I've had a good week. Last weekend I drafted in Tout Wars as I got to see my BFF Jeff Mans and put together a solid fantasy squad to take on the experts. I also witnessed two brawls (click on the link to read about them, you won't be disappointed). I had the good fortune to host an experts draft on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (don't forget my show moves to 7-10 PM EDT starting Monday), got to pound a few too many Irish Coffee's while meeting a really cool gal (so what if she likes ladies), and have a weekend of fun planned before my birthday next week (please send your gifts to The Oracle, P.O. Box …). I'm feeling pretty good (other than my jacked up shin that you read about in the Tout Wars piece). Oh yeah, major league baseball is about ready to kick off too (click on this link to learn about our amazing Fantasy GM In-Season Premium Package. Talk about exciting). Life is good. Not Miggy Cabrera good, more on that in a second, but good. I'll happily bring the mood down a bit by bashing folks in shallow leagues, ponder why so many hurlers are getting hurt, and then close up with my 10 Bold Predictions for the 2014 baseball season.
Miguel Cabrera had two years and $44 million left on his contract. So of course the Tigers ponied up an eight year extension of $248 million bringing his contract up to 10 years and $292 million. Oh yeah, there are also two vesting options at the end of the deal for $30 million a year so he could get paid $352 million over the next 12 years.
Miguel Cabrera will turn 31 years old in about three weeks.
There are massive mistakes, and then there are brain dead, colossal, I'm one of the 14 dumbest people on the planet type of things... and this is one of those decisions.
Cabrera is old. Paying $30 million a year to a player in his 40's is asinine.
Cabrera has a body built for laying on the couch, not hitting line drives at 40.
Cabrera is a slow footed first baseman. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the only first baseman to earn $150 million in value, according to WAR, from ages 33-40 was Johnny Mize. Remember, Cabrera just got paid TWICE that.
Cabrera has well chronicled issues off the field with alcohol.
Will these teams every learn? Hey Yankees, how did that $275 million deal work out with Alex Rodriguez?
Another diddy from Passan...
Since Cory Luebke's Tommy John surgery on Feb. 18, 10 more players have torn their UCLs, including the latest, D-backs RP David Hernandez.
This situation is simply getting obnoxious. Virtually no pitcher is immune to tearing his UCL and heading to the operating room for TJ surgery. It's almost a foregone conclusion that a pitcher will have to have the procedure at some point in his career. Makes you wonder doesn't it? Players are better trained than ever before. Players use video and coaching to hone their craft at a rate never previously seen. Yet they are always hurt. If you have a moment it might be instructive to read this list of yearly top-10's in innings pitched. Last year Adam Wainwright led baseball with 241.2 innings pitched. In 1988 that mark wouldn't have been in the top-10.
Velocity is up, training is up and injuries are up.
Maybe there is something to be said for not throwing 97 mph and being able to bench press 300 lbs.
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I say this every day on my SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio Show (we move to 7-10 PM EDT on Monday), but let me put it to virtual paper: CHALLENGE YOURSELF.
Look I'm old and grumpy. Well, I'm actually neither, but I can act like a 75 year old man at times. What sets me off? Odd scoring systems and setups – I'm in a $273.50 auction league... I mean who does that?
More than the issues with the salaries we pay for players – and folks if you don't know the “standard” is $260 – the thing that has been bothering me a ton lately are all those of you out there that are playing in 10 team leagues. 'But Ray I only have nine other friends...” I understand that sometimes 10 person leagues are what need to happen. Fine, do a 10 team league. But this is what gets me – people do 10 team leagues with one catcher and three outfielders. Why bother? Let me explain.
The STANDARD setup for fantasy baseball is:
14 hitters (C, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, CI, 5 OF, UT)
9 pitchers (can be any combination of starters and relievers)
No matter what size league you are in this is the minimum you should have for your starting lineup.
Take those 23 players and multiply that number by 12 (the standard for team size in a league) and you end up with 276 starting players.
If you do a 10 team league with 27 rounds you're rostering six fewer players than are starting in 12 team leagues!
Anyone can pick up a #3 at a bar. OK, well not anyone, but most of us can. I'm not saying you have to run after the hottest gal you've ever seen, but at least challenge yourself to find someone, and a fantasy baseball league, in the upper half.
Challenge yourself. Even if you don't have a 20 person league, add more spots to your starting lineup, extend your bench, do something so that every team just doesn't autodraft and still have an all-star squad.
For the hell of it – my gnome video.
On the eve of the 2014 season really getting underway – I'm not counting that dumb Australian trip – here are 10 off the wall predictions from The Oracle.
1 Billy Hamilton will fail to steal 50 bases.
2 Jose Fernandez will not finish the year as a top-15 starting pitcher.
3 Mike Trout will not finish the 2014 season as the top fantasy performer. He won't finish in the top-10.
4 Taijuan Walker will outperform Yordano Ventura.
5 Alex Rios will be a more productive fantasy player than Adam Jones.
6 One of this trio of outfielders will go 20/20: Michael Saunders, Justin Ruggiano & Chris Young.
7 One of the following relievers will saves 30 games: Cody Allen, Junichi Tazawa, Francisco Rodriguez.
8 Johnny Cueto will outperform Michael Wacha, Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka.
9 Tim Lincecum will win 15 games while striking out 190 batters. What, you thought I would leave him out?
10 B.J. Upton will go at least 15/25.
Finally, Kyle Elfrink and I talk predictions.