Frugal Fantasy Baseball: 2B, SS, 3B

Part II of my frugal 2015 options will go over the rest of the infield. I’ll still be using the Fantasy Pros average rankings, but Yahoo! and ESPN updated their rankings over the weekend and Fantasy Pros hasn’t updated there ADP accordingly, making it harder for me to recommend some undervalued players through their rankings. Yahoo! and ESPN rankings will be given precedence over the others.

Second Base
A relatively weak position outside of some early selections, 2B gets dicey really quickly. I like Brian Dozier a lot more in OBP leagues, while Dee Gordon drops down a little in OBP leagues. We still have the annual tradition between most boring 2B in Howie Kendrick and Martin Prado. Kendrick was in one of the best offenses last year and he still ended up with forgetful stats and Martin Prado is just as bad.
walker and harry
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2015 Mock Draft Recap

I had the 12th pick in a snake draft with standard scoring in an ESPN roto league. I think my team turned out meh.

Team Strengths: I think I have a good mix of power hitters and a strong pitching staff.
Team Weaknesses: I’m weak on SBs, I drafted closers terribly, and I’m relying heavily on a bunch of bounce back players to carry my team, specifically Cargo/Fielder/Zimmerman. Wow my MI is weak and I waited way too long on a 5th OF. I usually love cycling my 5th OF or UTL player with whoever’s hot throughout the year, but I waited way too long on both.

It’s pretty easy to explain my picks cause they’re all back to back, here are some screenshots of the full draft. If I learned anything it’s that I shouldn’t have waited on players I really wanted, especially late in the draft. I wish I reached on deGrom/McHugh/Segura/Hunter.

team and draft
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Fantasy Football vs Fantasy Baseball

Why is fantasy football more popular than fantasy baseball? Football is more popular. That’s the simple answer, but I want to go deeper. I was always a fan of fantasy baseball before getting into fantasy football, so I was surprised to learn how popular it was when I started doing both. I guess I never realized how much more material and coverage there is on fantasy football. Here are several reasons why I think it’s more popular.
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The Cole Report: 2 Takes on Cole Hamels

As former interns for the prestigious Cole Hamels Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to “enriching the lives of children through education…” I think my colleague and I know a thing or two about our former boss, Colbert Mike Hamels, that the fantasy community at large may not. Today we’re here to share our knowledge and discuss his fantasy impact this upcoming season. Colbert is currently ranked on ESPN #44 overall and the #10 SP while Yahoo! rankes him #46 overall and the #13 SP.  Make your case.

The Case for Drafting Colbert by Jamie Will


* Edit: Ok, so a day or so after we posted this the news came out about Hamels’ shoulder tendinits. While I don’t think it’ll be a long term thing, it is right to be concerned when you hear “Pitcher” and “shoulder” in an injury report. That definitely hurts my argument a bit, but people out there should keep an eye on Hamels in drafts because he might plummet a bit and, if so, scoop him up because he will be back in a bit.

Good old Cole… Before I get going on the greatness-to-come of Cole Hamels, let me make it clear that I am a Phillies fan.  That said, I think this team is likely to be as bleak as the current icy landscape in Philadelphia.  The experts and casinos agree, with their projected win totals ranging from bad to worse (actually between 70-80..  that’s sad).  I am going to go out on a limb here and say that, even if the Phillies end up as bad overall as is expected, Cole Hamels will win 20 games for the first time.  Yes, you heard me… Colbert will get 20 of the 70-80 wins and here is why.  

Prior to last season, in which the whole ship sank in Philadelphia, Hamels’ increased his strikeout totals, thrown more complete games, and posted ERA’s of 2.79 and 3.05 in back to back seasons, earning All-Star nods and entering the back end of the Cy Young conversation.  While I will admit that last year can’t simply be written off, I think that Hamels is absolutely deserving of his current rankings in ESPN and Yahoo and should be targeted in drafts.  

