Monday, February 23, 2009

SportsJudge - Fantasy Dispute Resolution

posted by Jon Williams

In today’s high paced, intensely competitive world, the constant strive for professionalism in fantasy sports is hardly uncommon. Despite this, no one is perfect, and problems do occur. With that in mind, SportsJudge prides itself on providing the most avid and intense fantasy gamers with a dispute resolution method to make sure each and every problem eventually ends with a proper solution.

SportsJudge.com brings an unsurpassed level of experience and expertise to the competitive world of fantasy sports. SportsJudge has quickly become recognized as a leading authority and resource by those who take their fantasy sports seriously.

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Sleeper Alert: Daniel Murphy

posted by Jon Williams

New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel recently announced that rather than platoon INF/OF Fernando Tatis with Daniel Murphy in left field, he would be using Tatis in a platoon with right fielder Ryan Church.

From MLB.com:

"I don't want him to get into a strictly platoon situation," Manuel said of Murphy, who produced four hits in 10 at-bats off lefties last year. "I think he's a little better player than that. Also, with Church being left-handed, I kind of see Murphy being a better hitter right now."

Murphy is a natural third baseman in an organization with a young superstar at the position. The Mets had Murphy working out at second base in the Arizona Fall League. He shows the potential to be a solid contributor at the position. That the Mets did not manage to trade incumbent second baseman Luis Castillo to clear the position is the reason Murphy will spend 2009 in left field.

Murphy is an excellent contact hitter who had strong line drive rates. He does not draw a ton of walks but he draws enough to maintain a decent on-base percentage. He should regularly bat around .300 and may challenge for batting titles if his skills continue to develop. His homerun power is middling at best. At this point in his development 15 or so homers is about the most you can expect. Murphy has decent speed and is a fair base stealer. In full-time at-bats ten stolen bases is very possible with 15-20 not outside the realm of possibilities.

At three minor league levels, Murphy batted .305/.363/.481 with four homeruns in 131 at-bats against lefties and .320/.385/.502 with nine homeruns in 241 at-bats against right-handers. This seems to indicate that Manuel knows what he is talking about concerning Murphy's ability.

Murphy looks like a solid addition in NL-only leagues and a useful player in shallower mixed leagues. I would not hesitate to add him to my rosters

More on Dan Murphy:

Minor League Splits

The Baseball Cube
First Inning
FanGraphs

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Depth Charts and Updated Rosters

posted by Jon Williams
One of the most common questions I've seen from owners is where can I find updated Spring Training Rosters. The rosters at MLB.com are updated by different people at different speeds and levels of accuracy. A relatively new site called MLB Depth Charts seems to be doing a good job of it. I have my quibbles with their projections but that's irrelevant as far as the rosters themselves are concerned.

MLB Depth Charts

NL EAST

* ATLANTA BRAVES
* FLORIDA MARLINS
* NEW YORK METS
* PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
* WASHINGTON NATIONALS

NL CENTRAL

* CHICAGO CUBS
* CINCINNATI REDS
* HOUSTON ASTROS
* MILWAUKEE BREWERS
* PITTSBURGH PIRATES
* ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

NL WEST

* ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
* COLORADO ROCKIES
* LOS ANGELES DODGERS
* SAN DIEGO PADRES
* SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

AL EAST

* BALTIMORE ORIOLES
* BOSTON RED SOX
* NEW YORK YANKEES
* TAMPA BAY RAYS
* TORONTO BLUE JAYS

AL CENTRAL

* CHICAGO WHITE SOX
* CLEVELAND INDIANS
* DETROIT TIGERS
* KANSAS CITY ROYALS
* MINNESOTA TWINS

AL WEST

* LOS ANGELES ANGELS
* OAKLAND ATHLETICS
* SEATTLE MARINERS
* TEXAS RANGERS

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Friday, February 20, 2009

2009 Fantasy Baseball Roundtable - Week Three

posted by Jon Williams
Week three of the Fantasy Baseball Roundtable is hosted by Tim Dierkes of Roto Authority.

Name the player who is the worst value for his average draft position, within the first three rounds.

See how this group of experts answered

Patrick DiCaprio: Fantasy Pros 911
Jon Williams: RotoExperts
Tim Dierkes: RotoAuthority
Rudy Gamble: Razzball
Jason Collette: Fanball.com
Brett Greenfield: FantasyPhenoms.com
Adam Ronis: New York Newsday
Derek Carty: The Hardball Times
Patrick Cain: Albany Times Union
Commish:Fantasy Baseball Geeks

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday Morning Links

posted by Jon Williams
At Miami, they’re still celebrating A-Rod
Alex Rodriguez donated a few million to the University of Miami and they have named a park after him -- Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field (that was the best they could do???). I feel for A-Rod, despite my belief that he is still telling a few white lies about his steroid use. Coincidently (or maybe not so much) Selena Roberts' book about A-Rod has had its publishing schedule moved up. The book will now be out on April 14th. The worst part of this whole mess in my opinion has been the holier-than-thou act that Bud Selig has been perpetrating. Does anyone truly believe that a list of 104 steroid users did the rounds of backrooms in baseball and that Selig never saw it? Not I.

Houston Chronicle Reports problems with Manager Cecil Cooper
This is interesting.
Cecil Cooper. He was some kind of uptight at the beginning of last season and struggled both with the on-the-field and clubhouse duties of a manager. He seemed so over his head at one point that Alyson Footer telephoned Phil Garner and said, ''You need to talk to Coop.'' He did things that lost the clubhouse, and there are players he may never get back in terms of respect. On the other hand, he was the manager filling out the lineup cards and calling the shots when the Astros had that 47-27 run between June 20 and September 11. He calmed down and got comfortable. This is his second time around, and things should be easier. But he's in the last year of his contract and it's telling that the Astros didn't extend him. This is a stupid decision. Even if the Astros don't think he'll be managing in 2010, they should have signed him for 2010 to remove his job security as an issue.
Skip Schumaker's switch to second base
Tony LaRussa's latest genius plan to move outfielder Skip Schumaker to second base appears to have driven Dan of Viva El Birdos off the deep end.
1B Yadier Molina: There are few late-inning surprises I enjoy more than Yadi playing first base, because he plays it exactly like he catches: he gets his body in front of everything, and he doesn't dive after balls so much as getting into a crouch and sliding toward them. He'll provide an excellent competitive advantage when Motte is trying to pick a fastball hitter off of first base.
Laying Down the Law
The guys at Drunk Jays Fans point out an article written by Keith Law that combats the idea that steroid users benefit significantly by their use. I particularly enjoyed this bit:
Marc (Manchester, NH): Keith, I know there is no analytical way to discern how many homers were added to Bonds' totals through PED's. But, is it reasonable to assume that given the spike in his HR totals at an advanced age, maybe 10-15 HR/year were added to his totals?
Keith Law: I wouldn't argue against someone saying he had 10-15 extra in 2001. Where the argument breaks down is in trying to explain that year as an outlier in a career that is in and of itself an outlier. Did he just get better stuff in that year? He was probably using the same stuff in 2002 that he did in 2001, right? Doesn't that tell you we should be looking for another explanation for the 2001 spike?
Top Five Reasons to Sign Joe Crede
John channels John Cusack as he comes up with the top five reasons the Twins should sign third baseman Joe Crede. This is a great read if you're a High Fidelity fan or even just like reading about the Twins.

Screw Bud Selig

Once again the guys at Drunk Jays Fans have managed to put into words exactly the way I feel about Bud Selig.

It was fear of killing the golden goose that kept Selig, the owners, management, the media and the rest of the baseball world from digging deep into and asking hard questions about the drug culture pervaded the game. Now they want to punish players retroactively for something they once condoned?

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Fantasy Baseball Magazines

posted by Jon Williams
02/13/09 UPDATE: The Lindy's and Athlon 2009 Baseball Annuals are now on the stands. They aren't strictly fantasy mags but they both usually have interesting features on players and aspects of the game that fantasy owners can use. The Lindy's Annual is a mind blowing $9.50. The Athlon Annual is a typical $7.99.

UPDATE:
The Rotoman Fantasy Baseball Guide is now available in bookstores. It has a cover price of $7.99.

Information on the 2009 fantasy baseball magazines has been very scarce. I thought I could put together a list of the expected magazines and their release dates but it has been much more difficult than expected. I'm going to share my work with you and hopefully you'll reciprocate by sharing the information you get with me. I'll keep updating this post with information as I get it.

Magazine Title Date Price



Rotowire 2009 Fantasy Baseball Guide 15-Feb $8.99
The Fantasy Baseball Guide

2009 Fantasy Baseball Annual Guide 15-Jan $7.99
2009 Fantasy Baseball Just Cheat Sheets 11-Feb $7.99
Fantasy Baseball Index 1-Feb $7.00
Sporting News Fantasy Baseball Owners Manual

Fantasy Sports (FW Publications)

MLB Yearbook & Fantasy Guide

Sporting News Fantasy Baseball Yearbook Now $7.99





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Fantasy Baseball Roundtable - Week Two

posted by Jon Williams
Week Two of the Fantasy Baseball Roundtable is up. This week RazzBall.com is the host. Rudy Gamble asks the following question:

What sabermetric or alternative statistic (e.g., Ground Ball ratio, Contact Rate, etc.) do you find to be highly over or undervalued for fantasy baseball player valuation purposes

Check out the answers provided by these Fantasy Baseball Experts:


Patrick DiCaprio: Fantasy Pros 911
Jon Williams: RotoExperts
Tim Dierkes: RotoAuthority
Rudy Gamble: Razzball
Jason Collette: Fanball.com
Brett Greenfield: FantasyPhenoms.com
Adam Ronis: New York Newsday
Derek Carty: The Hardball Times
Patrick Cain: Albany Times Union

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Diamond Draft - Advanced Fantasy Baseball Software

posted by Jon Williams


I first received the Diamond Draft software a few months ago. RotoExperts.com had just purchased the rights to Diamond Draft and logically wanted their writers to become familiar with the new product. I have to say that my first impression was that it was lacking graphically. There are not many fancy visual effects. But over the course of the last three months I have used it for three different leagues -- a 20-team mixed 5x5 draft, an AL-only 5x5 auction, and an NL-only 5x5 auction. Diamond Draft has been a cinch to use and made the work of the draft and auctions a lot simpler.

Diamond Draft has proven to be an immensely valuable pre-draft tool. By entering the parameters of your league and any keepers there may be you eliminate the need to calculate inflation and cross names off of your draft list. Diamond Draft also provides you with three years of stats for every player and an extensive list of minor leaguers for those leagues that have farm systems. Every player has a projection (updated weekly) that covers includes every statistic from singles, doubles, and triples to Total Bases, OPS, and sacrifice flies. If you don't like a projection just change it. You can also highlight players in various colors to assist with your draft strategy. So, if you were using the LIMA Plan you could highlight LIMA pitchers in magenta (or whichever color you like), sleepers in blue, injury risks in red and so forth. Check out this video on using the edit screen. There is a video for almost every function available.




I have primarily used pen and paper for the 20-something years I have been involved in fantasy sports. I think it is vital to track every team's roster and budget as well as the in-draft inflation. Doing this by hand has gotten much easier over the years but it is a bitch to do. Diamond Draft handles all of this which gives you more time to look your rivals in the eye (an underrated necessity of Advanced Fantasy Baseball).

I have used a few different brands in the past and while I have nothing bad to say about them I have always gone back to my pen and paper method. One of the main reasons is I hate spending $60, $75, and even $100 dollars on software only to need to spend close to the same amount again the following season. Diamond Draft offers most of the functionality of those packages for just $34.95.

Partial List of Diamond Draft Features
  1. Drag and Drop Functionality
  2. League Overview Screen
  3. Position Overview Screen
  4. Team View Screen
  5. Points Total Screen
  6. Depth Chart Screens
  7. Position Eligibility Screen
  8. View/Edit Screens
  9. Assign Players to a team from anywhere in the program
  10. Warning Signs (overbid, position eligibility, all players drafted)
  11. Multiple Leagues
  12. Select from multiple databases
  13. Printable Reports
  14. Laptop Battery Monitor
  15. Screen Captures
  16. In-program Calculator
  17. An Amazing Help Screen
  18. Add Players to the Database
  19. An amazing array of sound effects (including the ever popular crickets)
  20. Add your own sound clips
  21. Search Function
  22. Select from various player pools (by league, undrafted, minor leaguers, MLB plus Free Agents
  23. Choose which stats to display
  24. Add Players to the depth charts
  25. Move players in the depth charts
  26. Complete Set of Projections
  27. Edit or Enter your own projections
  28. Wide array of instruction videos
  29. Forum Support at the RotoExperts.com Forums
  30. Half the price of similar products!!!
That is just a sampling of the functions of Diamond Draft. There are functions within the functions, a complete list would be a mile long. Believe me when I tell you this is an addictive toy that will not only help you prepare and dominate your draft but provide you with a hundred ways to waste time at work and at home! If I didn't think it was worth it I would not be posting this. I will personally assist you with any problems you may have. I am always just an e-mail or post comment away.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Anti-Dumping Strategies

posted by Jon Williams

Few aspects of fantasy baseball have created as much controversy and discussion as anti-dumping rules. Fantasy team owners take advantage of their also-ran status to trade away their expensive studs and expiring contracts for under priced veterans, rookies, and minor leaguers. The owner dumping his present season is hoping to gain an advantage in the next one. The owner benefiting this season is willing to trade cheap keepers to improve his chances of a championship. Message boards from one end of the internet to the other have hosted the debate. Is it more important to protect the integrity of the draft and good team management or to protect the ability to trade freely as in real baseball? Should poorly managed teams benefit from trades with aggressive contenders at the expense of other contenders? Are dump deals a form of collusion or is rebuilding your fantasy franchise via dumping a right worth protecting? Regardless of your answers, most leagues have instituted rules to prevent dump deals or at least limit them.

FLAWED SOLUTIONS

The most commonly adopted rules have been an In-Season Salary Cap and a system for vetoing unpopular deals. These rules, however well intentioned, are flawed. A salary cap prevents an owner from moving a large amount of salary for a smaller amount. This might put a severe drag on dump deals but it also prevents many perfectly fair deals. Why should an owner with the expiring contracts of Chad Billingsley $10 and Jose Reyes $17 be prevented from trading for $40 Carlos Lee and $45 Matt Holliday? Even worse than preventing owners from making fair deals is allowing other owners or even just the league’s commissioner to decide if the trade should be allowed or not. Compare it to the Boston Red Sox given the power to decide if the New York Yankees can complete a deal with the Houston Astros. A trade that seems unfair can often greatly reward the owner making the questionable deal.

Fantasy leagues cannot afford to ignore the owners that despise dumping. If a majority of owners would like to prevent such trades, leagues must take action or their futures become endangered. A Google search will reveal thousands of owners who left their leagues because their rivals took a different stance on dumping. However, it is just as important that a league consider their solutions carefully. An overly aggressive solution can make the league less fun for those owners that like to make frequent trades. The best solutions will encourage all owners to finish as high in the standings as possible. If league members at some point discover that finishing in a money position is impossible, then that owner should also see the value in finishing seventh or even eighth rather than eleventh or twelfth.

BETTER SOLUTIONS

CHANGE THE MINOR LEAGUE DRAFT ORDER

Fortunately, good solutions exist. A very simple solution that works well in conjunction with other solutions is changing the order of minor league and reserve picks. Rather than simply using the reverse of the standings as your draft order, reward the owner that finishes in the highest non-money position with the first pick in your supplemental drafts. Dole out the remaining picks in a similar fashion, with the second pick going to the next highest placed team and so on. The teams in the money would receive picks in reverse of the standings after the non-money teams. The teams finishing out of the money still receive the best minor league/reserve picks, but in a twelve-team league, that has prizes for the first six spots, the seventh place team receives a reward for its superior effort.

EARLIER TRADE DEADLINES

Every league should have a trade deadline in place but often it is late in August. A great change to make moves the deadline for uninhibited trading to a week after the Major League Baseball trade deadline in July. During the month of August, owners can trade with teams within two spots of them in the standings. The late July deadline limits dumping by taking place before most teams’ elimination from contention. The limited trading in August allows teams to make the small adjustments that injuries and MLB transactions make necessary without allowing the drastic trades between the second place team and the last placed team.

THREE-YEAR CHAMPIONSHIP PRIZE

By far the best solution to dumping is instituting a Three-Year Championship. This rule’s intention is to reward the owners that are continually high in the standings over a three-year period. Leagues that charge dues can set aside a small portion each season as a prize. How much to set aside would depend on how much would motivate teams to battle for every homerun or stolen base. At the end of three seasons, simply combine the total stats from each season and rank the teams accordingly. Reward at least the top three teams with a prize and you will have teams that would have dumped previously battling to finish as high as possible every season. This increased competition is the very best drag on dumping.

Implementing these three very simple rules will not only drastically lessen the number of dump trades but also create a more competitive atmosphere around your league without ruining the fun of those owners that like to trade. With owners battling for more prizes, improved draft picks, and more of the pot, participation increases and leagues become tougher, which is more fun for everyone involved.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

New Fantasy Baseball Auction Site

posted by Jon Williams
I've mentioned Couch Managers a few times in the last couple of months because they hosted some mock drafts in which I participated. Now they are offering Mock Auctions.

Free Fantasy Baseball Auctions Now Open

Join our new and free baseball auction drafts. Go to http://www.CouchManagers.com/baseball/?auction_email

You can create custom auctions. Fast live, slow, public, private, NL-only, AL-only... Everything is free.

Our free fantasy baseball mock drafts are open at http://www.CouchManagers.com/

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2009 Fantasy Baseball Roundtable

posted by Jon Williams
This season I have the privilege of being a member of the Fantasy Baseball Round Table. A collection of accomplished fantasy writers:

Jon Williams: RotoExperts
Tim Dierkes: RotoAuthority
Rudy Gamble: Razzball
Jason Collette: Fanball.com
Brett Greenfield: FantasyPhenoms.com
Adam Ronis: New York Newsday
Derek Carty: The Hardball Times
Patrick Cain: Albany Times Union

This week, the season-long series debuted on Fantasy Pros 911. Our top this week was our greatest disappointments of the 2008 season and our biggest goal of the 2009 season. You can check out the entire article at the link below. It did take me a minute to realize that the article appears about halfway down the page the link sends it to you.

Fantasy Roundtable Debut 2009-Biggest 2008 Disappointment and 2009 Goals

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