Friday, October 12, 2012

BBA Season Awards

It is a requirement as a Baseball Bloggers Alliance member to vote for their seasonal awards in the same fashion as the BBWAA. However, it is also a requirement to consistently post new content without any prolonged gaps longer than one month, which is why I am certainly surprised I received the reminder to submit my ballot this week.

Analysis around the Horn is a part of the General Chapter, as such I have the opportunity to vote for everyone without discrimination to one league or another. Although my eligibility is questionable, I submit my ballot regardless:

Connie Mack Award (Best Manager)
  1. Davey Johnson (Washington Nationals)
  2. Bob Melvin (Oakland Athletics)
  3. Buck Showalter (Baltimore Orioles)
Willie Mays Award (Best Rookie)
  1. Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)
  2. Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals)
  3. Wade Miley (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Goose Gossage Award (Best Reliever)
  1. Craig Kimbrel (Atlanta Braves)
  2. Aroldis Chapman (Cincinnati Reds)
  3. Fernando Rodney (Tampa Bay Rays)
Walter Johnson Award (Best Pitcher)
  1. David Price (Tampa Bay Rays)
  2. Gio Gonzalez (Washington Nationals)
  3. R.A. Dickey (New York Mets)
  4. Matt Cain (San Francisco Giants)
  5. Justin Verlander (Detroit Tigers)
Stan Musial Award (Best Player)
  1. Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)
  2. Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers)
  3. Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh Pirates)
  4. Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers)
  5. Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants)
  6. Adrian Beltre (Texas Rangers)
  7. Robinson Cano (New York Yankees)
  8. Yadier Molina (St. Louis Cardinals)
  9. David Wright (New York Mets)
  10. Ben Zobrist (Tampa Bay Rays)

I still have plenty of ideas for new content and could talk about the postseason, which is what caused me to hit the ground running last year, but I have quite a few obstacles and other things on my mind while I continue my job search.

Perhaps this will be motivation for me to continue writing. It could help distract me from an otherwise depressing atmosphere and maybe someone will discover my talents through my blog. Who knows. Crazier things have happened and things will begin to look up eventually.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I Apologize, Google Drive

I want to apologize for my absence but thank anyone who is still subscribed and/or frequenting my blog. There is plenty to talk about, though I have had difficulty motivating myself to write when I have other things on my mind such as my job search.

Google recently introduced Google Drive and I started using a new application to automatically sync my Excel spreadsheets to my Google account. I am not sure which caused the problem, but all my spreadsheets were removed and I spent the past three days re-publishing all my tables and correcting all the bad links.

I apologize if you experienced any problems with dead links or missing data. I am sure I would have been frustrated if I were trying to hunt for data only to see this:


I hope you enjoyed the regular season, your fantasy baseball teams were successful, and continue to find joy through October baseball in the MLB postseason.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Roles Reversed

What's going on? Did the author of this blog die? No, I'm here.

Sorry about that, but a job search is a full-time job for an unemployed gentleman like myself.

Less than two months ago I was writing about the St. Louis Cardinals' offensive dominance and the Pittsburgh Pirates' inability to score runs. This is still generally true. The Cards have the highest run differential in the National League while the Pirates have the lowest runs scored among all teams in the Major Leagues. Be that as it may, you wouldn't realize it from the divisional standings.


The Buccos are currently one game over .500 (!) with a record of 28-27, three games behind the first place Cincinnati Reds. Pythagorean expectation shows the Pirates have been incredibly lucky and/or very efficient. James McDonald has been lights out, which is why you may be hearing his name in the same conversation with other guys like Cole Hamels, and not the typical conversation we Pirates fans are accustomed to hearing such as "J Mac was defeated by Hamels and the Phillies." A.J. Burnett has been pretty stellar as well.

Meanwhile the Cards have slid out of first place and are now tied with the Pirates thanks to to an injury induced slump. Chris Carpenter, Lance Berkman, Jon Jay, Skip Schumaker, Matt Carpenter, Kyle McClellan, and Scott Linebrink are all on the disabled list. They only need two more injuries to field a second lineup of crippled Cardinals.

I know this is not much analysis, but I still think it's rather shocking. I promise to have some more ideas coming soon for my reader(s)!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Play Two Out Rally

Today I wanted to share one of my favorite baseball games: Two Out Rally.

My preemptive apologies as most of these details were taken directly from their website. Keep in mind this isn't an interactive game like MLB 12 The Show or MLB 2K12. It's actually a simulator with an RPG twist. Hopefully the following wall of text does not deter anyone from trying it.


2 Out Rally is a multi-player online role-playing game MMORPG dealing with the on-field action, off-field drama, and general excitement of the game of baseball. Registration is simple, free, and required in order to play 2 Out Rally. By registering, you create a "scout" (your username) who will recruit players, run teams, and organize leagues.

Influence
Influence is the currency of your scout and gives him the ability to change events of the world in all sorts of ways, either through Gamechangers, finding new players, purchasing boosts for his players in either experience or cash, or starting new teams. Influence can be acquired in a number of ways:
  1. Completing hidden in-game accomplishments either during a game, over the course of a season, or for the length of a career.
  2. Winning special tournaments or participating in community events throughout the year.
  3. Providing articles or content to build 2 Out Rally's story.
  4. Serving as a Tester, Administrator, or Forum Moderator for 2 Out Rally.
  5. Purchased from our store or other participating vendors.

Barry Brawn is a
PED monster!
Player Creation
When you start your scout's career, you will begin with enough influence to build your first player with a little left over. This will get you involved in the game and playing right away. In this section, we'll go over the basics for the decisions you will have to make and what those will mean for your character.

You'll want to pick from either a pitcher or a position player immediately, as their ability sets are completely different, and each choice you make will affect them differently. The three elements that will comprise your character design are Attributes, Skills, and Biographical elements. Here's what each of these means.

Attributes are the primary ability sets for your player and represent strength in a general area of the game. If you've played an RPG before, you're probably familiar with these, but if not, don't worry; it will make perfect sense. The point value of an attribute is the sum of all points in its Skill tree (see below). When a player has associated a majority of points into one attribute, that attribute is known as the Primary Attribute or Focus.

Skills are four abilities within each attribute. These skills represent pieces of the player's abilities and allow for more specific customization to the player. For example, the Speed skill is a part of the Athleticism attribute. Adding one point to the Speed skill will add a point to the overall Athleticism Attribute.

