Chatting with Jason Collette

As many of you know, Jason Collette is a pretty good friend of the DRB staff - so much so that he helped with our season preview guide, a notable member of the Rays' fan community, and one of the authors at Roto Junkie. You can't meet a better guy, and that, along with his obvious expertise in the fantasy realm, is why I asked if he'd join us for an interview. The results are after the jump.

R.J.: Tout Wars, what are they, and why did Sam Walker find it so important to shed some light on them?

Collette: Tout Wars was started in 1998 by Ron Shandler to bring together the industry experts so they could all "tout" their theories, advice, and projections. It gave readers and fans a way to see how the experts slugged it out against one another during the season. Sam Walker wanted to see what fantasy baseball was all about and figured that the only way to do it was to bite off more than he could chew and take a swing at the big boys right out of the gate. His book, Fantasyland, is a MUST read. I read it on one cross-country flight and spent a lot of time laughing. Sam went from never playing fantasy baseball to winning the AL Tout League the following season. How did he do it? Read his book

R.J.: The Tout Wars draft is in March, where can we follow your progress?

Collette: Access to Tout standings, drafts, and in-season moves are made available to anyone who wants to follow along at www.toutwars.com

R.J.: We've had this discussion in private, but if Carl Crawford is ever going to have a "power" year, it's this year, right?

Collette: Most guys start to achieve their statistical prime between the ages of 26 and 31. Crawford is 26 to start this season, so now is his time. A good metric to measure power potential is Linear Weighted Power, and if you run the numbers, you'll see that 2007 was Crawford's best year in that category. Had he not been hurt last year, people would probably have noticed it but his surface stats hide it. His days of 50+ steals may be over, but I think he has a 20+ homer season coming this year if he stays healthy.*

R.J.: Where would you rank Carlos Pena amongst first basemen?

Collette: I think he can be a top 10 1B this year. He isn't going to win any batting titles,but his power is real and he has a good chance of driving in 100+ with the guys in front of him. Pena's batting average is the only thing that is holding him back from being a top 5 first baseman.

R.J.: If readers have the chance to pick up prospects in their keeper league which Ray should they focus on; Evan Longoria or David Price?

Collette: Always go with the hitter. I think both are going to be very good players, but Longoria plays the new sexy fantasy position. 5-7 years ago, everyone was chasing shortstops and arguing who was better: Jeter, A-Rod, Nomar, or Tejada? It seems comical to think back to that, but those were some heated debates back in the day. Now, it is all about third base. Wright, Braun, A-Rod, Cabrera, etc. If you are in an AL league, 3B is very thin after A-Rod, Cabrera, and Figgins are off the board. It is not impossible for Longoria to finish top 5 at his position in his rookie season where as Price may not even get that opportunity this year.

R.J.: With so many fantasy sites and guides out there, what separates
RotoJunkie's offering from the pack?

Collette: Community feeling. Rotojunkie was created in 1998 by 2 guys needing an HTML project for school. It has grown to have nearly 1 million unique posts in the last 10 years. A good portion of our regular posters have been around for nearly the entire time and enjoy discussing fantasy sports as well as other non-fantasy topics. If someone comes in seeking advice, they're going to get quick responses from the community and most of the responses will be well-explained with supporting data. Our overall goal at Rotojunkie is to be the everyday guy's fantasy site - as if you were talking sports at your local bar.

R.J.: You're not a big fan of Jhonny Peralta, why is that?

Collette: For one, he can't spell. Jhonny?  C'mon. Atually, prior to the 2003 season, I spent a lot of time hyping him up to the Rotojunkie community but he disappointed. My biggest problem with him is his inconsistency. He has a huge 2005 season, only to digress across the board in a big way in 2006. He bounced back in 2007, but what can we expect this year? He has shown little improvement in his ability to make contact, which is always going to hold his batting average down. For all of his talent as a 25 year old last year, he barely out-performed Alex Gonzalez. Most people think Alex
Gonzalez and develop a "meh" thought in their head, yet statistically, very little separated Gonzalez and Peralta last year.

R.J.: As a UCF alumn, I must ask you to fill in the blank: Kevin Smith is a ___.

Collette: smart man. 450 carries is abusive. He should have said he was leaving prior to the Liberty Bowl and nobody would have been as upset as they were once he changed his mind. You can always go back and get your degree but you only have so many carries in your legs. Best of luck to him, but part of me really would have liked to have him next year while UCF takes on Miami, Boston College, and USF for their out-of-conference schedule in 2008. *

R.J.: What baseball sites do you scope daily?

Collette: Everything is through my GoogleReader. If you don't have a RSS feed reader, get one already! I have a ton of sites in there. Draysbay of course, mlbtraderumors, Baseball Musings, The Hardball Times, Baseball Analysts, Beyond the Boxscore, SkyKing162, BP's Baseball Unfiltered are some of my favorites. Seriously, if you don't have a RSS (really simple syndication) reader, set  one up  now. They're free, and it is the best way to stay in touch with the wealth of baseball knowledge out there. *

R.J: I understand you have a BP radio date this Friday, how great is Will Carroll, and do you know the topics you'll be discussing yet?

Collette: Yep, recording on Friday morning. Will is great - we've traded e-mails a few times in the past about injuries after I read his book, Saving the Pitcher (another must get). I've had 2 SLAP lesion surgeries so I wanted to know a little more about the changes in rehab from that surgery as it is not quite the death sentence it was for pitchers just 5 years back. I got to meet him at last year's BP session at The Trop as well. I have no idea what we're talking about yet but it will probably be my penchant for focusing on rookies and other youngsters in fantasy drafts and what advice I can share with others about doing that.

R.J.: How big is the guide, how much, and when can we purchase it?  

Collette: The Fantasy Fix is 100% online - it contains projections, dollar values, advice, and full writeups of major league players as well as the minors. I do the minor league portion - a Top 10 for each organization with stats and write-ups, a Top 100 list, and a positional grid that can come in handy on draft day. I color code the players so you can get a quick glance at who is a must draft in 2008 (green), a 'draftable, but' player (yellow), or a 'draft if you must fill a roster spot' (red) guy. We'll be adding and updating content throughout Spring Training and you'll have good access to the writers so you can compliment or criticize to your heart's content. The guide becomes available on 2/18, is $15 and can be accessed by clicking on a link at the rotojunkie.com homepage. We take the funds raised and throw it right back into the site. It is the only thing we charge for at Rotojunkie as we take pride in being one of the few remaining sites that do no require a subscription to get the most benefit from the site. As the movie said, we're in it for the love of the game.

Again visit RotoJunkie and buy the guide, it's worth it!

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