After eleven weeks and fifteen fantasy games played, it is now time for the second edition of the 2011 Power Rankings for the Old Bridge Fantasy Baseball League (“OBFBL”). The OBFBL is an 18-team, non-keeper, head to head, points, mixed NL/AL fantasy baseball league that has existed since 1999 and is currently in its 13th season. We will rank each team in the league based on their overall record, points scored, roster trends, significant transactions, and other general criteria. Without further adieu, here is the second edition of the power rankings through the middle of May 2011.
1. Mets in 2011 (12-3, 1st place AL East, Previous Rank – #5)
Jordan has been on fire since the last rankings winning seven in a row and bludgeoning opponents with lopsided scores. Joey Votto, Matt Kemp and Justin Upton continue to produce big numbers. Free agent acquisition Eric Hosmer has been steady and consistent asJordan’s utility player. His pitching staff has also been dominant with Josh Beckett throwing multiple shutouts, Tim Hudson and Jaime Garcia consistently winning, and the closer duo of Brian Wilson and Ryan Madson racking up saves. Jordanhas already won three weekly money prizes for having the highest scores in the league. That should help him stockpile diapers which he will need.
2. The Ewok Rebellion (12-3, 1st place AL Central, Previous Rank – #1)
Abe has backed up his words by maintaining a torrid pace. He has gone 5-2 since the last rankings and is only bumped from the top spot due to the amount of points the Mets in 2011 have produced. His pitching staff has been surprisingly good despite losing Bartolo Colon. Dan Haren is a lock, but recent acquisitions Bud Norris and Ryan Vogelsong have stepped in and produced. David Ortiz regained his old form and has carried Abe’s offense, which is still waiting for Ryan Howard to go on a hot streak. First round pick Robinson Cano hasn’t hit his stride yet either. The loss of Derek Jeter has made no impact on Abe because Jeter sucks at this point. HA!
3. Benny Enjoys the Moment Being My Bee-otch (12-3, 1st place NL East, Previous Rank – #2)
Marc has opened up an impressive six game lead in the division and looks to be running away with things. He has also gone 5-2 since the last rankings and recently acquired Alex Rodriguez in a trade. This could be huge for Marc as the health of outfielder Hunter Pence is now in question. Marc’s dynamic pitching duo of Jon Lester and Clayton Kershaw has justified their positions as his first two draft picks. The multiple closer theory has been up and down as Joakim Soria has been very inconsistent. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brennan Boesch have provided solid numbers all year.
4. Fellowship of the Orange Veal Cutlets (10-5, 1st place NL West, Previous Rank – #3)
Maury has been able to hang onto first place in the league’s most competitive division. He has Justin Verlander to thank for that as the Tigers’ ace put up 94 points in the most recent double-header week giving the Veal Cutlets a sweep. The OBFBL veteran has little patience for non-production as youngsters Ian Kennedy and Jonathan Sanchez have been relegated to the bench. His managerial style has worked thus far as he relies on waiver wire pickups to piece together a pitching staff around Verlander. Ryan Braun and Brian McCann continue to be studs on offense. The return of Adam Lind also gives Maury another potent bat to rely on.
5. Madoff’s Marauders (9-6, 1st place NL Central, Previous Rank – #4)
Joey I. has only gone 3-4 since the last rankings yet still remains tied for first place in the division. The great Roy Halladay has been his usual dominant self. Combine that with Yovani Gallardo and Craig Kimbrel, the Marauders have one of the more formidable pitching staffs in the league. Credit Joey I. for his scouting team as he landed highly touted prospects Mike Moustakas and Danny Duffy who were recently called up by the Royals. Despite being without Ike Davis since April, free agent Mike Morse has filled in nicely at first base. Ryan Zimmerman recently returned from injury which is a huge boost. He also has pitching depth with closers Jordan Walden and Sergio Santos sitting on his bench. .
6. Blue Horseshoe Loves Giant Douche (9-6, 2nd place NL West, Previous Rank – #13)
The Commish has gone 6-1 since the last rankings and jumped up seven spots on this hot streak. Several of his big bats got hot at the same time, including Jay Bruce, Jose Reyes and Miguel Cabrera. Josh Hamilton returned from injury to provide even more offensive output. The Commish also made another trade acquiring Dustin Pedroia and Logan Morrison who have produced nicely. Plus, the Phillies called up rookie Domonic Brown who was plugged into the Commish’s lineup as well. Mark Reynolds finally started hitting some homeruns and even went a few at bats in a row without striking out. The Commish’s pitching staff is still a work in progress, but the return of Wandy Rodriguez and acquisition of John Danks will help complement Cliff Lee.
7. Pap Smears (9-6, 1st place AL West, Previous Rank – #9)
Jared has gone 5-2 since the last rankings and has created some distance between him and the other teams in his division. Now owning a three game lead, the Pap Smears have been on a hot streak despite being without ace pitcher Josh Johnson who has been sidelined with an arm injury and isn’t expected back until after the All-Star break. Other pitching woes have forced Jared to rely on his offense as Jair Jurrjens has cooled off slightly and Shaun Marcum is injured again. First round pick and pending free agent Prince Fielder has been dominant in terms of his power and run production. Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre have also been consistent run producers when they are healthy. The issue will be whether Jared can maintain his lead while waiting for Johnson to return.
8. Jewish Mafia (9-6, 2nd place NL Central, Previous Rank – #7)
If you look at Randy’s roster and see who has been injured or a complete bust, you would be amazed that he is 9-6 and tied for the NL Wild Card. First round pick Carlos Gonzalez has picked it up lately, but overall he has not lived up to the expectations created from his monstrous 2010 season. Rockies’ pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez has arguably been the biggest fantasy bust in terms of pitchers. He has battled injuries and ineffectiveness all season, and only just recently won his first game of the season. He has not been the same since the second half of 2010 began. Brandon Phillips and Mat Latos have put up very pedestrian numbers compared to what was expected of them. And Jason Heyward has been ineffective and injured most of the season. Yet somehow, the Mafia has continued winning. Maybe Randy drinks a lot of tiger’s blood.
9. Len Tuckwilla’s Nuts Over My Chin (7-8, 3rd place NL West, Previous Rank – #6)
The final sentence in the analysis of Craig’s team in the first edition of the Power Rankings was: “Craig is known for fading in the second half, so hopefully he has built up some OBFBL endurance.” Sure enough, he has gone 2-5 since those rankings and now finds himself in last place in his division. Granted there is still plenty of time left in the season, but Craig must adjust to the trends that present themselves. Troy Tulowitzki has cooled off considerably, and no one else has stepped up to be a constant offensive threat with the exception of Gaby Sanchez (until the Marlins’ recent slide). Carlos Beltran and Todd Helton do not provide the same type of offensive dominance they once did, and Carlos Santana may be too young to be counted on for such a thing now. Craig’s pitching will keep him competitive and in the race as he relies on Jered Weaver, Max Scherzer, Michael Pineda, and Gio Gonzalez.
