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The W - Baseball - Fantasy Baseball #3: Micromanagement
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skorpio17
Morcilla








Since: 11.7.02
From: New Jersey

Since last post: 2411 days
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#1 Posted on

How to Micromanage a Team



Having been in the workforce for a while now, I’m used to more screwy managerial styles than Dilbert. Micromanagement is when your boss is always looking over your shoulder and holding your hand. It sounds bad, but I’d rather have that than some other types of management. My previous job practiced Management by Exception. This “speak softly and carry a big stick” approach is the opposite of Micromanagement. The managers would leave you alone until something goes wrong. A small mistake they wouldn’t notice, they’d wait until it gets really big and then they’d yell at you like you set the place on fire. They act like you should’ve known it has been done the wrong way for months, without them having to tell you. My current job practices Mushroom Magagement. Managers use this philosophy to treat their workers like mushrooms. “Keep them in the dark, walk all over them, and keep feeding them shit.”

The biggest Micromanager in baseball is Yankee owner George Steinbrenner. He recently inserted Jose Contreras into their starting rotation in place of Jeff Weaver. Usually the manager makes all the baseball decisions, but New York has a hands-on owner. The good side is that at least he is so committed to winning that he gets personally involved. The bad side is that his management style can be petty and pointless like the time he banned Bobby Ayala from the Yankees locker room. “Big-Time” Bobby Ayala is the buddy/personal trainer of Jason Giambi. Without Bobby, Jason went into a deep slump in April. A few weeks ago Bobby was allowed back and Jason was started hitting again. The lesson here is “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” It also doesn’t hurt to give your star players special treatment.

Other examples of micromanagement would be Bobby Cox’s use of Javy Lopez. In every game that Greg Maddux pitches, Javy has to sit on the bench. Henry Blanco is used as Maddux’s personal catcher instead. No wonder Maddux isn’t winning many games. You just replaced a .300 hitter with power for a weak .200 hitter. It is very stupid, but at least he is consistent in that he does this every 5th game.

Last year Tony LaRussa was the worst micromanager in baseball. He had a really good catcher in Eli Marrero and had no clue how to use him. Marrero would hit 2 homeruns one day and be benched the rest of the week. It was impossible to predict which games he would play. There was no consistency to the Cardinals lineup or which positions his players would be playing. He even messed up Tino Martinez by putting him in the 8 spot. I know that Tino wasn’t hitting, but how is he supposed to get any pitches to hit with their pitcher hitting behind him. At least put him between Edmonds and Drew and give him a chance.

There are some simple rules to helping out your team. The first is to try to get starting pitchers from the National League because they will give up fewer runs and get more strikeouts. In the National League you only need to avoid pitching to Atlanta, Colorado, and Cincinnati. In the American League, you should duck Toronto, Boston, New York, Seattle, and Texas. Also with your pitcher, you should avoid head-to-head matchups against red-hot pitchers like Loazia, Mussina, Brown, Prior, Millwood, Morris, Williams, and Moyer. Unless you have your ace pitcher on the mound, you probably won’t get a W against these guys.


Split Stats

For your hitters, the biggest adjustment you can make is the righty/lefty split. On my team I’ve got Roberto Alomar hitting .320 against right-hand pitching and .145 against lefties. I’d be foolish to play him at all against lefties, so I don’t. I’ve also got the outfield platoon of Gibbons and Dye. They both hit for some power. Last year Gibbons had 28 HRs and Dye had 24. But looking closer Gibbons only had 2 of those vs. lefties; Dye only had 1 vs. lefties. Dye had only 5 RBIs vs. lefties compared to 81 vs. righties. That is a big difference. So far this year Gibbons is better, so I use him. There is a 30% chance he faces a lefty; (30% of starters in MLB are Lefties.) If that happens I use Dye. In the 9% chance that they both face lefties, I’d go with the hotter hitter.

While everyone may laugh at the flaws in my players, let me tell you that many of the best hitters in baseball can’t hit lefties. Last year Lance Berkman hit 40 Homeruns off righties yet only 2 vs. Lefties. Andruw Jones had a homerun split of 33/2 last year. This year he is hitting .320 against righties and only .217 vs. lefties. Jacque Jones had a homerun split of 24/3: and an average split of .333/.213. That is a big difference. Fred McGriff had a homerun split of 28/2: and an average split of .296/.213. Giles had an average split of .325/.231 last year. These splits held up this year as well. Last year Eric Chavez had a homerun split of 28/6: and an average split of .301/.209. This year he has an average split of .309/.121. For those looking at finding a reason behind Eric’s slump, this is it. He is hitting against too many lefties.

