Minor League Rosters 5-31-2014

Brooklyn DL’s
1.     Rafael Montero, P, NYM
2.     Kohl Stewart, P, MIN
3.     Colin Moran, 3B, MIA
4.     Tyler Austin, OF, NYY
5.     Brian Goodwin, OF, WAS

1.     C.J. Edwards, P, CHC
2.     Eddie Butler, P, COL
3.     J.P. Crawford, SS, PHI
4.     C.J. Addison Russell, SS, OAK
5.     Oscar Taveras, OF, STL

Hockey Nation
1.     Mark Appel, P, HOU
2.     Mookie Betts, 2B, BOS
3.     Byron Buxton, OF, MIN
4.     Max Fried, P, SD
5.     Travis D'Arnaud, C, NYM

The Holy Handgrenade
1.     Robert Peterson, P, CIN
2.     Tyler Glasnow, P, PIT
3.     D.J. Peterson, OF, SEA
4.     Delino DeShields, Jr. 2B, HOU
5.     Alex Meyer, P, MIN

Skip Caray’s Ghost
1.     Raul Mondesi, SS, KC
2.     Austin Hedges, C, SD
3.     Carlos Correa, SS, HOU
4.     Mike Montgomery, P, TB
5.     Mike Olt, 3B, CHC

Planet 10
1.     Clint Frazier, OF, CLE
2.     Jorge Soler, OF, CHC
3.     Bubba Starling, OF, KC
4.     Robbie Erlin, P, SD
5.     Francisco Lindor, SS, CLE

Clown City
1.     Joc Peterson, OF, LAD
2.     Mike Zunino, C, SEA
3.     Miguel Sano, 3B, MIN
4.     Jake Odorizzi , P, TB

1.     Henry Owens, P, BOS
2.     Aaron Sanchez, P, TOR
3.     Albert Almora, OF, CHC
4.     Jameson Taillon, P, PIT

Outlaws – All in WDW
1.     Maikel Franco, 3B, PHI
2.     Lucas Sims, P, ATL
3.     Hunter Harvey, P, BOS
4.     Gregory Polanco, OF, PIT
5.     Noah Syndergaard, SP, NYM

Hammering Fastballs
1.     Joey Gallo, 3B, TEX
2.     Corey Seager, SS, LAD
3.     Courtney Hawkins, OF, CWS
4.     J.R. Graham, P, ATL
5.     James Paxton, P, SEA

puerto rican perfume
1.     Kevin Gausman P, BAL
2.     Allen Webster P, BOS
3.     Kyle Crick, P, SF
4.     Hak-Ju Lee, SS, TB
5.     Michael Ynoa, P, OAK

Tri State Turmoil
1.     Rougned Odor, 2B, TEX
2.     Jonathan Singleton, 1B, HOU
3.     David Dahl, OF, COL
4.     Dylan Bundy, P, BAL
5.     Nick Castellanos, OF, DET

Milwaukee Braves
1.     Lucas Giolito, P, WAS
2.     Austin Meadows, OF, PIT
3.     Matt Davidson, 3B, CWS
4.     Archie Bradley, SP, ARZ
5.     Kris Medlen, SP, ATL

San Diego Chickens
1.     Marcus Stroman, P, TOR
2.     Matt Wisler, P, SD
3.     Kyle Zimmer, SP, KC
4.     Alen Hanson, SS, PIT
5.     Jurickson Profar, 2B, TEX

In-Season Changes
            April 21st:  Clown City called up Carlos Martinez, P, STL
            May 30th:  stangnut called up George Springer, OF, HOU


The Rich Says

The Veterans Administration provides government-run healthcare.  Should we expand the government's scope of operations therein?


Handel Note

I was on the E-Mail list for Karen Handel here in Georgia.  She finished 3rd in the balloting for the Senate Republican nomination and is now out of the running.  She sent out the very nice note below.  I will admit I’m still bothered by the sight of the Democrats booing at the re-inclusion of the word ‘God’ into their platform at the Democratic Convention in 2012.  So it’s nice to see some politicians with Christian values.
Dear Friends,
We came up a bit short last night, and while that's disappointing, everyone can hold their head high for the tremendous effort. Steve and I are truly overwhelmed by the support, encouragement and prayers that you sent our way. Your friendship enriches our lives more than you can know, and words will never be able to express our appreciation to you.
We all know how important it is to hold Georgia's Senate seat in the hands of a Republican. So, I hope you'll look at the two candidates who are advancing to the runoff and rally around one of them.
Meanwhile, Steve and I are looking to the future with great optimism and enthusiasm. God always has a plan, and it's always the perfect plan for each of us. Let me leave you with my favorite scripture, Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Here's to the future!
Luv y'all!
Karen and Steve


Match-Up League Strategy

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s talk strategy, shall we? Specifically, let’s talk match-up league weekly strategy.

