Five Days Left. ADLed Thoughts.

Going into Tuesday’s games, I had 71 points. The Bags had 69.5. The Palukas had 67.

Going into Wednesday’s game I have 72 points, the Bags have 70, and the Palukas have 66.5.

Here’s what’s up:

kylegibsonFor me, the big decision was whether to activate Kyle Gibson for his start against the Diamondbacks (the 25th worst-scoring team in the majors this year). After a solid first half, Gibson had a 4.64 ERA in July, a 5.19 in August, and including last night’s gem, a 6.26 ERA in September. But I needed wins and the Diamondbacks are not a good offense, with their cleanup hitter Mark Trumbo, who has a .658 OPS against righties this year. He struck out three times last night. It worked out.

The Bags moved ahead of the Moose last night by one and remain one behind the Nova in RBI. Volatile.

Erick Aybar stole a base last night, so I moved into a tie for first in SB with the Moose. The Bags and the teams two ahead and one behind all had one steal, the status quo remained quo.

More BA woes for the Bags means he’s threatened from behind, with a ways to go to move up. I’m locked in first.

Despite Gibson’s fine game, the BB’s got good starts out of Sonny Gray and RA Dickey and clawed closer to me in ERA (2.59 to 2.60).

He’s one win behind the Bags in wins, which made Gray’s hard-luck loss harder to take.

The Bags emailed me last night, bemoaning the late news that Marcus Stroman was being shut down. Too bad. Here’s the Wins situation as it now stands…

2. Jerry’s 85 (5:Norris@NYY, Odorizi@BOS, ScherzervsMIN, KurodavsBAL, Rasmus@SEA)
2. BadK 85 (6:Sale@DET, BonillavsHOU, Gausman@NYY, PorcellovsMIN, LobsteinvsMIN, Gibson@DET. Plus, I could activate NoesivsKC)
4. Bags 82 (6: TWalker@TOR, QuintanavsKC, IwakumavsLAA, KlubervsTB, Tropeano@NYM, Pineda@BOS)
5. BB Guns 81 (7: Tillman@TOR, HousevsTB, Nolasco@DET, DHollandvsOAK, CJWilson@SEA, Gray@TEX, DickeyvsBAL)
6. Palukas 80 (5: BauervsKC, LestervsLAA, WebstervsTB, Shields@CWS, CarrascovsTB)



Six and out. An American Dream League Update.


Kyle Seager hit a homer and I gained half a point by moving ahead of the Jerrys. And Albert Pujols hit a homer and moved the Bags into a tie with the Tooners.

The Bags remained tied with the Nova in RBI, thanks to that Pujols dinger in a lost cause, and the Moose Factory passed both, costing the Bags a point.

Moose stole two bases, passing me in that category. No movement for the Bags, who are one ahead and two behind.

In Batting Average the Bags continue to flail, and the Nabobs have moved within .0004 of catching them. More importantly, a .002 gap has opened in front of the Bags.

In Wins, the Palukas won the suspended game with Cody Allen, moving to within one of the Bags, but then the Bags (Pineda) and BBs won games. Kyle Lobstein got off to a bad start to his game versus the White Sox, but ended up allowing two runs in seven innings and losing because the Tigers were shut down by free agent starter Chris Bassitt. Bags are now two wins behind me.

In the Saves clump, Bags (Petricka) and Peppers (Feliz) earned saves, moving one ahead of the Tooners and Hackers.

Thanks to CJ Wilson, the BBs fell behind me in ERA, and there was no real WHIP movement.

The final tally? Bad K still rule, with 71, while the Bags stand at 69.5. 

At one moment yesterday—at least—it was 70-69.5, but the Palukas had lost half a point.  There are too many points at stake in too many categories to predict how this is going to go. What I know is that if I lose that point to the Bags in wins, I’m toast.

Which means I have to seriously consider activating Kyle Gibson for today’s game against the Diamondbacks. Gibson has been miserable the last month, it’s something of a surprise the Twins are running him out there again. But Arizona is the games 24th worst offense, and the pitcher will be hitting.

Unmentioned until now, the Peppers report they have a road to about 68 points, climbing into third or even second place possibly if he gets enough steals. He was frustrated that Terrance Gore’s steal in the 10th inning of yesterday’s resumed suspended game didn’t count for his team.

