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!

The Fantasy Baseball Guide 2013 Mock Draft

The first three picks (not giving much away) were Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout. The Guide will appear in stores at the start of February. Come back here after the first of the year for information about a digital version available online.

Mastersball’s Lawr Michaels organized the mock draft for this year’s Guide (as he has each Mock since the beginning). It is a raucous affair at Mock Draft Central, with a robust pace and lots of sniping. You can read Lawr’s comments about his draft in his Bed Goes Up, Bed Goes Down column.

Corrections: The Guide 2012

Some people are finding the Guide at Barnes and Nobles and Wal Marts and other stores, and some are not. We don’t have any way of knowing which stores will stock it, but a call to the manager of your favorite outlet might save you a trip if they don’t.

There is one major error in the Guide. As I noted, I rejiggered the way I calculated the rates of the different stats, using component information. The results are that the baselines turned out to be much more interesting in and of themselves. That is, I’ve had to make fewer adjustments to take into account what appeared to be good and bad luck on the field. It will take more testing to confirm, but the first round I ran indicated that these baselines are more accurate, meaning they’re closer to a player’s talent before I intervene to tweak them.

The error was the result of a small error in the number of hits projected. For some reason the formula was projecting too many hits. Not too many doubles or homers, but too many singles. The system was also projecting a small decline in AB and IP, which is a pretty standard way to account for time missed due to injuries. The problem is that the two variables moving in opposite directions meant that the projections for batting average and WHIP were too high. I did lots of comparing the projections to last year’s stats and other projection systems and didn’t catch this error. So, in the magazine the projected BA and WHIP are systemically too high. I’m sorry for the mistake, which doesn’t change any of the prices. You can download updated and corrected projections here.

Another mistake: Juan Carlos Linares is found alphabetically in the C section.

I would like to point out that the most excellent writer/analyst and all around St. Louis Cardinals expert, Brian Walton, was left out of the credits for the Picks and Pans. My apologies to Brian.

A note about prices: When we make the Guide I put bid prices on all sorts of players who may not start the year in the majors. My thinking is that these reflect an estimate of what these players will be worth when they are called up, taking into consideration that they might not be called up or could be called up in September. As we move through spring training I start to convert these guys to minor leaguers. For instance, I don’t think Mike Trout will be starting the year in Anaheim unless they make some significant trades, so I’ve downgraded him from $4 in the Guide to an R1, which means that if he does get called up he has star potential.

But I haven’t yet downgraded Bryce Harper, because Davey Johnson is acting like Harper is going to break camp with the big club. I’m doubtful about that, but it still seems well within the range of possibilities. The point is that this process is fluid, and not exacting. Nolan Arenado still has a price, though he’s probably going to start the year in Triple-A, because I think he has a chance of changing minds. But he probably has no more chance of making the big club than Trout. The bid prices in the March 15 update will much better reflect the realities in the camps, though there will still be open questions we’ll be mulling over.

The Fantasy Baseball Guide 2012 has been sighted! Touched!

Tout Wars AL 2011 Champion Larry Schechter found this year’s Guide in an unnamed store at lunchtime today, and bought a copy, even though there’s one in the mail to him as we speak.

Larry was perhaps looking for his fun story, “The Gutsiest Trade I’ve Ever Made,” on page 20, about a deal he made last August in Tout Wars with Ron Shandler.

The official release date for the magazine is next week, but it seems that it’s landing on shelves now!

In fact, here’s a shot of it on the Fantasy Baseball rack at Barnes and Noble in Park Slope, Brooklyn! We’re out early, and I couldn’t be happier.

Bomb-Bedard-ed! What do you get for chasing? Eric-ed.

Eric Bedard Fishing

Anyone who plays roto knows that what you pay for your players can be just as important as who was on your team. The fantasy game is one of markets, and the winner’s objective is always to get as many players as possible that the market undervalued. How do you know a player was undervalued? At the end of the season he’s earned more than you paid for him.

The funny thing is that despite the importance of what guys cost, once Jerry Heath sold his legendary stat service back in the mid-90s, nobody kept track of what players actually cost each year. Nobody, that is, until I started collecting and publishing that info in the Fantasy Baseball Guide (ON SALE NOW) six or seven years ago.

The Fantasy Baseball Guide 2011
The Fantasy Baseball Guide 2011

Right now I’m putting the polish on the stats and projections that are going into the Patton $ Online product we sell (free trial going on now at and I came across the Cost and Price Scans for Eric Bedard, and do they tell a story:

In 2006, we paid $8 for Bedard, and he went out and earned us $17.

So, in 2007, we paid $19 for Bedard, and he went out and earned us $29.

So, in 2008, we paid $30 for Bedard, and he fell off the edge, earning $7.

But in 2009, we paid $19 because he was Eric Bedard, and he bounced back to earn $12 and lose us money.

Last year, we paid $8 for Bedard, and he didn’t pitch. What are we going to pay him this year?

Alex Patton says $5 right now. Mike Fenger says $4. I say he looks like a reserve to me, a guy who is worth controlling, but not such a good bet to spend money on, though if he’s having a good spring I’d pay a few dollars for his talented arm. The problem is that if he’s having a good spring his price is going to go back up to $8 or even more come opening day.

The point is that we tend to pay the most talented players as if they’re going to have as good a season as we can imagine, even if they’ve let us down recently. Bedard’s price went up lockstep with his earnings in 2007 and 2008, but when the injuries grabbed hold of him the air didn’t rush out of expectations. We kept bidding him up, hoping he’d get healthy again and the little discount we thought we were getting for his iffy health would become a big one.

The problem with this is that we’re actually still investing top dollar in a fragile economy. Over the past five years we’ve spent $81 on Bedard and he’s earned back $65. That’s not a disaster, but it isn’t a winning strategy either. You want to pay up for the guys who are going up before they go up, like Bedard in 2006 and 2007, and try to avoid the guys who are at their peak with nowhere to go but down, as the oft-injured Bedard has proved the last three years.

It isn’t always easy and it’s a call all of us get wrong more than we’d like, but it is the single most important mental adjustment you can make. Paying for last year’s stats, especially from players without a serious track record of success and health, is often a losing game.

The Guide has Arrived!

The Fantasy Baseball Guide 2011
The Fantasy Baseball Guide 2011

I just received copies from the printer, and copies should start arriving in northern Ontario any day now, and elsewhere soon thereafter.

I’m told that we’ll be back in Wal Mart this year (a snafu last year kept us out) and Barnes and Noble and Borders, as usual. Please let us know where you find it, and where you don’t.

This year’s edition has a new format for the Mock Draft devised by designer Brian Meissner, which is so smart and useful I’m speechless, and what I hope are more fun and informative cheat sheets, plus tons of Picks and Pans and, on the back page, Joe Sheehan’s five sleepers.