FOR those of you who can’t get enough fantasy baseball from your head-to-head league, rotisserie challenge or keeper competition, there is also salary cap fantasy baseball.
The general concept works like stocks and shares. You buy low and sell high.
There are a number of games out there that meet this salary cap ideal where you have a finite budget to assemble your squad and where the players’ values rise and fall throughout the season based on performance and demand.
The one that I will be taking part in this year is the Citizen Sports Salary Cap game on Facebook, as advertised here on the MLB 411. If you have never listened to the show, do it. You’ll love it and you’ll keep coming back for more.
Their blog can be found here. Mike Siano and Cory Schwartz do a great job and you can compete against them as well as Jeffrey Ma through the Facebook page.
If you want to play the game, go to http://apps.facebook.com/salarycap.
Ok, so cheap plugs out of the way, let’s get to the info.
There are a number of schools of thought about how to select your team.
- You can get 2 or 3 of the biggest names in the game such as Johan Santana and Hanley Ramirez and then fill out the rest of the position with a mixture of mid-tier players and affordable scrubs.
- You could focus solely on the 9 hitting positions and then assemble a 5-man pitching staff to the best of your ability with whatever is left.
- Alternatively, you could say that because there are so many hitting spots to fill, you want to get the best 5 pitchers money will buy and then get maybe 1 stud hitter and a bunch of lovable others to round out your team.
- Or you could get the cheapest team money can buy, focusing on value players or those who appear to be underrated. You then sit back and wait for them to put up crazy numbers at which point you can sell them for a massive profit and buy a whole team full of Albert Pujols and CC Sabathias.
Ok, so with that in mind, which way am I swinging? Of course, I’m all about the value and the big ceilings, so I am going to focus on the potential of a host of players and then spend the money I have left over on upgrading some of them.
My thinking is that a ton of people will select the guys like Han Ram. That is fine. But he costs $44m of your $250m budget.
The scoring is based on 1 point for a single, 2 for a double, 3 for a three-bagger and 5 for a home run. You then get an extra point for each run and rbi and 2 points for each steal. You lose 1 point for every 3 outs made.
Let’s consider Hanley then.
Don’t get me wrong, he is a beast. I have him down in my projects to be the 2nd most valuable player in the game behind Pujols.
I have him penciled in to get 177 hits, 38 doubles, 5 triples and 34 home runs. That alone would score him:
100*1 = 100
38*2 = 76
5*3 = 15
34*5 = 170
= 361 points.
Added to that are 104 and 95 rbi for another 199 points, plus a further 50 from 25 projected steals. That all adds up to 610 points. Now, we know Han Ram is going to play every day, so let’s deduct 133 points for his estimated 400 outs.
That gives us a grand projected total of 477. So theoretically, you are getting almost 11 points for every $1m you pay.
Sounds good right?
Why spend $44m on Han Ram when you could get, say, JJ Hardy for $6m?
Hardy has been tearing it up this spring. He will not out-perform Han Ram, but is still very capable of 30 home runs and 80+ rbi and runs. I have Hardy down to score 339 points – a massive 42 points per $1m spent.
With the extra $38m you save, you could almost do anything you wanted. You could get another stud – someone like Grady Sizemore or Roy Hallady.
If you have, for example, just 4 hitters on your roster at $6m who perform well and make $4m of profit each, you could then upgrade another position.
How great would it feel to be doing so well that you could just replace a Billy Butler or Jason Giambi with Pujols at 1B?
With that in mind, here is my cost-effective 2009 batting lineup:
C: Pablo Sandoval
1B: Mike Jacobs
2B: Jose Lopez
3B: Kevin Kouzmanoff
SS: JJ Hardy
OF: Jay Bruce
OF: David DeJesus
OF: Adam Lind
DH: Adam Laroche
This lineup would cost $57m. Pujols would cost you $44m alone!
Of course, depending on your pitching staff which could be equally as cost-effective, you can then make your upgrades.
For example, you could replace Kouzmanoff with Aramis Ramirez ($19m) or David Wright ($42).
Let me know how you would select your team. And let me know if you are taking part in this salary cap game. It would be great to hear your thoughts and to see how different strategies work.