The split even affects Stolen Bases. My man Carl Crawford has 13 steals this year, yet only 1 off a lefty. It is partly his .269/.226 average split. But, a lefty also has a better pickoff move towards first base. They are harder to steal off of. Last year Beltran had 35 Steals, yet only 2 off a lefty. The guys who steal by pure speed like Soriano, can do it off anybody. But the guys that need a good jump can’t run off lefties.


It’s not just the Heat, it’s the Stupidity:



Just before winning the World Series, Arizona fired “micromanager” Buck Showalter and replaced him with “players coach” Bob Brenly. Brenly never liked Byung-Yung Kim. He never bothered to learn his name and insisted on calling him BK. I’ve never heard him call Randy Johnson, RJ. It is a lack of respect. It got so bad that the players in the dugout couldn’t tell whether Brenly was making a call to the bullpen or ordering a cheeseburger. So now they trade Kim to the Red Sox. I’m no big fan of Kim, I think he’s a #3 starter at best. Only with your #1 and #2 starters (Johnson and Schilling) both out until July, a #3 starter is pretty valuable. Now that their closer Mantei is out a #1 closer would also be worth keeping. They even knew Mantei was hurt while they discarded Kim. Now they are stuck with the same bullpen by committee approach that’s been working so well for Boston.

This is not to say that I’m high on Kim. There is no BK in team. He says, "In my country it is more honorable to be a starter" as opposed to a closer. If he had any honor at all he would’ve committed Hare Kari after his World Series chokejob. He should know his role and shut his mouth. Play the position that his manager tells him to play. The teams needs should come before his own ego. Even John Smoltz converted to a closer and Smoltz is a better pitcher than Kim. Kim’s sidearm deliver may fool guys for an inning, but he won’t last 6 innings against a good hitting AL team. The Red Sox need a closer in the worst way and for him to turn down the job is foolish. As a starter, Kim is about as good as Wakefield. As a closer last year he was about as good as Urbina.

Who is better?

Tim Wakefield or Ugith Urbina

During the off-season the Boston Red Sox had to make a choice. They could either spend $6 million a year on Urbina or on Wakefield. Urbina is a very good closer and Wakefield is a #3 starter, good but not great. They chose to spend the money on Wakefield. Did they make the right choice?

Wakefield: 5 Wins, 1 Save, 61 Ks, 5.10 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 67 IP
Urbina : 0 Wins, 17 Saves, 23 Ks, 3.38 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 24 IP

Wakefield gets you more wins, but Urbina get the saves and is better in ERA and WHIP. I’d rather have Urbina. I can only find 3 guys in baseball with as many saves as Urbina, but I can find about 50 to get me as many wins as Wakefield.

Now the BoSox are choosing another mediocre starter (Kim) over a very good closer (Kim). It makes no sense. They are unwilling to admit they made a mistake by letting Urbina go, so they will make another mistake with Kim and leave the closing to their Wizard of Oz bullpen (Ramiro “Scarecrow” Mendoza, Mike “Tinman” Timlin, and Brandon “the Cowardly” Lyon.).


Who is better? (Part 2)

Sammy Sosa + Steve Finley or Derek Lowe + Bernie Williams

This was the fantasy trade that was made when Sammy’s owner decided to dump him. Considering all the hype given to Sammy’s Clintonian ways, it’s interesting to consider his worth in the fantasy universe. Since he had the gall to appeal his slap on the wrist punishment, I’d double it. He should’ve been suspended at least 15 games in the first place, before he played the race card. I’d only reduce it if he names the names of his dealer (the guy who gave him that bat) and his bat-corking teammates (I’m looking at the reason Corey Patterson and Heep Sop Choi have so many homeruns.)

Sosa : 6 HR, 0 SB, 28 Runs, 24 RBIs, .282 Average in 40 Games
Finley : 8 HR, 4 SB, 31 Runs, 24 RBIs, .276 Average in 58 Games

for

Lowe : 69 Innings, 5 Wins, 39 Ks, 4.93 ERA, 1.53 WHIP
Williams: 7 HR, 2 SB, 32 Runs, 31 RBIs, .286 Average in 46 Games

If healthy, Williams is a better player. But right now it’s a wash. Finley has about the same numbers in three more weeks. So we are left with Sosa for Lowe. Lowe’s numbers aren’t any better than Wakefields. Lowe also has fewer strikeouts. Lowe can get you wins, only with all that run support he should get even more wins than five. This trade is a big gamble. It only pays off if Lowe has a great year. Lowe has only had ONE GREAT YEAR in his career and Sosa has had many great years in his hall of fame career.

Bottom Line: I’d still rather have Sosa even with his corked bat.


Bottom of the Barrell Award:

Best Waiver Pick of the Week: The Scorpions

I like middle relievers so I can appreciate the signings of Cormier and Riske. In hindsight, the signings of Angels' Jeff DaVanon and the Astro’s Ensberg also look great, but that was over a week ago.

