Patton $ Software Is Out Now!

pattonlogoAs reliable as spring and the cry, “I’m in the best shape of my career,” comes the 2015 edition of Patton $ Software.

The software contains my 2015 baseball projections, my suggested bid prices (and Mike Fenger’s) for 5×5 and Alex Patton’s 4×4 bid prices, prospect lists and expert league draft results, as well as ways for you to enter your own bids, make up-to-the-minute draft lists for your fantasy drafts, edit and automatically adjust the projections and show what players earn with different statlines. In short, everything you might need to prepare to win your fantasy league this year.

There is a new procedure for buying this year. Go to pattonandco.com and register, if you’re not already registered. Click the menu item that says Subscribe and follow the instructions (essentially, click the blue button, enter your payment information, and authorize payment for $36). Continue reading

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LINK: New Improved Fantasy Baseball Team Name Generator

Screenshot 2015-02-26 16.55.30Last year we linked to the Fantasy Baseball Team Name Generator, which makes up fantasy baseball team names from MLB and player team names, and random memes in the zeitgeist, or something like that.

There is a new and updated version of the Generator up now, in case you’re in need of a name.

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The Spring Training Football Yes FOOTBALL Podcast Is Posted!

FFG14_PodcastLogoIt kind of ticks me off when I’m searching for fantasy baseball news during spring training and I come across people talking about football. I mean, everything in its place!

But Andy and Derek, who handle the fantasy football podcast here DURING football season, got excited and started talking.

Please forgive. Please listen, if you care to, and then get back to baseball!

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The Spring Training Football, yes FOOTBALL, Podcast!

Andy and Derek got so excited by the combines they started talking, which led to recording, which led to their podcast about this year’s Rookie running backs!

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David Gonos Likes The Fantasy Baseball Guide!

FBG2015-coverI just found this review of the Fantasy Baseball Guide on David Gonos’s website.

David is a friend and colleague, and also  a good guy. He’s also a straight shooter and a knowledgeable fantasy writer, which is why his praise here means so much to me.

He also does a good in-depth job of describing the Guide’s contents. The magazine has been out for almost six weeks now, which means it is selling out in some outlets (Barnes and Noble, Walmart, and other drug, book and grocery stores), but use David’s promo code (gonos15) and save a buck at thefantasysportsguide.com on the digital version.

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ASK ROTOMAN: Andrew is Easy.

Rotoman!

I get 2 keepers – Andrew McCutchen is my first, and I need to choose from the following for my second:  Brian McCann, Dee Gordon, Ian Kinsler, Hanley Ramirez, Freddie Freeman, Nelson Cruz, Manny Machado, Gerrit Cole, or Masahiro Tanaka.

“Seconds of Pleasure”

Dear Seconds:

First thing I do is compare my prices for a list of guys with BaseballHQ’s prices. For primarily veteran players, this makes it easy to see if there is a consensus:

Player PK HQ
McCann 13 13
Gordon 23 30
Kinsler 24 24
Ramirez 22 25
Freeman 26 27
Cruz 22 22
Machado 21 17
Cole 13 16
Tanaka 18 17

Ian KinslerWhat we learned here, I think, is that Brian McCann, Nelson Cruz, Manny Machado and Gerrit Cole are not keepers for you.

I don’t think Tanaka is a keeper either, since he’s coming back from an injury that often requires surgery, without having surgery. Lots of upside if he makes it work, but too much risk to use for a keeper. (If you disagree, stop here and freeze Tanaka, it’s a risky but reasonable choice.)

Which leaves us, in order of average value: Freddie Freeman, Dee Gordon, Ian Kinsler, Hanley Ramirez. But from top to bottom it’s close, so you have some decisions to make, because there are some things I don’t know about your league.

For instance, how deep is it? It is a mixed league, clearly. If it’s a 10 or 12 or 15 team mixed league, position scarcity matters, which elevates Dee Gordon over Freddie Freeman. If it’s 20 or 25 teams, Freeman is close, if not Gordon’s better.

20140919_Dee_Gordon_infield_single_in_front_of_Anthony_RizzoIf it’s an OBP league, however, Freeman is enough better that you would take him over Gordon, even in a 15-team league. Maybe. Read on.

