First Pitch Arizona - 2017 Speakers

James Anderson (
James is the Lead Prospect Analyst and Assistant Baseball Editor at RotoWire. He is in charge of maintaining the site's top 400 prospect rankings year round, and is the co-host of Farm Fridays on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and RotoWire's Prospect Podcast.

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 SportsHub Technologies. 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 (
Andy teaches Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Boston University, but also developed/taught the highly successful MOOC “Sabermetrics 101: An Introduction to Baseball Analytics” on the edX platform during its two runs in 2014 and 2015. As a Data- caster/Stringer for MLBAM, he is responsible for keeping score of games at Fenway Park for various Internet applications like’s Gameday and ESPN’s Gamecast. He has worked for since 2003.

Chris Blessing (
Since 2009, Chris has been covering prospects for a multitude of prospect websites, including Scouting the Sally, Bullpen Banter and Rotoscouting. For the past three 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. Earlier this year, Chris was deemed a security risk by police for entering an unknown restricted area while covering Tim Tebow's minor league teammate, Desmond Lindsay. Follow Chris on Twitter @C_Blessing.

Ryan Bloomfield (
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.

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.•

Alex Chamberlain (
Alex writes occasionally for RotoGraphs, very infrequently for The Hardball Times, and formerly for Baseball Prospectus and RotoBaller. He was the Fantasy Sport Writers Association's 2015 Newcomer of the Year (and Writer of the Year finalist) before promptly suffering a sophomore slump. He's an xMetrics apostle (e.g. xBABIP) and a contact management anti-truther. He's on Twitter, regretfully, @DolphHauldhagen.

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

Brian DewBerry-Jones (Scoresheet-talk)
Brian DewBerry-Jones is the moderator of the Scoresheet-talk mailing list. He has been playing Scoresheet Baseball for 28 years. Unlike other Rotisserie or fantasy games, Scoresheet Baseball teams play complete simulated head-to-head games, using the current week’s major league stats.

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.•

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. •

Tim Heaney (
Tim writes and podcasts about fantasy baseball for RotoWire, contributes MLB Daily Notes for ESPN, and competes in Tout Wars. Previously, he worked for nearly 10 years at KFFL and its eventual parent company USA TODAY, where he contributed fantasy columns to USA TODAY Sports Weekly and was recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. Catch his appearances on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, FNTSY Sports Network, FNTSY Sports Radio and ESPN Radio. Follow him on Twitter @Tim_Heaney.

Brent Hershey (
Brent is the General Manager of Content for and serves as co-editor of the Baseball Forecaster and editor of the MInor League Baseball Analyst annuals. He has been writing at since 1998. Follow him on Twitter @BrentHQ.

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. •

Brad Kullman (
Brad is a human performance specialist who has been studying the brain and biomechanics for more than 25 years. In a career spanning three decades in Major League Baseball, he served as a high-ranking executive and scout, including appointments as interim GM for the Cincinnati Reds on two separate occasions. As assistant general manager of the Reds, he directed the first formal R&D department in MLB, with a focus on new methods of player evaluation and development. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradKullman.

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. •

Jeff Mans (
Jeff is the CEO of Guru and outspoken front man of SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, hosting a variety of live programs including his own Guru Elite Show from 2-4 PM ET every weekday. Jeff is a 11-time daily fantasy sports live final qualifier, a two-time DFS live final winner, seasonal high stakes league winner, 2012 Cynopsis Sports Award nominee for Best Radio Show and winner of the 2015 FSWA Radio Show of the Year. He was also one of the featured leads in the 2015 documentary film “Living The Fantasy.”

Jonathan Mayo (
Jonathan started writing for in April 1999, shortly after he and Al Gore invented the internet. He has been focused on Minor League and Draft prospects exclusively since 2003 and appears on MLB Network to discuss them as often as possible. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, two kids and dog.

Lenny Melnick (
Lenny is a true fantasy baseball celebrity. He appeared on “This Week In Baseball” with Fran Healy and TV’s “Pennant Chase” fantasy baseball report. With partner Irwin Zwilling, he did his first radio show for Fantasy Sports in 1993 in New York. He is a member of FSWA Hall of Fame and appears on SiriusXm Radio. In addition, find him at, Home of The Daily Podcast and Baseball Chatter Every Day. Lenny and Irwin own two LABR titles and one Tout Wars title.