First, your offensive focus starting each week should be home runs, RBI’s and Runs. Batting average is secondary initially since it is less predictable. Finally, I field a team that will get a couple stolen bases per week. There are exceptions if you have Dee Gordon or the like. A top notch stolen base player will be a strong two category player who also helps BA. But the high stolen base, medium run, low batting average player should find himself on someone else’s team – not yours.

As the week progresses, begin to narrow your focus to categories that are still in play. Remember you only need to win a category by one. So if you’re heading into Sunday up by five in home runs and down by a stolen base, play for the extra stolen base if your roster allows.

The pitching side of match-up team management is largely a function of your league settings. If your league has a limit on starts and you find yourself with excess starts available, check the split stats of your starters. Most starters are more effective at home but there are exceptions. After reviewing the splits, take your best guess and don’t look back. Just as there is no crying in baseball, there is no regret or self-recrimination in fantasy. It’s all for fun, right? (Do as I say, not necessarily as I do here.)

Some match-up leagues have no limit on the number of pitching starts. For these leagues, you want to carry an extra starter – especially in leagues that reward the number of innings pitched.

I’m going to digress for a minute. Years ago I considered the inning pitched category to be rather lame. However, I view it now as one with a degree of legitimacy. It is fair for your team to be rewarded if you drafted pitchers who go deep into games. These pitchers are of great value in reality so why not throw a bone their way in fantasy? They will also deliver more K’s for you and typically more W’s than 5-6 inning starters.

Back to the ‘pitching heavy’ roster I mentioned… In leagues with no pitching limits, I often field teams with a total of only nine or ten position players. If your offense is good enough, you don’t need more position players than this. Play your guys every day with occasional schedule-related streaming of your weakest hitter.

Always remember that the end of the season is more important than the beginning in match-up leagues. All games are equal in rotisserie. All games are not equal in match-up. Keep your eye out for hot players – or check the splits for players who tend to finish strong. Examples: Hunter Pence was money last year the last month of the season. On the flip side, Brandon Phillips always struggles in September. Look for money players when the games become ‘more equal’.

Finally, do your best to get a first round bye but, if you can’t, no worries. Just pick up a few hot players or strong finishers, make the playoffs and win the league. Nothing is more satisfying than finishing 6th in the regular season and winning the playoffs…….


No Curses in Baseball

There are no curses in baseball – only bad management.  Teams consistently fail because management fails.  Don’t believe me?  Do you think Vince Lombardi would lose 90 games with any Major League team – even the Chicago Cubs or Houston Astros?  Hint:  The answer is ‘no’.

Remember Vince Lombardi’s first coaching experience was as the basketball coach at St. Cecelia’s High school in New Jersey.  Think any of those teams had a losing record?  Did one of his teams win the only state basketball championship in school history?  I’ll let you guess the answers.  He knew nothing about basketball but he demanded of himself that he learn better than anyone else.  He knew how to get the best out of a person.  He knew how to win.

What is the point of all this, you ask?  It is this:  There is no curse on any major league team – even the Chicago Cubs.  Example:  Once the Boston Red Sox upped their ownership and front office commitment to winning, the rest took care of itself.  Once they decided to stop making excuses, the ‘curse’ went away.  So it can be with others.  (Aside:  With the current owner of the Houston Astros, they will never succeed but that’s beyond the scope of this article.)

Now I will admit there is no team more deserving of a curse than the Chicago Cubs.  A few of their exploits over the centuries include:
  • Cap Anson refusing to take the field when Moses Fleetwood Walker was playing for the opposition and leading the charge to remove all ‘players of color’ from the league.
  • Johnny Evers shenanigans in the 1908 pennant chase by which Freddy Merkel became known as the ‘bone head’.  (Note:  That is the last year in which the Cubs won a championship.)
  • The monstrous fan and entire city reaction to Steve Bartman touching a foul ball in the 2003 NL Championship Series.  The reason the Cubs lost the series was not because a random fan touched a foul ball (which the illustrious, sure-handed Moises Alou would no doubt have caught!).  No, it was because they were outplayed and outhustled by the Florida Marlins.  Other teams experienced fan interference.  Do they or their fans use it as an excuse for losing?  No.
  • And then, of course, there’s the ‘goat’ curse that’s supposed to be in place also.
Is this why the Cubs lose?  No.  The reason the Cubs lose is because they are poorly managed and have not until recently been committed to winning.  They have had one of the weakest minor league systems for the last 50 years.  When they do develop a good prospect, they trade him away for a journeyman.  (I will spare you the list of examples.)

OK, is this fair?  Should I really be jumping on the Cubs so much?  Probably not.  But grown men and organizations do not make excuses.  As I learned in business:  ‘Winners perform.  Losers ask for understanding.’  So with the underperforming MBL franchises:  Get committed, start performing and you’ll be amazed at the results.

Fair disclosure:  The Rich is a recovering Cubs fan.  He occasionally followed the Cubs from the late 60’s until the 2003 playoffs.  After the Bartman episode The Rich moved on to more mature organizations.


Random Baseball Thoughts

Should you hold on to Carey Hart?  First, you should only be asking this question if you are in a deep league with a CI position.  Hart is not worth rostering in shallow leagues.  But in deeper leagues, yes, you should hold on to him.  Hart averaged 29 long balls per year from 2010 to 2012.  While he doesn't run the way he once did, he’ll still get you 5-6 stolen bases.  Remember he missed an entire year of baseball and it takes a while to get back up to game speed.  My full year prediction:  70/25/80/.260/6.  Good for a Corner Infielder in a deep league.

Now for some (expert of course) quick hits:
  • Should you get excited about Ernesto Frieri again?  No.  He’s not all that.
  • Will Brian Roberts keep it up?  No.  He’ll get injured.
  • Should I pick up Odor?  No.  Cologne maybe.  Odor no.  He’ll have a great career but he needs to prove himself NOW.  Too many fantasy players jump on prospects before they are productive.
  • What’s up with Cole Hamels?  He’s been killing his owners.  Will he get it together?  Yes.  His track record is stellar and there are no known lingering physical issues with him.
Now for a little nostalgia:  This year marks the 100 year anniversary of the start of World War I.  One of the greatest ballplayers of all time was wounded in the war and was never the same again.  Christy Mathewson (at age 38) enlisted to fight for his country.  During a chemical training exercise, Mathewson was accidently gassed.  He developed tuberculosis which eventually claimed his life seven years later.

Mathewson, known as ‘Big Six’, ‘The Christian Gentlemen’ and ‘Matty’ was one of the great players and role models in early 20th century baseball.  He won 373 games losing only 168.  He was one of the initial five entries into the Baseball Hall of Fame (Cobb, Ruth, Johnson, Wagner, and Mathewson in order of vote).  His use of the revolutionary new ‘fadeaway’ (screwball) gave hitters fits his entire career.  In 1905 he threw 3 shutouts in the World Series to bring the World Championship to the New York Giants.  Matty never pitched on Sunday due to his Christian belief that Sunday was a day of rest.

He was a great man and a great ballplayer who influenced the game of baseball for the better.


The Cab Driver

Two years ago I posted the article below regarding my discussion with a cab driver. It's worth another read.

This past Thursday night I took a cab home from the train station. My cabbie was from Guinea, a country in west Africa. He had come to the States years ago and supported his family as a cab driver.

As we talked he indicated that he was going back to Guinea since he could better provide for his family there. His rationale: 
1) The price of gas had gone up so much in the Obama years (national average of $1.68 per gallon when he came into office) that the driver had little fare money left after paying for it. 
2) So many people who had lost their jobs over the last three years had become cabbies in the hopes of supporting themselves --- thus increasing the supply of cabbies and reducing the number of rides he provided daily. 
3) So many people had lost their jobs that the demand for cabs was reduced.

All that said, the thing that put him over the top was the Not So Supreme Court decision to uphold ObamaCare. He stated that the health care law would put many more people out of work since their employees could no longer afford their benefits. In addition, we were becoming like the countries in Africa where the government encroached on all aspects of life and commerce.

So, he was going back to Guinea, Africa, where he would have greater opportunity to provide for his family. I gave him a large tip and wished him well.


Fantasy Baseball: Punting a Category

So it hath been asked: “Great Rich, should I ever 'punt a category' in the hopes of overachieving in other categories?"

The Great Rich should probably be less direct but......... The answer is a firm ‘NO’. No category should ever be punted. Never. The category I hear about the most in the punting discussion is that of saves. Yes, saves are overvalued in fantasy baseball. Yes, having three closers might cut down on your offensive output or hold you back slightly in the win column. But let’s look at the numbers.

In a traditional 12 team 5x5 rotisserie league, you will need 90 points to compete for the league title. This means that the average number of points you need from each category is 9. A tall order but doable. Now let’s say you decide to punt saves and take only 1 point from that category. Result: You now need 10 points from each of the other categories. A much more difficult proposition. Why handicap yourself unnecessarily?

Another ‘punting category’ is stolen bases. Should you punt SB’s? Again the answer is ‘NO’. Don’t forget that players with high stolen base totals also score a lot of runs. By punting SB’s, you guarantee mediocrity in the run category. Not a solid strategy.

Speaking of downstream punting effects, let’s go back to the saves discussion. A closer worthy of your roster will contribute to ERA and WHIP, two categories that are often undervalued by fantasy players. He will also contribute a K per inning. What’s not to like?

Remember, in competitive rotisserie baseball, you need to average 9 points per category to compete for the league championship. For every category you punt, you’ll need to win three other categories just to even up. A good rule of thumb is to do your best to never fall below 6 in any category. You’ll always be in the running.