Trade: Team Hydra | TBD

Team Hydra sends: 2B Yoan Moncada (minors)
TBD sends: SP Corey Kluber ($82), RP Dellin Bettances ($14)

Jordan’s thoughts: What a disaster. I get it. You have lots of aces. But, any veteran of fantasy baseball should be well aware, that come fantasy playoff time, pitching rotations change. Two-start weeks start to disappear. That’s why you want seven good and reliable starters, because when it counts (unlike MLB where you can get away with just 3), you need 6 (if you’re lucky) or 7 starters.

Yoan is an impressive prospect, I get it. He probably will see playing time next season. That’s not very helpful now. I don’t see the value in this trade even if TBD was not in the playoff hunt. Trading two real assets for one 21-year-old who is doing quite well in AA seems foolish. Sure, if Moncada comes up and is a top-5 2B, great, you’re sitting on a fat pile of value for a few seasons. However, sitting on players who have great value doesn’t guarantee a future dynasty. Far from it.

Championships require a good roster, great value, but most of all luck. Even if Moncada is a monster and a top 15 MLB fantasy hitter, you still need the other 29 spots on your roster to work out in any given season. And you took a great roster that has a real chance to win it all this season and bruised it hard.

Hydra gets way better here. I love this move for them. They probably can figure out how to keep both players, and they’ll provide more value in the next three or four years than Moncada. Easy move. EVEN IF THEY DON’T keep either player, their shot of winning the whole league just went up because they took from the team they’re tied with and added to their own. Brilliant.

If TBD wins it all anyway, great. “Better lucky than good” is something I hear all too often.

Andrew’s thoughts: Maybe I’m just jealous because I tried to get Moncada and failed, but as soon as this trade popped up in my e-mail, the instinctual feeling I got was “man, prospects are way too valuable.”

I hate this move for TBD and love it for Team Hydra. Respectively, they are the third and fourth place team. They are clinging to the last two playoff spots. I realize TBD can simply fall back on Madison BumgarnerJacob deGrom, Tanner Roark, et al now. But I just don’t love punting an indisputable ace and the top overall relief pitcher at this juncture of the season. Granted, RPs aren’t super valuable, but still.

I get the logic. They rode Kluber long enough to get to this point and are in great postseason position with the most points in the league, thus giving them the tie-breaker should they finish with the same record as another team. They are now handing the keys to luck and in turn, getting arguably the best prospect in baseball. But I’m not sure they got enough for handing a direct postseason competitor two players of this caliber.

Oh well!

One other thing: I had forgotten what the original deal TBD made to get Kluber was and when I went back and looked… my god. This trade somehow manages to make that one look even worse. And from TBD’s perspective, you could argue that since they got Kluber for essentially nothing to begin with, he was just house money anyway. Their low initial investment in Kluber does make me like this move a little more for them.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | Senior Squids

Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: CF/RF Bryce Harper ($109)
Senior Squids sends: SP Zack Greinke ($78)

Andrew’s thoughts: It’s tough writing trade reviews sometimes because, as an owner, I occasionally have information and context to a trade or a player’s asking price behind closed doors that doesn’t really seem fair to publicize. That is true in this case. So I’ll be careful not to share how the information that I have influences my perspective of this trade. Let’s just say that I know what the asking price was for Bryce Harper, like, yesterday, and move on.

First of all, both these players are really good and quite valuable. I love Bryce and would give up essentially my entire team for him, $111 in 2017 be damned. I also love Greinke and at $78, he’s priced very well. He’s had a slow start to the season, but he truly is an ace of staff — and on the Oysters, joins Jake Arrieta and Max Scherzer in a horrifying trifecta of pitchers — that even at $80 next year doesn’t seem like a problem to keep.

