First Pitch Arizona - 2016 Speakers

Greg Ambrosius (National Fantasy Baseball Championship)
Greg is the founder of the National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) and is currently the General Manager of Consumer Fantasy Games at STATS LLC. Greg has been the editor of Fantasy Sports Magazine since its inception in 1989 and is a former president of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) and the Fantasy Sports Association (FSA). Greg is a member of the FSTA Hall of Fame and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame. The NFBC and its football counterpart the NFFC has awarded more than $28 million to fantasy players since 2004.

Andy Andres (Baseball HQ)
Andy Andres teaches Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Boston University (mostly introductory biology, physics, and human genetics), but also developed and taught the highly successful MOOC “Sabermetrics 101: An Introduction to Baseball Analytics” to about 50,000 registered learners on the edX platform during its two runs in 2014 and 2015.  In 2016 he was invited by Google to talk about Sabermetrics and Technology in his Talks at Google presentation. As a Datacaster/Stringer for MLBAM, he is responsible for keeping score of games at Fenway Park for various Internet application like's Gameday and ESPN’s Gamecast. Andy lives in Cambridge, MA with his wife, the fabulous Kate Andres, and their three children, Maddie (Colorado College), Aubree (Princeton), and Griffin (Harvard). He has worked for as a writer/data analyst since 2003 and has been schooled at St. Josephs HS (Metuchen, NJ), Brown, Harvard, and Tufts.

Jeff Barton (Scoresheet Sports)
Jeff and Dave Barton started Scoresheet Sports in 1987. Unlike other Rotisserie or fantasy games, Scoresheet Baseball teams play complete simulated head-to-head games, using the current week's major league stats. Scoresheet Baseball currently has over 5000 teams participating in the current season.

Chris Blessing (Baseball HQ)
Since 2009, Chris has been covering prospects in the Appalachian League, the South Atlantic League and the Southern League for a multitude of prospect websites, including Scouting the Sally, Bullpen Banter and Rotoscouting. For the past two seasons, he has contributed exclusively to BaseballHQ, providing scouting reports in the Eyes Have it series and player profiles for the Minor League Baseball Analyst. While scouting Nick Gordon in 2014, Chris helped shatter the world record for largest cowbell ensemble during a Johnson City Cardinals/Elizabethton Twins game. Follow Chris on Twitter @C_Blessing.

Ryan Bloomfield (Baseball HQ)
Ryan wrote the FSWA's Baseball Article of the Year (online) in 2015, and was a finalist for Baseball Writer of the Year. He writes a weekly Facts/Flukes column for, and has contributed to the Baseball Forecaster and BaseballHQ Radio every year since 2013. As the Director of Social Media for BaseballHQ, Ryan wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't ask you to follow @BaseballHQ on Twitter and Facebook — you can find his own musings at @RyanBHQ.

Jim Callis (
Jim has been covering the draft and prospects since 1988, when he began the first of two long stints at Baseball America. He stayed at BA until September 1997, when he joined the publications department of STATS, Inc., and returned to BA in May 2000. In September 2013, he joined MLB Advanced Media, where he writes for, and Sports On Earth. Follow him on Twitter @jimcallisMLB.

Derek Carty ( and
Derek is a DFS-focused analyst for ESPN and RotoGrinders. You may also recognize him from his previous role on Baseball Tonight and occasional Sports Center appearances. He's a long-time DFS player and the creator of THE BAT, perhaps the most sophisticated DFS MLB projection system on the market. Prior to DFS, Derek honed his statistical chops as the fantasy manager of two of the biggest sabermetric outlets, Baseball Prospectus and the Hardball Times, and he's the only active fantasy writer to have graduated from MLB's exclusive Scout School. In season-long competition, he's won six expert league titles, with 17 top-three finishes (roughly 60%), including being the youngest ever winner of LABR.

Tristan Cockcroft (
A Senior Writer for and co-host of the Fantasy Focus Baseball podcast, Tristan has analyzed fantasy sports since 1998, specializing in baseball and football. He is a three-time FSWA finalist for fantasy baseball writer of the year and is a member of the FSWA Hall of Fame. Tristan also owns two LABR-NL (2002, 2008) and three Tout Wars (2012-14) experts league titles. Follow Tristan on Twitter @SultanofStat.

