Category Archives: Fantasy Baseball

If You’ve Been Looking for me for the last week – I’ve been on DraftStreet

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Fantasy Baseball as I know it will never be the same.

Take a guy with an addictive personality who will bet on anything; and put him on this site. What you have is me – sitting up late at night, researching what Norichika Aoki has done lifetime during day games against left-handed pitchers in even-numbered years.

And then I swap out the entire lineup I’ve researched so hard for some fly by night guy who I just feel is overdue. It’s madness. It’s a street where no one is your friend, and it’s every many for himself.

Since Opening Day began and I gave this daily fantasy baseball site a shot, I haven’t been able to stop. In fact, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

During my workday I’m sitting at my desk, and I’m wondering Jordan Lyles’ odds at shutting down the opposition. I never thought I would use my money to depend on Jordan Lyles. And then I found myself on DraftStreet. And I placed in my first two tournaments.

It’s like online poker, only the cards are replaced by my favorite thing in life: baseball players. And even though I don’t own Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout in any of my real big money leagues (and never will), I make sure to own one of them at least nightly.

And I’m no longer depending on that ace on the river to take down the sit and go poker game. Quite the opposite in fact. I’m depending on a shithead like Miguel Gonzalez against the Tigers to take down the $100K ‘Big Score’ tournament for me. And I failed miserably. Miguel Gonzalez was bad to the point that when my wife got home from her long day at work, I did not have much to say. She asked what was wrong, and I told her that sometimes things do not go as they should. I lied, because in this case things went exactly like they should. The gambler in me played Gonzalez on the grandest of Daily Fantasy stages, and I did not learn to tell about it. Lesson learned.

Today my family gathers for lunch. I arrive and don’t have much to say. My aunt asks me if my wife and I had an argument, and I tell her the truth; we haven’t argued in weeks. If they only knew the reason for my smug demeanor was that Justin Masterson got tuned up all afternoon by the Twins and Billy Butler couldn’t buy a fucking hit against Chris Sale (who he has owned lifetime).

On Draft Street, up is down and down is up. The man who played Edison Volquez against the Cardinals today and Scott Feldman against the Angels walked away with my money. And I’m pissed about it. Yet, because I am a glutton for punishment, the only thing I could think about tonight was building tomorrow’s winner.

I have thought less about my yearly teams this year than I have my entire life – and the sad thing is those teams are performing admirably. DraftStreet is the Rubik’s Cube I vow to solve before I draw my last breath. It is a challenge I cannot stop striving for the top for. I will crack ‘the model’ if I have to work day and night to do so. I can do this. I don’t think there is a human being on this earth who thinks about this twisted game of baseball as much as I do – it’s a matter of time until I find out the grid on DraftStreet.

As frustrating as it can be, if it weren’t so much damn fun I wouldn’t be this into it. If you play Daily Fantasy Baseball on DraftStreet, you’ll love it. Where else does Charlie Blackmon become baseball’s prized golden-goose? Where else can I find myself being the biggest Brandon Belt fan on the planet? Adeiny Echeverria made me as proud the other night during his four-hit performance as anyone has in a long time playing fantasy. And Jared Saltalamacchia was not far behind.

Look for a weekly column with a few picks – and if you want to sign up at DraftStreet and start with $25 in free play, tell them Diamond Hoggers sent you.

Yordano, come here boy.

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Have a seat in my fantasy baseball clubhouse son. I want to have a talk with you. You’re a good looking Dominican boy, a clean boy. I just used a really high waiver claim on you in the finest of leagues. I’m gonna need you to go out there this year and show us all that 100 MPH fastball you’ve got and post that 9-plus K/9 I know you have in you. Can you do that for me son?

That’s right, go out there and be dominant to the point that they push that 200-inning limit that is being thrown about in the media reports. Make that Ned Yost a big fat liarsbreath. I wanna see him push that arm to the limit. Lets see how many it can withstand. Do I hear 230? I think I might.

You see son, I don’t make a habit of trusting young pitchers when I’m trying to win at something. It just isn’t good for business. But I trust you. That’s not like me. There’s something different about you. I feel like you could be a member of my fantasy squad for a very, very long time.