But let’s assume you play the aging and inferior but more popular BA format. Gordon is more valuable than Freeman, and clearly more valuable than the guys HQ and I have ranked below him, which makes young Dee the obvious keep, EXCEPT…

Except Gordon contributes in one category. In your league is it more helpful to have a 2B who steals 50 bases but doesn’t do much else? Or is it better to have a guy like Hanley or Ian, who will hit double digit homers and steal double digit bases, with a better BA?

If you follow HQ’s guidance (and $30 bid) this is a no brainer, but depending on how your league values steals (and marginal hitting ability, which is what Gordon has), he may be hugely valuable, but he’s surely also risky. Guys who don’t hit lose at bats.

Not that the other guys aren’t risky. Ramirez moves to the American League for the first time, is changing positions and brings with him an injury history that has to be considered, at least, while Kinsler has seen his power and speed decline in recent years, as he has moved into his middle 30s.

Looked at through this frame, you really can’t make a bad choice here, but not one of them is a slam dunk winner. Freeman might be the safest bet, but he plays first base for a team that has stripped away every other offensive weapon. Gordon is the most explosive, if he plays he will run, but if he’s hitting .222 will he still play? Ramirez has the biggest upside. If he stays healthy he could be a 20/20 guy, but he’s not likely to stay healthy, which probably makes Kinsler the safer bet.

So, I’ve talked myself into Kinsler, for all the reasons listed above, hoping he’ll have a year not unlike last year’s, even if not quite so much.

Sincerely,
rotomansignature

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ASK ROTOMAN: How is a stat service like a nice Chianti and fava beans

All Hail Rotoman!

Is there a ‘3rd party’ available for a weekly FAAB process?

Currently, our FAAB rules require us to turn our weekly roster changes and FAABs into the commissioner on Sunday Nights by 9pm.  The league-friendly commissioner, has made that 9pm kind of a ‘soft deadline’ and has on occasion accepted FAABs and roster changes past that 9pm deadline with a friendly reminder to get it in on time.  In addition, new job responsibilities have delayed the FAAB results and roster changes until Tuesday, sometimes Wednesday mornings.

My thought here is… IF there is a 3rd party process available, any and all deadline and integrity concerns can be completely eliminated.

There is NOT an integrity issue with the commish.  Just looking at alternative methods for assuring that the FAAB process is timely and legit.

Sincerely,
Hannibal Lester

Dear Hannibal,

Almost all stat services have automated FAAB processes. These require that teams enter their claims and picks and moves into the box, via a form of some sort, and at the appointed hour, as the bells strike, the software does it’s utterly rational magic and awards are made.

In the past I’ve used the systems at Yahoo, ESPN and CBSsports and found they all worked well enough. It has been a while, however, so chances are decent they have improved, though I don’t know for sure.

I can enthusiastically endorse the BidMeister at onRoto.com, which is quite flexible and fault tolerant, though it does force you to submit your bids structured as replacement blocks. That is, all your claims to replace your first basemen go in at once, then your claims for a starting pitcher, then the outfielder.

I was at first wary of this, but once you take this into account you can gain most of the control you want by ordering the blocks and using your FAAB.

And this is how a stat service is like a liver, which goes so well with the favas and a nice Chianti. It filters out the labor and toxins of a fantasy league, increases communication and information, making the thing work better, and does so quietly, at least in the best of times.

Sincerely,
rotomansignature

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ASK ROTOMAN: Puzzled About Prices!

Dear Rotoman:

As a long time reader of the Guide I find this year’s dollar valuations puzzling. Case in point: Arrieta at $19 and Kennedy at $2. Will the update on March 15 contain new dollar amounts for pitchers or just playing time adjustments which pertain primarily to position players?

“Puzzled About Prices”

Dear PAP:

As a long time reader of the Guide, I’m surprised you haven’t long been puzzled about those prices. But let me explain a bit about the process, and Arrieta and Kennedy especially, after I answer your direct question:

The mid-March free update to the projections and prices in the Guide will reflect my latest thinking about all the players in the Guide, plus those added and subtracted from the pool due to injury or other circumstances. The link will show up here, at blog.askrotoman.com, and will be password protected, so it is only available to those who have purchased the Guide.

Commercial Break: The Fantasy Baseball Guide is available at many book, drug, grocery and WalMart stores, but it has been out now for a month and is sold out in some venues. You can buy the online version at thefantasysportsguide.com. Use the promo code Rotoman2015 and save $1!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

To create the Big Prices in the Guide, which are my suggested bid prices for players, I try to combine two bits of information.