Biographical elements are those related to your player's physical size, background, and personality type.

As soon as you've selected either a pitcher or position player, there will be 3 attributes referenced with each selection you make, and every decision you make will alter them in some way. There are countless possibilities, so don't be afraid to experiment.

Burlington Blue Devils won
the wild card in the
red division of Tier C
Finding a Team & Playing the Game
After your player is created, they will need a team. Computer controlled teams will send you offers and are fine as a last resort, but you should prefer to play on a human controlled team with more skilled players and team upgrades for the possibility of free player training. Your player earns more experience when your team wins, so this is another advantage to human controlled teams. You can advertise your player using their forum or contact team owners directly using their private message system.

During your first few levels, this will be the only real development option probably available to you - earning valuable game experience. There are a few ways to earn experience in 2 Out Rally:

  1. Playing in Games (a static reward for being on a team that plays games)
  2. Winning, an increased experience bonus for every time your team achieves victory.
  3. Moving up a League Tier, which will vastly increase the amount of experience you gain. Abusing lower levelled competition isn't going to get you to the big leagues.
  4. Rushing Your Player, where your scout expends Influence to get extra training and immediately advance in level.

Every time you earn a set amount of experience, you will advance in level, which will give you 5 more skill points to spend on your development. As you advance in level, you will become eligible to compete in bigger and better leagues, before hopefully taking the stage of the WBL itself. The experience required will increase greatly with each advancing level, so advancing will become more and more difficult as you try to reach the apex of your career.

Training
Once you find a team and start earning your salary, the hard work really begins as you will want to make sure they train every day. If your team has upgrades, then some/all of your upgrades could be free. Training also provides the possibility of receiving a bonus, which varies. Some scouts choose to save their player's salary until they can afford the option with the best experience to cost ratio ($8,000), but you may risk missing out on bonuses.

There are three types of training: fitness, celebrity, and charity. Your player receives one skill point for every level of fitness training completed. Celebrity and charity training requires you to complete 10 levels, but provides you with 13 skill points or a 5% experience boost, respectively. The common consensus is celebrity training is your best option.

Gamecast
2 Out Rally is wrapping up their 13th season. They have shown they are constantly updating and evolving this game for their users. One of the latest updates added Gamecast, which is quite similar to MLB Gameday. It allows you to replay the game and see how it actually happened. Check out the preview here.



So why am I telling you all of this? It's fun!

If you're interested in joining 2 Out Rally, then I encourage you to click the link below and try it out. Using this link will credit me with the referral. Feel free to ask me any questions. Thanks!

Starting a new team in season 14!

http://www.twooutrally.com/referral.php?rid=5088 <-- Click here to start playing!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Highs and Lows

David Freese goes yard.
The St. Louis Cardinals are off to a great start this season. They are currently 9-3 with a three game lead in the NL Central division. Their offense has been tremendous as they have scored 70 runs over those 12 games, which is currently the best in all of baseball. The majority of their pitching has fared equally well, though Adam Wainwright is taking a little longer than hoped to bounce back after missing all of last season. The Cards have allowed 36 runs to their opponents and Wainwright is responsible for 11 of them, almost one third of them.

On the other hand, the Pittsburgh Pirates have only managed to begin the season with a record of 5-7 and is four games behind the Cardinals. Their pitching is keeping the team alive, while the offense already seems dead. They have only scored 26 runs thus far this season, which puts them in last place by a sizable margin of seven runs. Surprisingly, they do not have the worst record in baseball due to their pitching and defense only allowing 35 runs, which is the fourth best in baseball and one run better than the Cards.

It seems like both teams picked up where they left off last season. Doesn't it?

The Cards offense is currently dominating the majors in many offensive categories including batting average (.301), on base percentage (.367), runs (70), RBI (70), and WAR (5.9). They are also a very close second in slugging percentage (.513). The Buccos are last in nearly every category including hits (80), batting average (.205), on base percentage (.252), slugging percentage (.287), runs (26), RBI (23), and WAR (-0.3). They are second to last in homeruns with six, one more than the lowly Chicago Cubs.

Andrew McCutchen game winner.
The current major league batting average is .248 and the Pirates only have five position players who have an average above that, six if you include Kevin Correia. The Cardinals have nine above average positions players, 11 if you include Lance Lynn and Jaime Garcia. If you look at the other side of the line, the Pirates have five regular starters who are slumping while the Cards only have three.

That may sound almost comparable, but let me paint a picture for you. Pedro Alvarez and Rod Barajas both have two hits thus far this season (oddly enough, all four are extra base hits), which is the same as the Card's Lynn and Garcia. Alvarez is currently leading the majors with an atrocious 46.4% strikeout rate. That's worse than our annual leaders in whiffs: Adam Dunn and Mark Reynolds.

What does all this mean? The Cardinals are doing well right now and will be even better once Wainwright returns to form. Lance Berkman was hampered by a calf injury and will finally hit the disabled list, but the young guys on the bench have stepped up to fill his big shoes.

Generally speaking, the Pirates need to play better. They have been doing well with run prevention, but they really need to work on run creation. Alvarez and Barajas are not the only ones who need to wake up. Neil Walker, Clint Barmes, and Jose Tabata have all been dragging their feet as well.

The two teams start a three game series tomorrow in Pittsburgh, so we shall see how this story unfolds.

Fri, April 20 at 7:05pm: Charlie Morton vs. Lance Lynn
Sat, April 21 at 7:05pm: Kevin Correia vs. Jake Westbrook
Sun, April 22 at 1:35pm: Erik Bedard vs. Kyle Lohse

Monday, April 2, 2012

2012 Overall Rankings - Final Update

Spring training is winding to a close and Opening Day is right around the corner. Granted, the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics have already played two games in Japan.

The 25-man rosters are more-or-less set at this point. We should not see any more dramatic swings in fantasy baseball draft position unless another season-ending injury occurs, which is why this is my final update for the 2012 season overall fantasy baseball rankings. The list can be accessed by clicking here or the link at the top of the page.

I imagine many of you have their fantasy baseball teams drafted by now, but I want to make sure my readers are in the know. Here are a few noteworthy headlines to remember if you still have a draft scheduled:

Many analysts ranked Ryan Braun anticipating he would be forced to serve a 50-game suspension, but it was overturned and some lists were never updated. Removing the outliers shows he should be drafted fourth.