10. RAD (7-8, 2nd place AL Central, Previous Rank – #8)
Amazingly, Matt has scored the fourth most points in the league yet is 7-8 and five games behind in the division. During the weeks he has won, he has won big. Other weeks, not so much. Adrian Gonzalez has been outstanding and Andrew McCutcheon is blossoming into a star. From a pitching perspective, James Shields, Jordan Zimmerman and Carlos Carrasco have all overachieved and provided superb numbers in all respects. Unfortunately, Matt has not been able to consistently put it all together week after week. Matt lacks a big power bat, so perhaps he should look into making a deal with someone as we get closer to the All-Star break. He proved last year that he can come on strong down the stretch, so this is one team to definitely keep your eyes on. The points scored thus far demonstrate what Matt can do.
11. Cole Hamels Adopted Charlie Sheen’s Kids (6-9, 3rd place AL Central, Previous Rank – #15)
In an interesting twist, the Philadelphia boys actually starter producing better after Buster Posey sustained his season-ending injury in a horrific collision at home plate with Scott Cousins. While they cooled off in the most recent double-header week, Jeff and Mike exploded right after Posey went down partially due to the fact Chase Utley is back. Mark Teixeira got hot again as April became a distant memory, and some of their pitchers had huge weeks including Cole Hamels, Alexi Ogando, Mike Leake and Huston Street. They are still waiting for Jayson Werth to actually do something other than wash dishes with the excess cash he has sitting around from his ridiculous contract. Andre Ethier has cooled off considerably since his hitting streak ended. They should take advantage of having Utley, Rickie Weeks and Danny Espinosa at second base and trade one of them.
12. It’s Gotta Be Mooses…or Meese (6-9, 2nd place AL West, Previous Rank – #10)
The strength of Cory’s team, on paper, is his pitching staff. However, C.C. Sabathia has won nine games but hasn’t put up dominant numbers such as strikeouts and complete games. Chris Carpenter has pitched better lately but is still 1-7 with a 4.40 ERA. Chad Billingsley is only 6-6 with a 4.49 ERA and questions from his manager and team about his heart and desire (and Cory moved him to the bench this week). And Ricky Romero has pitched better than anyone but is only 6-7 because the Blue Jays do not provide run support. These pitching woes, along with more injuries to Matt Holliday, have caused Cory much grief and angst as he has gone 2-5 since the last rankings and fallen three games out of first place.
13. This is the Business We’ve Chosen (6-9, 2nd place NL East, Previous Rank – #11)
It has been an ongoing struggle for Mr. Tuvel as he agonizes over selecting Hanley Ramirez in the first round. It may be Monday morning quarterbacking, but Hanley has been a complete bust thus far and has also missed significant time due to injury. Newly hired interim manager Jack McKeon put Hanley in the cleanup spot. It is unknown whether he will remain there, but something needed to be done to kick start some production from the fantasy stud. Evan Longoria looks to be back in his old form as he missed significant time with an injury. Now after getting Hanley back, Jason has lost Clay Buchholz to injury. At six games back in the division, it is getting close to the time where Jason will have to start focusing on the Wild Card where he is only three games out.
14. Admiral Ackbar (6-9, 2nd place AL East, Previous Rank – #18)
After starting the season 1-7 and ranking dead last in the previous rankings, OBFBL sophomoreMario Portillahas stormed back to respectability by going 5-2 over the last five weeks. Even after trading away Cliff Lee, he is still getting strong pitching contributions from Francisco Liriano, Anibal Sanchez and Jason Vargas. He now gets Joe Mauer back in his lineup after missing most of the season, so look for a continued upward trend in the standings as Mario digs himself out of a hole. However, he must overcome the injury bug as players such as Rafael Furcal, Brian Roberts, Aaron Harang and Phil Hughes remain on the DL.
15. Montreal Espos (5-10, 3rd place AL West, Previous Rank – #12)
The first edition of the Power Rankings were done the week David Wright was placed on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his back. Instead of panicking and make a desperate trade for another third baseman, Pat kept his cool and simply added someone off the waiver wire. That someone is Greg Dobbs on the Marlins. While he has not exactly torn it up for Espo, it demonstrates the type of fantasy baseball player Espo is. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out very well as Espo has gone 2-5 since then. He does have some solid pitching with Felix Hernandez, Zack Greinke, Carlos Zambrano and Dillon Gee (until this week’s game against Oakland). Curtis Granderson has been one of the top players in both real and fantasy baseball thus far, but Espo doesn’t have too much on offense beyond that. Shin Soo Choo has been a major disappointment and Billy Butler hasn’t developed the kind of power I thought he would.
16. Dawg Eat Dawg (5-10, 3rd place NL Central, Previous Rank – #14)
Things are not looking good at the moment for the defending OBFBL champion to become the first ever repeat champion in league history. Injuries to Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore and Justin Morneau, coupled with the horrendous numbers put up by Vladmir Guerrero and Jason Bay, have rendered Benny a low point machine. He also became so disenchanted with A-Rod’s lack of power that he dealt him away in exchange for Alex Gordon and two mediocre pitchers. David Price has been a solid ace and Erik Bedard has been a pleasant surprise, but Roy Oswalt has been a disappointment as his projected #2 starter. Benny has always been a creative and intense league member, so expect maximum effort in his attempts to climb back into the race. He better do it soon as he has a lot of ground to make up chasing two teams ahead of him that are 9-6.
17. It Byrnes When I Peavy (3-12, 3rd place NL East, Previous Rank – #16)
Did you ever just have one of those years where nothing goes right for your team at all? That pretty much sums up the Co-Commish’s season thus far. Besides having the second worst record in the league and going 1-6 since the last rankings, now Ari has lost Albert Pujols for 4-6 weeks with a fractured wrist. On top of that, he has to replace Pujols with Adam Dunn at first base. Few hitters have struggled as bad as Dunn has in his first year in the American League. In addition, Ari’s ace pitcher Tommy Hanson missed a start but should be back next week. Ari should be commended though because no matter what the status of his team was, it has not affected his ability to be a leader and sounding board during various league issues that have arisen.
18. Sharks With Frickin’ Laser Beams (2-13, 3rd place AL East, Previous Rank – #17)
For proof that the number of points you score is not nearly as important as when you score them, just take a look at this: Jim has scored 3,477 points and is 2-13. Compare that to the Jewish Mafia who has scored a total of 11 more points (3,488) but has a record of 9-6. The Sharks are on life support as they currently have the worst record in the league and sit 10 games behind in the division. However, the light at the end of the tunnel is the fact they are only five games out of the wild card, and Jim does have a history of going on lengthy winning streaks. The acquisition of Jhoulys Chacin has given Jim a solid #2 pitcher behind Tim Lincecum, but it hasn’t proven to be enough to overcome some large point totals accumulated by his opponents.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you play fantasy baseball, you know that there are a myriad of different types of leagues that you can participate in depending on your tastes and preferences. Some examples of customizable leagues include rotisserie, head-to-head, points, auction, salary cap, AL only, NL only, mixed league, and others. But one of the most important choices you can make when deciding what type of league you want to join is whether it is a keeper or non-keeper league. In a keeper league, each team owner is allowed to retain a set number of players on their roster for a pre-determined number of consecutive seasons. In a non-keeper league, rosters are refreshed every year and team owners have no long-term rights to a player from season to season.
In order to determine what the general consensus is in terms of preferring keeper or non-keeper leagues, I recently polled 100 people on Facebook, Twitter, email lists, friends and personal acquaintances to gauge the growing trends. The results of the poll showed that 68% of fantasy baseball players preferred keeper leagues, 30% preferred non-keeper leagues, and 2% were either undecided or liked both equally. This did not come as a surprise to me given the trends over the last decade where fantasy baseball players have become more sophisticated and leagues have better replicated real baseball team management. It cannot be denied that people do enjoy drafting players and then have the ability to sign them to long-term contracts and retain them over the course of a set number of years. This was the most common reason given why people prefer keeper leagues. The strategy that goes into deciding who to retain as part of a fantasy team’s long-term planning is a decent simulation of a real baseball general manager. That aspect is something that people clearly enjoy.
A keeper league configuration requires a tremendous amount of strategy, foresight, instinct, long-term planning, intuition, knowledge of minor league players, and guts. Depending on how many players you are allowed to retain, team owners endure much angst in making these crucial decisions. People also need to be conscious of injuries (my condolences to those who already declared retention of Adam Wainwright), injury-plagued players, and players returning from injury. People must also take into account a player’s age, future potential, position on a team’s depth chart, and supporting cast when deciding whether to retain that player going forward.
Depending on which style you choose to play, the actual fantasy baseball draft takes on a different meaning. In a keeper league, younger players who do not have lengthy resumes and are unproven have higher values assigned to them because of their long-term prospects. Signing these young players gives team owners a sense of creating their own dynasty and building for success going forward. This has almost as much intrinsic value as trying to win the league now. In a non-keeper league, the objective of team owners is to select the best players possible for the current season. This comparison applies to both auction and straight draft leagues. Obviously in an auction league, the heightened value of younger players is reflected in the dollar amount spent on those players, whereas in a straight draft, the value is represented by an early round selection. Ona aspect that is common between keeper and non-keeper leagues is the evaluation of potential “sleepers.” Every year, there are certain unknown commodoties that are deemed “sleepers” because of their potential for a breakout season. The criteria used to determine whether someone is a sleeper is completely subjective and arguably arbitrary. But regardless, sleepers are usually a late round pick in a straight draft or a cheaper purchase in an auction depending on how badly someone buys into the hype. Either way, the evaluation of a sleeper is usually based on the present and not the future.
While there are obvious logistical and pragmatic differences between keeper and non-keeper leagues, the biggest distinction is arguably the evaluation of trades made. In a non-keeper league, there are certain objective criteria that can be used to evaluate a trade and determine whether it is fair or not (note that I said fair – not intelligent). You can look at the players involved in the trade and tell whether it passes the sniff test or not. You can look at the players’ statistics and tell whether the trade has equal value. You can look at the rosters of each team involved in the trade and determine what the motivation might be to make the trade, as well as ascertain whether any collusion may be taking place. But all bets are off when looking at trades in a keeper league. In keeper leagues, trading away current high-priced talent in exchange for young, up and coming players is a perfectly acceptable and common strategy to employ. This is most typical when a team competing for a playoff berth needs a player to produce for him this year, so he would trade away unproven talent to a team looking to rebuild for the future. Does this sound familiar? It happens in real baseball all the time. So when evaluating whether a trade like this should be approved, you cannot use objective criteria like statistics, team rosters, or auction values. For example, Team A is in second place and needs to bolster his pitching staff to make a run at the league championship this year. Team B is in second to last place in the league and has no chance of earning a playoff berth this season. Team A possesses several younger players who are projected to be stars down the road and under contract for multiple seasons, but they cannot be relied upon at the present time to contribute from a fantasy perspective. Team B possesses current star pitchers who are under the final year of their contract in the keeper league. So Team A offers a package including Aroldis Chapman, Jeremy Hellickson, Mike Moustakas and Freddie Freeman to Team B in exchange for Roy Oswalt and Chris Carpenter. In a non-keeper league, this trade would never be allowed because the current values of these players is so lopsided. For 2011, Roy Oswalt and Chris Carpenter are light years more valuable than the package of young players. However, in a keeper league format, this trade would be considered fair and equal based on what each team’s needs are. Team A would be acquiring two top pitchers to help his run at a championship this season. He doesn’t care that these players are essentially rentals and do not have as much long-term value. Team B would be acquiring four young players with great upside to build for next season and beyond. This dynamic is exactly what MLB general managers do when deciding whether to trade veteran players for prospects.
When it comes to deciding whether to play in a keeper or non-keeper league, it all depends on your own personal taste and preferences. But beware, keeper leagues are premised on the fact that they will be running continuously year-to-year while retaining most if not all of its league members. There ideally needs to be a commitment in place amongst all league members that they are in it for the long-haul since they are investing in their team not just this year, but for years down the road. That is why the Supreme Court of Fantasy Judgment advises you that the best way to ensure stability is probably to be involved in a non-keeper league for a few years and establish a continuous rapport with the other league members before transitioning the league into a keeper format. This will demonstrate a commitment amongst your league members that they are dependable and consistent with their status in the league, and it also presumes that you have open lines of communication with other league members to discuss those difficult trade scnearios (like the one referenced above). Stability is key to having a successful keeper league because when a team has to be replaced, the new person coming into the league is likely stuck inheriting that team and must make decisions he or she doesn’t necessarily want to make. The verdict is that keeper leagues are unquestionably more popular and provide unique challenges and opportunities as compared to non-keeper leagues. But if you decide to do a keeper league, beware of the distinctions and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure you are in a league that will sustain itself down the road.
The Court would like to thank its law clerk, Lance Kodish, for his assistance with some research and composition within this article. The Court also wants to hear your comments on whether you concur or dissent with the verdict by sending an email to email@example.com, or find us on Facebook at www.goo.gl/xF0pt and Twitter at www.twitter.com/FantasyJudgment (@FantasyJudgment).
It is no secret that I am not a big fan of “Roto” leagues for fantasy baseball. My criticism of Roto leagues is well documented, even dating back a couple years in an article I had written for Addict Fantasy Sports (http://www.addictfantasysports.com/perspectives/article/1807). This may be considered blasphemy to some in the industry, but I just can’t get excited about standard 5 x 5 Roto leagues. In my opinion, they do not represent any semblance to real baseball with regard to the valuation and talents of professional baseball players.
For some background, Roto leagues typically are based on five offensive categories (batting average, homeruns, runs batted in, runs scored, and stolen bases) and five pitching categories (wins, saves, earned run average, WHIP, and strikeouts) – hence they are called 5 x 5 leagues. There are variations of this as some leagues employ 4 x 4 or even 6 x 6. The gist is that Roto league members accumulate season totals and are ranked based on where they stand in each category. The other type of fantasy baseball played is referred to as head to head (H2H) where a point value is associated with a litany of statistics (much more extensive than just the few categories in Roto leagues) and teams play games against a direct opponent each week. The winner is the team who has accumulated more points from his players during a particular scoring period. In my estimation, this format is more representative of real baseball.
