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The W - Baseball - Fantasy Baseball Column #2: Closing Time
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skorpio17
Morcilla








Since: 11.7.02
From: New Jersey

Since last post: 2220 days
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#1 Posted on

Ranking the Relievers



ďGet Used to Disappointment.Ē

Closers have a difficult job. They cause heartburn for managers and their fantasy baseball owners. They last about as long as running backs in the NFL. A few bad pitches and they are out of a job and out of the league. Drafting a closer is like playing craps at Vegas with loaded dice. You just have to take a deep breath and roll with your fingers crossed. My strategy going into the draft has always been to take bad closers in the later rounds. That way even if I crap out, at least I didnít use up a high-stakes pick.

Here are the results of the Wiener fantasy draft regarding closers. I think the order they went was pretty fair as of draft day. The top ten were: Gagne, Nen, Smoltz, Percival, Wagner, Rivera, Koch, Kasaki, Isringhausen, and Benitez.

Letís take a look at that top ten list. Only three of them can be labeled a good pick. Gagne, Smoltz, and Wagner. One of them is an OK pick. Benitez has performed about as well as expected. He may blow a bunch of saves and get them ugly, but he gets them. In a league without a negative category for blown saves, Benitez is alright. The other six have all been major disappointments. (I donít think itís too early to call Rivera a disappointment.) So, if you picked one of the top ten relievers, you had a 60% chance of getting screwed. Not good odds if you ask me.

The rest of the top twenty were Eddie Guardado, Mesa, Urbina, M. Williams, Foulke, Jimenez, Escobar, Nunez, Baez, and Mantei. Taking a look at the next ten, 11-20, youíll see the same results. Only three of them can be labeled a good pick. Guardado, Urbina, and Foulke. One of them, Mantei is an OK pick, about as expected. The other six have all been crap, but lower drafted crap. Youíve got the same odds as before, only now youíre not using one of your top picks.

I donít think 10 spots make that big a difference for relievers. Lets compare the 1-5 picks with the 11-15 picks in all categories.

The top 5 RPs average: 0.2 Wins, 11.6 Saves, 25.6 Ks, 1.97 ERA, and 0.90 WHIP.
The 11-15th RPs average: 0.8 Wins, 14.0 Saves, 18.2 Ks, 3.65 ERA, and 1.20 WHIP.

For my closer, Saves are the only category that I am interested in. In this case I get more saves with a middle ranked closer than I get with a top one. For wins you are better with a bad closer because the top ones arenít in the game in a tie situation. They canít get wins. The bad ones may blow the save opportunity to cause the tie and then their team comes back and scores in the bottom of the ninth to give them the win. The last three categories all go to the top RPs. But, the effect is minimal. Your closer will only give you 60 to 80 Innings pitches in the season. This will only account for 5% to 6% of your total innings pitched. They only have one third the impact of a starter. Iíd rather take the small ERA/WHIP hit and get the saves.

The 6 Ė 10th RPs average: 0.6 Wins, 6.2 Saves, 14.2 Ks, 4.34 ERA, and 1.37 WHIP.
The 16 - 20th RPs average: 1.2 Wins, 6.4 Saves, 20.4 Ks, 5.13 ERA, and 1.38 WHIP.

Again, I donít see the advantage to picking ten spots higher. These relievers are all pretty bad. Iíd rather get a bad closer in later rounds.

My strategy is now updated for the Yahoo mid-season draft. If picking between the 15th and 25th picks, I could see taking Smoltz or Gagne, if available (slight edge to Smoltz). Otherwise you are better off waiting until at least pick #120 and taking Urbina, Mantei, Williamson, or even Julio. Wait until the top 10 closers are all taken before you act.

