Zach Walters back as compensation.

Asdrubal still has great name recognition for fantasy owners, but that’s his biggest selling point anymore. Asdrubal hit .242 last season with a .307 wOBA, and he’s in the midst of repeating it with .246/.306 marks as a member of the Indians. Asdrubal has brought a touch of power to the middle infield — hitting 25 dongs in 2011 — but those numbers have faded each year since, with ZiPS thinking he ends the year with 14, just as he did in 2013. Asdrubal is going to play second base in Washington, which will make him eligible at both middle infield positions for the first time since 2010. Not having to face the Tigers pitching staff will be a boost, and he should get a minor jump in HR potential due to his new ballpark, but Cabrera’s value doesn’t change much with the move.

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Fantasy Impact: John Lackey to Cardinals in a Blockbuster

In Boston’s second big deal of the day, John Lackey is headed to the Cardinals in exchange for starter Joe Kelly and “outfielder” Allen Craig.

Lackey will see a sweet boost in his value in August and September, as he’ll get to avoid the DH and move into baseball’s best pitcher’s parks. Throughout his career, Lackey has feasted on the NL in interleague play, earning a 3.07 ERA in 246 innings. Lackey has stuck out 219 in those innings, leading to a WHIP of 1.18. Lackey won’t necessarily see much of a defensive boost with his new club, especially because he’s induces neither grounders nor flies at a special rate. If you’re in an NL-only league, go bid big on Lackey right now and use this unique chance to add an impact starter over the roto stretch run.

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Fantasy Impact: Jon Lester, Yoenis Cespedes Switch Teams

Jon Lester has been traded by the Red Sox to the Oakland Athletics, and in a fascinating twist, Boston will receive Yoenis Cespedes in return. Jonny Gomes will accompany Lester in Oakland, and a competitive balance pick will go with Cespedes to Boston.

Lester has reemerged as an absolute ace in his contract year, and he’s rolling into the Bay Area with a career best ERA, WHIP, FIP, xFIP, and SIERA. While most people consider Boston to be a hitter’s paradise, it’s actually relatively neutral outside of doubles smacking off the Green Monster, but moving to Oakland will still be a good thing for Lester. Oakland is one of the great pitcher’s parks, with spacious foul ground that makes ranchers fantasize about life on the open range. Lester has started six games in Oakland throughout his career, allowing four homers with an ERA of 3.52 in 38.1 IP, slightly better than his career ERA in Fenway park.

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Balancing Future and Present at the Deadline

The MLB Trade Deadline is coming up quickly, and fantasy deadlines will follow over the next few weeks. For dynasty owners, particularly those near the top of their standings, there is a big question of how you balance making a run in 2014 vs. staying in a good position for 2015.

I am in the midst of a marathon trade dialogue with fellow Rotographer Brad Johnson. Brad is sitting in fourth place, but has the 8th best offense and 4th best pitching staff and has determined that puts a top-three finish out of reach. And as he has shipped off one star after another (Miguel Cabrera, Craig Kimbrel, Adam Wainwright) he and I have repeatedly debated the merits of those stars and my young up-and-comers.

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The Power of a Compliment

You’re in first place, but you just lost Masahiro Tanaka. He was the only pitcher standing holding your staff above water. It’s time to make a trade.

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Fantasy Baseball Existentialism: Chase Utley Still the Man

I’m a San Francisco Giants fan and our* starting second baseman will probably never play baseball again. His replacement Brandon Hicks is hitting just .182/.297/.359. Despite Hicks’ stellar work in the field (+4 DRS) and occasional dinger production, we need a new second baseman if we’re going to set the modern record for wins in a single season.

So I went on over to McCovey Chronicles which is like the New York Times for me given that I don’t know what’s going on in the world beyond Grant Brisbee’s opining on the Giants. Brisbee had a well-reasoned column on the Chase Utley trade rumors. I thought Utley had faded off into obscurity with Marco Scutaro. Instead, it turns out Utley has returned from nagging leg injuries to re-take his rightful position as one of the game’s best at the keystone. Who knew? If the Phillies have a Hall-of-Fame second baseman at the top of the league at his position in offensive production, why have they been so awful? Please let me know in the comments.

Anyway, the point here is that Chase Utley is still the man, apparently. He leads all second baseman in wOBA, and he’s second in WAR.

Brisbee’s article had a link to an in-depth Philadelphia Magazine piece on Utley. The article made me completely fall in love with the guy, and that wasn’t just because of the hot picture which is now my desktop background. The tight-fitting white shirt, the gun show, the intense look off into the distance, the soul patch, the wavy hair—are we underrating how handsome Chase Utley is?

