I’m beginning to think with Billy Beane that the emperor’s wearing no clothes.  Moneyball is still a great book, Joe Morgan is still a moron and Chad Bradford is still an underhander.  Those things are true.  But the A’s were 4th in the Majors last year in steals — what happened to steals cost outs?  Not to mention, Beane’s team hasn’t been competitive in three seasons.  Was Moneyball just a symptom of the era?  Was it simply fortuitous that Beane’s coronation came during the era of the three run homer?  Was Moneyball a by-product of steroids?  Would Moneyball be written today?  Hard to imagine Michael Lewis sitting down with a GM of a sub-.500 club and polishing his pedestal, right?  And none of this has to do with fantasy baseball or Ben Sheets.  (I wrote the preceding the other day, then right before I posted this I saw Sky Andrecheck wrote an SI piece in the similar ballpark.  Literally.)

If Sheets can stay healthy, he’s liable to return more than his ADP.  That “if” is ginormous.  That “if” sits next to you on a plane and you can’t put down the armrest.  You show up at a party of 500 Tongans and that “if” is the second biggest thing in the room after the buffet table.  You hook up with that “if” at a bar and people will think you’re beer goggling.  Okay, I think I made my point.  The other issue with Sheets is his falling K-rate.  Back in 2005, if Sheets was healthy, he was a Cy Young-type performer.  Regularly posting 200+ Ks and next to no walks. (Sounds a bit like Nolasco now.)  But lately Sheets hasn’t come near these numbers when healthy.  In 2007, he started 24 games and had a K-rate of 6.75.  That would’ve put him on par with Jason Hammel last year.  He also gained a walk per nine on his walk rate.  In 2008, Sheets had a 7.17 K/9.  Better, but that would’ve had him on par with Zito.  The days of the 9+ K/9 and sub-3 ERA are over.  He’s only a number 3 fantasy starter if he can start 30 games.  It’s okay, but not worth the ulcer when considering his health.  Anyway, here’s some more deals and signings since the last time we checked in and what they mean for fantasy baseball:

Octavio Dotel – Signed on to be the Pirates closer.  Bummer.  Was hoping to see Joel Hanrahanananan and Brendan Donnelly battle it out.  Would’ve been like a match between Steve Lombardi and Salvatore Bellomo.  I will own Dotel on multiple teams.  He’s a K machine (regularly 10+ K/9) and he has no competition even if he falters. With The Dread Pirate, Robot Jones and Dotel, I’m going to be watching a lot of Pirate games this year.  Pray for me.

Xavier Nady – Signed with the Cubs. What a long strange trip it’s been for Nady. Goes from Tommy John surgery to being a fourth outfielder that can’t catch a break to putting up a career year to having his second Tommy John surgery and returning to fourth outfielder duty.  Nady will need Soriano to hop onto the DL to have any real value.

Miguel Tejada – Signs with the Orioles.  In the top 20 shortstops for 2010 fantasy baseball, I gave Tejada projections of 70/15/85/.295/4.  In Houston, he hit second and fifth, helping balance his Runs and RBIs.  Now he’ll probably bat primarily fifth.  So if you want to argue Tejada’s Runs will decrease slightly and his RBIs will go up a tick, go for it.  But remember you’re arguing about an average at best, 35 year old shortstop.

Jon Garland – Signs with the Padres, or as I like to call them, The Team With Five Number Five Starters.  Garland can be a solid HodgePadre during the season.  But it’s hard to draft a HodgePadre, especially one with no Ks.  First long road trip and you wanna drop him.  I would slot him in as my 5th starter in NL-Only leagues.

Rick Ankiel – Signs with the peasant Royals.  For s’s and g’s, I went to look at Baseball-Reference’s most comparable players to Ankiel. Came back with Pedro Feliz.  Sounds about right.  Both are good for 20 homers and a .250 average.  Feliz at least has position eligibility going for him in fantasy baseball.  Ankiel’s a good story (minus that HGH story), but he’s not worth much outside of AL-Only leagues.

Randy Winn – Signed with the Yanks.  This signing for fantasy baseball has all the makings of a headache for yours truly.  No one wants to own Winn, but now that he’s on the Yanks he’ll be at the top of waiver wires all year, so I’m going to field six months of “Hey, Grey, Winn’s available, should I pick him up?”  On the bright side for schadenfreude purposes, this is a bigger headache for Brett Gardner.  As Nelson would say, “Ha-HA!”