Bad is Good

Even the bad teams get saves. The old rule used to be to expect your closer to get saves in 50% of his teams wins. But now, I donít think there is much of a correlation between how many games a team wins and how many saves they get. Just compare the Mets with the Yankees. The Mets have a bad offense and find it hard to win games. When they do win, they only win by one or two runs. On the other hand, when the Yankees win they blow out their opponents. As a result the Mets get more saves than the Yankees even though the Yankees get more wins. Yankees have 30 Wins and 10 Saves, 1 Save for every 3 Wins. The Mets have 23 Wins and 15 Saves. Good Teams like Seattle and Boston have less saves than bad teams like Pittsburgh and Baltimore. The limit to this rule is that extremely bad teams like Detroit and San Diego are too bad to get many saves.


Who is better?

Billy Wagner or Danny Baez and Scott Williamson

Here is a comparison between a top closer for the Astros and two low ranked closers. I took both Baez and Williamson for my own team so I know a lot about these guys. In real life baseball, the team with Wagner would never make this trade. A real baseball team can only use one closer at a time so they are better off taking the one with the better numbers. Wagner has much better numbers.

Billy Wagner : 1 Win, 14 Saves, 35 Ks, 1.86 ERA, 0.93 WHIP
Baez + Williamson: 3 Wins, 21 Saves, 46 Ks, 4.24 ERA, 1.36 WHIP

Fantasy baseball is a different universe. In fantasy baseball, there is no way that I would trade both my guys for Wagner. It is not even close. I need saves and my guys will get me many more saves. I donít care if Baez has an ERA in the 4s or a 4 digit ERA. As long as he is Clevelandís closer, Iím keeping him on my team.

Look at this in terms of our draft pick selection. Wagner was drafted #41 and I took Baez #171 and Williamson #310. Suppose that before the draft a team offered me their 41st overall pick for my picks #171 + #310. Do I take that deal? YES, of course I do. Iíd get a high 3rd round pick for my 9th and 16th round selection. But, I wouldnít take the deal for the players listed above because two closers at the bottom of the draft are worth more than one at the top.

I should add that I actually had a good reason for picking Baez as high as I did. I thought Iíd get a big bonus because he is SP eligible since he started games last year. The other league I am in has a format where they allow only 1 RP spot per team. The guy in my that league is in first place only because he drafted Baez with his 80th pick. There is a loophole that you are only allowed one closer, but if you have a closer like Baez, a converted starter, then you are allowed two. I donít care how bad Baez is, if everyone else is allowed only 1 and you have 2, you will win that category. The team can have Baez + any other closer and they will have the most saves for the season. The other people in my league may bitch about it being unfair and against the spirit of competition. But, he is playing by the rules as they are determined by Yahoo. If you donít like it complain to Yahoo. Donít hate the player, hate the game.

Check your Backup:

Very late in the draft, you should take the backup to your reliever just incase your guy gets injured. If you have Rivera, you should get Acevedo for insurance against an injury. The guy who is the backup is the guy the manager likes the most. Most replacement closers arenít even chosen by their manager as much as they are chosen by a radar gun. If they have a big fastball in the high 90ís, they can get a shot at closing. This is true even if they lack the experience and the statistics. German and Politte got to become replacement closers because they can bring the heat.

Who is better? (Part 2)

Cliff Politte or Kenny Rogers

First off I must confess to being biased. I hate Kenny Rogers with a passion. He choked for not one, but two New York teams in the playoffs. He kept pitching like shit every playoff game and his teams kept giving him the ball. The Mets didnít even learn from the Yankees mistake and let the Gambler walk in the winning run to lose the game. Kenny thought he could get big money in the offseason, so he walked out on Texas. All during spring-training nobody else wanted him. Finally he signed a deal with the Twins for less than $2 million, taking a starting spot away from the much more deserving Johan Santana. It the Twins do finish in first place, it will be in spite of Kenny.

