THE SUPREME COURT OF FANTASY JUDGMENT
Green Eggs & Hamels v. Megan Fox is Hot
ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI FROM
THE BRO’S BEFORE HO’S FANTASY BASEBALL LEAGUE
Decided April 10, 2011
Cite as 3 F.J. 4 (April 2011)
A fantasy baseball league named the Bro’s Before Ho’s Fantasy Baseball League (hereinafter referred to as “BBHFBL”) is a 12-team rotisserie league using both AL and NL players with each team allowed to keep up to three players for a maximum of three seasons. The BBHFBL is a 6×6 league using the following hitting categories – OBP, HR, RBI, Runs, SB, and Hits – and the following pitching categories – W, ERA, K’s, SV, WHIP, and QS. Statistics are cumulative throughout the season and each team will accrue points based on their standings for each individual scoring category. Each team has a budget of $260 to draft 27 players and then $150 to purchase free agents after the draft has concluded.
The BBHFBL is governed by a Constitution that was authored by the league Commissioner and posted on the league’s CBSSports’ homepage. All league members were notified via email and a message posted on the league’s message board that the Constitution was available for viewing on March 25, 2011.
Contained within the BBHFBL Constitution is a section entitled “Transactions” which is denoted as Section 2. Under Section 2, there are several provisions regarding the rules and guidelines for making add/drops utilizing a free agent auction bidding process (“FAAB”) including the following relevant language:
1. Each team shall be given a budget of $150 to spend on free agents throughout the course of the season.
2. In order to acquire a free agent, teams must bid at least $1 on a player and make a subsequent transaction by either dropping a player, moving a player to injured, or moving a player to the minors.
3. The team that bids the most money for a free agent in a particular waiver period will be awarded that player.
4. Once a team has won an auction, that team will move to the bottom of the waiver priority order.
6. If more than one team has bid the same amount of money on the same free agent, the team with the highest position on the waiver priority list shall be awarded that player.
9. Waivers will run every day at 2:00 AM which means players can be added daily.
10. Any disputes or challenges to the FAAB process shall be raised to the league Commissioner for inquiry to CBSSports.
Green Eggs & Hamels, a team in the BBHFBL, attempted to add Chris Capuano (SP-NYM) as a free agent on April 8, 2011. He utilized the FAAB process on CBSSports and bid $1 on Capuano and dropped Bud Norris (SP-HOU). This represented the second of Green Eggs & Hamels’ FAAB requests as he bid $14 to successfully obtain Brent Morel (3B-CHW) during the same April 8, 2011 waiver period. Also on April 8, 2011, Megan Fox is Hot bid $1 on Chris Capuano and dropped Ross Ohlendorf (SP-PIT).
Because Green Eggs & Hamels successfully won the auction for Morel, he went to the bottom of the priority order for the next round of waivers during the period. As a result, Megan Fox is Hot won the auction for Capuano despite bidding the same amount as Green Eggs & Hamels.
Green Eggs & Hamels disputed this transaction to the league Commissioner arguing that he should have been awarded Capuano because placed the bid before Megan Fox is Hot. The Commissioner rejected Green Eggs & Hamels’ arguments holding that the FAAB process explicitly states that teams will go to the bottom of the waiver order after winning a bid, and that the team that bids the most amount of money next down the waiver order will win that subsequent player.
(1) Should the Commissioner’s decision affirming Megan Fox is Hot’s acquisition of Chris Capuano be upheld?
The Supreme Court of Fantasy Judgment is a strong advocate for having written Constitutions that govern fantasy sports leagues. See John Doe v. Fantasy Football League Commissioner, 2 F.J. 21, 22 (October 2010). One of the primary reasons behind having a written Constitution is so that all league members are aware of the rules and guidelines in place that govern the administration and function of the fantasy league. See Shawn Kemp is My Daddy v. Fantasy Basketball League Commissioner, 2 F.J. 24, 25 (October 2010). When a league Commissioner writes out the rules and distributes them to the league, it shifts the burden onto the league members to read, understand, and adhere to the rules that are delineated. If a league member has an issue, question or challenge to one of the rules in the Constitution, they are welcome to raise this with the Commissioner before signing it or agreeing to its codification.
