THE SUPREME COURT OF FANTASY JUDGMENT
Smittydogs v. Stud Muffins
ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI FROM
THE INCONTINENT LEAGUE
Decided April 22, 2011
Cite as 3 F.J. 10 (April 2011)
A rotisserie fantasy baseball league (hereinafter referred to as “Roto league” or “The Incontinent League”) utilizing an auction-style draft and transaction platform seeks an evaluation of a trade made between two teams within the Roto league. This is an NL-only keeper league where each team is permitted to maintain up to ten (10) players during each off-season with each individual player allowed to be kept for a maximum of three (3) years. Each team is also permitted to keep two minor league players which are in addition to the ten players kept. This Roto league also has a $36.00 in-season salary cap that is applicable for all teams.
As with many rotisserie leagues, the subject Roto league uses the standard 5×5 scoring categories to determine the standings and prize money. For offensive players, the five categories are: (1) batting average; (2) homeruns; (3) runs batted in; (4) runs scored; and (5) stolen bases. For pitchers, the five categories are: (1) wins; (2) earned run average; (3) WHIP (walks+hits/innings pitched); (4) strikeouts; and (5) saves. Statistics are cumulative throughout the course of the season and there are no head to head games contained within the Roto league.
The Smittydogs have made two trades with the Stud Muffins which can be evaluated concurrently. The Smittydogs traded Todd Helton (1B-COL) and Brooks Conrad (3B-ATL) to the Stud Muffins in exchange for Jason Motte (RP-STL) and Mitchell Boggs (RP-STL).
(1) Should the trades between the Smittydogs and the Stud Muffins be upheld and approved?
The Supreme Court of Fantasy Judgment typically favors individual fantasy sports participants and teams’ ability to make moves, transactions, and trades. The standard of review has been that people pay money to purchase a team in a league, draft their team, and manage it accordingly. Whether success is bred from that individual’s decision-making is purely left to some skill, luck, dedication, and savviness. The Court also acknowledges that the analysis for evaluating trades is much different in a keeper league than a non-keeper league. A trade that may look uneven or lopsided on its face may receive a different opinion when it is involved in a keeper league. The reasons for this are obvious, but must be restated. In a keeper league, teams that are having unsuccessful seasons are more likely to continue to pay attention and make moves that will set themselves up for better success in the following season. They can do this by acquiring young talent that is not under contract within the league, or by dumping salary (assuming it is an auction league) and allowing greater financial flexibility to sign key players in the next season’s draft. In non-keeper leagues, there is no rationale for thinking ahead, nor is there any need to stockpile young, inexpensive talent.
Another factor that the Court must always consider is whether there is any collusion or under-the-table dealings going on between teams. The Court has not been presented with any evidence of such malfeasance, so assumptions will be made that this is not an issue.
At first glance, the individual trades of Todd Helton in exchange for Jason Motte, and Brooks Conrad in exchange for Mitchell Boggs look slightly uneven. However, when viewed in totality as if it was a two for two trade, the deal makes more sense. It should be noted that the Smittydogs acquired Ryan Franklin (RP-STL) earlier in the season, and he has since lost his job as the closer for the St. Louis Cardinals. Clearly this served as a motivating factor for Smittydogs to acquire two potential candidates that will be obtaining Franklin’s save opportunities. When analyzing the fairness and equity of a trade, the Court will consider each team’s individual needs to assess whether the trade subjectively made sense from each team’s perspective. See Cajon Crawdads vs. Carson City Cocks, 1 F.J. 41, 42 (June 2010) (upholding a trade for Jason Bay because of the Carson City Cocks’ desperate need for a starting outfielder due to the demotion of Cameron Maybin). Here, the Smittydogs were in need of saves due to Franklin’s demotion, so there was an inherent need to acquire potential replacements for him.
Todd Helton was once one of the premiere players in the league and a top option in terms of fantasy production. However, due to age and injuries, he has been sapped of the power and run production the fantasy baseball community was accustomed to for almost a decade. At this point in his career, Helton cannot be relied upon to play every day; nor can he be relied upon to contribute mightily in any of the roto categories. However, he is still capable of reaching .300 with 15 HR and 75 RBI if he remains healthy enough. He will be afforded every opportunity to play consistently for a Rockies team that is expected to contend for the National League West title. It makes sense that he would be desirable by the Stud Muffins in exchange for a couple of Cardinals relievers without a track record of success. The puzzling aspect of this trade is Brooks Conrad who is nothing more than a bench player. He was given significant playing time in 2010, and besides a game-winning grand slam homerun, he did nothing remarkable other than make errors filling in for Chipper Jones. Conrad’s role is solely as a reserve, and he hasn’t even been given an opportunity to start a game yet in 2011. That being said, his inclusion in these deals doesn’t increase or decrease their value.
None of the players involved cost significant salary dollars, and their values only net a $0.10 difference which is hardly enough to consider as a factor in the trade. Additionally, none of these players are projected to be long-term assets for either team.
As referenced in Smittydogs v. Moneyball, 1 F.J. 32, 34 (June 2010), the dichotomy between the Smittydogs and 4 Ponies’ motivations is precisely why the Court must look at trades in keeper leagues differently than non-keeper leagues. However, had this trade been made in a non-keeper league, the Court would still likely approve it.
These two trades were concurrently made and subsequently evaluated in totality for judicial economy and ease of reference for the parties. Based on the foregoing reasons, the Court hereby decides that the subject trades are fair, equal, and free of collusion. The trades should be approved as they comport with the best interests of the league.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
The great thing about spring training and Opening Day is that every major league baseball team starts off on equal footing and thinks they have a chance at making the playoffs. Everyone has a clean slate, so the past is forgotten and the future is is pursued. Coming into the 2011 season, most “experts” predicted that the Boston Red Sox would win the American League East and likely represent the AL in the World Series. These same “experts” also likely prognosticated that the Baltimore Orioles would finish in the basement of the American League East and be a stepping stone for the contenders. And come October, they may be right. But as we sit here on April 4, 2011, just a few days into the season, what was up is down, and what was in is out.
