A commentary about sports, media, and interpersonal relationships encountered throughout everyday life.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Fantasy Baseball Musings: Second Half Studs

For a minute, I just want to write about something I care about more than anything else in sports: Fantasy Baseball. It’s true, call me a nerd, call me whatever you want. I’ve really heard it all and I don’t care. My roommate and my girlfriend have witnessed me purchasing champagne to put on ice during championship weeks. They’ve seen me have mood-swings indicating some sort of bizarre bi-polar disorder depending on my team’s outing that particular week. In sum, during the baseball season—it controls my life.

My team, The Guns of Navarone (Pulp Fiction reference), won seven games in a row this season. The streak ended after I lost to the same man that defeated me in last season’s championship game: Tom Byrnes. I deserved it though. Every Monday it’s somewhat hard to set my line up in the best possible order due to my work schedule. For anyone who knows my line of work (beat reporter for both the Mets and Yankees), that may seem rather strange. Think what you will, I’ve made calls to my younger sister (who could care less about baseball) to make last minute adjustments to my roster before the deadline (mainly because I know that I can trust her to blindly make the move that I ask her to).

For instance, I drafted Mike Piazza at the start of this year solely because he was set to become the full-time designated hitter for the Oakland Athletics. Now, as anyone who has followed baseball knows, he’s been on the DL for an extend (maybe 2.5-3 months) because the A’s want to make him a regular catcher. I am ready to pull my hair out on a weekly basis, as I have to scout a new catcher every week to insert into my, otherwise, solid lineup. This week, David Ross has gone 0-for-ever up until a solo HR on Saturday afternoon.

At any rate, this is an example of the moves I will ask my sister to make just seconds before rosters lock each week. I reference each player's 2007 stats for the year thus far plus Ron Shandler’s documentation of 2006 stats. I attempt to draw parallels between the Baseball Prospectus and the Baseball Forecaster to achieve the most accurate numbers for a give player in a given part of the year. This brings me to the second half of the 2007 season…

Richie Sexson is one of the worst fundamental batters in MLB history. If he doesn’t connect for a home run, he strikes out. His biggest knock is that he bats around .265 to .270 every year, which isn’t terrible, but it isn’t great either. So much of what’s “great” and “horrible” in baseball depends on a player's contract anyway… which is good for fantasy baseball managers. In this instance, Sexson bats around .200 in the first half of every season, meaning that, if the numbers don’t lie, he’s capable of batting around .310 for the rest of the season, thus bringing him to that “horrible” .267 batting-average.

The same can be said for Adam LaRoche, a player who, up until 2006, was a career platoon first baseman for the Atlanta Braves. In ’06, however, LaRoche stepped it up. He batted almost one-hundred points higher in the second half of the season than he did the first half. What that means is that the Pirates may get their money’s worth in the second half of 2007. In every league I belong to I’ve been attempting to acquire LaRoche, in most I’ve been rejected. This is mainly a result of the offering of uneven deals based on LaRoche’s average draft position (ADP). Therefore, an offer of Nate Robertson for LaRoche would never be accepted by opposing owners.

Jermaine Dye is another player who has made a living off great second half’s, much to the tune of historic second half players like Eric Chavez and Aramis Ramirez. While Dye has been injured and struggling for the early part for 2007, what’s stopping him from ending up with his usual numbers of around.280 with upwards of 25-30 home runs. The guy can obviously his, his slugging percentage hasn’t dipped at an incredible enough rate that owners should give up on him…

In the end, there are a number of other players who have great career second half numbers. It just takes a little research and dedication to figure out whom your team should target and who should be the next to leave you fantasy team. For me, it’s hard to decide, mainly because I feel like my team is holding a number of really good young players combined with a healthy portion of veterans. Perhaps my main concern bounces between Ervin Santana, Javy Vazquez, and Phil Hughes. Obviously, Hughes has the best potential of the three, but currently Vazquez, the vet, has pitched the best. Santana falls somewhere in between. I remember 3 years ago when Peter Gammons sat on the set of Baseball Tonight and told the world that in 4 to 5 years fans would be talking about Ervin Santana as the best Santana in baseball (referring to annual Cy Young contender Johan). Well Pete… I’m still waiting for the guy you warned about. It would be really nice if he showed up every once in a while…

1 comment:

Oneida said...

Keep up the good work.