Now head down there; that hallway, to my imaginary fantasy baseball clubhouse buffet. Enjoy the spread. You like how I treat my players? You’re going to like it more if you strike out 10 in your debut that first week because I’ll be treating the boys to steak. That’s right.

The world is your oyster young man. I know they probably didn’t show you a lot of oysters over there in the Dominican where you came from. But you stick with me and my evil cartel of banditos, you’re going to have a lot of oysters.

It’s Ottoneu Draft Day, Life’s other plans are on hold

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Back on February 28th of 2012, a legendary fantasy league was spawned. It was spawned partly by horrible human error on behalf of greater than three or four league members.

You see, in Ottoneu’s auction draft format, a team owner must ‘nominate’ a player for bidding during the draft. At our inaugural draft I was in need of a catcher, and was quite happy to see a J. Mauer still available! The bidding picked up fast and furious, and soon I was right-clicking my mouse with the ferocity of a little old lady that desperately needed the tea set at the estate sale. What I ended up with was no antiquity.

 

I spent $14 on Joe Mauer’s brother who probably builds birdhouses. And I still didn’t realize what the Hell had happened so I tweeted to brag about it. Somehow, this guy had slipped his way into the player draft pool and had several owners bidding for his services without knowing that he was the manager of the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

Except I didn’t get Joe Mauer – I just didn’t get stuck with Jake – and Ottoneu was nice enough to credit me back my $14 Ottoneu currency. And because we’re all gluttons for pain, several of us added Jake Mauer who provides no fantasy value to our rosters for $1 at various times the past few years, carried him for a few weeks and them dropped him; like throwing a timeless keepsake back into the ocean.

After that we decided to name our Ottoneu league “Jake Mauer” simply put. You can find us discussing the league on twitter with the hashtag #JakeMauer.

Tonight is the third annual draft. Due to this famed man who will probably spend a lifetime residing in Minnesota – our lives are forever changed. If you’re out there Jake; come forward and speak.

The Guilty Pleasures of a Mock Draft Ruiner

The following  is a reenactment of actual events. I was preparing for fantasy baseball drafts this upcoming weekend and decided to climb into a mock. After performing the first two picks like a pro mock-drafter, I began to stray from the board.

We don’t recommend trying this at home. Unless you’re bored.
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I went on to select Liam Hendricks with my fourth rounder and could no longer take the abuse. The abuse that I probably deserved.

I snickered to myself a few times, and then went back down to my parent’s basement.

Part two of the Fanduel Preview Series (We’re part of it)

Part Two of the Fanduel Fantasy Baseball Preview Series deals with ‘players worth reaching for in a fantasy draft’.

If you’re getting ready for that fantasy draft (we have three next weekend), make sure you’re keeping up with the Fanduel series.

We’re a little surprised that no one considers taking Harper in round one a ‘reach’. It’s definitely classified as such. If he’s there and it’s the end of the first round and you’re deciding between him, a bat like Beltre, or an arm like Kershaw, you sir are about to reach. We say he’ll be worth it.

Our buddy writes for Rotoworld – the perks of such

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Thanks Mike!

It’s always nice to have friends in high places. One of my good buddies just saved me the trouble of my yearly tradition of dropping $8.99 on a fantasy magazine I’ll mostly only read in the bathroom and then go completely against on draft day.

Mike Rosenbaum (best known for his work at B/R’s Prospect Pipeline and The Golden Sombrero) and avid co-host of The Baseball Show Podcast with us has a feature article a few pages into this year’s edition of the Rotoworld fantasy fishwrap. Check it out:

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So when you buy this year’s copy of Rotoworld Fantasy Baseball, give Mike’s Top Prospects article a read. If you’ve spent any time here listening to the podcast in the past you know Mike is good shit when it comes to talking baseball and prospects.

And thank you Mike for the free schwag!

We’re part of the Fanduel Fantasy Baseball Preview Series

With fantasy baseball draft season rapidly approaching all of us, we were contacted by Fanduel to be part of their panel for the upcoming 2014 MLB fantasy baseball season.

You can see part one of the preview here. We do wonder what possessed Fanduel to put Carlos Gonzalez in an A’s hat above.

You might see more of our humble opinion in the upcoming part two, which will talk about players worth reaching for in your upcoming fantasy draft.

Now, back to spreadsheets, projection systems, and mocking what my opponent will do.