Here, the rules explicitly stated what the procedures are for the FAAB process. Not only were they delineated by the Commissioner in the league’s Constitution, but that is also the process as set forth by CBSSports as per the settings input by the Commissioner. Green Eggs & Hamels was rightfully awarded Brent Morel with his first transaction because the $14 he bid on Morel represented the highest amount of money bid on an eligible free agent. As a result, the auction for Morel went first and Hamels was awarded him. Once Hamels won that auction, he automatically went to the bottom of the priority order for free agent pickups. This meant that he essentially loses a tie-breaker in the event another team bids the same amount for a second free agent – which was the case here. Because Megan Fox is Hot was higher on the priority order, he was correctly awarded Capuano.
Hamels appealed to the league’s Commissioner for review. The Supreme Court of Fantasy Judgment advocates for league Commissioners to have a certain amount of authority and autonomy to run and administer fantasy sports leagues. See FlemishUSA v. League Commissioner, 2 F.J. 35, 36 (October 2010). In this case, the Commissioner appropriately ruled on the issue by adhering to the clearly established rules and guidelines that govern the league and the FAAB process.
Based on the aforementioned reasons, the Commissioner properly rejected Hamels’ request for review as he was correctly denied obtaining Chris Capuano. The league’s FAAB rules clearly demonstrate that Megan Fox is Hot properly acquired Capuano. The Court hereby upholds the Commissioner’s decision and rules that the subject transactions should be upheld.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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.
I will be participating in four fantasy baseball leagues this year. This represents the most leagues I am doing in one season, so it should be a challenge to actively manage all of them. The challenge will be especially daunting given the level of competition I am facing in each league. The first draft I participated in was an auction draft for Scott Pianowski’s mixed, 12-team, rotisserie Yahoo expert league with a budget of $260 to draft 28 players. This also happened to be the first auction draft I have ever done, so it was a learning experience. Overall I was pleased with the team I drafted, but I am sure there were a couple of bids I would like to have back. I will provide a breakdown of my team and some commentary on some of those players and the values for which they were obtained.
1. Albert Pujols-1B-STL ($49). I targeted Pujols from the get-go and I was prepared to spend a significant portion of my budget on him. Besides being my generation’s greatest hitter and the most consistent fantasy performer of the past decade, I also wanted to get Pujols this year because he is a free agent and will look unnecessarily prove that he is worth being the highest paid player in all of baseball. While first base is very deep in talent, there is still no one else that compares to King Albert. Spending $49 on him was well worth it in my estimation.
2. David Wright-3B-NYM ($41). As I have been saying all off-season during my mock draft analyses, third base is a very weak position in terms of depth. So I targeted Wright for his ability to produce in all five Roto categories (and admittedly because I am a Mets fan). It is debatable whether Wright or Longoria are the top third baseman, but Wright offers more in terms of stolen bases and batting average. Again, I perhaps overspent slightly, but I landed arguably the top option at a weak position.
3. Alex Rodriguez-3B-NYY ($39). After grabbing Wright, I decided to act on instinct and load up at third base since I could either use a Corner Infield spot or Utility on another third baseman. A-Rod has had a few mediocre years for his standards as he enters his mid-30′s and has suffered from a variety of injuries. But A-Rod appears to be healthier than he has in years and could be primed for another monster season. What gives me this hope? Cameron Diaz has promised A-Rod a large bucket of popcorn for every homerun he hits this year.
4. Cliff Lee-SP-PHI ($22). Despite the Phillies’ offense dropping like flies, their starting rotation is still arguably one of the greatest ever. Lee is primed for a big season back in Philadelphia where he clearly enjoyed playing (and liked the cheesesteaks as well). I thought $22 was a reasonable price to pay for him as my first pitcher who will produce in four of the five Roto categories.
5. Josh Johnson-SP-FLA ($19). It is no longer a secret that Johnson is a terrific pitcher. Now a couple years removed from major arm surgery, Johnson has emerged as one of the best pitchers in the National League. His win total was hampered by lack of run support and a poor bullpen. Both of these factors will likely come into play in 2011, but Johnson should still be counted on for 12-15 wins, a sub 3.00 ERA, 200 strikeouts, and a WHIP in the low 1.00′s.
6. Mariano Rivera-RP-NYY ($13). What more can be said about the greatest relief pitcher of all time? Even at his age, Rivera is still a lock for a low ERA, 30+ saves, a miniscule WHIP, and decent strikeouts from a closer. He should also be good for some vulture wins as the Yankees avoid using him for multiple innings during the regular season. The $13 I spent on Rivera was more than any other closer that was drafted. I attribute this to my inexperience in doing auction drafts as I clearly overspent on a closer once the top options started coming off the board.
7. C.C. Sabathia-SP-NYY ($19). It was important to me to have a solid starting rotation, so Sabathia was the third in my trifecta at a modest price of $19. He will be good for 18-20 wins, a low 3.00 ERA, and around 175 strikeouts. Sabathia lost some weight this offseason which should help him stay strong during the season. Now in his early 30′s, it should be interesting to see how all of those innings in his arm hold up.
8. Brandon Phillips-2B-CIN ($22). Knowing that Cano and Utley would be off the board at a high price (before we knew the potential extent of Utley’s injuries), I targeted Phillips for second base. I preferred Phillips over Dan Uggla because of his contributions in the batting average and stolen base categories. Phillips is a tremendous talent coming off a down year, so I anticipate a bounceback season from the veteran hitting in the middle of a potent Cincinnati offense. I expect .290, 25 HR, 90 RBI, 100 runs, and 30 stolen bases.
9. Reid Brignac-SS-TB ($4).
10. Grady Sizemore-OF-CLE ($5). High risk, high reward. That is pretty much all there is to him this year. He is capable of being a top 3 outfielder, but he hasn’t been healthy since 2008. If he can go 100%, then this selection is a steal.
11. John Buck-C-FLA ($3).
12. Curtis Granderson-OF-NYY ($5). It was apparent that the Grandy Man figured it out down the stretch and in the 2010 playoffs. After struggling for most of the season, Granderson is now primed for a more consistent output as he takes advantahe of batting in the Yankees’ powerful and deep lineup. I also expect Granderson to do more running as he sets the table for the bottom of the order. His batting average won’t help, but he should be good for 20-25 HR’s, 75 RBI, and 40 stolen bases.
13. Javier Vazquez-SP-FLA ($3). Back in the National League, Vazquez is coming off a poor second tour of duty with the Yankees. He will be in the middle of the Marlins’ talented rotation and should thrive pitching in the NL East again. He has been one of the most prolific strikeout pitchers of the past decade.
14. Joe Saunders-SP-ARZ ($1).
15. Magglio Ordonez-OF-DET ($1).
16. Jair Jurrjens-SP-ATL ($1).
17. Nick Hundley-C-SD ($1).
18. Lance Berkman-OF-STL ($2).
19. John Lackey-SP-BOS ($1).
20. Matt LaPorta-1B-CLE ($1).
21. Hideki Matsui-DH-OAK ($1). The A’s have had great luck signing older stars to be their DH. Matsui cannot play the field anymore and will not be stealing any bases. But the man can still hit and he will have every opportunity to be the full-time DH and produce some solid power numbers.
22. Travis Wood-SP-CIN ($1).
23. Ben Francisco-OF-PHI ($1).
24. Carlos Guillen-2B-DET ($1). I am already regretting this. He is always injured, but I got lured in by the fact he would be playing second base if he was healthy. Now he will be starting the season on the disabled list, which is like a second home for him and where he has his mail forwarded.
25. Xavier Nady-OF-ARZ ($1).
26. Alex Gonzalez-SS-ATL ($1).
27. Chris Johnson-3B-HOU ($1).
28. Ryan Ludwick-OF-SD ($1).
I didn’t feel it was necessary to comment on all 28 players. But I would like to point out a couple of bargains I was pleased with. I think Lance Berkman will be rejuvenated in St. Louis hitting behind Pujols and Holliday. He is coming off a down season where he was injured and not playing everyday. Now seemingly healthy and returning to the outfield, Berkman should be good for .275, 20 HR and 75 RBI. I am also pleased with getting Matt LaPorta for $1. Now annointed the starting first baseman for the Indians, LaPorta is ready to break out as he turns the magical 27 years of age and will be in the big leagues for the whole season for the first time. LaPorta, the key to the C.C. Sabathia trade in 2008, is a power hitter capable of smashing 30 HR’s. Finally, I was very happy with obtaining Ben Francisco and John Lackey for $1 each. Francisco will be an everyday outfielder in Philadelphia, at least for awhile until Domonic Brown returns. He should benefit by playing everyday in the hitters’ haven known as Citizens Bank Ballpark. Lackey is coming off a very disappointing debut season in Boston and is primed for a comeback this year. He has slimmed down and will be facing other teams’ #3 or 4 starters, so he should be able to match up well with the opposition. I expect to see Lackey’s ERA decrease and his strikeouts to increase.
Since the draft, I have added Phil Coke, Anibal Sanchez and Marco Scutaro from the free agent pool. Coke is highly regarded by the Tigers and Jim Leyland, who moved him into the starting rotation for this year. I bid a few extra dollars on Coke because I expected people would be onto his sleeper status, and sure enough I was right. I actually received a tweet from a fellow league member expressing his shock that he was outbid for Phil Coke in the beginning of March. Hey, I guess that makes us Coke-heads.
Let me know what you think of my team or share your comments by sending me an email to email@example.com or find Fantasy Judgment on Facebook at www.goo.gl/xF0pt and Twitter at www.twitter.com/FantasyJudgment.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment).
The third installment of the OBFBL Retrospective will focus on the twelve previous champions and what their draft positions were. Since the inception of the league, a random, fresh draft order is selected prior to each season. The standings from the prior year have no bearing on the next year’s draft. That being said, I will be taking a look back at each year’s champion and where they drafted to see if there is any distinct advantage that exists.
1999 – Rodillaté Muchacha (#7)
2000 – NAACP (#12)
2001 – Celebate Whores (#14)
2002 – Punch and Pie (#10)
2003 – Zimmer’s Revenge (#4)
2004 – Mets in 2004 (#8)
2005 – I Lost the Ketubah in Canada (#15)
2006 – Don Zimmer’s Boner Jams ’06 (#1)
2007 – Giant Douche on a Plane (#12)
2008 – Benny Smells Like a Bee-otch (#4)
2009 – A New Hope (#14)
2010 – Dawg Eat Dawg (#6)
Over the course of the first twelve seasons of the OBFBL, the average draft position of the championship team is 9 (ok it is really 8.9 but I rounded up because decimals suck). This is not surprising given the league has 18 teams, and the ninth pick of the draft obviously falls square in the middle. However, interestingly, no #9 team has ever won the league.
Only #’s 4, 12 and 14 have produced multiple champions. The #1 pick has only produced one champion and #’s 2 and 3 have not produced any. No team drafting beyond #15 has ever won the league.
So what can be taken from these statistics? Probably not much at all, but they are interesting to see. Logic would tell you that drafting in the middle of an 18-team league is best because you have an equidistant amount of time in between picks which allows you to avoid missing a run at a certain position. On the contrary, being near the top or bottom means you have potentially 35 picks in between which could prevent you from grabbing a player at a position that is going like hotcakes. But there are advantages to being near the top or bottom, such as having back-to-back picks.
The bottom line is that there is no clear advantage irrespective of where your draft position is. Just have a game plan, be creative, follow your instincts, and adapt to what is going on around you and all teams have an equal chance of winning the championship.
On January 10, 2011, I participated in a fantasy baseball expert mock draft hosted by the good people at Fantasy Alarm (www.fantasyalarm.com). As you may remember, Fantasy Alarm was one of Fantasy Judgment’s (www.fantasyjudgment.com) partners at the 2010 fantasy football Superdraft event in Las Vegas. Doing mock drafts is something I have always enjoyed, so I was more than happy to accept Jeff Mans and Ryan Hallam’s invitation to join this star-studded draft. The big names came out for this draft – Nate Stephens from RotoWorld, Geoff Stein from Fanball, Steve Gardner from USA Today, Tony Cincotta from FantasyPros911, Jeff Mans and Ryan Hallam from Fantasy Alarm, Tim Heaney from KFFL, Cory Schwartz from MLB.com, and representatives from RotoExperts, Mock Draft Central, and Fantasy Sports R Us all participated in this 12-team, mixed 5×5 Roto league.
