Monday, March 31, 2014

How To Fix Sports Drafts By Eliminating Age Limits

The NBA is looking to increase their minimum age from 19 to 20 years old. The age limit is quite stupid, because it is definitely not in the players' best interests. It is only to help teams not make mistakes with gambling on younger talent. It is a shame, because some guys are physically ready for the challenges of pro sports before others, and these athletes have such a limited shelf life that they need to do everything they can to maximize their earnings. There is no reason they shouldn't be able to leave after high school, or after any year of their choosing in college.

The problem with this plan is that when these guys declare for the draft, and then they go way lower than they expected or sometimes are not even drafted at all, they end up screwed. They have to go through a lower professional league as they have lost the opportunity to go to college and compete. There is no reason this needs to be the case; it's really just the NCAA trying to protect their prestigious image of righteousness. Why shouldn't an athlete be able to declare for the draft, and if things work out and they are selected where they want to be, they can move on. If they drop further than they expected, they can just head back to college, no harm done.

Now, in this world, the big issue that teams are really not protected in this situation. A player could basically choose their situation, and if they didn't like the team, they could go back to school. So, what I propose is that players preselect the range that they must be drafted in to move onto the pros. If you decide that you need to be a Top-5 pick, and you are selected in those first five picks, you are going pro. If you fall beyond that fifth selection, you are no longer in the draft, and you will return to school. Wouldn't it have been better if Adrian Peterson had a couple extra years in the NFL after he showed he was a monster his Freshman year at Oklahoma? NC State's Carlos Rodon probably could have been the #1 pick had he left college after last year, and he is in danger of dropping (only a couple spots, really) because of a less impressive performance this year. There are countless examples of guys who are forced to spend an extra year in school, and it greatly impacts their first contract.

I will admit that there are some areas to figure out, as the NBA and NFL both have large combines where players try to prove themselves. There is no reason that these can't be moved to the weekend, so the athletes can stay in school. Also, I'm not sure who pays for the athletes to travel and stay for these events, but this seems like something the NFL could pay for. If they're really cheap, and they probably are, the cost can be deducted from their rookie contract if they do make it into the league.

Obviously, the NCAA will never let this happen, but the good news is that the NCAA is such an awful organization that they may be extinct in about ten years. If both the colleges and the professional leagues are actually concerned about these student-athletes well-being, there is no reason that they shouldn't work together to provide the best long-term opportunity for them. It just makes sense.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Best And Worst Of My Fantasy Baseball Draft - Part 3

Finally, after breaking down rounds 1-12, as well as rounds 13-25, I will give my overall team rankings. This just helps me wrap up thoughts on players and build up my own ego by ranking (SPOILER ALERT) me first. Honestly, I think this is the strongest people have drafted in the years I have been in this league, as even the 12th ranked team isn't terrible. If you told me three teams from the bottom half moved up to the top half by the end of the season, I certainly wouldn't be shocked. But who cares about reasonable thinking. Here are my dead-on rankings of every team in the league.

12. Team Numbers Don't Lie
Bests - 1
Worsts - 4
12Jason Kipnis, Cle 2B
13Bryce Harper, Wsh OF
36Max Scherzer, Det SP
37Chris Sale, CWS SP
60Brandon Phillips, Cin 2B
61Kenley Jansen, LAD RP
84Pedro Alvarez, Pit 3B
85Brian McCann, NYY C
108Brandon Moss, Oak 1B
109Mike Napoli, Bos 1B
132Jed Lowrie, Oak SS
133Adam Lind, Tor 1B
156C.J. Wilson, LAA SP
157Khris Davis, Mil OF
180Lance Lynn, StL SP
181Tim Lincecum, SF SP
204Justin Smoak, Sea 1B
205Jonathan Papelbon, Phi RP
228Bobby Parnell, NYM RP
229Alejandro De Aza, CWS OF
252Nate Jones, CWS RP
253Michael Brantley, Cle OF
276Joaquin Benoit, SD RP
277Nick Castellanos, Det OF
300Tyler Clippard, Wsh RP
Overall: I really like what he did early, as I am a fan of Kipnis and I think Harper is worth the risk. Following it up with Scherzer and Sale gives him two really strong starting pitchers. After that, I like McCann, Lowrie, and Lincecum but not much else. Castellanos is a worthwhile gamble late, but a lot of the guys that he favored are guys that I'm not that high on. The biggest strength is the power he has in the infield, but I don't see him being strong enough top-to-bottom to compete for a top spot.