The following players will miss the entire season and were removed to avoid confusion:
  • Victor Martinez has a torn ACL in his left knee.
  • Ryan Madson will require Tommy John surgery on his right elbow to repair a torn ligament.
  • Joakim Soria will have Tommy John surgery due to ulnar collateral ligament damage.
  • Scott Sizemore has a torn left ACL.
  • Joba Chamberlain underwent Tommy John surgery in June to repair issues in his throwing elbow. He also had surgery on his right ankle to repair an open dislocation.
  • John Lackey underwent Tommy John surgery, not that anyone would draft him.


The following teams have notable players who may begin the season on the disabled list:
I hope my resources were/will be helpful for your fantasy baseball drafts. Good luck in your leagues this season!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pirates 2012 Season Preview

This article was part of a Baseball Bloggers Alliance series coordinated four months ago by Mr. Bill Ivie. I volunteered to grade the Bucco's 2011 season as well as discuss the outlook on their offseason. The previous articles were originally published on Baseball Digest, however the website closed and this new article was supposed to be posted on his new blog, Full Spectrum Baseball.

Unfortunately, Mr. Ivie informed me today this will not occur:
"With the closing of Baseball Digest, many writers elected not to carry on with this project. Due to this fact, I am left with a fraction of the submissions we need and no prospects of writers for some of the remaining teams.

"While I appreciate your work on these pieces, I will not be able to publish them this season.

"Feel free to run these on your own sites or whatever you see fit. I may be in touch with a few of you to see if we can use your pieces in another capacity. For the most part, however, I will not have a home for these.

"Thank you for understanding..."
Sadder still, this also means my previous two articles vanished from the internet.I'm disappointed, but I can pick myself up, figure this out, and make the best of the situation. After all, I'm a Pirates fan!



Last Season
The Pittsburgh Pirates saw a glimmer of hope in 2011, but injuries and fatigue after the All Star break ensured their downfall to finish fourth in the standings ahead of the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros with a 72-90 record. It was an improvement over 2010 where they finished 57-105, but it still clinched their 19th consecutive losing season.

The team lost quite a few recognizable names from their roster during the offseason including Ryan Doumit, Paul Maholm, Ronny Cedeno, Ross Ohlendorf, and Chris Snyder as well as their mid-season acquisitions, Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick. That is a long list to recover, but I believe they managed their resources to the best of their ability, although they may still have the lowest payroll in the MLB thanks in part to Miami’s spending splurge.

The Rotation
Young pitching is what carried the team along last season until their arms tired out. They have quite a few candidates to start this season. Charlie Morton, James McDonald, Jeff Karstens, and Kevin Correia are all returning; Erik Bedard signed via free agency for $4.5M, which is a potential steal; and A.J. Burnett was acquired via trade from the New York Yankees and is only responsible for $13M of his $33M salary through 2013.

The Bedard and Burnett acquisitions were the most exciting among our offseason. Bedard has been injury prone and Burnett allows a lot of homers, but I am happy to have some strikeout potential in this rotation beyond McDonald. Both average almost one strikeout per inning pitched and will play pivotal roles.

Morton and Burnett are recovering from surgery and may begin the season on the disabled list, which means their rotation currently consists of Bedard, McDonald, Karstens, Correia, and Lincoln. Once everyone is healthy, I expect Correia and Lincoln will be demoted to the bullpen and/or minors to yield this rotation: Burnett, Bedard, Morton, McDonald, Karstens.

Starting Pitching in the Organization
Brad Lincoln, Kyle McPherson, Jeff Locke, and Rudy Owens are ready to go in the minors. Expect to see Lincoln and McPherson as soon as April due to injuries, while Locke and Owens are both lefties who can provide diversity in a right-handed heavy pitching system. Their prized arms, however, are first round picks Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon who may be ready as early as late 2013.

The Bullpen
Joel Hanrahan was elected the closer last season and did not make them regret their decision. Jose Veras, Chris Resop, and Jason Grilli dazzled, while Evan Meek spent most of the season struggling and on the disabled list. I would expect a bounce back season from Meek, although he may not get the opportunity after a rough spring.

Veras was dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers over the offseason, but you should recognize many of the other names in the bullpen this season. Hanrahan will stick around to close with Meek, Grilli, and Resop setting him up. Daniel Moskos and Tony Watson will probably stick around as the only viable lefty specialists unless they struggle. Daniel McCutchen rounds out the back of the bullpen, but Jared Hughes, Chris Leroux, Duke Welker, Bryan Morris, and Justin Wilson are ready to move in.

The Backstop
Our front office sent Doumit and Snyder packing after the season ended and hope to replace him with the acquisition of Rod Barajas. He offers excellent defense behind the plate with some home run power, but his health may be of concern as he has only exceeded 100 games in a season four times in his 13 year career. Michael McKenry is currently the most likely candidate to back him up.

The Corners
The Pirates front office wanted to find someone to play first base, but they didn’t sign anyone we expected. Garrett Jones will platoon with Casey McGehee. McGehee can play either first or third, which makes him even more valuable if Pedro Alvarez performs dismally again this season. All three players have the potential to hit 20 home runs or more.

Up the Middle
Neil Walker will start at second base and is a contract extension candidate. His new double play partner at shortstop will be Clint Barmes who is a defensive upgrade over Cedeno. We should not expect much more than 20 homers between the two of them. Walker will hit for average, while Barmes will probably bat on the bottom of the lineup.

The Outfield
Alex Presley, Andrew McCutchen, and Jose Tabata will cover the outfield for next season barring any injuries. Presley was impressive while appearing in short service this past season, while Tabata spent most of the season dealing with injuries. McCutchen continued to deliver as the face of the franchise with impressive speed and an increase of power. All three players have the potential to steal 20 bases or more.

Tabata signed a contract late last season to secure him through 2019, while McCutchen just signed a $51.5M contract extension on Sunday, March 4th. The extension secures him potentially through 2018.

The Bench
There is not much to write home about regarding the Pirates bench. McKenry will back up Barajas, McGehee will back up the corner infield, Josh Harrison can play second or third base, Yamaico Navarro can back up the middle infield or outfield, and Nate McLouth is back in black and gold to provide more depth in the outfield.

