Showing posts with label Albert Pujols. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Albert Pujols. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spring Training Points of Interest

And we're back...

Isn't Spring Training freakin' awesome? I love it. This is the time of year when I rarely watch any show that isn't on the MLB Network. So many rumors and stories to follow and many of them are fantasy relevant.

Michael Young is beginning to look like a future Florida Marlin. It seems odd to think that the Marlins would take on the salary of Young, and they are not likely to take on all of it, but they have become the favorites to acquire the Rangers' captain. The fish do have a huge hole at third base this year. They also have a ton of welfare money they've been sitting on. Young's numbers in Florida's pitching friendly stadium probably wouldn't be quite as good but he'd become a major part of a potentially awesome young lineup. If you aren't drooling over Mike Stanton's potential this season, you have not been paying attention.

Here are five other stories that should interest you:

The Top 50 Fantasy Sports Blogs

I would have linked to this article anyway, but being included on the list flattered and amazed me. I'll be checking out many of these sites myself. I wish I'd known about some of the basketball blogs a few months ago.

The St. Louis Cardinals and Albert Pujols

Some fans are starting to call Albert Pujols greedy for his contract demands but I don't think so. Most fantasy baseball participants understand that Pujols is the best everyday player in the game. You would be hard pressed to find any negatives on Pujols. This isn't Jayson Werth getting an inflated contract, this is the best player in the game looking to get appropriate compensation.

What Position will Jose Bautista Claim?

I've already covered what I think of Jose Bautista's ability to repeat his amazing power show in 2011. But will it happen at third base or in the outfield? The outfield is surprisingly shallow in deeper leagues where everyone is looking for five starters. Third base is pretty deep these days especially if you include some of the great prospects like Lonnie Chisenhall and Mike Moustakas. I vote for the outfield.

Can A.J. Burnett get it back?

I think so. Burnett has bounced back before so he can do it again. Plus, it is being kept quiet but apparently he dealt with a load of personal problems last season that threw off his focus. A.J. is also a pitcher that needs to be clicking with his catcher and that has been tough for him with the Yankees. I think Russell Martin can help here if he is healthy and effective.

Joe Nathan and Justin Morneau Comebacks in the Works

This may shock you. I'm am far more confident in the return of Joe Nathan to dominating closer than I am Justin Morneau to top notch first baseman. Nathan is already tossing the ball 90 miles-per-hour and swears he'll be ready to start the season. The Twins may want to hedge that bet but Nathan looks good and talks a great game. Justin Morneau has concussion problems that the thing about head injuries is that they don't just go away. In fact each concussion makes the next one ore likely. Scary thought.

I have an article on late round starting pitchers that has been in the works for a few weeks almost ready to go and the annual sleepers article will be posted very soon as well. Join the site by clicking the panel in the right side bar, go ahead, everyone is doing it.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Martin Prado: Best Hitter in the National League?

I found something odd inside last week's Baseball America. On page 15 they printed the results of their survey of major league managers of the best tools in baseball. Most of it was fairly predictable. The best National League baserunners were Michael Bourn, Nyjer Morgan and Andrew McCutchen. The most exciting players in the American League were Carl Crawford, Josh Hamilton and Ichiro Suzuki. And the best hitters in the National League were Albert Pujols, Joey Votto and Martin Prado. Say what, now? Martin Prado?

It's true that Martin Prado has been extremely good over the last couple of years. First as a utility player and finally as the full-time second baseman. Dave Cameron of had good things to say about him during his Trade Value series of articles in which Prado ranked at number 47.
The ultimate performance over tools guy in the big leagues right now, Prado’s success is a testament to how pedigree doesn’t mean everything. This is a guy who hit 15 home runs in 2,119 minor league plate appearances, and was simply not considered much of a prospect when he got to the big leagues. However, for the last three years, he’s been one of the best second baseman in baseball, adding some power to his already good contact rates and turning himself into a legitimate All-Star this season. He’s headed for his prime years as an already good player, and the Braves have him under control for three more seasons. He might be the most unexpected guy on this list, but he’s earned his spot here.
By wOBA, Prado comes in an impressive seventh among second basemen this season with an extremely solid .368 score. He ranks 22nd in wOBA in the National League, which is impressive for a player that was not expected to become an offensive force.

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At the time of this posting, Prado held a slash of .317/.360/.488 with 15 homeruns, 89 runs scored, and 58 RBI in 498 at-bats. Although his walk rate is unimpressive at just 6.4 percent, he has shown incredible patience at the plate. He swings at far fewer pitchers than most major league hitters both in and out of the strike zone. He also makes far greater contact. He is definitely a skilled hitter. The key to his transformation seems to be his steadily increasing power. The last three seasons have seen his ISO go from .140 to .158 to .171 this season.

