Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fantasy Baseball 2010 Draft (part1 )

Lets play ball!

This is my favorite time of the year. I'm an avid baseball fan, and every year the one thing I look forward to is Fantasy Baseball. It all started for me in 1997 when a bunch of my friends and I sat around one weekend in March and drafted our teams. Being a rookie, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't have a draft strategy, nor did I do any research. I only agreed to play because of the idea of eating pizza and drinking beer all day with a bunch of friends. When the season ended, I finished first in the league and have been hooked since.

Ah those were the good'ol days. We played with a salary cap and did a live draft. Then the commish would enter our teams into cbssportsline.com so we could track it online. Subsequent years, I tried out some other fantasy services like Smallworld, Yahoo, etc. I found that I prefer roto style and Yahoo probably provides the best FREE service out there.

I've been playing on Yahoo leagues since 1998 and have been very successful. To give you an idea of my success, take a look at my performance in the last 5 years. You can see I have won 10 out of 12 times.

This year, I have decided to share my knowledge and experience. So for those of you able to find my blog and are competitive managers, like me, I hope this will help you.

Let me just quickly add that everything I am referring to is based on Yahoo Fantasy Baseball.

Ok, so here goes...some generic draft guidelines for everyone...Rule number

  1. Avoid drafting a pitcher in Round 1 or round 2, for that matter (especially this year)
  2. Focus on 5-category players early in the draft
  3. I like to take care of SB and HR early
  4. Have a list of sleepers for the final 4-5 rounds (more explanation in part 2)
  5. Outside of the first 2-3 rounds, you should aim for players that will most likely end the season ranked higher than their draft position.
  6. Don't draft a top closer like Papelbon, Rivera, etc...in fact, don't draft a closer until you have at least 2 SP's or around 9th to 11th round (more explanation in part 2)
  7. Aim for the following total (I didn't calculate total AVG or ERA)
878 249 870 157 86 130 1124

For 2010 specific draft strategies:

Round 1
  1. SS is the most limited position this year and should be targeted first (if possible). However, if Han Ram or Tulowitzki are off the board go to next point
  2. 2B is the next most limited. Again if Utley and Kinsler are off the board go to next point
  3. 1B. Obviously if you had the #1 pick, you should pick Pujols. But assuming you don't then I would suggest getting someone that is the closest guarantee for 110R/40HR/110RBI. I like Fielder, Gonzalez and Teixeira. If these guys aren't available go to next point
  4. 3B or OF. A-rod, Longoria, Braun and Kemp should do.
Round 2-3
  1. Fill your roster gap according to the draft order above.
  2. Remember try to pick up guys that are multi-category players
Round 4-5
  1. Here's where I pick up my first elite pitcher like Santana, Carpenter, CC Sabathia, Greinke or Verlander.
  2. If they are not available I would take someone like Jayson Werth (30/30 guy) and settle for Lester, J. Johnson in next round
Round 6-8
  1. Try to pick up another elite or former elite pitcher here
  2. I also like former top 5 guys like Alfonso Soriano here
Round 9-14
  1. Here's where I take a chance on potential breakout players or multi-position players that contributes in all areas like Julio Borbon, Carlos Gonzalez, B. Anderson, Jason Bartlett, etc
  2. You should be able to nab your 3rd tier 1 pitcher like Lackey, Hanson, Billingsley, etc.
  3. Pick up 2 closers here
Round 15-19
  1. Pick up a catcher. I like Montero or Suzuki here.
  2. I also like to pick up top prospects here...like Heyward, Strasburg
  3. Also a good place to pick up 3rd closer like Hoffman, Aardsma, R. Soriano
  4. I also like to take a chance on injury recovering stars or high risk players like C. Quentin, C. Beltran, Berkman, Guerrero.
Round 21-24
  1. Finally, I'd grab my 4th and 5th starter with ace potential or soon-to-be-back starters like Bedard, Webb, Price, Daisuke, Hudson
  2. I also go with guys that are strong in 2-3 categories with more playing time i.e., Swisher, Chamberlain, etc
  3. Or remaining rookies like Chapman and Matusz

Monday, March 15, 2010

The speed of inconvenience

SBS Transit and SMRT, the two main public transport systems in Singapore are ridiculously frustrating. For those who travel by bus or subway everyday, I'm sure you can relate.