Utley is not just a Hall-of-Fame player. He’s also a leader with a plus-plus clubhouse presence, an incredibly hard-worker, and a loving husband and father. Chase, if you’re reading this, with Father’s Day coming up, perhaps you’d like to adopt me? Please let me know in the comments.

After reading about the real Chase, I was pretty devastated I hadn’t drafted him in fantasy. I figured the health risk was too steep given his age (36 in December) and injury history (hasn’t been fully healthy since 2009). Now I’m stuck with underachieving early-round picks Buster Posey and Evan Longoria who can’t lead in my fantasy clubhouse until they start producing, which, like, any day now fellas! I’m thinking of proposing a blockbuster trade to acquire Utley so I can move Matt Carpenter to third base and spark the ballclub. But first, I consulted my fantasy coach who not only doesn’t want Utley on our Giants, but who also thinks Utley is an overrated fantasy player. Here’s a transcript of our chat:

Me: I’m going to write about Chase Utley. Any fantasy thoughts?

Fantasy Coach: I actually have no fantasy thoughts on Utley. I’ve never even thought about getting him on my team. I’ve never liked him; always thought he was overrated. I seriously think Rickie Weeks may be relevant once he’s traded to the Giants, A’s, or Yankees. The concern would be the ground-ball percentage (15th highest). He’s hitting line drives (20.3 percent), which is what made him successful before, but that’s not really sustainable and his ground-ball percentage is super high which doesn’t bode well for a return to big-time power.

Me: Utley leads all second basemen in wOBA.

Fantasy Coach: Cano, Kipnis, Dozier, Kinsler, Altuve, and Pedroia are better fantasy players. I can think of seven or eight second basemen I’d rather have than Utley.

Me: Ouch. Well, he’s third in wOBA since the start of last year, so it’s not like his defense—which doesn’t count in fantasy—is carrying his value. And there’s no park adjustment in fantasy, so offensive production only, he’s at the top.

Fantasy Coach: Right, but that’s not the only calculus in fantasy. Matt Carpenter is also good at hitting baseballs, but he doesn’t hit home runs or steal bases, so he’s a ghost-runner on first a bunch of times.

Me: Which is why we need a sabermetric revolution with fantasy stats.

Chase Utley might not be the most valuable fantasy second baseman at this stage of his career because he doesn’t steal bases or dig the long ball anymore, but I doubt he’ll mention that in his Hall-of-Fame speech. Also, on my fantasy Giants team I spend most of the day thinking about, I just traded Kyle Crick for him. Get on it, Sabey-Sabes; we need the man.

*I’m basically on the team

Examining Changes in Steamer Projections

In the preseason I used Zach Sanders’ method for deriving fantasy value from roto category statistics to see how the Steamer projections valued players from a fantasy perspective. The system essentially compares each payer’s production in each category and assigns standardized values for each player in each category. When you add those numbers up, you get a player’s fantasy value above average. After a quick adjustment for positional scarcity, you’ve got fantasy value above replacement (FVARz). In the preseason this was helpful to get an idea about who might be over or undervalued. Now I’ve taken the Steamer rest of season projections both to see whose value has changed the most in the month or so since the season started and to potentially help with making trades.

Today I want to highlight a few players that were not included in the original Steamer projections. Next week I’ll take a look at the players whose value has increased the most since the start of the season. Read the rest of this entry »

Fantasy Judgment: Balls Deep vs. Who’s Your Daddy


Balls Deep vs. Who’s Your Daddy


Decided February 24, 2014
Cite as 6 F.J. 1 (February 2014)

Factual Background

A fantasy baseball league called the Southwest Fantasy Baseball League (hereinafter referred to as “SFBL”) is comprised of 12 teams and has been in existence since 2010.  The SFBL is a mixed AL/NL dynasty league where each team must keep a minimum of ten (10) players from one season to the next within its 28-man roster.  Each individual player may be retained by the same team for a maximum of five (5) years before returning to the free agent pool and being eligible to be drafted again.

As with many rotisserie leagues, the SFBL uses the standard 5×5 scoring categories to determine the standings and prize money.  For offensive players, the five categories are: (1) batting average; (2) homeruns; (3) runs batted in; (4) runs scored; and (5) stolen bases.  For pitchers, the five categories are: (1) wins; (2) earned run average; (3) WHIP (walks+hits/innings pitched); (4) strikeouts; and (5) saves.  Statistics are cumulative throughout the course of the season and there are no head to head games contained within this roto league.

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The Fantasy Ramifications of the Trumbo Deal

It looks like it’s done. Mark Trumbo to the Diamondbacks, Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago to the Angels, and Adam Eaton to the White Sox. Who wins? Who loses? Let’s shake the tree and see what falls out.

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