To be honest the biggest impact was made by me when I signed Brian Roberts. He immediately put up big numbers. Just for fun if he played 162 Games at this pace his stats would look like this line.

23 HR, 46 SB, 150 Runs, 162 RBIs, .333 Average

If he keeps this up he'll stay in their lineup even when Hairston comes back to Baltimore. Play them both at the same time for a great 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup.

(Aww who am I kidding…I really just like him because his name is Brian.)

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JayJayDean
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Seattle, WA

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#2 Posted on
I don't know why you'd avoid Seattle pitchers...they stopped playing in the Kingdome long ago.



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PalpatineW
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Getting Rowdy

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 9.00
There's no correlation between real baseball and fantasy baseball.

As a Sox fan, I support the decision to drop Ugueth. This is a team with zero pitching, and Wakefield can do everything. Start, long relief, close... whatever. Urbina can... close. That's it. This pitching staff has more than one weakness to cover, and that's why Wakefield is more valuable to the team.

Furthermore, look at the staff ERA. It's hideous. I'd rather get 7 solid innings from Kim once a week than 5 solid innings every few days. Look at it this way: If Kim pitches 6-7 quality innings per start, that's only 2-3 innings the opposition gets to beat up our crummy bullpen. And your assertion that Kim is as good a starter as Wakefield is, really, impossible to prove. Kim has started how many games? Eight? And what's more, he's posted better numbers that Wake in that small time. So, not only is your sample size too small, (yes, I've been reading "Moneyball"), but even within that small sample Kim has been the better pitcher.

Also, Brian Roberts isn't going to finish the season with those numbers. Call this my bold prediction. You might even want to look at Morgan Ensberg's numbers. Last week he hit .643 with 4 HR, 12 RBI, 1 SB and 9 runs scored.



Whitebacon
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Since: 12.1.02
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#4 Posted on
Maddux doesn't like the way Javy calls the game, he's always had his own personal catcher.

When did Sosa play the race card? I know Canseco did, but I doubt that Sammy was calling ol' Jose up on the phone begging for him to come to his defense.

Not all fantasy leagues are created equal. Some leauges only allow you to set your lineups once a week. Some leagues are only set in one universe (NL only, AL only)

How was calling Kim BK disrespectful, anyway? Whenever Brenly, and his other DBack teammates called him BK, it always seemed like your typical jocular nickname. Is it disrespectful that Mark Grace gets called Gracie? Did BK ever say that he hated being called BK? Don't you think BK is a helluva lot easier then calling the guy Byun-Hun?

Palp is right on the money with Urbina. Since you're such a big fan of the split stats, go back and look and see how well he did when he was protecting a one run league. The bulk of his saves came with a 2 or 3 run lead.

JayJay: I think he means the offenses here, and I have to agree with him on that, if you've got a decent starter, you should consider sitting him against some of the better offensive teams.

Last I checked, LaRussa also had a very good catcher in Mike Matheny, and a potent offense with Pujols, Vina, Edmonds, Rolen for part of the year, Drew (when healthy), Edgar Renteria, Marrerro (who you neglect to mention logged a lot of time in the outfield as well, saving his legs so he could produce like he did) Where was Tino supposed to hit? Renteria has spent a lot of time in the middle of the order and is acquitting himself nicely there.

One of Giambi's problems was his eyes. He is over that problem now, and can actually see the ball better, I'm sure that's having a lot to do with his resurgance as well.

Patterson and Choi. Where to start. I love the blind and wild accusations of cork in their bats. Never mind that Patterson was one of the best prospects in baseball until his call up last year, and was considered a 5-tool prospect. You know, Hits for average, hits for power, defense, speed, and arm strength. I'm sure him plain being good has nothing with him playing well thus far this season. (See also Blalock, Hank; Johnson, Nick; Ensberg, Morgan;) Choi has also been praised for his power in the minors, I'm sure none of that has transferred over to his playing time in the majors. In fact don't be surprised if his average picks up next season as well. Both of them play nice defense, which is what kept Patterson in the majors last year. They're just breaking Choi in.


As far as Sosa/Finley - D. Lowe/Williams... I'd rather have Lowe over Finley, but I'd keep Sosa over the two of them anyway. Finley, when playing well, is a step down from Williams, but not by a whole bunch.

(edited by Whitebacon on 6.6.03 2151)


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TheCow
Landjager








Since: 3.1.02
From: Knoxville, TN

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#5 Posted on
Other examples of micromanagement would be Bobby Cox’s use of Javy Lopez. In every game that Greg Maddux pitches, Javy has to sit on the bench. Henry Blanco is used as Maddux’s personal catcher instead. No wonder Maddux isn’t winning many games. You just replaced a .300 hitter with power for a weak .200 hitter. It is very stupid, but at least he is consistent in that he does this every 5th game.

