ASK ROTOMAN: Who Picks/Pans Best?

Dear Rotoman,

I always get the Fantasy Baseball Guide.  Can you please be objective and tell me which of the analysts are the best with their picks and pans?  Thanks very much in advance.

“Judge or Jury”

Dear JoJ:

If I was going to be objective I would go over the Picks and Pans each year and grade them. Was the writer right? Or wrong? On every single opinion.

In fact, every year some readers suggest I do exactly that. But I can’t.

I invite all these writers to my magazine, to participate in an exercise that I hope is as fun for them to write as it is for readers to read. I believe it is, since so many of them have contributed for years and years and years.

Screenshot 2014-02-13 22.39.58





One of the reasons they find it fun, I think, is because the guidelines are loose. The writers choose which players to write about, how many to write, and what a pick or pan is. Sometimes a pan is a slam of a bad player, but more often it’s a reminder that the market on this mid-level hitter or that superstar pitcher is likely to run too hot (and his skills aren’t likely to keep up) so you should stay away.

Sometimes a pick will contain serious analysis, and sometimes it is really a premise for a good joke or a bad pun. The degree of difficulty varies wildly from Pick to Pan and back, from any single writer and between all of them, and that’s how I think it should be.

I understand wanting a scorecard, I think it might be a good idea for someone to do objective polling of preseason player analysis, but I’m not the one to provide it. I host of nearly 30 top fantasy baseball analysts at what I hope feels a bit like a party, and I think it would be rude for me to give them marks.

Grading would also goes against the Picks and Pans premise, and that of the entire Fantasy Baseball Guide, which is to present data and ideas and conversation about players and strategies, in order to help the reader make up their own minds.

To better the conversation, I want the writers to be loose, willing to experiment and have some fun. I fear that in a contest, maybe more of the picks and pans would be “correct,” but that we’d lose a little of the loosey-goosey playfulness that makes these short bits genuinely enlightening sometimes.

But I am curious. Whose comments do you find most useful, and why? Because that certainly is part of the ongoing conversation.


2014 Multiposition Chart

For years we ran this chart in the Fantasy Baseball Guide, but in recent years we’ve added some advertisers and had to cut some content. The multiposition and profit loss charts seemed to be the best suited for transfer to the web.

The spreadsheet includes all players in the 2014 Guide who had 15 or more games played in 2013 at two or more positions in the majors (in the first chart) or the minors (in the second).

How this works in your league will depend on your rules, but it’s a good place to search out players who have more roster flexibility.

2014 Fantasy Guide Corrections and Links

Yes, we sometimes make misteaks. Here is the place to find the corrections (and look below for some links):


pg. 3, Rob Blackstien should have been listed as a writer, his first working on football after years of baseball writing.

pg. 38-46, in the stats chart. Every time it says PASSING it should say RUSHING.

pg. 39. LeSean McCoy is a big player. That’s why he’s on the cover. He’s not 6’11. That’s a typo.

Team Pages: The profiles written by Marc Meltzer are id’d with the inexplicable initials MB.

There are also a number of profiles that are unattributed. These are mostly the work of Nick Minnix.


pg. 3, Copy Editor: There was (and still is) a placeholder for “the other guy,” who ended up not contributing as a copy editor and wasn’t available to notice that the placeholder should have been deleted.

pg. 6, Masahiro Tanaka profile, third line from the end, the word “store” should have been “starter.”

pg. 10, 5ive More came up a little short and should have had its name changed to 6ix More when Kolten Wong was added.

#23, Alex Hanson should be Alen Hanson. Dum.

pg. 30, the picture caption for Clayton Kershaw says: San Franscisco Giant, which is an obvious carryover from last year’s layout. The projection in the caption is also 15-7, 2.84 ERA, 0 Saves, 202 IP, 156 Hits, 60 BB, 205 K, 1.07 WHIP.

pg. 48, Khris Davis: His projection is the mechanical one that builds off his short season. The real projection featured in the update will have a much lower batting average and probably fewer homers per at bat, but I’m still working on that.

pg. 48, Ike Davis: His 2013 earnings are listed at $0. He stunk, for sure, but he actually earned $2.

pg. 66, Junior Lake: His projection is a mechanical one that gives him too high a BA. I wrote more about him here.

pg. 105, Wei-Yin Chen: bone spurts SB bone spurrs.

Projections and Prices Update. The page is password protected. The password is the first word of Rick Wilton’s comment about Albert Pujols in the Hitters section of the Guide.

Multiposition Chart. The old favorite from the Guide. All Major League and Minor League Players with 15 or more games played at two or more positions.

The Fantasy Baseball Guide 2014 Professional Edition Has Landed!


The 15th annual is on its way to stores now. It includes profiles of more than 1,400 players, Picks and Pans or more than 300 players by an awe-inspiring roster of fantasy baseball talent, special profiles of this season’s Top 25 Rookie candidates, an excerpt from Larry Schechter’s new book, an NFBC-rules Mock Draft of top industry professionals, five Strategies of Champions pieces in which winners tell how they did it, and our§ information packed Draft At A Glance pages for each position, filled with tier notes, bid price lists and fast facts about last year’s profits and losses.