Politte: 23 Innings, 1 Win, 8 Saves, 22 Ks, 3.91 ERA, 1.26 WHIP
Rogers: 63 Innings, 4 Wins, 0 Saves, 43 Ks, 4.31 ERA, 1.40 WHIP

Here you have a young set-up man turned closer vs. an experienced veteran. The numbers are close. The difference is Rogers will get more wins and Politte will get more saves. I would rather take Politte even though he is a riskier pick. I could find a guy off waivers to get me about as many wins as Kenny with the same mediocre ERA, WHIP, and K numbers. I canít find a guy off waivers to get even ONE SAVE. It is not possible. There are 20 teams in our league. Each team should have at least 2 closers. There are only 29 closers in baseball, not counting Boston. Thus at least 11 teams already donít have enough saves. Unless a closer gets hurt and you grab his no-name replacement off the waivers quick, odds are you are out of luck. Saves are harder to get than people realize.


Bottom of the Barrell Award:

Best Waiver Pick of the Week: The Scorpions

I picked up the cowboy called TEX . Mark Teixera blasts two bombs as soon as he joins my team. That Texas team can sure hit the longball. If they had any pitching at all theyíd easily win that division.


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Whitebacon
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Since: 12.1.02
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#2 Posted on
So, are you going to join my midseason league?



The WWE (Caution: May Contain Wrestling-Like Substance)
Go Redroom (goredroom.com)
TheCow
Landjager








Since: 3.1.02
From: Knoxville, TN

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#3 Posted on
Glad to see that Tex's 2 homers right after you got him has only put you 8 behind me (and 10 behind Guru). Good work. Those RBI with that has helped, too. Only 27 to go.

At this point in the season, there's not going to be much work to be done over the waiver wire, aside from injury. 500 players on teams means that most everyone you want is going to be taken. If you're going to do "best wire transaction," the least you can do is throw trades in. As it is, I'd be more likely to give the credit to Simba for his dropping of Barry Larkin and subsequent pickup of Gary Matthews. Not a great player he got there, but Larkin was literally not contributing a thing; he already had Jeter waiting there anyway. Meanwhile, you lose Aurilia from your lineup - a man who, if I'm not mistaken, has your current shortstop bested in runs scored and average - Jose Valentin never was much for consistent contact - and also has the same amount of RBI over the past month as Valentin. *shrugs* Maybe I'm just missing the importance of the additional stolen base Valentin has, though.

Also ... yeah, I've been waiting for your appearance in Bacon's league myself.

Oh, and want to know the best midseason draft strategy? Join a league of morons. ('Course, I'm playing a season with most of the guys that'll be in the midseason league, so that one won't work too well....)







Which Neglected Mario Character Are You?

Whitebacon
Boudin blanc








Since: 12.1.02
From: Fresno, CA

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#4 Posted on

    Originally posted by TheCow
    Join a league of morons. ('Course, I'm playing a season with most of the guys that'll be in the midseason league, so that one won't work too well....)



Oh yes, the random published private leagues are a bounty of complete and utter morons. So much fun to pick on.



The WWE (Caution: May Contain Wrestling-Like Substance)
Go Redroom (goredroom.com)
Merc
Potato korv








Since: 3.1.02
From: Brisbane, Australia

Since last post: 1100 days
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#5 Posted on
Being the guy who traded Politte for Rogers, I gotta say I don't agree totally. It's fine to say no one could pick up a closer, so Politte is more valuable, but that's only if I didn't have a decent closer. I do, Mr E Gagne, he's doing just fine. I've also got Lyon, picking up a few every now and then and Isringhausen waiting to come back.

Rogers, to me, represents a decent starter. I know he's not gunna get a stack of wins, but have you looked at the starters available? Have you looked at the starters on my roster? Not that flash my friend.

>>I could find a guy off waivers to get me about as many wins as Kenny with the same mediocre ERA, WHIP, and K numbers.<<
WHO? I might pick him up too.

It's pretty easy for you to sit in first and say you wouldn't have done it, but would you be saying that if you just had Jeff Austin almost make it through 1 inning combined for his last two starts and give up a billion runs?



