Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How To Prepare For the 2006 Season Part One

posted by Jon Williams
Are you ready to start preparing for the 2006 Fantasy Baseball Season? I hope so because you may well fall behind your team mates if you aren't. Lucky for you I'm here to provide you with the help you need. So lets get it started.

The absolute first step is to analyze your team. No one should know your team better than you do. Did you do well last season? If so why? If not why? Understanding why and how you finished the way you did will absolutely help you up your performance in 2006. If you're already doing this you're on your way to success. Here are some questions you want to ask yourself about the team you ended the 2005 season holding:

  • How many players can you keep?
  • How many players do you have that can be kept?
  • Of the players you own that can be kept how many are at what seem to be bargain prices?
  • Do you have more quality keepers than you can bring with you into 2006?
  • Of your high priced players are any of them tradeable? How do you know?
  • Of the players you don't consider keepable, have you researched them thoroughly?
  • If you have researched them thoroughly and yet still won't keep them, might they be desirable by someone else?
  • Have you researched the players you do plan to keep?
  • If you haven't done all these things why not?

To help you out with this I'm going to use a friend's team as an example. He finished in first place of a very competitive AL Only League. At the end of the season there were eight teams in contention for six spots. This is a twelve team league. Okay here are the Blue Sox:

Hitters: (2005 values according to the amazing Budman)

John Buck 11 (4.10) - Buck has power and thats about it.
Jason Varitek 10B (15.71) - Varitek had a good year, but his contract is up.
Carlos Pena 18 (5.38) - After a horrible start he was worth 13.29 in the 2nd half.
Chris Shelton 0 (13.73) - Shelton was another 2nd half stud worth 19.69.
Ronnie Belliard 8A (15.52) - Frankly i didn't expect him to repeat his success in 2004 but he did it.
Placido Polanco 60F (12.53) - The Tigers were rocking in the 2nd half.
Omar Infante 12 (2.65) - Well not everyone...Omar was worth 1.29 in the 2nd.
Orlando Hudson 10B (11.67) - Hudson was hurt late but not too seriously.
Alex Rodriguez 46B (46.71) - The MVP was also the fantasy MVP.
Michael Young 11B (31.70) - Young had an amazing year but can he repeat?
Mark Kotsay 14A (16.33) - One of the most underrated players in baseball.
Lew Ford 26 (11.80) - Lew Ford has lots of competition to deal with in 2006.
Manny Ramirez 39A (34.22) - Manny started slow but was his usual self when it was all over.
Johnny Damon 26A (28.40) - Damon was amazing until nagging injuries took a toll late in the year.
Vladimir Guerrero 42A (33.22) - Not an amazing year by his standards but still elite.

Reserved Hitters:

Bronson Sardinha 10M (minors) - This Yankee prospect repeated AA and had an off year.
Juan Gonzalez 6 (-4.30) - As usual Juan Gonzalez couldn't stay healthy.
Val Majewski 5M (minors) - Val is building a following.
Jason Botts 0 (-3.48) Botts had a great year for AAA Oklahoma but can't be kept.

Pitchers:

John Lackey 10A (19.05) - Lackey is an underrated star in the making.
Danys Baez 22 (18.94) - His K/9 keeps declining but he is an in demand player in MLB.
Jesse Crain 10 (9.50) - He might grab a closer role yet.
Paul Byrd 9 (17.13) - Another underrated stud pitcher.
Mariano Rivera 28B (28.92) - Typical Mo, studly as usual.
Scott Shields 1B (14.0) - A great reliever can be just as valuable as a starter.
Joe Borowski 15F (-1.98) - A disappointing year for a guy named Joe.
Barry Zito 25 (21.22) - Zito is solid, a rock for your staff.
Mike Mussina 25 (11.04) - Mike needs to get his act together or he'll lose his spot to Aaron Small. J/K
Scott Sauerbeck 6F (-3.25) - Yuck, when was Scott last worth drafting? 2002

Reserved Pitchers:

Roy Halladay 27 (21.24) - A late season broken leg ruined a possible Cy Young season.
Jason Arnold 5M (minors) - Arnold isn't ready for the majors, but he'll be back...
Carl Pavano 20 (-1.04) - Carl crashed in NY, He has vowed to redeem himself. Good Luck.
Abe Alvarez 0 (6.66) - A decent lefty reliever.
Jason Davis 0 (-2.80) - Jason has so much potential. Wait for him to reach it before drafting him.

The league the Blue Sox owner is in allows him to keep twelve players from his roster and any minor leaguers that haven't been activated. In order to win the Blue Sox traded away a lot of young talent for B players (players that can't be kept). Still he has some talent to work with. He has some big salary players who despite their price can be worth keeping (Manny/ Vlad/ Damon/ Baez/ Zito). A lot of owners won't keep players at salaries like these because they think it puts them in a tough position in the auction. But consider this: In keeper leagues you need to ensure you'll get your fair share of the available value. On a team like the Blue Sox, who don't have many bargains it can be a good idea to keep the expensive studs. In a keeper league going into the auction without a solid roster of players forces you to take chances. You'll have to take chances because the other teams may have a huge advantage in talent over you. If you have a solid base of stats going into the auction (even if you don't have tons of money to spend) you can relax and just look for value.




Barry-Zito
1B Carlos Pena 18
2B Ronnie Belliard 8A
OF Mark Kotsay 14A


OF Manny Ramirez 39A
OF Vlad Guerrero 42A

SP John Lackey 10A
SP Paul Byrd 9
SP Barry Zito 25
SP Roy Halladay 27

RP Danys Baez 22
RP Jesse Crain 10

Why:

Carlos Pena - Carlos Pena at 18 may be a bit high but I suggest considering him a keeper because someone may want him at that price. Shop him around and get a sense of what the league thinks of his value.
Ronnie Belliard - Ronnie Belliard as much as i don't like him has put together two quality years in a row so he has obvious value.If like me you don't like him just trade him to someone who does for something you do like. Just remember that his value doesn't go away just because you have no faith in him.
Mark Kotsay - He is right about value. It a decent price and a decent value so keeping him is an easy option. Players at value are nice to keep especially when they are as solid and steady as Kotsay.
Manny Ramirez - Manny may be on the move to the other league.he'll be tough to trade. If you can do it do it. If he stays in the AL you have a great player at value or just under it.
Vlad Guerrero - Vlad is so popular that trading him even at $42 is no tough. Someone will want him.You may be surprised how many peole will keep a player like Vlad even at high prices.
John Lackey -
John Lackey is an awesome value. I'd even extend him to 15.
Paul Byrd - The MLB clubs are starting to recognize his talent. Its about time fantasy leagues did the same. He may be tough to trade. His percieved value is often too low. But at that price it might be possible to get a good load for him.
Barry Zito -
Zito is another player that could be on the move. He is at a decent price however and someone may bite. Pitching is tough to find in the AL.
Roy Halladay -
Halladay is a little overrated. He hasn't been very consistent, mostly because of health issues. When he is on few are better but something always seems to happen. Nevertheless he is extremely popular and should get some interest.
Danys Baez -
Yet another player that could be on the move. A closer that might be cheap enough to draw some interest. Even in a tough 5x5 league there is always someone who over values saves.
Jesse Crain -
There have been some quiet rumors that the Twins would consider trading Nathan. The Twins could probably get quite a package for him and they have a number of capable arms in the bullpen. Crain would definitely be in line for the job. Most know this which would probably create some interest. he's worth 10 in any case which is the best kind of closer in waiting.

Please note that I would never recommend someone keep this particular combination nor do I think all the players on the list should be traded but I think its important to understand which players are at a price that allows them to be reasonably kept and how the league values them. This in my opinion is what the Blue Sox have to work with. I would start shopping the high priced players around and see if I could get a collection of bargains. i wouldn't expect to get too many sexy bargains (Grady Sizemore @ $10 types) but you can probably get a few middle class bargains (you know the types I mean Jacque jones @ 12 or Aubrey Huff @ 15 -they aren't sexy but there is meat on the bones for Manny or Vlad. Zito might bring an even bigger haul if he stays in the AL. I'd be trying to trade an outfielder for infield help in the shoes of the Blue Sox. But you can't do any of that until you undertake step two in the plan: Evaluate the other teams. The questions you ask of other teams are the exact same questions you ask about your own team. While you're asking these questions of each team here are a few steps you should be taking:

  • Make a list of the players that will ceratinly be back in the draft.
  • Make a list of all the possible keepers on each team.
  • Look for teams that might match up with you in a trade.
  • Try to understand the strategy of the owner by looking at the players on his team.
  • Rank the teams in order of strength. You want to try and match or exceed the value of the best team or at least know how you'll manage that.

The Bash Brothers

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