We LOVE the Mock Draft Ruiner

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Recently while reading Deadspin we caught wind of this, and it was around midnight. And even though we were only half awake, as we scrolled through them we could not stop laughing. By the time we reached the end of them, we were rolling on the couch and slapping our knee.

It is a bright young mind like this that we would like to have the services of employed on this blog. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t click the link and go enjoy them all for yourself.

Our Top 20 Fantasy Baseball Outfielders for 2014 & Commentary

You never lead with the top guy. Just one of the top guys.

You never lead with the top guy. Just one of the top guys.

Since we’re fantasy baseball nerds, we’ll be running down as much of a commentary as we can prior to your March fantasy drafts. If you’re having a draft before then, you’re violating a major man-law. Don’t do it. You’ll inevitably draft some guy who breaks his nads installing a hardwood floor or something. Here are our top-20 Outfielders for fantasy baseball 2014. We’re running this down similar to the guys at Razzball, though we could never pretend to be of the legendary status they’ve achieved.

1. Mike Trout: Until the younger bull knocks the old bull off the hill (Trout is the old bull in his age 22 season, didn’t you know?) you have to keep putting this guy here and leaving him alone. We just hope you were one of the lucky bastards who snagged him late and were able to keep him after that lackluster cup of coffee in 2011. That was so, so long ago. We figure Trout finally wins that MVP award, hits 30 homers, drives in around his career-high 97 and steals close to 40 while hitting around .320 again. No regression in sight.

2. Andrew McCutchen: There’s just no reason to move an MVP much when he’s entering that magical age-27 season. He wasn’t as Heavenly as his 2012 last season, but he was still remarkable and helped owners win a lot of leagues. What is there to say that hasn’t been said (that’s what we hate about these rankings at the top, everyone has these guys up here). McCutchen is a Ferrari, get him in your garage if you can.

3. Carlos Gomez: This is the guy we’re pretty proud of. He was our major sleeper heading into 2013, and he finally put it all together. What we love about Gomez is he’s a guy who seems to want those stats for you. He steals bases when his team is up big, he challenges for the extra base, he isn’t happy settling with that three-hit night. He plays the game hard and we think the power could enjoy another slight up-tick in 2014. The only thing about Gomez that sucks is when he takes away home runs from your other fantasy players playing center field. He owes Jay Bruce several.

4. Giancarlo Stanton: Big Mike struggled last season hitting .249, but he’ll enter 2014 with major motivation: play so well he can escape Miami for greener pastures and a mega-deal soon following. This will be the year that he eclipses 40 home runs if anyone does in the National league. This will be a .900 OPS season. This will be the year he finally plays like a first rounder. As they say on eBay, bid with confidence.

5. Carlos Gonzalez: 2010 seems so long ago when he finished third in MVP voting. Since then he’s missed time each season but was still spectacular when he was on the field. The only question with Gonzalez is health, if you believe he can stay healthy he will be stellar and steady. He’s not going to go out there and hit .260 at Coors Field. It’s just not going to happen. A solid first-round guy if he can play in 140-150 games.

6. Adam Jones: He’s in a great lineup, he’s in a nice hitter’s park, he’ll be just 28, and he’s baseball’s closest present-day version to Eric Davis. What we like most about Jones is his games played the past three years: 151, 162, 160.

7. Bryce Harper: Someday soon the nagging injuries that drive fantasy owners like us nuts will end, and Bryce Harper will have the biggest numbers of his young career. It’s not too much to ask for a player like Harper to post an average in the .280-.290 range with upwards of 35+ home runs and over 100 RBI and runs scored. We don’t look for him to steal many more than 10 – he’s bulked up – but that power is coming in a big way. He hit .344 and 9 HR in April last season. If he can put that together over a full year like he’s going to try to do……

8. Jacoby Ellsbury: We don’t like that he’s turning 30. We don’t like that he misses monstrous amounts of time about every other season. We do like that he is in that hitter’s park in the Bronx and think he offers 20-50 potential. Solid bet to be very good in the near-term. I want no part of him in a year or two though.

9. Jay Bruce: The Reds are going to have an average year. Jay Bruce is going to have a career year. He’s entering his age-27 season. He’ll get as close to 40 home runs as he has yet and he’ll hit around .275, and with Bruce what you’re buying is the consistency. A lock for 30+ home runs and 150 games played. His slumps will make you want to drown kittens. His hot streaks are other-worldly.