Lawr Michaels (
Lawr began working with fantasy publishing pioneer John Benson in 1993, and has written for the STATS Scouting Notebook, CBS,, Total Sports, KFFL,, and many other sites and periodicals over the past 25 years. In 1996 Lawr founded CREATiVESPORTS, and in 2009 his company merged with Mastersball, but effective 11/1/17 Creativesports 2.0 ( launched. Dubbed “The Zen Master” following his surprise 2001 AL Tout Wars win (and also won in 2009) and you can tune into his radio show, The Tout Wars Hour every Thursday at 9-11 PM ET (6-8 PT) on the FNTSY Sports Network. Follow Lawr on Twitter @lawrmichaels.

Steve Moyer (Yakkertech)
Steve has over 25 years of experience in the baseball industry, beginning way back in 1991 with STATS, Inc. These days he's with Yakkertech, the maker of the premier tool for measuring precise baseball pitching kinetics in the business.

Ray Murphy (
Ray is the General Manager of Administration for and co-editor of the Baseball Forecaster annual. He has been writing at since 1999, he is a three-time league champion in the NFBC Main Event, including 4th-overall finishes in both 2012 and 2016. Ray also won (in a tie) the inaugural LABR mixed league in 2012, and added second-place finishes in 2014 and 2016.

Dean Peterson (National Fantasy Baseball Championship)
Dean has been facilitator for live NFBC events in Chicago. Former 12-year ToutWars veteran representing STATS LLC, where he also kept the data flowing to support your favorite fantasy games for many years. He is a life-long fan of Strat-O-Matic baseball, where he currently administers one league and participates in 3 others.

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 as well as the Platinum League in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship.  In 2017, he was inducted into the NFBC Hall Of Fame.

Sammy Reid (
Sammy is a former semi-pro baseball player who now works as a daily fantasy sports analyst for Rotogrinders and Fantasy Insiders, focusing on both MLB and NFL. He has also contributed to the Baseball Prospectus Hall of Fame Magazine, The Fantasy Black Book, and When he's not writing, you can find him co-hosting the Baseballholics Anonymous podcast with long-time friend Doug Thorburn. 

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. You can find him writing about craft beer at October, and talking about it in the courtyard with a curated cooler full of well-crafted nonsense.

Vlad Sedler (
Vlad writes about season-long and DFS baseball for RotoWire, BaseballHQ and GuruElite. A high-stakes NFBC player and a member of the CDM Sports Hall of Fame, Vlad was a FSWA award finalist in 2015 and qualified for the 2017 FanDuel live championship, finishing 10th among 100 teams.

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. Currently, he hangs out with BABS at and writes a weekly column for Ron owns dozens of top-3 finishes in national experts leagues since 1994. Tweets random brain flakes @RonShandler.

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. •

Doug Thorburn  (
Doug is a baseball junkie who is addicted to pitching. He combines the perspectives of a scout, coach and data analyst to better understand the complex layers of the game on the mound. His work can be found at Baseball Prospectus, Rotowire and RotoGrinders; and he is co-host of the Baseballholics Anonymous podcast. Doug is currently the Marketing Director at the National Pitching Association, where he spearheads R&D of the NPA model for biomechanics. Twitter: @doug_thorburn.

Emily Waldon (The Athletic - Detroit)
Emily began covering the Detroit Tigers minor-league system in 2015, beginning with the Class-A West Michigan Whitecaps and moving on to include affiliates from the Gulf Coast League to Triple-A Toledo. Emily transitioned to 2080 Baseball in 2016, focusing on entry-level scouting and player evaluation, video content and player features, and joined The Athletic - Detroit in 2017. Waldon has been quoted in The Detroit News, and FanGraphs and has made appearances on multiple podcasts and radio programs, including ESPN Radio.

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, and National League LABR. Brian was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league history. 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. •

Jeff Zimmerman (
Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and RotoWire. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. He’s been nominated for several FSWA awards and has won three times. He was also the inaugural winner of the Tout Wars Head-to-Head league and the 2017 winner of the Tout Mixed Auction. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

Todd Zola (
Todd is a Managing Partner at, focusing on projection and game theory. He also writes for Rotowire and ESPN along with being a regular guest on BaseballHQ Radio. Todd participates in LABR, Tout Wars and the XFL and is a multiple time champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship.