Saturday, April 30, 2011

An Expert's Audit

i write a monthly baseball column for during the baseball season and i write a monthly hockey column for during the hockey season. here's my first column of the baseball season.

Welcome once again to An Expert’s Audit – baseball edition. In this article we take a look at the fantasy team of a reader to see if there are areas we can improve so that we’re moving down a winning road. At the very least it’s a month’s worth of conversations from one baseball fan to another. If you’re interested in getting your baseball team audited you can begin the procedure by emailing your league and team particulars to

Steve Kostoff is a golf pro. In all honesty my golf game sucks donkey balls so we didn’t have much to talk about in that area since I don’t like to admit that I’m not amazing at everything, I’m pretty shallow that way. It’s a good thing that we could focus on a baseball league instead. It’s not like I’m all skills on the diamond either, an appropriate nickname for me might be E6 but as far as this fantasy baseball thing is concerned … I’m actually pretty decent.

Steve plays in a 12 team 6x7 H2H keeper league with a couple category twists outside of standard. This league tracks R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG and OPS along with W, K, CG, SHO, SV, ERA, and WHIP. The extra pitching category makes your pitching that much more important and that’ll affect your auction and/or draft accordingly. Speaking personally for a second I like OBP more than OPS since it takes small ball into account better and I don’t like CG or SHO at all since they’re such rare categories that a small sample size (like 1 in a week) will default you an entire category in a championship matchup. Well anyway, nobody asks me about such things when they set up a league. In case you’re wondering about how to set it up the next time you’re putting it together then I suggest OBP and HLD to create a nice little 6x6. It should also be noted that this league has a 2 transaction per week maximum so that streaming/cycling is discouraged. If you don’t know what that is then you should probably find out, particularly if you’re in a H2H league.

Without further ado let’s take a look at Chasing Royalty.

C Buster Posey SF – this guy will be anchored into your lineup for the next decade. LOVE the idea of rostering this kid in a keeper. I’d resist just about every trade offer that comes in for this guy.

1b Prince Fielder MIL – he’s going to have a monster year. Hear me now and believe me now. He’s going to pad those stats so that he can pad his wallet in the offseason. Teams will be lining up to sign him and he’ll pretty much write his own ticket.

2b Juan Uribe SF – the AVG isn’t going to be anything that you’ll like for your team but who doesn’t want 20 HR pop out of a guy eligible at both MI slots? You’ll be living and dying with him for what will seem like an eternity before Utley is due to return.

SS Jose Reyes NYM – heaven help you if he gets injured because you don’t have anything to back yourself up with here … unless Utley returns. There is a lot of speed here at a scarce position so if he’s staying healthy then you get a big bonus.

3b Jose Batista TOR – he’ll break 50 again this year. What? Too soon to say something like that? I don’t care, I’m calling it now.

LF Luke Scott BAL – he’s asleep offensively but most of that is because he’s battling aches and pains already. I still expect 30 HR power from him this season but you’ll need to be patient.

CF Chris Young ARI – he K’s too much and the AVG hasn’t been anything to brag about in any of his seasons so far but there is some all around game here that is very appealing for fantasy. He’s got two 20/20 seasons and I see plenty of potential for a handful more.

RF Jason Heyward ATL – this kid is going to be special player. He was Minor League Player of the Year in 2009 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him leap into elite OF status as soon as this season. He can easily anchor a fantasy outfield and that’s exactly what he is for your team.

UT Nick Swisher NYY – it is my belief that Swish can be a 30/100 option for the Yanks. He gets opportunity and he’s just plain streaky offensively. He’s also done virtually nothing through the first month of the season. I still believe but I’m just a dreamer that way.

BN Denard Span MIN – Most of his fantasy value is in SB’s but in a league like yours that also tracks OPS then his value is lessened because he has little extra base power. He’s a decent guy to keep around your bench so that you can spot start him while your regulars have a day off.

BN Coco Crisp OAK – he’s Denard Span except he’s old and brittle. I don’t think you need 2 guys of the same ilk on your bench so I’d look to move one of them somehow.

BN David Murphy TEX – he doesn’t get enough AB’s to have any real value for your team although I’m pretty sure there’s 20 HR power here. For the most part he has little value in a standard 12 team league though.

SP Felix Hernandez SEA – I’m thinking he’s got a shot at the title of best pitcher in the AL. He’s a fantastic anchor for any fantasy or real staff.

SP Wandy Rodriguez HOU – for each of the last 2 years Way-Rod has loved the home cooking going 16-8 at home and 9-16 on the road. So far this year he’s 0-1 at home and 1-2 on the road but the best bonus with Wandy is the nearly full K/IP that he puts up. If you’re after K’s then start him all the time but if you want all around numbers then I consider spot starting him on the road by taking into account his own history.

SP James Shields TB – four out his five starts have been QS’s and the last third of April has shaped up to be absolutely dominant. He’s most successful when he’s keeping the other team off balance by changing speeds. He’s more than solid right now but I’m not one to say that he’s the next Cy to come around. His value might not be higher this season than it is right now.

RP Jose Contreras PHI – when Lidge got shelved I expected Madson to step into the closer role. Now that Contreras is shelved then finally Madson got the job. Check out the waiver wire additions for a suggestion of a guy that we added to this fantasy team.

RP David Aardsma SEA – when he returns he’ll be a solid closer option … however the M’s offense is so poor that I don’t see loads of opportunity for him to get a bunch of saves. Still, he’ll be ok when he’s back.

P A.J. Burnett NYY – he goes in streaks and judging by how he has started the season this looks like it might be one of those really nice seasons for him. I like him for the K potential that he so very naturally puts together.

P Clayton Richard SD – he’s had 3 QS’s out of his 5 starts so far this season. He’s got an outside shot at doing some damage and making a little noise as a nice young option. However the drawback is that he’s pitching for the Friars so run support and W’s will be hard to come by.

P Anibal Sanchez FLA – I’m picking this guy as someone who could really break out this season. He’s only owned in 37% of yahoo leagues right now and he’s already got more K’s than IP. The window for having this guy on standard teams is closing and I’m telling you he could end up as the Fish #2 by season’s end.

P Johnny Cueto CIN – he’s been bringing down the ratios with every successive season and he still gets to start in front of an elite offense. I could see W’s in the low teens and his first start of the season could still happen right at the beginning of May.

BN Bud Norris HOU – he’s a fireballer who is getting more and more print. If he can keep his ratios low, which is kinda doubtful actually, then things will go well for him.

BN Brandon Webb TEX – he’s been gone for 2 years and he’s still several weeks away from helping any fantasy team. I’m staying FARRRRRR away from him in any format I can think of. I’ll need to see some signs of significant improvement before I’ll be adding him to my squad and that’s probably going to mean that he won’t be on my team since I’m not willing to gamble on him anymore.

BN Adam Wainwright STL – he’ll have zero value this year but this is a keeper league … so you might not want to just drop him either. Unfortunately there’s absolutely no guarantee that he’ll ever be again the pitcher he once was.

DL Chase Utley PHI – yes he’s an elite option at 2b but also he’s apparently made of china. I’d be shopping him to see what option you could get, particularly if you can land a 2b and an upgrade elsewhere.

It should be noted that just before I came on the scene with this team Steve traded C.J. Wilson and landed Chris Young. That certainly helped his OF a lot but it also hurt his pitching which is where most of the work needed to be done on this team. Having said that I certainly didn’t disapprove of that trade since CBY is an exceptional talent to secure in a keeper league who can easily turn into a 20/20 option for a lot of years to come.

Waiver Wire Options

Brian Matusz BAL – he was 7-1 from August through the beginning of October last season and I took that as a major sign that some big things are about to happen for this kid. I love the idea of adding a kid like this to a starting staff and by the middle of May you’ll begin to reap some benefit here.

Brennan Boesch DET – I couldn’t believe some of the poo-poo’ing going on over this kid. The lad’s got some skills and a hitting streak over the last half of April is just a little indication of what could be on the horizon. I could see a decent source of runs, a little bit of power and some decent bat control stats out of him.

Ryan Madson PHI – he’s quite possibly my favourite holds guy but when the closer role is in question then he gets a shot at some saves too. Presently he’s in the closer role and he’s got a decent shot at having more saves than holds by season’s end but either way they use him he’ll have plenty of MR stats available for many formats.

Sergio Santos CWS – the Pale Hose are a mess at the back end and right now Santos has taken the closer role so that I don’t see anybody taking it out of his hands anytime soon.

All of these options were added to your team and that started to improve your pitching and bench situations a good deal. You got yourself some saves coming in and you bolstered LF where Scott was hurting your team.

Trading Options

We needed to look at some OBP options who are affordable and it’ll always be wise to look at upgrading your pitching wherever possible.

You were in negotiations for a couple weeks to trade Chase Utley and A.J. Burnett to Twizzlo for Martin Prado and Brandon Morrow – negotiations continued but this article had to be submitted at the end of the month. I really do think there’s something that can be done here since Twizzlo has the flexibility in his lineup to wait for Utley to return and he’d get the better 2b option when he does return. In the meantime Steve could roster an excellent young 2b with decent stats while he pursued the better K pitcher coming out of this deal.


It’s always fun to make moves but my first reaction in the first month of play is to refrain from transactions until you know what it is that you have. Now having said that, your team absolutely needed to make some moves in the early going because you didn’t have options available to you where you needed them. You had to add some pitching because you were drastically short there, you had no real RP options at all. Your stat cats focus more on SP options but you really needed to pursue 2 RP options so that you might squeek out a win in Saves from week to week.

The addition of Matusz off the wire is going to be significant for your team when he’s back on the bump. He really turned a corner over the last third of the season last year and the O’s have beefed up their offense this year. He’ll still have to compete in the AL East which is a daunting task for any hurler but I’m really taking that 2 month period last season as a significant sign that he’s on the verge of some big things.

As for the suggested trade, negotiations continue. You’re offering up a stud 2b in a keeper in order to get a really underrated OPS option eligible at 2b and the better pitcher in the offing. The options available to try and trade for include Shawn Marcum or Max Scherzer and you can certainly build an offer that includes A.J. Burnett or James Shields.

Well, off you go there golf pro. Your team is underway and you’re already in 1stt place. You’ll be fine kid.

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