Wednesday, April 11, 2012

NL King - The Struggle to Win a Fantasy Championship

Germaine Greer once said  "The struggle that is not joyous is the wrong struggle." When Ms. Greer said this she was not talking about fantasy baseball, but this saying does apply. Winning one's league is a very difficult task. As an owner in your competitive league you have to have a strong draft, make smart trades, know when is the right time to trade, comb the waiver wire and just overall make a lot of good decisions. On top of that you have to hope your team does not get bittern by the injury bug in a major way and finally have to hope you catch or break or two where couple of players on your roster over exceed expectations. In addition, hope the converse doesn't happen and have players have career lows in performance. This is a very difficult assignment. Quite frankly if you can win your league every few years and most years be a competitive team you are doing a great job. Doing well in competitive leagues is very hard. I will use  two players performance from last year to illustrate this point.

Melky Cabrera and Ubaldo Jimenez:
Last season Melky Cabrera was coming off a very poor 2010 with the Atlanta Braves. Cabrera was a part time player plus who played a lot with the Yankees who had a really nice 2009. Cabrera was part of the trade between the Braves and the Yankees in the winter of 2009 when the Yankees landed Javier Vazquez. Cabrera was going to a situation where he knew he would play every day so one would think Cabrera could improve by 10% maybe 15% maybe slightly more right? Instead Cabrera had a disastrous first half and winded up finishing 2010 with a line of 4HR-42RBI-50R-7SB-.255AVG in 458 AB's. Not saying Melky Cabrera was an all-star player but this was a bit surprising. So The Braves saw enough of Melky and Melky went back to the AL in 2011 and what does Melky do? Melky's line in 2011 for the Royals were 18HR-87RBI-102R-20SB-.305AVG. Now I am only an NL only league guy but if Melky had that kind in the NL last year he would have been one of the top 5 to 7 hitters in the NL. I am sure in most AL only leagues Melky went for a song during the draft and in many drafts probably lasted to the reserve rounds. What can we expect from Melky in 2012 now that he is back in the NL with the Giants? You guess is as good as mine, most websites and magazines are splitting the baby and saying Melky will have a good year but that's it (Figure $15 value). Where they came up with that I have no idea I just read the information and try to get a consensus on what the experts think. What I can tell you is Melky is going to hit 2nd in the Giant lineup, he will play everyday, he is in a pitchers park (not that KC was small) and he is very capable of giving you pretty good power and speed numbers. After that it's a guessing game.

Unfortunately, last year I had Ubaldo Jimenez on my team. Saying that didn't go well is putting it mildly. First off, for any player not every month can be an all-star month the bottom line was Ublado was a top young pitcher who had nasty stuff and a deceiving delivery. Ubaldo had a pretty good 2008 for a rookie, and excellent sophomore season in 09 and then a breakout season in 2010. So Ubaldo got better ever year. And then disaster happened in 2011. Now in my opinion in an NL only 5 X 5 league Ubaldo was one of the top starters in the NL. It's one thing to say his value was down 10% or 15% or even 20%, it's another thing to say that last season Ubaldo at best was zero value player and mostly likely worth negative dollars. How does this happen?

These two examples of players who came out of nowhere and had a tremendous season and the other the opposite direction shows how difficult it is to put together a championship squad. You need to do a great job in your league but as the saying goes you also need a little bit of luck. More than a little.

NL King - C.Lizza  
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