11. Team PrIDAHO 
Bests - 2
Worsts - 0
11Adam Jones, Bal OF
19Carlos Gomez, Mil OF
30Ian Kinsler, Det 2B
35Ian Desmond, Wsh SS
59Eric Hosmer, KC 1B
62Hunter Pence, SF OF
67Matt Kemp*, LAD OF
86Jayson Werth, Wsh OF
107Matt Adams, StL 1B
110Mike Minor*, Atl SP
131R.A. Dickey, Tor SP
155Wilson Ramos, Wsh C
158Will Middlebrooks, Bos 3B
182Clay Buchholz, Bos SP
203Jim Johnson, Oak RP
206Grant Balfour, TB RP
211Joakim Soria, Tex RP
222Jimmy Rollins, Phi SS
227Ryan Howard, Phi 1B
230Bartolo Colon, NYM SP
251George Springer, Hou OF
254Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mia C
275Dee Gordon, LAD SS
278Josh Willingham, Min OF
299Junior Lake, ChC OF
Overall: According to the bests and worsts of each round, he did fairly well, but he was very close to many worsts throughout the draft. I'm pretty low on Kinsler as he is aging, and he is moving to a much tougher offensive ballpark. Honestly, Gomez, Hosmer, Adams, and Dickey would all have me concerned, and the end of his draft didn't do anything for me. It seemed like he got waiver wire fodder for the most part. That is why I see him ending up in the bottom half of the league.

10. JVD's Only Friend 
Bests - 2
Worsts - 4
2Miguel Cabrera, Det 3B
6Adrian Beltre, Tex 3B
43Madison Bumgarner, SF SP
47Elvis Andrus, Tex SS
50Albert Pujols, LAA 1B
71Homer Bailey, Cin SP
74Alex Gordon, KC OF
95Josh Hamilton, LAA OF
102Doug Fister*, Wsh SP
119Billy Butler, KC DH
122Shane Victorino, Bos OF
143Daniel Murphy, NYM 2B
167Aroldis Chapman, Cin RP
170Francisco Liriano, Pit SP
174Adam Eaton, CWS OF
191Salvador Perez, KC C
194Marco Estrada, Mil SP
215Ernesto Frieri, LAA RP
218Corey Hart, Sea 1B
239Drew Smyly, Det RP
242Neil Walker, Pit 2B
263Oscar Taveras, StL OF
266Phil Hughes, Min SP
287Brett Anderson, Col RP
290Byron Buxton, Min OF
Overall: There's a lot to like here, as I really like Cabrera and Bumgarner, and think he picks some decent guys all throughout the draft. Obviously, his late run on prospects are two picks I don't like that much. He definitely favored established players on offense while taking more risks on the pitching side with young or unproven commodities. This is a fine but unspectacular team.

9. Regular Joel
Bests - 2
Worsts - 1
9Clayton Kershaw*, LAD SP
16Jacoby Ellsbury, NYY OF
33Dustin Pedroia, Bos 2B
40David Price, TB SP
57Ben Zobrist, TB 2B
64Matt Holliday, StL OF
81James Shields, KC SP
88Kyle Seager, Sea 3B
105Jered Weaver, LAA SP
112Chase Headley, SD 3B
129Curtis Granderson, NYM OF
136Jonathan Lucroy, Mil C
153Coco Crisp, Oak OF
160Hiroki Kuroda, NYY SP
177Nick Swisher, Cle 1B
184A.J. Burnett, Phi SP
201Colby Rasmus, Tor OF
208Jake Peavy, Bos SP
225Rafael Soriano, Wsh RP
232Erick Aybar, LAA SS
249Dan Straily, Oak SP
256Marlon Byrd, Phi OF
273Chris Johnson, Atl 3B
280Matt Harvey, NYM SP
297Chad Qualls, Hou RP
Overall: I'm not an Ellsbury fan, and Matt Holliday is a traitor, but most of his other early picks look good. One of his bests is Matt Harvey who is not likely to contribute anything this season. His offense seems fine everywhere, and his pitching has 1.5 relievers which isn't good enough to beat anyone in saves outside of the teams that ignore it. This is a totally fine team but lacks much upside outside of Headley and Granderson.