10. Ryan Braun: He’s really not going to miss a beat when he returns from his little hiatus in 2013. He’ll be the same old Braun, which is video-game numbers. It won’t be his career year, but short of that you’re getting one of the top sluggers in baseball with some steals, albeit a few less steals and probably a few less homers. All things considered, a guy we would love to have; even with the cheating!

11. Justin Upton: So now the world knows that he’s not the second coming of Ken Griffey Jr., and that’s okay! What Upton is, is just a pretty good player. And he’s going to be more comfortable in his second season in Atlanta. Something about Upton worries us a little bit; but when we think about it it’s just the poor taste he left in our mouth in 2012. Even then, he was pretty solid. He’s deserving of this high ranking.

12. Shin-soo Choo: He’s going to score a lot of runs out in that Texas heat and don’t be surprised if his numbers improve across the board in a lineup full of threatening hitters.

13. Yasiel Puig: There will be no in between for Puig in 2014. He does not simply maintain; he either becomes full-fledged fantasy superstar or completely collapses in his sophomore campaign. We’re talking .240 or .315ish with power and steals again. Either way, it’s going to be VERY entertaining. Biggest risk factor of anyone in these rankings.

14. Jose Bautista: He may be quickly approaching his decline. He is at an age where it is reasonable for a lot of players to lose bat speed and miss time to injuries. But we believe enough in Joey Bats’ skills to say he will provide one more glorious summer in the sun for fantasy owners. A return to the 30′s in HR, 100 RBI, and an OPS in the .900s for those that believe.

15. Jason Heyward: We don’t really plan to target him – which is why he’ll inevitably break out. If that’s not a good enough reason, keep in mind he’s playing for a monster contract. If you believe what the scouts originally said about Heyward back entering 2010, that huge year is coming this year or next.

16. Allen Craig: The guy with two first names always wrecks shit when he’s in the lineup. He’s a .300 hitting machine in a baseball town where everything seems to line up nicely for that organization. He’ll probably have a DL stint included, but if you can weather that storm you’ll get a .300 average, 20+ homers, near 100 RBI, and peace of mind rotating him between OF and 1B.

17. Matt Kemp: Another guy we don’t want to own, in part because his risk is not worth the overpay it will take to land him on draft day. If for some reason the bargain exists in the middle rounds – take a flier on the guy. The decline might only be a season or two away, but for now Kemp has something to prove and will be taking the field for a team with World Series expectations. It should be a nice year for the back of his baseball card.

18. Starling Marte: A lot of people out there will shy away from putting Marte in their top-20 because it’s too out on a limb. His power numbers should improve and he’ll be a realistic possibility for a 20-40 season. His average should not dip much further than .280 because speed like his doesn’t slump. An .800 OPS player who will be 25. The soon to be Pirates outfield of Marte, McCutchen, and Polanco could be a lot of fun.

19. Yoenis Cespedes: Why do I feel like the guy is probably older than his listed age of 28? He’s probably like 34, but these damn Cubans are ageless wonders with their chicken blood voodoo cocktails. If you want a projection on him an average of his first two seasons is fair to expect: 25ish HR, .265-.270, 81 RBI, 12 steals, 70 runs.

20. Domonic Brown: The bottom line is power comes at a premium these days in baseball. Gone are the days where any number of middle infielders slug 27 home runs for you and drive in 80-plus. For that, you’ll need to pick up a guy like Brown who should continue to hit home runs in bunches. If it wasn’t for an injury he would have easily entered the 30-homer club. He’ll be inducted in 2014.

I Woke Up a Fantasy Baseball Champion

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I’ve won fantasy baseball leagues before – I do it every year. But I’ve never had to do it to remain in a league. When the curtain fell on the regular season yesterday – and Wilson Alvarez went all Billy Chapel on everyone – I was toasting my fantasy baseball glory. Again. This time in a league I actually cared about winning.

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I called my shot back in January. The commish of the league, the villain; the grandaddy of them all Maryvale Marty Cohn (translation: Maryvale Mother Fucker) bit off more than he could chew. From the opening bell this was a season of magic for me. I’ve had teams that I put together who lucked out and won titles before. But this was something different.

