Wednesday, March 31, 2021

"twas the Day before Opening Day

 and Covid19 took 5 Nats away

ESPN reports that the Washington Nationals had a player test positive and 4 others who had contact with the one who tested positive quarantined.

This news is on the eve of Opening Day / Opening week.

It is one reason I came to HATE weekly lineups.  You have no control when MLB shuts down a team.  Your roster is set.  You are stuck.

At least with a daily lineup, you can make adjustments - you lose one day or maybe 2 depending on how flexible your roster is.

I think I have a single league that uses weekly lineups.  I didn't realize it before I signed up.

In the real world you wouldn't be stuck with players who couldn't play.  It would be nice IF weekly lineup leagues would make an exception for injuries or illnesses like Covid.  

Anyway - beware as you set your lineups for the first day / week.

They haven't released WHO the 5 players are so check the NATS starting lineup before setting your own.  

Opening Day - tomorrow and already snags in the system.

 So April 1 is tomorrow; and it's not just April's Fool day but also MLB Opening Day.

Are you ready?

I'm not.

I'm ready for the season to begin but my MLB Fantasy Teams are not yet ready.

It's NOT my fault.

For some reason (unknown to me), some injured players are not yet designated as IR so I have been unable to place them on the IR and choose a replacement from the waiver wire.

NYY Luke Voit will start the season on the IR yet in my Yahoo League he is simply shown as DTD

The same is true of NYM SP Carlos Carrasco who is expected to miss maybe 6 weeks because of an injured hamstring.  While I have Voit in a single league and it is a Roto, I have Carrasco in several leagues and they are HTH.

That means I will lose some value right off the bat (nice idiom) because I won't have a replacement for some players until after the season begins.  That's life.

Updated 7 pm CT  

Voit has finally been placed on IR; a waiver claim was made for Trevor Rogers (SP MIA) since TOR SP Robbie Ray was placed on the IR by Toronto for his bruised elbow (he fell at home and bruised it; not baseball related).  I also made a claim for Maikel Franco to make up some power loss from Voit being on the IR.

As of my last check, CArrasco still hasn't been placed on the IR in my leagues.

Also Adalberto Mondesi - SS KC has been placed on the IR to begin the season.  I have high hopes of a breakout season from Mondesi - hopefully injuries won't be a recurring theme with him this season.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Caught Napping - CBS Sports Draft

CBS Sports 10 Team HTH Points League - predraft 

In about an hour my HTH Points League draft will begin.  Yesterday I went into the CBS Sports to make adjustments to my Predraft List - This past week has had news both good and bad and I did a mock draft so I wanted to make some adjustments.  OOPS.

CBS Sports apparently closes the predraft list 24 hours ahead of your draft.  I now know I will be drafting 10th out of 10 teams so I will have picks 10,11, 30,31, 50, 51, 70, 71, 90, 91, 110, 111, 130, 131, 150, 151, 170,171, 190,191, 210,211, and 230 - final pick of the draft.

During the Mock Draft I discovered that CBS does NOT show all position Eligibility for a player on the draft list.  They show what they project the player's main position to be.  To discover what positions a player is eligible - multi-positional eligibility, one needs to check the players bio - a slow process.  But now I know one of my favorite Catcher targets in 2021 MLB Fantasy Isiah Kiner-Falefa is NOT eligible at Catcher in CBS leagues.  CBS Sports is using only the truncated 2020 season to determine eligibility.

In a Point leagues like today's Draft, I love drafting Starting Pitchers who have Relief Pitcher Eligibility.  A Starting Pitcher, expecially a good one, will pile up more points than the Elite Closers much less a Closer who is just so so.  Unfortunately, since CBS Sports is only using 2020 as the source, few pitchers qualify as both Starting Pitcher and Relief Pitcher to start 2021 in CBS Sports leagues.

If you are planning to draft on the CBS Sports platform, those players are:

Freddy Peralta - SP, RP Milwaukee

Jose Quintana - SP, RP LA Angels

Michael Lorenzen, SP, RP OF Cincinnati Reds

Tejone Antone  SP, RP Cincinnati Reds

A.J. Puk  Oakland As

Austin Gomber  Colorado Rockies

That all I could find of potential Starting Pitchers who qualify.  Currently it appears Cincinnati will start Lorenzen in the Rotation BUT Antone as a long Relief pitcher so Lorenzen in the one you want to target to be on your roster as a Starting Pitcher in a RP position.

I hope to draft 3 of the above pitchers today - Peralta, Quintana and Puk.  Depending on how the draft goes, I may draft Lorenzen or Gomber.  Remember this is a Points league so Innings Pitched matters.

My early rounds will be split between pitching and hitting, alternating.  Batting average is less a concern but you don't want too many Ks by your hitters.  Joey Gallo becomes an option simply due to it being points and he is one of a few true power bats.  A Stolen Base is just a point as in a single or a walk so no need to worry about steals.  They are added value.  