I'm a fat wannabe surfer
Guru Zim
SQL Dejection
Administrator








Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

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#6 Posted on
    Originally posted by Guru Zim


      I'm already two steps ahead. Now that Hairston is on the DL, it looked like I was screwed until I traded my 4th outfielder for Alomar. Instead of collecting Padres, I collect all-stars at each position.



    Yeah, Alomar is really racking up the points for you. Which categories is he helping you out in, again?



I take back everything bad I said about Alomar. He is truly the cornerstone of your team.

Alomar's stats since 5/24.

2 G 7 AB 2 H 0 R 0 RBI 0 SB

Damn. How can I touch that offense?

//edit: Sorry about the 10 points you've dropped in a week.

(edited by Guru Zim on 30.5.03 0018)


Willful ignorance of science is not commendable. Refusing to learn the difference between a credible source and a shill is criminally stupid.
Simba
Frankfurter








Since: 7.8.02
From: Boston, MA

Since last post: 2316 days
Last activity: 1924 days
#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.20
Cow, thanks for the props on the Matthews pickup. I'm actually more excited that Bill Mueller is now an everyday 3rd baseman. 14th Place, here I come!

If the Phillies ever find their bats, I may venture into the uppper half of the league. Otherwise, prepare for Simba's Dismantlement come deadline time.*

*Disclaimer: Only applies to those not boasting about their first place standing under the guise of a column.



Reserved for future use.
skorpio17
Morcilla








Since: 11.7.02
From: New Jersey

Since last post: 2220 days
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#8 Posted on
I appreciate all the interest in my column. But could we possibly get back to the main topic here of ranking relief pitching instead of bashing skorpio17?

How are your closers doing this year? Are you guys happy with their performance given where you drafted them?

Whitebacon,
The Wiener league is taking up all of my time. I donít think I can join another league. I was in Yahooís midseason league last year and I didnít think it was too great. I finished in third place in the regular season. Then they had the playoffs and erased all of the cumulative scores. I had one bad week against another team in the third round. None of my closers were getting saves, my top starters were only pitching once that week, and Soriano decided to go into a slump. I didnít think itís a fair format how one bad week ruined my season.

Cow,
Iím using a Valentin/Aurilia platoon at short. Aurilia has the average and the runs, but Valentin has nearly twice the homeruns. If people are so interested in Aurilia he is tradeable.

While we are talking about trades, I think the Blalock deal messed you up. You got Zambrano, but you really didnít need pitching. Maybe Zambrano gets 12 more wins, but I donít see it. Replacing Blalock with Phelps costs you 2 Homeruns, 10 RBIs, and shaves 100 points off your batting average. Palpatine had no other options at 3rd, now youíve given him a top player at that position in exchange for his expendable starter. Now his team is better than yours and Iíd be surprised if you finish higher than third.

Merc, I can see the trade from your point of view. You needed wins more than saves, but I think you couldíve gotten a better starter for Politte from someone desperate for saves.

Guru, I evaluate a player based on more than one weekís stats. When he plays, Alomar is hitting .328 vs. right-handed pitching (I donít play him vs. lefties). He is on pace to score 85 runs this season. If he ever regains his old form, then Iím in luck...if he gets injured, Iíll just have to find someone else.



ďboasting about their first place standing under the guise of a column.Ē


Simba,
Did you read what I wrote in this column? Nowhere in this column did I even mention my first place standing or brag about how well Iím doing in the league. I wrote an intelligent 2,000 word column with statistical backup to provoke discussion on how valuable the elite relievers truly are in fantasy baseball. If anyone would like to provide the counterpoint to how it is good to draft elite closers high, feel free to dispute my points instead of making snide remarks.


Simba
Frankfurter








Since: 7.8.02
From: Boston, MA

Since last post: 2316 days
Last activity: 1924 days
#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.20

    Originally posted by skorpio17
    Simba,
    Did you read what I wrote in this column? Nowhere in this column did I even mention my first place standing or brag about how well Iím doing in the league. I wrote an intelligent 2,000 word column with statistical backup to provoke discussion on how valuable the elite relievers truly are in fantasy baseball. If anyone would like to provide the counterpoint to how it is good to draft elite closers high, feel free to dispute my points instead of making snide remarks.