The Minors
I predicted Matt Hague would make his debut in my last article I wrote in December. I stick by that prediction considering our first base situation. Starling Marte has the most recognizable talent and would help an ailing Pirates offense, but there is a logjam in the outfield. Both have been excellent in spring training this year. McPherson, Locke, and Owens could make their debuts as well if injuries plague the rotation again this season.

Created using Tagxedo
Team MVP: Andrew McCutchen
Team Ace: Erik Bedard
Team's 2012 record: 76 - 86
Team's 2012 finish in division: 4th in NL Central

McCutchen should outperform the rest of the team once again and could continue to improve to provide his best season. He is already a 20/20 hitter, but could he do better? Bedard has not completed a full season without injury since 2007, but he is healthy now and has the potential to be a staff ace.

Pittsburgh made some promising moves during this offseason and reportedly pursued several other big name players. This is definitely a step in the right direction and we should see some improvement over our 2011 season, especially if everyone stays healthy. I would love for the Buccos end the curse of Barry Bonds. It is possible we could earn a few more wins with the exodus of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder from the division, but I do not believe enough progress was made to the roster to crack the .500 threshold this season.



Pittsburgh Pirates 2011 Report Card
Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Offseason Outlook
Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Season Preview

Monday, March 19, 2012

Join My Fantasy Baseball League

I was recently contacted by my sister's boyfriend who wanted to play in a fantasy baseball league. We hashed out some of the details, then I spoke to my girlfriend's brother who was interested as well. I am already committed to six other teams, but I have not played with anyone I personally knew since Ryan's Baseball League in 1998. I could not pass up the opportunity to play with two of my future brothers-in-law.

That's where you come in.


Dearest Readers,

We are seeking a few passionate, knowledgeable, and respectful individuals to participate in our fantasy baseball league. Here are the details:

  • The league will be hosted on Yahoo and is free to join.
  • This will be a head-to-head league with a standard 5x5 scoring system.
  • A live snake draft will occur on Tuesday, March 27th at 7:00pm CST.

You should be able to view the league using the following link, but will need a password to sign up. If you're interested, then please contact me using Twitter/Facebook/email or simply leave a comment.

http://baseball.fantasysports.yahoo.com/league/aath_baseball



Let me take this opportunity to share a new photo I created for the Facebook fan page. I received a notification indicating I would be forced into the timeline interface later this month, so I decided to create a nice cover page and accepted the conversion ahead of time. Let me know if you like the image.


Be sure to like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

Thank you!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Brain Over Braun

Ryan Braun was declared the National League MVP in 2011 and many analysts declared him the number one draft pick in fantasy baseball leagues until he was accused of using a performance-enhancing drug on December 10, 2011. He faced a 50-game suspension, which would have caused him to miss almost one third of the season and seriously hurt his fantasy value because of it.

Ryan Braun was shocked when he was accused of using PEDs in 2011.

Braun finally won his appeal on February 23, 2012. He stated during a press conference, "I am very pleased and relieved by today's decision. It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation. We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side."

Many analysts corrected their rankings and projections as soon as this occurred, while some dragged their feet. It has been two weeks since that announcement, yet three of my 14 references still show him as a 31st draft pick or worse which is causing his rank on my 2012 Overall Fantasy Baseball Rankings spreadsheet to skew. The Yahoo Draft Average takes every draft into account, including those before the appeal was announced, so this variance is understandable and will correct itself over time. ClubHouseGM and Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks released their draft kits in mid-February before the appeal and still have him ranked 41st and 76th, respectively.

What happens if these outliers are ignored?


Removing these erroneous values updates Braun on this compilation from a 14th overall pick to 4th behind Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, and Matt Kemp. His standard deviation is reduced from 106th (21.67) to 6th (2.54), while his weighted and unweighted ranks are both improved to 4th.

This is a great example why I decided to calculate and include the standard deviation value for every player. I am not going to omit these three data sets from my compilation even though they may be outdated compared to the others. They may be inaccurate in regards to Braun, but everything else is great.

Just remember it should be an easy decision to take Braun in the top half of the first round.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stat Targets in Roto Leagues

Michael Marinakis from Fantasy Baseball Cafe and Jeff Furtah from ClubHouseGM both wrote about statistics you should target when you draft your fantasy baseball team in a rotisserie league. They were written in regards to different league formats, however both came to similar conclusions.

You do not need to win every category in your league to win. Your goal is to create a balanced team who can reach 3rd or 4th place in each category. Jeff reinforced this idea using his past experiences, while Michael shared his success from a mock draft using projections. The winners in his 12 team leagues averaged 98 points, which varied from 96 to 101. I can also attest to the accuracy of his data by comparing it to my own. The winners of my previous leagues in the same format averaged 97 points, which varied from 85 to 110. If you strive beyond third place, then you may be wasting your picks or resources.

For example, a team led the saves category in one of my league's last season with 168 while the team behind them only had 120. That effectively means they had one more closer than necessary. You could make the argument that perhaps their goal was to pad their ERA and WHIP categories with relief pitchers, though I can assure you they failed in both categories. Their offense was middle of the road and their pitching was poor aside from saves. If this team in question had not allocated their draft picks poorly by acquiring an overabundance of closers so early in the draft, then perhaps they would have fared better in the league.

Both writers predicted an alleged goal for a winning team in a league of the format they covered. They admit their provided information may not be useful unless you participate in their league type, though Jeff claims he has a solution and offers individual player averages:


"The reason the individual numbers are so important is you can simply take the number of roster spots you have for both hitters and pitchers and multiply that by the averages here to get the totals you need to strive for. Obviously if you are in a deeper league (in terms of teams or roster spots) the averages would be slightly less and if your in a league with less than 12 teams or fewer roster spots they'll be slightly higher.

"Once you have your total stats needed, either using the overall numbers above or by modifying the averages to fit your league, you need to create a simple spreadsheet. As you're drafting your team fill in the projections for each player. As you start adding up the totals you can quickly identify gaps so you're not scrambling near the end of your draft."

The following table compares the average statistics gathered from several of my mock drafts from ESPN and my Yahoo fantasy baseball leagues from the past two seasons. Our supposed statistical goals at third and fourth place are emboldened.