Because of my bias and preference towards H2H leagues, I am always frustrated every year when I read the fantasy baseball magazines and website rankings and evaluations for players because they are purely based on Roto league performance. I can’t explain why, but I get so irritated hearing about why Michael Bourn and Juan Pierre are so revered simply because they steal a lot of bases. I understand there are not a lot of players who amass impressive stolen base totals, so winning the steals category requires a certain amount of strategy. But besides that, what value do they bring to a fantasy team? Neither of them have any power whatsoever, they are not high on base percentage players so they do not score a lot of runs, they hit near the top of their respective orders so they don’t drive in runs, and they are not typically hovering near .300 for their batting average. In my personal opinion, Roto leagues do not bring a ton of excitement or require much intuition with regard to a player’s true value.
Maybe I am making unfounded assumptions that people who play fantasy baseball want to somehow simulate the feeling of being a general manager. Maybe I am overemphasizing the important or desire to have fantasy baseball resemble real baseball. I am in no means attempting to insult anyone or criticize anyone’s personal preferences. I am merely trying to point out that the old standard way of evaluating players in fantasy baseball needs to evolve because H2H is arguably just as popular. For those like me that play H2H, there is no reason to rely on magazine’s rankings and analysis because it does not translate to H2H formats – at least not very well. Two more examples of this are Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford. Both of them are superb baseball players with loads of talent, and they are also very valuable fantasy assets. Ramirez is especially revered because he is a shortstop, and that is one position with major scarcity and lacks depth at that particular position. He is universally considered the #1 or #2 pick in every draft that is conducted and analyzed in fantasy magazines and websites. After Albert Pujols, is Ramirez really the second best player in baseball? I think most would agree that he is not. But because he plays shortstop and is a 30-30 candidate every year, he shoots up the list to #2. In a H2H league, he has a ton of value as well. But I don’t think he would universally be penned the #2 pick in a H2H draft because there are plenty other players who can amass significantly more points than him. Crawford is a more direct example of Roto love. While he is a tremendous baseball player with loads of talent, is he really worth a top 5 pick in a draft? He has never topped 20 homeruns or 100 RBI. He is revered in Roto leagues because of his speed and his history of stealing 50+ bases. As he gets older and enters his 30′s, his legs will not have the same strength or endurance so it is likely his stolen base numbers will continually decrease as he ages. This is perfectly normal. Just watch as the years go on as his value in Roto leagues slowly but surely decreases. That is, unless he takes advantage of his new surroundings and powerful lineup in Boston and amasses 25 homeruns and 100+ RBI while also sporting a .300+ batting average and scoring 100+ runs. That is certainly possible, but the love of his stolen bases will wane.
I am aware that I may be in the minority with my opinions. But when I read an article in Lindy’s 2011 fantasy baseball magazine written by Dave Cameron of Fangraphs, I was pleasantly surprised to see that others felt there were things that needed to be done to improve fantasy baseball so as to make it more representative of real baseball. Without so much as explicitly saying it, Cameron was constructively criticizing Roto leagues. He made several recommendations to make fantasy baseball more enjoyable and similar to real baseball.
In all fairness, these suggestions could be employed by both Roto and H2H leagues, but they are more likely geared towards Roto leagues. First, Cameron suggested that we value statistics that win games as opposed to statistics that are simply scarce. This goes directly to my point regarding stolen bases. Cameron expands this suggestion by also mentioning saves and used Chad Qualls and Juan Gutierrez (both on the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010) as examples. Qualls and Gutierrez combined for 27 saves and neither were likely drafted before the season. Teams that acquired them in mid-season were rewarded with some saves to help bolster that category in Roto leagues. But when you look at their entire body of work, they also combined for an ERA of over 6.00. In a Roto league, that doesn’t matter. All that counts are the saves. In a H2H league, fantasy teams are likely penalized for giving up earned runs, issuing walks, blowing saves, and any other category that may have a point value associated with it. The most poignant point made by Cameron in this argument is that “this leads to some truly bad baseball players being elite fantasy talents, and a huge disconnect between reality and the way fantasy is scored.” Well said Mr. Cameron.
The next suggestion made by Cameron is directly pointed to Roto leagues and their use and value of batting average as a category. As he points out, batting average only deals with plays that happen when a batter swings the bat. The example Cameron used compared Carlos Gonzalez and Joey Votto. CarGo hit 12 points higher than the NL MVP but made 25 more outs than Votto in 12 fewer plate appearances. Cameron suggests using on base percentage in lieu of batting average as the measure for a player’s true offensive value. As my father preached to my little league team when I was 7 years old, “a walk is as good as a hit.” This is absolutely true. Good offensive players typically have good plate discipline and pitch selection, and this usually translates into high walk totals which helps increase on base percentage.
Cameron then makes a similar argument for pitchers when he recommends utilizing innings pitched as a category. The example he used was the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez. His lack of victories was well documented, and fortunately this was overlooked when he was given the award despite only winning 13 games. But as we all know, a pitcher’s true value and talent is not based on the number of wins he accumulates. As a way to reap the benefits of pitchers like King Felix who pitch well but are hampered by inept offenses, Cameron thinks that including innings pitched as a category will help offset “an increase in roster strategies that emphasizes relievers and cheap starting pitchers that would just clear league minimums in innings pitched, allowing bullpen arms to drive the ratio stats of ERA and WHIP down even further by taking a larger percentage of a team’s total innings.” Well said Mr. Cameron.
As a way of demonstrating my objectivity, I do not agree with everything that Cameron suggests. He recommends that defense be considered and valued in fantasy leagues. This I wholeheartedly disagree with. While no one would mistake Carl Crawford with Adam Dunn with regard to their defensive capabilities, their talents in the field have no place in a fantasy league. I am a strong advocate for fantasy baseball being as close to real baseball as possible, but the fact of the matter is that fantasy baseball is not real baseball. The intangibles that Derek Jeter is so revered for mean nothing in a fantasy league. If he rebounds and hits .320 with 20 HR, 85 RBI, 110 runs scored and 25 stolen bases, no one will care whether he makes 20 errors or dives into the stands to catch a ball. I also disagree with Cameron’s recommendation to delineate outfielders at a specific position. He argues that having a team with Adam Dunn, Manny Ramirez and Carlos Lee as your three outfielders is something no major league manager would ever do. While that is true, that makes no difference in fantasy baseball. Each outfield position does take specialized skill and talent. Centerfield is clearly the most important outfield position and it cannot be played by just anyone. A centerfielder needs to have speed, agility, a strong arm, and leadership to cover the gaps and make calls on a ball. But at the end of the day, every outfielder has the same job description – cover the field, catch the ball, throw to the correct base, back up plays in the infield when necessary. These tasks must be completed by left fielders, right fielders and centerfielders. To require fantasy baseball players to draft individual outfield positions doesn’t make much sense and would devalue all outfielders overall. Where I do agree with Cameron regarding positional delineations is to do away with the “corner infielder” and “middle infielder” labels. While these are usually reserve or bench positions, it is completely unrealistic to have Billy Butler, Derrek Lee or Carlos Pena as a backup third basemen. Having specific positional players in the infield is much different than the outfield, and I do agree with Cameron’s point about this.
In summation, I love baseball – both real and fantasy. I love playing fantasy baseball for many reasons, and I do want my leagues to be as close to real baseball as possible. But it can never truly replicate the real thing, and no one should ever expect it to. But there are many ways to simulate leagues to make them as comparable to real baseball as possible, and in my opinion, H2H leagues do that more than Roto leagues. That is just my opinion. In the end, all that matters is that people play fantasy baseball regardless of which format it is. Fantasy baseball can universally prompt debate, discussion, and help foster personal and professional relationships.
