The Rule 4 Draft kicks off this Wednesday! Time to get amped for an actual sporting event!
Or not. I mean it’s your call. Would totally understand if you’re so irritated by big-wig greed you can’t pretend MLB doesn’t suck at being a professional league for a couple of weeknights.
2020’s will be a supremely weird draft, but I’m geeked for it. I’ll post a mock draft here midday Wednesday, after which I’ll continue these rankings. I know some leagues like to do their First-Year-Player Drafts immediately after the July 2 signing date for international amateurs (in a typical season), so I figured the time was right to start synthesizing the talent trickling into our game this summer.
When the most logical thing isn’t just that, that is the argumentative side to fantasy baseball. The Royals, and most importantly Ned Yost, are outsmarting all us fake baseballers. In turn, he is sapping the value from one of the favorites of SAGNOF-dom. Through three games, the uber Razzball fan favorite Jon Jay has hit leadoff in all three affairs. Negating the leadoff value of Whit Merrifield. I touched briefly this offseason on the importance of hitting in the ultimate spot in the order and how it correlates to the outcomes of stolen bases. The interesting case with Merrifield? It’s that last year he hit in the top spot 111 times and also the final 101 games he played in the season from that top perch. That was last June, and I hate bringing up old stuff but I feel like it is pertinent to the here and now… he basically blossomed when he was left there to think for himself and made Whit Merrifield what you drafted Whit Merrifield this year to be. He amassed 28 steals, batted .282/.313/.449 with great counting stats from a middle infielder. Now he has emerged as a second-in-the-order cog in the Royals order. This is what happens when you are too good of a baseballer, but struggle in comparison to the more superior on-base percentage maven in Jon Jay. (Never thought I would write that last sentence, ever.) So if you drafted Merrifield this year, be afraid…very afraid. the steals may not be there as much as you hoped for until he regains that penultimate spot in the batting order. The Royals approach here isn’t wrong. Jay is a better get on-base player. Merrifield is a better fantasy player though, and batting second is sapping his value right now and basically the gist of this whole thing is JOHN JAY HAS VALUE. I am not saying go into full-on punt formation, but backing yourself up with a MI option is a good idea. Maybe not for tomorrow, but forward-thinking type stuff. There, after all, have only been 11 stolen bases from the leadoff spot this year and 64 totals steals across all of the stolen base universe. Patience is not really the SAGNOF way, but exercising it may be the right thing to do right now…
Well, here we are gentlemen and five girl readers. Hmm, if I’m one of the five girl readers and I’m writing this [Jay’s Note: You forgot my mother.], does that mean I should only be addressing 4 girl readers? Or should I just stick with 5, since I’m certainly vain enough that I’ll be reading my own work once it’s published? Hold on, is “published” the wrong word since we’re talking about the internet, and does my use of it make me sound out of touch? Wait, what was I saying? Oh yeah, here we are: week 7! Most MLB teams have played around 40 games now, so we’re about a quarter of the way through the season. Have any owners just flat-out quit in your leagues? In one of my keeper leagues (which of course are a different animal than re-drafts when it comes to punting a season), there were several blockbuster trades over the past weekend… those “in the hunt” have definitely distinguished themselves from those who are “playing for the future”. Meanwhile, I have a few re-draft leagues where some owners are barely setting valid lineups. Does this happen in your league? And if so, do you care?
Even being 1/10th of the way through the season, it is never too early to see some trends forming. The trends I am learning you about are the bullpen usage rates. Not every team follows an A to B to C type formulas, and it would be nice, but usage rates in certain situations, even 15 games into the season, peak their heads out for fantasy usefulness. The ancillary stats that no one really notices, and that I use all year, are runners inherited and appearances with the lead. All key factors for what a reliever is and what they are at sustaining. The inherited runners stat is a ruiner, not only for themselves but for the pitchers they are replacing. Basically a sad trombone in the case of reliever sad trombones. The appearances with the lead factor is what we all eat our Holds and gravy with. It basically says that they are pitching with a lead, granted, holds are scored the same as a save. So all that less than four runs runner on deck shenanigans that people made up for it to qualify. So welcome to the first Holds/bullpens post of the year as we embark on a road far less traveled then it should. Holds matter, regardless of color.
Before we jump right into this draft recap, let’s go over a little bit of background about the league and its details. This isn’t like the typical RCL 5×5 rotisserie league we often talk about in this space. LOEG is a 10×10 head-to-head keeper league, with 10 teams and four keepers per team from year to year. The league has been around for something like ten years and has been graced by the presence of yours truly for the past five.
Since the categories, scoring, and rules are a little different in this league I’ll break down all the details below. I think it’s important to break this down a bit first because not only do I want to bore you to death, but I want you to have all the information while you are going over the results and making fun of my team in the comments section. Anyway, here we go:
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Welcome to the 2016 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I mean everything, folks. We’ve got line-ups, charts, Slurpees, lube, a guide for beginner electricians, and even a cactus! Well, that’s a lie. That’s what Jay had last year sitting in front of him. This year? Um…a little less lube? Take that as you will. But hey, we’ve got teams to preview and questions to ask, so let’s hop to it. We a very special guest for this post… Rob Rogacki, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Detroit Tigers!
Late season injuries and minor league call-ups are one thing. Just not doing your job is an utter disgrace. Bruce Rondon was sent home, literally, because of lack of effort. Holy stereotypes. Because getting out of bed, traveling first class and then having to pitch one whole inning a game in the oft-chance that your team may be winning. Yeah, that sounds impossible to me to keep up with. For now the Tigers will roll with a combination of Neftali Feliz and Alex Wilson. So anyone looking for 3-4 saves til the end of the year can be rewarded with the plight of Rondon and his poor work effort. I wouldn’t expect a treasure trove of riches, the Tigers rank in the bottom five in saves, save opps., bullpen ERA, blown saves, and believe it or not, balks by the bullpen. I know that last stat is bupkiss, but when is the last time you ever read a balk stat in a reliever post? It just happened for the first time in history and I am officially placing a copyright on it. So this is the final rankings for the year for closers I will do an end of the year wrap up next week with lots of zany stuff.
Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, began yesterday, and Brad Ausmus, the Tigers manager who doesn’t believe in a manger, started atoning for his mistakes, by sending the Tigers closer, Bruce Rondon, home due to a lack of effort. This sends an interesting message. I’d guess, with a motorized scooter and knee-bypass surgery, Victor Martinez still wouldn’t be at 100% effort. Kyle Lobstein and Randy Wolf wouldn’t be at 100% effort with a pitching machine standing next to them as they mimed throwing. Shoot, I don’t know if Miggy was at 100% effort even in his Triple Crown season. Also, what does this say about Ausmus? That he’s managing a team in last place, but he’s coaching at 100% effort? Wouldn’t he be better off pretending he was at, say, 60% effort? How about this, “I sent Rondon home because he was at 40% effort. I lead by example around here, and I demand everyone give 50 to 55% effort, as I do. What? You thought I was at 100% effort and we’re in last place? Please!” Alex Wilson is the likely replacement closer, maybe Neftali Feliz also sees some saves, but he blew one last night. Then, in Kansas City, Greg Holland let the entire organization off easy by saying he had a tight elbow and is done for the year. This saves everyone from calling for Wade Davis to close while berating and belittling Holland worse than a tourist who doesn’t smoke pot and hates windmills. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
I’ve made most of my recommendations this year with the long term in mind. I’m not easily swayed by a “hot” hitter, instead I tend to lean on the projections to set an expectation level. This late in the season, however, I’m uncertain of how effective that approach is. We can’t exactly count on any “regression to the mean” happening over such a small sample size of games. Some players will be good over the last few weeks, others will be poor and I don’t have a high degree of confidence that it is possible for me, or anyone for that matter, to predict the best base stealers to own these last three weeks (see this to know why). But I have some names for you even though I have not a clue as to whether they’ll be difference makers over these last few weeks. Here’s my recommendations, I’ve attempted to rank them by number of steals they’ll get from now until the season ends…
The term “tool” has multiple meanings around here. A major league baseball player can have up to five tools. A fantasy sports writer can be a tool — like when he recommends the wrong next in line to closer for the Rockies (that’s me). Rudy Gamble makes tools — like the SAGNOF tool I talked up last week that gives you some insight on the best base stealing match-ups and like our DFS (daily fantasy) tools available here. A commenter pointed out last week that “Using the (SAGNOF) tool, Venable (FA) faces Nelson who ranks #25…pretty stealable. Problem is, Nelson has been in top form lately so tough to get on base. I’m gonna give Venable a shot nevertheless.” At this point I felt compelled to remind him and the rest of you that by using the tool “You can put the odds in your favor, but a one game result is ultimately a total crapshoot.” Well, everything with such a small sample size is a crapshoot, so what I meant was that putting the odds in your favor is a good thing and something that you need to try to do consistently when it comes to managing your last few roster spots. What happened that game? Venable stole a base against Nelson.