Sorry, my mistake. I must have been thinking of last week's column, "The Master Speaks".

I still get the whole vibe of "Hey, look how awesome my picks are", rather than "Hey, here's some helpful hints for you guys." Based on some of the curt replies, I don't think I'm the only one.

It's no big deal, either way. A free fantasy baseball league with guys I don't even know is hardly something for me to get worked up about. For now, I'm just happy trying to decide between Rheal Cormier or Turk Wendell in my pen. (shudder)



Reserved for future use.
Whitebacon
Boudin blanc








Since: 12.1.02
From: Fresno, CA

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#10 Posted on
Mine is midseason rotisserie...you must've been in a head to head league. Weekly lineup changes, all kinds of fun stuff.

EDIT: You, sir, are going to micromanage your team to death.

(edited by Whitebacon on 30.5.03 1008)


The WWE (Caution: May Contain Wrestling-Like Substance)
Go Redroom (goredroom.com)
TheCow
Landjager








Since: 3.1.02
From: Knoxville, TN

Since last post: 2261 days
Last activity: 2260 days
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Y!:
#11 Posted on
Skorpio, look at the trade from my point of view. I am the undefeated, undisputed king of the no-decision. (How else could you explain my horrid win total when compared with my ERA and WHIP?) Zambrano presented me with an opportunity to pick up another pretty heavy-duty starter to go along with Schmidt and Schilling.

It's called dealing from a strength. I had the 4th and 5th ranked third basemen in the W before the trade. I'm also way up there in HR and RBI. I dealt from that strength in anticipation. Phelps has been relatively quiet in that lineup, which is kind of surprising, and won't last. As you (and the rest of the league) can probably tell by now, I don't give much care to average... it can't get much worse. Besides, it's hard to draft for average without sacrificing something else. There's no way Dunn's going to hit .220 the rest of the year; I know that, and you know that. Besides, I now have some starting pitching I can stand to trade off for more help.

Tsk. Smarter than it seems. (Besides, even if I finish third, I'll still consider it a good season for me.)

Oh, and as for how my closers are doing, they're doing just fine. Aren't I glad I got Smoltz and Benitez? (All that's missing is Boworski blowing a few so Seca can blow them instead... then I'm set.)







Which Neglected Mario Character Are You?

spf
Scrapple








Since: 2.1.02
From: The Las Vegas of Canada

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#12 Posted on
I would be so much more passionate and willing to argue all this if my team hadn't been so decimated by injury (Bernie, Robb, and Darin are all playing cards together in rehab I hear) that I had to put in the guy who sat next to me in junior year of high school Etymology class in as my Util player. Though how many of you can say you have anyone who signed your high school yearbook on your fantasy teams?





and maybe I should open up my sensitive side/but really, the sensitive side sucks./I've been there./You can only imagine the kinds of sweaters they make you wear.

NWA:TNA - GO RED GO!
pieman
As young as
he feels








Since: 11.12.01
From: China, Maine

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Y!:
#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.21



    Originally posted by Simba

      Originally posted by skorpio17
      Simba,
      Did you read what I wrote in this column? Nowhere in this column did I even mention my first place standing or brag about how well Iím doing in the league. I wrote an intelligent 2,000 word column with statistical backup to provoke discussion on how valuable the elite relievers truly are in fantasy baseball. If anyone would like to provide the counterpoint to how it is good to draft elite closers high, feel free to dispute my points instead of making snide remarks.





    Sorry, my mistake. I must have been thinking of last week's column, "The Master Speaks".

    I still get the whole vibe of "Hey, look how awesome my picks are", rather than "Hey, here's some helpful hints for you guys." Based on some of the curt replies, I don't think I'm the only one.

