I don’t understand this at all

DMZ · February 5, 2009 at 8:38 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

A couple of readers have pointed us to the ESPN Battle of the Budgets, now through 20 rounds, in which the conceit is that there are four GMs drafting anyone in the majors or minors with a total payroll of $40m for a series of head-to-head seven game series using DMB. Presumably they’re going to use DMB’s projections, since you can draft anyone anywhere.

Yay off-season content! Anyway, so obviously, the one player you want on the M’s at his salary next year if you’re trying to build is Felix, right? A bargain at $3.8m, especially when you consider how much some of the guys ahead of him cost. Cole Hamels went at #12 overall for a little more money (to Stark).

Steve Phillips — and I know, it’s Steve Phillips — took Ervin Santan for more money at #22. Olney took Cliff Lee for more money at #34. Phillips took Papelbon at #59!

Steve Phillips, by the way, should find a way to come in fifth in this competition.

I get that with 40m, trying to fill 25m rosters, you’re almost better off drafting 24 near-league-minimum guys no one’s heard of and then Pujols. And that with only four GMs, this isn’t all that insightful (consider that on average, they’ve still only taken two players per MLB franchise… and will end up having taken three).

I’m just not getting where Felix doesn’t jump the line ahead of some of these others.

Or, to put it this way, I’ll bet I could draft 25 guys on the board right now and beat Steve Phillips’ team.

SP: Felix $3.8m, Brett Cecil, Blue Jays, $400k, Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, $400k (?), Max Scherzer, Diamondbacks, $400k, Kevin Slowey, ~$500k
C: Pablo Sandoval, Giants, $400k (or Jeff Clement!)
1B: Micah Hoffpauir, Cubs, $400k (wince) or Logan Morrison, Florida ($400k) (Chris Davis went at #80 to Neyer!)
2B: Matt Antonelli, Padres $400k
SS: Brandon Hicks, Atlanta $400k
3B: Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals ~$600k (how can he not have gone higher?)
LF: Chase Headley, Padres, $400k
CF: Adam Jones, Orioles, $400k
RF: Jay Bruce, Reds, $400k

There you go. I’ve spent $9m and have $31m remaining, and it’ll take at least $4.4m to fill all the remaining spots. I take Pujols because he’s awesome, or Ichiro because he’s awesome and it’ll annoy everyone else, and I’m gold.

I’m counting, obviously, on DMB coming through with some nice projections here. It’s pretty obvious that none of the four owners are willing to risk this. We could probably do better with a lot more effort.


50 Responses to “I don’t understand this at all”

  1. DMZ on February 5th, 2009 8:43 pm

    Here’s my strategy if you’re starting from the top: depth is pretty much irrelevant, though you’ll get a nice bench no matter what. And you’ll be able to come up with a cheap bullpen because no matter what anyone picks you can go through the minors and pick the next six guys with crazy K rates.

    So spend everything on your nine starting positions and starting pitchers. Then blow your next couple of picks on super glove guys to cover any deficiencies and potential platoon partners, because DMB loves platoons.

  2. NBarnes on February 5th, 2009 8:47 pm

    How did Justin Upton last until round 20?

  3. DMZ on February 5th, 2009 8:52 pm

    I know!

  4. joser on February 5th, 2009 8:52 pm

    Isn’t this pretty much how the Marlins FO works in real life?

  5. spliffbowl on February 5th, 2009 8:56 pm

    Matt Wieters plays catcher.

  6. DMZ on February 5th, 2009 9:02 pm


  7. HerseyChris on February 5th, 2009 9:45 pm

    Wait, so apparently this happened:
    45. Jayson Stark selects Matt Thornton (P, Chicago White Sox, $1,325,000)

    Before Felix. Really? Thornton before Felix? And he’s not even for the league minimum.

    Sometimes its best to just not read ESPN. No point in getting frustrated over nothing.

  8. Conor on February 5th, 2009 9:45 pm

    Yeah, there are a lot of head scratchers. You wouldn’t even have to go with Brandon Hicks for SS. Stephen Drew ($1,500,000), Troy Tulowitzki ($750,000), Jed Lowrie ($400,000) and Alcides Escobar ($400,000) are all still available.

    And, FWIW, I actually like Phillips’ team over Olney’s.

  9. Axtell on February 5th, 2009 9:54 pm

    Don’t exercises like this just further prove how little Phillips actually knows about being a GM, and why he’s not held a job as a GM since being fired by the Mets?