The Red Sox just got swept out of Texas by the defending American League champions and did not look good in the process. Boston’s starting pitching did not live up to the hype over the first three games. Additionally, Carl Crawford, one of the prized free agent acquisitions, didn’t show much to justify his enormous contract either. It is only three games, but everything the Red Sox do is viewed under a very narrow microscope. On the flip side, the Orioles are now 4-0 after sweeping the defending AL East champion Tampa Bay Rays and the defeating Detroit in their home opener in Baltimore. This is the first time since 1977 that the Orioles started 4-0. They didn’t make the playoffs that year, but the point is driven home that this is not a common occurrence for this once proud franchise. The thing is that, on paper, Baltimore has one of the more explosive lineups in baseball. With the additions of Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy, the Orioles have provided solid depth to complement Nick Markakis, Brian Roberts, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters. The problem is that the O’s pitching is young, inexperienced, and very shallow.
So after all the moves were made in the off-season and then analyzed to death, look where we are after just four days. The Orioles are already three and a half games ahead of Boston in the standings. I don’t think anyone would have predicted that and not been committed to an insane asylum. But that is what is so great about baseball. In the end, the law of averages will likely prevail and the Red Sox will hit their stride, likely leaving the Orioles well behind in their rear-view mirror. But for now, it is fun to see the standings look upside down. Props to Buck Showalter who once again proves that he knows how to change the culture of a young, losing team. Hopefully he’ll have the chance to see it through if Baltimore can somehow maintain this pace.
The 13th annual Old Bridge Fantasy Baseball League (“OBFBL”) draft is now officially in the books. The OBFBL is an 18-team, mixed, H2H points league with no keepers. The point scoring system is set up to balance the value of hitters and pitchers. Arguably, the upper eschalon of pitchers are more valuable than most hitters not named Pujols. The theory has always been that a good offense will get you into the playoffs, but a good pitching staff is what wins championships. This was proven last year when the 2010 OBFBL champion had a pitching staff the included Tim Lincecum, Zack Greinke, Roy Oswalt, Brett Myers and Billy Wagner.
To demonstrate why pitchers are so heavily revered, here some examples of point value for various pitching statistics: win (10), save (10), quality start (5), complete game (10), shutout (15), strikeout (2), no-hitter (50), perfect game (50), loss (-5), blown save (-5), earned run (-1), walk (-1).
This year, there were seven pitchers taken in the first round (Halladay, Lincecum, F. Hernandez, Sabathia, Lester, C. Lee, and J. Johnson) , which ties an all-time OBFBL record. I had the third overall pick in the first round and was tormeted for weeks on who to pick if Pujols and Halladay were both gone. I have never been a positional scarcity guy, so Hanley Ramirez and Troy Tuolowitski were not on my radar. Here is a breakdown of the team I drafted with some additional thoughts and commentary:
1. Miguel Cabrera-1B-DET. With Pujols and Halladay off the board, I decided to take the second best pure hitter in all of baseball. Despite Cabrera’s off-season alcohol problems, there is no reason to think he won’t be his awesome self again hitting in a better lineup with Victor Martinez providing some protection. Cabrera is a lock for .325, 35 HR, 120 RBI, and 100 runs, so I opted for him rather than go with a scarcer position like SS or 2B. Besides, I regretted not taking Cabrera last year so I didn’t want to make the same mistake again.
2. Josh Hamilton-OF-TEX. I was surprised the 2010 AL MVP made it all the way back up to me in the second round, so I grabbed him without hesitation. I soon realized I had a recovering alcoholic and drug abuser with my first two picks, so I’ll have to be very careful about the parties I throw in my team’s clubhouse. Hamilton’s health is the only question mark as he gets banged up quite easily. His shift from center field should help alleviate some of the danger. Assuming he plays 145-150 games, he should have no problems repeating his MVP performance.
3. Jose Reyes-SS-NYM. I debated taking Ryan Howard here and loading up on the homerun power, but then I would be locked into my Utility Position rather quickly. Plus, with Reyes still on the board, I had to get my Met and reap the benefits of him playing extra motivated as he approaches his first free agency. Reyes is a health risk as we have seen over the years, but he does seem far removed from the leg ailments that have plagued him since 2009. He will be playing for a $100 million contract next year, so look for him to be explosive. This pick truly vindicated me towards anyone who thought I should have taken Hanley or Tulowitzki in the first round.
4. Carlos Marmol-RP-CHC. The OBFBL amended its scoring system to make saves worth 10 points, which is equal to the points given for a win. This made closers very valuable commodities and justifies me taking one as my first pitcher. At this point, all of the top starting pitchers were off the board so I went for arguably one of the top closer options. Marmol just signed a big contract and is the official closer of the Cubs. His electric stuff is erratic at times, but he should have no problem saving 40 games and striking out at least a batter or two every time he is out there.
5. Heath Bell-RP-SD. Once I took Marmol, I decided to go with the multiple closer strategy. This is something I have rarely done in the previous 12 OBFBL seasons. But Bell is arguably one of the top closer options and pairing him with Marmol is akin to having two good starting pitchers. The Padres should have solid pitching and play in a lot of close games, so Bell should have plenty of opportunities to amass 40+ saves again. Just FYI, if we used the new current scoring system with last year’s statistics, Bell placed in the top five overall. And to think the Mets traded him away for nothing (sorry, sour grapes).
6. Jay Bruce-OF-CIN. This was the first pick of the guys I was targeting beforehand. I have been very high on Bruce all winter, trying to take him in the mock drafts I have done. Bruce is entering his third year in the big leagues already and could be on the cusp of breaking out into a star. He has already put up impressive power numbers since 2009, but he needed to work on his plate discipline and approach. Assuming he is batting in the middle of the order (please Dusty, don’t waste him leading off), Bruce should be good for .275, 30 HR, 100 RBI.
7. Brett Myers-SP-HOU. I also targeted Myers beforehand because he is a second or third tier pitcher with top tier talent and point potential. He proved he was healthy in 2010 and the Astros rewarded him with an extension. Now he looks to build on that and return to his 200+ strikeout days. He is essentially my third pitcher behind my closers.
8. Mark Reynolds-3B-BAL. Before I begin my analysis, let me alert you that in the OBFBL, batter strikeouts are -1 point. I was fully aware of the risk in taking Reynolds given that he is a lock for at least 175 strikeouts. But the move to Baltimore convinced me that this could turn out to be one of my better picks. Camden Yards is a hitters’ park and the Orioles have put together an impressive lineup. Reynolds should have no problems reaching 40 HR’s and 100 RBI, and he was one of only a couple other viable 3B options left at this time.