Although most leagues do not bother with defense, I thought it would be interesting to see how he has been with the glove. The answer is pretty good overall. He's been excellent at third base just passing at second base but showing some improvement. I think this helps us call him a pretty good third baseman and a very good second baseman.

Unfortunately, the major league managers seem to have elevated him a bit past his true skills as a hitter. He is definitely a player worth watching for fantasy purposes. At 27-years old with experience we may see him take another step up and into the true tier of best hitters in the National League. But for now I would still place players like Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, Matt Holliday, Ryan Zimmerman and Hanley Ramirez in a class above him.

How has Martin Prado helped in your quests for gold. Are you ready to label him one of the best hitters in the National League? Let's hear about it in the comments section.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Quick Guide to Calculating Inflation and Preparing a Freeze List

What is the deal with inflation in fantasy leagues? Though the math is relatively simple, inflation in fantasy leagues is one of those things that never fails to confuse and even irritate fantasy owners. Many owners do not bother to calculate it, with varying levels of success. However I think it is important to do so.

Some Terms to understand

Cost - The dollar amount attached to a player on a roster. (Albert Pujols cost $40)
Value - The amount a player is worth to a team in your league. (Albert Pujols is valued at $51 by BaseballHQ)
Profit - The difference between a players Cost and his Value. (If Pujols cost $40 and is valued at $51 his profit is $11)

What is Draft Inflation
Draft inflation is the cost beyond a players perceived value in an auction caused by budget dollars that exceed the value of the available player pool. A player's inflated value is his projected price on draft/auction day with inflation accounted for. It is important to know this value so you can properly evaluate what it will take to purchase a given player. It will also alert you to potential bargains and warn you of potential pitfalls during your auction.

When to Calculate Inflation
It is smart to calculate inflation frequently because it will change. First an estimated inflation should be calculated before you declare your keepers. This will give you a bit more information on the available player pool and the cost of the players you need and could convince you to change your keeper list. Inflation should be calculated again when the actual freeze rosters are announced. This is the most crucial calculation and will advance your auction prep. Inflation should also be calculated as frequently as possible during your auction. Inflation will change with each player acquisition. I elaborate on in-draft inflation below.

Things to consider before declaring your keepers
in an Auction League
  • Not every low-priced player is worth keeping. Treat every roster spot like gold.
  • Having the best built-in profit going into the draft is nice, but having the most built in value (at the right prices) is more important.
  • Is there depth in the player pool (or a lack) that might make a certain player worth keeping (or not)?
  • Don't look for balance in your keeper list, instead look to maximize value.
  • Consider the long term value of your players and also their cost as they develop. It may be more effective to place a player back into the draft and buy them at a higher price in exchange for a longer contract.

How to Calculate Inflation
Inflation equals (money to spend) divided by (value of remaining talent). Multiply each free agent player’s individual value by this amount and you will have the inflated value of each player. Some owners choose to make separate inflation calculations for pitchers and hitters.

In a standard 12-team auction league, with 23-man rosters and a $260 salary cap, there is a total of $3,120 to spend on 276 players. If the owners in our keeper league decide to freeze players with salaries totaling $1,000 but with a projected value of $1,500, then the players remaining in the player pool have a projected value of $1.620. However, the owners now have an extra $500, giving our owners $2,120 to spend on players worth just $1,620. We calculate our inflation by taking the money left to spend divided by the value of the remaining talent or $2,120/$1,620. This results in an inflation of 1.3086, or 31 percent. So if Pujols is valued at $51 and inflation is 31 percent, Pujols has an inflated value of 66.7386 or $67. So if Pujols is the first player called in the above scenario anything less than $67 spent on him should be considered a bargain.

The Per-Player Budget
An essential part of any auction strategy is the per-player budget. This is simply a guideline to the types of players you wish to acquire. On a piece of paper, list the positions required on each roster. Then fill in the names and salaries of anyone on your freeze list (if this is not a keeper league, then you get to skip that step). Next, divide your player acquisition budget amongst the slots with the approximate amounts it will take to roster the players you wish to own. A top outfielder may cost $40, a top-tier closer may go for $35. When all the slots are full and they total the amount you actually have left to spend, you will have completed your per player budget. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the various players that might fit into these slots, but don’t become too attached to any one player or you could find yourself overbidding to get him.