With the 6th overall pick, I drafted reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay. It turned out that I was the only one who drafted a pitcher in the first round. Players selected before me were Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, Miguel Cabrera, and Carl Crawford. Finishing out the first round after Halladay was Robinson Cano, Joey Votto, Carlos Gonzalez, Evan Longoria, Ryan Braun, and Ryan Howard. If I was not going to take a pitcher, I would have taken Carlos Gonzalez who provides the best production in all five rotisserie categories (average, homeruns, rbi’s, runs, and stolen bases). Gonzalez is coming off a monster season and just signed a 7-year contract extension for $80 million. I was a little concerned that maybe he would try too hard to justify the contract, thus slipping from his breakout 2010 performance. So I decided to take a sure thing with Halladay and pursue securing some of the pitching categories (wins, ERA, strikeouts and WHIP – obviously Halladay will not help with saves). Going into the second round, the trend to draft hitters continued with Chase Utley, David Wright, Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Teixeira, Josh Hamilton and Ryan Zimmerman taken off the board. I then debated taking King Felix or Tim Lincecum to have a dominant 1-2 punch with Halladay. But with all of the hitters being taken, I felt I needed to get a bat so I selected Matt Holliday. In his second full season hitting behind Pujols, I look for continued production in at least four categories (Holliday can steal some bases too). It is an added bonus that I can say I have both Halladay and Holliday.
Rather than go through every draft pick made, I will provide a list and comments of the players that I drafted starting with the third round. If anyone would like to see the draft board and everyone’s picks, please send me an email at email@example.com and I will get you a copy.
3rd Round: Adam Wainwright-SP-STL. The chance to pair up two dominant starters was too enticing to pass up this time around. Wainwright has become an elite pitcher and is poised to win a Cy Young Award at some point. He is a lock for 18-20 wins, 200 strikeouts, an ERA under 3.00, and a WHIP under 1.20.
4th Round: Ichiro Suzuki-OF-SEA. I have always liked having him on my fantasy teams because he is so consistent and annoys opponents to death. In a roto league, he is great for batting average and stolen bases. Under normal circumstances, a leadoff hitter with over 200 hits a year should score at least 100 runs. But the Mariners have been so inept offensively the past couple years that Ichiro hasn’t even come close to the century mark in runs scored. I think that will change this year.
5th Round: Paul Konerko-1B-CHW. Konerko conveniently picked his contract year to have his best season in 2010. I don’t expect him to match or come close to +.300 or 39 homeruns again, but he is still a solid performer and should have no trouble slugging at least 30 homeruns and drive in 100 runs. Having Adam Dunn in the Sox lineup will only help Konerko, either by protecting him in the order or getting on base before him.
6th Round: Brian Wilson-RP-SF. Besides the crazy beard, orange cleats, and WWE-style interviews, Wilson is a pretty damn good closer. He showcased his talents during the 2010 playoffs and should have no trouble topping 40 saves again this year. The Giants excellent starting pitching means a lot of close games, which means Wilson should have plenty of opportunities to save games.
7th Round: Michael Young-3B-TEX. All of a sudden, third base has become barren with talent beyound the first tier of players. Young is one of the best of the rest after Wright, Longoria, Zimmerman, A-Rod and Beltre are taken. Hitting in the Rangers’ potent lineup helps Young, who should reach .290, 20-25 homeruns, and 90+ RBI. He is one of those players who seems to avoid prolonged slumps and is the model of consistency.
8th Round: Brian Roberts-2B-BAL. I liked this pick here because Roberts is primed for a comeback season after missing most of 2010 with multiple injuries. He is not the same player he was five years ago, but he certainly can hit .280, 15 homeruns, 75 RBI, score 90 runs, and steal 25 bases. Those are not bad numbers for a second basemen this late in the draft.
