Saturday, March 31, 2007

Anna Benson Is Yummy!

I just wanted to let everyone know why I picked the title of this post as my fantasy baseball team name:

That is all.

Friday, March 30, 2007

HWC Baseball Keys To The Season

With a change in the rules, and learning from last season, many key points were discovered in how to survive the 26 week HWC Baseball season. Here are some keys to this year's season

1) Offense - Last season the stats were split 6-6 in pitching and hitting, leading to the infamous "Pitcher-Hitter" tie where one team would take all the pitching stats and the other would sweep the hitting. This year the stats are tilted slightly towards offense as the pitching stats stayed at 6 when the holds stat was removed, and replaced with losses, but the offensive stats increased to 7 with the addition of the hits stat. This means that you'll see a shift from teams with a platoon of pitchers to a full set of benched offense powerhouses. Like the real MLB, the heavy hitters have begun to out price the low ERA pitchers.

2) Consistency - There's a saying that goes, "A dog that sh#$s fast won't sh#$ long." Columbia Cardinals found that out as he went from 51-30-3 in weeks 14-20 to losing to Wyatt in week 21 then losing in his first playoff game badly to fm.

3) Updating Your Roster - Games can be won or lost depending on who checks their roster more than the other. I've seen it so many times that a manager who doesn't check their roster misses out on a pitcher throwing a solid 9 innings allowing only one or 2 runs. Also I've seen managers who aren't paying attention to slumping players leave them in, costing them stats. Other managers just get tired of keeping up with the team, but endurance is part of the game. As if it actually takes any kind of real endurance to manage a fantasy team.

4) Strategy - You're up in pitching 5 wins to 3, 1.75 to 1.9 in ERA, and 1.0 - 1.1 in WHIP on Sunday afternoon. You've got an iffy pitcher starting today, and your opponent does too. What do you do? You kick your starter like a bad habit! You've got 3 of the 6 pitching stats locked, but a bad performance from your starter can lose 2 of those stats on the last day. I've almost been caught like this more than once. This week my fantasy hockey team is playing for the championship, and on the first night, Manny Fernandez scored a shootout loss 1-0, but the game counted as a GAA of 0.00, a save percentage of 1.000, and as a shut-out. That's 3 stats that likely will not be accomplished by the other team. Mistakenly, I started Manny the next time he went into goal, He allowed 2 goals on 2 shots in the first minute and a half of the game. He got a GAA for that game of 90.0, and a save percentage of .000. Fortunately his week's save percentage is counted out of saves, and not games so it only dropped to .923, and the GAA jumped to a still good 1.81. But needless to say, I was scared. It might be cheap to block like that, but when the game is on the line, the winner is the one who wants it the most.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

HWC Baseball Week One Match Ups

The smell of fresh red clay is in the air as HWC baseball kicks of Sunday when the St. Louis Cardinals face the New York Mets. And here with the preview of the week's match ups. I'm not sure how many previews there will be, but here is one at least. In a second we'll look at who's playing who, but first, a reminder of which blogger is which team (* means contributor to HWC Sports Blog):
Robots Eat Babies - The Man*
Baseball rulz! - Sssteve*
The PAWs - Lawhawk
bRight & Early - bRight & Early*
Cookeville Engineers - GOP and College*
PFB - PrivatePigg*
Wookies Will Repeat - J Wookie
Fmragtops Spewers - fmragtops*
Anna Benson Is Yummy - Wyatt Earp*
Leones De Yucatan - Hector Vex
Maximum Poo - Tyler D*

And the non-bloggers:
webcats - webcat
Jax Juggernauts - Safety Man
Organic Snake Oil Patton's 3rd Army - ?
Joe's Keizer Killers - ?

Let's look at the match ups now, shall we?

Cookeville Engineers vs Leones De Yucatan
Robots Eat Babies vs Baseball rulz!
The PAWs vs Patton's 3rd Army
bRight & Early vs Maximum Poo
RFTR vs Jax Juggernauts
PFB vs Anna Benson Is Yummy
webcats vs Joes Keizer Killers

Best Rematch:
Wookies Will Repeat vs Fmragtops Spewers

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Schedule

Each team plays each other once in the first 15 weeks, then they repeat the first 7 teams again. This is the schedule my Cookeville Engineers have. Click on it to enlarge.

