Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Slight dropoff but knowledge increasing....

I have successfully managed to work out how the scoring system in Fantasy Baseball actually works! Has taken me long enough and although I read briefly how the system works pre-draft I didn't fully understand it. Now I have seen it in action for about 3 weeks now since the season started.

A rookie's description

There are 10 scoring categories - 5 for batters and 5 for pitchers. For each category a score from 1-10 is given based on your performance in that category, eg if your team has the highest amounts of HRs in the league you will get a 10, the lowest gets a 1. This is calculated for each category and then total score for each team determines your place in the League Standings. Clearly a 70 is an excellent score and I can see how certain teams will strategise for certain categories aiming for top 2 finishers in those rather than go across all 10. With my limited knowledge there is no way I can think about doing this!

My team was averaging around 66-63 whilst sitting atop of the Standings since my last post but in the last few days this has decreased quite a bit and currently sits at 59, 3rd in the standings. This has been due to a number of different factors - Brett Gardner going on the DL 15 day list and general poor stats from basically all of my batters except for Curtis Granderson who has had an excellent week - 7 runs, 4 home runs, 5 RBIs and is batting .400 in the past 7 days. That's what happens when you face the Red Sox twice.

As I write this post he just had another hit with the bases loaded vs the Rangers allowing #2 (there's only 1 number 2) and Robinson Cano to score to give the Yankees a 1st inning lead.

Ryan Dempster has also been put on the DL15 - maybe my team is doomed to have a bench full of injured players. I'm hoping for a few waiver pickups this week to come in and perform better than my team has been in recent days.

On a side note - I watched the end of the Yankees Red Sox game on Saturday where the Sox led by 9 and collapsed. An excellent game to see and what I thought baseball was about before I watched my first game! All hits and runs rather than balls and strikes. I love offense rather than defense, I'll always be that way with any kind of sport! Makes fans and players excited - but when QPR grind out a nice 1-0 win like they did against Spurs at the weekend it gave me a lot of satisfaction. But any QPR win will do me!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Rookie tops the charts!

One week in to my fantasy baseball experience and I sit firmly where I want to be and where every fantasy player wants to be.......top of the standings. Yes that's right, a first time player with majorly limited baseball knowledge sits top of the fantasy standings. Is this the start of things to come and a successful future in the world of fantasy baseball? Or is this more of a case that I had a decent draft based on good advice from Matthew Berry and that those players have performed well early on? Yes it's clearly the latter but that doesn't mean the run won't continue. I'm steadily adjusting to daily lineups and have started listening to the ESPN Fantasy Focus baseball podcast. I'm a big fan of the football version and have used that the last couple of years to aid my fantasy football teams with strategy and waiver pickups but obviously that's a lot easier knowing the majority of players. With the baseball podcast it requires a lot more concentration and hoping they repeat the player's name they are discussing multiple times as I won't recognise the player from the general discussion they have about them.

The major issue I have had since my draft was that I had both Carl Crawford and Chris Carpenter on the DL (not the down low, the disabled list). Within a standard 10 team league I have 3 bench spots and 1 DL spot. I have had Crawford in this spot since my draft, his return date is predicted to be the start of May and Carpenter's is completely unknown. Although he may come back and be a quality starter I needed the bench spot so I have dropped him and picked up Chad Billingsley so remarkably was on the free agent list despite being owned in 100% of leagues! This is always the main stat I look at when searching the waiver wire - there are millions of people playing the game with much more knowledge than me and if they all want Billingsley then I'll take him too! Coming off a down year in 2011 (wikipedia knows all) and in Berry's 6th tier for pitchers along with Bartolo Colon which gives me some comparison as I do know of Colon, the guy who seemed to lose every time he started when I checked the Yankees score. Also I had Scott Baker who was on the DL so had to drop him and picked up Alfonso Soriano to give me another attacking option.

