Identity of Hurricane Kawasaki Revealed

27 04 2010

I’ve written a fair bit about my mysterious fantasy teammate / co-manager Hurricane Kawasaki.  While I was careful to hide Hurricane’s true identity, it should now be obvious, based on statements made on this blog and off it, that Hurricane Kawasaki is indeed: Mr. Curt Schilling.


What’s the toughest division in baseball? (continued)

19 04 2010

My co-manager Hurricane Kawasaki hit me over the head for my last post:

Based on that argument, you can argue that any pitcher coming up from the minors into the AL east would be facing an “easier” league and thus his poor performance should not be because he’s facing better hitters.

I’d like to clarify what I was trying to say, and how I think this analysis should be used.  Also, I think there was a key piece of information missing from the analysis.

For the analysis, I used baseballmonster‘s ease rankings to rate the difficulty of pitching in each division.  As Hurricane points out, the way ease rankings are calculated depends both on the quality of hitting in a league and the quality of pitching.  So if the AL East has the best hitters, but also has really good pitchers, it will appear as if it’s a pretty good division for pitchers, when really it’s a very tough division that happens to have some incredibly good pitchers.

In the post, I used the analysis to suggest that Javier Vazquez’s pitching performance shouldn’t be tied to his league change.  As Hurricane says by email, “Javy might have been the best pitcher in the NL east, but he’s at best the fifth best on his own team right now.”  My analysis was highly dubious.  Of course, I find Hurricane’s assessment that Vazquez is pitching on par with his AL track record to be equally dubious.  Vazquez’s ERA is currently 9.82.  His worst ERA over the course of a season in the AL is 4.91.  I think it’s perfectly fair to call that struggling.

The better application of this analysis is in thinking about where to find pitchers to add to your fantasy roster.  If the divisional ease ranking of the AL West and NL Central are favorable to pitchers, as I suggested last post, then there are presumably pitchers getting good results in those divisions.  Whether they’re getting good results because they’re strong pitchers or because they’re facing weak hitters is somewhat immaterial.  It’s not completely immaterial since there’s plenty of inter-divisional play, but it’s nonetheless valuable to know which divisions have weak hitting relative to their pitching.  That seems to be the case for the AL West and NL Central.

One question worth addressing, however, is how many starters are owned in each league?  The 10th best starter in the AL West might be more valuable than the 10th best starter in the NL West, but they may not both be available.  Who’s owned differs by league, but here’s the breakdown for mine:

  • AL West: 0.48 ease rating, 13 SPs owned.
  • NL Central: 0.42, 12 SPs owned.
  • AL East: 0.10, 18 SPs owned.
  • AL Central: -0.23, 14 SPs owned.
  • NL West: -0.37, 13 SPs owned.
  • NL East: -0.39 , 11 SPs owned.

(Note: injured players who haven’t yet pitched and relief pitchers who qualify as a starter are excluded from these counts.)

This information tells a different story.  The AL East has a more favorable ease rating for pitchers, but 18 starters are owned, far more than any other division.  This suggests that the starting pitching is indeed stronger in the AL East, skewing the ease rating.  If you’re looking for a spot start, chances are the 15th best starter in the AL Central, or the 12th best in the NL East is a better bet than the 19nd best starter in the AL East.

This analysis probably needs some further hammering out, but I’d nonetheless look to the AL West and NL Central as the best divisions for pitchers.

Fantasy Baseball MVP

28 05 2009

With the first quarter of the season complete, both my fantasy baseball teams sit in first place.  I wouldn’t say comfortably in first–in one league we’re tied for first–but I wouldn’t say uncomfortably either.  It’s like the teams are sitting on a futon.

Interestingly, the two teams have only one player in common and, given that both are in first place, this player is clearly the key to my early success*.  So, congratulations to my 1st quarter MVP: batting .216, with 9 homers, 1 steal, 32 RBIs, 21 Runs, and a 0.778 OPS, Mr. Dan Uggla.

*note: this post is meant to be sarcastic.  Uggla is not the key to our success; he’s been highly mediocre.  The true key to success has been my and Hurricane’s awesomeness.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Joe Mauer

26 05 2009

I’m a bit of a self-hating sports fan.  I hate the fact that my emotions are dependent on the performance of sports franchises over which I have no control.  I hate all the randomness involved, and the misguided attempts by analysts to explain it all away.  I despise the degree to which referees can influence the outcome of a game, particularly in basketball and football.  I hate the tribalism involved in sports, the arbitrary in-groups and out-groups based on geography.  To be honest, were it not for fantasy sports, I probably never would have made it as a sports fan. Read the rest of this entry »

The Minnie Minoso of Fantasy Baseball

13 04 2009

White Sox legend Minnie Minoso is famous for suiting up for the Sox in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.  The baseball commissioner prevented the 68 year-old from returning in 1990, though he did play for the independent league’s St. Paul Saints 1993 and 2003.

If there’s a fantasy equivalent, it’s probably Jamie Moyer, a long-time favorite of the Hurricane.  Last year, I joked to Hurricane that he should give me a list of pitchers that were valueless to our team, and that he was about to drop for Jamie Moyer.  I’d assumed Moyer had retired, but he hadn’t, and Hurricane actually did add him for a start or two last year.  And indeed, now at age 46, Hurricane’s slotted him in for his start against the Nationals.  We’ll see how this plays out…

Update: Moyer’s line was 6IP, W, 5 Ks, 6 ERA, 1.67 WHIP.  Not great, but, a win’s a win.

Matt Bonner Projected to Win Jon Barry MVP

6 04 2009

Each week I look at the top players available in my fantasy basketball league to determine the Jon Barry All-stars, named after waiver wire favorite Jon Barry. At year’s end, the player earning the most Jon Barry points will be named Jon Barry MVP.

Here are the top competitors in the Jon Barry MVP race, with this week’s score and season-long score:

  • Matt Bonner, 1.0, 10.5
  • Jarrett Jack, 0.9, 0.9
  • Rasual Butler, 0.8, 1.6
  • Delonte West, 0.7, 2.9
  • Steve Blake, 0.6, 0.6
  • James Posey, 0, 7.6
  • Udonis Haslem, 0, 4.0

With only a week or so left to play, it’s safe to say that Matt Bonner will win the Jon Barry MVP trophy.  Congratulations to Matt, who will also star in an upcoming film with Jon Barry, who’s actually just one of Ali G’s alter-egos.

Meanwhile, here are the standings in my lone fantasy basketball league:

  • League leader: 92 points
  • 2nd place: 75 points
  • My team: 71.5 points
  • 4th place 68.5 points

Thus it’s also safe to project that the Hurricane and I will not win our league, after a moderately disastrous season.  2nd and 4th are both remote possibilities, but we likely finish 3rd.  Next year, when planning our draft, I plan to experiment by using Bonner, Posey, Haslem and West as examples of replacement players.

Draft Day Secrets Revealed–Kawasaki Konjecture

27 03 2009

The Kawasaki Konjecture, which I mentioned earlier, is a theory of starting pitching in fantasy baseball, which I’m attributing to my long-time co-manager Hurricane Kawasaki.

Hurricane summarizes in an email: Read the rest of this entry »