Friday, March 26, 2021

Trouble in Paradise - Injuries in MLB 2021 already

 MLB Injuries impact fantasy teams

A week before the 2021 season starts, White Sox's Eloy Jimenez ruptures a pectoral muscle trying to make a catch in the outfield; a 4 Category start is now out probably for the season.  For those who haven't drafted their fantasy team yet, you need to drop Eloy from your draft list OR take him in the last rounds as an IR stash in case he can return before the end of the season.  A healthy Eloy provides Power with average so HRS, RBIs, Runs and Batting Ave / On-Base Percentage.  He didn't steal bases.

Tampa Bay's elite relief pitcher Nick Anderson suffered a partial tear of his elbow ligament and will be sidelined for months if he is able to heal without surgery (the current plan);

Toronto's Kirby Yates - a Closer - underwent Tommy John Surgery so is out for 2021

For those of us who have already drafted one of these players, it is to the waiver wire we must look for answers.  I have Eloy in one league and I have Nick Anderson in 1 league.  Eloy I chose to drop rather than wait for him to be designated as IR and replace him.  I have no faith in his ability to recover this season and return healthy.   Nick I am waiting for the Fantasy Team to show him as IR and I will place him on IR to see if he can recover - I'm not holding my breath though.

I never drafted Kirby Yates - I wasn't sold that his skills would let him keep the Closer job in Toronto.  Jordon Romano has the skills to take over as Closer though Toronto may use a committee.

Before you replace your injured star, take a look at what your team needs are.  Just because Eloy was a power bat and outfield doesn't mean you should replace him with a power bat or outfielder.  Look to see where your team, minus the player you are replacing, is weakest.  Maybe you need a Starting Pitcher?  Or a player to give you Stolen Bases.  Evaluate your team before you choose a replacement.

Next, evaluate the players on the waiver wire.  Often I will simply look to get the BEST Player Available, regardless of position.  Other times I will seek to fill a hole.  In the case of Nick Anderson, I have enough Relief Pitching without him.  In fact, Diego Castillo may get more save opportunities now since he won't be sharing those with Nick.  So for that league I will either take another Starting Pitcher OR a hitter.  I'm still evaluating until Nick is listed as IR.

In the league with Eloy, I also drafted NY Mets Starting Pitcher Carlos Carrasco who injured his hamstring.  Since he was an early pick as a SP, and not yet designated for IR, I opted to " You have successfully created a waiver claim for Tony Gonsolin dropping Eloy Jiménez"   Whenever the League designates Carlos is eligible for IR, I will replace him - maybe with another arm but maybe with another bat.  

Whether you chose a "safer"  pitcher or hitter off of waivers or take a chance on a younger player with upside, that will depend on the player you lost to injury and the team you have.  With the season starting next week, if you have already drafted and are replacing an early round pick such as Eloy, you may want to "swing for the fences" by choosing an unproven player who has the potential to break out this season OR a former elite player who has fallen such as Ranger's Kris Davis - once a 40 HR threat.  One potential player that may be on your waiver wire still is Rockies OF/2B Garrett Hampson.  In many leagues he went undrafted.  He has 20/30 potential and had a very good spring training.  

Whether tt

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Last week of preseason - moving up; moving down

 Moving Up, Moving Down, On the Radar

It's March 23 and opening Day of Major League Baseball is just a week away.

Many Fantasy Teams will be drafting this week.  I have a draft today - 12 Team HTH on Yahoo and another on Saturday - CBS Sports Points League.  And I will do an autodraft at some point this week and maybe a Yahoo Rotisserie League or another Points League.  Drafting is half the fun of playing Fantasy Sports.

For today's league draft I am focusing on Starting pitching and hitting, willing to punt saves.  I want to compare how my teams do (1) Punting wins versus (2) punting saves.  So today I will go for Aces early in the draft wanting High Level Starting Pitchers in the early rounds - 2 out of the first 5 rounds, 1 in the first 2.

Back on Topic - who is moving up, down in MLB based on Spring Preseason?

Moving Up

Shohei Ohtani (LAA) - both as a pitcher and a hitter.  His preseason indicates he may be back to form which means as a pitcher you are getting a potential ace and as a hitter a 20/20   0.280   with 90 Runs, 90 to 100 RBIs candidate.  I'm bullish on Ohtani now.

Sandy Alcantara (MIA) - Sandy has quietly been a superb SP and keeps getting better.  If he pitched for the Dodgers or Boston for example, he'd pick drafted much higher.  In Miami he is overlooked.  Miami has several pitchers worth drafting higher than they have been.  Sandy is slipping between the cracks.

Eduardo Rodriguez - (BOS) Eduardo missed 2020 because of health reasons but it had nothing to do with his arm.  It was Cardio related, if I remember correctly, tied to Covid19.  He seems to be healthy in 2021 and has already been hitting 100+ mph on the radar.  If he can get some run support in Boston, he could surprise in 2021.

Charlie Morton (ATL) - Charlie switched leagues.  I've discounted Charlie some because of his age but once I have 2 quality Starting Pitchers, having Charlie on my team wouldn't be bad.  I passed him in my first drafts but his preseason results has moved him up my draft board.

Domingo German (NYY) - Domingo has been on Fantasy Radars for a couple of years.  He seems to have dropped off this year but he has had a very good preseason.  Certainly worth drafting once you have your Starting Pitching base.