One reason why is that I believe the ever-swinging pendulum of poor run-support in Philadelphia will swing back to Cliff Lee after returning to Hamels last season.  Yes, I know that there is no statistical backing for an assertion like that, but if you look at the last several seasons, Hamels and Lee have seemingly alternated being the bearers of the bad bats.  This year is Hamels’ turn to get the support and, even though the lineup is hardly filled with world beaters anymore, there is enough pop left in those bats to support a strong pitcher like Hamels.
A second reason is the lowering of expectations surrounding the Phillies could very well take the pressure off of Colbert.  For years, as the team around him has slowly crumbled through mismanagement and age, the public has looked to Hamels to put the team on his back and carry them as the “Ace of Aces.”  It did seem like that may have worn on him a bit over time, culminating in last year’s decline.  This year though?  Everybody has written the Phillies completely off.  I am sure the remaining core of players (Hamels, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Ruiz) are pissed off about that and want to do something about it.  
To sum it all up, you can trust Colbert “Hollywood” Hamels to strongly assert himself against the mass disrespect aimed at him and the Phillies, ultimately giving the proverbial finger to the naysayers by shutting opponents down. Also if Hamels slides a bit during the draft because the perception of the Phillies being ass, grab him and run. 
Don’t Draft Colbert! by Kevin Boyce

*Edit: Okay so Cole Hamels has shoulder tendonitis, so…I guess I win the argument? Not necessarily. Depending on how much Cole falls in the draft and how much more information comes out on his shoulder can change my opinion on him. But things don’t really look as I’m typing this so unless Hamels drops considerably, I’m avoiding him all together.

Did you know that Colbert grew up in San Diego and not Philadelphia? Everyone knows that only true Phillies grow up in Philly. Fact, he’d rather pitch in San Diego.

Did you know that his wife, Heidi Strobel, was a contestant on Survivor? Did you know she lost? How can we expect Cole Hamels to win games when his wife can’t even win? Fact, we can’t.

Colbert Hamels is past his prime and couldn’t throw a strike to save the children he literally saves in his non-profit organization. Fact, he theoretically in this scenario I just made up doesn’t help children in need. 

Okay, maybe I’m being a little overly dramatic (hint: I am) but I’m not as high on Colbert than my colleague is. Let’s make things clear that I am a Mets fan, but that doesn’t mean I’m biased or anything. I mean I worked for the guy’s organization for months and got paid a whopping $0…they didn’t even give me a signed ball, which they had a closet full of. On a slightly more serious note, when I first met Cole Hamels, this tall handsome goofball, I pretty much liked him instantly. We didn’t even talk about baseball, we talked about Australia for 5 minutes. And that’s a longtime considering there were to tons of his friends and donators there. Colbert is genuinely a funny and nice person, he did start a charity organization out of his own pocket…so yeah, pretty cool dude. However, when it comes to fantasy I only see value, and I’m don’t see any value with Hamels this year.

For the price Colbert Hamels is going for this year, you’re drafting him to anchor your fantasy rotation. He’s always had an elite K/BB rate, which keeps his WHIP low and is generally a pretty good thing. He pitched 5 more innings in 2013, but had a dozen less strikeouts than his 2012 totals. He still managed 202 Ks, and he has a K/9 rate above 8, which is what you want in a pitcher, but 27 other pitchers had a K/9 rate over 8, 31 if you count 7.96 and up. Having a K/9 over 8 isn’t rare in the golden age of pitching, HRs are rare. Pre-All Star Break he had 129IP, 4W, 118Ks, 4,05 ERA, and a 1.22 WHIP. He managed to pitch better in the second half, but I just don’t know which Hamels we’re going to see this year. I’d be worried about spending my 4th round pick on him and so should you.

Also in 31 IP against the Mets, Cole gave up 35 hits, 17 ERs, 34 Ks,  .282 batting average against. Let me reiterate, he did this against the METS. Cole Hamels is 30, on a weak team, and pitches in a hitter friendly park. Pitching is deep this year, and unless I’m getting lights out stuff, I’d rather take a bat than an arm. That said, I’ll be rooting for his success this year.   

Finding Value in ESPN Rankings

Well it seems the ESPN Rankings have finally been put up, so it’s time for me to criticize them!  I clearly know more than the people paid to do so.

ESPN ranks Lucroy #91 overall and #5 catcher, and as much as I love Lucroy, you should never take a catcher that early. Yeah #91 isn’t early but #5 at catcher means he’s going too early. I still like these three – Rasmos #145 and #10, Castro #168 and #11, and Gattis #241 and #13. And remember, drafting these guys allows you to drop them if they aren’t producing.
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