The standard rotisserie league format is quite different when you compare an ESPN mock draft to a Yahoo fantasy league even though they may both use a 12 team format. Yahoo drafts 23 players for 10 hitting positions, 8 pitchers, and 5 bench holders; while ESPN is a little deeper with 25 players drafted for 13 hitting positions, 9 pitchers, and 3 bench holders.


The target data I provided above was calculated simply by using the opposite of Jeff's calculation. The ESPN data was divided by their available hitting and pitching positions (rather than multiplying), likewise with Yahoo, while disregarding the bench.

ESPN's projection system is slightly skewed because it includes your draft picks on the bench whose statistics should not be included in a true league. This explains the variance from Jeff's estimate, otherwise I can agree his data is quite accurate and a great starting point when you prepare before your draft day.

You can find this information and much more when you use the ClubHouseGM 2012 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit.
I recommend checking it out.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Boy and His Baseball Game

I hope to join Full Spectrum Baseball in their fantasy baseball league opportunity and here is a story to outline all of my credentials.

Dear Mr. Fantasy recently wrote an article entitled Fantasy Baseball: An Early Form of Social Media. He recollected his first fantasy baseball league in 1992. Twenty years ago! I thought it would be neat to recollect my fantasy baseball history as well.


The title of this post was inspired by a story written by Day[9]TV, "The Boy And His Game."

If you read my introductory post when this blog was first created in September of 2011 or read my About section, then you know I have been a huge baseball fan since I was very young. I could not play well, so I did the only things available to an nonathletic nerd: I went to games, followed the statistics, and collected baseball cards. When that wasn't enough, I decided to take it a step further and created my own fantasy baseball league. Of course I never called it fantasy baseball because I did not yet realize it existed.

This began with a simple game I received when I was only ten years old. It involved placing baseball cards into their corresponding positions on a mat shaped like a baseball field, then you would spin a wheel to determine the fate of the batter (single, double, strikeout, etc). This enhanced my craving for more baseball cards and held my interest for a while until I yearned for more.

I decided to expand upon this idea sometime after my parents purchased our family's first computer, an Apple Macintosh Performa LC 500 series. It was an "all-in-one" with the system built into the monitor. The most unique feature was the CD-ROM drive that popped out like a cassette. I eventually got the hang of how to use a computer and wanted to use it for everything.

All of the data I created and recorded before the computer has since been lost because everything at the time was done by hand. A new era began in 1996 when I was a mere twelve years old. Of course I cannot recollect everything from that time period as it was half a lifetime ago, but I can infer everything I found stored in my 15 year old binder.

"Ryan's Baseball League" was not your typical fantasy baseball league. It began simply as a transposition of one team's record into another fictional team I created. The leagues were laid out identically to the MLB at the time and teams were matched up by randomly assigning them from out of a hat (i.e. Phoenix Falcons = Houston Astros, Denver Avalance = California Angels, etc). I gathered the data from our local newspaper since we did not have the internet quite yet and calculated the standings. Keep in mind, I was only twelve years old.

I asked some of my friends to become managers in my league in 1997. Eight people agreed to join and I decided to take the league a step further by drafting the players to the teams as well. I do not recall how the players were drafted, though I am certain some favoritism was involved for teams with human managers. I determined both league's MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and wrote a story about their playoff race.

The most notable addition to this season was the addition of two new teams to bring the team total to 30 and balance the leagues at 15 teams each. Why is this special? The Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks were added to the MLB in 1998, so how on earth did I come up with the standings? I wish I could recall how I decided upon the team standings in 1997 because it may explain what happened next.

The league continued into 1998 with the addition of two more managers. I must have stumbled upon MacPaint while I was feeling exceptionally creative because I made logos for all 30 teams. Most of them are pretty lame, then I remember I was fourteen. I have to admit I am quite proud of my logos I created for the Charlotte Spurs, Atlanta Heat, Cleveland Cobras, and San Antonio Suns. My girlfriend liked the Denver Avalanche, Houston Black Hawks, Jacksonville Manta Rays, and Seattle Squids. This was also the year I discovered Comic Sans as you can see from the photos.

The league rolled along without much change from the previous season. The standings were determined and the playoff stories were written. One of the newest additions to the league included statistical leaders to support my awards. A quick glance at Baseball Reference shows I must have gathered the data from the newspaper once again.

The most exciting thing I discovered from this binder was the last photo I included in the album, Stadiums of "Ryan's League." The first thing I asked myself when I rediscovered these pages was "Did I to figure out park factors?" I was a smart kid, but I don't believe I can credit myself for that.

Unfortunately that is where the binder ends and I can only assume why because of a combination of several reasons: 1) My friends no longer cared for baseball as the Pirates were constantly losing, 2) I was in middle school and had trouble finding the time, 3) Girls became attractive once they lost their cooties, and 4) I found fantasy baseball online.

As you can see, I am a fantasy baseball veteran and intend to manage at least five teams this season. I have not placed higher than fourth since returning in 2010, but plan to change that this year. Although I experienced I hiatus from the sport during the mid-2000s, I am following the game more closely than ever. Why else would I have a blog about baseball?

If there is prevailing interest in my childhood baseball league binder, then I may properly scan all the pages from my binder to include in the album but keep in mind it's extensive. Leave a comment or contact me via Twitter/Facebook/email if you're interested!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Yahoo Top 400 Rankings

Did anyone else realize it is unusually difficult to access the Yahoo fantasy baseball player rankings?

Yahoo's baseball experts published their top 100 recently, but that is a far cry from what is needed to prepare for your draft. Not including Yahoo on my list is ridiculous as they are one of the fantasy sports leaders, especially if your teams are drafted here, so I tried to reach out to them for answers:


This was problematic as I am not planning on drafting my first team at least until March. Luckily I have a friend who already has a team and was gracious enough to copy the data into a spreadsheet for me. It took a lot of time from his afternoon and I am very thankful for it.

While he did this for me, I jumped into a mock draft by myself and copied their overall draft rankings to compare them against the experts. All of this data can be found in my updated spreadsheet which is still available via the tab on the top of this page or you can simply click here.

Additionally, I want to provide this data we retrieved to everyone. You can access this spreadsheet using the following link. Some names may be slightly misspelled and it's not as "pretty," but it's legitimate data from Yahoo. Please use it and enjoy it.