Could the hue and cry of fantasy league players make baseball change the way it does its bookkeeping?

UPDATE: Before Tuesday night’s games I dropped Adam Lind and activated Nick Franklin, and released Jeff Beliveau and activated Kyle Gibson, who I had sat two weeks ago to try to avoid more beatings. Franklin, I hope, has more chance for HR and SB than Lind. I don’t care that much about BA and RBI. As for Gibson, he has a start tonight against a weak Arizona offense and Sunday, against a resting Tigers. I have one team one Win ahead of me, and the second place team is two wins behind. This stupid category is very important. But the risk is that Gibson pulls a Paxton. I’m hoping very short leash, since he’s in uncharted innings waters, but we’ll see.



Seven More Days in the American Dream League

Yesterday started off nicely, with two homers, giving me a little cushion over the Jerrys, but the last runs of the day came from a Josh Donaldson blast, bringing the Jerrys back into a tie with me in home runs. I finished the day with 70.5 points.

Screenshot 2014-09-22 11.43.59All kinds of things happened to the Bags, who gained a point and a half in RBI, but lost two in Saves, where four teams stand tied today at 58. He has a total of 69 points this morning.

Each team’s closers:

BAGS: Petricka, Putnam, Britton (4/10) (Games at home/Games on road)
TOONERS: Robertson, Doolittle (7/7)
PEPPERMARTINS: Qualls, Feliz, Street (7/12)
HACKERS: Mujica, Nathan (13/0)

The Peppers have the edge here. They also have Soria, if Nathan should stumble. Bags benefit because closers derive a slightly higher percentage of their saves when the team is on the road, but the bottom line is that in such a small number of games, anything can happen.

The other big news as of this morning. The Bags had $11 FAAB left, no one else had more than $6. I had $0. We bought:

Bags paid $7 for Rusney Castillo. I drafted Lisalverto Bonilla and Danny Farquhar.

One other interesting thing today. At 6:05 the Indians and Royals resume a game that was suspended a few weeks ago, with the Indians up by two entering the bottom of the 10th inning. Stats aren’t credited from suspended games until the game is finished. If the Indians can hold on Cody Allen, who blew the save in the 9th, will get the win, moving the Palukas within one win of the Bags.

The Bags have eight starts this week. The Pals have only five on their active roster, with Allen Webster on the bench.

I’m one win behind the Jerry’s, in what could prove to be another pivotal point. I have seven starts active, with Kyle Gibson and Hector Noesi on the bench. The Jerry’s have five starters.

About the Palukas: They’re in the hunt with 77 points, but it looks to me like they have a potential plus of three points, unless something incredible happens. It’s possible, but I think unlikely, for both my team and the Bags to finish below 70, the Pals apparent cap. We’ll be watching.



Eight Days Left.

Entering Saturday’s games I had a two point lead on the Burn Bags. Here’s what happened that mattered:

My team had no starting pitchers. Matt Scherzer won a game for the Tigers and for Jerry’s Kids. I lost half a point.

The Burn Bags got a win from Marcus Stroman, and gained half a game.

At the start of Sunday, Bad K had 70.5, Burn Bags had 69.5.

Bad K had Rick Porcello starting on Sunday. Burn Bags had Corey Kluber and Hisashi Iwakuma. What could go wrong?

No. 9! A Big Day With The Stick

I asked for homers, and Kyle Seager, Ian Kinsler, and Kennys Vargas each hit one, while Dustin Ackley hit two!

I asked for steals, and James Jones came running.

I asked for wins, and, oh well. Kevin Gausman pitched fine, but some porous defense and the fact that, having clinched, the Orioles had no need to push him, lead to a no decision.

Alas, the Jerry’s won, costing me a half point in Wins. We’re tied. He’s got Scherzer going today. I could promote Hector Noesi, who is facing the Rays and Chris Archer in Tampa. What are the odds? The White Sox are underdogs by 161+, meaning if you bet $100 on them you would get paid $161 if they won. Yeesh.

So, after a very nice day with the stick and, other than Yeorvis Medina, some good pitching, the Bad K lost a point. And the Bags, who scored wins from Taiwan Walker and Jose Quintana, gained a point. So things are tightening up.