Jim Thome – Signs with the Twins.  It’s his 3rd AL Central team.  Dayton Moore must be pissed he spent all his milk money on Podsednik and Ankiel.  Twin fans have been waiting for another Harmon Killebrew for 30 years.  In Thome, they found one, albeit closer to Killebrew today vs. during his career.  Thome could hit 30 homers with a full season of DH ABs, but the Twins have Mauer, Kubel and Cuddyer that could also take some ABs away.  I’d conservatively project Thome for 60/22/75/.240.

  1. Tarasco'sSecretStash says:

    Tejada will likely be on a bunch of my teams this year as a bench player. I generally like to go after a handful of upside/projection guys and 1-2 safe veterans at the end of drafts, and Miggy’s total predictability for slightly above-average production coupled with the sweet SS/3B multi-eligibility makes him a nice safety blanket handcuff if you take fliers on an Ian Stewart or an Elvis Andrus type. He’s supposedly a swell teammate too, and you never want to forget about clubhouse chemistry when assembling your fantasy squad.

  2. Steve says:

    Beane ties up Sheets, still can’t escape from cellar.

  3. Bob says:

    CBS went live and they have mock drafts up on their site. Just for fun, I did one. Obviously, this is exactly a team I’d want to have all year, but their pre-rankings are totally ridiculous. SP is way too high, relief pitchers way too low. Also, look what a ridiculous spot I was able to get David Wright, among others. Anyway, you should take a look at the ridiculous pre-rankings if you want a chuckle.

    Thank you for participating in a CBSSports.com Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft. Your draft results are listed by team below.

    Abby’s Avengers – Bob
    Player Position Round Drafted Overall Pick Projected Fantasy Points
    Brian McCann C 5 55 469
    Garrett Jones 1B 21 247 456
    Chase Utley 2B 1 7 647
    David Wright 3B 4 42 571
    Jose B. Reyes SS 3 31 550
    Carl Crawford OF 6 66 498
    Josh Hamilton OF 7 79 505
    Matt Kemp OF 2 18 584
    Ichiro Suzuki U 10 114 482
    Jonathan Broxton P 9 103 321
    Rich Harden P 17 199 200.5
    Joe Nathan P 8 90 329
    Jonathan Papelbon P 12 138 329.5
    Mariano Rivera P 11 127 339.5
    Joakim Soria P 13 151 277
    Jose Valverde P 16 186 284.5
    Chris Davis 1B 22 258 418
    Alexei Ramirez SS 14 162 429
    Alfonso Soriano OF 15 175 446
    Francisco Liriano P 19 223 198.5
    Carlos Marmol P 18 210 253
    Rick Porcello P 20 234 281

  4. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Bob: I think everyone else in your draft was auto-pickers. Or nose pickers. CBS is a joke for rankings.

  5. finite24 says:

    If you are giving Thome 22HR, you must be expecting about 300 ABs. Considering Cuddyer and Mauer will take some, does that mean you think Delmon Young only gets 250 ABs this year?

  6. Bob says:

    This didn’t print out well, and I made a serious typo. I meant to say, this is NOT a team I’d go out with. But to highlight just a few, Carl Crawford was the 66th pick, David Wright the 42nd, Ichiro was 114, Broxton was 103, Papelpon was 138, you get the idea.

  7. Bob says:

    @Grey: I checked as it was going – 5 autopickers, seven “live” bodies.

  8. Jo says:

    I’ve been trying to track down this fantasy baseball game I saw while browsing the net a few years ago… they developed rules for a game where you draft players for a single game (ex. Giants vs. Dodgers) and then just like normal fantasy you get points for how they perform.. you can also trade throughout. Does anyone know of this game? I can’t find it online anymore

  9. Grey

    Grey says:

    @finite24: I don’t know where Young’s playing right now without an injury to someone. We’ll need to keep our eyes on him in spring training.

    @Bob: Yeah, makes sense.

    @Jo: No idea, sorry.

  10. Bob says:

    @Grey: I totally agree with you about Beane. I’m assuming the reason he did this move is the mid-season trade and/or the draft choices he would get if Sheets does well and goes F.A. next year. It does not seem like a sound baseball move.