Last year Tony LaRussa was the worst micromanager in baseball. He had a really good catcher in Eli Marrero and had no clue how to use him. Marrero would hit 2 homeruns one day and be benched the rest of the week. It was impossible to predict which games he would play. There was no consistency to the Cardinals lineup or which positions his players would be playing. He even messed up Tino Martinez by putting him in the 8 spot. I know that Tino wasn’t hitting, but how is he supposed to get any pitches to hit with their pitcher hitting behind him. At least put him between Edmonds and Drew and give him a chance.


I'll respond to the Braves' situation first. You have to remember that before Blanco, there was Perez (and before Perez, there was someone else whom I'm forgetting). Maddux has always had his own catcher with the Braves. Considering that he's got 250 wins, I'm not going to argue with him. Considering the Braves have won, oh, how many NL East titles in a row (12?), I'm not going to argue with Cox's decision. Besides, I think we can all agree that catching is one of the most physically demanding positions on the diamond. If Cox wants to rest Javy, why not do so when Maddux is pitching? Considering the miracle that is the Braves' pen year in, year out (Leo Mazzone is the smartest man in baseball today, I swear), I'm not going to fault Cox on any decision anytime soon.

As for the Cards: if you were LaRussa, what would you do? You have Pujols, Edmonds, and Rolen - 3, 4, 5 hitters (maybe even 2, 3, 4), all incredibly solid. They're gonna hit there, right? Vina's going to bat leadoff. In the outfield, you have (when healthy) a pretty good talent in J.D. Drew, along with a catcher/outfielder who's not bad himself, Eli Marrero. Either guy can bat in the 2 or the 6 hole. Let's put Drew/Marrero in at 6. That leaves Edgar Renteria, who's hitting lights-out, and even when he's not, has the speed that warrants inclusion at the 2 spot. That leaves catcher and first base. 1B, as we know, is going to be Tino. Catcher will be either the spectacular defense work of Mike Matheny, or the aforementioned bat of Marrero. If Matheny is catching, I'd bat Tino seventh, Matheny eighth. If Marrero's catching, the other way around. Now, I know LaRussa has played around with the lineup and the pitching spot in the past, so I could understand moving the pitcher up to 8 when Marrero catches, bat Tino ninth, and play for the overlap big inning.

Does that explain why Cox and LaRussa manage the way they do? I understand it doesn't help in the fantasy world, but hey, they don't play for stats.

Oh, and for whatever it's worth, I think it's far more disrespectful to call a player "hun" - even if it is "Byun-hun" - than it is to call them BK. Unless, of course, you're sleeping with them.







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skorpio17
Morcilla








Since: 11.7.02
From: New Jersey

Since last post: 2411 days
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#6 Posted on
thanks for the feedback.

JayJay: I was talking about benching your players when they go against Seattle. This weekend I'd bench any Mets I owned, even Alomar, Floyd, Glavine, or Leiter.

Yesterday for example, I had Brett Myers pitching against Oakland. Oakland's starters scare me and I didn't trust my young kid to get a win against Zito, so I benched him. On the other hand, I had David Wells against the Cubs. I went with Wells because he is a warrior. He doesn't back down from anyone. He has only around 3 walks all year. He isn't scared of Sosa, his cork-popping teamates, or the overrated Zambrano.

Palpatine: Now that Wakefield is hurt, it makes more sense for Kim to start for Boston. It is all speculation on how he will do as a starter. We all know he can close, but a win against the Pirates doesn't impress me much.

Also, I know that Ensberg is your hottest hitter. But I can't figure out why you've been wasting him on your bench all week and going with the useless Aramis Ramirez at third.

Whitebacon: I'm skeptical of Sosa. I don't believe this is the only time he used a corked bat. And I don't believe his teamates aren't following their leaders example and using corked bats too.

Cow: Maybe it has always been Maddux's style, but since Blanco is new to the team, I don't see why Maddux should be loyal to him and shun the all-star Javy Lopez. I know catchers need their rest, but I'd like to see Javy get more playing time.
Whitebacon
Boudin blanc








Since: 12.1.02
From: Fresno, CA

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#7 Posted on
RE: Maddux.

He hates Lopez, he doesn't like his defense, doesn't like the way he calls the game, doesn't like the way he handles him. He just doesn't like throwing to him. In fact, I read somewhere where he'll go into spring training and ask management who is catcher is gonna be that year.



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Good point, good point. But, still, it's a gamble. Given what the Yankees did just to keep Colon out of Boston this year, I have to believe the Boss will make a run at him in '04, especially since he will be in the market for starters.
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