UPDATE: I took a look at ERA and 3 ER in 5 IP would cost me a point to the Nova. Without Noesi pitching today I have nine starts left (including Noesi against the Royals next week). So do the Jerry’s. I’m not going to activate him.

Screenshot 2014-09-20 10.20.43

Countdown! 10 Days to… What?

I’m in first place in the American Dream League. Here are today’s standings (click to enlarge):Screenshot 2014-09-19 14.08.53There are 10 days left in the season, and I find myself chewing over the categories, trying to find comfort, but there is little succor except that right now I’m in first place. Here are some of the things that my team needs to do:

Hit home runs. As the start of this week my team was one behind Jerry’s Kids, but is now four behind. And only one ahead of the Moose Factory. Passing the Jerry’s is the only offensive point I can add.

Steal bases. I’m three steals ahead of the Moose Factory, but they’ve been running a lot. I lost Alex Rios and Brock Holt, and Erick Aybar isn’t running. I put James Jones in on Wednesday and he stole a base. That’s good.

Win games. At the start of the week I was four wins ahead of Jerry’s Kids, but that is down to one. I’ve got Kevin Gausman tonight against the Red Sox. Jerry’s have Hiroki Kuroda against the Blue Jays. If Gausman doesn’t win I may have to insert Hector Noesi for his Sunday start, which is alarming. I could use some relief wins.

Get a save. A month ago I had three more saves than the BB Guns, who had no closers. But suddenly Aaron Sanchez saved two games for the Blue Jays and now I have a one save lead.

The bottom line for my team is I have an upside of one point in home runs, and that’s pretty much it (barring a complete pitching meltdown for one of the teams ahead of me in ERA and WHIP). I have a downside of about three and a half points.

Let’s look at my main competitor, the Burn Bags:

He’s one homer behind the Fine Tooners in Home Runs. (Potential: +1)

He’s tied with the Moose Factory in RBI, and they are four RBI behind the Palukas and Nova. (Potential: +2.5)

In Batting Average, there are four teams between .2605 and .2580. All four of those have been switching places almost every day. The Bags are the last of the four because his hitters have been very cold. A hot streak would be devastating, to me. (Potenial: +3)

In Wins the Bags are tied with the Palukas and one behind the BBs. (Potential: +1.5)

In Saves the Bags are two saves ahead of the Tooners and the Peppermartins and three saves ahead of the Hackers. I had expected the Tooners and Peppers to both pass him weeks ago, and time is running out. (Potential: -1)

He has potential to fairly easily add seven points to his total. If he adds four of those I’m going to have a hard time bettering his score. At this point, it seems, it’s much more about what his team does than mine.

Should be fun.

Here are the current categories:


Screenshot 2014-09-19 14.37.46


Screenshot 2014-09-19 14.38.02

The David Price Equation

A quick post trading deadline note.

Regular readers will recall that I tried to deal David Price at the start of July, based on the likelihood he would be traded out of the American League by the end of the month. I did not receive an offer that I though had enough of a premium until the third week, when I accepted a deal for Huston Street.

Even though I was kind of out of the saves game.

My thinking was that there was about $12.50 value left in Price for the last 10 weeks of the season. There was about $9 value left in Street. Since there was somewhere between a 25 to 50 percent chance Price would be traded to the NL (and my league would not count his stats), he was worth somewhere between $6 and $9 to me going forward.

Because of my position in Saves Street wasn’t an ideal match, but he would help my qualitatives and he meant I would end up with something rather than nothing.

After I acquired him I quickly moved past the one team immediately ahead of me in Saves, and the team that was behind me in Saves dealt his bevy of White Sox closers. I seemed secure at three points, with one team with no closers 10 saves ahead. That was the only other Saves point Huston Street could get me.

So, I offered up Huston Street for trade, and eventually dealt him for Kole Calhoun and Luke Gregerson. I hope Gregerson will put up good qualitative numbers, to help my team’s ERA and Ratio the way Street would have, and Calhoun will help offset some of what I lost when Eric Hosmer went down.

If Street was worth about $9 at this point, Calhoun was worth perhaps $7 to $9. He’s earned $11 in 4×4 already, in 300 AB. He should get close to another 200, making this a fair deal that better suits my team’s needs. Plus Street goes to a guy who can pass one of the guys I’m battling for first in Saves.