    This type of draft is only meant to give the impression that the baseball ‘experts’ at ESPN know what they are doing to the average viewer. Those of us who realize how ridiculous they are know better.

    ESPN is the McDonalds of sports reporting. Cheaply available but terrible for you.

  10. spliffbowl on February 5th, 2009 10:13 pm

    While I agree that a large majority of ESPN writers seemingly know less than the average ussmariner reader, I don’t think it’s fair to Rob Neyer or Keith Law to slam ESPN in entirety.

  11. Goob on February 5th, 2009 10:28 pm

    I love how Phillips keeps mentioning “hey, I drafted him in real life!” every time such a player is selected.

    Or better yet, this gem from him on day 3: “..this draft process is killing me. I wanted to make all 25 of my picks in 15 minutes. It’s affecting my judgment.”

    Yes, that’s your Achilles’ heel, Steve. Too much time.

  12. Ruuupe on February 5th, 2009 10:38 pm

    Someone actually asked about Felix to Jayson Stark yesterday in a chat on ESPN. Here is Mr. Stark’s answer:

    No way Felix slips through this draft. But remember, he was arbitration eligible this year, so it wasn’t like he was a half-million-dollar bargain-binner.

    I’m not sure I quite get that answer, but that is the official story anyway.

  13. Tom C on February 5th, 2009 10:45 pm

    As bad a GM as Phillips may have been, actually wasn’t Bavasi worse?
    He’s hamstrung us seriously for yet several years to come. (loss of young talent like Jones, the Silva disaster)

    I’m also surprised by the Felix exclusion. Bang for the buck, the guy should be near the top.
    And you’d think that since Phillips picked the Ms to win the AL West last year, he at least knows Felix exists.
    (After posting, saw the Stark explanation above. Still, very weird….)

    DMZ’s team is very cool. Love the Pujols or Ichiro pick.

  14. rlharr on February 5th, 2009 10:47 pm

    The thing that really bugs me about this contest is that they are doing it as if to say, “Hey, look how cheaply you can build a good team!” They even say, in their little intro, that they wanted to see if it was possible to compete on a San Diego Padres budget.

    Well, as Derek points out, this exercise is completely unrealistic, indeed, anybody who doesn’t come out of this exercise with a team better than the Yankees has done a really poor job.

    And secondly, it’s just been proved that a team can compete on a Padres budget – didn’t they watch the World Series? What was the Ray’s payroll?

  15. cfolson on February 5th, 2009 10:47 pm

    Felix has a reputation with Baseball Prospectus (well, Will Carroll anyway) as being injury prone. Actually, I doubt the people drafting these teams follow Will, but worth mentioning. (Actually, Will rates all five Mariners starters this year – Hernandez, Bedard, Washburn, Morrow, and Rowland-Smith – as being high-risk for injury.)

  16. spliffbowl on February 5th, 2009 10:49 pm

    I would be really surprised if Neyer does not read BP.

  17. NBarnes on February 5th, 2009 10:55 pm

    Felix not being drafted by now is significantly more inexplicable than J. Upton lasting until the 20th round. And WTF is with Tulowitzski’s exclusion? One injury-lost season and all of a sudden he’s yesterday’s news?

  18. mark s on February 5th, 2009 11:35 pm

    DMZ, you missed the ESPN rule: Draft only “proven” guys with “national name recognition”.

    It would be great to see a fantasty baseball draft between LL/USSM authors.

  19. DMZ on February 5th, 2009 11:51 pm

    Dave, btw, is one of the greatest team-building fantasy owners I’ve ever seen at work. It’s scary to watch. I play DMB and tend to be really, really good at rebuilding — I’ll put together a .500 team with long-term potential in no time, because I’m obsessed with things like building optimal platoons and finding two catchers who can combine to steal 15-20 bases. But Dave… seriously, if he takes over a franchise in a league you’re in, you should just quit. If LABR was played with a good simulator instead of roto-style, I would pay a very large sum of money to follow Dave versus Jonah Keri. It’d be awesome.

  20. mark s on February 6th, 2009 12:14 am

    Reading the ESPN mock-draft really makes me want Felix to “win” 25 games this year just to stick to the “experts”.

    Thanks DMZ, I will be sure to check to see if Dave is playing if I ever play a fantasy team. I agree, Dave vs Keri would be a neat season to watch.