Eugenia Suarez (CIN) - Eugenio makes this list NOT based on his preseason hitting BUT based on the fact the Reds may play him at Shortstop making him eligible at SS and 3B.  I like players who have multi-position eligibility so the position versatility will move him up a little (not a lot).

Andres Gimenez (CLE) - It appears Andres will be the starting shortstop for Cleveland.  In his short Major League Career, Andres has shown the ability to get on base and steal bases.  With regular playing time, he could easily surpass 20 SBs this season.  Where he hits in the lineup (Top?  Bottom?) will determine his value but he is now on my draft board in the later rounds.  If Cleveland hits him at the Top of the order, he will be a steal.

Moving Down - All for Injuries / Injury concerns

Carlos Carrasco (NYM) - 

Nate Pearson (TOR)

Jose Leclerc (TEX)

Kirby Yates (TOR)

Zac Gallen (ARI)

On The Radar

Jonathan India (CIN) - Jonathan may have played his way into the starting job at second base for Cincinnati.  He has the potential to steal bases and score runs with some power (and playing in Cincinnati helps the power).  Don't be surprised if he has a 15 HR season with 15 to 20 SBs.  If he hits at the top of the order, he should score runs, lots of runs.

Bobby Witt, Jr (KC) - He will start the season in the minors but keep him on your watch list.  Don't be surprised if the Royals call him up in June to play 2B.

Tarik Skubal (DET) - He is one of a couple of promising Pitching Prospects for Detroit who saw limited action last season.  This season he is focusing on mixing his pitches more utilizing his offspeed stuff to help his heat.

Sam Hilliard (COL) - Has 4 or 5 tools - just needs playing time and to cut his strike out rate.  Playing in Colorado, he could be a sleeper this season.  Power + Speed.

Monday, March 22, 2021

CBS Sports Fantasy Draft - prep

 Prepping for a CBS Sports HTH Points Draft

CBS get a D on their Fantasy Sports Draft list.  The CBS Sports predraft process is worse, much worse than Yahoo Sports or ESPN.  The process to organize players into an intelligent list predraft is cumbersome and time consuming.  

Players seem to be listed haphazardly - no real system to begin.  Really good players are somewhere way down the list.  Others are not even on the initial list.  

To add the player you must go all the way down to the bottom of the players listed, many whom no one in their right mind will even draft, and then type a name or part of a name, select the player from a list that pops up, click to select the player.  The player now appears as the last player on the long list of players. 

 BUT be careful.  IF you add another player by name, as I did, then that player you just added replaces the player you just previously added - they go off the list.  Great, huh?  You think, ok, add a player, move them up the list, then  add you second player since the last player on the list is moved off the list to make room for your new addition.  

There is just one problem.  The software won't let you move a player you add to the list unless you first save the list, then exit the list, then  re-enter the list.  Now you can move the player.  See how cumbersome that process is?  The initial process is already by far the worst of the three sports sites.  Now players who you want to add have to be added 1 at a time, save the list, exit the list, scroll to the bottom of the list, move the player you just added up the list, then you can add another player to the list.  Slow, frustrating process that makes me wish I had never clicked the Create a team button to begin with.  

I still have 2 prospects to add to my draft list.  Jonathan India, 2B Cincinnati and Bobby Witt, Jr also 2B for KC.  Both appear to have won starting jobs in Spring Training and both have 15/15 potential - 15 homeruns and 15 SBs plus appear to hit well enough to get on base often which means runs scored.

This CBS Sports draft will be Saturday, the 27th - the final weekend before MLB begins.  A Points league is different from ROTO 5x5 or standard HTH leagues.  Also this league is with 10 teams rather than 12 so not as deep.  

In a points league, you are more concerned with ON-BASE % and Total Bases for hitters - average isn't a concern but high K rate is.  For pitchers, you need innings pitched, Ks and limited walks.  You also want to be aware of Starting Pitchers who qualify as Relief Pitchers.  You start 5 SPs and 2 RPs - if all 7 of those slots are filled with quality starting pitchers you will rack up a lot of points.  This is especially true in leagues with weekly versus daily lineups.  The best Closer will have fewer points than a good starting pitcher.  I didn't say great starting pitcher, just good because you get points for Innings pitched and Ks both of which are limited for closers.  A closer does get 7 points for a save just as any pitcher gets 7 points for a win.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

ESPN 5x5 Roto Draft

 ESPN Public League - 5x5 Roto

After filling out my NCAA BAsketball Brackets on ESPN, I decided to join an ESPN Public MLB Fantasy League.  Unlike my experiences on Yahoo, the ESPN Public Leagues don't appear to have the ability for one to  schedule a draft.  You choose to draft and, as soon as enough people join, you draft.

I wasn't even sure about what positions or how many players (they have middle infielder/ corner infielder and 5 OF.  No requied SP / RP just 9 pitchers).  It took about 15 minutes for 12 people to join this draft.  Once you select to join a league, it puts you in a league, you then can leave.  Many people came and went before we had 12 that stayed and formed the league.

Once again I ended up drafting 11 out of 12.  In a way that helped since my last Yahoo draft was from that draft slot also so I knew I drafted 11, 14, 35, 38, 59, 62, etc   which helped me look ahead to players I expected to have available when my turn came and have 5 or 6 queued up.