Yahoo Top 400 - 2012 Rankings

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fantasy Foot Race

One for the money...
You may not be keeping a watchful eye on my post that contains my 2012 fantasy baseball overall ranks, but it has been updated several times since it was first re-published on February 2nd. In case you don't have the page bookmarked already, you can access the list using the tab on the top of the page or this link.

Several new contributors were selected in addition to those who were previously mentioned. These new websites include Fantasy Baseball Cafe, Fox Sports, and The Hardball Times.

I would very much like to include Yahoo's list, but it is only available to players who currently have a team or have an official draft scheduled. I do not intend to draft my first team until at least March 1st after Spring Training actually starts. They do have a top 100 available to the general public, but I am avoiding lists shorter than 250 players. If you happen to have this list available to you and would like to share it with me and everyone else by proxy, then please contact me.

Two for the show...
In my travels across the web, I discovered two websites who had the same idea as mine. Feel free to check them out and compare my list to theirs.

Fantasy Pros - Expert Consensus Ranking
Mr. Cheatsheet - 2012 Roto Draft Cheatsheet

Three to get set...
I took my spreadsheet for a test drive in a three mock drafts just to see how it functioned, if it worked at all. Check out the results and let me know what you think:

Mock Draft #1 Mock Draft #2 Mock Draft #3
Draft Position: 3rd
1. Albert Pujols (LAA - 1B)
2. Andrew McCutchen (Pit - OF)
3. Cliff Lee (Phi - SP)
4. Ben Zobrist (TB - 2B,OF)
5. Mike Napoli (Tex - C,1B)
6. Yu Darvish (Tex - SP)
7. Asdrubal Cabrera (Cle - SS)
8. Drew Stubbs (Cin - OF)
9. Brian Wilson (SF - RP)
10. Jesus Montero (Sea - Util)
11. Chris Young (Ari - OF)
12. Sergio Santos (Tor - RP)
13. Shaun Marcum (Mil - SP)
14. Mike Moustakas (KC - 3B)
15. Adam Lind (Tor - 1B)
16. Derek Holland (Tex - SP)
17. Doug Fister (Det - SP)
18. Matt Joyce (TB - OF)
19. Colby Lewis (Tex - SP)
20. Chris Capuano (LAD - SP)
21. Trevor Cahill (Ari - SP)
22. David Robertson (NYY - RP)
23. Zack Cozart (Cin - SS)
Draft Position: 10th
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (Bos - OF)
2. Evan Longoria (TB - 3B)
3. Matt Holliday (StL - OF)
4. Carlos Santana (Cle - C,1B)
5. Eric Hosmer (KC - 1B)
6. Brandon Phillips (Cin - 2B)
7. James Shields (TB - SP)
8. Carl Crawford (Bos - OF)
9. Adam Wainwright (StL - SP)
10. Joel Hanrahan (Pit - RP)
11. Nick Markakis (Bal - OF)
12. Chris Carpenter (StL - SP)
13. Jason Motte (StL - RP)
14. Doug Fister (Det - SP)
15. Emilio Bonifacio (Mia - 3B,SS,OF)
16. Matt Joyce (TB - OF)
17. Colby Lewis (Tex - SP)
18. Ryan Roberts (Ari - 2B,3B)
19. Roy Oswalt (Phi - SP)
20. Trevor Cahill (Ari - SP)
21. Jonny Venters (Atl - RP)
22. Mike Trout (LAA - OF)
23. Shelby Miller (StL - RP)
Draft Position: 12th
1. Evan Longoria (TB - 3B)
2. Dustin Pedroia (Bos - 2B)
3. Matt Holliday (StL - OF)
4. Mike Napoli (Tex - C,1B)
5. Eric Hosmer (KC - 1B)
6. Jon Lester (Bos - SP)
7. Mariano Rivera (NYY - RP)
8. Drew Storen (Was - RP)
9. Drew Stubbs (Cin - OF)
10. Mat Latos (Cin - SP)
11. Freddie Freeman (Atl - 1B)
12. Jordan Zimmermann (Was - SP)
13. Nick Markakis (Bal - OF)
14. Erick Aybar (LAA - SS)
15. Ervin Santana (LAA - SP)
16. Jaime GarcĂ­a (StL - SP)
17. John Danks (CWS - SP)
18. Matt Joyce (TB - OF)
19. Trevor Cahill (Ari - SP)
20. Jose Tabata (Pit - OF)
21. Ryan Roberts (Ari - 2B,3B)
22. Ricky Nolasco (Mia - SP)
23. Tyler Clippard (Was - RP)


And four to go!
Just a friendly reminder to experiment in these mock drafts while given the opportunity. This season I am considering spending a pick on a non-closer relief pitcher in order to buffer my ERA and WHIP categories. There's no better place to test strategies than mock drafts.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

2012 Overall Fantasy Baseball Rankings


Updated April 2, 2012 *The average draft round (ADR) presumes your participation in a standard 12 team league.

Code Website Name Twitter Weighted Value Last Update
CBS CBS Fantasy Sports @CBSFantasyBB
1
April 2
CHGM ClubHouse GM @ClubHouseGM
2
February 17
ESPN ESPN Fantasy Staff @ESPNFantasy
1
March 30
FBC Fantasy Baseball Cafe @FBC_GiantsFan14
1
February 24
FBCJ Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks @FBCrackerjacks
3
February 12
FGD Fantasy Gameday @Fantasy_Gameday
5
March 6
FOX FOX Sports @FOXSportsFowler
1
March 7
MB Matthew Berry from ESPN @MatthewBerryTMR
1
March 20
RB Razzball @Razzball
1
February 23
RC Roto Champ @RotoChamp
1
April 1
RS Roto Summit @JesseSakstrup
1
March 26
THC Tristan H. Cockcroft from ESPN @SultanofStat
1
March 27
THT The Hardball Times @THTFantasy
4
April 1
YAVG Yahoo Draft Average @YahooFantasy
1
April 2
YHOO Yahoo Experts @YahooNoise
4
April 2

Players who will not play in 2012 were removed to avoid the possibility of old data misleading anyone.

I will try to make every attempt to update this page frequently to make sure the information is up to date. Please contact me with any errors you may discover or if you find another reputable website with a similar top overall ranking. I've compiled the data from the following websites to create the average rank for nearly 500 players. If a player did not appear on a resource's list, then they were assigned a static value of 500.