It might be a tough season since I play some of the teams that looked to have a good draft twice, but I'm glad that I only have to play the defending champion Wookies once. Last season I played the Wookies in the last week in a game I was sure I was going to lose. Instead I pulled out a miracle tie on the last day to hold my ground and make the playoffs. Unfortunately I lost in the first round in a questionable tie to bRight & Early, and faced off against The Man who also had a questionable tie game against FM. The Man beat me then to take 5th place fairly easily, giving me 6th place.

And welcome other bloggers. I can see the contributor list growing, so come on and post your thoughts!

GOP and College's Draft Analysis

Season two of HWC Baseball is coming up to full swing as the draft was performed late Tuesday, or early Wednesday. as promised, it's Sunday, and it's time for the GOPAC draft analysis. There were 336 players drafted, and some have already been cut.

First, I'll start with my team, then check the others.

Cookeville Engineers
Even though I was given the 13th draft position, I am VERY pleased with my draft results, and I may have the dominant pitching staff in the league. I drafted Chris Carpenter, Justin Verlander, John Smoltz, Adam Wainwright and Anibal Sanchez. Along with them I took the Stolen base leader, Chone Figgins. After the draft, I was upset at the fact that I only had 2 relievers, only one of which was a closer. So I traded in Jeff Francis from the Rockies for Derrick Turnbow (A player The Man played with in little league). I figured, yes, Francis was the best pitcher for the Rockies with 13 W's, however, at a 4.16 ERA and a WHIP of 1.29, the 24 saves Turnbow got trumps the mid-level performance Francis accomplished last season. I made the choice of pitching over hitting, and it may have payed off. My weakness, most offensive stats.

Wookies Will Repeat
John stated in the league that he would be happy as long as he got Pujols again. Well, he was first pick so he did get Albert Pujols, but there are no other real stars that he picked up. The best pitcher he has is Erick Bedard of the Orioles, but even then his ERA is a 3.76 with a 1.3+ WHIP, and now that losses count, his 11 are a vast equalizer. Hitting wise he has Pujols, and a couple other power hitters, but his real strength will be in the stolen bases. With two players combining for 96 taken bases. Also with Pujos, the Runs and RBI stats are going to be up there as well. Wookies weakness will be their pitching staff, especially in the losses and saves.

The PAWs got the 2nd draft spot and used it well to their advantage. He used his first and second picks evenly picking up Johan Santana and Vernon Wells. One noticeable thing that Lawhawk did was pick up Derick Lee, the star first baseman of the Cubs who was out most of the season with an injury. It's a big gamble, but if it pays off, it may be a season maker. The other major pick, Dan Uggla. He's going to have another stellar offensive season this year. But that's about where the PAWs stop. They've got a few key players, but the rest is not very strong. Lawhawk's strength will rely on Santana and Wells, but their weakness will be in the bullpen and in the stolen base stats. Along with many other managers, the destruction of the "Holds" stat caught teams with too many middle relievers, and no closers.

bRight & Early
bRight had an excellent season last year finishing 3rd in the playoffs, and he has done his homework. I think b&E learned the keys to the game. A large set of mid-level players leaves the ones dependant on stars in the dust. bRight used his first 4 draft picks on Jose Reyes, Andruw Jones, Johnny Damon and Joe Mauer. After that he started on the pitchers. He picked up J.J. Putz and Mike Mussina. Finally in the 11th round he picked up 19 time winner Chien-Ming Wang, but again, the loss of the holds stat took him by surprise. His strength is going to be his equality all around. But his weakness will also be his equality. He's not going to out shine you with his star player, he's going to out pace you and beat you or lose to you in the final stretch.

Leones de Yucatan
Vex has decided to add a bit of Spanish flair to his team this season, as (translated) the Yucatan Lions. Vex, did you move to Mexico? Well, his team is very much centered around the big hitters. Only 4 offensive players have less than 20 home runs, and 4 of the big hitters have over 30. But that comes at the expense of his pitching staff. His most winning pitcher is Ian Snell with 14 wins, but 11 losses and an ERA of 4.74. Vex plays my Engineers in week one and if he wins, it will be a 7-6 pitcher-hitter game. Vex's strengths will be in the long ball and possibly stolen bases, but his weakness is definitely going to be in pitching as a whole.