Let me know what you think. You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a comment down below or on Fantasy Judgment’s Facebook page (goo.gl/xF0pt), or find me on Twitter and send a tweet (www.twitter.com/FantasyJudgment).
THE SUPREME COURT OF FANTASY JUDGMENT
FlemishUSA v. League Commissioner
ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI FROM
THE COUCH POTATOES UNITE FANTASY BASEBALL LEAGUE
Decided October 24, 2010
Cite as 2 F.J. 35 (October 2010)
The plaintiff, FlemishUSA, is a participant in a fantasy baseball league called The Couch Potatoes Unite (hereinafter referred to as “CPU”). CPU is a fantasy league based on the Major League Baseball playoffs and is hosted on website located at www.fantasypostseason.com. The complaint is devoid of the following information: number of teams in the league, point scoring system, structure and style of the league, roster limitations, rules and guidelines, and names and contact information of the other members of the league.
The plaintiff alleges that during the league’s draft, the Commissioner manually re-set the draft order on several occasions. This has been confirmed by the website’s administrator who provided testimony stating that the league’s Commissioner did in fact make such changes, including giving himself the last pick of the first round. The plaintiff asserts that the Commissioner was able to draft several prolific players, including many of the upper-tier pitchers that were available.
After the draft was completed, the plaintiff and other members of the league realized what had happened, and as a result, they attempted to make some trades to balance out the league. The plaintiff admits that some of these proposed trades made little sense and were not fair or even. The Commissioner blocked some of these proposed trades which were nonsensical and uneven. However, after the Commissioner was made aware that the team owners suspected foul play in the management of the league, the Commissioner began approving trades with less scrutiny.
Prior to the start of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies on October 23, 2010, FlemishUSA made changes to his lineup including the placement of all New York Yankees onto his bench. He subsequently inserted Ryan Howard (1B-PHI), Chase Utley (2B-PHI), and Mike Sweeney (1B-PHI) into his starting lineup. However, after the game had started, FlemishUSA checked his lineup and noticed that Howard, Utley and Sweeney were all on his bench. Plaintiff did not provide any documentation or proof of his lineup submission.
Plaintiff claims that the Commissioner intervened and changed his lineup based on his allegedly suspicious actions during the draft and his self-serving, arbitrary decisions regarding trades.
The site administrator for www.fantasypostseason.com provided testimony regarding the plaintiff’s allegations with respect to the issues with FlemishUSA’s lineup:
“With respect to specifically the issues with your bench. On our site, league commissioners cannot influence which players are on your bench. However if you made a recent trade or free agent changes the site may have adjusted your lineup to maintain a valid legitimate roster. So whereas Yahoo puts all acquired players on the bench our site finds a valid combination of players and sets a lineup. Now while we thought this was a good thing, it turns out that it has confused some of our members and we are going to change that behavior as soon as the mlb playoffs end. In any case, we can get you points for the players that were benched for yesterday’s game. Can’t say for certain that you got bit by an auto-adjustment situation but we can address that. Not an issue.”
(1) Should Flemish USA be awarded points for Ryan Howard and Chase Utley?
(2) What, if any, action should be taken against the league Commissioner for changing the league’s draft order?
1. SHOULD FlemishUSA BE AWARDED POINTS FOR RYAN HOWARD AND CHASE UTLEY?
Based on the site administrator’s response to the issue of players being placed on a team’s bench after making free agent acquisitions or trades, the Court will defer to the owner of the website to handle the issue. The site administrator offered an explanation for what likely happened and has also offered to resolve the issue by providing the points requested for by the plaintiff. The Court will not intervene with such a resolution, especially because there is no tangible proof that the league Commissioner did in fact alter the plaintiff’s lineup.
2. What, if any, action should be taken against the league Commissioner for changing the league’s draft order?
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. This is because being the Commissioner of a fantasy league is a thankless job that invites drama, controversy, and second-guessing. On the other hand, the Court also reciprocally expects league Commissioners to honor these respected positions by utilizing, enforcing, and adhering to rules and etiquette that govern the league. Even in a league where there are no written rules or guidelines, there are general competition standards which are assumed and expected to be honored.
When conducting a fantasy sports league draft, the order of the draft is either announced before the day of the draft or immediately before its start. Unless there are rules permitting the trading of draft picks between teams, the draft order is set as it was picked (either randomly or based on the previous season’s results) and should not be changed. The site administrator provided confirmation that the league Commissioner did in fact alter the draft order on three occasions. However, he ended up giving himself the last pick of the draft. Since the plaintiff did not provide the draft results or the rosters of each team, the Court will not speculate as to the strengths or weaknesses of the draft positions that each team had. Additionally, the Court will not make any judgment as to the benefits or detriments to drafting last in the first round because no evidence has been offered regarding the specific rules or scoring system of the league.
The Court strongly frowns upon league Commissioners arbitrarily making decisions that do not benefit the league as a whole. To modify the draft order without consulting the other league members or offering any explanations is the antithesis of what is considered in the best interests of the league. However, the draft has been completed and the league has been well underway since then. If the league members did not protest at the time or make any demands for reimbursement in exchange for remedying the issue, than the plaintiff and other league members have waived their rights to bring these allegations and obtain some sort of compensation or injunction. The Court recommends that the plaintiff and other league members reconsider joining a league where this particular Commissioner is running it. No matter what league the plaintiff joins in the future, he should make sure there is a governing document which outlines all of the league’s rules, and there should also be a process of checks and balances to prevent a Commissioner from having unlimited autonomy in his decision-making authority.
The Court hereby decides that site administrator’s handling of the lineup submission issue will be upheld, and that no action should be taken against the Commissioner for modifying the draft order.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
This is the first edition of Power Rankings for the 2010 season. I will rank each team in order of strength based on their overall record, points scored, best players, and any other subjective criteria I feel like. I will hopefully do this every few weeks or so to illustrate the dynamic of the league. Without further adieu, here we go:
#1 – Dawg Eat Dawg (9-2)
Benny’s team is back after a miserable 2009 season. Despite having fewer points than The Ketubah, Benny recently acquired Cy Young Award-winner Zack Greinke to strengthen an already-impressive pitching staff led by Tim Lincecum and Roy Oswalt. This is the first time in OBFBL history that someone has had both of the previous year’s CY Young Award winners on their team at the same time.
#2 – C.C. Ate My Ketubah (9-2)
After a four-year hiatus, Ari has brought the Ketubah back to his team name. He jumped out of the gate to a fast start and has built a 5-game lead in the NL Central. He will need this wiggle room because he just lost Kendry Morales and Nelson Cruz to injuries at the end of Week 8. If Ari wins his division, his team’s celebration will be quiet and conservative so that no one gets injured. And should Ari sprain his ankle, an ambulance should be driving by at that exact same time (inside joke).