Since this is a Roto League, there are no areas of stats which one can "punt" and hope to win the league.  My strategy in Roto leagues is to try to be in the top 3 in all categories.  You don't have to win any but need to finish in the top of all to have a chance to win so you need across the board production PLUS a decent batting average - say 0.270 and above.

Pk 11     Jose Ramirez    3B

PK 14    Trevor Bauer    SP

PK 35    L. Castillo        SP

PK 38    A. Mondesi      SS

PK 59    Randy Arozarena  OF

PK 62    Y. Alvarez    U (He may gain OF or 1B eligibility in season)

PK 83    E. Diaz    RP (Closer 1)

PK 86    R. Iglesias  RP  (Closer 2)

PK 107    R. Pressley  RP (Closer 3)

PK 110    M. Moustakas  1B, 2B 

PK 131    Will Smith  Catcher

PK 134     N. Anderson   RP

PK 155    D. Williams  RP

PK 158    D. Moore  2B,  OF

PK 179    K. Gausman   SP

PK 182    C. Taylor  OF, 2B, SS

PK 203    J. Walsh  1B

PK 206    R. Tapia  OF

PK 227    A. Civale  SP

PK 230    Z. Efflin  SP

PK 251    A. Gimenez  SS, 2B, 3B

PK 254    D. Castillo  RP, SP

PK 275   A. Dickerson   OF

PK 278    C. Dickerson   OF

PK 299    H. Kim   2B

PK 303    Ty France  2B

I ended up with a strong mix for pitching and so-so for hitting.  My hitting is strong on SBs and should be strong for runs.  HRs and RBIs?  Those are the question marks.  I need Y. Alvarez to have a healthy season with 30 - 40 HRs which he is capable of providing if he is healthy and Moustakas to rebound and also hit 30+   I think Mondesi could "breakout" this year and hit 20 Hrs to go with 60 SBs and 100 runs - we'll see.  I am more bullish on his non-SB potential than others.  I think he has the tools to hit 0.275 or better and if he does, he will score more runs along with having more SBs than forecast (50).

Gimenez looks to be solidifying his role in Cleveland as the everyday SS so he is another good source of SBS, Runs and potentially upside in HRS and RBIs.  

I just signed up to do a POINTS HTH league on CBS Sports on Saturday March 27.  Points leagues have different values so I am in the process now of organizing my draft list.  Juan Soto will be my #1 listed player in Points leagues with Trout #2.  Cole will be the # 1 Pitcher.  Since a hitter gets a point for walking, OBP is more important than batting average but striking out costs you points so a 250 hitter who strikes out a lot hurts you more than a 250 hitter who simply flies out ot grounds out.  You want hitters who put the ball in play or walk.  A single is worth 1 point, a double 2 points, etc   Pitching - you want innings and quality starts since both give you points along with wins and saves (7 points each) but losses cost points.  I'm still trying to create my draft strategy for the points league.


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

MLB 2021 Fantasy - Players to keep an Eye on - Catcher

As April 1 approaches,  the search for the player or players that will out perform expectations as well as recognize players that may underperform is a key to winning a fantasy baseball title.

Every year the difference in finishing first or not often comes down to the manager who grabbed a player that was overlooked or undervalued.

Losing often comes down to bad luck - injuries of key players who can't be replaced from the waiver wire but the truth is few managers wina fantasy title without making moves on the waiver wire.


One player I am intrigued by going into 2021 is Toronto Catcher Alejandro Kirk.  Catchers is a shallow pool of production so if anyone performs well, it is an asset to have them on your team

So far, Kirk is hitting BUT the question for him as it is for many players is playing time.  I don't have Kirk on any of my 3 teams yet but do have him on my watch list as I wait to see how much playing time he may get in Toronto.

The other Catcher who has my attention is Shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa of Texas.  He seems to be set to play predominately at shortstop for Texas and bat 3rd in the order but is also eligible at 3B and Catcher.  Last season Isiah hit 0.280 and stole 8 bases.  A player who is Cather eligible and stealing 20 bases?  That is what I see.  He won't won't me on average and he will provide a rare stat these days in stolen bases.  Batting 3rd should also give him an opportunity to provide useful stats in runs and RBIs whether he hits a ton of HRs or not.  I'll take 10 HRS / 20 SBs with a 0.280 average from my Catcher position.  

Saturday, March 13, 2021

New World Wonders 2 - 2nd Yahoo Head to Head League draft

 New World Wonders 2

I participated in my second fantasy baseball draft of 2021 and I liked the results better.  No one knows what the future holds but I have a better mix to start the season.  Again this was a 12 team, head to head league on Yahoo Sports.

I was drafting 11th out of 12 which means having 2 picks close together and then a long wait.  With pick 11, I took Jose Ramirez - 3 B with Cleveland and with pick 14 I grabbed another 3rd baseman - Manny Machado who is also eligible at SS.  Pick 3?  I took Boston's Xander Bogaerts - another SS so with 3 picks I have 2 Third Basemen and 2 Shortstops.  With my 4th pick I took NYY D.J. LeMahieu who is eligible at 1, 2 and 3.  

