Saturday, April 23, 2011

My First Fantasy Baseball Battle

My first Fantasy Baseball battle is over. Our league goes with a 2 week matchup, which seemed a little daunting to me. One could certainly make up for a bad day, but then again, so could one's opponent. Not to mention, if I drift off somewhere during the week and miss a day or two, it could mean the difference of a great many points.

Fortunately, I felt great about my team after the draft. I thought my top 3 picks were solid, I liked my draft through the first 10 rounds, and I thought I did at least okay with the rest of the draft. As they say, “the proof is in the pudding.” I have no idea who originally used that quote in an intelligent fashion, but it seems appropriate here.

The day-to-day operations of my team were not too difficult. When you have a total of 3 bench players, it's not too hard to decide who goes into the lineup each day. We could make a few moves easily enough, but one risks losing any dropped player pretty easily. This brings me to one of the first things I've learned from this season.

Lesson #1: Make as many players as possible “undroppable”.

This goes with having a solid start to your draft, but I cannot tell you how important my top players were to me. Not just in terms of getting points, but in terms of not sucking. Lenny Melnick promoted the idea of avoiding anyone who had injury issues. “There are so many other players to choose from,” he says, more or less in those exact words. That made good sense to me.

That said, the fringe guys had to be players I had some sort of confidence in. I figured I could push V-Mart to 1B (which I can't in our league for an undetermined reason), so I picked up Jorge Posada to play C in that event. If Mitch Moreland played well, I wouldn't need to make that move. SS was another position of sacrifice for me. Furcal and Escobar are my guys there, but it's an area I may keep checking the waiver wire for, unless I can score an amazingly good trade. My pitching staff had one SP on the bench. That brings me to Lesson #2:

Lesson #2: Have a great bullpen.

Seriously. In a points league, I've realized how important these guys are. I'm so happy I drafted closers when I did. I got Rivera, K-Rod, and Franklin (yeah, he hasn't hurt me too much yet...key word “yet”). I drafted Jake McGee, but managed to get Jose Contreras as soon as Lidge went down. So I've got 3 pretty solid closers and one okay one. Should you be in a points league that is anything like mine, gentle reader, you'd better sure up that 'pen!

As I was saying, I have been rotating my Starting Pitchers due to their frequent inactivity. This brings me to pat Mike the Fantasy Man on the back and say he was definitely right about my next big point.

Lesson #3: Have a couple solid Starting Pitchers.

In a 5x5, maybe this isn't such a big deal, but in a points league like this, jeepers and crimony man, you need to know you can count on a couple of guys. I almost wish I'd waited on some of my other Starting Pitchers because I could literally just rotate the SPs I used in a week. If I have 7 moves to make over the course of two weeks, I could easily play hunches on those guys and Add/Drop like crazy to get some boku points (yes I said “boku”, and yes it is 1994 in my mind) off of those guys. Wins mean big points, and that may be something I play on later in the year. My experts were spot on: Starting Pitching is deep! I certainly think having a couple of these guys to rely on is a good thing, but I think the Waiver Wire is a place I will visit a lot in the coming weeks.

As far as making moves goes, I made a trade inquiry, which was turned down (for the time being), and I made a couple Add/Drops. I dropped McGee for Contreras, as I said earlier. I opted to let Posada go in favor of Chipper Jones. Yes, I don't need 3 Third Basemen, but offensively, I'm doing quite well there. I also dropped Ryan Ludwick, who was doing okay in fairness, for Logan Morrison. Morrison was one of the best available OFs, and I felt I needed to be aggressive in the middle of the week. Ludwick had a day off and Morrison was active. I'm keeping Morrison, if you were wondering.

Now these are all things I've learned while playing the game. For those of you interested in how exactly my team did, I'll sum it up this way:

Bad news: The “Top Scorer” on my team over these 2 weeks was SP Hiroki Kuroda with 61 points.

Worse news: In our 10 team league, that was the 2nd worst total for a Top Scorer.

Great news: I still recorded the third-highest point total overall.
I take from this that my draft was pretty solid. I'm no mathematician, but the numbers seem to add up!

Good news: I fell behind in the first few days, but made a great comeback through the next week (final score being 703-673, if you really wanted to know). I had to hold on these last couple days, but the balance on my team proved to be good enough for now.

I take from this that I'm picking up this game pretty quickly...so far.

Bad news: Rafael Furcal stinks. Escobar would be a much better option at this point. Kinda. Okay, not really, but I am hurting at SS. I may look some of those free agents over and dump Furcal.

Good news: I'm solid almost everywhere else. Moreland has been picking it up at 1B, Ortiz is making me look good at DH, and my bullpen is killer.

Bad news: For whatever reason, I can't move V-Mart to 1B. Not sure why, but it just ain't happening.

It may behoove me to move one of my 3Bs in favor of some positional flexibility. Between Chipper and Sandoval, I can only use one or the other in the Utility spot. Other than SS, I have no flexibility (which begs the question, would I deal Pablo who plays more regularly or Chipper who may put up better numbers but won't play every day?)

Bad news: Cargo hasn't done a lot for me so far. He's sixth in my positional points so far.

Good news: Cargo hasn't done a lot for me so far. He's due. I'm confident he'll pick those numbers up soon (and actually, he's hitting like .333 right now, it's not like he's laying eggs out there).

Next time, I'll get into the temptations to ruin everything good because I think I'm a genius and can build a team of free agents!

David Bobke

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