Robots Eat Babies
The Man had the 5th draft spot, and used it to pick up monster hitter Ryan Howard. One thing that I don't agree with The Man is the pick up of Jason Isringhausen. Adam Wainwright picked up as the closer in the last part of the season after Izzy had to have hip surgery. If that hip goes bad again, that could leave him in the crapper. The Man does have a great bullpen if Izzy stays healthy. Along with Izzy he picked up Todd Jones, the Detroit closer who finished the season with 37 saves. This leaves a 2006 total of 70 saves for The Man. As for the starting rotation, Robots has Bonderman, Haren, and Pettite, but the losses built up by those pitchers may be a big factor in the match ups. The Man's strengths are his two closers and offensive K's. Weaknesses; Losses, ERA, WHIP, and offensive consistency.

RFTR took the 6th spot, and used it to pick up A. Rod, then in the 2nd round picked up Jimmy Rollins. RFTR is going to be another power house with 6 of 12 offensive players having 20+ home runs. But again that comes at a cost to the pitching staff. Only one of his starters has more than 12 wins, but that is Greg Maddux who finished with 14 losses. He also picked up Roger Clemons who has again "retired" for the time being. One place where RFTR is going to shine though ironically is in pitching. He did notice that holds were eliminated and has 3 pretty strong closers. He picked up David Weathers who picked up the closing job from Todd Coffey, Tom Gordon, and Billy Wagner, combining for 86 saves in 2006. Beware in the late innings of RFTR, but his weakness will definitely show in the first 6 or 7.

Maximum Poo
Tyler D returns this year after his team last year, CZC Owns, finished 15th of 16 teams. This year Tyler went for consistency in batting. 7 of his players had over a .290 batting average in 2006, and the lowest is just a .270. My engineers have 4 players lower than that. Things are definitely looking up for this team. One place I expect Max to win every week is in Offensive K's. He's only got two players over 100 K's, so don't expect to win a hitting battle very often. Pitching is decent, with starters like Josh Beckett, Ted Lilly and especially Roy Oswalt. In the bullpen, it's not a pretty sight.There's only 2 possible closers, Ryan Dempster and Dan Wheeler. Wheeler might be a good pick, but he has to prove again that he's better than Brad Lidge. Tyler's strength will be the batting average and most of the offensive stats, but his weakness will definitely be in his closers, and in the possible wasted draft pick in Kerry Wood.

Organic Snake Oil
I'm not afraid of this team as much as I am of the manager. He has 4 championships in fantasy baseball, and another 2nd. This guy is a champ and it shows. His team looks like the guy who digs deep in a league to find the sleepers, then comes out of nowhere to take the win. He is also going to be the hands down save champ with 3 very strong closers. For his rotation he is doing what many teams did last season. Have 2 closers, 3 middle relievers, then 2 starters every day. Snake has only 4 starters, and the rest are all possible closers. On offense, Snake might be in a bit of a hole. His starters lack a high average, and he doesn't have too great of power hitters. His strength will be in the closers, but there's not too much more that they will excel in. Words to the wise, a gamble can pay off big, or it can go down in flames. His rank may follow suit.

The cats are back this season, and they've grown some claws. They drafted Big Papi, Troy Glaus, and Raul Ibanez on offense, and Chuck James, Jeff Suppan, and Derek Lowe in pitching. But that comes at a cost of offensive K's, and saves. He has two relievers, and neither of them are closers. On offense with heavy hitters come a lot of "Swung on and miss." The cats have only one player who batted over 300 last season. For the cats, he is strong in the long ball as well as, oddly, losses. With an average of only 8 losses per season per starter, this team will likely win the fewest loss stat every week, but not much more.

Joe's Keizer Killers
Joe is new to Yahoo! fantasy sports (first team under that log-in) and it looks like his pre-rank picks were done by Yahoo! which is an advantage to OTHER teams. Often times prospective great players whose O-rank is in the top 100 fail miserably in the regular season. He was also the poor sap who picked up Barry "Juicy" Bonds. His main strength will be in stolen bases and possibly in the long ball, but in pitching, Joe's probably going to be lacking. Safety Man picked up Bonds last season thinking walks was included, but unfortunately for him it wasn't, and it's not this year either which may explain why Bonds lasted on the free agent list all the way until the middle of the 13th round. Joe's Strength is in his home run hitters, but his weakness is the chance that he's a set and forget player.

