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Non-Roster Race 2012 - Week 2

Two weeks ago, I debuted the non-roster invitee fantasy challenge. Prices moved a fair amount last week. What happened after the first whole week with the whole team in camp?

PEDs and Integrity

I will only reference the above video of Ryan Braun's press conference yesterday. Other people feature more from anonymous sources, but a) I don't have any sources of my own, and b) I want to do my part to respect the confidentiality supposedly engrained in the drug testing process. Ryan Braun's press conference is clearly public, so I take it as fair game.

International Draft Dangers

Image from ONT Design
I love the twitter feed FirstWorldPains. It churns out quality one-liner after quality one-liner about the difficulties of life here in the first world. Picking clothes, remote controls, browser updates - the first world life features all sorts of places where nuisances pop up, and FirstWorldPains keeps me informed of all these. I highly recommend following the feed.

Truth be told, FirstWorldPains appeals to me partly because it balances my work. Believe it or not, one reason I do not post more frequently on the Musings is because I work (hope you were sitting down for that one), and my work has nothing to do with baseball (really hope you were sitting down at this point). I am an AmeriCorps volunteer in Tacoma, and part of my service includes weekly trainings at the Northwest Leadership Foundation.* The trainings often delve into serious issues around social justice. My mind's eye can easily look at the world around me and be overpowered by anguish. FirstWorldPains brings a biting, understated humor that keeps me afloat amid the issues I think about these days.

*Yes, these are shout-outs. You could find worse places to donate and feel good about yourself.

Parity in professional sports is a bona fide first world pain. I don't like that the Mariners have less to spend than the Rangers and Angels, but no matter the M's disadvantages I have food, a place to sleep, and all that fundamental stuff. Major League Baseball values parity though, and continues to take steps towards fostering it. Notably, the MLB and MLBPA ratified a new Collective Bargaining Agreement this winter with restrictions to slot bonuses in the draft, and the framework for an international draft in the near future. The hope is that the weakest MLB franchises have the best chances to sign the best amateur talent in the world, thus improving parity.

The CBA impacts more than parity though. Issues arise when first world pains meet other world realities.

Non-Roster Race 2012 - Week 1

Last week I debuted the non-roster invitee fantasy challenge. Let's check in on their prices after a whole week of bullpen sessions! Here are the non-roster invitees and their prices (players listed in alphabetical order, according to last name):

Classic Card: '96 Upper Deck Bichette

I don't have time for a long post. But I do have time to pass along my favorite baseball card growing up:

photo from

This is Dante Bichette's 1996 Upper Deck card. There are three things I love about this card:

Non-Roster Race 2012 - Opening Prices

Spring training is here! I always like to write a post for the start of spring training, but I've always struggled to come up with an interesting angle.

Not so this year.

Well, maybe interesting is a stretch. Unique is certainly an appropriate word. This is one of the nerdiest things I've done, but I am excited to see how it plays out.

I present to you the basis for fantasy spring training. It is built off the concept behind fantasy sports stock market games, but with a couple twists.

Dumpster Diving for Depth

Spring training is almost here, which should make it easier to find things to write about. I've also had commitments in "real life" keeping me from the blog, but I am not sure it would have made much of a difference with all the non-activity the last few weeks from the Mariners.

Without any moves to talk about, I'm going to make some up to discuss. There are still some free agents out on the market, and the Mariners still have some places where I would like to see even more depth. When there is free depth to be had, why not add it, and see what sticks? Here are seven players that I am confident the Mariners could go out and get right now if they wanted to, plus a bigger name that could be a surprisingly good fit:

The .400 Solution

Yesterday, I wrote about the .400 problem. Really, I wrote about a growing issue in baseball: some of the most optimal baseball strategies are also the most boring. As much as the Yankees-Red Sox marathons are chastised by baseball fans for their unwatchability (<- new word right there), the reality is that they play with superior strategy. Other teams ought to copy their ways to win more games.

How has baseball come to this? Has it always been more advantageous to do boring things?

To a degree, I think that things like walks and less risky base-running have been undervalued for much of baseball history. Only recently, statisticians have analyzed the game, and provided the hard evidence for superior strategies that Moneyball made famous. Knowledge is power, and there is no turning back once knowledge has been acquired. So, baseball is where it is at this point, for better and for worse.

That's not the whole story though. Or, at least, I think there is more to the story. There is a reason this post is called the .400 solution.

The .400 Problem

Photo via Baseball Collection on Flickr
The last player to bat .400 remains Ted Williams, back in 1941, when he hit .406. That says something about how impossible batting .400 is. However, consider this: the highest BABIP since 1980 belongs to Jose Hernandez, when he hit .404 on balls in play in 2002.