The Rays continued their Spring Training hot streak, defeating the Pirates in Pittsburgh (Bradenton) 8-2. Luke Scott hit a double, and Tim Beckham a double and a triple (and apparently played a mean second base as well). Kelly Johnson started in left field. Was anyone at the game to report how he looked? Jeff Niemann and Jeremy Hellickson both worked scoreless outings, and Alex Torres struck out 3 batters in 1.2 innings of work while walking none. That's about as hopeful a box score as I can imagine.
The Rays will be back home in Port Charlotte to take on the Tigers at 1:05 today (not on TV). Matt Moore will start.
- The Yankees have admitted that they are The Evil Empire, and they're taking whatever legal steps are necessary to protect their brand (because this offseason they haven't taken any baseball steps to protect it). Grant Brisbee describes some other legal proceedings going on around the league. Made me laugh.
- Ricky Romero threw less sinkers last year (while he was being startlingly bad). Apparently, teammate Brandon Morrow popped over to Brooks Baseball and noticed this. Jeff Sullivan isn't sure just throwing more sinkers will fix Romero, but still, it's pretty cool.
- My favorite article of the week is Tom Tango's mostly plain English discussion of The Single Dimension Problem of the Zero Baseline. In plain English, he's mulling over the relationship between production and playing time, and where to set replacement level. The fact that there are players like Jeff Francoeur who are given meaningful amounts of plate appearances, year after year, while producing below replacement level may just mean that what we're using as replacement level is a bit too high.
If you don't yet play Ottoneu fantasy baseball, what are you waiting for? Find yourself a team. If you do, I have some questions for you relating to replacement level.
- When assigning players draft values, to get them to order correctly, you need to set replacement levels (as Tango discusses). Last season was my first draft, and I used as my levels, the average projections of the top 5 unowned players at each position the year previous. After the draft I recalculated, and the numbers were pretty different. Which is right? Also, how much should it change year-to-year?
- A corollary to question one: if the post-draft number is right, how do you generate that pre-draft so that it'll be more useful?
- I made my replacement level off of projections, not real production. The problem is that some amount of breakouts will occur each year and those players will be snatched up during the season. Should those be factored into replacement level?
- Should replacement level be the same in every Ottoneu league, or should it vary between leagues?