8. Team Cock Boy
Bests - 0
Worsts - 1
10Edwin Encarnacion, Tor 1B
15Hanley Ramirez, LAD SS
34Shin-Soo Choo, Tex OF
39David Ortiz, Bos DH
58Adrian Gonzalez, LAD 1B
63Matt Carpenter, StL 2B
82Aramis Ramirez, Mil 3B
87Shelby Miller, StL SP
106Alex Cobb, TB SP
111Julio Teheran, Atl SP
130Hisashi Iwakuma*, Sea SP
135Will Venable, SD OF
154Matt Wieters, Bal C
159Justin Masterson, Cle SP
178Jonathan Villar, Hou SS
183Glen Perkins, Min RP
202Steve Cishek, Mia RP
207Huston Street, SD RP
226Jim Henderson, Mil RP
231Nate Schierholtz, ChC OF
250Eric Young Jr., NYM OF
255Justin Ruggiano, ChC OF
274Avisail Garcia, CWS OF
279Trevor Plouffe, Min 3B
298Brad Miller, Sea SS
Overall: Solid is the best way to describe this team. He got little love on the best and worsts of the draft breakdown. Still, I think his picks were some of the better picks of the round more often than they were towards the bottom end. He did a nce job acquiring relief pitching, but I still worry about his lack of top end starting pitching. There is no terrible weakness, but I am also not wowed by any aspect of the team, so he is just hanging out near the middle of the league.

7. Team Disney
Bests - 0
Worsts - 6
5Chris Davis, Bal 1B
20Yasiel Puig, LAD OF
29Alex Rios, Tex OF
44Jose Fernandez, Mia SP
46Jose Reyes, Tor SS
68Carlos Santana, Cle C
77Jason Heyward, Atl OF
92Gerrit Cole, Pit SP
101Xander Bogaerts, Bos 3B
116Trevor Rosenthal, StL RP
125Brandon Belt, SF 1B
140Andrelton Simmons, Atl SS
149Zack Wheeler, NYM SP
164Brett Gardner, NYY OF
173Josh Reddick, Oak OF
188Alex Wood, Atl SP
197Yordano Ventura, KC SP
212Jake Odorizzi, TB SP
221Nolan Arenado, Col 3B
236Fernando Rodney, Sea RP
245Joe Kelly, StL SP
260Jurickson Profar*, Tex 2B
269Archie Bradley, Ari SP
284Martin Perez, Tex SP
289Oswaldo Arcia, Min OF
Overall: This is the team that best exemplifies that a best and worst of each round does not do a great job of estimating talent. This would be by far the worst team in the league by that measure, but I actually like this team. His worsts were rarely terrible, but more just the bottom guy in a good round. He didn't get a best, but he still had a lot of picks that I really liked. You know what pick I really like? Oswaldo Arcia. I think he could surprise some people and be a guy who is 100% owned by the end of the year. In the last round, it is tough to do much better than that. But I do think he has good starting pitching depth and enough offense to be a solid contender this season.