For me, it’s value all the way, with upgrades in the middle tiers.
OK, lets get one thing ironed out before the abuse and haters start jumping on my back…
If you don’t know what I’m on about, see the post directly beneath this. Hint: I compared Mike Jacobs with Mark Teixeira.
So, my disclaimer: Mike Jacobs is not Mark Teixeira. He doesn’t have the Rookie of the Year nomination, his name on an MVP ballot sheet, a home run at an All Star game, a Silver Slugger trophy or a Gold Glove.
But guess what? I am going on record right now as saying he is going to have a good year that will be comparable to Teixeira’s.
And I mean very comparable.
My friend Phil says it won’t be done. That Jacobs will need to have a monster year and that Teix would have to have just an average year to better him.
Here’s 8 predictions that I am making right now and that I will follow throughout the season. I don’t know why people aren’t giving Jacobs the love he deserves. 2009 is his chance to shine and I will be cheering for him all the way.
- Jacobs will hit more than 30 home runs.
- Teix will not hit more than 5 more homers than Jacobs
- Jacobs and Teix will both strike out between 95 and 105 times each.
- Both will score between 85 and 95 runs
- Jacobs will be within 2 per cent of Teixeira in RBI.
- Jacobs will hit more doubles than Teixeira
- Jacobs will not have a season-ending BA of more than 15 points less than Teixeira.
- Teix will celebrate his 29th birthday first.
Oh c’mon give me a break. I had to give myself a fighting chance!
I read a fantastic article yesterday about Scott Boras’ off-season dealings. I had not realised he had already secured more than $340M of done deals this year.
And that is on a dozen players! One of these is admittedly Mark Teixeira, but still.
If Scotty takes his 5 per cent, the guy who wrote the article says Boras will be in line for an amazing $17M. Incredible.
So yeah, Scotty will be able to survive the credit crunch and economic crisis without too many problems.
But it got me thinking about a guy who has been a little overlooked the last few years. A guy who is on just 1.5 per cent of what Teix makes each year.
Here is a gamer who I kinda feel sorry for. And when I say ‘sorry’, I don’t really mean it. He’s still on more in a month than I’m on in a year. He’s ‘champagne poor’ in a world surrounded by the seriously big spenders.
Maybe the blog should actually be called ‘A guy who needs Boras’. Then again, does anyone really need him? I think I’d rather keep my job and my salary than sell my soul to the reaper.
So, let’s look at one man who Boras has helped this offseason. And one who maybe wishes he had his number.
Mike Jacobs ~ $395,000
Summary: The Yanks dropped the GDP of El Salvadore to lock up Teix until 2016 – an average of more than $25M a year until he is 35. Jacobs, a 38th round draft pick, will get just about enough money to buy a 3-bed house in the suburbs of Kansas after being shipped from the Mets to the Fish to the Royals.
I feel for Mike, I really do. Ok, he’s not Teix, but is he that different?
- They are both 1B
- They are both 28 years old
- They both have above average power and below average speed
- They will both hit 30 home runs, drive in 100RBI and strike out 100 times in 2009
- They have spent a similar amount of time on the DL in the last 3 years (Teix 35 days, Jacobs 39)
- Both have an 80 per cent contact rate and 20 per cent line drive rate.
- Teix plays in pinstripes, Jacobs plays in Kansas City.
These statistics are a little misleading, I appreciate that, but there may be some value in them. Basically Teix came into the league as an amazing talent at 23 years old and then built upon his skills over the next 2 years before plateauing somewhat.
Jacobs on the other hand never really developed year-on-year, other than for a spike in his power. He has the upside to bat .290 and hit 38 home runs, but unfortunately he will never get the big bucks he may really be worth.
Last year, the Royals’ entire payroll was $58,245,500, compared to the $201,001,579 the Yankees were able to spend.
But while the Royals won 75 games, the Yanks could only manage 89. To give it some perspective, the Royals effectively paid $775,000 per win while the Bronx Bombers paid more than $2M per W.
In a world where money really does talk, Teixeira and Boras may be cashing in the big paychecks, it’s teams like the Royals who are the real winners for making the most of what they have.
It will not buy them a ring. But it’s a start.