Tag Archive | "Waivers"

We Will Not Waiver

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We Will Not Waiver

Posted on 05 September 2012 by Dennis Lawson

President Selig

President George Bush said this.  Actually, he said something slightly different, and he was not speaking about baseball or revocable waivers.  However, he had a good idea, if you change the words and apply them to MLB.

“We will not waver, we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail. Peace and freedom will prevail.” -George Bush in 2001

MLB’s revocable waiver period represents a rather illogical extension of the non-waiver trading period.  Teams play a rather ridiculous game of cat-and-mouse using this period after the pseudo-trade deadline expires to dangle players, rid themselves of bloated contracts, or just tease opposing teams with a glimpse at what could be.  The travesty of this lies in the way teams play this demeaning game and in doing so also game the system.

Consider first a scenario in which a team has already concluded that contending for a playoff spot falls into the realm of “pipe dream”.  The team has a few high-profile players signed to deals that run for another 3-4 years.  If they make overtures to trade said players, they risk offending the players as well as the fan base.  If they try to quietly make it know that players “A” and “B” could be had for the right price, someone will inevitably let that information slip to some media person who will tweet the information before concluding the conversation with the “high-placed, reliable source within the organization”.  Get the drift?

Then contemplate a second scenario in which the same team waits until past the trade deadline to make a few calls (or send texts/emails/candygram).  Both players “A” and “B” get quietly placed on revocable waivers.  When someone finally realizes that both players have hit the waiver wire, the GM or a patsy acting on behalf of the GM can always say the move was a strategic one to smoke out potential buyers and better assess weaknesses other teams have.  Also, the team owns some oceanfront property in Arizona and a bridge that it deems fit for sale.

Of course, the waiver process involves teams making claims (or not) which get prioritized from the bottom of one league to the top and repeated from bottom to top in the other league, if no team makes a claim.  This highly sophisticated form of calling “dibs” on a waived player amounts to a lot of sound and smoke that typically signifies absolutely nothing.  Some teams simply use the opportunity to cast off roster fodder in hopes someone else will pick up the tab.  Other teams scour the waiver wire for a guy like Randy Wolf who can handle giving the team a good 6-8 losses by the end of the season.  Then you have what the Dodgers and Red Sox pulled off recently.  Almost a quarter of a billion in payroll changed from one set of books to another.  No issue with that here, but it merits mentioning that under a slightly different system of rules, that deal may have been put together sooner.

That’s not to say that the Dodgers “deserve” to have the services of one Adrian Gonzalez for an extra month, but for another team in another time a similar deal could make a huge difference.  Why not consider either pushing the non-waiver trade deadline back, or changing some of the trading rules to make the waiver period much longer and easier to navigate?  Make this whole process a bit more exciting by making a few not-so-subtle changes, too.

  • All players without no-trade or limited no-trade protection clauses get to create 3 tiers of trade preferences.  Each tier consists of 10 teams.  If the player gets traded to a team in the 1st preferred tier, he gets a pat on the back and plane ticket out of town.  If the player gets traded to a team in the 2nd preferred tier, he gets a bonus equal to 10% of his base salary for the season.  If the player goes to a team in the 3rd preferred tier, he gets a bonus of 20% his base pay and a coupon to 20% off his next meal at Olive Garden.
  • Either the trade deadline gets moved to the end of August, or the entire period from opening day to August 31st becomes a really long, revocable trade period.  Move the trade deadline back, and teams can push off the “fight or flight” decision about playoff legitimacy until the races really take shape.  Go with the waiver plan, and teams have more flexibility to be active without inviting public relations nightmares to surface.

Why all the trouble?  Legit question.  The current system worked fine for a while, and few would complain about keeping it a while longer.  However, the addition of 1 more wild card spot in each league completely changes things.  Maybe the first wild card spot projects in mid-July to go to a team that hits 91-92 wins.  Under that condition, a lot of teams hovering close to a .525-50 winning percentage have to seriously consider whether to buy, sell, or hold.  Let us then say that the 2nd wild card spot projects to go for around 88 wins.  That brings a lot of potential contenders back into the conversation.  Unfortunately, mid-July and early October are separated by an awful lot of games on the schedule.

What if a team decides on August 1st that it can really make a run with just a little added help?  The current system makes it very difficult for that team to finagle a #3 starting pitcher or a middle infielder who can hit .270.  Seems like a real shame to me.  Give the waiver/trade system more flexibility, and maybe the redistribution of talent will increase the number of games that “count” later in the season as more teams than ever before consider themselves contenders.  What is there to lose?  Sure, the gap between the “haves” and “have nots” could widen at first, and the 2012 Dodgers might be the case study for that happening.  However, the 2015 Dodgers might produce the case study for how talent redistribution via the exchange of bloated contract obligation tranches brings down a franchise for years.

Let the big money players make the same moves big money players have always made, but give the small market teams more chances to dump contracts onto them.  It could help effectively level the playing field without altering the luxury tax system or the revenue sharing process.  Think about it.

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Playing the Name Game

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Playing the Name Game

Posted on 17 July 2012 by Daniel Aubain

We’ve all seen the fantasy baseball articles where the writer will compare one nameless player’s statistics to another nameless player’s statistics and then hit you with a ton of reasons why you should be looking past simple name recognition if you want to be winning your fantasy baseball league. And do you know why you see articles of this type all over the fantasy baseball blogosphere? Because they’re very helpful when evaluating your roster and the “who’s who” out there on waivers.

I’ll run through a few of my own comparisons (using standard 5×5 categories) for your fantasy baseball viewing pleasure and hopefully give you something to mull over as you assess your roster(s).

Player A: .275 BA (84/305), 48 R, 14 HR, 44 RBI, 12 SB
Player B: .292 BA (85/291), 42 R, 15 HR, 60 RBI, 1 SB
Player C: .249 BA (77/309), 48 R, 18 HR, 57 RBI, 5 SB
Player D: .279 BA (96/344), 59 R, 5 HR, 33 RBI, 15 SB

A quick glance at these statistics shows distinct advantages for one player over the others depending on which category you choose to compare but, overall, Yahoo! ranks these four players as having “similar” value; all four being separated by only 12 places in their rankings. To be fair, all four of these players qualify at the same fantasy baseball position for 2012: outfield.

Which of these four players would you guess is the most widely owned? Well chicks and fantasy baseball owners truly love the longball because Player C comes in at 97% owned yet has the lowest batting average of the group at .249. Player D is the least owned at 72% but leads this group in hits, runs and stolen bases. Player A seems to be the most balanced player in this group and, deservingly so, is also the highest ranked at #58 overall with a 93% ownership rate. Player B leads this group in batting average and RBI and eeks in at third place in ownership numbers at 73%.

Any idea of who all four of these players are yet? Drum roll, please. Player A is 58th-ranked Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves. Player B is 66th-ranked Jason Kubel of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Player C is 67th-ranked Jay Bruce of the Cincinnati Reds. And Player D is 70th-ranked Alejandro De Aza of the Chicago White Sox.

My fantasy perspective: With ownership numbers of over 70% for each of these four players, they probably aren’t readily available on waivers in any league worth a damn at participating in here at the midway point. So let’s focus on what name recognition could do for you on the trade market. You’d probably think I was smoking something whacky if I offered you my Kubel for your Heyward in a deal. But think of the reverse for a moment. What if you owned Heyward or Bruce. You could possibly pry a Kubel or De Aza plus a second player from an owner who weighs a deal on name recognition rather than what truly counts in fantasy baseball…statistics! Obviously if your league is a keeper or dynasty format you may value certain players differently for their long-term value but the average fantasy baseball player ins’t in a league of these types. You may only have a few weeks left to make a trade in your league so start doing your homework. Now may be the time to trade away some of your “big name” players for multiple pieces to help you in your drive for a fantasy baseball championship.

***

Player A: .246 BA (82/334), 46 R, 12 HR, 44 RBI, 12 SB
Player B: .269 BA (88/327), 41 R, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 10 SB

For comparison purposes again, I picked two players who qualify at the same fantasy baseball postion for 2012: third base. Player A also qualifies at shortstop. A quick look at the statistics of these two players shows each are within a close enough margin to deserve comparison. Only 14 players have accomplished a 10 HR/10 SB or better line so far in 2012 and each of these players fall into that rare group at the midway point. Player A is the 110th-ranked player on Yahoo! while Player B is close behind at 115th. So can you explain to me why Player A is owned in 98% of all Yahoo! leagues and Player B is only 51% owned? I can. Name recognition and “potential”. Have you guessed the players yet? Well, Player A is Hanley Ramirez of the Miami Marlins and Player B is Chase Headley of the San Diego Padres.

My fantasy perspective: Headly is a player possibly on the move before the July 31st Trade Deadline and now might be a good time to pick him up in fantasy baseball. If he is traded away from PETCO Park to a contender with a hitter’s park, his fantasy value instantly jumps. Come to think of it, a trade to any other team in any other park increases his fantasy value. HanRam, on the other hand, is probably NOT getting traded in real life (although the Marlins would be smart to explore all offers) but could bring in a haul if someone in your league believes he’ll have a big second half (I don’t). Play up that he was a second round pick with third base and shortstop eligibility. Unfortunately he’s been pretty awful lately (last 33 gmaes: .192 BA, 1 HR, 7 RBI). If he gets hot, MOVE HIM!

***

Player A: .286 BA (98/343), 43 R, 6 HR, 46 RBI, 0 SB
Player B: .299 BA (59/197), 29 R, 13 HR, 40 RBI, 2 SB

In over 40% LESS at bats, Player B is providing comparable  offensive numbers to Player A. Unfortunately, Player A was ranked 9th overall on Yahoo! to start the season, cost you a 1st round pick to draft him and is currently ranked 162nd while Player B was ranked 494th overall, went virtually undrafted and is currently ranked 170th. Yet Player A is 98% owned while Player B is just 53% owned. Any guesses who these two players are? Player A is Adrian Gonzalez of the Boston Red Sox and Player B is Tyler Colvin of the Colorado Rockies.

My fantasy perspective: In no way am I suggesting that you should drop Gonzalez and pick up Colvin off waivers if he’s available. But what we see here is a fantasy owner handcuffed by Gonzalez and his struggles. There’s not a lot of people out there willing to trade away Gonzalez at this point because you’d probably wind up having to accept less than market value. And if that’s the case, why not simply hold on to him in hopes he heats it up in the second half while you’re trying to make a run at a title. Colvin, on the other hand, is a player who should see more real-world opportunities in Colorado and continue to provide fantasy value in the second half and should continue to see ownership numbers rise. If only the Rockies had the huevos rancheros to trade away Todd Helton and Jason Giambi. IF ONLY…

Winning at fantasy baseball is determined by which team accumulates the most statistics to earn the most points in categories that matter not by collecting your favorite players or the players whose names you hear on Sports Center the most (PS, if you watch ESPN for baseball news you’re doing fantasy baseball wrong). If you’re able to look at the numbers it takes to get back into the race or keep your team ahead of the pack while removing the personal connection we all have to our perception of a player’s value based on name and/or past performances then there are opportunities to be had to be successful in building and maintaining a winning team.

Were you able to guess any of these players’ names while you were reading this article? If so, which ones? Leave me a comment below or connect with me on Twitter @DJAubain to continue the conversation.

NOTE: All statistics quoted are accurate through games played through July 15th unless otherwise noted.

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The Waiver Wire: Small Sample Size

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The Waiver Wire: Small Sample Size

Posted on 11 April 2012 by Daniel Aubain

Most teams have played about five games so far in this young season and most fantasy owners are already chomping at the bit to make changes to their rosters. But here’s a bit of free advice; slow down and take a deep breath. Don’t go blowing up your entire roster or destroying a perfectly good draft strategy to pick up a player who is off to a fast start unless you’re dealing with an unexpected injury or bailing on a late-round pick or “sleeper” who isn’t going to pan out any time soon. You’ll surely regret making a huge mistake this early in the season.

Here’s a look at some players widely available in most fantasy baseball leagues who may be worth targeting if you already find yourself with an early season need:

  • 2B Omar Infante, Marlins – Infante has gone 6-for-18 with a double, triple, three home runs, four RBI and five runs in his first five games of the season. He’s stuck in the bottom third of the batting order for now but a continued hot streak could see him move the top third sooner than later. He’s a career .276 hitter but hit .305 in 2009 and .321 in 2010. He’s only owned in 58.1% of ESPN leagues, 35% of Yahoo! leagues and 52% of CBS leagues.
  • SS Zack Cozart, Reds – Cozart was mentioned on many “sleeper” lists this offseason and his hot start is showing why. He’s gone 8-for-17 with five extra-base hits (two doubles, two triples, one home run), two RBI and five runs scored. He’s currently batting second in front of Joey Votto and reaping the benefits early. He’s only owned in 35.6% of ESPN leagues, 48% of Yahoo! leagues and oddly, 80% of CBS leagues.
  • 1B Adam LaRoche, Nationals – A career .215 hitter in March/April, LaRoche’s hot start is a welcomed surprise for fantasy owners. He’s gone 8-for-20 with two home runs and six RBI. He could be a nice filler on a roster utilizing a corner infield, infielder or multiple DH/utility spots. He’s only owned in 22% of ESPN leagues, 24% of Yahoo! leagues and 50% of CBS leagues.
  • OF David Murphy, Rangers – It wasn’t clear what Murphy’s role in the Rangers outfield was going to be heading into the season but a hot start should keep him in the lineup against all righties and even some hittable lefties. He’s opened the season going 8-for-15 with a home run and only owned in 12% of ESPN leagues, 14% of Yahoo! leagues and 25% of CBS leagues. He may not be worth the pickup in shallower leagues but mixed and AL-only owners should be paying attention at this point.
  • SS Rafael Furcal, Cardinals – Furcal is off to a 10-for-23 (.435 BA) start with three RBI, three runs scored and two stolen bases batting atop the Cardinals lineup. A career .283 hitter with a .348 OBP, if healthy, he could steal 20 to 30 bases. He’s owned in 65.6% of ESPN leagues, 55% of Yahoo! leagues and 63% of CBS leagues so check your league’s waivers now because he may not be available much longer.
  • 3B Chone Figgins, Mariners – Okay, we’ve all been burned by Figgins in the past but he seems to have figured something out here in the early goings of 2012. He’s 8-for-24 with three runs, four RBI and a stolen base and working on outfield eligibility with five games played already due to the Mike Carp injury. He’s 21.6% owned in ESPN leagues, 34% owned in Yahoo! leagues and 42% owned in CBS leagues. Tread wisely, my friends. Tread wisely.
  • RP Hector Santiago, White Sox – So, guess who’s emerged as the White Sox closer? Yep, not Matt Thornton. Santiago has recorded two saves so far and will likely keep the job until he proves unworthy. He’s only owned in 29.8% of ESPN leagues, 54% of Yahoo! leagues and 54% of CBS leagues. If you’re the “trolling for saves on waivers” type, give Santiago a look.
  • RP Jonathan Broxton, Royals – Broxton recorded his first save as the Royals closer by striking out the side. Both positive signs if you are still looking for saves. He’s owned in 59% of ESPN leagues, 63% of Yahoo! leagues and 63% of CBS leagues.
  • RP Fernando Rodney, Rays – Still looking for saves? Rodney has recorded two and the Rays are the kind of team that would play matchups for saves (um, closer by committee?) while Kyle Farnsworth is out. Rodney’s owned in 20.8% of ESPN leagues, 48% of  Yahoo! leagues and 47% of CBS leagues. UPDATE: Rodney just recorded a save against the Tigers is now 3-for-3 in save chances.

Again, I’m not recommending you blow up your roster to chase any of these players. These are small sample sizes but each player may provide a short-term benefit to your roster, so be sure to weigh the player being dropped, accordingly. Most are going to be useful in your deeper mixed leagues or a league-only version. Shallow leagues are already playing out as All-Star teams and, in my opinion, hardly even worth joining unless you are new to the game and are trying to get a feel for the process.

What moves have you made that have benefited your team already? Have you grabbed a “star” off of waivers that some owner dumped as a knee-jerk reaction to fill a need? I was able to pick up B.J. Upton off waivers the day after he was placed on the DL and he’s a player I actively avoided in my drafts. I wasn’t interested in him at his 80.3 ESPN ADP but for free off waivers, yes please.

Be sure to connect with me on Twitter @DJAubain to continue the fantasy baseball discussion and more all season long.

NOTE: All statistics and ownership numbers quoted are as of games played through April 10th, 2012 unless otherwise noted.

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Line of the Day: Chad Billingsley

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Line of the Day: Chad Billingsley

Posted on 07 April 2012 by Daniel Aubain

Chad Billingsley of the Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the San Diego Padres for 8-plus innings allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out 11 batters in leading his team to a 6-0 victory to earn Full Spectrum Baseball’s “Line of the Day” award.

Line: 8.1 IP | 3 H | 0 ER | 1 BB | 11 K; W (1-0) | QS

My fantasy perspective: Billingsley struggled this Spring (5.91 ERA) but came out of the gates firing on all cylinders with 11 strikeouts and just one walk. He has a nice career 8.0 K/9 ratio but a horrific 3.9 BB/9 ratio, too. Fantasy owners should be dancing in the streets over this performance, especially those who got a #2 starter with an ESPN ADP of 227.8. At the time of this posting, he was owned in 81.4% of all ESPN leagues (and rising). Check your league’s waivers, especially in smaller leagues, to see if he’s somehow available. He may be worth a pickup if you have a vacancy due to injury or less faith in one of your other back-end starters. Good luck.

Agree? Disagree? Check out ESPN’s formula for determining the best daily performances and nominate your own Line of the Day player using the comments section below and/or hitting me up on Twitter @DJAubain.

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DOs And DONTs: Minnesota Twins

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DOs And DONTs: Minnesota Twins

Posted on 28 February 2012 by Daniel Aubain

No team under-performed more than the Minnesota Twins in 2011 but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few valuable fantasy baseball assets on their 40-man roster heading into the 2012 season. Below is look at the players worth targeting, those probably worth avoiding and some with question marks which won’t be answered any time soon.

  • DO use caution when drafting C Joe Mauer as your primary catcher in any format. He played in a career-low 82 games in 2011 and and only 52 were at the catcher position. If healthy for the entire season, Mauer has the ability to win another batting title but with single-digit home run power (2009 was an anomaly). Expect to see the Twins use him at first base frequently to preserve his health and make up for the unknown status of Justin Morneau.
  • Speaking of Morneau, DON’T expect much out of him this season until he can prove the symptoms of his concussion are behind him and he can be counted on to be on the field contributing. You wish the guy the best but his fantasy value is an unknown at this point and you can’t afford to make a mistake at such a premium scoring position.
  • DO target OF Ben Revere as a late-round pick for his 30-40 Stolen Base potential, especially if he claims the leadoff spot in the batting order.
  • DON’T forget about Matt Capps as a closer target simply for Saves. He’s not going to help you (and may hurt you) in ERA, WHIP or provide big Strikeout numbers but should be available in the late rounds and on the cheap.
  • DO keep an ear out for what’s being said about OF Denard Span‘s recovery from concussion symptoms which wiped out a majority of his 2011 season. He was in camp early saying and doing all the right things but let’s wait and see what happens as the workouts intensify.
  • DON’T even say it. RP Joel Zumaya tore a ligament in his right elbow and is done for the year and may be at the end of his career. I told you not to say it.
  • DO know OF Josh Willingham has already been named the team’s starting right fielder. He’ll provide some power and an overall 5×5 line around .260/70/25/75/5. Expect him to be widely available on waivers throughout the season.
  • DON’T target any of the Twins’ starting pitchers unless you have a strong stomach. Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn and Jason Marquis all project to be 9-11 game winners with ERA’s over 4.00 and not a ton of Strikeouts. I’d avoid them all and take a chance with a waiver claim if any prove worthy of owning after a few April starts.
  • DO take a shot on Ryan Doumit providing some positive offensive numbers out of the catcher position. He’s averaged 18 Home Runs and 71 RBI per 162 games with a .271 Batting Average and a .334 On-Base Percentage. He’ll also see some time in the mix at first base, the outfield and as their DH t o keep his bat in the lineup.
  • DON’T get stuck with 2B Alexi Casilla and/or SS Jamey Carroll as your primary option at either position. If you do, you’re doing fantasy baseball very wrong.

How are you feeling about the Twins’ chances heading into the 2012 season? It’s hard to be optimistic about a team with so many question marks due to lingering injury issues and who’ve lost three of their most popular and productive players (Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Joe Nathan) over the last few years.

Be sure to check out the entire series of DOs And DON’Ts articles covered by over staff to see how we did covering your favorite team, our opinions and recommendations while you’re getting ready to lock in your keeper league selections and to hopefully tell us all the things we are doing right to bring you quality fantasy baseball content.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @DJAubain to talk 99% about baseball and 1% “Dancing With The Star”. Just kidding. Probably more like 98% baseball and 2% “that’s what she said” references and innuendos. Enjoy!

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