What is the purpose of this spreadsheet?
Everyone has their own opinions regarding where a baseball player should be ranked during a fantasy baseball draft. These opinions are ever evolving, especially during the offseason while some men are still seeking a new home. How can you trust one resource? This is a compilation of lists sorted using unweighted as well as weighted rankings. The weighted value was determined for each website depending upon how many individuals were polled for their overall list.

Why should I care about standard deviation?
A low standard deviation indicates the data points tend to be very close to the mean, whereas high standard deviation indicates the data points are spread out over a large range of values. Simply put, it is a measure of confidence between every website I referenced.

For example, every website ranked Albert Pujols in their top three which is why he has the lowest standard deviation and why you should draft him with the highest confidence. Most of your top round candidates have a standard deviation of 20 or lower, so you can presume a score higher than 20 represents some sort of risk.
Standard deviation may not actually indicate a possible performance issue as it may just represent indecision. A great example is Yu Darvish who is a potential ace, but no one can be sure as he has never faced batters in the Major League. He was generally ranked anywhere from 79th to 131st, which means he can be expected to draft somewhere between rounds 7 and 11. FOX was the greatest outlier who ranked him the highest at 253, but don't count on him staying on the board that long.

This wariness allows you the potential to draft someone later as long as everyone else in your draft carries the same mutual uncertainty, but Yu better not count on it.

Sorry, I went there.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Not Dead, Just Planning Ahead

I realize it has been over two weeks since my last article, but I am still alive and kicking. I have been working on several ideas at once rather than one at a time, but the most notable will be published tomorrow. I finally received the data I was waiting on in order to continue my fantasy baseball draft compilation and found a way to have it "automatically" update itself. Everything was entered manually up until that point, so doing this helped me recognize and correct several small errors, such as players who were ranked incorrectly, missing, and sorted improperly. Get excited!

Here are a few topics I'm still working on. Feel free to express any enthusiasm or disinterest.
  • Payroll Win Efficiency: How much does a team pay to win?
  • How Houston Moving Affects the MLB
  • MLB Divisional Travel Efficiency
  • League Realignment Proposals
  • MLB Expansion Ideas
  • How to Expand the MLB Playoffs


I have been enjoying a baseball simulation game called Two Out Rally which is a multiplayer online role-playing game. You play the game as a scout who can create players, write their stories, distribute their skill points, sign a contract with a team, train, and essentially help guide their destiny as a baseball player. You also have the ability to create and run your own team.

Season 12 just started with the introduction of Gamecast, which was inspired by the style of the ESPN baseball Gamecast. The developers are very responsive to ideas and there are always scouts around to help. If you're interested, then you should check them out and create a player using the link below so I can refer you.

http://www.twooutrally.com/referral.php?rid=5088



In other news, my girlfriend suddenly became a baseball card collecting enthusiast when she saw the newest Rally Squirrel baseball card coming in 2012 Topps Series 1. I admit. It is cute.




Before you leave today, please cast your vote for my 2012 fantasy baseball team names based upon the formerly popular Super Nintendo game, Super Baseball 2020. Select as many names as you want. Thanks!

Fantasy Baseball Team Names:

Which team names should be chosen from Super Baseball 2020?

American Dreams
Tokyo Samurais
Naples Seagulls
Taiwan Megapowers
Korea Dragoon
Battle Angels
Battle Heroes
Ninja Blacksox
Aussie Battlers
Mechanical Brains
Metal Slashers
Tropical Girls

  
pollcode.com free polls 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Reply: What Else Should the Pirates Do?

Battling Bucs just posted a new article this evening entitled What Else Should the Pirates Do? I wanted to respond to them with my own thoughts, but it got lengthy and out of hand and decided to simply write about it myself.

I highly suggest reading his original post before checking out my response to it.



I agree the Pirates are essentially the same team as last year. Their free agent losses were offset by those who were acquired thus far, but I think there's still an opportunity to improve. He requests a more "serviceable" backstop option behind Rod Barajas, Michael McKenry, and Jose Morales then suggests Chris Snyder who seems to be the last semi-viable catcher left on the free agent market. His price may be lower than the $6.75 million contract option which was declined, but I'm not sure I can justify providing a backup catcher a multimillion dollar contract. The catcher position has been fairly weak over the course of history, aside from a few notable exceptions, so I feel the money could be better spent elsewhere.

I've looked at a few projected 25-man rosters for the Pittsburgh Pirates and it is still quite depressing even after the acquisitions made this offseason. Andrew McCutchen deserves to bat third, which Battling Bucs' projection displays, but Neil Walker batting cleanup is joke. The team is still missing a bat with power, which was supposedly a priority. Perhaps Pedro Alvarez will snap out of his funk, but I won't bet money on it.

Although there are several healthy options to play first base, he chooses to stick with Garrett Jones and Casey McGehee who will be under team control for the next four and three seasons, respectively. It's an interesting decision, though McGehee had a performance comparably dismal performance last season similar to Alvarez. They both have the potential to hit 20 or more home runs, so it is possible they could eventually land into the #4 and #5 slots of the Pirates lineup behind McCutchen.

Unfortunately, I don't share his optimism and would prefer to acquire a free agent, if only for a season or two. Derrek Lee and Carlos Pena are both almost certainly waiting until Prince Fielder signs, then the scramble will begin for first baseman. Lee experienced a small resurgence when he was traded to Pittsburgh last July, though I suppose I can understand why he would prefer not to come back. If either player would swallow their pride to play for the lowly Pirates, then we would have someone who could hit 20 or more home runs and would be a clear choice to bat cleanup.

I'm excited to see what Erik Bedard can do for us and hope he stays healthy for most of the season. Kevin Correia has me worried considering how poorly he did when he pitched at home. The rest of the rotation is still quite young, so maybe last season's experiences will help them grow and develop into better pitchers in 2012. Our rotation is not very threatening no matter how you look at it and understand his reasoning toward Jeff Francis.

Francis would be a conventional, low-risk decision similar to when Correia was acquired last season, but I still would prefer my previous suggestion, Brandon Webb: high-risk with the potential of high reward at little cost. The next exciting option beyond Webb is Roy Oswalt, who supposedly lowered his asking price and just may be Pirates price range. They will never land Lee/Pena and Oswalt, though it is increasingly doubtful they will end up with any of them.

I published my pitching article less than a week ago and four of my top nine options have signed since then, so they're falling fast now with only 32 days left until pitchers/catchers report for Spring Training and 78 days until Opening Day.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fantasy Nomad Show

Michael Pichan invited me to be a guest on the Fantasy Nomad Show. We both participated in the fantasy baseball mock draft almost a month ago (has it been that long already?) and we compared our notes against each other. My segment starts around the 46 minute mark after some talk about basketball. Here's the show description and a link to the show. I apologize in advance for my microphone. :(

The Fantasy Nomad Show, brought to you by RotoInfo.com, returns to the air waves for 2012 with the same great Fantasy Sports Insight and Analysis and Great Guests including:

Scott Malewig ( @Sports_25toLife & @fakebasketball ) of TheFakeBasketball.com joins the show to help you score some early season success in your Fantasy Basketball leagues and help overcome the injuries that seem to be stacking up in this shortened NBA season.

Ryan Sendek ( @AATH_Baseball ) from AnalysisAroundTheHorn.blogspot.com compares notes with the Fantasy Nomad, from their recent Expert Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft, to help you identify some draft trends and values.

For more Fantasy Sports Insight bookmark RotoInfo.com and follow them on twitter @RotoInfo_Com to get "All Your Fantasy Sports News All The Time."

Outro song "Believe In Make Believe" performed by rapper JZac. Be sure to follow JZac on Facebook and on You Tube to hear more of his work and find out when he will be in concert.

Listen to internet radio with RotoinfoXcomX on Blog Talk Radio

Ryan's microphone makes baseball fans cry.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

How Can You Replace Ross Ohlendorf?

As I asked in the title, how can you replace Ross Ohlendorf? Here is the simplest answer:

Easily.

The former Pittsburgh Pirate was non-tendered on December 9, 2011 before the arbitration deadline and is now a free agent, which adds him to the thinning pool of starting pitchers. This is perfectly fine by me as he has been a AAAA-level pitcher throughout his career, though this past season was especially dismal. Sure, he missed nearly the entire season due to nagging shoulder injuries, but he was no ace beforehand. The injury simply adds another problem to his resume.

These spreadsheets were compiled using data I gathered from FanGraphs. The players included on the following spreadsheet are all free agent starting pitchers included on MLB Trade Rumors Free Agent Tracker except Sergio Mitre who did not start any games in 2011.



There are 24 starting pitchers in the free agent pool created by MLBTR. I sorted them using my own metric: WAR/GS, which is simply their wins above replacement divided by their games started. Only Scott Kazmir and Armando Galarraga had a worse WAR/GS than Ohlendorf, Galarraga also had the lowest WAR among the group.

If we only use this near-sighted information, then it shows nearly any of these candidates should be an improvement over Ohlendorf. This very well may be true, though it would be best to increase our scope to the past three years. This next spreadsheet includes every free agent starting pitcher from MLBTR as well as some who have not yet declared retirement.



Broadening our scope increases the pool of free agents from 24 to 36 and Ohlendorf's WAR/GS score increases from -0.07 to a mere +0.02. 26 pitchers rank above him while 9 are below. This is a reasonable starting point, though I should quickly point out Clay Hensley as an outlier. He ranked the highest due to his fine performance as a relief pitcher for the Marlins in 2010.

Based upon Pirates Prospects estimation, the team should have $4 to $13 million left before they reach their aforementioned $50 million payroll threshold, depending upon arbitration agreements. That should be plenty to sign one pitcher for one or two seasons, which should be just long enough until Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon is ready for the big leagues.

It would be great if we managed to sign Roy Oswalt, Edwin Jackson, Joel Pineiro, Javier Vazquez or Hiroki Kuroda, but I am sure they would need to be overpaid and would be reluctant to agree upon a short-term contract. Oswalt may have interest in a one year contract, though I seriously doubt any willingness to move to the home of the double decade loser after having a taste of winning on the other side of Pennsylvania.

That leaves 20 pitchers who could still be an upgrade over Ohlendorf. Age should not be a major factor given the likelihood of a short-term deal. My ideal starting pitcher candidate would either have the capability to accumulate strikeouts while also maintaining control or preference toward ground ball outs. He would also have a reasonable price tag, which could be due to recovery from an injury but have the potential upside to outweigh the risk, similarly to Erik Bedard.

These potential candidates fall directly behind Oswalt et al: Jeff Francis, Bartolo Colon, Vicente Padilla, and Carlos Silva. They are all in their early 30s aside from Colon who will be 39. None of them will blow anyone away with strikeout power, but they manage to maintain a healthy K/BB ratio while recording more ground balls. Aaron Cook won't record many strikeouts and may have some difficulty with control, but he has the best GB/FB ratio on the board. (I forgot Cook was recently signed by the Boston Red Sox.) Rich Harden definitely can get the strikeouts, but he allows even more walks, fly balls, and home runs than Ohlendorf.

Most of the other pitchers are quite comparable to Ohlendorf's basement baseline and may be a modestly cheap addition until Charlie Morton recovers from surgery or as an alternative to Brad Lincoln, though the final name on the list would be most intriguing and possibly more exciting than our Bedard acquisition: Brandon Webb.



Webb was a former National League Cy Young award winner for the Arizona Diamondbacks, but has not pitched a full season since 2008. He was placed on the disabled list in April of 2009 due to shoulder bursitis and underwent surgery on his right shoulder. The Texas Rangers took the risk on him last season for only $3 million and began the season still on the disabled list. He attempted a rehab minor league start in late May of 2011, his first game in over two years, but would undergo a second surgery on his right rotator cuff that would keep him from pitching again in 2011.

Jon Heyman from CBS reported recently, "Webb began throwing in late December. Agent, Jonathan Maurer, said arm feels 'strong and loose.'" He will turn 33 toward the beginning of 2012 and may never return to his previous caliber of performance. Considering Webb, someone who has not pitched on the major league level for almost three years, may not be the direction the Pirates will take, but he would have the most potential upside out of all the free agent starting pitchers available and should be quite affordable. Just look at Webb's weighted average on my last chart. He would be an amazing acquisition if he could come close to those numbers.

I say give him a chance. What's your opinion?