This past Saturday I attended the Fantasy Baseball Spring Training panel in York PA with Ron Shandler and Paul White. This is the 22nd year they’ve been having this.
The first half of the 3-hour panel was a discussion of strategy and certain players and the second half was a Q & A. I will post this in 2 parts. Here is what went down:
Ron likes to throw out an unexpected player in an auction the first time he nominates a player. He does it to get a feel of the marketplace.
You should never put yourself in a position to need stats from 1 position (based off a question).
The more keepers you have, the more you need to look at league rosters.
If you’re rebuilding, you should spend what you have to in order to get tradable commodities.
During the draft/auction, batting average is a category that you can decide to get during season. It opens up other categories and players you may not consider otherwise.
AL saves this year are very risky.
The talk of PEDs came up and Ron has a theory. Supposedly the labs are always a step ahead of the testers. If that’s the case, he says it’s not out of the realm of possibility that we could see another offensive power spike with a new designer drug.
Speaking of drugs, Paul White said there are multiple sources out of Milwaukee saying Ryan Braun’s false positive was due to herpes medication.
If you have concerns that Jose Bautista is juiced, don’t: he told Paul he’s been tested 16 times since 2010.
When building a pitching staff, Ron said consider staying away from top 5-10 starters. You can assemble a competitive staff with SPs costing less than $20.
With regards to relievers, he’ll take a decent $15 front-liner. But given volatility of saves, he said a guy like Johnny Venters is more valuable than ½ of closers.
Ron ignores ERA when building a staff. He also suggested making wins an afterthought when drafting. They’re too hard to project.
Ron said that there are good sites like FanGraphs, Hardball Times, and Baseball Prospectus and if your leaguemates read them, you need to be aware of that and read it too.
- off of this, they said do your own scouting – beware of guys who like to tell you how right they were last year. Look for guys/sites that admit they were wrong.
Spring stats are only good to see who will win a job. Paul said from March 15th on, pay attention to ABs. This will give you an insight into who a manager is thinking.
Ron will never roster players who have had concussion or back issues. Paul isn’t too fond of those with hand or wrist injuries.
Next it came to foreign players and their adjustment to the American game.
Paul said in talking to both the Rangers and his handlers that Yu Darvish gets it. He’s embraced the star image. He’s also pitched on 4 days rest and has thrown on the side with an American Baseball. He seems to be the most prepared Japanese import. They also said the Rangers will limit his pitch count.
On the subject of Cuban hitters, it usually takes them 2 years to adapt to American game. And despite his advanced age, Cespedes will need 2 months seasoning in the minors.
At this point they touched on some specific players specifically rookies.
It’s safe to assume Matt Moore gets a good amount of innings.
If Mat Gamel falters in Milwaukee, Paul said Tyler Green will play at first.
Addison Reed is an interesting rookie this year.
Rizzo in Chicago will play 1B at some point.
Ron then asked how many of us in the audience play in 12-team mixed league. He said we don’t have to listen and to ignore rookies in shallow leagues like ours. He said “You can have Bryce Harper or you can win.”
Paul said that very few teams will bring a young out of spring training onto the major league club if he’s not on the 40-man roster. This is d/t arbitration rules.
Paul fears the protection for David Wright in the Mets lineup.
Johan Santana has too many questions and is on a bad team. He’s reluctant to push himself. Both men said AVOID.
AVOID Brian Roberts. He’s all about speed and that is gone. He also upset the new management by skipping out on FanFest at the last minute.
Jake Peavy – his treatment was never tried before, and though he has some hope, it’s best to AVOID.
Josh Johnson – too mush risk, AVOID
With players like Peavy and Johnson, Ron said it’s tough because at some point they had elite stats/years and in the back of your mind you hope they can get back to that.
Houston bullpen – David Carpenter is a sleeper
Chris Sale will have innings limits and they may skip a start or two
Of converted RPs, Neftali Feliz will probably get most IPs but they will be limited.
Ian Kennedy’s upside this year is 16 wins and 3.5 ERA
Adam Dunn had a terrible year in 2011 but this could’ve played a big part: he had a child that became seriously ill during the season. Paul didn’t find this out until late September. Everything is ok now, so it’s possible he rebounds.
Reds management loves Johnny Cueto. He had maturity issues but not a problem by any stretch. He’s safer bet to be an ace than Mat Latos. Paul said Latos is a loose cannon who lacks focus. Ron said if he gets 200 IPs, Cueto has ace skills.
Ron tried to “shoot down” the 15 players wide considered first-round picks. He presented risk in all but 3 of them: Votto, Cano and Halladay. They’re the closest to sure-fire bets as you’ll get.
Last edited by jbird669 on Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
Baseball is a game where a curve is an optical illusion, a screwball can be a pitch or a person, stealing is legal and you can spit anywhere you like except in the umpire's eye or on the ball. ~Jim Murray