So: Price * 1/2 = Street = Calhoun + Gregerson. But it isn’t as straightforward as that.


The Price of Everything

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the dilemma of owning David Price in an AL only league in which the stats of players traded to the NL don’t count. I’d sent a note to the other owners in the American Dream League offering Price for a power hitter, a catcher preferably, but as a team battling for first place, willing to take any deal that returned fair value and helped my team in some way.

The initial offers—Jason Castro, Derek Norris—seemed potentially doable on July 29th, if I was panicked and certain that Price was going to the Dodgers or Cardinals, but not strong enough to get me to give up in early July the four or five more starts he likely had with Tampa in July, and the not insignificant potential that Price would remain in the American League.

I then came up with an idea that I thought was great. The team that owned Yu Darvish was in last place, below the point threshold that triggers a penalty in the next year’s FAAB. That is, a team loses one FAAB (of 50) for each point it finishes below 35 points. You also gain extra keeper slots for each standings place you gain, from four up to eight.  So a team in trouble has a great incentive to gain points.

My idea was to trade for Darvish, offering Price and James “Some Came Running” Jones, who has ranked second in the AL in stolen bases since he was inserted into the Mariners outfield on May 6th. Price is of equal value if he stays in the AL and no value if he is traded to the NL, which is where Jones comes in. If Price stays in the AL the team gets a huge boost, if he’s traded they still get some points moving up in steals.

The team that owned Darvish were not moved to move him. Part of the problem was that they only had three places to gain in steals, which is nice but not a big deal. And while Darvish and Price have keeper value for 2015, Darvish in all likelihood will be back. Not only might he lose Price this year, but he’d also likely lose him for next year.

At this point I was thinking that I might end up keeping Price. My pitching staff was okay, but it never hurts to have one of the best pitchers in the league on your team. And if I lost him? My staff was still okay, and if I managed it creatively I might even gain points in ERA and Ratio without Price. My lead in wins was big enough I wouldn’t be crushed. I was okay keeping Price, but then Huston Street was traded to Anaheim.

Huston Street

Two teams had $38 FAAB left. No other was close. One was in the second division, but second in saves with a big lead. He had no need for Street. The other was, depending on the day, a point ahead or behind me in the standings, a couple points out of first place. Another closer for him was worth at least three points in saves, plus another potential point or two in ERA and WHIP.

Over at the discussion board at I suggested that the team who didn’t need a closer might benefit more by buying Street and flipping him than by waiting to see who else is dealt to the AL. A bird in hand and all that. I wasn’t thinking at that time of being the one to get Street, I just didn’t want the team I was fighting to get him. That owner accused me of being self-interested. Guilty.

What I didn’t think of, the other owner did, was trading David Price for Huston Street. The other owner proposed it online, and there was only one reason I could see not to do it. I’m pretty far behind in Saves. Two saves for one point, and then it’s 13 saves to the pack. That’s a lot of ground to make up.

But I decided to go for it, for a few reasons.

Street is a fair value return for Price in 4×4. Did I mention this was 4×4? So far this year Street has earned $24 and Price $20, using Alex Patton’s prices. I don’t expect Street to outearn Price the rest of the way, Price’s first-half ERA was inflated by what seemed to be some bad luck on fly balls. More than usual left the yard. He should have a lower ERA in the last two months.

Important to me, however, is that relief pitcher ERA and Ratio have real value. To date, Price has earned $4.90 in ERA and $7.60 in WHIP. Street doesn’t have nearly as many innings, but he’s earned $4.20 in ERA and $3.90 in WHIP.

But if my per month earnings projection for Price is $5, he’s projected to earn $11 the rest of the way. While Street’s per month projection is $4, so he’s expected to earn $9. But there is some real chance that Price will do his earning in the NL. If that chance is 20 percent, I get a slight edge in the deal. If the odds are more 50-50, which I do, then things look very well today pricewise.

Category-wise, however, the prices are askew. For one, I have a big edge in wins, so Price’s wins (worth $8.70 to date) have helped me out to a decent lead in the category, and don’t mean that much to me at this point. And I have a big deficit in saves, so Streets saves (worth $14.90 so far) might not mean that much to me.

Except, I have a couple of outs, as we say in poker.

