A look at the Forecasters Challenge

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This is as much for my benefit as anyone else’s, but I wanted to check in on how my players in the Forecasters Challenge are doing now that the season is almost half over. We’re not getting status updates, so it’s all guesswork at this point.

For those not following along, Tom Tango’s Forecasters Challenge
includes 22 teams, most generated by rankings provided by experts. The
draft was run 1,000 times with random draft orders to hopefully mix
things up a bit, though it didn’t really work out. 71 players were
drafted by the same team 1,000 times and 185 were drafted by the same
team at least 900 times.

So there isn’t going to be a whole lot of variety outside of the elite
players. Hanley Ramirez, my No. 1 player, was drafted by 18 of the 22
teams and no more than 115 times by any of them. If everyone had ranked
Hanley first, he would have been on every team 45 or 46 times.

My team has a bit more variety than most, suggesting that I didn’t have as many extreme rankings as some.

Here are the players I drafted the most frequently and the position at which I had them ranked on my overall list:

Jordan Zimmermann – 1,000 – 264th
James McDonald – 1,000 – 353rd
Tom Glavine – 984 – 397th
Johnny Cueto – 793 – 149th
Carlos Silva – 667 – 400th
Ian Snell – 513 – 270th
Francisco Liriano – 499 – 69th
Josh Johnson – 467 – 146th
Tommy Hanson – 447 – 425th
Brad Penny – 435 – 325th
Jon Lester – 423 – 68th
Anibal Sanchez – 372 – 306th
Glen Perkins – 341 – 357th
Brandon McCarthy – 311 – 418th

Relievers did have value in the scoring system, but not as much as starters and I ended up with starters almost exclusively.

Unfortunately, that’s mostly it for pitchers. I got Johan Santana 45
times, Chris Carpenter 36 times and Matt Garza 234 times. No one else
drafted more than a handful of times figures to make a big
contribution. It looks like I’m receiving big points from Cueto and
Johnson, who rank third and fourth respectively in the NL in ERA, but
they’re my aces and the lower-ranked guys aren’t doing much.

There’s more to like about the hitters:

Victor Martinez – 999 – 47th
Khalil Greene – 969 – 177th
Coco Crisp – 648 – 91st
Justin Upton – 630 – 73rd
Martin Prado – 629 – 408th
Asdrubal Cabrera – 626 – 228th
Erick Aybar -589 – 286th
Adam Jones – 522 – 92nd
Hunter Pence – 500 – 60th
Nick Markakis – 498 – 14th
Eric Chavez – 494 – 362nd
Joe Mauer – 474 – 53rd
Curtis Granderson – 452 – 31st
Todd Helton – 430 – 147th
Jim Thome – 406 – 136th
Bobby Crosby – 397 – 461st
Rick Ankiel – 387 – 121st
Nick Johnson – 362 – 268th
Conor Jackson – 352 – 83rd
Carl Crawford – 341 – 8th
Yunel Escobar – 338 – 148th
B.J. Upton – 301 – 11th

Everyone knows what Victor and Mauer are doing, and also included
are some of this year’s top breakthrough players in Justin Upton, Jones
and Pence. Khalil is showing signs of becoming useful, and Prado is
providing nice value for who was drafted in the 500s. Unfortunately,
Crisp will go down as a bust because of his shoulder problems. I was
quite surprised to see how often I ended up with Chavez despite what I
thought was a pretty safe ranking.

A couple of more lists before I wrap this up.