Final word for today which be a special mention for Alex Avila, catcher for the Detroit Tigers, who has been my player of the season (player of just over a week then). 5 hits from 15 appearances on base, 4 runs scored, 2 home runs and 5 RBIs and batting a 0.333 which I know is very solid. In the 3rd tier of catchers according to Berry and it seemed to be similar to the TE position in football. There are only so many Jimmy Grahams and Rob Gronkowskis to go around so I wanted a quality one. Long may his great start continue and long may the Money Ballers keep a top of the standings!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Opening Day

So the start of the 2012 MLB season is upon us but not yet every team plays on the first day?
Hmmm I just don't understand that......probably TV reasons (as this is the reason for most questionable sporting times in the current day). With the Marlins in their new stadium hosting the World Champion Cardinals I had Emilio Bonifacio as the first player of my fantasy baseball career in action. He only went 1 hit from 6. Not the best start.

On to the first day of action for 13 more of the league's teams (Miami played both days) so a line up check in the afternoon was needed. Much to my annoyance I discover 3 of my players have been put on the 15 day Disabled List. Carl Crawford is thought to return at the start of May but Chris Carpenter (who I drafted in the 20th round and had heard of him) is out indefinitely - clearly explains why I was able to draft him so late. Hopefully it reaps rewards for a player of his talent later in the season. The 3rd player on the DL15 is Twins relief pitcher Scott Baker.

I scanned the list of free agents and saw that Johan Santana was on the list yet he was scheduled to start for the Mets - well thank you very much I will certainly add him to my roster! 5 strikouts in 5 innings and only 2 hits given up was a good return by it will take me a while to realise what is a good score each night from individual players. Ryan Dempster also started to the Cubs who was massively let down by his closers as the only 2 National runs come in the 8th and 9th innings. The other transaction I made pre game was to pick up Delmon Young of the Detroit Tigers as he was starting at LF and I dropped Dexter Fowler (my 25th round pick). Jose Bautista hit my 1st HR, a fitting start seeing as he was my 1st pick.

Tonight the Yankees start their season on the road at the Rays down in Tampa so I'm hoping Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner give me some good results. As well as that pairing Yovani Gallardo will start for the Brewers.

The Money Ballers (yes I now have a team name) sit 4th in the league at this very very early stage with 57 points. I just have no idea at all if that is good or even how these points are calculated!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

My Draft

The clock hits 10.05pm and the Draft commences. The past 2 hours have been spent looking at the ESPN draft day manifest, Googling basic draft advice and trying to find any extra information that would be useful. But eventually that research time had to come to and end and I had to go for it.

As explained in my first post I was going to join a standard 10 team rotisserie league, the most popular form of the game. I was to draft 7th. From my vast Fantasy Football experience I was pleased with this position, I have never really wanted to have a pick in the top 2 of a snake draft as I would have to wait til the end of the 2nd round for another pick. So with my 1st pick I picked up Jose Bautista, a 3rd baseman I was aware of and was happy to draft.

Matthew Berry, ESPN analyst and my main source of fantasy information, has Bautista at number 3 on his Top 250 so I was even more pleased to see him drop to 7. Especially as he felt drafting Robinson Cano in the 1st was a stretch, he went at 4. I could have drafted Ryan Braun at 7 and seeing as he went 1st in a recent Mock Draft between the ESPN experts this may have been a good pick too but having listened to PTI recently and discovering he was subject to a recently overturned drug suspension. He had high levels of testosterone in his system but his 50 game suspension was overturned on appeal as the collector of the urine kept it in his fridge for 2 days. Yes that really happened!!

Anyways, back to my draft. I took Justin Upton in the 2nd, not heard of him before. I
did say my baseball knowledge was very limited! Once again this seemed like a steal as Berry has him 7th on his top 250. That list was searched a large degree especially in the later rounds. I went outfielder again in the 3rd round, discovering I needed to start 5. I drafted Curtis Granderson, was always going to have some decent Yankee scorer within the team seeing as they are the team I have been to see and I guess my MLB team.