The Poetry of Football.

FG-FOOTBALL-2013-COVERThe Fantasy Football Guide 2013 is out now. I’ve seen it in many stores and you can buy the online or pdf versions at

This year’s Guide is full of sharp opinions, considered analysis and clear charts and stats all designed to help you prepare for your fantasy drafts this year. We even resisted the temptation to put Aaron Hernandez on the cover, so rest assured we did a lot of things right. Every year, please believe me, we put additional resources into getting things right, and we’re getting better each year I think, though there can still be the occasional headscratcher.

One big thing I screwed up this year has nothing to do with football, but is so elementally wrong I feel compelled to cop to the error here and I hope clear the air.

Each year my old buddy Jon Glascoe writes a piece for the back page of the Guide. His tone is usually comic, his subjects usually bit dark (but funny), and his writing glib and conversational and a bit philosophical. I’m always pleased to have his voice in the Guide, as I was this year.

Dylan_ThomasBut alas, in editing his piece called The New Male Manifesto Edition I judged that his last line paraphrase of Dylan Thomas’s hugely famous poem Do not go gentle into that good night would be improved by direct quotation.

So I changed Jon’s “Rage against the dying of the light,” to “Do not go gentle into that dark night/Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Good idea, but the actual quote is:

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

What has been done cannot be undone, but I just want to be clear that this was my error, introduced into Jon’s copy. And I’m all apologies.


Ps. If you would like to read the whole poem you can do so at Thomas is great to read out loud, but there is also a recording of the poet reading the poem, which isn’t in keeping with current styles but is powerful nonetheless.

Pps. I didn’t think this particular poem had much to say about football, but then there is this stanza:

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Perhaps Aaron Rodgers should be worried.

STATLAND is here!

Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 1.58.42 PMSince the original Fantasy Baseball Guide, in 2000, a section in the back of the book called STATLAND has included Profit and Loss charts and Multiposition Eligibility charts from the preceding year’s play.

This year, when the player profiles were longer than the hole we had to fill them, we decided to move STATLAND online. Here are the charts in a variety of formats.

Multiposition PDF
2012 Profit-Loss PDF

Statland in Google Docs

Department of Corrections 2013

When we find things that are wrong in The Guide, we list them here.

pg. 7. Wil Myers is spelled Will Myers in great big letters. Wrong. Wil is right.

pg 52. Dexter Fowler gets the same pan from Jeffrey Winick that Winick gave to Jacoby Ellsbury. Wrong! It should read, WINICK PAN: “Top notch power/speed guy, right? Not so fast. Gets picked off way too often and doesn’t hit too well on the road. Don’t overpay.” Tip o’ the cap to Brian in Austin.

Read more

Rolen in the Deep: Will he sign?

Scott-Rolen-2012-Reds One of the biggest, most time consuming tasks putting out the Guide is selecting which 1400 players get in.

I wish I could say there was some science to it, but over the years I’ve tried different rules-based approaches and have always ended up with a similar ratio: About 200 hitters and 200 pitchers we profile don’t play in the majors that year, and about 200 hitters and 200 pitchers we don’t profile do play in the majors that year.

Many of the guys we don’t profile who are called up from the minors would be impossible to select, don’t play very much and I’m resigned to missing them. In recent years, however, I’ve been more aggressive about cutting guys. The rule used to be, if you played in the majors last year you were in, unless you had announced your retirement, but now I let the standard be, “can you write a profile about him that really assumes he’ll be active this year?”

It was on those grounds that I cut Scott Rolen from the 2013 list. Always with an affinity for injury, the last two years he has been hurt a lot and failed to produce when he did play. I could not imagine how you could write a profile that didn’t assume his retirement.

I still can’t imagine it, but the reports today that the Dodgers are interested are interesting because the Dodgers don’t have a third baseman. (Apologies to Mrs. Cruz.) If Rolen does end up in camp we’ll profile him here and at My bet is he’s going to do the right thing and go fishing, but I’m sure it galls him to contemplate ending it on such a low note. If he thinks he can do better he’s probably wrong, but I wouldn’t blame him for trying.

ASK ROTOMAN: When Does the Guide Arrive?

Dear Rotoman

When will the 2013 Fantasy Baseball Guide Professional Edition be out and can I order one in advance?

Best pre-season magazine ever. It made a big difference for me last season and helped me win my league…


Dear Mike:

Thanks for the kind words and the good news. That’s what we like to hear.

We just sent the Guide 2013 off to the printer. The official release date is the second Tuesday in February, which means it should start showing up in stores around February 1st. 

Also this year, I hope next week, we’ll be releasing a version of the magazine for reading online, by eReader, iPads, other tablets. We don’t have direct sales of the physical mag, but you’ll be able to find a link here on site to buy the electronic version and get access sooner. We hope that’s a help to everyone who has a problem finding the Guide in stores.

Follow #kroyte on Twitter. I’ll announce there (and here) when it’s available.

Thanks for asking!