  21. Jared on February 6th, 2009 5:28 am

    I’m not 100% positive, but I think the game that they are playing is a little different than you are used to. I think its based off of ’08 results, with a playing time cap put in place. So for example if you draft Chris Dickerson, he’s a .304/.413/.608 quality hitter who plays a slightly above average centerfield. But then after his 102 ab’s are gone he turns into a pumpkin. At least that’s how the ’09 game that they are pushing over at imaginesports.com works currently.
    Still though, Phillips is a tool and Felix is a nice bargain – despite the fact that he is coded as prone.

  22. Mere Tantalisers on February 6th, 2009 6:30 am

    Felix is on the fringe of fame, and these guys write for a national publication read by fans who like seeing the face of their franchise mentioned in print. Give them a break – they are working under constraints beyond the $40 cap.

    Also, I have a quick question. I have never used DMB; how does it value/evaluate player defense? I played some Baseball Mogul and it was pretty silly what some of the player ratings were. I’ve checked out OOTPB but couldn’t really get into it. Anyhow, my point is with Adam Jones do you get the superb glove as well as the ~average bat?

  23. DMZ on February 6th, 2009 7:21 am

    That’s a terrible, terrible argument.

  24. DMZ on February 6th, 2009 7:21 am

    I’m not 100% positive, but I think the game that they are playing is a little different than you are used to. I think its based off of ‘08 results, with a playing time cap put in place.


  25. Carson on February 6th, 2009 7:39 am

    Thank you, Derek.

    I’ve literally been rocking in the corner over here, twitching, wanting to post about this. But, it’d be off-topic and all.

    The fire has died down a bit, so let me just ask this: How much of this crap is staged to entertain the every day fan, who wants to see their beloved Papelbon get picked?

    I mean, Steve Phillips… ran a baseball team once, right? C’mon, I’m fishing for some sort of hope that these guys don’t really think this way.

  26. the other benno on February 6th, 2009 8:49 am

    The final rounds are up now, Neyer picked Felix in the 23rd round.

  27. BrianV on February 6th, 2009 9:21 am

    Can I just say that my heart skipped a beat when I read the headline in my rss feed? Then I remembered that our GM isn’t an idiot, but I was still apprehensive.

    Years of conditioning have led me to expect a headline like the above with the story being “Felix traded for Mark Grace and a bowl of spiders.”

  28. everett on February 6th, 2009 9:25 am

    Seriously, you guys should put together an LL/USSM version of this, and watch how much you kill the ESPN teams. Your 4 teams (Jeff, Matthew, Dave and Derek?) against their 4. It’d be an epic slaughter.

  29. cowabunga on February 6th, 2009 9:34 am

    Based on my understanding of the Battle of the Budgets, they play one semi-final game, one championship game, and then the winner plays a seven game series against the Yankees. With that in mind, doesn’t this setup make the #4 and #5 starters more or less irrelevant? Buster filled out his entire rotation (if Joba is considered a starter) with his first 9 picks. With Felix going as late as round 23, that strategy just seems silly.

  30. the other benno on February 6th, 2009 10:09 am

    My understanding from Neyer’s chat the other day was that during the draft they thought they would be playing a full 162 game season (the drafts were done 2 weeks ago), but later it was decided to just run a tournament format.

  31. JJD on February 6th, 2009 10:12 am

    they thought they would be playing a full 162 game season (the drafts were done 2 weeks ago), but later it was decided to just run a tournament format.

    Smaller sample sizes help hide the lack of competence.

  32. JSully on February 6th, 2009 10:12 am

    Buster Olney and Steve Phillips, post-draft:

    “Buster Olney: I just realized why Steve is so animated: His outfielders will have to play defense in Petco. Good luck with that, pal. Maybe you can pick up Garry Maddox on the waiver wire, in between doubles falling in the gap.

    Steve Phillips: First, let me say that I am glad the trash talking has caught on. Second, there will be no balls in the gaps since my pitchers all get ground balls and strikeouts. With my bullpen, it really becomes a four-inning game.”

    Ummm, no. The career GB/FB and K/9 ratios for Steve Phillips starting rotation:

    Jon Lester (1.21, 6.5)
    Ricky Nolasco (0.93, 7.13)
    Ervin Santana (0.56!, 7.39)
    Matt Garza (1.07, 6.60)
    Gavin Floyd (1.07, 6.29)

    So three of his starters give up an even split of GB/FB, one is an extreme flyball pitcher and only Lester can be considered an above-average groundballer. And none of them are exactly blowing guys away.

    I know it’s Steve Phillips, which is like shooting fish in a barrel that has no water in it, but does he even glance at a player’s stats before saying things?