Jason Collette ( and
Jason has been helping fantasy owners since 2001 at RotoJunkie, Fanball, and currently at RotoWire and Fangraphs and was the 2013 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year (bribes pay off!). He covers the Tampa Bay Rays at You can hear Jason on Saturdays on the RotoWire SiriusXM Fantasy show throughout the season as well as on The Sleeper and The Bust podcast with Paul Sporer each Sunday. You can follow his work on Twitter at @jasoncollette.

Kimball Crossley (Toronto Blue Jays)
Kimball began his career as a sportswriter and is now a professional scout for the Blue Jays organization.

Doug Dennis (Baseball HQ)
Doug has been Baseball HQ's Bullpen Buyers Guide columnist since 1999. In addition, he has written articles for the Baseball ForecasterUSA TodaySports Weekly,, ESPN the Magazine and he assisted the St. Louis Cardinals with player analysis for two years.

Jeff Erickson ( and Sirius/XM Radio)
Jeff is the co-founder and editor of RotoWire Fantasy Sports, which debuted as the industry's ground-breaking online news service Rotonews back in 1997. He currently hosts the daily Rotowire Fantasy Sports radio show on Sirius/XM Radio.

Mike Ferrin (MLB Network Radio)
Mike just completed his first season as pre- and post-game radio host and secondary play-by-play announcer for The Arizona Diamondbacks. He also wrapped up his 9th year with SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio where he hosts “Power Alley” with former General Manager Jim Duquette and has served as the play-by-play announcer for The SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and Arizona Fall League.

Steve Gardner (USA TODAY Sports)
The online baseball editor at USA TODAY for 10 years, Steve took over writing the fantasy baseball column in Sports Weekly from John Hunt in 2006. Since then, he has served as the LABR commissioner and has won three LABR titles (AL 2010, Mixed 2014, AL 2015). He also won NL Tout Wars in 2011 and two FSTA experts leagues (2012, 2015). He received the FSWA award for Baseball Article of the Year in 2014, is a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (HOF voter in 2020), and has covered 15 World Series for USA TODAY. He is currently the Senior Fantasy Editor for USA TODAY Sports. Follow him on Twitter @SteveAGardner.

Eric Karabell (
Eric is a senior writer for He has covered fantasy sports for ESPN since 2001, specializing in baseball and football. Eric is a host of the Fantasy Focus Baseball Podcast, is seen several times a week on SportsCenter, NFL Live and other ESPN shows and contributes to ESPN The Magazine and ESPN Radio. He has been honored twice as fantasy sports writer of the year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, his blog was named best fantasy baseball series for 2007 and he was inducted into the inaugural FSWA Hall of Fame class in 2010.

Peter Kreutzer ( and
Fantasy baseball players have been Asking Rotoman and reading his columns since 1995. Rotoman is editor-in-chief of an annual Fantasy Baseball Guide, his projections and prices are a part of the Patton $ Online software, and he is a frequent contributor at Please visit his new project at

Clay Link (
Clay is the MLB Editor at RotoWire. He can be heard Fridays and Saturdays during baseball season on RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, and every Thursday on the Prospect Podcast.

Eric Longenhagen (
Eric is the Lead Prospect Analyst for FanGraphs. He hails from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate two with Baseball Info Solutions, and two contributing to prospect coverage at His previous work can also be  found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley, and Prospect Insider.

Gene McCaffrey (
This McCaffrey guy is the author (since 1996) of Wise Guy Baseball, an annual guide with sophisticated strategies for Roto, DFS, and Salary Cap formats.

Lawr Michaels (
Lawr has been a staple in the fantasy world since he began working with fantasy publishing pioneer, John Benson in 1993. He has written for the STATS Scouting Notebook, CBS,, Total Sports, KFFL,, and many other sites and periodicals over the past 22 years. In 1996 Lawr founded CREATiVESPORTS, and in 2009 his company merged with Mastersball where he is now a managing partner. Known as The Zen Master, Lawr won 2001 and 2009 AL Tout Wars title with his fluid and unconventional play. He as also a principle character in Sam Walker's book, Fantasyland, as well as the film based upon the book. Follow Lawr on Twitter @lawrmichaels.

Alex Patton (
A pioneer of fantasy baseball analysis and player pricing, Alex has published nine books about the game. These days, he muses daily at, a gathering place for like-minded fanatics. In December, he was elected to the Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall of Fame.

Nick Piecoro (
Nick is in his eighth season on the Diamondbacks beat for The Arizona Republic, and 12 News. An Arizona State graduate, he's been with The Republic since 2004. Follow Nick on Twitter: @nickpiecoro.