So to start the draft I stuck to my game plan of taking hitters the first 4 picks before taking a pitcher AND I gave the benefit of the doubt to players who had multi-position eligibility.  I love that flexibility in HTH leagues.  I didn't pick a player because of his multi-player eligibility  (in other words I didn't take a worst player just because they had eligibility at more than 1 position) but if it was close, it was the difference maker.

My plan was to take a Starting Pitcher at round 5 but I deviated and took Josh Hader with pick 59 and Liam Hendriks with pick 62 setting up my Closers early.  I decided I could find more starting pitchers late than reliable closers.

With pick 83 (7th pick) I took NYM SP Carlos Carrasco.  Switching from American League to National League and playing home games at Citifield, his stats could be very good.  

In the 8th Round I took BlueJays versatile player, Lourdes Gurriel, Jr who is eligible at 2B and OF.  I took him as the best OutFielder available for 5x5 fantasy - he gives me power, runs, RBIs and a chance for SBs.

My next pick went SP with D. Lamet who has some of the best stuff in MLB.  The only issue is can he stay healthy.  I like him this year because the Padres Bullpen is loaded with 4 pitchers who have closer experience.  That could lead to extra WINS for Lamet this season.  He just needs to take a lead into the 6th inning.

My next pick was Mike Moustakas of Cincy.  I think he will rebound this year.  He is playing in a Hitters park in Cincinnati and he has power.  If he can hit .265 or higher, he will give me a lot of HRs, RBIs and Runs.  He won't give me SBs.  With LeMahieu on my team, I can afford to have some hitters who don't hit for average.  I'm hoping Moustakas can carry his weight on average anyway but if he hits 40 HRS with a .225 average, I can absorb it.

Round 11, I took what I saw as the best available - Kevin Gausman - SP with San Francisco.  If he was picthing for a team like the Dodgers, he would probably be a very early draft pick.  He will give me a lot of Ks and hopefully maintain a WHIP and ERA that is more than competitive.  The question is, will his offense score runs to let him earn those Ws?

Round 12 saw me take Dylan Moore of Seattle.  When he was healthy is 2020, he produced across the board.  Here I added him to make me competitive in SBs.  

Round 13, I took Miami hurler Sixto Sanchez.  I picked him up in 2020 and he was fantastic.  Another year of experience and I'm hoping he pitches like an SP 1.  

Round 14 saw me take a chance on Chicago's Ian Happ.  He is expected to leadoff for the Cubs which means that he could score a ton of runs in addition to hitting 25 or more HRs.

Round 15, I took a chance on another Cub - Craig Kimbrel.  He was once the ACE closer in MLB and then took a tumble when he left Boston and joined the Cubs.  BUT he resurged last season and looked back to form.  If that second half of 2020 relief pitcher is the one in 2021, I got a steal.  I'll keep an eye on his stats and gran Rowan Wick if Kimbrel stumbles (or try to grab him).

This gave me the 3 Closers I wanted on my pitching staff.  With 3, I should be able to win Saves most weeks and hopefully compete for WHIP and ERA.  

in Round 16, pick 182, I took LAA SP S. Ohtani.  He has looked "back" to form in early Spring Season games.  I saw little risk in taking him as my 5th Starting Pitcher.  If he is back to form, he will return SP 1 value.

Round 17 and 18, I took hitting.  In 17, I went with Mariner Prospect, J. Kelenic.  He figures to give you across the board production IF he gets playing time.  I consider J. Walsh here but he doesn't have the SB upside of Kelenic.

Round 18 I went ahead and took Rockies 1B CJ Chron.  If I only play him when they play in Colorado, he should hit enough HRs to justify the pick.  Don't be surprised if he hits over 40HRs this season and with a batting average of 0.250 or better.

Round 19, I took another potential 35 - 40 HR hitter in Joc Pederson.  He is with the Cubs now and just 2 years ago hit almost 40 HRs.  So far in Spring Training he has been hitting well.

Round 20, I took Diego Castillo of TB.  Diego qualifies as SP and RP.  That lets me picth him in a SP slot if I have a lineup without 2 SPs scheduled.  He will also be one of the 3 RPs in Tampa Bay closing.  

Pick 21, I took Texas Ranger Isiah Kiner-Falefa whom I have been targeting in my drafts.  He is Catcher eligible but playing SS and batting 3rd for the Rangers.  In 2020 he had 8 SBs, 28 runs and hit 0.280 in a shortened season.  I expect him to perform much better than Yahoo forecasts so long as he hits 3rd and hits 0.275 or better.  Don't be surprised if he swipes 20 or more bases and scores 75 runs.  I figure he is good for 10 Homeruns and maybe 70 RBIs.  Time will tell.  

My final 2 picks saw me take Injured pitchers, Chris Sale and Noah Syndergaard.  Why not?  I can place them on the IR and take 2 players off of waivers.

Initially I have chosen to take Severino (NYY SP who is also on IR) and Jon Berti who is in my opinion undervalued.  If I win both off waivers, I'll place Severino on IR (there are 4 IR slots) and take another pitcher.  I'm still debating which pitcher to add.

One change I made for this draft was creating a draft sheet in Numbers (Apple's Spreadsheet) in which I could track the hitting stats - HRs, RBIs, Runs and SBs - so at a glance I could see how my team was faring overall based on projections.  

My roster after the draft (before adding players from Waivers to replace the 2 IR).

Have fun playing Fantasy Baseball in 2021

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

First MLB Draft of 2021 Results

 I am not entirely pleased with my first draft of 2021.

I started at the 2nd position.  The first pick went Tatis leaving me with what most see as as the #1 pick in Acuna.  So far so good.  With my 2nd pick, I took Mondesi leaving me solid on steals but light on HRS, and RBis but that is ok - lots of power left in later rounds; not so many stolen bases.  

In the Third, I took Eloy Jimenez.  Power.

But in the 4th I deviated from my script.  My plan going in was to draft hitters the first 4 rounds and then take pitching in 5 and 6.  in the 4th I took SP B. Woodruff and Vlad in round 5.  I considered taking Kyle Tucker in 4 and probably should have.  It would have solidified RBIs, Runs, SBs and added Hrs.  Vlad won't give me any SBs.  Still it was Ok.

In Round 6 I took Closer Karinchak.  

In 7 I should have taken my second Closer.  Instead I took NYM SP Carrasco.  My 2nd deviation from my plan.  I thought Iglesias or Jansen would fall to me in Round 8 but they didn't.  Hindsight is 20/20.  In my Mock drafts, the other teams held off drafting closers after the first 3 went off the board.

In 8, with Iglesias and Kansen taken before me, I took another SP - Lamet.  

In 9, my internet stalled just as my pick came up. My autodraft was Max Muncy.  He has power and hits in the middle of a powerful lineup for the Dodgers.  No SBs but I should get HRS, RBis and Runs from him plus 3 position eleigibility.

Round 10, I took Reds Mike Moustakis.  He is similar to Muncy but playing for the Reds.  He had an off year in 2020 but should be good for 30 HRs playing in Cincy.

Round 11, I took Dominic Smith when I should have probably taken Dylon Moore.  Moore would give me needed steals while Smith gives me HRS and RBIs.  Hopefully he scores enough runs.  Moore had multi-player eligibility which makes shuffling daily lineups easier.  Still at 11, my roster was OK.

In 12, I took RP Devin Williams - while he is a good pitcher and will improve the bottom line on ERA, WHIP and add Ks, he won't give me Saves or wins.  I should have taken Happ or Mountcastle here.

In 13, I took my 2nd closer.  Rafael Montero.  He should have been my 3rd closer - my plans - but he is my second.

Round 14, I took power - Santander and in 15 my 3rd Closer - Pomeranz.  If he is a definite Closer for Padres and not a committee, I should now have focused on hitting.  But I had my doubts and that hurt the rest of my draft as I mixed relief pitchers still in with hitters taking both Leclerc and Hernandez from Texas (not knowing which will close).

C   Isiah Kiner-Falefa Tex - C,3B,SS
1B   Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Tor - 1B,3B"
2B   Max Muncy LAD - 1B,2B,3B"
3B   Mike Moustakas Cin - 1B,2B,3B
SS   Adalberto Mondesi KC - SS"
OF   Ronald Acuña Jr. Atl - OF"
OF   Eloy Jiménez CWS - OF"
OF   Dominic Smith NYM - 1B,OF"
U   Anthony Santander Bal - OF"
U Nick Solak Tex - 2B,3B,OF"
Bench C.J. Cron Col - 1B

SP Brandon Woodruff Mil - SP"
SP Carlos Carrasco NYM - SP,RP"

SP Dinelson Lamet SD - SP
SP Aaron Civale Cle - SP"

IL     SP Noah Syndergaard NYM - SP

RP   Diego Castillo TB - SP,RP"
RP   James Karinchak Cle - RP"
RP   Rafael Montero Sea - RP"
RP   Devin Williams Mil - RP"
RP   Drew Pomeranz SD - SP,RP"
RP   José Leclerc Tex - SP,RP
RP   Jonathan Hernández Tex - RP"

I purposely took Syndergaard with a late pick to add him to the IL.  I then added Clevinger also.  with 4 IL spots, I still have 2 for regular season use and can drop Clevinger or Syndergaard if necessary (IF my team is plagued with injuries).

IF Pomeranz starts the season strong as a closer, I may trade him for a hitter.  Currently my plan is to add a hitter from waivers and go with 4 Starting pitchers with relievers.  

Friday, March 5, 2021

Mock Draft Results

Yahoo mock draft for a 12 team draft; Head to Head, 5x5

With my first draft of the season coming up tomorrow I joined a mock draft to test my idea of drafting hitters for the first 4 rounds, then taking a starting pitchers and 3 top closers.  I chose the middle position to test it out.  My results follow:

My first 9 picks were:

1.  Mookie Betts

2.  A. Mondesi

3.  Ozzie Albies

4.  W. Merrifield (I wanted to see my team if I took him.  With Mondesi drafted I probably would have                               gone Power bat here - maybe J. Abreu, M. Ozuna)

5.  T. Glascow

6.  J. Hader

7.  S. Gray

8.  J. Karinchak

9.  K. Jansen

This projects me to finish 4th according to Yahoo.  That would be based on points and this is HTH.  Plus I think it undervalues the playing time of many of the players I choose - note the projected ABs for players like Dominic Smith and Ke'Bryan Hayes both draft targets of mine.  I expect both to be daily players so the projected ABs of 431 and 428 are low in my opinion.  

I purposely took Chris Sale to test out which pitchers would still be left undrafted.  My plan tomorrow is to draft both Chris Sale and Noah Snydergaard and then place them on the IL and fill in from the waiver wire post draft.  

Most drafts from the 6th spot will give me Mike Trout rather than Mookie Betts.  I may look at adding Colorado OF Tapia to my lineup to give me more runs - one area this mock draft (with the ABS projected) show me being weak.

Now I need to test it again from a low draft position like 12.

Final preparations for MLB 2021 fantasy draft

Draft Tips and strategies

 So you have completed your initial draft list.  You have rearranged the league standard list into a list more aligned with your own ideas of this person should be drafted before this person.

Now it's time to make the final preparations for the draft.  A bad draft doesn't mean you should throw in the towel BUT a good draft makes winning easier.  So let's start with a good draft.

Mock Draft - doing a mock draft will help you have a successful real draft in fantasy sports.  I did several mock drafts at Yahoo Sports  using my predraft list and from different positions in the draft - early pick, middle pick and last pick.  The software graded my draft as a B which is OK with me because I disagree with some of their projections.


I sort my draft list using batting average and color code the results:

When I used actually statistics from 2020 - shortened Covid impacted season - I get a lot of hitters who hit well - Orange = >300; Dark Green = .290 and higher but also pink <0.250, yellow <0.270    I try to avoid hitters whose average is below 0.250 because avg is one of the 5 hitting stats and a couple of players below 0.250 means you will risk always losing that stat.  Instead I try to find hitters with similar profiles with better averages.  Preferably hitters who don't have yellow or pink colors.

I also sorted using Fantasypros projections for 2021.  There were only 4 hitters projected to hit above .300 and several hitters who had horrible 2020 seasons (in the pink) are projected to rebound in 2021.


I don't have the same metrics for pitching as I have for hitting.  For hitting I can use the Total 4 score (R, RBIs, HRs and Sbs) plus color coding.  This is especially good for points leagues.  In Head to head I must still maintain a sense of balance - do I have enough HRs?  Enough Sbs?  I want to win 3 out of 5 stats each week in hitting and 3 in pitching. 6 out of 10 = win.

So for pitching - wins, saves, strikeouts, WHIP and ERA.  I focus on getting a couple of pitchers who will be Starting Pitchers 1 or 2 on their teams who have good WHIP, ERA and Ks.  

I need 20 innings minimum so I focus more or Relief Pitching by trying to draft 4 closers.  If I get 4 quality Closers then I should win Saves, WHIP and ERA.  

With Starting Pitchers who give me high K/9 I may also win the K category and maybe even wins.  

So of the 8 pitching slots, I try for 3 SPs and 5 Relief Pitchers with at least 4 of those 5 being closers.  I then add 3 more pitchers for pitchers for the bench with at least 1 being a reliever who has Starting eligibility such as Seth Lugo or Diego Castillo.  The other 2 may be High Upside Starting Pitchers who have good K/9 and limited risk for ERA.  Elieser Hernandez from Miami is one such pitcher I am targeting late. 

Please NOTE:  If you are playing in a league that is points or Roto, these pitching tips won't work.  They are good for head to head.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Fantasy Baseball 2021 - setting your PREdraft list

 Yahoo’s PreDraft Rankings is certainly not aligned with my values.  If I leave their settings and miss the draft I will end up with a lot of pitchers early and miss key offense.  

I start with Fantasy Pros composite ranking.  So first I reorder Yahoo’s Predraft list to resemble Fantasy Pros list.  Then I rearrange it based on my personal examination of the player pool.  But even if I went strictly with Fantasy Pros composite list without any adjustments of my own, I think I’d have a better draft than using Yahoo’s Default.

Adjusting the drafting list takes time but is worth it.  The default list by Yahoo is heavy on pitching and speculative.  Gerit Cole is their default # 1 and he is a good pitcher but for fantasy purposes, most will have Jacob deGrom drafting before Gerit Cole.  Why?  deGrom pitches at Citifield which is one of the BEST pitching parks in MLB.   But top pitchers aside, Yahoo’s default will have you drafting relief pitchers who not closers over hitters you need to win.  

Of course, if all the other fantasy players follow Yahoo and draft Chris Martin before Cody Bellinger then it doesn’t matter.  But they won’t.  Some will enter the draft unprepared and their draft will suck.  Don’t let that person be you.

In the screenshot of my spreadsheet, you can see My rank - 1st column - and Yahoo's default rank - before the players name (I copied my list from Yahoo and pasted it into my spreadsheet so it shows Yahoo's default ranking before the player's name).  Don't worry about the colors - I used them to alert myself to move players on the list before I finished my ranking.

FantasyPros and MLB are 2 sites that provide a lot of free cheatsheets and of course ESPN (I haven’t even looked at ESPN yet this year for fantasy).  Look at their suggested draft order and I suggest starting with FantasyPros as your default.

Once you have taken the time to arrange Yahoo’s default drafting list into a better list, then adjust it.