9. Ted Lilly-SP-LAD. I have never had Lilly on any of my teams over the years, but he has always been a thorn in my side. He doesn’t put up eye-popping numbers, but the guy is good for 12-15 wins and over 175 strikeouts every year it seems. He is pitching in the weak-hitting NL West for the entire season which is enticing. I was satisfied with this pick as my 4th pitcher.
10. Ryan Franklin-RP-STL. After taking two closers earlier in the draft, I decided to go all in and grab another one. Franklin is nowhere near the level of Marmol or Bell, but he can be relied on for 30-35 saves. The Cardinals should be involved in a lot of close games, and Tony LaRussa-led teams always rely on their closers heavily. The only thing that bothers me about this pick is Franklin’s goatee. Only Jim “The Anvil” Nedihart can pull that look off.
11. Jorge Posada-C-NYY. This pick elicited the biggest reaction amongst my fellow league members drafting live in the same room. In most of the mock drafts I have done this season, I ended up getting Posada with one of the last picks because people forgot about him since he will be a full-time DH. But there is a real “Yankee fan effect” in the OBFBL as most Yankees’ players are highly overvalued by the league’s resident Yankee fans. I decided this was the right time to take Posada since I didn’t think he would last another round…and it turns out I was right. Posada isn’t the hitter he used to be, but now playing everyday without the burden of catching might rejuvenate his bat. Regardless, he will be one of the more productive players at the catcher position in terms of fantasy value.
12. Javier Vazquez-SP-FLA. This was another one of my long-time fantasy baseball favorites. Coming off of his second failed stint with the Yankees, Vazquez is primed for a comeback season now that he has returned to the National League East where he had prior success on the Expos and Braves. Vazquez has been one of the most consistent fantasy performers due to his high strikeout potential and double-digit wins. He may not win 15 games due to the Marlins lack of offense and questionable bullpen, but I expect quality starts and 7-8 strikeouts per game.
13. Jhoulys Chacin-SP-COL. Besides having a cool first name, Chacin is one of the top young arms in the National League. He pitched very well down the stretch for the Rockies in 2010 and is now being relied upon from the beginning in 2011. Chacin has nasty stuff and high strikeout potential. He may suffer some sophomore slumps at times, but it looks like he has the tools and make-up to be a relevant fantasy pitcher.
14. Lance Berkman-1B-STL. Former perennial first round pick Lance Berkman has seen Father Time and nagging injuries sap him of his power and batting average the last couple years. 2010 was a lost season for Berkman as he struggled mightily in Houston before being traded to the Yankees and struggling there too until the playoffs. Now Berkman appears to be healthy and will be starting in the outfield for the Cardinals. I like his bounce-back potential hitting behind Pujols and Holliday. He may not put up his old school Berkman numbers, but 20 HR and 75 RBI is a reasonable expectation.
15. Nate McLouth-OF-ATL. I am excited about this pick because McLouth may have more bounce-back potential than anyone else in the league. The former All-Star had an atrocious season in 2010 and is poised to rebound. He has the ability to hit 25 HR, knock in 80 RBI, and also steal 30+ bases. He will be playing everyday, and unless he has a repeat of 2010, he will be a fixture in the Braves’ lineup with every opportunity to amass solid statistics across the board. There was very little risk in making this pick in the 15th round and as my third outfielder.
16. Tsuyoshi Nishioka-2B-MIN. I love sushi. It is my favorite thing to eat…ever. But I didn’t always like sushi. In fact, I was adament against it until I was finally convinced to give it a chance before judging it. That was a good call because now I am obsessed with sushi. My point is that I don’t know much about Nishioka at all. But from everything I have read about him, he seems like a good risk to take. The Twins are one of the smartest organizations in all of baseball, so I trust their ability to scout talent and invest money. If Nishioka turns out to be a great pick, then I will go spend some money at Target as my thanks.
17. Ivan Nova-SP-NYY. His friends call him “Nova.” No, not as in “Casa-nova” but because that is his name. I have a history of taking young Yankees’ pitchers in these drafts, and this year is no different. Nova showed a lot of poise last year in his stint with the Yankees, and he earned the #4 spot in their rotation this year. With the Yankees great offense and solid bullpen, Nova should win 12-15 games. Plus, he is good trade bait for all of the Yankees fans in the league.
18. Matt LaPorta-1B-CLE. I am completely indifferent about this pick. LaPorta has been a big prospect for several years (not as many as Brandon Wood) and should be getting his first opportunity to play everyday this year. He has big time power potential, but there are many flaws in his swing and his mechanics. I wouldn’t be surprised if he fizzles out and doesn’t amount to much. That would be a shame because then the Indians really wouldn’t have anything to show for the C.C. Sabathia trade in 2008.
19. Aaron Harang-SP-SD. The former fantasy stud has fallen on hard times due to injuries and ineffectiveness. I like Harang’s upside in San Diego if he stays healthy. He has always been a good strikeout pitcher, and Petco Park is a great pitchers’ park to keep his ERA down. The Padres got tremendous starting pitching from everyone last year, so there is no reason to think it can’t happen again. Harang has a lot of experience on his side, and with Heath Bell closing games, he should return to double-digit wins.
20. Domonic Brown-OF-PHI. With my final pick of the draft, I took the Phillies’ rookie who will start the year on the disabled list. When Browns does come back, he should likely take over in right field unless Ben Francisco is lighting it up against both righties and lefties. Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel worked on a lot of things with Brown’s swing and plate approach, so it will be interesting to see how he applies that knowledge on the field. If he gets 300+ at bats this year, he should reach double-digits in HR’s and SB’s.
So that is my team. Overall I am pretty happy with it. I like my offense led by Cabrera, Hamilton, Reyes, Bruce and Reynolds. My pitching staff lacks a dominant starter, but I made up for that with two elite closers. That is the key thing I will watch for this year is comparing the value of the closers versus the starters.
Let me know what you think of my team. If you want a copy of the draft board, just shoot me an email to email@example.com. You can also find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FantasyJudgment and Twitter at www.twitter.com/FantasyJudgment.
With fantasy baseball draft season winding down, I wanted to dedicate this edition of “Passing Judgment” to the league Commissioners who organize and administer the thousands upon thousands of fantasy baseball leagues. Whether your league is on CBS, ESPN, Yahoo, MyFantasyLeague, or any other website, most likely there is an individual in your league that takes the time and energy to put everything together. From organizing the draft, inputting the league rules and settings, creating a schedule, approving trades, keeping the peace between league members, dealing with technological issues with the host site, the Commissioner is responsible for quite a bit. Unfortunately, when things go wrong or issues arise, the Commissioner is usually the first to be blamed. Anyone who is or has been a league Commissioner will probably agree that it is a thankless job. But hey, someone has to do it.