For some reason I bought Matt Lindstrom in our auction, and he was the White Sox closer at the start of the year before he got hurt. He is rehabbing now and is expected to be back in the majors in early August. If he is reinstalled as the team’s closer and save 5-10 games the rest of the way, I could actually make up ground.

I also have Aaron Loup, who saved two games for the Blue Jays this past weekend (before Casey Janssen was pounded last night). More saves is a big help (my fingers are crossed).

I hope that breaking the lead up to this deal will help illustrate the many different factors that go into dealmaking. I think the biggest one, however, are your league’s rules. This old school AL 4×4 league, the first AL rotisserie league in existence ever, is no longer typical, but then neither are your 6×6 15-team mixed league that doesn’t include teams from the NL west. Or whatever.

Working through how your league works will help you unlock value, and perhaps make trades that help both sides, and give you a better chance to win.

Trade Opportunity: Finding the right price for Price

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price (14)In the American Dream League, which is an ancient 4×4 AL only rotisserie league, a player who is dealt to an NL team is lost to it’s ADL owner.

Stats no longer accrue, he becomes a sudden bad memory, and a daily irritant, since the ADL owner may keep him on his reserve list, and where his production is posted daily accompanied by the notation (N.L.).

This leads me to experience a certain panic, because I am the owner of David Price in that league, and offers up something of an opportunity because I am the owner of David Price. Yesterday I emailed all the other owners in the league:

Subject: Trade Opportunity

Because we are approaching the month of July, and what we used to call the inter league trading deadline is looming, my thoughts turn to David Price.

Price is one of the best pitchers in the game, and has had an excellent if star-crossed first half. His Ratio is lower than his career Ratio, his strikeout rate is higher and his walk rate is lower than his career rates (he’s walked just 14 in 124 IP), yet his ERA is the highest of his career. Why? He’s allowed quite a few homers, and his BABIP is outrageous, partly because the Tampa defense hasn’t been as efficient as in the past, but also because he’s been wicked unlucky.

With all of that he’s earned $11 in the first half in 4×4, according to Alex Patton, and is on pace to earn $22. The important thing about that, however, is that he could earn much more than that if some of the bad breaks go his way in the second half.

Alas, we have a rule in the American Dream League that a player traded to the National League is dead to us, and David Price is the player most likely to traded this year before the July 31st deadline.

Now, he may not be traded to the National League. There are AL teams in the running for his services, too, but that drop dead rule means he’s about a 50/50 chance to be either the excellent pitcher David Price for an ADL team or null and void.

My team is in the running for the Lukas Cup this year, currently in second place, and is strong enough that I might be able to stay in contention without Price, but it occurs to me that it might make sense to flip him at this point and get half a pig rather than a poke.

Please feel free to make an offer. I’m not really in the market for speed or batting average, in fact I might package some of either or both for a nice power upgrade. I would also consider trading a potential keeper next year, if the price is right. My ideal candidate is a power-hitting catcher, for what that’s worth.

Thanks for reading along, and for your cleverest offers.And enjoy this lovely weekend.

The Bad K”

So far the letter has elicited a few offers of decent hitting catchers, which tells me I shouldn’t have used that example, and a gag offer of Vidal Nuno, who I was disappointed I didn’t land in the auction.

As I’ve discussed these trades Price’s price has become clearer:

His market price was $30, which included a little discount for the possibility he would be traded. But let’s say he’s a $30 pitcher (since there was also some draft inflation in our keeper league).

Half a season is worth $15. Because he has a 50/50 chance of being traded out of the league, his worth is actually $7.50. But because he actually probably has a month of playing time left in the AL, worth $5, his actual value is somewhere between $7.50 (if he were to be traded today) and $12.50 (if he were to be traded on July 31).

Because I probably just lost Josh Reddick to the DL, I have a hole in the outfield, so I’m looking for an outfielder who cost $25 more than Endy Chavez on auction day, or a catcher who cost $20 more than Carlos Corporan.

One interesting aspect to the ADL this year is our standings, which have bifurcated. There are seven teams between 71 and 56 points, and five teams between 40 and 32. A team that finishes with fewer than 35 points is penalized $1 of our $50 FAAB the next year for each point lower than 35 he finishes.