For Yahoo 12 team Head to Head teams, you will draft 23 players each so 276 players in total.  Collectively, the 12 team will need to draft 120 hitters and 96 pitchers plus 60 bench players.  Those 60 bench players could be all hitters, all pitchers or a combination (most likely).  So your draft list needs to have only about 300 players.

Among those 300 players on your list, you should have players you want to take in the later rounds who have upside.  By round 20, your basic team is set.  You can take a chance on a breakout player or a prospect OR take an injured player.  If you take an injured player, you have 4 IR spots so after the draft, place the injured player on the IR and replace them with a player from the undrafted pool.  This year you have both Chris Sale (Boston Starting Pitcher) and Noah Syndergaard (New York Mets) starting pitcher on the IL coming back from Tommy John Surgery and Yankee Pitcher Severino who never fully recovered last season.  All 3 could be useful stashed on the IL - You don’t want to use all 4 IL spots on drafted players since once the season begins you will need to use the IL for some of your rostered players who get injured. But using 1 or 2?  Why not.  Worst case you can drop them if necessary.

once you think you have your 300 players listed and aligned as you like, test the list by doing a Mock draft.  Select using your draft list in the mock draft.  I suggest doing at least 3 mock drafts - draft from position 1, middle and last.  You don’t know the draft order until just before your draft so see how your team looks if you draft from 3 different spots. Then adjust your draft list again to fix any problems you spot - maybe you need to move a hitter up or a pitcher or you may be able to move somebody down.   The screen shot above shows a mock draft on Yahoo - note I selected to use my draft ranking list so the software now shows - my ranking, Yahoo's default rank and what they call XRank which I think stands for experts ranking.  You can toggle between them and this is useful IF you have a lot of players who didn't create their own custom list.  You can get an idea of who the system is suggesting they draft at that moment and anticipate when your targeted player may be drafted.  Play with it in your mock drafts so you are comfortable using it come draft day.  Also play with Search for a player BUT if you customize your draft list before the draft day, that shouldn't be a problem.  For example, Texas Closer Jose Leclerc won't be in Yahoo's default listing.  They have him at 1960 or something.  You'll need to adjust the list so you see him if you want to draft him or use the search feature - better to add him before the draft.

Finally, monitor the news before the draft and adjust your list or draft plan accordingly.  For example, Houston Pitcher Framber Valdez was a “hot" pick going into the preseason based on last year.  He was being drafted about 100 so 9th round.  The first day pitching in spring training?  He fractured his ring finger.  That will impact his value.  Drafting him at 100 is now too high.  His training will be disrupted so expect him to pitch fewer innings this year than originally projected.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

2021 MLB PreDraft - Know your League Settings

 Fantasy Sportsaholic MLB Draft Prep

My first 2021 draft is set on Yahoo for Saturday, March 6

Remember I said it was important to “know” the league settings. 

This league has what I consider a pretty basic lineup - C 1B 2B 3B SS OF OF OF and 2 Utility Players.   They also allow for 5 bench players and importantly 4 Injured.  Last year with Covid I felt at times I didn’t have enough IL spots.  4 is good.  2 is iffy.  0 is a nightmare.

Now go to settings (under League Tab) and check the scoring and other information.

The league is head to head with daily lineups - I prefer daily lineups.

No Maximum for acquisitions on the season BUT there is a weekly maximum of 6 - that will allow some weekly changes but not full streaming of pitchers for example.  

Note also that the pitching requirement of 20 minimum innings pitched each week.  That means you probably need a couple of pitchers each week who start and pitch 5 innings each.  Plan for 3 Starting pitchers minimum is better.  

Note the “allow injured players from waivers to go directly to IL” is NO.  That means IF I want to add an IL eligible player to my roster (stash them for later), I need an empty spot on my roster first.  I may have another player who is IL eligible whom I can move to IL first and then add the new player, and then move them to IL or I may have to drop a player first.  Some Team Managers will drop very good players to waivers when they go on IL.  Some I will take knowing they will make a difference for my team after coming off IL.


Now notice the Scoring - again this is now 5x5 scoring that is more or common (but not every league follows it so always check your scoring).  R+HR+RBIs+SBs form the core of the hitter stats along with Avg.  

Pitching is also 5 - W, S, Ks, ERA and WHIP.

So now as I consider players to draft I am looking at my combined 4 (R+HRS+RBIS+SBS) as my tool.  I want players who give me the highest total BUT also need to keep an eye open for SBs and Avg.  For Pitching I am watching WHIP and K/9 while keeping ERA in mind but if their WHIP is good the ERA should also be good.  I don’t focus on Wins but try to draft a couple of SP1 (Pitchers who are the first tier pitcher for their team) plus 3 closers then get high k/9 low Whip pitchers even if they are not SPs or Closers.  Often a relief pitcher who gets 2 or 3 innings or even a setup pitcher who just pitches 1 inning will pick up wins while giving you Ks and low WHIP.  If yo have 3 good closers on your pitching staff, you can win 4 of the 5 Pitching stats each week and win your league.

Now you know your League Settings, it’s time to arrange your Draft List - Do NOT rely on the Default setting.

Next Blog - setting your Pre-Draft Rankings.