    And everett: Neyer’s team is pretty good. Getting Pedroia and Sizemore 1-2 was smart, plus his late moves were brilliant (Felix and Chris Davis in the last few rounds, plus Jerry Blevins is Hideki Okajima for 25% of the price).

  33. Broadcast James on February 6th, 2009 10:18 am

    Well at least the ESPN graphics guy choose Felix as one of four guys to feature in the teaser image. (also: Bell, Floyd, Rollins)

  34. TranquilPsychosis on February 6th, 2009 10:20 am

    Based on my understanding of the Battle of the Budgets, they play one semi-final game, one championship game, and then the winner plays a seven game series against the Yankees

    They’re all 7 game series.

    I wonder what DMB will do if Olney makes it to the final. Could it allow Chamberlain to play for both teams? Or will it cause some major global combustion?

  35. dchappelle on February 6th, 2009 10:41 am

    A ridiculous game. You’d be better off choosing 6-year only players and setting a higher budget. At least then it would seem like it made some sense.

  36. cowabunga on February 6th, 2009 10:54 am

    Ok ok well even if each series is 7 games, how does the simulation factor in the #4 and #5 starters? Would it have them start games 4 and 5 and then go back to the top for game 6, or do those guys just become essentially long relievers like a traditional series? Does anyone know?

  37. DMZ on February 6th, 2009 10:57 am

    Also, DMB doesn’t do a particularly good job of GB/FB or pitcher-independent stats, frankly.

  38. Osfan on February 6th, 2009 11:31 am

    I think it is unfair to group Neyer in with the rest of the guys. He generally writes excellent (and relevant) columns. He immediately got how poor a move KC’s Bloomquist signing was. He also references FanGraphs from time to time, so he must be in general agreement with the work done there. Plus, I think he put together a decent team. The whole simulation seems pretty pointless, though, if the simulator isn’t realistic.

  39. skyking162 on February 6th, 2009 11:56 am

    Over at BtB we’re going to run a 12-team league with 25 players, a $60MM cap, and use WAR as the scoring system. Keep an eye out for the announcement later today or tomorrow if interested.

  40. BLYKMYK44 on February 6th, 2009 11:57 am

    While the team above might be a better team in real life. The GMs are constrained to how the simulation will work with the stats. Therefore, I think it is pretty safe to assume that it would be smarter (in this situation) to try and draft players with “proven track records”

    That still does not justify some of their picks though.

  41. BLYKMYK44 on February 6th, 2009 11:58 am

    To follow up on my last comment…I’m sure that some of the guys took players to try and “prove how smart they are”…anyone who plays fantasy sports has encountered owners who would rather get the diamond in the rough and be smart then actually win the league.

  42. sass on February 6th, 2009 1:07 pm

    Espn isn’t all bad. I happen to know that Dan Patrick reads this blog, as he referenced it once about mid-season trades. He’s the reason I first visited and have been reading for threeish years.

  43. jvalentine on February 6th, 2009 1:46 pm

    Dan patrick is no longer with espn. He now writes with Sports Illustrated and hosts NBC’s NFL Show on Sunday Nights.

  44. JWay on February 6th, 2009 2:21 pm

    I love Out of the Park Baseball, however it doesn’t offer a whole lot in a replay, its a great game for some fictional baseball worlds. It pretty good stuff.

  45. msb on February 6th, 2009 3:27 pm

    you guys should put together an LL/USSM version of this, and watch how much you kill the ESPN teams. Your 4 teams (Jeff, Matthew, Dave and Derek?) against their 4. It’d be an epic slaughter.

    I have to say, I’d find that very entertaining.

  46. NBarnes on February 6th, 2009 4:21 pm

    Do you prefer OOTP, Derek? I just got into an online league for OOTP.

  47. sass on February 6th, 2009 5:05 pm

    Right. Does he no longer have his radio show, too? I thought that was on ESPN radio. I could be mistaken; I haven’t listened in a long time.

  48. Breadbaker on February 6th, 2009 5:15 pm

    I think Dan Patrick’s current radio show is on Fox Sports Radio, which is what KJR has during the non-local hours now. I don’t think he’s on there live, but their overnight show is a pastiche of stuff from the daytime, so you might catch him on it once in awhile.

  49. diderot on February 6th, 2009 6:41 pm

    seriously, if he takes over a franchise in a league you’re in, you should just quit.

    Well, has Dave ever considered that some of us fantasy players would be glad to pay U.S. dollars for some of his insights?

  50. wickethewok on February 6th, 2009 7:12 pm

    I don’t get how Wieters hasn’t been taken yet.

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