Often times a Commissioner’s contributions to a fantasy league are taken for granted, minimized, and overlooked. When the Commissioner has to do less, it means he is doing a good job. This is because the rules that he created and implemented are likely being adhered to without conflict or controversy. If the Commissioner is not rejecting proposed trades, it possibly means he is surrounded by league members who understand the concepts of fairness and equity without the specter of collusion. But when the Commissioner does have to get involved, he exposes himself to criticism and judgment because usually there will be one person not satisfied with the decision that has been rendered.
Once a Commissioner makes a decision either based on the rules of the league or his own interpretation of what is in the league’s best interests, he must then remain consistent when dealing with the same issue down the road. Sure, there are extenuating circumstances that justify deviating from precedent. But generally speaking, once the Commissioner has utilized his discretion in making a decision, he should abide by that ruling for all future scenarios of the same ilk.
A Commissioner gets into real trouble when he contradicts himself. Not only does his inconsistency anger and frustrate paying league members, it also opens to door to questions and skepticism about potential improprieties and favoritism. This is not a road that the Commissioner wants to travel down. Once your integrity and trust is questioned, then everything you do is viewed under a microscope.
So what can a Commissioner do to effectively govern his fantasy baseball league? The first step is to author a league Constitution that delineates every rule and guideline in the league, including scoring system, trades/transactions policy, roster submission requirements, etc. Of course there is the possibility that something will arise that has never happened before, so the Commissioner should provide some safeguards and procedures for dealing with issues of first impression. If these procedures are explicitly written in the Constitution, then the Commissioner can make rulings on issues that do not appear in the governing document. The second step is to invite people into your league that you trust or at least have a foundation for some sort of relationship. You may not know everyone in your league (especially if it is a public league). But the Commissioner should try and establish a rapport with everyone in the league to help break down any possible barriers of communication. Also, the character of every league member should be scrutinized because you don’t want to invite someone into the league who has a history or reputation for colluding with other teams. Finally, the Commissioner should make his decisions with the utmost of confidence. These decisions may not always be popular, but if you feel it is the right decision and the best decision for the league, then defend it with vigor. On the same note, it is not wise to leave an issue open for interpretation. If people are left still scratching their heads as to what decision you have made, the ramifications could be far worse. That is not to say that you shouldn’t listen to opposing arguments and keep an open mind. It simply means that once you have made a decision based on all of the objective and subjective criteria available, then stand by it.
These recommendations come from over 15 years of experience being the Commissioner of various fantasy baseball and fantasy football league. Specifically, my fantasy baseball league that has existed since 1999 has helped me grow as a person and as a Commissioner. I wasn’t always keen on taking suggestions from my league members, but I have grown to learn that everyone else’s input is good knowledge to have and analyze. For example, my 18-team, H2H mixed league has had a fresh draft every year since 1999 without keepers. I heard from several of my league members that they really enjoy doing some keepers. So I broached the topic with my league and we may look into this starting in the 2012-2013 seasons. I have also learned from just being a participant in a league and watching how those Commissioners operate. Some are very hands on and some are very hands off. It all depends on the individual
In the end, someone has to organize the league(s) you are in. While it may not seem like much of a big deal to you, I can assure you that your Commissioner cares very deeply for that league and spends a lot of time in that capacity. The role of Commissioner is not one that many people clamor to take. For those that do, they should be appreciated for their efforts in trying to make your fantasy baseball experience a little more fun and a lot less stressful. The verdict is that fantasy league Commissioners deserve some love and their efforts should be appreciated as we embark on the 2011 fantasy baseball season. Play ball!
Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences as a fantasy league Commissioner or team owner by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FantasyJudgment or Twitter at www.twitter.com/FantasyJudgment.
This is the first year I have ever done more than two fantasy baseball leagues in one season. In fact, I am doing four of them. I have also participated in more mock drafts over the last few months than I have in the last ten years. One could assume I would be “drafted out.” In many ways, I am. However, it is different for the league in which I am the Commissioner – the Old Bridge Fantasy Baseball League. This will be the 13th season of the OBFBL, and the 6th consecutive season we are doing a live, in-person draft. Because I created this league and we draft in person with friends and family, I feel an extra sense of pride and enjoyment out of it.
The OBFBL consists of 18 teams, which is quite large for a fantasy baseball league. I do not know of many other 18-team leagues. People come from out of state and far distances to attend the draft. In fact, several years ago someone flew in from Iowa to attend the draft. Currently, we have members in Long Island, Scranton, Manhattan, Philadelphia, Connecticut, North Jersey, South Jersey and many points in between. While 100% attendance is not expected, we usually get almost the whole crew to attend. The dynamic is great and we always end up having a good time.
After so many years, I am still as pumped up as I was each and every other year. But I have to curb my emotions and mentally prepare myself as I seek my 4th championship since 1999. And, I must stay focused and fulfill my duties as Commissioner to ensure the draft goes smoothly and there are no issues. Truth be told, I still have no idea who I am taking with the 3rd overall pick. But that is the fun of it. I am more prepared than I ever have been before from doing all of these mock drafts and two real drafts already. But despite all of that preparation, I will likely go on my instinct with my first round selection. The only thing I can guarantee is that it will not be Carl Crawford.
The day has finally arrived where the Mets are without Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez on their roster. After months of speculation, both Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez have been released despite being owed a collective $18,000,000 for the 2011 season. While that is a large chunk of money to just swallow (especially given the Mets’ current financial turmoil due to the Madoff lawsuit), this was something that had to be done in order for the organization to start its rebuilding process. Both Castillo and Perez have become symbolic of the Mets’ recent failures and mediocrity on and off the field. In order to appease the starving fan base, something had to give, and it has now been given.
Castillo was acquired from the Twins in late 2007 to fill a hole at second base vacated by injuries to Jose Valentin. He seemed like a logical fit as a prototypical number two hitter behind Jose Reyes, as well as a solid defender and base stealer. He had been on several winning teams, so there was not much to argue with at the time he was obtained. The issue became when the Mets signed him to a four-year contract worth $24,000,000 after the 2007 season. In defense of Omar Minaya at the time, the move was made to appease Johan Santana and help convince him to sign an extension upon being traded to the Mets in February 2008. Santana apparently liked playing with Castillo in Minnesota, so the Mets helped their cause by locking up the former Gold Glove second baseman. At the time, people knew the contract was not a good one, but it was ancillary to the Santana acquisition.
Over the past few years, Castillo has personified the Mets’ failures with his lackluster defense, atrocious hitting, and nagging injuries. He was a shell of his former self despite only being in his early 30′s. He did not provide the solid defense he was known for. Perhaps the moment he will most be remembered for is his inexplicable drop of a pop-up hit by Alex Rodriguez during a 2009 Subway Series game at Yankee Stadium. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, A-Rod popped a ball up off Francisco Rodriguez which seemingly would end the game and give the Mets a solid win over their cross-town rivals. Amazingly, Castillo’s footwork towards the ball was agonizingly awkward and the ball hit off the middle of his glove letting the tying and winning runs score. That was the end for Castillo in Mets’ fans’ eyes and hearts. He followed this up with piss-poor hitting and a general malaise that gave the appearance of apathy.
Oliver Perez is another story. He was acquired at the trade deadline in 2006 from the Pittsburgh Pirates along with reliever Roberto Hernandez in exchange for outfielder Xavier Nady. The trade was precipitated by Duaner Sanchez’s car accident in Miami that caused him to miss the remainder of the season. Nady, who was playing a solid right field for the Mets and providing productive offense in the middle of the order, was shipped away for pitching help. Perez was essentially a throw-in in the trade. At the time, he was a 25-year old lefty with potentially dominating stuff and a huge upside. Pitching coach Rick Peterson was convinced he could turn Perez into a star. Down the stretch in 2006, it looked like the Mets had completely ripped the Pirates off as Perez won Game 4 of the 2006 NLCS against the Cardinals, and then pitched great in Game 7 deserving a better fate. He was even known as “Big Game Ollie” because of these performances. He followed that up with solid seasons in 2007 and 2008 despite not being as consistent as the Mets would have liked.
Following the 2008 season, Perez entered free agency and was not even offered a contract by another team. The Mets, after seeing pitchers like C.C. Sabathia and Derek Lowe sign elsewhere, decided that Perez was the best option left and offered him a lucrative three-year, $36,000,000 contract. At the time, the deal was not vilified because Perez was still a young, talented left-hander with a big upside. Then, he showed up to the World Baseball Classic followed by spring training in 2009 completely unprepared and out of shape. His velocity barely reached 90 mph and his mechanics were out of sync. This translated into a horrendous 2009 season that culminated with a knee operation. With hopes that he would be healthy and in better shape, the Mets relied on Perez to return to his old self in 2010. However, nothing could have been farther from that. His control was non-existent and his velocity dropped even more. After being demoted to the bullpen, the Mets asked Perez to accept a minor league assignment to work his issues out. Selfishly, Perez exercised his right to decline this and he remained on the big league roster as a complete waste of space. He was placed on the disabled list with questionable lingering knee issues, only to return later in the summer and be sparingly used out of the bullpen in a mop-up role. By this point, the Mets’ fans were irate with Perez for his lack of performance and professionalism. When Omar Minaya was fired and Sandy Alderson was brought in, there were hopes that his first transaction would be releasing Perez. Instead, the Mets gave Perez another opportunity to redeem himself this spring. After competing for a spot in the starting rotation, Perez’s horrific performances moved him into contention for a left specialist role in the bullpen. That didn’t work out either. After surrendering back to back homeruns to two no-name Nationals this past weekend, Perez’s fate was sealed.
These moves represent a cleansing of the bad taste in the mouths of Mets’ fans. Castillo and Perez symbolized the frustration expressed by the fan base and represented a physical target to vent that frustration. Now they are gone. Castillo has already signed a minor league contract with the Phillies, and Perez is sure to catch on somewhere as a low risk, high reward $400,000 investment. Even if they do find success elsewhere, the Mets are better off today without them. There needed to be a change in the culture within the organization, and Sandy Alderson has helped facilitate this change with these two moves. Now, the Mets must learn from their mistakes and be more circumspect about the long-term investments they make.
One of the most important aspects of playing fantasy baseball is a team owner’s ability and skill at making transactions and adding free agents before and during the season. In most cases, the team you draft is not the team you will ultimately end up with. Undoubtedly, regardless of how many teams are in your league or how many roster spots are required, there will always be players that go undrafted and emerge as viable fantasy options later on. The key to success in a fantasy baseball league is the ability of teams to make those moves at the right time. But the analysis of whether a transaction is good or not will be left for another day. Instead, this edition of “The Verdict” takes a deeper look into the various procedures for how transactions are processed.
For some background, I have been the Commissioner of an 18-team, head to head, points league since 1999. For the first 10 years of the league, team owners would submit their add/drops to me and I would process them. All transactions had to be submitted to me by a certain time, and then I would manually go through the lists and figure out who got who. In the event two teams claimed the same player, the team with a worse win-loss record or on the short end of a tiebreaker would have the rights to that free agent. Upon moving my league to CBS in 2008, the free agent process was handled automatically with a waiver priority order based on overall record. Generally speaking, the process of handling transactions this way worked.
The reason for handling transactions in this manner was obvious – to help the less successful teams get better and make the league more competitive since they had a better chance of obtaining the best free agents. However, this also had the detrimental effect of penalizing the more successful teams and preventing them from bettering their team as well.
In 2010, I decided to even the playing field and change the way transactions were handled by implementing a free agent auction bidding process (“FAAB”). I assigned an arbitrary budget for everyone ($250) where each team could bid on available free agents. The team that bid the most money on a player was awarded him, regardless of where that team stood in the standings. This afforded the best teams and the worst teams the same opportunity to make improvements while not handicapping or penalizing anyone else. It also required people to make strategic decisions on how they wanted to spend their fake money. Despite being met with some skepticism and trepidation, my league members enjoyed this new process and have embraced it.
As the Commissioner of the league, FAAB made my life infinitely easier since I no longer had to manually handle any aspect of doing add/drops. The bidding process is completely blind, so no one will know what you have bid on a player. This means, in theory, that you could spend $25 on a free agent when no one else even bid $2 on that same player. But that is the nature of the process, and I personally approve of the fact that the process is entirely blind. It really adds another element of strategy and competition when pondering what the appropriate value of a free agent is in the context of your league and fellow league members. Since the bidding process is completely blind, I didn’t have to worry about any improprieties when I made my own transactions. As a word of advice for you fellow Commissioners, anything you can do to remove ANY semblance of impropriety is beneficial. This means relinquishing control over certain things that can be handled automatically.
Another positive aspect of FAAB is the fact that it does provide checks and balances to prevent teams from dominating the entire process. Once a team wins a bid on a free agent, that team is then moved to the bottom of the waiver order. This means that they would essentially lose a tiebreaker to another team bidding the same amount on another free agent. Of course, if a team chooses to bid enormously high on multiple free agents in the same week, then they would win all of those players. But that is a conscious choice by a team to spend their money in such a way.
No matter what format or style your league uses, transactions are going to be an important factor. How you choose to handle transactions is also one of the most critical decisions a Commissioner can make because it has a significant effect on all league members and the way they play the game. The verdict is that implementing an auction process to bid on free agents is the fairest, most efficient, and most thought-provoking manner in which to handle transactions. If your league has never tried it before, it is something you should seriously consider.
The Court wants to hear your feedback. Feel free to send an email to email@example.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment).
Despite the heroic efforts of federal mediator George Cohen and favorable decisions issued by the Court, the inevitable is finally upon us. The NFL officially has its first work stoppage since 1987 as labor talks broke down and the NFL Players Association (“NFLPA”) decertified. Cohen conceded that his attempts at facilitating an agreement have become futile:
“The parties have not achieved an overall agreement, nor have they been able to resolve the strongly held competing positions that separated them on core issues. No useful purpose would be served by requesting the parties to continue the mediation process at this time.”
By dissolving and announcing it no longer represents the players in collective bargaining, the NFLPA cleared the way for class-action lawsuits against the NFL, which opted out of the CBA in 2008. The CBA was due to expire on March 4, 2011, and then was extended twice with the wishful thinking that the owners and players could find common ground on the key issues, which include: 1) how to divide more than $9 billion in annual revenues, and 2) how much financial information the league would be willing to turn over.
The ramifications of this impasse could be a lengthy court battle that could potentially jeopardize the 2011 season as it did in 1987 when the players went on strike and the league used replacement players. More recently, the NFLPA decertified in 1989, and antitrust lawsuits by players led to a new CBA in 1993 that included free agency, and the union formed again that year.
Union head DeMaurice Smith said the parties discussed a proposal that the owners had presented. While significant differences continue to remain, Smith informed the owners that if there was going to be a request for an extension, then the players would ask for ten years of audited financial information to accompany that extension. About 15 minutes later, the union decertified.
While the net result isn’t good for anyone, each side thinks they are more reasonable than the other. A representative of the NFL stated that :”the union left a very good deal on the table,” which included splitting the difference in the dispute over how much money owners should be given off the top of the league’s revenues. Under the expiring CBA, the owners immediately got about $1 billion before dividing the remainder with the players; the owners originally were asking to roughly double that by getting an additional $1 billion up front.
In addition, the NFL allegedly has offered to mantain the current 16-game regular season schedule with four pre-season games for at least two seasons (with any changes negotiable), institution of a rookie wage scale through which money saved would be redistributed to pay veterans and retired players, creation of new year-round health and safety rules, establishment of a fund for retired players including $82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years, and disclosure of the league’s audited financial profitability information. The NFLPA rejected this offer which led to the current impasse.
So here we are…exactly where we hoped we wouldn’t be a long time ago. Fortunately, there is so much to lose on both sides that resolution is inevitable before the 2011 season starts. The rookie draft will still take place in April and other business will still resume as normal. Right now we are in the middle of March where college basketball is at the forefront of the sports world, then to be followed by Opening Day and the beginning of the baseball season. Right after that we have the NBA and NHL playoffs which will lead us into the summer. So there is plenty going on to keep us sports fans occupied. My advice for now is to put the NFL issues on the backburner and let the parties work out their conflicts. Both the owners and players have incentives to reach an agreement. Granted, if an agreement is not reached in a timely manner, there could be a serious detrimental effect to a lot of people and a lot of businesses. But there is no need to push the panic button just yet. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and everyone will realize that resolution is the best solution.
During the work stoppage, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s salary will be $1.00. This is wonderful news, except I don’t feel bad for him. Plus, if the league and the players wanted resolution without having to expend all the costs and fees associated with litigation federal mediation, they could have just paid me $100.00 to settle the dispute on behalf of the Supreme Court of Fantasy Judgment, which would have entitled the NFL and NFLPA to a season’s worth of unlimited dispute resolution services. Maybe next time Mr. Goodell.
The second installment of my retrospective on my fantasy baseball league will focus on the greatest team names in league history. Choosing the name for your fantasy sports team is always a fun venture. People tend to put a significant amount of time into making this crucial decision in an attempt to be witty. Since 1999, there have been dozens and dozens of different team names. Recently, there has been a trend for league owners to stay within a theme each year with respect to their team name. Some people use the same name every year while others completely change them each time. The OBFBL has run the gamut regarding team names which have ranged from the clever to the mundane, to the inappropriate to the hilarious, and from the insulting to the offensive.
The following list represents the Top 30 team names (in chronological order since 1999) used in the OBFBL.
1. Pap Smears (1999)
2. Carpet Munchers (2000)
3. Steve Balboni is God (2000)
4. No Talent Assclowns (2001)
5. Cleveland Steamers (2001)
6. KwakeeSurpeePEEKU (2001)
7. Naked Midgets (2002)
8. Don Zimmer Eats Fudge (2002)
9. Check Out My (A)-Rod (2003)
10. Rockford Peaches (2003)
11. Baboon Titties (2003)
12. Cobra Kai (2003)
13. The Puppies Who Lost Their Way (2004)
14. Jobu’s Sacrifice (2004)
15. Tsunami Relief (2005)
16. Coach Klein’s Green Playbook (2005)
17. Berserk Male Syndrome (2006)
18. Peter Griffin’s Quickie Bar Mitzvah (2006)
19. Corned Beef & Cubbage (2007)
20. My Pujols Hurts (2007)
21. Dark Jedi (2007)
22. 8 lb., 6 oz. Baby Zimmer (2007)
23. No Country For Old Droids (2008)
24. Jewish Mafia (2008)
25. Tanana Cream Pie (2008)
26. Captain Sully Didn’t Learn How to Fly a Plane from Thurman Munson or Cory Lidle (2009)
27. Giant Douche Saves the Clock Tower (2009)
28. Sharks With Frickin’ Laser Beams Attached to Their Heads (2009)
29. Cole Hamels’ Multi-Racial Children (2010)
30. Len Tuckwilla’s Nuts Over My Chin (2010)
This was my own subjective list based purely on criteria that I created…mostly, what made me laugh and which ones were the most clever pop culture references. Credit must be given to every past and present member of the OBFBL for their creativity in selecting team names. I especially applaud those who have stuck with one theme every year. Of course, there are also plenty of times where team names are based on inside jokes that other people will not necessarily understand or find funny. For example, one year a fellow member of the OBFBL used my name in his team name based on an inside joke. In response, my team name included a reference to the fact that his mom did my wife’s nails. The point is that while a team name has no effect on the success or failure of your team, it is one aspect of a fantasy league that is fun and can be used as a means of talking trash.