Dave Potts (
Dave is a full-time fantasy baseball player and analyst, and a longtime subscriber. He has used BHQ tools to win at the highest level of both season-long and DFS baseball, including two $1 million wins in the 2014 FanDuel DFBC and the 2015 DraftKings MLB Main Event. He has also won the Main Event Overall Championship and the Ultimate Auction League in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. 

Eno Sarris (
The fantasy baseball editor at FanGraphs since 2010, Eno has more recently begun spending more time in the clubhouse, finding different ways to ask players if their change in performance is sustainable, without asking the players if their change in performance is sustainable. These days, he's into spin rates and exit velocity, because he likes fancy new toys.

Ron Shandler ( and
Ron is the founder of and author of the Baseball Forecaster, the longest running publication in the fantasy baseball industry (since 1986). He was the first baseball analyst to develop sabermetric applications for fantasy league play, and he has written for numerous  publications and websites. He now writes a weekly column for Ron owns six national experts league titles and 13 second/third place finishes since 1998. Tweeting random brain flakes @RonShandler.

Joe Sheehan (
Joe writes about baseball for Sports Illustrated and self-publishes a subscription newsletter that covers all aspects of the game. An original member of Baseball Prospectus, Joe returns to First Pitch Arizona for the 12th consecutive year. For more information about his newsletter, check out

Paul Sporer (
Paul is a writer and podcaster at Fangraphs (recently accepting a full-time role with them), working on the fantasy side (Rotographs) of the site. He hosts the Sleeper and the Bust podcast with Eno Sarris and Jason Collette. He also contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. He has worked for Rotowire, Baseball Prospectus, and RotoGrinders as well as running his Starting Pitcher Guide since 2006 when it started on the Rotojunkie message board. Jason and Paul also co-own a team in the LABR Mixed league and they've kindly let some others enjoy the limelight the last few years, but are planning to start a several year run of excellence in 2017. Follow him on Twitter @sporer.

Josh Stein (San Diego Padres)
Josh enters his third season as assistant general manager, after being promoted to the post in December 2013. His primary responsibilities include assisting Executive Vice President/General Manager A.J. Preller in all player acquisitions as well as roster, payroll and budget management. He is involved in all contract negotiations, including coordinating the club's salary arbitration efforts, while also managing the Padres' statistical analysis and video scouting systems. 2016 marks his 14th season with the Padres. A 2000 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in psychology, Josh traveled and taught English in South America before earning his Juris Doctor from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in 2005. Josh and his wife, Laura, reside in San Diego with their daughters, Emma and Jessie.

Doug Thorburn (
Doug wears the trifocal lens of a scout, coach and analyst to take pitcher evaluation to the next level. His work can be found at Baseball Prospectus, Rotowire and RotoGrinders, where he writes about pitchers from every angle. He is the co-host of Baseballholics Anonymous, a year-round podcast that is aimed at those who are obsessed with the game, covering the gamut of baseball-related topics. A pitching mechanics junkie, Doug previously worked with Tom House at the National Pitching Association, where he spearheaded the motion analysis program and co-authored a book titled, Arm Action, Arm Path, and the Perfect Pitch. Twitter: @doug_thorburn.

Brian Walton (
Brian is one of the managing principals of, where he writes a weekly column. He also contributes to the Fantasy Baseball Guide while competing in the XFL, Xperts Fantasy League. Brian was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 15-year history, and finished second in each of the two subsequent seasons. His work can also be found daily at, where he writes about the St. Louis Cardinals and their minor league system.

Derek Van Riper (
Derek ("DVR") is the Director of Media for, where he's been a two-time finalist for the FSWA's Baseball Writer of the Year award, and winner of the Best Baseball Article on the Web (2010) award. Additionally, he won the Tout Wars Mixed Auction League in 2014, and NL LABR in 2015. DVR also co-hosts RotoWire's shows on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (XM 87, Sirius 210), the weekly Short Hops Podcast with Bernie Pleskoff, as well as the daily Rotowire Fantasy Baseball Podcast. You can follow Derek on Twitter @DerekVanRiper. 

Todd Zola (
Todd is a Managing Partner at, focusing on projection and game theory. His work also appears on and he is a frequent guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baseball HQ Radio. Todd participates in Tout Wars and the XFL and is a multiple time champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship.