ASK ROTOMAN: The Ken Giles File

Dear Rotoman:

15 team head to head, 6 keeper league. Here’s my roster.

Ken_Giles_comes_setcatcher yadier molina
1b justin morneau
2b dee gordon
3b pablo sandoval
ss xander bogaerts
of starling marte, wil myers, arismendy alcantara
sp cliff lee, cory kluber, jose fernandez, matt cain and 6 other pieces of trash
rp steve cishek, ken giles, and 3 other pieces of trash

pitcher heavy league for points and holds count
keeping (marte, kluber, cishek, ken giles, dee gordon, jose fernandez)

am I making a mistake? Any response welcomed

“Ken Giles Phile”

Dear KGP:

When do you have to turn in your keepers? Ken Giles doesn’t have the closing job yet.

I know it looks smart for the Phillies to deal Jonathan Papelbon, opening up their closing job for Giles, who had an average fastball of 97.2 mph last year and consistently topped 100 mph. Giles improved his control after arriving in the majors last year, so maybe he’s ready. And there was chatter that the Phillies were talking to the Brewers about Papelbon this week, which makes sense since the Milwaukee team has Jonathan Broxton as their putative closer at this point.

Still, right now¬†Papelbon is only crazily expensive ($12.5M, with a $13M vesting option for 2016) for this year. The Phillies would no doubt like to get out from under that contract, but they’re certainly not crippled by it. And if the Brewers (who are on Papelbon’s no trade list) don’t offer much for Papelbon now, it would be an easy call for the Phils to hold onto him and see who needs a top closer as the season progresses. Saving money is good, getting a good prospect is better.

So, it isn’t a slam dunk Giles is going to have the job all year. That makes him a weak freeze at this point. On the other hand, you don’t have a slam dunk alternative, so maybe he’ll end up your best choice. But at this point I would consider keeping a hitter, a choice that depends on the pool of kept players. Molina, Sandoval, Bogaerts and Myers are all less risky than Giles right now, but don’t have the closer’s upside if he wins that job.

What I can’t guess is how badly other owners in your league might vary any of these guys. So while Giles isn’t an obvious mistake, you should look closely and take as much time as you can. There may be a better choice on your roster.

Patiently,
Rotoman

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2015 Errata Data and Corrections

homer-dohThis is the place to find corrections and amplifications about the Fantasy Baseball and Football Guides 2015.

THE FANTASY BASEBALL GUIDE 2015

Page 52: The Moyer Pan of Andre Ethier is meant to be a Moyer Pan of Andrelton Simmons on Page 86. The tipoff? Ethier is not valued for his glove, no way no how. Blame Rotoman for bad cutting and pasting.

Page 71: Will Middlebrooks isn’t included in the Guide. I don’t have an explanation for that, except I made a mistake. I’m not high on Middlebrooks at all, I think there’s a fair chance he’s going to fail utterly if he can ever stay healthy enough to get consistent playing time, but he should have been in there.

Will Middlebrooks, $3: Last year’s power outage can be blamed on hand and finger injuries, which popped up throughout the season, but the contact issues that surfaced in 2013 only got worse last year. Now he heads to a park where his power, if it returns as part of his game, isn’t likely to play quite so grandly as it did in Boston. There’s enough uncertainty about his skill set to make him a possible endgame play in NL only leagues, maybe he’ll hit some homers if he proves he isn’t injury prone, that he’s just been unlucky. But the odds are strong he’s going to fail.

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The Fantasy Baseball Guide Online and PDF Versions are available!

FBG2015-coverVisit thefantasysportsguide.com to buy. Use the coupon code Rotoman15 to save $1!

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Why There Will Never Be A Rotoman 250. B/w The Rotoman 250.

the250-copyI’m asked sometimes why there isn’t a Top 250 player list in the Fantasy Baseball Guide. I wrote about this last year, explaining why, so I won’t repeat myself too much here.

But an interesting thing happened this year while putting together this year’s Mock Draft for the magazine, and I thought it might be helpful to talk about it.

Now that the Guide is back to an early printing schedule, the Mock happens in mid November, and no draft service has updated draft-ranking lists loaded on their sites. We used CouchManagers.com this year, and they were glad we were using the service so early, hoping it would help them develop and fine tune their rankings.

Rankings are an important part of a draft service, because they help drafters find the players most likely to be drafted when their turn comes, which makes the whole process move more smoothly. But rankings, like ADP, also serve as a powerful suggestion for who to take in any given round. Not only do they suggest who ranks most highly, but they’re like an advertisement shown to everyone else pitching that player. If you want a player who appears near the top of the list, you better take him now because he isn’t going to fall once he’s atop the ranking list.

The fact is, playing the ebbs and flows of demand that ripple through the draft software and its lists are one of the skills of drafting a fantasy team. And another reason why a Top 250 not based on your draft sites list is of limited utility.

But this year, for the mock, I decided to take my Dollar Values and turn them into a draft list.

To each price I added .4 for catchers, .3 for shortstops, .2 for second basemen and .1 for third basemen.

I didn’t change the prices of pitchers, but I knew I would have to manage when to take them by using my sense of the draft. I wanted an Ace and I wanted a solid closer, and after that I was willing to scramble. My strategy was to take a pitcher in the later rounds when there was no standout hitter available.

(Note: I think one could simulate approximate pitcher draft slots by subtracting a certain number of places from each of them, but I think we’re better served knowing where pitchers rank in value–remember, at these prices they’re only getting 30 percent of the draft budget–and make decisions based on that.)

The list I made for that night is a bit out of date, so I’ve made a new one based on my current prices. Enjoy.

THE ROTOMAN 250
1: M Trout, LAA, OF
2: A McCutchen, PIT, OF
3: C Kershaw, LAD, P
4: J Abreu, CHA, 1B
5: M Cabrera, DET, 1B
6: P Goldschmidt, ARI, 1B
7: J Altuve, HOU, 2B
8: G Stanton, MIA, OF
9: F Hernandez, SEA, P
10: R Cano, SEA, 2B
11: C Sale, CHA, P
12: A Jones, BAL, OF
13: R Braun, MIL, OF
14: D Price, DET, P
15: C Gomez, MIL, OF
16: M Brantley, CLE, OF
17: M Bumgarner, SF, P
18: A Rendon, WAS, 2B
19: S Strasburg, WAS, P
20: I Desmond, WAS, SS
21: B Posey, SF, C
22: J Bautista, TOR, OF
23: J Ellsbury, NYA, OF
24: B Harper, WAS, OF
25: H Pence, SF, OF
26: A Gonzalez, LAD, 1B
27: F Freeman, ATL, 1B
28: A Beltre, TEX, 3B
29: P Fielder, TEX, 1B
30: C Gonzalez, COL, OF
31: S Marte, PIT, OF
32: A Rizzo, CHN, 1B
33: J Upton, SD, OF
34: J Zimmermann, WAS, P
35: C Kluber, CLE, P
36: J Reyes, TOR, SS
37: T Tulowitzki, COL, SS
38: M Scherzer, WAS, P
39: J Donaldson, TOR, 3B
40: E Encarnacion, TOR, 1B
41: V Martinez, DET, 1B
42: A Pujols, LAA, 1B
43: Y Puig, LAD, OF
44: A Wainwright, STL, P
45: Z Greinke, LAD, P
46: K Seager, SEA, 3B
47: D Wright, NYN, 3B
48: B Hamilton, CIN, OF
49: M Kemp, SD, OF
50: J Cueto, CIN, P
51: I Kinsler, DET, 2B
52: A Chapman, CIN, P
53: D Gordon, MIA, 2B
54: D Murphy, NYN, 2B
55: E Longoria, TAM, 3B
56: C Hamels, PHI, P
57: M Holliday, STL, OF
58: J Votto, CIN, 1B
59: C Yelich, MIA, OF
60: H Iwakuma, SEA, P
61: J Lucroy, MIL, C
62: C Kimbrel, ATL, P
63: D Pedroia, BOS, 2B
64: B Revere, PHI, OF
65: H Ramirez, BOS, SS
66: S Castro, CHN, SS
67: A Gordon, KC, OF
68: T Frazier, CIN, 3B
69: R Zimmerman, WAS, 3B
70: Y Cespedes, DET, OF
71: N Cruz, SEA, OF
72: C Dickerson, COL, OF
73: M Ozuna, MIA, OF
74: J Werth, WAS, OF
75: H Kendrick, LAD, 2B
76: W Rosario, COL, C
77: G Richards, LAA, P
78: A Ramirez, CHA, SS
79: E Andrus, TEX, SS
80: M Machado, BAL, 3B
81: B Belt, SF, 1B
82: G Holland, KC, P
83: Y Darvish, TEX, P
84: J Samardzija, CHA, P
85: P Sandoval, BOS, 3B
86: N Arenado, COL, 3B
87: C Davis, BAL, 1B
88: B Gardner, NYA, OF
89: A Rios, KC, OF
90: M Adams, STL, 1B
91: J Heyward, STL, OF
92: W Myers, SD, OF
93: D Span, WAS, OF
94: M Cabrera, CHA, OF
95: L Martin, TEX, OF
96: J Kipnis, CLE, 2B
97: E Aybar, LAA, SS
98: M Carpenter, STL, 3B
99: B Butler, OAK, 1B
100: S Choo, TEX, OF
101: E Hosmer, KC, 1B
102: J Bruce, CIN, OF
103: J Morneau, COL, 1B
104: J Teheran, ATL, P
105: M Tanaka, NYA, P
106: D Santana, MIN, SS
107: N Walker, PIT, 2B
108: N Castellanos, DET, 3B
109: K Calhoun, LAA, OF
110: A Eaton, CHA, OF
111: A LaRoche, CHA, 1B
112: J Martinez, DET, OF
113: B Zobrist, OAK, 2B
114: C Blackmon, COL, OF
115: C Crawford, LAD, OF
116: S Gray, OAK, P
117: A Jackson, SEA, OF
118: D Mesoraco, CIN, C
119: Y Molina, STL, C
120: H Street, LAA, P
121: A Escobar, KC, SS
122: M Prado, MIA, 2B
123: C Utley, PHI, 2B
124: S Perez, KC, C
125: L Chisenhall, CLE, 3B
126: J Harrison, PIT, 3B
127: M Pineda, NYA, P
128: R Castillo, BOS, OF
129: B Dozier, MIN, 2B
130: J Loney, TAM, 1B
131: G Springer, HOU, OF
132: L Duda, NYN, 1B
133: D Betances, NYA, P
134: A Cobb, TAM, P
135: J Arrieta, CHN, P
136: F Rodney, SEA, P
137: K Jansen, LAD, P
138: A Wood, ATL, P
139: J Peralta, STL, SS
140: C Santana, CLE, 1B
141: Y Gomes, CLE, C
142: S Gennett, MIL, 2B
143: K Wong, STL, 2B
144: L Cain, KC, OF
145: A Craig, BOS, OF
146: D Ortiz, BOS, DH
147: M Trumbo, ARI, 1B
148: J deGrom, NYN, P
149: R Odor, TEX, 2B
150: B Moss, CLE, OF
151: J Hardy, BAL, SS
152: C Headley, NYA, 3B
153: S Cishek, MIA, P
154: D Fowler, HOU, OF
155: M Wieters, BAL, C
156: P Alvarez, PIT, 3B
157: C Johnson, ATL, 3B
158: C Carter, HOU, DH
159: A Garcia, CHA, OF
160: K Davis, MIL, OF
161: M Morse, MIA, OF
162: G Polanco, PIT, OF
163: D Stubbs, COL, OF
164: J Fernandez, MIA, P
165: D Fister, WAS, P
166: J Lester, CHN, P
167: C Carrasco, CLE, P
168: J Shields, FA, P
169: M Shoemaker, LAA, P
170: D Smyly, TAM, P
171: J Papelbon, PHI, P
172: T Roark, WAS, P
173: A Sanchez, DET, P
174: E Gattis, HOU, C
175: H Ryu, LAD, P
176: J Rollins, LAD, SS
177: J Segura, MIL, SS
178: D Jennings, TAM, OF
179: B Phillips, CIN, 2B
180: T Plouffe, MIN, 3B
181: A Ramirez, MIL, 3B
182: A Cabrera, TAM, SS
183: A Lind, MIL, 1B
184: O Arcia, MIN, OF
185: M Betts, BOS, OF
186: C Crisp, OAK, OF
187: A De Aza, BAL, OF
188: J Hamilton, LAA, OF
189: B Lawrie, OAK, 2B
190: J Mauer, MIN, 1B
191: J Jay, STL, OF
192: A Pagan, SF, OF
193: P Hughes, MIN, P
194: D Robertson, CHA, P
195: A Cashner, SD, P
196: M Fiers, MIL, P
197: M Melancon, PIT, P
198: B McCann, NYA, C
199: J Lowrie, HOU, SS
200: J Mercer, PIT, SS
201: J Gyorko, SD, 2B
202: T Yasmany, ARI, 3B
203: D Ackley, SEA, OF
204: M Bourn, CLE, OF
205: C Cron, LAA, 1B
206: R Davis, DET, OF
207: T Hunter, MIN, OF
208: J Lagares, NYN, OF
209: N Markakis, ATL, OF
210: J Soler, CHN, OF
211: D Salazar, CLE, P
212: J Weaver, LAA, P
213: M Cain, SF, P
214: G Cole, PIT, P
215: D Viciedo, CHA, OF
216: R Martin, TOR, C
217: C Allen, CLE, P
218: Z Britton, BAL, P
219: Y Ventura, KC, P
220: F Rodriguez, MIL, P
221: T Rosenthal, STL, P
222: X Bogaerts, BOS, SS
223: B Crawford, SF, SS
224: A Simmons, ATL, SS
225: D Freese, LAA, 3B
226: C Gillaspie, CHA, 3B
227: K Morales, KC, 1B
228: S Pearce, BAL, 1B
229: C Rasmus, FA, OF
230: M Cuddyer, NYN, OF
231: C Granderson, NYN, OF
232: R Howard, PHI, 1B
233: G Parra, MIL, OF
234: J Pederson, LAD, OF
235: A Pollock, ARI, OF
236: M Wacha, STL, P
237: Y Solarte, SD, 2B
238: D LeMahieu, COL, 2B
239: J Panik, SF, 2B
240: C Tillman, BAL, P
241: M Montero, CHN, C
242: W Ramos, WAS, C
243: E Cabrera, FA, SS
244: T Watson, PIT, P
245: N Feliz, TEX, P
246: S Kazmir, OAK, P
247: A Sanchez, TOR, P
248: M Stroman, TOR, P
249: J Verlander, DET, P
250: S Casilla, SF, P