It all started last year when I dealt for Chris Sale. Sale would serve as a holdover keeper for this year. But I needed more arms. Before the draft I dealt lower round picks for Yu Darvish and Matt Moore. From there I would just need to load up on bats and find the 2012 R.A. Dickey of 2013. Or a few of them.

Here are the gems in the rough I found: Francisco Liriano and Hishashi Iwakuma, and Dominic Brown as waiver pick ups. Doug Fister was selected in the final round and cut before the season. I used an early waiver on him and stashed him. I used later round picks on Carlos Gomez, Jason Grilli, Everth Cabrera, Carlos Beltran, and Johnathan Lucroy. I took a lot of criticism for taking Wilin Rosario off the board in the 8th round; and had two catchers on the roster a lot of the year to combat how much sitting Rosario did under Walt Weiss’ watchful eye. I added Koji Uehara as a free agent and he went on to have one of the most dominant seasons that a closer has had in fantasy in a decade.

I dealt Justin Upton (my first round pick) and a draft pick for Andrew McCutchen before the season started. I dealt Michael Bourn while he still had relative value and a draft pick for Jay Bruce. I traded Moore and Beltran at their highest value for Prince Fielder. I dealt keeper Bryce Harper for Robinson Cano and Craig Kimbrel. I dealt Fielder and several high picks for Encarnacion and Harper back to me.

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Every time this team looked like it would falter, someone else stepped up. It’s the greatest collection of guys I’ve ever had on one roster, and everything fell into place. From David Wright to Mat Latos to getting just the right amount out of Jed Lowrie and Marco Scutaro and Chase Headley and spells of Stephen Drew; it all fell into place. I even allowed Adam Dunn 30 games at first base after Encarnacion went down with injury.

I’ll win more leagues next year. I’ll win this league again at some point. But I’ll never have another wire to wire job where from the opening bell (I picked up Justin Maxwell to get a huge opening night from him in Houston) I seemingly jump out in front and run away and hide. Rarely in fantasy does everything go according to plan. When I sat in my living room in January and did spreadsheet after spreadsheet, looking at algorithm’s and what won the league last year and knowing what numbers it would take to better than this season; did I ever think that I would have things go 99% according to plan.

Due to the contributions I found of the aforementioned, I will now spend the off-season doing what a champion does: devising a game plan to defend my title in 2014.

I don’t know what ‘Everth’ means in its origins – but it has something to do with stealing or theft

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Everth Cabrera stole two more bases late last night while you were sleeping, bringing his season total to a league-leading 21 stolen bags for the year.

I took Everth Cabrera late as can be in my fantasy draft because I think he’s got 80 stolen base speed. There aren’t that many guys in the big leagues who I consider to be in his category. He stole 44 last year in 115 games. He was only getting on base at a .324 clip back then, though.

Someone has fed this gremlin after midnight, and he’s going batshit nuts right now. He could be near last season’s total by the All-Star break if this keeps up. The new and improved Everth is getting on base at a .355 clip currently and has drawn 27 walks. He’s hitting .270 to go along with that.

Look at that sneaky little fuck! You can’t trust him to guard the henhouse because he’ll steal eggs from you! I can’t even imagine how many stolen base titles this little monster is going to win people in fantasy baseball.

From now on in these parts, he is known as ‘Swindler Cabrera’. Swindler Cabrera.

A Stroke of Genius with the Grill Man

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In the offseason I added Jason Grilli on virtually every fantasy team because I knew of the stuff he had. I knew he would be dominant. I knew he would be the best closer in baseball. If nothing else, this post is just confirmation that yes; at one moment in time my stroke of genius was at least correct.

A lot of other guys who are stuck on name brands were busy grabbing the likes of Josh Beckett, Joel Hanrahan, Jesus Montero and Mike Fiers in unlucky round 13. That’s when I gave Grilli a home, about five rounds later than he deservedly should have been packing his bags. Just brilliant if I do say so myself. I got more props for a late-round grab of Sergio Santos. That’s how little people respected Grilli coming into this season – but fortunate for me I was not one of those people.

A post over at FanGraphs today documents how dominant Jason Grilli has been. This has been awesome to watch.