6. The Big Nasties
Bests - 1
Worsts - 2
1Mike Trout, LAA OF
24Felix Hernandez, Sea SP
25Giancarlo Stanton, Mia OF
48Craig Kimbrel, Atl RP
49Yoenis Cespedes, Oak OF
53Allen Craig, StL 1B
72Starling Marte, Pit OF
73Jose Altuve, Hou 2B
96Jeff Samardzija, ChC SP
97Brett Lawrie, Tor 3B
120Michael Wacha, StL SP
121Asdrubal Cabrera, Cle SS
144Pablo Sandoval, SF 3B
145Alexei Ramirez, CWS SS
168Jason Castro, Hou C
169Joe Nathan, Det RP
192Dexter Fowler, Hou OF
193Jason Grilli, Pit RP
216Dan Haren, LAD SP
217Norichika Aoki, KC OF
240Trevor Bauer, Cle SP
241Wade Miley, Ari SP
264Tommy Hunter, Bal RP
265Andre Ethier, LAD OF
288Jackie Bradley Jr., Bos OF
Overall: I'm kind of surprised with how much I like this team, but he has Mike Trout which is a pretty nice get, and I'm also head over heels in love with Giancarlo Stanton. But I also like the upside of Samardzija, Lawrie, Wacha, and even guys like Cabrera and Sandoval. I think there's a good chance they provide fine value for those rounds but a very good chance that they could greatly outperform their draft positions. Towards the end, I didn't like the players he rounded out his roster with, as after Sandoval, there is nothing that excites me in the rest of his draft. The offense looks good, but the depth of his pitching staff is definitely a concern.

5. Cor Cor Loves To Scor Scor
Bests - 3
Worsts - 1
7Robinson Cano, Sea 2B
18Troy Tulowitzki, Col SS
31Stephen Strasburg, Wsh SP
42Buster Posey, SF C
55Ryan Zimmerman, Wsh 3B
66Anibal Sanchez, Det SP
79Jean Segura, Mil SS
90Gio Gonzalez, Wsh SP
103Michael Cuddyer, Col OF
114Domonic Brown, Phi OF
127Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD SP
138Alfonso Soriano, NYY OF
151Nelson Cruz, Bal OF
162Matt Garza, Mil SP
175Johnny Cueto, Cin SP
186Ivan Nova, NYY SP
199Tony Cingrani, Cin SP
210Justin Morneau, Col 1B
223Grady Sizemore, Bos OF
234John Lackey, Bos SP
247Adam Dunn, CWS 1B
258Michael Pineda, NYY SP
271Nick Markakis, Bal OF
282LaTroy Hawkins, Col RP
295Mariano Rivera, NYY RP
Overall: I really like this team. There is not a ton of risk on this team, but it still possesses upside to be a top team. Out of his first ten picks, it looks like all guys will perform at least adquately for where they are drafted, and they have the potential to shine brighter. After that, I like the starters that he took late in the draft, as it's a good mix of guys who can pitch well and guys who can strike out a lot of players.The only weakness is probably in the outfield where Soriano and Cruz could struggle with aging, Sizemore is a wildcard, and Markakis will probably be put on waivers. Still, this is going to be a tough team to beat.

4. Team Pills For Thrills 
Bests - 4
Worsts - 2
4Andrew McCutchen, Pit OF
21Adam Wainwright, StL SP
28David Wright, NYM 3B
45Yadier Molina, StL C
52Jose Bautista, Tor OF
69Starlin Castro, ChC SS
76Mat Latos, Cin SP
93Anthony Rizzo, ChC 1B
100Martin Prado, Ari 3B
117Aaron Hill, Ari 2B
124Greg Holland, KC RP
141Addison Reed, Ari RP
148Carl Crawford, LAD OF
165Torii Hunter, Det OF
172Mark Teixeira, NYY 1B
189Yovani Gallardo, Mil SP
196Chris Archer, TB SP
213Angel Pagan, SF OF
220John Axford, Cle RP
237Kyle Lohse, Mil SP
244Jhonny Peralta, StL SS
261Ricky Nolasco, Min SP
268Rajai Davis, Det OF
285Jeremy Hellickson, TB SP
292Josh Beckett*, LAD SP
Overall: I think you can make a solid case for everything he did through 141. After that, things get a little shaky. I'm not a big fan of Crawford's for this season, and Torii Hunter will be fine. Teixeira is a far ways from glory and Gallardo had major issues last season and never looked like himself. I wasn't going to be the guy betting on that. His picks after that rotate between fine and completely boring. Still, he created a really strong offense, and the key will be finding enough pitching to support his hitters.