First lets talk about the bus system. The problem I find is that there are not enough buses and/or routes. Hence, waiting time for buses is damn stressful! What's worse is that you are waiting in the heat. Imagine getting hot, sweaty, and sticky while waiting for a bus in a suit or just a dress shirt and tie? Yuck!

You know which country's got it right? Hong Kong. There are always plenty of buses and many routes to arrive at any destination. Furthermore, there are plenty of night buses. Singapore could use more night buses especially given the ridiculous 50% surcharges on taxis.

Ok, maybe the counter argument would be by adding more buses the air quality will go down. I buy that, but still I don't believe the current operation is optimal.

The other problem is the MRT. Again, Singapore should take a page out of Hong Kong's MTR system. I have two main gripes. First, who designed the stations to be above ground and outdoors? Maybe it was the laziness of SMRT at the time of construction...or maybe they were too cheap. Whatever the reason is, it is plain retarded. Not only is it aesthetically unpleasing, it also make people sweaty. Hygiene is already an issue in Singapore. Last thing we need is to get on a train with a smelly people bunched together.

That brings me to my other gripe. How is it that like 90% of every train I get on is always packed? Even on weekends! I tell you why...it is because the trains don't run frequently enough and they are slow. The green line is especially frustrating. I can't believe people have to wait 7 minutes for a train during anytime of the day, much less between 2PM and 5PM.

It's no wonder everyone rather buy a car than deal with this bull$hit. But of course, now COE prices are so high people have no choice but to take public transport. So typical of Singapore...suppress the people and then tell them this is how they should live. Oddly, hardly anyone complains...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Value of an MBA in Asia

Is an MBA worth it in Asia?

It seems in the US and UK, having an MBA is definitely a step up from not having one. At least in the US and UK, companies post jobs specifically for MBA graduates or jobs that require at least an MBA. So what about Asia?

From my experience, it seems Hong Kong and Singapore, two of the more developed countries in Asia, aren't like their western counterparts. Yet, these two countries compete heavily for international attention when it comes to MBA programs.

Being a recent graduate myself, I found it difficult to find placement for that dream job. I wasn't alone. Majority of my classmates are jobless and have had to return to their home country. This is certainly not the picture one imagines after finishing his MBA. Granted the recent economic crisis is partly to blame for the downturn, but I think it's also the "local" mentality.

Here's what I've come to realized about job hunting in Hong Kong and Singapore:

  1. Too much focus on candidate's past experience and not enough on potential or transferable skills.
  2. Value of international exposure or diverse work experience are not recognized
  3. Experience is valued more than education
  4. Changing career is really difficult

I would say most people go back for an MBA so that they can pursue a different career afterward, at least this is true among my friends in the program. But, how would it be possible if companies are not looking specifically for MBA's?

Who's fault is it? I mean why aren't graduates perceived as having an advantage here? Is it because the local mentality doesn't value such a degree or is it because the school's here are not doing enough to protect it's brand? Why else would local students not be as proud of their alma mater as say a student in US is with his school? Or are the quality of students the problem?

I wish I had all of the answers...

So is an MBA worth it in Asia. In my opinion, the answer is maybe. It depends on where you want to work after you graduate, your willingness to start over (perhaps) in your career, and whether you can afford (time and money) it. Just from my experience, when choosing an MBA one tends to rely on rankings and reputations. While these are important, I think one area to focus on should be the strength of the school's career services office. One should find out if his dream company recruits directly at the school because looking at past employment placements of recent graduates can be misleading because you don't know if the students worked there full time, part time, interned, or what? And you certainly don't know if the students found that job on their own or not. An inadequate career services means students are left to find jobs on their own. This is a great disadvantage if you are an international student in Asia because 1) you will have less connections and 2) you are competing with the general population, which doesn't give you an advantage.

I still think the programs in Asia are not as mature as in the States. It doesn't feel like companies in Hong Kong and Singapore values it as much. I'm sure there are some companies out there that are the exceptions, but those are few and far between.