The first is what I expect a player to earn this year. I look at what he’s earned in the past (in Arrieta’s case, $23 last year, in Kennedy’s, $6, -$15, $4 the last three years) and make an estimate.

The second part is to read what the market will be for the player come March, and whether I want to be ahead of it or behind it.

DSCN0048_Jake_ArrietaIn Arrieta’s case, he had a break out second half last year following an adjustment to his delivery. He has great stuff, and I feel pretty confident that he’ll be able to repeat as a $23 earner. Or somewhere close. I’m sure other people will be more skeptical, so I knocked his price down to a $19 bid price, because I want to own him.

In Kennedy’s case, he can be an effective pitcher at times, but he’s not developed as the dominant arm he showed back with the Yankees when he came up, mostly because he allows a lot of baserunners. I think a repeat of last year’s numbers is the likely outcome for him, in a range, and only want Kennedy if I get him at the very end of the auction. In the Guide Mike Fenger says drop out before he reaches $10, but I think that’s counting too much on improvement. I would prefer to hedge against failure. Hence, the $2 bid price.

Now, I’ve heard from plenty of people who think Arrieta’s unlikely to earn $19 next year, because he allowed so few homers on fly balls, and because they’ve gotten used to him not being very good. I think they’re wrong about Arrieta’s probable success, but what I’m hearing is that the market for Arrieta may be even weaker than I expected. In which case I may drop his price some more going forward. My goal is to estimate what it’s going to take to buy him, and if I want him enough, add enough to get him in most auctions. Unless I bump into someone thinking like me.

As for Kennedy, his team has improved offensively in the offseason, something not included in that $2 bid price. As I work to balance the books, as we get closer to the season, he’s a guy who might bounce up a dollar or two. He’s not a bad buy at $4, but I think he is at $9, though it wouldn’t surprise me if he earned that. It is certainly possible.

You can see updated bid prices at pattonandco.com, by the way, and that’s a good place (once you’re registered) to ask why I’m thinking this way or that.

The final point about the prices is that they are a work in progress. I use them in my auctions, so they seriously reflect my thinking, but I seriously expect you, the reader, to make your own evaluations and shape your auction by second guessing me. You may think I’m crazy about Arrieta, and you might drop his bid price to $12, but you do so knowing that there is at least one person like me out there who would pay $17 for him. If you let me have him at $13, you’re giving me $4 more dollars than I expected to have elsewhere.

Thanks!

Sincerely,
rotomansignature

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ASK ROTOMAN: Shining A Macho Light on Yasiel Puig

Dear Rotoman:

In a 5×5 12-team mixed-keeper league with five keepers where you can keep a player for up to three years, would you make the following deal:

I trade an extra 5th round pick and release either Manny Machado (2yrs left), Jorge Soler (3 yrs left) or Xander Bogaerts (3 yrs left).

And I get Puig with 2 years remaining.

Is giving up one of my fifth round picks and one of those players worth 2 years of Puig?

“Puigilist”

Dear P:
I have one hand tied behind my back because I have no idea what the value of a fifth round pick is. If all 12 teams keep five players, that’s 60 players gone. Another four rounds gone is 48 players, which would mean the fifth pick would be somewhere between the 108 and 120th best player.

Based on the consensus Average Draft Position at FantasyPros.com, that would be a player like JD Martinez or Mookie Betts, Lance Lynn or Steve Cishek.

Yasiel_Puig_2Puig is ranked 24th in the consensus ADP, while Machado is 138th, Soler is 111th, and Bogaerts is 182nd.

It isn’t clear to me what you get back for that fifth pick, but even if it was the 23rd round pick, I think you would prefer Puig and the 23rd round pick to Bogaerts and JD Martinez or Mark Trumbo.

Remember, the rule of thumb is, you almost always want to be on the side of the trade that gets the best player, especially in a relatively shallow league, as a 12 team mixed is.

Sincerely,
rotomansignature

 

 

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I’m Still Wilin

I can’t say his name without thinking of the Lowell George song made famous by Little Feat, “Willin'”, but I’m partial to the cover by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. Here it is, a soundtrack for player analysis.

