Thursday, March 26, 2009

George Brett 1976 Topps featured

By the way, I need this 1976 card to complete my George Brett Topps series collection. If anyone has it and wants to deal it to me, please let me know.

Triple Crown League: 1st Round Draft Done

My strategy going into the draft was to try for only 1 or 2 highly-competed-after picks like these guys, and then try for players who I thought would go uncontested. Overall, the strategy worked okay. I did not acquire any of the high-consensus picks, but landed Joba. I missed a few lower-consensus picks that I really wanted, but did wind-up with a lot of uncontested players. In fact, I have 24 players already when most teams have about 12-14. This should give me an advantage in the later stage drafts because I can focus on a few areas. My team is fairly strong so far:

Chase Utley Phi 2B
Mark Teixeira NYY 1B
Jack Cust Oak OF

Adam Jones Bal OF
Mike Aviles KC 2B, SS 3B
Willy Aybar TB 3B 1B, 2B
Ryan Freel Bal OF 2B, 3B

Chien-Ming Wang NYY SP
Andy Sonnanstine TB SP
Joba Chamberlain NYY RP

Spot Starters:
Carl Pavano Cle SP
Gio Gonzalez Oak SP

Joel Hanrahan Was RP
Jeff Samardzija ChC RP

Minor leagues:
Wade Davis TB SP
Yonder Alonso Cin 1B
Rick Porcello Det SP
Alcides Escobar Mil SS
Jason Heyward Atl OF
Nick Adenhart LAA SP
Ryan Perry Det RP
Christian Friedrich Col SP
Daniel Schlereth Ari RP
Carlos Santana Cle C

So far I have a good power core, flexible bench, middle to back-end of my rotation, not much in the bullpen yet, and a very strong minor league crop containing a few top 50 prospects. With $30 million left to spend, I can go after some high-priced players to round out the roster.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Casey at the Bat

Baseball season is only about a week away, so as tradition has it, it is again time to read Ernest Thayer's epic poem "Casey at the Bat". The Baseball Card Blog has a particularly special take on the time-honored classic. Enjoy.

Free Benchwarmer Baseball Teams for New Players

Alert! Benchwarmer Baseball is offering an extra-ordinary opportunity to join the league at no cost to new players. This is limited, however, to only the 6 teams that were left as orphans after the drafting phase in the Commissioner's League. A quick perusal of the teams finds that perhaps the Hamburg Kaiserkellers (Jay Bruce, Tim Lincecum, Mariano Rivera) and the St. Vincent Fays (C.C. Sabathia, Grady Sizemore, Carlos Beltran) offer the most exciting rosters.

If you like baseball simulation games along the lines of Strat-O-Matic, learning about Benchwarmer Baseball should be worth your while. For a very good description of Benchwarmer Baseball, see contributor Joe Lano's account of his Benchwarmer Baseball draft. Joe is competing in a special Expert's League against other fantasy baseball gurus. Also, check out the BWB Tour.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Benchwarmer Baseball 16 Most Contested Draft Players

There has been 3 drafts so far this off season in Benchwarmer Baseball that have been strictly list-style: Blue and Gray League, Experts League, and Bleed Dodger Blue League. The information contained in the contested picks is quite interesting and valuable when considering the development of one's own draft sheet. Additionally, the information is also value for non-drafters, as it can be viewed as a general ranking of which players are deemed most desirable and valuable. By taking the three lists of contested players, the number of times each player was chosen by a team, and then summing them, we can derive an overall ranking of the 16 most contested players in Benchwarmer Baseball:

1. Francisco Liriano / 751 salary (31 times chosen over 3 drafts)
2. Yovani Gallardo / 508 (29)
3. Cameron Maybin / 100 (26)
4. Matt Wieters / 100 (26)
5. Clayton Kershaw / 719 (23)
6. Alexei Ramirez / 1289 (22)
7. Ian Kinsler / 2276 (22)
8. David Price / 100 (21)
9. Max Scherzer / 609 (21)
10. Francisco Liriano / 751 (20)
11. Cameron Maybin / 100 (19)
12. Chris Davis / 698 (19)
13. Pablo Sandoval / 200 (19)
14. Matt Wieters / 100 (18)
15. Yovani Gallardo / 508 (17)
16. 4 players tied (16)