I think my problem with this trade, as with Dusty’s first Bryce trade, is that pieces just seem to be lacking. The 1-for-1 is nice, simple, clean. And Bryce being traded three times suggests teams are scared of his salary. But I really don’t understand how you trade a transcendent, once in a lifetime talent twice and each time only get back a single pitcher. And you guys know how I feel about the value of pitchers. I just really feel like value is being left on the table.

I mean, Greinke is awesome and you could argue the top 8-10 pitchers or so make a greater difference to a team’s success than the top 3-4 hitters do. But how does Dusty not pry Dansby Swanson from the Squids here? How does he not get Hunter Renfroe and Carson Fulmer thrown in? How does he not get some draft pick conpensation? Is it that unreasonable to also get Mark Trumbo or Kyle Seager back? Something else?!

Truthfully, I don’t hate the deal for either side and both teams may come out feeling alright. I just think, as Dusty does pretty regularly, the haste to get a flashy deal done quickly got in the way of sapping the most possible value out of his asset. And who knows, a week or two from now if Dusty’s great-on-paper squad keeps underperforming, maybe he’ll turn around and start unloading Arrieta, Scherzer, and even Greinke and just reshuffle the deck that way. Though this is twice now that Bryce has been traded for the bare minimum, so I would hope our stable of owners here are savvy enough to recognize that there’s a pattern here. Just wait it out, and eventually you can buy guys from the Oysters for a price that suits you best.

I don’t mean to beat on Dusty (again). I love that he can unleash those three aces on his opposition, plus deploy Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey on weeks where those guys only start once per week. But even that, I think, leads to an interesting point: how much pitching is too much, even in a format where they’re super valuable? I mean, isn’t having those five starters, plus quality arms in Collin McHugh just a big opportunity cost problem? In other words, did Dusty’s roster need Harper’s offensive production more than it needed Greinke? I think it probably did.

To date, the Oysters have been the second worst offense in the league… with Harper. Dusty’s offense is now dramatically worse. I think another trade pretty much has to happen, and at what point are you chewing into values by making a thousand moves just to end up in roughly the same spot?

I don’t know. This deal is exciting and I love the rotation Dusty’s assembled, I just feel like Squids got off light here.

Jordan’s thoughts: Andrew just wrote so beautifully. I know RMO could have gotten more. I know that Squids wasn’t getting more. Another head scratcher. I just have to shake my head and move on. There’s no reason here why Squids would say no to getting Bryce. There’s no reason Dusty should only ask for Greinke for Bryce. None. There’s been plenty of lopsided deals, but even at $111, Bryce is a value keeper piece next year. Just crazy.

Trade: TBD | The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses

TBD sends: UT Miguel Sano ($48), 1B Eric Hosmer ($25), SS Alex Bregman (ML), SP Jorge Lopez ($5) and SP Edinson Volquez ($7)
The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses send: SP Madison Bumgarner ($81), SP Tanner Roark ($2), RP Dellin Betances ($14), 3B Matt Chapman (ML) and $4 in 2017 Auction Dollars

Jordan’s thoughts: Wow. I’m not sure where to begin and before I sleep on it I’ll write a few hundred words.

Okay so lets switch our strengths for weaknesses and see what happens? I honestly do not know what to think of this. So it wasn’t a secret that the Diabeetuses not only lacked insulin charges, they lacked starting pitching depth, right? So they send off three more pitchers, because you know, fuck them. They get back a stud hitter, a good hitter, a potentially exciting prospect, a wish and a floppy arm.

Alright…

On the other side, let’s give you a whole pitching staff. Sure. Bummy is outstanding, not really a lot to mention there. Roark if he sticks in the rotation, is fine. Betances should be fine. Some auction cash, a prospect, whatever.

I will take a stab at why this deal got done. WBFD had these aces they spent pretty money on, but no hitters. TBD had these pretty hitters but no pitching. Lets switch some. Okay. Done. I guess they both have a more balanced team going forward. That’s fine.

The simulator here suggests that neither really hurt or improved themselves. I guess that is a win-win. Trading holes is what I have been known to call this kind of transaction. If each participant feels comfortable covering the new holes they created, great.

I love this trade because it is exciting. There are so many pieces moving back and forth. I do not understand this trade, and I think I am okay with that.

Andrew’s thoughts: As Jordan mentioned, strengths were traded for strengths here.

I believe that before trades of any kind, the Diabeetuses had a bottom-3 offense and a top-3 pitching staff. Maybe it wasn’t that extreme, but you get the point. Following the trade, WBFD has maybe a bottom-6 offense and a significantly worse pitching staff? Hopefully my math is wrong. WBFD has added some keepable pieces and spread salaries around a good deal, which is awesome. Except you don’t know if this team is any good yet, so maybe you don’t want to keep all these pieces together? And maybe the team was competitive as a top-heavy unit? WBFD has also now spent $8 of 2017 auction cash already, which maybe ends up being irrelevant, but could be a hurdle if the plan is to go young and keep your squad in tact. Their trades have gotten them way under budget but as I’ve mentioned before, getting under budget for 2017 before the first pitch of 2016 isn’t necessarily advantageous.

If Carlos Martinez takes a step forward into ace territory (this might be more likely than not) then the blow of losing Bumgarner and Jake Arrieta is softened.

I think TBD, who was known to have been shopping Troy Tulowitzki for pitching, did the smart thing and instead put a young, affordable hitter on the block. I love Tulo, but at his salary and with his injury history, he’s just not worth a Bumgarner type guy. Miguel Sano, clearly, is capable of fetching that.

TBD’s offense is largely unaffected. It’s technically worse because Sano and Hosmer are gone, but I’m not sure it’s noticeably worse. The pitching is way better with Bumgarner at the top, but there’s still work to be done. On weeks where Bumgarner starts just once, you’ve still got to fill six starts from Phil Hughes, Jimmy Nelson, Andrew Heaney… meh. Someone there will take a leap and become a viable SP2, but there will be a lot of spin-around-with-your-head-on-a-baseball-bat-and-then-throw-a-dart choices going on here.

I’m inclined to prefer the Bumgarner side as a short term play, but WBFD probably has an edge if you’re looking to the future. Bregman is valuable, right? This one is even as I see it.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses

Rocky Mtn Oysters send: OF George Springer ($49), SP Anderson Espinoza, 2017 1st Round Pick
The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses send: SP Jake Arrieta ($84), 2017 5th Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts: In my opinion, this is a big win for the Rocky Mtn Oysters.

For The Fighting Diabeetuses, the objective here was obviously to shed some starting pitcher salary — this is a team paying Jose Fernandez and Madison Bumgarner too — and so I get the logic. In George Springer, you get a young batter with a proven major league track record, room to get even better, and a palatable salary, all the while freeing up space.

The problem is that budget space right now is not really a thing. We can go over budget in season here, so WBFD effectively had a year to wiggle around and get set for 2017. To me, this is just too preemptive a move. I was somewhat in on Arrieta myself but still didn’t understand that aspect of it. This team is now way under budget and can probably keep the majority of the roster in tact next year, which is neat, but I’m not convinced that’s worth much. The offense is better today, sure. But I’m also not sure adding Springer changes it dramatically. “Better” is a relative term. I would’ve much rather held my three high paid pitchers and seen if they could carry me through the first several weeks of baseball.

Getting Anderson Espinoza and that pick are helpful, I suppose, but again, adding them doesn’t offset the wonky timing for me. I’d rather have Espinoza than my 15th best minor leaguer, but I’m not rushing to give up one of the 10 most valuable players in our league to get him.

For the Oysters, being able to pair Arrieta with Max Scherzer should provide a huge weekly advantage. The offense takes another hit and actually looks quite rough to me now, but there’s no reason someone won’t fork over a hitter for Luis Severino, Kenta Maeda, or Collin McHugh, guys that are now a whole lot more expendable. Of course, a savvy trade owner might look at his team, recognize Dusty’s need to flip one of those starters for hitting is greater than their own need to do the opposite, and gauge him a little on price.

Dusty’s team sits way over budget for 2017 now. He’s looking at having to shed $104 or so (remember, he bought himself $20 of auction budget), but that’s not a bridge he needs to cross today and his worst case scenario might just be dumping all but his best five or six guys, which might not even be such a bad thing.

Jordan’s thoughts: Right off the bat, this trade just confuses the hell out of me. According to my line up projection simulator, both teams were neck and neck in the bottom half of projections. Not a enviable place for anyone to be. Prior to the trade the Oysters were projected for roughly 569. points per week. The Diabeetuses were projected for 567.1 points per week. Bad Good enough to rank 11th and 12th respectively.

The trade for the Oysters looks pretty decent. They get the better player at a decent value. Anytime you can add another ace you have to do it. Springer does hurt the offense as Bailey stated above. I also agree with Bailey’s assessment that now Dusty has at least two solid pitching bullets to trade for hitting. Which if timed right, and a little luck sprinkled in, could be a huge positive swing.

All that being said, as it stands right now, Dusty did improve his weekly projected output to 572.3, but now ranks in the same 11th place compared to the entire league. But, for Dusty to take that jump into the next level he needs to make better use of his now stack of assets in the rotation. My simulator sees it as a waste, but I have yet to configure my simulator with the “Dusty factor” Although I’m not certain there’s an algorithm capable of figuring out Dusty.

Was the blood sugar low again for the Fighting Diabeetuses? Before jumping into the numbers, a qualitative look can say, well when you have Martinez, Bumgarner, and Fernandez, you can stand to lose Arrieta. That is mostly right. However, George Springer, while being a huge addition as the best projected hitter on this team in 2016, is not really enough to compensate the loss of Arrieta.

What the Diabeetuses are missing to make this deal alright, is starting pitching depth on the back end. Nate Karns has not won the job yet in Seattle, Roenis Elias will likely spend more time in the bullpen this season, and Tanner Roark was not a starter last year which means even though he should be a starter this year, his innings may be reduced.

All that said, my projection simulator now has the Diabeetuses suffering through 22 replacement starts. Nearly one a week. That’s too many, they now NEED another full time starting pitcher, probably two.

Springer does make the entire hitting core better. Springer slots into the CF position, flanked by Khris Davis and Stephen Piscotty. Jackie Bradley Jr now gets to back them all up nicely and fill in at utility when needed. That’s great. Hitting depth matters too and now they have it.

The cost was just too damn high. The Diabeetuses tumble down to the 16th projected line up in Dynasty Grinders. Dipping to 556 points per week was a huge hit to their total. It’s hard to fall in love with a trade like this. As a commissioner it is great to see the league ready to move big pieces and create some stir, but baseball is a long year and I think what we saw here on both ends was a overlooking of what depth really is.

I can’t help but think, what if McHugh and Rusney Castillo switched teams in this deal as well. Maybe something else in the deal has to happen to make that work out, but both teams would have benefited more from that switch. Perhaps both teams have future moves on the table ready to move up or down.

This trade as a whole, I have to call it a win for Dusty, slightly, his team does improve, having more aces is better than not, but he went from relying on Buxton to coming through to desperately depending on him. It could work out. For Josh, well I see why he did it. I just think the reasons may be misguided. If George Springer breaks out as a top 10 fantasy hitter, this clearly works out for him, but…

2016 Auction Review – We Talk Fantasy Sports

We talk Fantasy Sports

wtfs

These guys talk fantasy sports and it shows. Their line up is solid, on the daily they should have good production from the offensive side of the ball. Without diving deep into it, clearly this team is the favorite for best bullpen. It might not be close for a dozen of the other teams. That will play out this season.

Hitting – Great

If you removed the names from this list and just looked at the numbers, you would probably see something closer to outstanding. However, I settled on great. Andrew McCutchen, Justin Upton and Chris Davis are all easy to pencil in for top five at their position. Adrian Beltre, Jason Heyward, Devin Mesoraco, and even Brandon Phillips could find themselves there at the end of 2016. The line up here is stacked with options. They found values here as well. That being said these guys have names. Chris Davis is what he is. Has been awesome, has been awful, which one did we get? Honestly at $46, he’s a candidate for steal of the draft. I love Beltre more than anyone else in this league, but he’s old even before you consider he was probably actually 18 when he got caught for being only 15 (great long con).

Pitching – Not quite

Can you believe it, the bullpen is bunching this rating up a notch. Craig Kimbrel, Ken Giles, Trevor Rosenthal and Jeurys Familia could expertly be shuffled to maximize those three spots in a way that all the other teams just can’t do. But that only goes so far. I love Taijuan Walker, but he’s still learning how to pitch. Raisel Iglesias is the hype man this year, will it pan out? Lots of things to like about Jordan Zimmermann (efficient innings eater), Michael Pineda (big game potential), Kyle Hendricks (trending towards good). The problem here just is, that there is five guys here you would like to be your 3, maybe 2 in a pinch. Nobody here you really want to be your Ace or number two fantasy starter. Could that change? I hope so, go Tai Walker.

Depth – Good

I like the 4th bullpen option a lot. The bench guys at the starting pitcher spot could all spot start just fine. Even the hitters are well filled out. He’s covered at every position likely three or four deep. That says a lot when skimming each day for as many points as possible without having to expose players to the waiver wire. I like what I see. This team has the opportunity to create its “own” luck from week to week.

Why 2016 would be bad… 

The pitchers here are just okay, meaning they’re inconsistent. Its pretty awful when they’re spinning up starts like aces and following them up with 2 inning outings that cripple your week. This rotation outside of Jordan Zimmermann begs that question each and every start. Beltre might be X-factor here on this squad, he doesn’t have a clear backup and he needs to be good. Justin Upton is already hurt, does it linger?

Why 2016 would be good… 

Things are great when the line up delivers and one of the starting pitchers make the magical leap to the tier one spot that pitchers tend to make. Odds are on Iglesias or Walker, but anyone of them could theoretically do it. It’s not impossible for this team to be good with a bunch of average starters, I’ve seen it done.

2016 Auction Review – Senior Squids

Senior Squids

squids

After taking a beating for making a trade with super trader Dusty, Squids came out hard and furious and drafted pretty well. It’s clear that this team has serious potential, but there’s a few question marks. Is Randal Grichuk really worth $35? At least two people thought so. Was Shelby Miller good last year or lucky?

Hitters – Not quite

There is nobody in this line up for the Senior Squids that week in week out is reliably going to carry you. This line up is not that different that Capital City that we saw earlier, except it is missing the Votto/Miggy connection. Great at the catching position, and I like Joe Panik and Kyle Seager. Obviously I love Brad Miller, but prefer him to not be forced to slot at short stop. The outfield is alright, but is Grichuk a top 5 outfielder? Between the eight outfielders, he should be able to stream a solid 3-man outfield, but even their ceiling isn’t terribly high. Justin Bour at first base could be solid, or was last year as good as it gets?

Pitchers – Great

This was one of the harder ones to classify. It’s on the bubble of Very Good and Great. Corey Kluber and Zack Greinke are amazing. Tier one for starting pitchers is probably truly two sub tiers, the unreal good guys and the other good guys relative to the entire pool. Kluber and Greinke are elite. Shelby Miller got chastised for getting traded to Arizona for a king’s ransom, but in fantasy not much has changed. It is not hard to imagine that out of Jaime Garcia, Scott Kazmir, Clay Bucholz, Wade Miller and Home Bailey that you can string four comfortable starts out of the group weekly. Likely two of those guys end up being traded for more hitting. Also for the first time during this review exercise, the bullpen here is great. Wade Davis and David Robertson are primed to be great. While that can change in a week, it is hard to argue with the values he spent and assumed to receive here.

Depth – Great

I like the rotation depth a lot. I like the outfield depth that all suffices to cover both utility spots just fine. Brock Holt and Brad Miller can play so many positions. None of his starting hitters are good enough to sink this team if they get hurt, and he already has built in serviceable starters at every position. Although replacing Kyle Seager would hurt the most, and not just because I’m a Mariners fan.

Why 2016 would be bad… 

Well, while the Squids could theoretically afford to lose both Greinke and Kluber to some scary injury and survive, the back end of the rotation is presumed to be good enough. However, the line up just is not. He needs the 100 points a week from those two aces each week. Even then, the ceiling for this team’s scoring just seems destined to be too low.

Why 2016 would be good… 

Things are great for the Senior Squids if Kluber and Greinke pitch themselves into Cy Young conversations in their respective league’s again this year. The rest of the starters shake out in some good way. Perhaps there’s a hitter here that breaks out and jumps into the top 5 of their position that I’m just not seeing. Mark Trumbo reclaims some of his sheen in Baltimore? There’s lots of options here for things to go good, and that’s a good thing.

2016 Auction Review – Team Canada

Team Canada

tc

So what happens when you skip the $80 player and sprinkle those dollars amongst 3-4 guys? Well you see here with what Team Canada was able to do with just that strategy. Stephen Strasburg and Cole Hamels were the only two to top the $50 threshold. Both aces look like good buys for this squad. Is there enough in the middle tier to push this team over the top though?

Hitting – Good

The 1-10 hitters on this team starting at each position are good. Robinson Cano, Anthony Rendon, Yeonis Cesdpedes, Starling Marte, and Yasiel Puig are all legit candidates to be top 5 relative to their primary position. Gregory Polanco and Joey Gallo are young and formidable. Victor Martinez has no reason to be done hitting and isn’t tied to just utility. Everything about Trea Turner seems to be unreasonably positive, so time will tell if Dusty Baker lets him play. Lucas Duda is not a slouch at first base, but he is going to disappear a couple weeks this year as he does every year. The group as a whole seems able to withstand that, the floor here is high.

Pitching – Good

Strasburg and Hamels are great on their own. Weeks that you get 3 starts from the two of these guys you will be sitting quite pretty. Weeks that you only get two or God forbid less for whatever reason, there’s trouble. Can Jeff Samardzija reclaim his stellar record after returning back to the National League? Samardzija was an interesting case on the auction block. Last year he seemed poised to take a step forward, but the story is the American League and poor defense could be partially to blame. Drew Smyly at $27 seems like a costly gamble. Behind those guys is a slew of back end rotation fodder. Is there a surprise lurking in that back end? The bullpen is alright, nothing flashy.

Depth – Not Quite

Assuming the primary utility guys will be filled by Victor Martinez and Jayson Werth, with a little sprinkle of Pablo Sandoval and Joey Gallo, there is just not a lot of depth. Yangervis Solarte covers three positions, but not terribly well. No backup catcher. Eugenio Suarez is a fine stop gap for Turner until he gets eligibility assuming he plays in Cincinnati. And there is that mess of “could be’s” the back end of that rotation. There just is not a lot to play around with. If a few of those guys don’t break in their respective big league rotations, how long do you stash before you just your losses for useful roster spots?

Why 2016 would be bad… 

Team Canada’s hitters will carry this team to a high floor week to week. That will keep them in most games. But, if Strasburg or Hamels refuse to be legit tier 1 starting pitchers, pitching will be a headache all season long. What if Rendon can’t stay healthy? Cano could be already too old? Perhaps Yasiel Puig will never mature. The possible domino affect of bad news sinks this team in a hurry.