#3 – 5 Finger Baseball (8-3)
OBFBL rookie Mario Portilla had the best record in the league until this past double-header week when he was finally brought down to Earth. Mario set a rookie record for starting his OBFBL career off at 5-0, and he also became a father for the second time during Week 1. Needless to say, it has been an exciting debut for this newbie who now sings the praises of Jon Garland merely weeks after trying to trade him for fecal matter.
#4 – Slappy McSingleton (7-4)
Another OBFBL rookie ranks in the Top 5 as Matthew Abbott’s team leads the league in points scored by a wide margin. Led by his brilliant 1st round pick Roy Halladay, Matthew is on pace to shatter several OBFBL records including total points for a season, and most individual points by a player. Halladay’s 404 points through 8 weeks is astounding, thanks in part to his perfect game, multiple complete games, and overall dominance. Not to be overshadowed are Ricky Romero, Johnny Cueto and James Shields rounding out arguably the best pitching staff in the league.
#5 – Jewish Mafia (6-5)
After leading the league in everything after the first couple weeks, Randy Peltz’s Hebrew Hitmen have slowed down a bit. Randy was not pleased with Hanley Ramirez’s selfish actions. As a result, Randy slapped some sense into Hanley and it seems to have worked. Kudos must be given for Randy’s selection of Ubaldo Jimenez in the 6th round of the draft as he has proven to be the best pitcher in baseball thus far. With Carlos Beltran due back around the All-Star break, Randy could be setting himself up for a big second half and a return to the playoffs.
#6 – Benny is Tiger Woods’ Bee-otch (6-5)
If a free agent pitcher has 0ne good game, chances are Marc will scoop him up. OBFBL original Marc Stein has created a patchwork pitching staff behind Chris Carpenter, and thus far it has worked as C.J. Wilson, Brett Cecil and Nick Blackburn have all provided some depth with the absence of Jair Jurrjens and Justin Duchscherer. Albert Pujols seems to have hit his stride at the right time, and Marc also boasts arguably the best outfield in the OBFBL with Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford, Nick Markakis and Curtis Granderson.
#7 – This is the Business We’ve Chosen (6-5)
OBFBL veteran Jason Tuvel, a historically fast starter, is off and running again. However, he is unfortunately in a division with Dawg Eat Dawg who is running even faster. Regardless, Jason’s reliance on young talent has paid off with the likes of Ike Davis, Yovanni Gallardo, and David Price. The glue to his team is clearly Derek Jeter, who is always good for a milquetoast quote after a OBFBL week. “It’s a long season and we just want to put up positive points for Jason,” stated Jeter.
#8 – Hoof Hearted (6-5)
OBFBL original Jared Levitt made his triumphant return to the league after an 8-year absence. He started off 0-4 but has stormed back and is now tied for 1st place in the NL West. This turnaround was made despite 1st round pick Mark Teixeira not doing anything, which prompted Jared to trade him away. Castaways Edwin Encarnacion and Alex Rios have provided a big boost to Jared’s lineup, which was without Ian Kinsler until recently.
#9 – There is No Giant Douche, Only Zool (5-6)
After a quick 4-1 start, the Giant Douche has been on the receiving end of a weekly pap smear. While Jose Reyes finally appears to have started hitting, studs like Ryan Howard and Matt Holliday have yet to achieve any consistency. Grady Sizemore was not productive when he played, and now he is gone for quite awhile. Acquiring Mark Teixeira should help the lineup as Tex lumbers out of a season-long slump. Free agent gems like Gio Gonzalez and Anibal Sanchez have helped save an otherwise underachieving pitching staff with the exception of Phil Hughes.
#10 – Jumpin’ Jesse Orosco (5-6)
OBFBL rookie Tim Catts got off to a rough start but has stormed back to take the lead (via tiebreaker) in the AL East. After putting star closers Jonathan Papelbon and Jonathan Broxton on the block after the first week, things have calmed down for Mr. Catts as he got Lance Berkman back from the DL and Prince Fielder finally homered after 3 weeks. Despite being assured 10 strikeouts a week from David Wright, Tim has gotten excellent results from srcappy players like Dustin Pedroia and Carlos Gonzalez. Now the pressure is on the rookie to succeed down the stretch in a pennant race.
#11 – Sharks With Phrickin’ Laser Beams (5-6)
No team has epitomized the term “streaky” quite like Jim Malloy. In 2009, Jim’s rookie year, he started the season 0-10 and then stormed all the way back to lose out on the playoffs by one game. This year, Jim started 5-0 and seemed on his way to greatness. Then his wife gave birth to their son and now Jim has lost 6 in a row. It appears he has traded doubles for diapers. Losing Jimmy Rollins for most of the season has taken its toll on Jim’s lineup, but he has proven he can rebound from a long losing streaks. He also acquired Carlos Silva and Aaron Rowand for Curtis Granderson, and Silva has proven to be a consistent commodity in Jim’s rotation. Jim also has 5 catchers on his roster which is just bizarre.
#12 – Full Metal Jacket (5-6)
Joey I. got off to a slow start following his successful rookie season in 2009, but he appears to have found his groove now sharing a three-way tie for 1st place in the AL East. Clearly a fan of younger players, the average age of Joey I.’s team is 17. Up and comers like Evan Longoria, Matt Wieters, Joey Votto, Drew Stubbs and Mat Latos may lack experience but they bring production to the table. Adam Jones has yet to hit his stride, perhaps because he clashed with Joey I.’s managing style in 2009.
#13 – Len Tuckwilla’s Nuts Over My Chin (4-7)
OBFBL’s resident Saturday Night Live reference-maker once again demonstrated his love for Asian cuisine with the likes of Hideki Matsui, Shin Soo Choo, and Dice-K on his roster. At least Ryan Braun will have someone to eat dinner with on Christmas Eve. Craig’s young pitching staff is anchored by future star Tommy Hanson, who has yet to match his dominance of 2009. Craig is another streaky player, so a big run down the stretch is not out of the question.
#14 – Death Star Destroyers (4-7)
The OBFBL’s resident Star Wars fanatic has stumbled out of the gate despite having a lethal 1-2 duo of C.C. Sabathia and Johan Santana. Abe Strasser’s lineup has been marred by injuries to Chipper Jones and Aaron Hill. However, with a deep pitching staff that also includes Francisco Liriano, Ted Lilly, and the ageless Andy Pettitte, he is a huge threat in weeks where he has pitchers with two starts.
#15 – Cole Hamels’ Multi-racial Children (4-7)
After a playoff berth in his rookie year, OBFBL sophomore Jeff Mickletz and partner Mike Chiereilson (no, not that type of partner) have struggled to get consistent pitching performances outside of Dallas Braden’s miraculous perfect game. They lead the league in Uptons as their outfield is comprised of both B.J. and Justin, along with budding superstar Andrew McCutcheon. First round pick Chase Utley, arguably the best second baseman in baseball not named Luis Castillo, hasn’t lived up to expectations being the 8th overall pick. However, after finishing 3rd overall in 2009 with a .500 record, anything is possible for Cole Hamels and his multi-racial children.
