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TCB recommendations and the Astros are more like the Cardinals than you think

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I did an email interview for Razball.com, a great fantasy baseball website. I'd like to thank Grey for giving me the opportunity for the second year in a row to be featured on his website.

Seriously though, he goes as in-depth as any free fantasy baseball blog out there, utilizing all the "advanced" metrics that we do at TCB. For those of you who play, I seriously recommend giving his site a look.

Speaking of fantasy baseball, business, economics and finance behemoth Bloomberg and MLB.com have teamed up to 1) help you with your fantasy draft and in making in season decisions, and 2) to make money. Combine smart people who understand the world of Finance, and as much statistical data as MLB has at their disposal, and this could be the start of something huge.

Obviously, the price point is a major factor, and I would imagine that once the two entities get a better feel for what people are willing to pay, the price will fluctuate one way or another. What am I saying?? This is Bloomberg for cryin' out loud. They KNOW what people are willing to pay. What's more, fantasy sports magazines sell on the newsstands for upwards of $10. Those magazines are written and published almost immediately after the World Series ends, and obviously aren't up to date. In that regard, $20 for a Bloomberg Draft Kit seems downright reasonable.

Anyway, for people who have utilized Baseball Prospectus' fantasy spreadsheets to sort the best players for their particular league parameters, this Bloomberg Sports tool looks to be even more flexible and league specific. To wit:

There are customizable multi-stat comparisons tailored to your league; personalized, draft-specific watchlists and notes; detailed, up-to-date player performance rankings and real-time player news, content and scores from the sources of MLB.com and Bloomberg News.

When I graduate from school and start to work full time, I am going to allow myself the luxury of 1) NFL Sunday Ticket and 2) NBA LeaguePass, so I can watch my Packers and Rockets despite not being in their viewing area. As much as I love fantasy sports, this new tool is definitely something that I'm going to have to look into purchasing. If nothing else, I would love to just play around with it for entertainment's sake.

Baseball Prospectus had a write up on Friday which previewed the NL Central. It's tough to call a race this early, but as the article notes it's fun to do, and if nothing else makes for good debate.

PECOTA has the NL Central as being a run away Cardinals win, as the boys from STL are slated to take home their third consecutive Central Division title. At the bottom of the division, Pittsburgh's 72-90 record seems both attainable and strange. Attainable in that winning 44.4% of your games in a fairly "even" NL is certainly not asking too much. That record seems strange because seeing a win total starting with a "7" for the Pirates doesn't look right, based on their recent track record.

In the middle of the division, the Cubs, Brewers, Astros and Reds make up the rich, creamy nougaty center, with those teams all separated by a total of two games from 2nd to 5th. None are projected to top 80 wins, which plays into the perception that our division is the weakest in baseball. 

What I'd like to get into is BPro's opinions on the Cards vs. their opinions on our Astros. St. Louis has a projected record of 88-74, while the Astros come in at 77-85. Our own efforts at predicting things targeted a win total of 79, so it's not as if 77 is way too low.

The interesting thing is that their write ups on both teams are very similar, considering how far apart in the standings they look to be. For starters (literally), the Cards and Astros have a clear hierarchy in the rotation, with Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez at the top. After that, both teams have a fairly dramatic drop off in terms of talent, and BPro takes note of this.

Similarly, their lineups have a few forces (Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence) and many more "role" players.

Finally, the previews take note of the Cards' closer Ryan Franklin on our closer candidate, Brandon Lyon. Side by side, their PECOTA projections are as close as you can get:

IP K ERA WHIP
Ryan Franklin 55 37 3.43 1.25
Brandon Lyon 55 44 3.48 1.24

 

Obviously there is a lot more to a team than just the top of its rotation, the middle of its lineup and their closers, but I think the similarities deserved to be mentioned.

Want one more similarity?? Diamond Futures, a fantastic, fantastic (did I mention fantastic) amateur/minor league baseball blog, was gracious enough to forward me a free copy of their 2010 Prospect Guide, which is as comprehensive and well written as any such guide I've ever read.

I don't want to give away too much of their analysis, but one thing I will say, is that the Astros have climbed out of the cellar as far as organizational rankings are concerned, coming in at #29. The Cards? You guessed it, they finished  last at number 30. Apparently, they didn't want to leave the Astros' side.