This differs quite meaningfully from my previous list of the Top 16 Draft Targets for Benchwarmer Baseball primarily because this player list above tends to contain more prospective picks on a relative basis. Both lists, however, are loaded with great talent, with the list above displaying the league's view of most attractive contracts in Benchwarmer.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bizarro League: Open Slots Available

The bizarro fantasy baseball league "Worst League Ever" -- where poor play is rewarded -- is set to begin its draft in the coming week. If you missed the previous post of this league, you can find it here. Simply put, you seek to roster a team with the weakest everyday players such as Julio Lugo and Jason Varitek (no, the fact that they are both Red Sox is not a coincidence) score the most points. Cheer along as Carlos Silva gives up a homer, Huston Street blows another saves, and Derek Jeter boots a ball,then hits into a double play. (How's that for even-handed blogging?) Let me know if you would like to join this low-stakes, high-fun league.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kelly Smith Reign of Terror Over

One cannot start to discuss the New Fairfield Neanderthals, one of the Original 12 teams in Benchwarmer Baseball, without first discussing its heritage. Originally known as the Estes Park Jigglypuffs in 2000 and 2001, the franchise won their division in 2001 and competed in the championship series (but lost to Springfield). The team was then taken over by Russ D in 2002 and renamed the Brewster Birdmen. Under Russ' skilled guidance, the franchise took the division title again in 2002, this time by a narrow margin of 1 game. After consecutive 2nd place finishes in 2005 and 2006, in a surprising event, Russ stepped away from Benchwarmer Baseball, leaving the team in the hands of two different owners in 2007 and 2008. (If I were to mention that Kelly Smith was at the helm in 2008 and left the team in utter disrepair, this would not send shock-waves through the greater Benchwarmer community. From 2000 to 2003, Kelly managed to turn the Norwalk franchise into also-rans, posting a .363 winning record in his last season. However, the league had a lot of fun times with Kelly in it, laughing with and at him as he wheeled-and-dealed in order to find that winning combination that could capture the league pennant... he never did.)

Fast forwarding to today, Russ D has returned to the Benchwarmer fold to bring this venerable franchise that went to the Hall of Fame League Championship Series in back-to-back years of 2001 and 2002 back to its previous glory. Assessing the Kelly-damage, the Neanderthals look as follows:


A few star positional players in Russell Martin and Carl Crawford; a strong bullpen featuring Huston Street, Hong-Chih Kuo, Manny Delcarmen, Octavio Dotel, and Joel Zumaya; a starting rotation anchored by Josh Beckett and Carlos Zambrano; and lots of cash: 12475 BW bucks


Not a single player in the minors leagues -- obviously scouting and player development was not a primary focus under the Smith administration; Russ has started to address this area already

It's great to have some of the old Benchwarmer Baseball veterans back in the Hall of Fame league (and in my division) and I look forward to some intense rivalries over the coming seasons.

Bizarro fantasy league: Worst League Ever

No, this is not a Benchwarmer Baseball post, but instead a post about a bizarro fantasy baseball league that I run called "Worst League Ever". Last year was the inaugural season of WLE and was run on the Yahoo site as a points league with 9 teams. Points are awarded for futility, with the following values:

Offensive categories:

GIDP / 10 points
Caught Stealing / 5 points
Error / 3 points
Strike Out / 1 point
Total bases / -1 point (this filters players that are actually productive sluggers)

Pitching catergories:

Blown Save / 10 points
Loss / 5 points
Home Run issued / 3 points
BB issued / 1 point
Strike out / -1 point

David Schaffer was the 2008 champion, employing a strategy that rostered players named in the Mitchell Report, rather than statistical analysis. It worked. Eric Gagne was particularly valuable as he blew saves by the bunches while he held the closer position in Milwaukee. After losing that role, his value plummeted. The ideal players are those that are not very productive (or, even better, counter-productive), but still manage to hold a major league starting role.

We are now signing up teams for the 2009 season and expect most of the original 9 back for another fun year. Let me know if you want to join.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bailout Needed: Michigan Malibus

Like an abandoned car left on the side of road, the Michigan Malibus were found stripped-down and rusting out after a dismal 59-91 season. Under previous management, the Michigan franchise had not won the division since 2000, which dates back to pre-expansion, so let the rebuilding begin. Michigan's new manager just happens to be a veteran of Benchwarmer Baseball and guided the Milford Mohawks (now Oklahoma Rufneks) to the Hall of Fame League Championship in 2006 (before taking a hiatus).