Fmragtops Spewers
FM finished runner up last season in a set of tricks put up by Yahoo! that made the final match go 2 weeks instead of one, leaving fm not checking his team for the better part of the last week. FM used his first pick on speed which was a good choice considering most of the ultra stars were taken in the first 10 picks. After that was heavy hitter Travis Hafner. Last season fm went with the "platoon" strategy for pitchers, but this season he's opted for more offensive players than pitchers. Not sure how much I agree with that choice, but it's not my call. FM also managed to steal the number 1 and 3 top savers, as well as some possible closers on top of that. However that leaves FM with only 4 starters when most teams have at least 5 in a rotation. That means that he is going to have at least one, maybe two missed starts per week, and that can be the difference between having more K's, a better ERA, and more wins than your opponent. FM's strength is in his offensive staff. A full set of bench players in case of injury helps, but that's a the steep cost of having at best a mediocre pitching staff.

Anna Benson Is Yummy
Poor Wyatt. Last season I halfway dragged him into HWC baseball only to finish 13th. This season though, the lawman looks to be stronger in most places. Unfortunately in the places he looks off are the same places he struggled last season. The relievers. Wyatt drafted two possible starters who combined last season to a total of 10 saves, but one thing you won't see his players do much is get a K when they step up to the plate. Batters like Carlos Lee who only struck out about 10% of the time make for great players because they are 9 times out of 10 hitting the ball into play. That figure not only reflects on K's but shows in the batting average, RBI's and scores. I don't think he'll take the cup, but he should make the playoffs. Wyatt's strengths are going to be in both sets of K's, wins, as well as in hits. But he is going to severely lack in the saves and loss range.

Private Pigg finished 8th last season, and is looking for power this season. He's got 4 players who combined for 132 home runs last season, but when you over pick in one area, you end up lacking in another. That lack is going to show in batting average. He's got one player who had over a .300 last season, one with a .295, then it falls to 3 in the low .280's and it gets uglier from there with 4 batters under .255 averages. But at least his players don't fan much. He's got 4 players with over 100 K's, but all of the others are under 90, with some in the 60's and 50's. That will make for a great RBI team. Saves will not be struggling either as he has 3 closers who combined for 78 saves in 2006. Losses are going to be in high order for PFB. He only has 2 starters who had an over .500 win percentage. His strength will be in home runs, RBI's and Runs, but his weakness will be in his batting averages, and losses. Even with that he may be a contender for the podium.

Baseball rulz!
Sssteve finished MISERABLY (14th) last season, and is looking up, and is he over going where he is looking. At first glance, I thought his team looked like it could use some improvement, but on further look he looks like a good contender for the cup. He's got 4 batters over 30 home runs, only 4 batters who are BARELY over 100 K's, 3 pitchers with 13 or more wins, 5 closers, 5 batter over .300, and only one pitcher with an ERA over 4.00. Sssteve, if you don't finish in the top 3, I will BEAT you! Sssteve's strengths are almost everything. Very consistent, and will win often. However he does have 2 weaknesses; stolen bases and wins per week. He's only got 4 starters, so like FM he will struggle to come out on top in wins each week, but that can be remedied with dropping a bench player and picking up a starter.
JAX Juggernauts
Poor Safety Man, he got last draft pick, and it looks like he didn't even try to set his pre-ranks. He picked up Curt Schilling and Carlos Zambrano, but Schilling is getting older, and a Cubs pitcher is always a shaky pick. Randy Johnson was also picked up and at least he will give the Diamondbacks some wins, but probably not many. On offense the story is best summed up by a quote from one of his smack talks. "My offense is anemic." If they go well, his strength will be the few sarters he picked up, as well as stolen bases, but his weakness will be in just about everything else.

GOP and College's predictions of finishing the year:
Top 3: bRight & Early, Baseball rulz!, and PFB (not in that order)
Better Luck Next Year: JAX Juggernauts, Joe's Keizer Killers, and webcats

Who else has an opinion on the draft results?
The league is officially closed, and here is a list of bloggers who have joined in on the league. Each of these bloggers have been invited to contribute to the HWC Sports blog.

The Man
GOP and College
bRight & Early
Don Surber
Private Pigg
Cake Or Death
Wyatt Earp


I decided to start a blog for HWC Sports, and soon, I will invite other HWC Bloggers to join in. This blog will be a work in progress. Look for HWC Baseball recaps (especially by myself) to appear at this page, along with anything HWC related.