Why 2016 would be good… 

It starts with nobody gets hurt. Sure you could say that about any team, but the top half of this roster is rock solid full of stars. Perhaps a couple of those starters have a few hot weeks, maybe they’re even good. Either way this team could be a move or two away from being great, or simply standing pat and enjoying good luck. If some of that stuff doesn’t break that way but Joey Gallo and Henry Owens (or any of those SP) break into a star like role, they could carry this roster.

2016 Auction Review – Hustle Loyalty Respect

Hustle Loyalty Respect

hlr

Our West-coast heartthrob and sleeping beauty duo built a team a generation apart. You have the younger with Matt Harvey and the elder with Adam Wainwright. Carlos Correa & Maikel Franco are up and coming and there is Melky Cabrera & Hunter Pence, good yet declining. Seems like a good balance of young and old. Also a good balance of hitters and pitchers.

Hitting – Alright

I was never likely going to like the Carlos Correa winner. He’s awesome. He’s a stud. But a lot of that value is relative to the position he plays. That counts, stretching last season to a full MLB season, Correa probably finds himself as a top 30, maybe top 20 hitter. If Correa is the best short stop, finds himself a standard deviation or two above the rest of the short stops, that $81 price tag is worth it. But to be a value at that price, he really needs to sneak into the top 15 or better of hitters. Blake Swihart & Yadier Molina are a great catcher platoon. Jose Abreu is great. Melky, Lorenzo Cain and Pence in the OF is pretty good. This team’s 3B situation is solid. In my opinion HLR doesn’t have “set and forget” utility hitters and that’s where his hitters goes from good to alright. Cycling just one of those spots is ideal.

Pitching – Good

Matt Harvey is really good. Adam Wainwright is awesome according to my wife. Garrett Richards and Yordano Ventura look like aces on their MLB teams which is a plus in head-to-head. The top half of the rotation is really good. The bottom half is a few wishes and a prayer or two. Kevin Gausman is an enigma of sorts. What is Baltimore doing with him? If he gets to 160 innings as a SP, a solid value find. If he is in the bullpen or worse, just not pitching…yikes. The others could be good or great, or useless. Kris Medlin is drawing excitement in Kansas City, but I need to see 100 innings first. The bullpen here is okay, HLR seemed to find some decent relievers at a good price.

Depth – Not Quite

The depth is not scary bad, in some areas it is quite good. I mentioned the catching platoon. Moustakas as your backup at 3B/UT is good. Lots to hope for from Marcell Ozuna and Scott Van Slyke who may not start for their MLB teams. The pitching depth as mentioned already is unreliable. The good thing about the depth is that it didn’t cost them too much. Shouldn’t be heart wrenching to replace a few of these back of the auction grabs if necessary.

Why 2016 would be bad… 

Hustle Loyalty and Respect could probably lose one or two of their big four starting pitchers and still be good. This team will ride and die with Carlos Correa. They paid for that spread from the short stop position. If Correa is as good as last year, probably need not worry. But, if he’s out for two weeks, how do you hold the fort down? Who’s stepping up? I don’t see it.

Why 2016 would be good… 

Some fantasy pundits are calling Carlos Correa a top 5 hitter. If so he provides these guys with a devastatingly large 30-40 point advantage weekly over any other short stop. If Harvey, Wainwright and just one of Richards/Ventura all reach 1,000 fantasy points, you have a shot in each of the twenty week regular season. With the rest of the roster, either they stay healthy and/or HLR nails some transactions and this team would be on fire.

Starting pitchers what say you?

Those who are new to an OttoNeu scoring league such as this are in for a real treat. Especially with our head to head rules that limit teams to seven (7) games started (GS) by a SP each week. This creates a huge opportunity cost when selecting the starts you will be using each week. So on this leap day, let’s leap into it!

Would you rather have one Clayton Kershaw or three versions of James Shields? The answer isn’t so clear. James Shields is pretty good. He’s slightly above average. He’s one of my “comfortable” starters. Meaning any given week, I’ll use his start that week without much hesitation. He’s not awesome anymore, but he’s not awful either.

