Baseball Baseball BASEBALL!

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If draft day is like Christmas morning when we were kids, Opening Day is Thanksgiving: an all-day delicious feast of baseball, the comfort food sport. It's my second-favorite day of the year, though I understand if the births of your children bump it down a spot in your personal power rankings. (Draft day remaining number one, of course.)

Major League Baseball, led by the spry, shake-it-up New Yawk street tough Rob Manfred, returned Opening Day to its former glory this year -- no ESPN night game the day before, no games in Japan the week before -- just a full schedule with every team in action. (The Reds postponed their opener with the Nationals because they are cowards, so we'll have to wait until Friday for the one true ballplayer Scooter Gennett to get his uniform dirty.)

Any other day of the year, I'd get on a soapbox and argue that March 29 is way too early to start the season, that a bunch of day games on a Thursday is a dumb business decision, that 162 games is too many, and on and on. But not today. No complaints today ... unless you're relying on New Jersey Transit.

Use The League Spreadsheet!

Before we get into a few storylines and some fun links, a friendly reminder: The league spreadsheet has a wealth of (sortable!) information:

  • Salary cap values
  • Color-coded, sortable draft recap
  • Every transaction/league activity (only the most recent 1,000 are available on ESPN)
    • In the 18 days we've been able to make add/drops, just 2.83% of our collective FAAB has been spent.
  • Keeper values
  • Daily standings
  • Full projection totals for every category
  • Available draft dates
  • ... and more!

Preseason Projected Standings

Another set of data in the league spreadsheet is the Preseason Projected Standings. Take a look at the table below, then I will lecture you on why it doesn't matter.

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To come up with this data, I totaled the ESPN projections for each roster as of March 28. This is obviously a crude and unreliable way to predict the future, and I'm not just saying that because the Rimcast boys are bringing it up the rear. A few reasons why we shouldn't put too much stock into these numbers:

  • I included bench players in the projections, and we don't all have the same number of benched hitters and pitchers. 
  • We also included DL slotsESPN doesn't update projections for players recently placed on the disabled list.
  • Projecting wins is dumb, and projecting saves is even dumber! Dominic Leone and Luke Gregerson are each projected for 18 saves but the Cardinals just signed Greg Holland. Cam Bedroisan is projected for the most saves on the Angels and now he's not even owned. 
  • Everyone knows ESPN projections are for chumps. True juggernauts like myself (projected for last place) use more sophisticated models. 
  • The difference between the highest projected AVG (0.278) and lowest (0.266) is about 80 hits over the course of the year, or about 2 hits every five days. It won't take much to shift this sand, and the same applies to ERA and WHIP.
  • Related to that, in last year's final standings the difference between the highest AVG (0.277) and lowest (0.249) was much greater than these projections.
  • With our reduced starts limit, more strikeouts (and wins ... and hopefully bad ERA and WHIP days) from starters will be left on the bench than ever before.
  • Matt and Casey are projected to finish first. I mean come on!

These numbers aren't completely worthless, however. They do give us a good idea of where we stand relative to other owners. My team doesn't have much power, while Kyle is loaded in that department -- that's a fact. And really, the main reason to put these numbers together is for historical reference: How accurate are ESPN's projections? How much impact do our daily moves have on the standings? Who truly drafted well and who drafted poorly? Folks,, we'll find out. 

Links and Vids

Yahoo: A's lose second prized young pitcher to Tommy John surgery this week

You hate to see this. Wash grad A.J. Puk was the A's top prospect with an outside shot at cracking the rotation this year before this news. Silver lining: Puk probably would have needed this surgery years before signing a $4 million deal if Randy Matthews were in the dugout.

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Wired: The Yankees Got In Trouble Over A Beer Foam Printer

"It mostly has to do with the players’ union and marketing. Any time a player’s name or face is used on a product, the MLBPA has to get its slice of the pie. Typically, that means things like hats, shirts, and jerseys… but the rules would probably extend to beers, too."

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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a walk-off solo homer to win the Blue Jays' final spring training game in Montreal

We end with maybe the only memorable hit in the history of spring training. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the game tied 0-0, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. mashed one over the fence in front from the same batter's box where his father dug out a Hall of Fame career in front of an electric Montreal crowd.

Guerrero Jr., just 19 years old, swings exactly like his dad. At the moment he primarily plays third base, but could move to first before making the bigs, which means we won't see any more absurd cannon shots from a blue-uniformed Guerrero in a Canadian outfield. But if he's anything like his pops then we're in for a treat for the next 15 years.

Last year, as one of the youngest players in full-season baseball, he had a .425 on-base percentage. With Shohei Ohtani already on a Major League Roster and Ronald Acuna set to make his debut in a few weeks, Guerrero is probably the top-rated prospect in baseball. Here are some adorable photos of little Vladdy Jr. in an Expos uni: 

  Did You Know?  Vladimir Guerrero Jr. portrayed a young Biggie in the  "Sky's The Limit" video .

Did You Know? Vladimir Guerrero Jr. portrayed a young Biggie in the "Sky's The Limit" video.

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In the next update:

  • How Will Matt and Casey Fare?
  • Can AB Three-Peat?
  • Will Rim Quit It With The Aaron Judge Downplay?
  • Which College Football Program Will Ols Be?
Tim