Let me know what you think. Which of these 30 team names was your favorite? What are some great team names you have come across in other leagues? Feel free to provide feedback, or if you would like to see a master list of every team name in OBFBL history since 1999, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More retrospective lists and articles to come.
This season marks the 13th year of the Old Bridge Fantasy Baseball League (“OBFBL”). Back in 1999, I created a 16-team (expanded to 18 teams in 2000), head to head, points fantasy baseball league comprised of friends and family. It is a non-keeper league where a random fresh draft order is done before each season. Now thirteen years later, the league is still running strong with some new faces and rule changes to keep up with the times. Back then, the internet was just becoming a must-have for any fantasy league. I initially started the league by doing everything manually which proved to be a logistical disaster. So after the first week of the season, the OBFBL was run on TQ Stats where it would remain until 2008. After TQ Stats was bought out by Fanball, I moved the league to CBS where it has remained ever since. Times have changed and the league has evolved every year, including rule changes, format changes, and administrative changes. Now thirteen years later, the OBFBL has reached adulthood (at least in the eyes of Judaism).
I will be doing a retrospective of the league by compiling various lists of data and information from over the years, including interesting tidbits from old drafts and analyzing success based on draft position. Given how long the OBFBL has been running, I thought I would make the first edition of the retrospective a tribute to longevity. The following is a list (in order of when they were drafted) of the Top 25 players that were drafted in the OBFBL in 1999 and are still currently playing today. I will include some analysis and commentary for each player based on where they stood thirteen years ago and where they stand today.
1. Alex Rodriguez-SS-SEA (1st round, 2nd pick) – A-Rod was still a young pup but was already established as one of the game’s elite players at a premium position. He went second overall behind Mike Piazza, which isn’t that surprising given Piazza’s credentials at the catcher position. Today, A-Rod remains a viable fantasy option at third base for the Yankees. He is no longer a lock for a first round pick, but he is still near the top of the list for options at his position.
2. Ivan Rodriguez-C-TEX (1st round, 15th pick) - Pudge was in the prime of his career as one of the game’s best offensive catchers not named Piazza. Clearly benefiting from “the juice,” he put up some monster offensive numbers and was always highly regarded by OBFBL league members. He is a shell of his former self as father time and lack of injections have depleted him of his offensive skills, but he is still the starting catcher in Washington.
3. Derek Jeter-SS-NYY (1st round, 16th pick) – this was back in the glory days of the American League shortstops. Jeter never could compare to the numbers put up by A-Rod, Nomar, or even Miguel Tejada, but he still produced terrific offensive numbers in terms of hits, runs, stolen bases, walks, and RBI at that position. Presently, he is coming off his worst offensive season and just signed a controversial contract extension. There is no reason to think he can’t or won’t return to his season average numbers, but he certainly is not mentioned as a possible first round pick anymore.
4. Chipper Jones-3B-ATL (2nd round, 6th pick) – Chipper was the premiere option at third base back then in the days when he was healthy and could play 150 games. He is barely hanging on today as he annually recovers from various injuries that he has sustained during his likely Hall of Fame career. He is no longer an option for a starting third base slot, but he will likely be drafted and could be valuable if he can stay on the field.
5. Manny Ramirez-OF-CLE (2nd round, 8th pick) – much of what was said about Chipper can be said about Ramirez. He was entering the prime of his career in 1999 and would only get better as the years went on. Today, he is hanging on as a DH in Tampa Bay and could still rack up numbers if his body doesn’t betray him. He will be a later round pick with some upside.
6. Vladimir Guerrero-OF-MON (2nd round, 12th pick) – at the time, Vlad was blossoming into one of the best fantasy players in the league. He hit for an extremely high batting average, had tremendous power, and also stole lots of bases. This was right before he truly emerged as an elite force, but it was evident you could build a fantasy team around him. Today, Vlad is relegated to a full-time DH as he joins the Orioles after spending one successful year in Texas. He is a middle round pick with good upside as he hits in a solid lineup in a great hitters’ park.
7. Jason Giambi-1B-OAK (2nd round, 14th pick) – he was also emerging as an elite option at first base in 1999. Today, he is a backup first baseman in Colorado and primarily used as a left-handed pinch hitter. He has no fantasy value and should not be drafted.
8. Jim Thome-1B-CLE (2nd round, 15th pick) – Thome was already a proven veteran power hitter on his way to a prolific career hitting homeruns. He has changed teams several times, but he remains a candidate for a bench spot on your fantasy roster as he serves as a DH for the Twins.
9. Scott Rolen-3B-PHI (3rd round, 4th pick) – he never fully reached his potential due to injuries and a bad attitude than ran him out of Philadelphia. He was a solid option at third base, but never performed up to the expectations that were set. Today, he has revitalized his career in Cincinnati and managed to stay healthy in 2010. Assuming he avoids injuries, he is a solid middle-tier option in 2011.
10. Andruw Jones-OF-ATL (4th round, 11th pick) – the other Jones in Atlanta came up in 1996 as a 19-year old and was established as a burgeoning star by 1999. He was a solid #2 outfield option and would continue this trend well into the 2000′s. As he entered his 30′s, his skills rapidly declined and now he is simply a reserve outfielder on the Yankees.
11. Kevin Millwood-SP-ATL (4th round, 13th pick) – he was the youngest stud on those great Atlanta pitching staffs and expectations were high for him. He never truly reached those levels, but he was a solid option for a #2 or #3 starter in fantasy. Today, he is coming off a horrendous 2010 that has left him looking for work as of today.
12. J.D. Drew-OF-STL (5th round, 4th pick) – Drew was a highly touted prospect and former #1 pick that refused to play in Philadelphia. His legacy is that he gets constantly injured, even when he wakes up in the morning. He never lived up to his potential and has remained an average players for his entire career. Now playing in Boston, he may be splitting time with Mike Cameron which could decrease whatever value he had left.
13. Jorge Posada-C-NYY (5th round, 13th pick) – a lot of credit is owed to Posada for lasting so long and being as productive as he has been over his career. He has never been an elite option, but he has remained a solid top 10 catcher for almost 15 years. Only now has he unwillingly relinquished his catching duties as he nears the end of his career. It is a credit and testament to him that he was a solid fantasy option in 1999 and in 2011.
14. Edgar Renteria-SS-STL (6th round, 7th pick) – it is also hard to believe that Renteria has been around this long too. He was a solid fantasy option at SS back in 1999 as his offensive skills were much sharper. Father time and nagging injuries have sapped Renteria of his offensive production and he is likely done as an everyday player. But he is a World Series MVP and has had two game-winning hits to win championships. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the fact he won’t be drafted this year.
15. Todd Helton-1B-COL (6th round, 11th pick) – at the time, this was a steal to get Helton in the 6th round as he would embark on the first of several monsterous seasons. Helton became an elite option at first base benefiting from hitting in Denver and being in the middle of the Blake Street Bombers. Allegations of performance enhancing drugs surfaced in the mid-2000′s and coincidentally his numbers dropped significantly and he has been ravaged by injuries. Helton is no longer an option at first base and probably should not be drafted.
16. Mariano Rivera-RP-NYY (6th round, 12th pick) – it’s as simple as this…Rivera was the best at what he does in 1999 and is still the best in 2011. He may not lead the league in saves, but you can count on very few blown saves, lots of strikeouts, and barely any earned runs allowed.
17. Bobby Abreu-OF-PHI (7th round, 8th pick) – very few players have such polarizing effects on people as Abreu. He would become a fantasy stud due to his high batting average, propensity to draw walks and score runs, homerun power, and high stolen base totals. However, he never reached that superstar status that was pinned to him. He has remained relevant in fantasy over the years, and will now serve as the Angels’ full-time DH. This may be the last year of consistent production out of Abreu as time catches up with him.
18. Magglio Ordonez-OF-CHW (8th round, 7th pick) – it has been a tale of two careers for Maggs as he was on his way to reaching elite status until a significant leg injury hampered him in the mid-2000′s. After leaving the White Sox, Ordonez has been a rollercoaster in terms of performance with the Tigers. When healthy, he can still be a productive hitter. However, health is an ongoing concern for him and reach 25-30 homeruns does not seem realistic anymore. The end is near for Maggs as well.
19. Chris Carpenter-SP-TOR (8th round, 15th pick) – it is easy to forget that Carpenter began his career way back in 1999 with the Blue Jays. He was a highly-touted prospect that never could put it together or stay healthy enough to live up to his potential in Toronto. In the mid-2000′s, the Cardinals took a chance on Carpenter and it has paid off to say the least. When healthy, he is a top 10 pitcher…but it seems like he is hurt every year. His hamstring injury this spring is something to watch closely.
20. Miguel Tejada-SS-OAK (9th round, 9th pick) – it was around this time when Tejada joined group of elite offensive shortstops. He became a prolific homerun hitter and run producer emerging as the third best option behind A-Rod and Nomar. Over the years, allegations of steroid use ran rampant and conveniently his power dissipated. He can now be considered a journeyman infielder as he joined the world champion Giants a shell of his former self. His multiple position eligibility and starting gig as a shortstop will get him drafted, but don’t expect much production anymore.
21. Johnny Damon-OF-KC (9th round, 14th pick) – Damon was a young prospect with big upside at the time as a speed guy. He hadn’t developed his power stroke yet, nor had he developed the facial hair he would later be known for. Much like every other good Royal, he would price himself out of Kansas City and go on to shine in Boston and New York. Now he with Tampa Bay looking to re-establish himself as a viable everyday player which should land him a draft selection as a 3rd outfield option.
22. Carlos Guillen-2B-SEA (14th round, 10th pick) – one of the key pieces of the 1998 Randy Johnson trade, Guillen is the epitome of a health risk. He has produced solid numbers throughout his career when healthy at various positions. When he has had very good offensive seasons, expectations run high the following year only to be met with disappointment from his inability to stay on the field. He is slated to be the Tigers’ second baseman again, and if healthy, he is a nice late round option as others pass him over.
23. Derrek Lee-1B-FLA (15th round, 10th pick) – at the time, Lee was still a relatively unknown commodity. He would become a solid option at first base but never produced eye-opening numbers until later in his career with the Cubs. He is another victim of Father Time and nagging injuries as he joins the Orioles in an attempt to re-establish himself as well. He has fallen to a third-tier option at first base which could mean a steal for someone that grabs him in the later round.
24. Carlos Beltran-OF-KC (15th round, 16th pick) – seeing the physical condition of Beltran now, it is hard to remember him as a young stud. He had a brief cup of coffee with Kansas City in 1998 and hopes were high for him in 1999. He produced a solid rookie campaign but wouldn’t emerge as a top talent until 2001. Now he is slowly coming back from knee injuries which have precipitated a move from CF to RF. He is playing for a contract this year which should motivate him. But health is a major concern for Beltran as he looks to earn another big payday.
25. Roy Halladay-SP-TOR (16th round, 6th pick) – what better way to conclude this list than with the best pitcher in all of baseball today. Back then, Halladay was a prospect who was rushed to the big leagues and faltered for several years until he finally put it all together in the early 2000′s. Now he is clearly the top pitching option in any draft. His talent and abilities have always been there, as evidence by this late round pick in 1999 when he was still an unknown. Now thirteen years later, he has justified all of the hype, and then some.
So there you have it. This was the first of several trips down memory lane. While thirteen years doesn’t seem like an overly long amount of time, you can see that lots has changed. It is interesting to see how some players were correctly projected to be successful and have remained relevant at a high level ever since. Stay tuned for more retrospective articles in the coming days and weeks. Feel free to share your comments, thoughts and analysis by sending me an email to email@example.com.