I hope this is a good start for you in your draft.

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15 Hall of Fame Voters Decided the Big Unit Wasn’t Hallworthy.

Trace Wood’s campaign to get Randy Johnson elected unanimously to the Hall of Fame, initiated after 16 voters failed to vote for Greg Maddux last year, was only a little successful. Fifteen of those deemed by the Baseball Writers Associaton of America qualified to vote for the Hall, neglected to name Johnson on the 2015 ballot.

Presumably one of old guard died in between ballots. Call that incremental improvement. At this pace, only 14 will leave Ken Griffey Jr. off next year’s ballot.

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A Pitch Clock.

pitchclock-arizonaThere’s a story here that is all gung ho in favor of a ML pitch clock that limits pitchers to 20 seconds between pitches.

The writer shows the average times for the Royals pitchers last year, and only Bruce Chen averaged less than 20 seconds. He notes, however, that there wasn’t a pitch clock, that hitters were allowed more time to get ready than they presumably will if the pitcher is facing a clock, and the Royals other starters, Ventura and Guthrie, were just a hair over 20 seconds on average, so maybe wouldn’t be too rushed if the rule is adopted. All well and good.

I just wanted to report that after watching some games in the Arizona Fall League last November, in which the pitch clock was used, the main thing we noticed is that there were clocks everywhere. In order to make sure everyone knew how much time remained, there were clocks on the fence behind the catcher, on each dugout, and on the right and left field fences. Maybe it was the novelty, but the bright flickering light was a definite distraction. (The picture above shows the clocks on the first base side.)

And just as at a basketball game, there was almost as much suspense watching the pitcher beat the clock as there was seeing him work the batter. So, the clocks are ugly and distracting. Will they speed up the game?

Another point is that the clock is reset when the pitcher starts his rocker step. So, if a pitcher uses all 20 seconds to start his rocker step, his full windup and delivery will put him on a longer than 20 second pace.

With that in mind, if each pitch is made on average five seconds faster, a game with 250 pitches would save 1250 seconds. That’s 21 minutes or so, which would be quite an accomplishment, but would we even notice? I suspect that we wouldn’t. We would still be irritated by pitching changes for every batter in the later innings, in games aren’t all that close, and two minute breaks between half innings for commercials, and three minutes for the 7th inning stretch’s two songs–at least. These are the things that make baseball games seem slow and too long, and each is hard to address because it either is an important part of the competition strategically, or it is a money generator.

So if we’re really concerned about game length, let’s try another idea: Seven inning games.

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Hitler on the Donaldson-Lawrie Trade.

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The Week 15 Fantasy Football Podcast is Posted!

Andy and Derek preview this week’s big games, from a fantasy playoff perspective.

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The Week 14 Fantasy Football Podcast is Here

Catch it here.

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Come On Up to the Table! The Week 13 Fantasy Football Podcast is Up!

Andy and Derek’s podcast this week is full of tips to help you win your game this week, without having to loosen your belt. Good luck.

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