    Also, I’m noticing from my mock drafts that even more than ever, I feel the desire to draft hitters before pitchers. Most of the hitting categories feel very thin after the first couple of rounds, and there seems to be a lot of SAGNOF in saves, and decent starting pitching hanging around in the mid-teens. I’m shocked how quickly 1B and 3B comes off the board. There seems to be a few good sleepers at catcher this year. Anyway, I can’t wait for the rest of your SP rankings and your top 100. SP is always the hardest thing for me to evaluate, and you are so good at it. (Was that enough of a suck up?)

  11. sean says:

    Pre-season roundup. These signing make me want to vomit.

    @Bob: Interesting that Wright and Crawford were available in the third round and you went with Reyes instead. I could understand passing on Crawford because you already had Kemp, but I would think Wright is a better play than Reyes. To each his own though…

  12. Mikey boy324 says:

    Grey who’s the better gamble sheets or Webb or are they both not worth it?

  13. Antrim Warriors says:

    most amusing post i’ve read. made my day. the “ifs” was hilarious.

  14. matthole says:

    @Grey: where do u see teahen playing chisox? if he plays 3B, would that move beckham to 2B?

  15. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Bob: Thanks, sucking up is always welcome!

    @Mikey boy324: Webb, neither are worth it unless you’re getting a great value on him.

    @Antrim Warriors: Thanks!

    @matthole: Beckham is going to play 2nd as of right now.

  16. Falcon says:


    Any chance of a 2010 Risky Pitchers analysis? That was great stuff!

  17. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Falcon: Rudy’s doing Point Shares then that. So two weeks maybe…

  18. Eddy says:

    @Mikey boy324:
    there are times where sheets goes undrafted in drafts while Ive seen Webb consistently go around the 11th round or so surrounded by guys like Bills and Wandy. If there’s really nothin else I like I’d take a shot my very LAST round with Sheets and hope for something. If he tanks, no harm done

  19. Mikey boy324 says:

    Ya I would def take a shot with him in that spot..if Webb is coming off the board with guys like billz and wandy then no i’d rather either of em but if he can slip a lil farther I can see myself taking a shot on him if he’s pitching well in spring training and he’s healthy he can be a steal.ike the fact that he pitches in the nl west plus he’s a free agent which gives him extra incentives

  20. Mikey boy324 says:

    Grey who’s your biggest sleeper right now?

  21. gaucho says:

    “he Padres, or as I like to call them, The Team With Five Number Five Starters.”

    That is so true that it is laugh out loud funny!

  22. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Mikey boy324: Need playing time to be confirmed, I like a lot of people.

  23. Morat says:

    Can anyone please recommend some draft guides either online or print? Thanks.

  24. Morat says:

    Wow, razzball huh? Looks good, thanks man!

  25. nostrathomas says:

    I think that B. Beane is still a good GM, and that he is still capable of putting together a winning squad. The point of moneyball was that what he was doing, and how he was doing it, was so remarkable, because of the degree of difficulty involved in creating a cheap and successful team. The truth is that everyone else has caught onto his ways, as many teams like the red sox and yankees now combine they’re assloads of cash with the brains of the A’s organization (red sox hiring bill james etc etc). I know he never worked for the A’s, just saying other teams have caught on to using sabremetrics. The principle of the book in a business since was to overvalue what the market undervalued. I have to believe he’s talking himself into players like Sheets because he’s believes that even at 8 million a year, even off injury, that his upside is extremely valuable. I think the risk is a little too great with the injury history, but still, if he’s still good and the A’s contend, great. If he’s still good and the A’s suck, great; they can trade him. If he blows out his elbow, then he looks dumb. I don’t know. Some other shizz too about baseball and stuff.

  26. Roscoe Myrick says:

    Sheets: One year deal. Plus, sheets has logged a lot of innings even in his so called, “injury plagued seasons”. Not to mention that 10 million was going to be spent else where but no one wanted to come. The drop off on the FA market after sheets is steep.

  27. Grey

    Grey says:

    @nostrathomas: I don’t think Beane’s changed the game as much as he’s been one of the first people to realize ways to exploit the ways the game has already changed. I think he’s realized that the game is no longer Juiced, so he stole more bases. He’s a quick adapter. Which is great, way more than can be said about 90% of the GMs.

    @Roscoe Myrick: True, and it’s only $10 million. I’m not being facetious. What’s $10 million in today’s climate for a potential staff ace? Then he can flip him if need be. Sheets wasn’t even a full indictment of Beane… Only partially. My opening was more about the current state of Beane.