9th Round: Carlos Pena-1B-CHC. If I could have one mulligan, it would be this pick. Pena should love hitting in Wrigley and in that loaded Cubs’ lineup, but he is a cancer to the batting average category. The guy didn’t even crack the Mendoza line in 2010. He is the true epitome of “all or nothing”. Essentially, he is this generation’s Rob Deer, except he is a terrific defensive player too. Pena should do well in Chicago, but I admittedly could have done better here.
10th Round: Matt Cain-SP-SF. As much as I despised my last pick, I absolutely loved this one. I have always been a Matt Cain fan and defend his virtues to those who pay too much attention to win/loss records. He has been the victim of poor run support over the years, yet his talents often get overlooked. After his great performance in the 2010 playoffs, he is ready to ascend to the next level in relative obscurity because his rotation mates Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner often get more attention. Cain is my third starter behind Halladay and Wainwright. Mikey likes this.
11th Round: Carlos Beltran-OF-NYM. As a Mets’ fan, I always try and draft at least one Met (assuming he is somewhat competent and not named Luis Castillo). Beltran is another risk-reward selection because this can go either way. He is in a contract year, which bodes well here because the last time he played for a contract was 2004 when he put up monster numbers with Houston in the regular season and playoffs. However, he is a major health risk after two partial seasons and microfracture surgery on his leg. I think money talks and Beltran will seek to cash in.
12th Round: Brad Lidge-RP-PHI. While Lidge is still waiting for Albert Pujols’ homerun from 2006 to land, he seems to have overcome whatever ailed him at the beginning of last year. He is in a contract year as well and has the fortune of closing for a team with the best starting rotation in all of baseball. While Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels are all capable of throwing a complete game on any given day, the reality is that complete games are few and far between. Lidge should have plenty of chances to close games for a team primed to win 100 games.
13th Round: Ian Desmond-SS-WAS. Desmond is an up and coming player now hitting in a relatively competent lineup that includes Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche. If Desmond ends up hitting 2nd in the order, he has a legitimate chance to score 100 runs. His bat is known to possess talent, but he must demonstrate he can play shortstop consistently enough to stay in the lineup. I was pleased to get someone with his upside down here in the 13th round.
14th Round: Nick Swisher-OF-NYY. If giving peppy interviews was a category, Swish-a-licious would be a first round pick. But it is not so he is a 14th round pick. Swisher provides some good power numbers for my 3rd outfielder, and hitting in the Yankees’ lineup should see him attain similar numbers this year as well. He has never been known for his batting average, so that may slip back down to the .250 – .260 range. But I expect another 25 homeruns and 85 RBI along with 100 runs scored if he bats second in the order.
15th Round: Tim Hudson-SP-ATL. My satisfaction with pitching selections continued as I happily grabbed Hudson down in the 15th round. After being two full years past major arm surgery, Hudson proved that he is back to his old self again. He doesn’t strikeout a lot of batters, but he is good for at least 15 wins and an ERA around 3.00. He is a reserve on my roster which indicates how deep my staff is.
16th Round: Casey McGehee-3B-MIL. What I wrote above about Michael Young can be reiterated here with McGehee as a solid option for the second tier of third basemen. McGehee benefits from hitting in a potent Brewers lineup which includes Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks. He topped 100 RBI in 2010 and should have an opportunity to do it again. He is just as qualified to start at 3B on my team, so getting him this far down in the draft was a pleasant surprise.
17th Round: Marco Scutaro-SS-BOS. After being known as a backup with a good glove for most of his career, he has learned how to hit and provides production in real and fantasy baseball. Hitting in the Red Sox explosive lineup should provide plenty of runs scored for Scutaro, and depending on where he bats in the lineup, he could knock in 70-75 RBI as well. He is coming off a surgery, so I will keep an eye on how he recovers.
18th Round: John Buck-C-FLA. I was very pleased to get Buck down in the 18th round. I typically concede the catcher position in almost all of my leagues because they just aren’t worth a high round pick. While Joe Mauer, Brian McCann and Victor Martinez are all good offensive players, their production and statistics do not warrant such high picks. Buck should give me 15 homeruns and 65 RBI playing everyday for Florida. Not bad for an 18th round pick.