Plus, teams that finish 10-12 have fewer keeper slots the next year. So there’s a lot of incentive for one of the cellar dwellars to make a big play to climb out on David Price’s arm.  If he were to stay in the AL the rest of this summer, he’ll be a terrific bargain and give a down team a big edge. And might even turn out to be a keeper next year, too, if he signs a long-term deal.

I’ll let you know how things work out.

How’m I Doing? The End of April Report

I’m playing in three leagues this year. Tout Wars NL, American Dream League AL, XFL Mixed. This is about as close as I’ll get to the ideal of putting all one’s eggs in one basket, where attention is focused and mistakes hurt all season long.

So, how are things going?


The standings are bleak, and they’re not getting any better. Well, I did climb into 10th place last night, thanks to Todd’s nightmare.

Screenshot 2014-04-30 11.54.42

You can see all the league details here.

I went with an extreme Stars and Scrubs strategy here, and a pitching staff of Bumgarner, Rafael Soriano and a bunch of cheap guys. The hitting has not been helped by Ryan Zimmerman’s injury, and as expected picking up productive hitters via FAAB has not been easy. Tony Campana has helped with four steals. Otherwise, not so much from anyone.

The good news is that Nate McLouth should see more playing time due to Bryce Harper’s surgery, and I have an insane cushion in OBP. The question coming out of the auction was whether I would be able to deal OBP for productive hitters in other categories. It’s still too early to judge, but if I’m going to climb out of this hole it will be because someone saw lots of value in Joey Votto.

The other good news is that the pitching staff has been pretty good, despite their pathetic standing in WHIP. Cheap guys out of the draft, Wily Peralta and Tanner Roark, have been good. So has cheap FAAB pickup Alfredo Simon. Bumgarner’s WHIP has been a big problem, as has Edwin Jackson’s performance overall, though that has improved lately. There’s work to be done here, but if Jake Arrieta isn’t bad and Andrew Heaney shows up in June, there is some potential to be a pretty good staff.

Getting off to a bad start is a problem. It makes it more difficult to maneuver, and puts pressure on that leads to mistakes. My week by week finishes (11, 10, 10, 3) show some improvement. There is still lots of time, if I make the right moves.


I’ve been in first or second all season thus far.

Screenshot 2014-04-30 12.10.51

I came out of the auction thinking I had a pretty strong team, both offensively and in pitching. Until last week I was languishing in homers, however, but then Kyle Seager busted out, and things are okay there.

Where I am suffering right now is stolen bases, despite having guys like Alex Rios, Shin Soo Choo, Erick Aybar, and Ian Kinsler. And wasn’t Eric Hosmer supposed to run a little, too? The problem is that all my speed guys are pushing into their thirties, so it shouldn’t be a surprise they’ve slowed down some. I’m going to need to do something about that.

Especially because I didn’t buy a closer, despite intentions to. I did buy Matt Thornton, as a CIW, and scored, sort of. He’s saved three games, which is better than nothing, but obviously if I don’t add steals I’m going to need to trade some speed for saves. It’s going to take a lot of luck to improve in both categories.

Last week was a rough one, because I lost Chris Sale and Shin Soo Choo for extended period, and dropped into second place. Shoo came back last night, and Sale is expected next week, probably. This team has broad enough talent that I should be able to compete, but it’s still early. Plenty more could go wrong.


This odd mixed league, with an auction in November and a 17-round reserve draft in March, is a keeper league. Alex Patton and I are co-owners.

Right now we have a strong offense, but have been hobbled by our big three starters, Jordan Zimmerman, Jered Weaver and Mike Minor. We also have a team construction problem. Since these guys aren’t big strikeout guys, and we’re playing three closers, we can’t really compete in strikeouts.

This being a mixed league (15 teams), the success of the secondary starters is very important and we’ve not gotten much out of Jenry Mejia, Felix Doubront, Jarred Cosart and some others. Henderson Alvarez has been excellent, but it’s hard to expect him to continue on this level.

This is a league in which teams play to win, and when that is clearly not in the cards they trade for next year’s keepers. We’re in poor enough shape to have started to think about the next step, but we have so much talent it’s hard to embrace failure so soon. Alex is chomping to make changes, I’m keeping my fingers crossed. But losing Archie Bradley is not a harbinger.

Screenshot 2014-04-30 12.25.56