    It's no big deal, either way. A free fantasy baseball league with guys I don't even know is hardly something for me to get worked up about. For now, I'm just happy trying to decide between Rheal Cormier or Turk Wendell in my pen. (shudder)



I have been playing Rotisserie since 1984 face to face with people I know, and have been reading the bashing going on among the league here and find it quite amusing. I have to agree with Simba here, skorpio, it sounds like bragging to me. There's nothing worse than someone who is winning and then rubbing people's nose in it. That certainly will be the quickest way to get people to stop trading with you, or even speaking with you.



He's Rolie Polie Olie - and in his world of curves and curls, he's the swellest kid around.
PalpatineW
Lap cheong








Since: 2.1.02
From: Getting Rowdy

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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.44
Skorp, you should look at Aramis Ramirez's numbers. Not great, but compare it to three weeks ago. He seems to be breaking out of his slump nicely. Blalock is just another quality bat for my team. And look at Zambrano's numbers. He's a solid contribution in every category.

In other news, I still have too much pitching. If anyone wants to help me improve at SS, or anywhere, really, offer me a deal. Paul Shuey, Scott Sullivan, Brad Lidge, and Juan Cruz are all available RPs, and I'm also willing to part with Elmer Dessens if anyone needs a decent starter (he has 4 W's so far).



skorpio17
Morcilla








Since: 11.7.02
From: New Jersey

Since last post: 2220 days
Last activity: 2220 days
#15 Posted on
I like this league the best because of all the action here. It looks to be good competition. Where else could you get so many people complaining about an off-balance Pedro Martinez trade? (Iím just jealous that nobody has complained about my Edgar Martinez + Valentin for Nomo + Donnely trade.)

I used to write wrestling columns here, but Iíve stopped watching wrestling for now. I think my excitement and addiction to this fantasy baseball thing makes for a pretty good read. Iíll accept criticism and try to be more humble and less obnoxious in future columns.

Simba, no hard feelings. I also want to keep my options open if I need a backup catcher from you. (You shouldíve taken Cormier.)

Spf, What is an Etymology class and which player sat next to you in your junior year?

Palpatine, you sure are lucky you dumped Kenny Rogers. I wouldíve fixed the Politte/Rogers deal by giving up Lyon or a DLíd Isringhausen instead of Politte.

If my pitching keeps up this bad stretch and I fall out of first place, Iíll step aside and let the Cow write my next column. It can't be any worse than those All-Time *Team I Don't Care About* threads.
spf
Scrapple








Since: 2.1.02
From: The Las Vegas of Canada

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#16 Posted on
Skorp, etymology is basically the study of words...in practice it meant learning a few zillion Greek and Latin prefixes and suffixes. And sitting a desk or two away from me was Jody Gerut, star of Sunday's Indians/White Sox game





and maybe I should open up my sensitive side/but really, the sensitive side sucks./I've been there./You can only imagine the kinds of sweaters they make you wear.

NWA:TNA - I'm sure something happened, but I was at pub quiz. Oh well.
PalpatineW
Lap cheong








Since: 2.1.02
From: Getting Rowdy

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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.44
Skorpio, you're completely mad!

I am not lucky to dump Kenny Rogers. His new owner is simply unfortunate. Your lead is not as impenetrable as you think, good sir.

Also, someone please take my relievers off my hands. I can't even fit them all in the lineup. Most of them have sub 2.00 ERAs, and Cruz is a K machine. Offers, people, offers.



Merc
Potato korv








Since: 3.1.02
From: Brisbane, Australia

Since last post: 1100 days
Last activity: 1078 days
#18 Posted on

    Originally posted by PalpatineW
    Skorpio, you're completely mad!

    I am not lucky to dump Kenny Rogers. His new owner is simply unfortunate.



Unfortunate, you say? I'm wondering exactly which God I have pissed off. I've had 4 starts in the last 2 weeks or so not make it past the second.



I'm a fat wannabe surfer
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