A proper budget ensures that your team will acquire at least its fair share of the available talent. If there is $1,620 worth of talent available for 12 teams and we assume the freeze lists hold equal amounts of talent (a horrible assumption, I know) each owner must acquire at least $135 worth of talent to stay equal to their rivals. Thus, you must strive to use your remaining money to acquire talent as far exceeding that amount as possible.

In-Draft Inflation
Every auction has moments when players are either being overpriced or going at bargain prices. It is vital to your success that you understand when these periods are happening. In-draft inflation can be tricky to get a handle of when you are trying to track your draft and the rosters of your opponents. The easy way to monitor it is to use a program like RotoLab or Diamond Draft. The software will track the inflation in your auction every step of the way.

However, if you are forced to calculate it by hand, you can use my convenient shortcut. After the first player purchase, jot down how much above or below value (according to your projections) that player was. Do the same for every player that follows – adding or subtracting the difference in dollars. This will leave you with a running tally of how much above or below value the auction is at any given moment. If the number is a large positive value, then players have been overpriced and bargains are about to ensue. If the number is a large negative, the players have been bargains and the correction is coming soon. If the total stays at or just above or below zero, players are going almost exactly as you projected.

An Example from the Mailbag
I received the following e-mail from a reader. The message has been slightly edited and the names changed to protect the innocent...
I had an amazing team last year and was crushing my league all season until a traumatizing final day of the season comeback by the guy in second place where he gained 8 points and I lost 3...

In our league we can select 4 players to keep. Traditional logic would say that I should keep Wandy Rodriguez ($1) Ubaldo ($1) Tommy Hanson ($3) and Aaron Hill (3$) because they would give me the greatest relative value. However I also have on my team Pujols ($38) Kemp ($25) Ellsbury ($18) and Longoria ($25) who would all present some savings but not as much as the previous 4 I mentioned.

The league also has another weird rule that says that new teams are allowed to select any 4 players who were on a teams roster last year but not kept. I feel like if I go for the first 4 players I mentioned I would be doing well value wise, but the 2 new incoming managers would almost certainly keep the latter 4 who are all superior players but provide less value. How would you pick?

This does look like a tough decision. The first step is to look at the projected value of each of our potential keepers. (Values are from

Player Cost Proj. Value Profit

Wandy Rodriguez 1 27 26

Ubaldo Jimenez 1 23 22

Tommy Hanson 3 23 20

Aaron Hill 3 17 14

Albert Pujols 38 44 6

Matt Kemp 25 38 13

Jacoby Ellsbury 18 31 13

Evan Longoria 25 26 1

If we were interested in having the greatest built-in profit we would keep Wandy Rodriguez, Ubaldo Jimenez, Tommy Hanson, and Aaron Hill just as our reader suggested. They combine for a cost of just $8 with a collective value of $90 and a profit of $82. That is a pretty nice group of players to have. But is it the best group?

If we take the four most valuable players we would take Albert Pujols, Matt Kemp, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Wandy Rodriguez. Their combined cost would be much higher at $82 but with a collective value of $140 and profit of $58. This is also a good group. But is it more valuable to have $74 more dollars to spend or $50 more value or $24 more profit? This is a tough question to answer without knowing the league more intimately and having more details on the available player pool.

You could attempt to build a combination of players but I believe the second group is the way to go. The only change I'd be tempted to make would be to substitute Ubaldo Jimenez for Jacoby Ellsbury. This is based on my belief that cheap steals will be relatively easy to come by this season. As you will see when I release the All-Sleeper Teams later this week.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The 2009 Fantasy Player of the Year!

I have trouble believing that anyone could go outside of these three players. On the outside edge you might be able to make a case for Carl Crawford but his 2009 season is not really all that far off from his typical performances. Though in the first half it seemed like he might be headed towards a record breaking stolen base total.

Personally, I think it has to be Joe Mauer both for his performance and the price he likely went for in auctions. Albert Pujols cost $40-plus in just about every league, we know at this point that he'll hit for average and 40 homers and what that will cost. Zack Grienke probably was not as expensive but he is also a pitcher who did not collect many wins. Cy Young? Yes. Fantasy Player of the year? Not so certain. Mauer was hurt the first month of the season and had to come at a severe discount in most leagues. My vote is for Mauer.

Who is your pick and why? Let's discuss in the comments.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance MVPs are...

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance has just released the winners of the American League and National League MVP awards. As a proud new member of the Alliance it gives me great pride to say that we got it exactly right.

The American League MVP is Joe Mauer. The National League MVP is Albert Pujols.

You can check out all the details of the voting on the Baseball Bloggers Alliance Site.

The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in the fall of 2009 to encourage cooperation and collaboration between baseball bloggers of all major league teams as well as those that follow baseball more generally. As of this writing, the organization consists of 90 blogs spanning 28 of the 30 major league squads as well as those that focus on general baseball writing.

The BBA is organized under a similar structure as the Baseball Writers of America, where blogs that follow the same team are combined into “chapters” and only two votes from the chapter on an award are counted. Those blogs that are not dedicated to a specific team are allowed to vote on either the American League or National League award, but not both.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Me, Albert Pujols, and the Magic Lamp

I was walking around the perimeter of the little league field scouting for future big leaguers I could take in my farm system drafts when I tripped over some junk behind the center field fence. Russell Field was very deep in center field (for a little league park) thus very few people wandered this way. I pulled myself back onto my feet, holding the fence for support. I kicked the pile of junk and saw what appeared to be an old kerosene lamp. I picked it up and rubbed the face of it with my sleeve -- more in the interest of keeping the gunk off my hands than actually cleaning it. It suddenly became very hot and I dropped it. It began to smoke. I started to walk away quickly but then the smoke began to take the shape of a man who looked an awful lot like Albert Pujols if you discounted the fact that he had wisps of smoke rather than legs.

I stood in stunned silence starring at what I was certain was an hallucination of some kind. It reminded me of the time I thought I saw a giant space craft floating over Malden Square. I don't do drugs and I was not drinking this time. The smokey man was adjusting his sweater vest which looked very tacky over his otherwise bare torso. He said something to me but it did not register. He repeated it but much louder.

"Thank you for freeing me," he said. "I've been trapped in that thing since the seventies."

I really wasn't sure I wanted to enter into conversation with my delusions so I just nodded. He seemed slightly annoyed with me as if waiting for me to do something. I tried just turning and walking away, I had settled on the idea that I was dehydrated and should pick up a bottle of water as soon as possible. But the smokey Pujols appeared directly in front of me as if he had been there all along.

"Apparently you do not know how this works. I am a Baseball Genie. I can influence events and give you knowledge of baseball beyond all men. As the person who has freed me from my captivity I will allow you five wishes."

"Five," I asked. "I thought genies customarily only allowed three wishes."

"Are you complaining or would you rather not have any wishes at all?"

"Uh, okay sorry about that. Can you give me enough money to buy the New York Yankees and still have billions to spare?"

"Are you not listening? I am a Baseball Genie. I do not have the power to grant wishes that are unrelated to baseball. So I cannot give you money or make any part of you bigger or smaller. I cannot make girls fall in love with you or make being fat cool."

"Fine. You don't have to get all testy about it. You being a lame genie is not my fault."

"I walk perfectly fine when I choose not to float. I am growing tired of this. What are your five wishes?"

I wish to have a perfect understanding of baseball. I want to be able to look at stats or see a player on the field and instantly know exactly what his potential is. I want this understanding to also include what general managers are thinking when they make personnel changes. Eventually word of my outstanding understanding will reach general managers and owners everywhere. But I would turn down offers from every team except the most pathetic franchises. The worse the team the more likely I would be to help. Just think what that would do for my blog!


I wish steroids has never existed. I wish every achievement in baseball history was completely untainted by anything having to do with performance enhancing drugs. I am assuming that this would result in Barry Bonds being perceived as a Hall-of-Fame bastard, rather than a bastard who will never be in the Hall-of-Fame. Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro, and Jose Canseco could all be fun again.

I wish MLB Opening Day was a National Holiday. We have so many stupid holidays for so and so's birthday and to honor this group and that group. Just think how many people could avoid lying to their bosses or using up vacation days. We could have parades in the morning (parades in April have to be better than parades in January, right?) and barbecue traditions after the game. Since everyone had the day off all the games could be day games.

I wish everyone played fantasy baseball the way everyone listens to music. I know not everyone listens to music but the people who never listen to any music at all are few and far between. I want fantasy baseball to be integrated into normal life that way. Think about it, kids would want to learn advanced math to improve their ability to understand baseball through statistical analysis. Men and Women of all ages would have another common point of interest. Parents could tell their children stories of the days when every league was either American League or National League and they never mixed and their children could be annoyed about it.

I wish that every kid would play baseball. I want baseball to be everyone's favorite sport. I never want to pass a baseball field again that isn't either covered with snow or kids playing ball. I want little league to be like the cub scouts used to be before too many scary things happened. I want being on a little league team to teach kids the values that so many do not seem to be learning. I want kids to learn to work together and to support each other. I want baseball to work through children to eliminate prejudice. I want baseball to be too important to be tainted by petty differences.

"Damn you sound like a beauty pagaent contestant," the genie laughed. "But I like it."