3. Rosie > Ellen 
Bests - 2
Worsts - 1
3Paul Goldschmidt, Ari 1B
22Yu Darvish*, Tex SP
27Freddie Freeman, Atl 1B
51Justin Verlander, Det SP
70Wil Myers, TB OF
75Joe Mauer, Min C
94Manny Machado, Bal 3B
99J.J. Hardy, Bal SS
118Billy Hamilton, Cin OF
123Matt Moore, TB SP
142CC Sabathia, NYY SP
147Sonny Gray, Oak SP
166Christian Yelich, Mia OF
171Kelly Johnson, NYY OF
190Michael Bourn, Cle OF
195Brian Dozier, Min 2B
214Evan Gattis, Atl C
219Ben Revere, Phi OF
238Dillon Gee, NYM SP
243Travis Wood, ChC SP
262Rex Brothers, Col RP
267Neftali Feliz, Tex RP
286Cody Allen, Cle RP
291Javier Baez, ChC SS
293Gregory Polanco, Pit OF
Overall: This draft really impressed me, which probably makes sense with them being ranked this high. Out of the 300 players selected, I'm only actually considering drafting half of them, either due to me not liking them or just knowing that they are overvalued for where I would be trying to draft them. Somehow, this guy, who is an avid judge of lesbian talk show hosts, took guys on my list in the first 15 rounds, so I can't complain too much about any of those picks. Down the stretch, his picks got a little boring with two setup guys, and a couple guys who will be worthless for the first few months, and the lack of a fourth round pick hurts him. Still, the top half of the draft, especially Verlander, Moore, and Gray, should keep this team strong enough to keep him in the playoff hunt.

2. Juggalos 4 Life
Bests - 4
Worsts - 2
8Carlos Gonzalez, Col OF
17Prince Fielder, Tex 1B
32Cliff Lee, Phi SP
41Jay Bruce, Cin OF
56Josh Donaldson, Oak 3B
65Mark Trumbo, Ari 1B
80Carlos Beltran, NYY OF
89Jordan Zimmermann, Wsh SP
104Everth Cabrera, SD SS
113Desmond Jennings, TB OF
128Jon Lester, Bos SP
137Victor Martinez, Det DH
152Andrew Cashner, SD SP
161Austin Jackson, Det OF
176Sergio Romo, SF RP
185Ervin Santana, Atl SP
200Howie Kendrick, LAA 2B
209Casey Janssen, Tor RP
224Rick Porcello, Det SP
233Anthony Rendon, Wsh 2B
248Taijuan Walker*, Sea SP
257Miguel Montero, Ari C
272Kole Calhoun, LAA OF
281Corey Kluber, Cle SP
296Tim Hudson, SF SP
Overall: The first runner up. His draft was strong top to bottom with only a few hiccups thrown in there, as nobody is perfect. He's got good balance with guaranteed producers, and he has guys who have a chance to make big impacts. Also, he has guys at the back end, including Porcello, Walker, Calhoun, and Kluber who could all take big steps forward this season. This will definitely be a tough team to beat, but not impossible as there is a reason he is not number one.

1. Hott Joe
Bests - 4
Worsts - 1
Ryan Braun, Mil OF  
Evan Longoria, TB 3B  
Joey Votto, Cin 1B  
Justin Upton, Atl OF  
Zack Greinke, LAD SP  
Masahiro Tanaka, NYY SP  
Wilin Rosario, Col C  
Matt Cain, SF SP  
Cole Hamels*, Phi SP  
Chase Utley, Phi 2B  
Jose Abreu, CWS 1B  
Jedd Gyorko, SD 2B  
Danny Salazar, Cle SP  
B.J. Upton, Atl OF  
David Robertson, NYY RP  
Leonys Martin, Tex OF  
Koji Uehara, Bos RP  
Chris Tillman, Bal SP  
Chris Carter, Hou 1B  
Jose Veras, ChC RP  
Mike Moustakas, KC 3B  
Ubaldo Jimenez, Bal SP  
Josh Johnson*, SD SP  
Edwin Jackson, ChC SP  
Derek Jeter, NYY SS 
Overall: Strengths are basically everywhere. The only things to nitpick are the utility spot as Moustakas could be terrible yet again and shortstop where I took Derek Jeter out of indifference. I should probably remedy that, but still, all the other picks were on point. There is some risk, but a lot of high reward players here. This is the team to beat.

And that wraps up everything I have to say about fantasy baseball for the foreseeable future. Time to focus on the NFL Draft.