Friday, September 28, 2012

Picks and Pans: The Mike's a Genius Edition

Last time out, I looked at some of the bad Picks and Pans I made for Rotoman's Fantasy Baseball Guide. But I made some good calls as well. Here are a few of those.

Josh Reddick PICK Reddick did even better than I could have imagined. I thought he was going to be one of those 10/15 hitters that put up a stealthy $15-17 in value. I had no idea that Reddick would go on a ridiculous power tear.

Alejandro de Aza PICK When I picked de Aza, I thought that the expert market would be a little more tepid on him than it actually turned out to be. de Aza certainly was extremely solid this year, but given what the market paid for him, I'll score this a mild win rather than a big victory.

Gerardo Parra PICK
Parra was one of my N.L.-only specials. He didn't start but he picked up 350+ AB and more than earned his keep if you bought him in your end game.

Omar Infante PICK
The premise behind my Infante pick was that he would go for $8-10 in N.L.-only and earn about $15. He did a little bit better than that...unless you lose the stats of players traded to the A.L.

Alexei Ramirez PICK
At the beginning of the year this pick didn't look good, but Ramirez swapped some HR for some steals and his value once again was solid. In OBP leagues not quite so much.

Mike Napoli PAN
I thought Napoli wouldn't duplicate 2011 but I had no idea how bad he'd be. The batting average fell off the map and when you factor in Arlington Napoli was one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy.

Eric Hosmer PAN
I might be proudest of this pan. Six other experts picked him in Rotoman's Guide, and the way some pundits (not necessarily though in the Guide) talked about Hosmer you would have thought he was Babe Ruth and Ted Williams rolled into one.  My point wasn't that Hosmer's 2011 was a fluke but rather that young players tend to have a consolidation season and it takes a few years for them to reach their peak level of performance. Hosmer went in the mid to high $20s in many A.L.-only start over auctions. I advised this was a significant mistake. Most poo-pooed my advice. This one was a big win for me.

Lonnie Chisenhall PAN
If I'm bashing myself for injuries, I should probably give myself credit for injured guys as well. Chisenhall was probably better than I thought he would be at bat per at bat, but he started the year in the minors and then got hurt after he did get called up (I wish I had taken my own advice and not purchased him in CBS).

Lance Berkman PAN
Injuries were also the problem here, but I did say that "Berkman is the kind of player that could deteriorate fast." Injuries were (somewhat) implied.

Ian Stewart PAN
This was low hanging fruit, but I said that the change of scenery wouldn't help. Stewart didn't go for big money, but anything over $2-3 spent on him was a mistake.

Carlos Lee PAN
The move to Dodger Stadium didn't help, but the idea that Lee would drop of the cliff due to age/performance history came to fruition even before the trade. If you had Lee in a deep mixed league or N.L.-only, hopefully you didn't pay more than $10 or so.

Yonder Alonso PAN
He has picked it up in the second half - and I still maintain that he'll be decent long-term - but Alonso's first half made for a pretty sluggish season. I got him cheap in Tout Wars - and he more or less earned his keep - but with guys like Alonso you win when you profit and finish middle of the pack when you break even.

Alexi Casilla PAN
A lot of my fellow experts in A.L.-only leagues always seem to bid him up to $10 or so because of the hope of 30-40 stolen bases. Casilla set his career high this 18. He doesn't have the skills to be a full timer, and the Twins usually seem to figure this out every season sometime in June.

Brandon Morrow PICK
Despite the injury, I'll give myself credit here. Morrow's peripherals had exceeded his raw numbers in 2010-2011 and when he was on the field this year Morrow finally caught up to all of the nice and shiny data we saw in the xFIP.

Matt Cain PICK
I had touted Cain as a relatively underrated fantasy option and this year he took yet another small step forward. I doubt you're going to get him under $25 again next year.

Rafael Betancourt PICK
It's always hard to predict which relievers will crash and burn and which ones will excel, but Betancourt did what I thought he would do: provide sneaky value at an appealing price. Mission accomplished. He even had the decency to not get traded this year.

Jonathan Niese PICK
I was on roll with my pitching picks; it's too bad that I wound up trading for Cain and Niese in Tout Wars instead of just buying them at auction. It's never quite as simple as just looking at a pitcher's FIP/xFIP/SIERA and predicting improvement or decline but rather a more nuanced review of the pitcher's body of work as well as some degree of intuition (read: gut feel). Niese didn't seem like a 4+ ERA guy to me, and a close look at the numbers backed this up. Putting it more simply, FIP/xFIP/SIERA shouldn't be the be all and end all in pitcher analysis, but rather the springboard to a more rigorous review.

Madison Bumgarner PICK
I mention Bumgarner here, but Phil Hertz and Peter Kreutzer also picked him and by the time the expert auctions rolled around Bumgarner was a pretty sought after commodity. So, yeah, I got this "right" but so did almost every other expert with a pulse.

Chris Capuano PICK
Along with Reddick, I'm proudest of my Capuano pick. I wasn't anticipating a superstar, but someone whose injury concerns were overblown headed into 2012 and a pitcher that could put up a decent overall ERA thanks to his favorable home venue. If you had Capuano in a mixed league and played match-ups, even better for you.

Ivan Nova PAN
I didn't think Nova would be this hittable, but I did see some flukiness in his 2011 numbers. I thought he was going to put up an ERA over 4 and pointed out that just because you're a Yankee doesn't mean that you're automatically going to win games. The strikeout rate did go up and Nova probably did deserve somewhat better, but his propensity for the long ball killed him (and his owners) this year.

Matt Capps PAN
It took an injury to knock Capps out of the closer role, but my suspicion that Capps was one of the weaker closing options in baseball and was a risk to lose his job was dead on.

Jonathan Sanchez PAN
Yes, I know, more low hanging fruit. But I'm including all of my hits here so I thought I'd lump Sanchez into the mix as well.

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