By the time my 4th round pick came round I had seen Verlander, Halladay, Kershaw, Cliff Lee, Lincecum, Hernandez, Weaver and Sabathia all been drafted so decided it was time I went for a starting pitcher. I selected Cole Hamels as he was the highest rated SP left on the draft board. My next 3 selections were a combination of position needs and best guys available. I've always felt drafting the best guy available at the time is a decent strategy rather than reaching for guys simply based on need. The amount of real NFL teams that use this strategy rather than filling needs is on the rise. The New Orleans Saints selected Jimmy Graham at the end of the 3rd round in 2010 not because TE was a need position, we had just won a Superbowl with Jeremy Shockey and David Thomas, but because he was the highest player on their board. What a great decision that became! So I took Eric Hosmer at 1B, Jimmy Rollins at SS and Carl Cawford as another outfielder. Crawford was a player in Berry's Love list this year and reading about h
im he had a down year last season which saw him drop down drafts but has 2nd round talent. I'll happily take that in my case as I won't remember who else I could have taken at that position if it doesn't work out. In a Fantasy Football draft I may have made a different move knowing a lot more about the league and the players from top to bottom.

Once again in the 8th I panicked that I only had 1 pitcher and there are 9 pitcher slots so I grabbed Yovani Gallrado of the Milwaukee Brewers. Rickie Weeks fills my 2B spot, Brett Gardner 'The Stealer' is the 2nd Yankee on my roster and Ubaldo Jimenez gives me another pitcher. Going into the 12th round I am beginning to really struggle with player names so in between every pick I have I am frantically looking at articles and see who is high on the Top 250 still left to be drafted. I take a catcher in the 12th rated in the 3rd tier by Matthew Berry, Alex Avila, and Brandon Beachy in the next. A pitcher he was very high on this year. The following list completes my draft;

Round 14 - JJ Putz - RP
Round 15 - Coco Crisp (What a name!!) - CF
Round 16 - Neftali Feliz - RP
Round 17 - Scott Baker - SP
Round 18 - Emilio Bonafacio - SS
Round 19 - Chris Sale - RP
Round 20 - Chris Carpenter - SP
Round 21 - Lucas Duda - 1B
Round 22 - Danny Espinosa - 2B
Round 23 - Ryan Dempster - SP
Round 24 - Jim Johnson - RP
Round 25 - Dexter Fowler - CF

So in conclusion I drafted 25 player, 5 of which I had heard of before doing this. I'm not sure if I have the right balance of starting pitchers and relief pitchers. I don't have much idea who these players play for but I did manage to avoid any Houston Astros players which should work out well for me.

Now it's all about opening day on April 5th and making sure none of my players get put on disabled list, of which Scott Baker already is.

Saturday, 31 March 2012


Firstly welcome to my Blog. If you are reading this then you have decided to join me from the first stage of this experiment. I have decided to set up a fantasy baseball team in an ESPN league. Might not sound like too much of a big deal, there are hundreds of thousands of people that do this every year.

However 99.999% of them have a larger baseball knowledge than me. Naming every MLB team for me would be a struggle, I'd miss the odd few small market teams, and attempting to tell anyone if a team was National League or American League....let's not go there just yet. My New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox knowledge isn't too bad, I could name a fair amount of their players and the positions of the Yankees players would be fairly good. But any player on the Padres roster or for the Royals? No chance. Maybe I should buy this.

My knowledge has come from spending 7 weeks in the New England region of the States in Summer 2011 watching a fair bit on various channels, listening to the PTI podcast and Bill Simmons on the BS Report. I don't read any articles about baseball unless its a major move like Pujols going to the Angels and Prince Fielder signing for the Tigers. I don't even know how many rounds there are in the draft or how many players I get on my team!

So why am I doing this and signing up for a league I don't know much about and one that requires a decent knowledge to succeed? Answers - I want a new challenge. I LOVE fantasy football and waiting until September is going to take too long. The documentary about the first Rotisserie baseball league has inspired me, Silly Little Game directed by Lucas Jansen. You can never know too much about a variety of sports. It might, yes might, make watching baseball more interesting which I will be doing when I have to do night shifts (thanks ESPN America).

I will attempt to be competitive in a league of random players that could be experts or first time players as well. But I will be monitoring anything and everything the ESPN fantasy analysts have to say about the players on my team and potential waiver pickups and see how far a rookie can get using the advice of these experts. I used their advice a lot this year for Fantasy Football but when it came to crunch time I would use my own thoughts on making a decision on who to start, add or drop. Anything can happen but win or lose this should be interesting! Now let's move on to the draft......