Monday, January 31, 2011

MLB Trivia: No Sophomore Jinx

In 2008, Tim Lincecum won the Cy Young Award as a second-year player. Can you name the two most recent players to win the Cy Young as second-year players previous to Lincecum?

Monday, January 24, 2011

MLB Trivia: Kid Can Play

In 2010, Starlin Castro had great stats for a 20-year-old: .300 batting average, .347 on-base percentage, and a .408 slugging percentage. In fact, only two 20-year-olds in the past 50 years have matched or beat all of those numbers. Can you name them? (Hint: You don't have to go back 50 years to find these answers. Not even close.) 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Playing for Keeps: What Would You Do?

Earlier this week I received an email from a reader named Travis. He's looking for some advice on his fantasy baseball team for this upcoming season. Here's a shortened version of his question:

I am playing in a 10 team, 5x5, 6 player keeper league. I picked up a team half way through the season last year since my buddy is in the league and one of the players wasn't managing his [team]. I finished in second to last place, which was really a miracle considering how far back I was, and traded a number of hot players (Corey Hart, etc.) for draft picks this year. I currently have Miguel Cabrera, Tim Lincecum, Jayson Werth, Andre Ethier, Zobrist and Rickie Weeks as my keepers and have picked up an additional 7, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 16 draft picks. I traded away my 18-24 draft picks to pick up those as well as the type of players I just mentioned, 
Basically, I have two choices next year, I can keep the guys I have and go into the draft with a clear advantage over everyone else (most of the guys are still picking up the idea of trading picks and don't have many extra ones to use) and try to compete this year based on my draft and good waiver wire play. Or I could trade for some studs and give up many of my early round picks. 
Any thoughts on what I should do are appreciated. 

Thanks for your email, Travis. With Miguel Cabrera and Tim Lincecum, you have two top players that any manager would want. If I were you, I'd hang onto them.

As for how to handle your extra draft picks, in general, I would value proven major league talent over unproven prospects. That might seem obvious, but lots of managers constantly trade away proven major league talent for "top prospects." But oftentimes these top prospects, despite hopes of becoming All-Stars, never even become solid major leaguers.

In looking at your team, Rickie Weeks is coming off his best season and his value might never be higher. He's had a long history of injuries and honestly, I wouldn't view him as a building block for a championship team. However, since 2B is a relatively week position, someone in your league might really want Weeks. At the very least it couldn't hurt to ask around. Maybe you can package Weeks with a few draft picks and land an elite top 30 player in return. I'd also look into trading Werth and Zobrist, but I doubt you can get as much in return for them.

So to answer your question, I'd lean toward using some of those extra draft picks as trade throw-ins to try and land proven, elite players in return. It might be a long shot, but that should be Plan A.