LET’S GO META!
Long story short, I agreed to be the auctioneer for the 41-year-old Stardust League over Zoom. This is the first time I’ve ever been an auctioneer, the first auction I’ve participated in that took place over Zoom, and I was nervous. It went pretty well. After some early hiccups with the timing and getting everyone familiar with bidding in Chat, we got through about 15 rounds. Not bad!
Only we need to get through 30 rounds. So tonight we’re doing it again, wondering whether teams having less money will help bidding go faster, or make the nomination process more fraught and lengthy.
All in all, things went pretty well, but six hours of Zoom is no picnic. Six more will be no walk in the park. And then Saturday I join pretty much the same group in the Stardust’s sister league, Marshall, as a drafter. Should be a piece of cake, left out in the Macarthur Park too long.
File under For the Love of the Game.
I don’t know about you, but I signed up for The Athletic’s free Cutline tournament run by the NFBC. These are 10 team leagues, you slow draft 42-man rosters, and a few points during the season some teams lower in the standings are eliminated. It’s best ball, which means the game selects your best team each week based on the number of points each player scores. The prizes are subscription extensions from The Athletic and maybe some merch.
What’s a little interesting is the behavior during the slow draft. I found a lot to think about in the early rounds, in best ball you’re constantly weighing reliability versus explosiveness, but as we’ve gotten into the 20s and 30s the conversation has shifted to at-bats and innings pitched versus upside potential. Chances are you’re not going to get much from your 35th middle infielder unless he runs or has homer power.
So, no Miguel Rojas, give me Amed Rosario. Actually, Rosario went two rounds ago while Rojas is still on the board. My last two picks were Mike Foltynewicz and Myles Straw, both of whom could fail this year but have lots of upside if they can make it work.
One other thing. I’ve been on auto-draft for the last 10 rounds. I filled up my queue with my guys, the ones I judge to have game-level upside even if they also have come with reasons to fail. About half the league is on auto, while the other half is taking their time. This means checking in once or twice a day to reset the queue: If the previous rounds were heaving on pitching move up some hitters. It’s good fun, another angle on fantasy baseball thoughts.
NEWS AND NOTES
Fernando Tatis Jr. is hurt! A throw from deep in the hole caused a pain in his shoulder that led to Tatis walking off the field and out of the game. Now it comes out that Tatis has dealt with shoulder issues for years. Jayce Tingler said that Tatis said if it had been the regular season he would have stayed in the game, and that the chronic condition was aggravated by a hard slide into home two weeks ago.
There will be further examination later today, and what we learn could help us decide if this really is minor or something more problematic. If you have Tatit on your team hope for the best, there isn’t much you can do. If your drafts are coming up, unless the news is bad you’re not going to get much of a discount. I would tend to be a little cautious even if the news is mostly good.
Tom Hagerty on Flickr (Original version) 佾珜 (Crop), CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Tom Hagerty on Flickr (Original version) 佾珜 (Crop), CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Zac Gallen is hurt! A sore forearm turned out to be a “hairline stress fracture of his right lateral forearm at the radial head,” the physician Torey Lovullo said. The good news that this isn’t a ligament or tendon or muscle tear. The bad news is that his manager Torey Lovullo said it was a “hairline stress fracture of his right lateral forearm at the radial head,” an injury rare enough that there is no timeline.
Curiously, Gallen is able to throw softly with the injury, but it hurts when he throws breaking balls. It sounds like it’s going to be at least a couple of weeks before he can throw hard, and maybe longer, and then he’ll have to get his arm back to game shape. My guess is he’s out a month, might be a little shorter, could be a lot longer.
Looking at my projection for Gallen, I had him at 179 innings because of the short 2020 season. Now, if I have him missing a month, I cut 30 innings, which brings him to 149. If he was projected for the full 200 innings he would usually have, if he missed a month he would be cut to 165, which would be under his supposed limit even after missing a month. I’m not sure cutting playing time proportionally is right, but we won’t know until we see how teams handle their young pitchers’ workloads.
Will it be fewer innings per game? Or fewer games? That will make a difference.
Steven Brault is hurt. No exclamation point here, though I’d become a tad attached to Brault because he looked good this spring, fired with increased velocity. Alas, last week he had two bad starts, the second lasting only 33 pitches before he was removed with left arm tightness. He’ll be out until the start of June they say.
Aristides Aquino is out of minor league options! Well, maybe that exclamation mark isn’t needed, but if you remember all the way back to August 2019 and Aquino’s arrival in the major leagues you’ll probably add your own. Why the Reds didn’t know this isn’t clear to me, but they didn’t, but now they do, and what it means is they can’t send Aquino (career .838 OPS) to the minors without exposing him to waivers. That makes him more likely to make the team, and either Dee Strange-Gordon or Mike Freeman more likely not to.
Aquino has great power, even as he struggled in September 2019 he hit five homers (after clubbing 14 in his first 100 or so at-bats), and makes enough contact he could be useful as a sub and have a little fantasy value in deep leagues. That’s a big change from being minor-league bound, as he was just yesterday.
In related news, Jose De Leon has an option left, the arbitrator ruled. Despite a less than perfect spring, the former top prospect was expected to make the Reds because he was out of options. Now it’s safe to send him down, to continue getting his game back in shape after years of injury and rehab.
Liam Hendriks is hurt! No worries, kidney stone. He’ll be ready for the start of the season.
I hope all your prep, drafts, and auctions are going well this preseason season. I’m ready to field questions for Friday’s newsletter. Bring them on!
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