#16 – Mets in 2010 (4-7)
OBFBL veteran Jordan Maliavsky has ridden a rollercoaster with his team going from 300 point weeks to sub-200 point weeks. Drafting the entire Angels’ rotation proved to not be very helpful as Pineiro, Saunders and Santana have not been consistent. After acquiring Jose Guillen in a trade for Pineiro and Dexter Fowler, Guillen is now riding Jordan’s bench once again proving he is one of the most inconsistent players in baseball. A potentially potent offense comprised of A-Rod, Mark Reynolds and Brian McCann, the Mets in 2010 are poised to be competitive down the stretch, especially with staff ace Cliff Lee likely to be traded to a contending team.
#17 – What’s the Plural of Moose? (4-7)
OBFBL original Cory Varrial made his return to the league in 2009 and has now followed that up with a pedestrian start to the 2010 season. Much of Cory’s struggles can be attributed to his inability to start the right players as he consistently has 75-100 points rotting on his bench every week. Jake Peavy does not seem to be the pitcher he once was, and staff ace Dan Haren has been uncharacteristically inconsistent. It was a ballsy move drafting Joe Mauer with the 5th overall pick, and while Mauer has been productive, it has limited Cory’s production at other vital positions.
#18 – Veal Cutlet a L’Orange (2-9)
Former two-time OBFBL finalist Maury Weisel has struggled mightily to start the 2010 season. His first two draft picks, Zack Greinke and Javier Vazquez, did not anchor what was thought to be a deep pitching staff. Greinke has subsequently been traded for equally disappointing Derrek Lee. Also, Maury’s 3rd round pick Brian Roberts has yet to be active as he remains on the DL. It will take some shrewd and creative managing, but Maury is still within striking distance if he can pull off a couple more deals and get back in the pennant race.
Going, Going, Gonzalez v. Fantasy Baseball League
ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI FROM
A FANTASY BASEBALL LEAGUE
Decided May 16, 2010
Cite as 1 F.J. 29 (May 2010)
An anonymous fantasy baseball league (hereinafter referred to as “fantasy league”) is hosted on CBS Sportsline’s fantasy sports platform. The league is organized and run by an anonymous commissioner (hereinafter referred to as “commissioner”) who input several settings on CBS’s fantasy commissioner program. This fantasy baseball league is comprised of fourteen teams, each consisting of eighteen players on a roster. The fantasy league is a head-to-head points league, and there are point values associated with various MLB statistics.
League members are permitted to make transactions throughout the season, including add/drops and trades. The commissioner has set up the league where individual team owners can add free agents and then drop players from their roster on their own. In order for a transaction like this to be effective, the team must adhere to the roster requirements set up by the commissioner (these are not known to the Court).
On Sunday, May 9, 2010, a team owner (hereinafter referred to as “Going, Going, Gonzalez – a/k/a GGG”) made a transaction by adding a free agent. In doing his subsequent drop, he selected Carlos Gonzalez, outfielder on the Colorado Rockies, as the player to drop from his roster. On Monday, May 10, 2010, GGG posted a message on the league message board informing everyone else that he made a mistake in dropping Gonzalez. Rather, his intent was to drop Carlos Gomez, outfielder on the Milwaukee Brewers, instead. He requested that everyone else forego adding Gonzalez as a free agent and allow him to reacquire him at the end of the following week since GGG was last in the league’s waiver priority order.
After seeing this request, the league’s commissioner went into GGG’s team page to fix the mistake and add Gonzalez back onto his roster, as requested. However, when the commissioner arrived onto GGG’s team page, he noticed that Carlos Gomez was not even on his team. As a result, the commissioner denied GGG’s request to reacquire Gonzalez.
The commissioner was initially going to grant GGG’s request for a correction to his alleged mistake by adding Gonzalez back to his roster. This decision was based on GGG’s timely message to the league indicating that a mistake had been made. It was also based on it appearing to be an obvious oversight and mistake because there could be no justification in dropping Gonzalez based on his statistics, performance, and position in the Rockies’ starting lineup and 2
friendly hitting confines at Coors Field. On the other hand, Carlos Gomez is not a starting player and does not appear to have the ability to achieve similar numbers or success to Gonzalez. Dropping Gomez seemed more like what GGG meant to do than dropping Gonzalez.
After discovering that GGG never had Gomez to begin with, the commissioner denied GGG’s request to reacquire Gonzalez.
(1) Should GGG be permitted to reacquire Carlos Gonzalez or does GGG’s dishonesty about having Carlos Gomez on his roster justify the commissioner’s decision to deny the request?
Normally the Supreme Court of Fantasy Judgment is extremely tough in its stance on personal due diligence of team owners to check their own rosters and team pages to ensure that their lineups and rosters are correct. However, this Court understands that people can make mistakes, even when money is on the line. As a result, this Court was inclined to rule that GGG should have been permitted to reacquire Gonzalez based on the fact that GGG alerted the rest of the league to this mistake within 24 hours, and the fact that there is no mistaking the talent and potential between Carlos Gonzalez and Carlos Gomez. On its face, it appeared to be an honest mistake that was caught in a timely manner and attempted to be corrected. If the facts and circumstances of the case were any different, perhaps this would be where the analysis ends.
However, when the commissioner discovered that GGG did not have Carlos Gomez on his roster, this Court has changed its tune. The commissioner did his due diligence by checking the transaction history for Carlos Gomez and discovered that he was not drafted, nor was he ever on anyone’s fantasy team until this past week. The commissioner further inquired with GGG about this dilemma, but GGG never responded. There was not any other player on GGG’s roster that was similar to Carlos Gonzalez or Carlos Gomez.
This type of deceitful action undermines the integrity of this fantasy league, and fantasy sports in general. There is an unwritten and understood man code for fantasy sports that has existed for decades, which falls outside the scope of league constitutions, commissioner service packages or money prizes. This unwritten code includes the provisio that one will not cheat at fantasy sports. Here, GGG’s motives and intentions were clearly established by the way he meticulously played on the commissioner’s and league’s emotions and trust.
The commissioner of this league should be applauded for his generosity in allowing GGG to correct a mistake made once he realized it. However, he should be applauded threefold for denying this request once he realized he had been scammed. If there are any repercussions that can take place for such actions, they should be taken very carefully. This type of behavior may warrant expulsion from the league due to the severity of the offense. 3
Based on this premeditated attempt to deceive the commissioner and the league, this Court upholds the commissioner’s decision to deny GGG’s request to reacquire Gonzalez.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Roto Fantasy Baseball League v. Fantasy Baseball Rookie
ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI FROM
THE ROTO FANTASY BASEBALL LEAGUE
Decided April 29, 2010
Cite as 1 F.J. 25 (2010)
An anonymous fantasy baseball league (hereinafter referred to as “fantasy league”) is operated in a rotisserie style where certain batting and pitching categories count for accumulation of statistics performed by major league baseball players. In this fantasy league, batters can score points and assist in the overall league rankings in the following offensive categories: batting average, homeruns, runs batted in, runs scored, and stolen bases. Pitchers accumulate points and assistant in the overall league rankings in the following pitching categories: wins, earned run average, strikeouts, saves, and WHIP (walks+hits per innings pitched). Additionally, this fantasy league permits teams to trade players with each other.
According to the rules set up by the fantasy league commissioner using Yahoo’s fantasy commissioner services, the commissioner has the sole authority to approve or disapprove a trade between teams. There is no league constitution in place to govern the overall operation of the league. As it is set forth, the only advertised criteria for the commissioner to use in evaluating trades is his own subjective evaluation. There are no additional checks and balances in place, such as a league vote or self-imposed committee review.