He winked and made some odd gestures with his hands. There was a distant rumble and he blinked out of site. I can only hope my wishes come true.

Now, Back to the other kind of fantasy baseball...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Top First Basemen Ranked By wOBA

Albert Pujols 0.357 0.462 0.653 0.346 0.458
Lance Berkman 0.312 0.42 0.567 0.345 0.419
Mark Teixeira 0.308 0.41 0.552 0.321 0.41
Kevin Youkilis 0.312 0.39 0.569 0.347 0.402
Jason Giambi 0.247 0.373 0.502 0.257 0.377
Miguel Cabrera 0.292 0.349 0.537 0.316 0.376
Carlos Pena 0.247 0.377 0.494 0.307 0.374
Nick Johnson 0.22 0.415 0.431 0.241 0.374
Joey Votto 0.297 0.368 0.506 0.33 0.373
Christopher Davis 0.285 0.331 0.549 0.353 0.371
Prince Fielder 0.276 0.372 0.507 0.305 0.37
Ronnie Belliard 0.287 0.372 0.473 0.326 0.369
Justin Morneau 0.3 0.374 0.499 0.318 0.369
Adrian Gonzalez 0.279 0.361 0.51 0.311 0.368
Martin Prado 0.32 0.377 0.461 0.36 0.367
Ryan Howard 0.251 0.339 0.543 0.289 0.366
Carlos Delgado 0.271 0.353 0.518 0.284 0.364
Conor Jackson 0.3 0.376 0.446 0.321 0.364
Pablo Sandoval 0.345 0.357 0.49 0.367 0.361
Hank Blalock 0.287 0.338 0.508 0.301 0.361
Derrek Lee 0.291 0.361 0.462 0.333 0.36
Adam LaRoche 0.27 0.341 0.5 0.313 0.357
Dmitri Young 0.28 0.394 0.4 0.322 0.352
Todd Helton 0.264 0.391 0.388 0.298 0.347
Jorge Cantu 0.277 0.327 0.481 0.297 0.346
Sean Casey 0.322 0.381 0.392 0.368 0.344
Paul Konerko 0.24 0.344 0.438 0.247 0.343
Lyle Overbay 0.27 0.358 0.419 0.32 0.342
Jeff Baker 0.268 0.322 0.468 0.337 0.34
Mike Jacobs 0.247 0.299 0.514 0.264 0.338
Garrett Atkins 0.286 0.328 0.452 0.314 0.337
Doug Mientkiewicz 0.277 0.374 0.379 0.302 0.337
Travis Ishikawa 0.274 0.337 0.432 0.354 0.337
James Loney 0.289 0.338 0.434 0.32 0.333
Ryan Garko 0.273 0.346 0.404 0.306 0.333
Frank Catalanotto 0.274 0.342 0.399 0.304 0.329
Javier Valentin 0.256 0.326 0.411 0.296 0.325
Nick Swisher 0.219 0.332 0.41 0.251 0.325
Rich Aurilia 0.283 0.332 0.413 0.308 0.324
Casey Kotchman 0.272 0.328 0.41 0.273 0.322
Mike Sweeney 0.286 0.331 0.397 0.288 0.322
Billy Butler 0.275 0.324 0.4 0.296 0.318
Chris Duncan 0.248 0.346 0.365 0.299 0.318
Kevin Millar 0.234 0.323 0.394 0.249 0.315
Richie Sexson 0.221 0.321 0.382 0.275 0.314
Tony Clark 0.225 0.359 0.318 0.333 0.314
Chad Tracy 0.267 0.308 0.414 0.301 0.313
Daryle Ward 0.216 0.319 0.402 0.243 0.309
Chris Shelton 0.216 0.333 0.33 0.306 0.308
Wilson Betemit 0.265 0.289 0.429 0.346 0.308
John Bowker 0.255 0.3 0.408 0.302 0.307
Daric Barton 0.226 0.327 0.348 0.272 0.302
Aaron Boone 0.241 0.299 0.384 0.287 0.297
Jeffrey Larish 0.26 0.306 0.375 0.368 0.297
Miguel Cairo 0.249 0.316 0.33 0.291 0.293
Bryan Lahair 0.25 0.315 0.346 0.333 0.292
Robb Quinlan 0.262 0.326 0.311 0.311 0.291
Ross Gload 0.273 0.317 0.348 0.298 0.29
Wes Helms 0.243 0.299 0.347 0.309 0.287
Paul Lo Duca 0.243 0.321 0.295 0.259 0.287
Kory Casto 0.215 0.297 0.313 0.264 0.277
Mark Sweeney 0.13 0.25 0.163 0.188 0.208

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