We published our first pass at 2015 roto prices at pattonandco.com (you’ll need a free registration to see it all and comment) last week, and one of the biggest sore thumbs seems to be my robust price for Wilin Rosario. That price, $21, is the same I had for him in the Fantasy Baseball Guide, and is based on the fact that the Rockies catcher earned $20, $22 and $13 the last three years. Last year he struggled with a wrist injury and a viral infection, which explains some of the power dropoff, but commenters are struggling to see how he’s going to get at bats unless he’s traded. And if he’s traded he’ll lose the Coors Field advantage, which leaves him where?

How is Rosario as a catcher? Nobody thinks he’s a good catcher. In John Dewan’s +/1 rankings he was the fourth worst catcher in baseball last year, though over the last three years he escaped the bottom group. So he’s not the worst. But he’s bad enough that the Rocks say he will platoon with Justin Morneau at first base this year, taking the at bats there versus lefties. Losing catcher eligibility is a long-term concern, but nothing to worry about for 2015. This year he’s a catcher.

Rosario can’t hit righties. Against righties he has a career OPS of .707. That’s not so great compared to his spectacular OPS against lefties of 1.009, but it isn’t helpless. While 27 catchers with 500 or more PA over the past three years have a better overall OPS than .707, only six have a better combined OPS than Rosario’s .795. It would be better if Rosario was better against righties, obviously, but he’s been so productive against lefties that on past performance he ranks as a solid Top 10 catcher. He also has the third-best Slugging Average the last three years among catchers overall.  He’s a productive hitter, even if he only plays against lefties.

Rosario can’t hit on the road.  There are 29 catchers with 500 PA the last three years who have a better OPS overall than Rosario’s .690 road OPS. This is a point of some concern, since part of the worry about Rosario is that he’ll be traded to a team that won’t play its home games a mile high. But until that happens, Rosario is playing half his games at Coors. His overall numbers make him the seventh-best backstop in the game the last three years. You have to worry about a move, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Will Rosario be traded? If the Rockies had a catcher they could go to every day, I would worry about this, but so far Rosario’s competition is Nick Hundley and Mike McKenry. Hundley is a good defensive backstop with a pretty weak bat. McKenry hit last year like he never did before, in a limited number of at bats. At his age, he is an unlikely candidate to repeat. Rosario is a good platoon partner with Morneau and can serve as an alternate to Hundley behind the plate, at least part of the time. That adds up to another 400 AB season this year, I think, with home games in Coors. Which makes $20 or so dollars of earnings a no brainer.

Okay, it’s time for Little Feat’s live version of Willin’ in 1977 on German TV, which is really great.

What’s Rosario’s value? A healthy Rosario has shown $20 and $22 earnings, which dropped last year to $13 when he was sick and hurt. People talk about how he’s declined each of his ML years, but they’re not looking at the offensive context. Rosario earned more in 2013 than in 2012, despite hitting fewer homers. And in 2014 he walked more, if not a lot, improving his approach to the strike zone. It is because of all of this that I expect him to get 400 AB and hit 20 homers. That’s what he does. If he hits .274, that works out to about $17 in earnings, so maybe my $21 bid limit is a little too high.

Every Rosario Has Its Thorn. Wilin Rosario is a flawed hitter. Not so good versus righties, of whom there are way more than lefties, and not so good away from Coors Field, where he may not be a permanent fixture. So it’s easy to see why all the naysayers are dumping him. He’s not perfect, and he’s likely to have some rough times (read: slumps) at times.

Every Thorn Has Its Rosario. But this is a catcher with prodigious home run power, even when he’s not a Mile High. He’s hit 36 homers in 709 AB at Coors. He’s hit 29 homers in 659 AB away from Coors. In a counting game, give me the homers, and the discount of the naysayers.

Conclusion. My bid price in the Guide was based on what I thought Rosario would earn. And the fact is that even at that price, I thought you should want him. The comments, however, suggest I’ve wildly (and willingly) overbid Rosario. Cool! At $21 Rosario was par. At $17 he was safe. The bottom line for me is that 26 year olds with a history of success are good bets not to be terrible. And every dollar I don’t have to pay for them because the common wisdom hates them, is a savings for me. I’m dropping my bid price to $17, because that seems the more likely winning bid price, and better matches his predicted (by me) earnings in 5×5 roto. But his value as a catcher is greater than that, in Tucumcari and Tonapah.

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