Kershaw is projected to go for over $100 in the auction and no matter what, based on past production he’s certainly going to go for a value. What you’re buying with Kershaw is an ability to get deep into games. The last three years of Kershaw saw him pitch into the 7th inning 73 of his 93 starts (that’s more than 78% of the time).

You’re also buying that he’s the team ace so he’s going to rarely get pulled before the 5th. Part of his job is to give his team’s bullpen a breather. In fact, Kershaw failed to get through five innings just twice in the last three seasons, and one of those games was the last game of the year in 2015 where he was pitching for records.

What do those two things mean? Deep into games often leads towards higher points ceilings. Low chance of an early hook means higher points floors.

Now there’s more than a few aces out there who accomplish both of those things every five days. But Kershaw, as you know, is ridiculously good on top of just chewing up innings. He strikes guys out (points!), he doesn’t allow many walks, homers or hits (avoid negative points!), and he’s reliable.

Here’s the final tally on each of Kershaw’s 93 starts over the last 3 seasons:

kershaw

Wow. Starting pitchers are really cool, right? Well hold your pants. That’s a really good starter. Here’s what Shields over the same time looks like:

Keep in mind that before you look at the following graph, that James Shields makes 101 starts, with an average 32.5 points per start (getting 32.5 points from a start is very good!).

shields

Wow. Those are two different distributions. Keep in mind, Shields according to Steamer projections is set to be about the 30th best SP for 2016. In a 16-team league, Shields is a SP2. There’s two things to really take from this. Kershaw, about once a season, in one single start, is worth the equivalent of almost three GOOD starts. THREE!

Then on the flip side the awful starts. Kershaw has one a season. Shields has just enough that you’re probably not predicting when they happen to avoid. Those negative starts hurt your week. A lot. Bad starts don’t hurt your week so much, but they don’t make you feel good. Average starts you take and put in your hat and move on. Any good start gets your juices flowing.

It’s amazing what Kershaw could do for any team. He’s so far above the rest of the world that his value is basically “name a price and just pay it.” When Kershaw has a two start week, odds are great that you’re basically playing with a 30+ point jump at a minimum over any other two start combo that your weekly match-ups throw at you.

Consider that like an extra start, or like adding Ryan Braun‘s average for a week to your line up as a bonus. Unreal.

As you go down further in the pitcher pool, you’ll see what you’d expect: the distribution leans even more left (that’s the bad side). There’s some guys who will have a distribution that is much flatter, they’re inconsistently good, awful, average.

A lot of times you can guess when these guys will be good based on match-ups and you can combine a few different guys to look like a good starter, but its a risky game. For those who may be consider punting pitchers, be careful, you don’t want to be in a position where you’re praying for at least a bad start from a guy who’s a spot starter that you found in the free agent pool because he’s hot garbage. It’s very difficult to cobble together your starting pitching. The opportunity cost that the 7-start per week limit adds to these aces is significant.

Oh and so just show how Kershaw is in his own tier. Here’s SP #2 overall, Max Scherzer:

max

Leans to the right. Yes. Max was quite good. Those perfect games, no-no are seriously awesome. But, to compare to Kershaw. Kershaw had 9 starts, average or worse. Max has SIX awful starts. Eight bad starts and nine average starts. Don’t get me wrong. Max is amazing! But he occasionally has an off day. Kerhsaw is just absurdly good.

For fun, let us take a look at what an average pitcher looks like over 3 years. This becomes a hard exercise, nobody is exactly average for three straight years, so what I did was combined Jarrod Parkers 2013 with Jorge de la Rosa‘s 2014 and Mark Buerhle‘s 2015 and smashed them together to make the 27 point per start SP. Here’s the graph.

average

It’s a mixed bag. Plenty of great useful starts in there, but the red and peach columns start to add up really quick. You’re looking at a $10-$20 pitcher. Good luck!