    EDIT: Word.

  28. BigFatHippo says:

    @Grey: If “ifs” were fifths…………..we’d all be drunk!

  29. Asdrubal Bastardo says:

    @Grey: “Nady will need Soriano to hop onto the DL to have any real value.”

    If that was a pun, then you get +100 props

  30. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Asdrubal Bastardo: Thanks, AB. I’d like to trade 50 of those props for a paddle ball.

  31. AL KOHOLIC says:

    @BigFatHippo: you rang,mr hippo

  32. matthole says:

    @Grey: You dont see Beckham as a top 20 2B? Or is he more valuable as a 3B option?

  33. BigFatHippo says:

    @AL KOHOLIC: why yes, yes I did

  34. Nick0rz says:

    @matthole: He doesn’t have eligibility at 2B, so he’s only ranked at 3B.

  35. matthole says:

    @Nick0rz: It was a follow up question to Grey’s response: @matthole: Beckham is going to play 2nd as of right now.

  36. Grey

    Grey says:

    @matthole: He doesn’t have eligibility yet. I ranked players for their current eligibility.

  37. Tony says:

    @BigFatHippo: Hippo thats the best damn quote i’ve frikkin heard in a while…. its just got posted in my smack talk on fantasy basketball. God i can smell spring training….

    Was just texting back and forth with my commish tonight and apparently one owner was talking to him about taking Lincecum in the first round, and he’s “supporting” every word the guy says, LOL…. god i love planting a seed, whispering in an ear…ya know what i mean, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!

    Yes I had an off day from school (teacher! snowday!) and i’ve been drinking, cheers….

  38. Tony says:

    if “ifs” were fifths!!!!!!! HA!!!!!!

  39. matthole says:

    @Grey: okay, 10 games into the season, whered u rank him and which position would u prefer him?

  40. Grey

    Grey says:

    @matthole: He’d be above Lopez, no real preference, depends what the rest of my team looks like. All things being equal, he’s more of a 2nd baseman.

  41. BigFatHippo says:

    @Tony: Glad I could cheer you up. :)

    Have another………………

  42. Shmorgie S. Board says:

    Hey Grey, Winn is available on my league’s waiver wire, should I drop Leo Nunez to pick him up?

    My cat Pookie says I should drop Leo like a bad habit.

    And that’s me quoting Pookie!

  43. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:

    @Grey: “…so I’m going to field six months of “Hey, Grey, Winn’s available, should I pick him up?” Yup. :-)

  44. Sorry, Grey, but I gotta disagree on the whole Moneyball thing.

    “What happened to steals cost outs?” Steals themselves don’t cost outs. They advance you one base, which is a good thing. They cost you outs if they come at the expense of too many caught stealings. I think there was even a point in the book where Beane said there would be a day when the A’s had several 40 SB threats.

    “Not to mention, Beane’s team hasn’t been competitive in three seasons. Was Moneyball just a symptom of the era?” I think the game has evolved a lot since then. At the time, Beane was able to take fuller advantage of market inefficiencies because fewer teams were using more advanced methods. Now, not only are more teams using these more advanced methods (and subsequently removing certain inefficiencies and mitigating the effects of others), but they have more resources than the A’s do. The Red Sox have probably the best GM in baseball (who wasn’t a GM at the time of Moneyball) and one of the largest budgets. The Yankees, the Rays, the D’Backs, the Brewers, the Indians, the Mariners, the Padres, the Cardinals, and whole bunch of other teams are all now vying for the same types of things and trying to make the same advancements. Instead of the A’s being one of the few teams ahead of the curve, now they’re just a part of the arms race with fewer resources than most of their competitors.

    “Would Moneyball be written today? Hard to imagine Michael Lewis sitting down with a GM of a sub-.500 club and polishing his pedestal, right?” Yes, but probably with a different team as the focal point, and with a different focus than OBP (probably defense). I think there will always be inefficiencies, it’s just that now teams are better run and better able to identify them.

    That’s not to say I’m a full-fledged Moneyball supporter or that I don’t recognize its shortcomings, it’s just that I think it’s misunderstood and that context often goes overlooked.

    Anyway, my two cents.

  45. Pat says:

    +1 on Beane being overrated. The A’s always seem to be in ‘rebuilding’ mode. Having the salary limit is a great crutch for him.

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