Strengths: minor league system, featuring most prominently top prospects Madison Bumgarner, Josh Vitters, and Dexter Fowler. Also, Michigan has a considerable amount of cash in the coffers, which will be needed to complete a starting rotation, add spot starters, and acquire one more reliever for the bullpen.

Weaknesses: outfield, consisting of Frederick Lewis, Ty Wiggington, and Ryan Spilborghs

Fortunately for Michigan, they are not decidedly the worst team in the division as the similarly miserable New Fairfield Neanderthals (48-102 last year) make good company. Both Michigan and New Fairfield will be fighting eachother to stay out of last place in the division and hoping a .500 season is within reach.

Hall of Fame League Table: Most SP Wins

One counting statistic that does not get as much notice in Benchwarmer Baseball as it does in MLB is wins by the starting pitchers. Everyone who watches baseball can probably tell you how may wins Cliff Lee had last year (22), but Benchwarmer Baseball managers assuredly cannot recount who had the most BWB Wins in 2008. It is interesting to see the differences in wins for pitchers when they are playing for a Benchwarmer team:

Name / Team / W
Johan Santana / Oaxaca / 21
Edinson Volquez / Springfield / 19
C.C. Sabathia / Las Vegas / 18
Tim Lincecum / Seattle / 18
Danny Haren / Seattle / 17
Cole Hamels / Oaxaca / 17
Jacob Peavy / Boar's / 16
Roy Oswalt / Boar's / 15
Josh Beckett / Las Vegas / 15
Cliff Lee / Oklahoma / 15
Jon Lester / Seattle / 15
Mark Buehrle / Las Vegas / 15
Ervin Santana / San Diego / 15
Roy Halladay / San Francisco / 14
Jered Weaver / Nordeast / 14
Ryan Dempster / Nordeast / 13
Chad Billingsley / Oklahoma / 13
Rich Harden / Boar's / 13
Javier Vazquez / New Orleans / 13
Brandon Webb / Leucadia / 13

The pitcher that stands out the most to me is Cliff Lee at only 15 wins. Run support in Cleveland must have been significantly better than what he received for Oklahoma (not that 15 wins is anything to sneeze at).

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Joining New Benchwarmer Baseball League: Triple Crown League

I was awarded a free new team for this season since a was a division winner in the Hall of Fame League. I have decided to help complete another new Benchwarmer Baseball league: the Triple Crown League. Two of the main reasons I was so compelled were that 1) I like to help Benchwarmer Baseball out as much as possible to help it grow, and 2) I liked the name of the league. Another league recently was formed which was called Bleed Dodger Blue, but I dislike the Dodgers, so there was no way I was joining that one. I wonder if anyone else has had similar aversions to some leagues for reasons of the name.

It's been a while since I have done a start-up draft, but fortunately, I have already given extensive thought to who the top targets should be and previously wrote about it here. Since there is a 44000 Benchwarmer Buck salary cap for the first round of player selections, selecting all of the players on my 16 Top Draft Targets would not leave much room for additional players, so one must be selective. I will be refining my Triple Crown draft selections this weekend, and will definately be applying the two guiding draft principles from that post: maximizing roster productivity and acquiring controllable assets. My goal is to win the Triple Crown League this year. I am looking forward to an exciting and challenging year.

Last Benchwarmer Baseball Beer League Orphan Team Taken

Great news for the Beer League as the final orphan team has been taken by one of the Original 12 Benchwarmer Baseball managers: Andy "The Bank" Marquis. Andy will be running 6(!) teams this year and his wealth of BWB experience should make his Duff Duffmen a perennial favorite for the division crown.

The Duffmen have a good amount of talent (Prince Fielder, Dan Uggla, Michael Young, Joey Votto, Nick Markakis, Brian McCann, Josh Beckett), but previous ownership did not manage the finances well, so only Joey Votto is under contract (and only through 2009) and cash on hand is a mere 1006 Benchwarmer Bucks. It will be interesting to see how Andy reshapes the team.

The Beer League is the only (to my knowledge) money league in BWB. It is stocked with BWB veterans and is rather competitive. Best of Luck to all the fellow Beer Leaguers this year; I'm looking forward to another fun year. Thanks for joining Andy!