Here are the top players I never ended up with, along with where they were picked on average and where I had them on my list:

CC Sabathia – 7th – 29th
Grady Sizemore – 8th – 12th
Roy Halladay – 11th – 25th
Matt Holliday – 12th – 22nd
Tim Lincecum – 14th – 17th
Ryan Howard – 17th – 23rd
Lance Berkman – 17th – 30th
Alfonso Soriano – 20th – 21st
Jake Peavy – 21st – 44th
Cole Hamels – 22nd – 37th
Chase Utley – 23rd – 16th
Carlos Lee – 23rd – 28th
Dustin Pedroia – 23rd – 41st
Brandon Webb – 24th – 26th
Prince Fielder – 25th – 27th

It’s pretty bizarre that I never got Utley or Beltran, considering I
had them ahead of where they went on average. But I guess B.J. Upton
and Markakis were still available in those spots and I was getting them

Here are the best players to go 1,000 times and their average pick:

Rafael Furcal – 52nd
Justin Verlander – 58th
Francisco Rodriguez – 66th
Zack Greinke – 74th
Ty Wigginton – 75th
Aubrey Huff – 77th
Mike Aviles – 79th
Carlos Zambrano – 83rd
Willy Taveras – 87th
Matt Cain – 92nd
John Lackey – 93rd
Edwin Encarnacion – 108th
Denard Span – 114th
Jose Lopez – 126th
Milton Bradley – 128th
Mike Jacobs – 131st
Erik Bedard – 131st

Greinke and Cain are set to work out really well. Of the low ranked
guys to go 1,000 times to the same owner, Trevor Cahill, drafted 369th,
appears to be offering the most value.

The Tigers will listen to trade offers on anybody

Miguel Cabrera
Getty Images

Earlier this week Tigers GM Al Avila said that his club was going to get “lean” and “efficient” and that their days of spending big money are over. Later in the week Avila said that they would not likely offer a long term contract to outfielder J.D. Martinez, who will become a free agent after the 2017 season.

None of those comments necessarily suggested that the Tigers would be conducting a fire sale or anything, and it’s certainly possible to get leaner while still competing. One would assume that the Tigers could cut fat in the middle but still head into battle with their superstars. But that may not be the plan. Buster Olney:

. . . the message being received from the rest of the industry is a dramatic shift for one of baseball’s oldest franchises: They will listen to trade offers on everybody.

Miguel Cabrera. Justin Verlander. Ian Kinsler.


Trading those guys would be a pretty big deal. In both senses of the term.

It would take a blockbuster-sized deal to move such players. Verlander is owed $28 million a year for the next three seasons and has a vesting option for 2020 at $22 million. Cabrera just finished the first year of an eight-year, $248 million deal that will be paying him more than $30 million a year between 2018 and 2023, with an $8 million buyout for 2024. And that’s before the fact that both Verlander and Cabrera are 10/5 guys with full no-trade protection if they choose to exercise it. Beyond that Kinsler is a relative bargain at $11 million in 2017 and a $10 million club option for 2018 with a $5 million buyout. Victor Martinez and Justin Upton are hanging around too.

But for as big a trade would have to be if any one of those guys were dealt, it’d be a bigger deal in terms of team philosophy and direction. Cabrera has confirmed his Hall of Fame credentials in his nine years in Detroit. He’s the best player to wear the English D since Al Kaline and has been the biggest star in the organization for most of a generation. Verlander is nearly as important and nearly as famous. I don’t think it’s likely the Tigers will move either of them because the logistics of such deals would be mind-boggling, but even entertaining deals for these guys would alter the course of the franchise for years and years to come. It happens to every franchise eventually, but I don’t think the Tigers fan base is prepared for it to happen to them yet.

Still: the free agent market is thinner that it has been at any time in years and years. Cabrera and Verlander, if they could be had, would be the biggest splashes any team looking to improve could possibly acquire. Kinselr would be a big get for anyone as well. Al Avila knows that. Even if he’s not ready to part with his superstars, he probably owes it to his organization to at least listen.


The World Series broadcast schedule is announced

Getty Images

Major League Baseball just announced the broadcast schedule for both Games 6 and 7 (if necessary) of the NLCS and the entire World Series.

There are no surprises here. The World Series games are all on Fox. The pregame show starts at 7:30 and the games themselves start just after 8pm Eastern Daylight Time, regardless of whether it’s Chicago or Los Angeles representing the National League. For some reason Game five of the World Series, scheduled a week from Sunday if it comes to pass, starts seven minutes later than all of the other games. Maybe something super exciting will happen then.