This fantasy baseball league is comprised of twelve teams, each of which has a roster of twenty players. Each team must include nine offensive players and six pitchers in its starting lineups each week. The pitchers can be of any designation (i.e., they can all be starters, all be relievers, or be some combination of both as long as they total six). The offensive players must comprise of one catcher, one first baseman, one second baseman, one third baseman, one shortstop, three outfielders, and one utility player (he can be eligible at any offensive position, including designated hitter).
The commissioner began this fantasy league in 2005 and has run it ever since. Over the years, he has brought in new members to replace departing team owners. Most of the people he has brought into the league were personal friends with him, or at the very least, good acquaintances. Not all team owners know each other outside of the fantasy league. Besides interacting through email, chat rooms, message boards, or internal league instant messages, most team owners do not interact with each other outside of the fantasy baseball world.
One new league member that the commissioner brought into the league has no prior fantasy baseball experience (hereinafter referred to as “rookie”). Prior experience is not a prerequisite for fantasy baseball participation. However, all other league members in this fantasy league have some form of experience, whether it be in this league or another. The other league members have no say in the commissioner’s choice for entry into the league, nor do they know the background of these new league members. There are no provisions in the rules which permit league members to request this information from the commissioner.
The rookie has expressed interest in making trades with other teams in the league. However, he has only proven to be responsive to trade inquiries or negotiations with the fantasy league commissioner. As stated previously, the commissioner personally knew the rookie and brought him into the league. The rookie did not know any other league member prior to entering the league.
The rookie ended up trading Mark Teixeira, the first baseman on the New York Yankees, to the commissioner in exchange for John Lackey, starting pitcher on the Boston Red Sox, and Francisco Rodriguez, relief pitcher on the New York Mets.
This trade was put through and approved by the commissioner himself. The trade was permissible in that it was a two for one player trade and was made in a timely fashion during the middle of the week.
Given there is no league vote or opposition allowed to a trade, even one made by the commissioner himself, the other league members have no recourse prescribed within the confines of the league to challenge the validity of a trade.
An anonymous member of the fantasy league has contacted Fantasy Judgment to determine whether this trade made between the rookie and the commissioner is fair.
(1) Is the trade of Mark Teixeira in exchange for John Lackey and Francisco Rodriguez fair?
When deciding whether this trade is fair, the Supreme Court of Fantasy Judgment will look at several factors to determine its validity. The first set of circumstances to establish are the structural parameters of this fantasy league. All that is known to the Fantasy Judgment universe is that it is a 12-team Rotisserie style league with typical 5×5 categories. It is not known whether it is a keeper or league or not. However, this does not matter as it will not figure into the analysis. Each team has a roster of twenty players, including nine batters, six pitchers, and five reserves. The Fantasy Judgment universe is also not aware of the involved teams’ rosters. There will be certain things assumed in regard to the rosters of the involved teams.
This fantasy league does not have a constitution that governs the overall league. The only rules that are in effect are the ones selected by the commissioner on Yahoo’s platform. Within these rules is the provision that the commissioner has sole authority to approve or disapprove of all trades, including trades that he is involved in. Teams must make trade proposals or inquiries within Yahoo’s platform, and once accepted, the trade goes to the commissioner for approval. There are no other rules or guidelines in place to handle challenges to the commissioner’s decisions.
When looking at the trade of Mark Teixeira for John Lackey and Francisco Rodriguez, the first thing this Court notices is that it is a first baseman in exchange for two pitchers. It is assumed that the rookie is in need of pitching while the commissioner may have a surplus in that category. Assuming this is true, the needs and motivations of the teams can be understood based purely on roster depth and strength.
Besides roster depth and strength, this Court looks at each player’s individual statistics as of the date of this decision. As of April 29, 2010, Mark Teixeira was batting .139 with two homeruns, nine runs batted in, ten runs scored, and no stolen bases. Clearly these are not impressive numbers for a player presumably drafted in the first or second round of any fantasy draft. However, it is directly consistent with Teixeira’s history. Ever since Teixeira reached the big leagues, he has always started the season extremely slowly leading fantasy baseball players to question their decisions to draft him. However, as has been the case every season, Teixeira begins heating up in May and ends each season with similar numbers, all averaging above thirty homeruns and over one hundred runs batted in.
As of April 29, 2010, John Lackey had two wins, no saves, eleven strikeouts, an earned run average of 5.08, and a WHIP of 1.65. These numbers are not spectacular either, especially for a top starting pitcher who just recently signed a lofty long-term contract with the Boston Red Sox and was projected to be the team’s number three starter. This would presume that Lackey would be facing other teams’ number three starters. The benefit of this is that Lackey, for all intents and purposes is a number one starter (as he had been for many years in Anaheim), and he would not have to go against other teams’ number one starters.
Finally, as of April 29, 2010, Francisco Rodriguez had one win, three saves, sixteen strikeouts, an earned run average of 0.84, and a WHIP of 1.21. Rodriguez, the closer on the mediocre New York Mets, has not had many save opportunities and does not figure to as the season goes on. Even when he has been in save situations, he is no sure thing.
It is fair to say that these three players all were playing below their respective expectations and did not have the statistics that fantasy baseball players are accustomed to seeing. However, Teixeira clearly has the biggest upside given his ability to help his fantasy team ascend several rotisserie categories, including homeruns, runs batted in, and runs scored. On the other hand, Lackey, who has a history of injuries as well, does not figure to make a significant impact on any category. He may end up winning 12-15 games with the Red Sox, but he will not be any great help with any of the other four pitching categories. At his age, he seems beyond the days of striking out 7-8 batters per game. Rodriguez’ primary upside in a rotisserie league is obviously the saves category. It was just two seasons ago that he saved an all-time record 62 games for the Angels. Expectations were high when he signed with the Mets, but not enough save opportunities have materialized for Rodriguez to even make a run at numbers like that. He is also no longer the once dominant flamethrower that he used to be, and at 28 years old, he is more hittable now than ever. This equates to more baserunners and a higher WHIP, so his value in the other pitching categories is not as prolific as it was a few years ago.
Based on all of the preceding arguments, this Court opines that the trade was not an intelligent one made by the rookie. However, that does not mean it was unfair. The rookie did acquire two pitchers with enough talent and statistical ability to justify the trade.
The more glaring issue that needs to be analyzed goes deeper than whether this particular trade is fair. The fact that the commissioner can approve his own trades is overtly questionable. On top of that, the fact he is trading with a league member he personally brought into the league who has no prior experience raises some serious concerns about the integrity of the commissioner. With good reason, the other league members are up in arms about this situation. Unfortunately, the trade made is not unfair. Additionally, there is nothing the other league members can do outside of either quitting the league or collectively requesting that the rules be changed going forward regarding the commissioner’s ability to approve trades. This Court, as it always does, recommends that the league draft a constitution to provide guidelines and rules that govern the league and any unforeseeable circumstance that may arise.
For the purposes of this case and in the best interest of the fantasy league, the Court concludes that the trade made between the commissioner and the rookie is fair and should be upheld.
IT IS SO ORDERED.