19th Round: James Shields-SP-TB. Big Game James took a big step backwards in 2010. But with Matt Garza now gone, Shields has to step up his game again and be that dependable #2 pitcher behind David Price. Shields has proven over the years that he can win 15 games and strikeout 200 batters. I look for a rebound season from him because he is too talented to repeat what he did last year. The only concern is that Tanpa Bay’s team has been gutted, so scoring enough runs and successfully closing out games in the bullpen could be problematic.
20th Round: Jason Kubel-OF-MIN. For my last pick of the draft, I selected Jason Kubel, who looks like he may be the Twins’ full-time designated hitter if Jim Thome does not return. Kubel is a power threat who can hit for decent average when he is being selective at the plate. Hitting in the spacious Target Field will probably continue to decrease his homerun totals compared to when he played in the Metrodome, but he should produce 20-25 dingers hitting behind the M&M boys (Mauer and Morneau).
So that is my team. Overall I am pleased with the team I drafted. I shouldn’t have drafted Carlos Pena where I did, but other than that, I don’t think I would undo anything else. Thanks again to Ryan Hallam and Jeff Mans from Fantasy Alarm for hosting this expert mock draft. Thanks also to my fellow team owners who drafted.
Let me know what you think of my team. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, comment on Fantasy Judgment’s Facebook page (http://goo.gl/xF0pt), comment down below on the blog, or tweet me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FantasyJudgment.
This past Sunday, the 12th annual Old Bridge Fantasy Baseball League (“OBFBL”) draft took place. In keeping with tradition, this year’s draft was as unpredictable as ever. Recently I posted an article on the blog asking where all the pitching has gone and proclaiming that it didn’t appear likely that many pitchers would be drafted in the first round. I was proven dead wrong. There were 7 pitchers taken in the first round, and another 7 were taken in the second round. This represented the most pitchers ever taken over the first two rounds combined in OBFBL history. Here is a breakdown of the first two rounds of the draft:
It is obvious that people have put a premium on pitching for this year. It has been true that in order to win the OBFBL, you need a deep and consistent pitching staff. Apparently that message has been sent and received. Only 6 out of 18 teams did NOT take a pitcher in the first two rounds, which is another OBFBL record.
I took Ryan Howard and Matt Holliday with my first two picks and then followed that up with Jose Reyes and Grady Sizemore in the 3rd and 4th rounds respectively. These two injured players appear to be on the mend and have been 1st round picks in the past. Their upside was too big for me to pass on, so I loaded up on offense to begin. That being said, I am very happy with the pitching I did draft. My staff consists of John Lackey, Carlos Zambrano, Tim Hudson, Francisco Rodriguez, Phil Hughes and Brandon Webb (who I am counting on coming back by May and being motivated to play for a contract. I also have Barry Zito, Kevin Millwood, and Chris Volstad on my bench. While I do not have a true ace who will put up 250 K’s and 20 wins, I believe I have a solid enough staff to carry me through.
It will be interesting to see if these picks pan out. Inevitably there will be some 1st round busts. But that can be overcome with a solid and consistent middle round draft, which is where the core of your team is built. Even in an 18-team league, everyone will have a couple superstars. But it is the other role players that give teams the depth and versatility to sustain injuries, droughts and slumps. I also have Miguel Tejada, Alfonso Soriano, Kelly Johnson, Mark DeRosa, Rod Barajas, Randy Winn, Daniel Murphy and Andruw Jones. True, if this was 2004 this list would be awesome. But I think these guys have enough left in the tank to compliment by offensive bangers. My last pick of the draft was Madison Bumgarner. I did this primarily as a tribute to my daughter, Madison, as well as the fact he is a highly touted rookie who I can stash in my minor league roster spot.
Overall, I am very happy with my team and happier that the draft was once again a success. Doing the fresh draft every year makes it exciting, and that is why I treat the night before like Christmas Eve. Even after 12 years, I still get giddy and excited to draft. Now let’s see how well it works out.