Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Lessons from the 2nd Annual BJH Fantasy Baseball League
By Ian Hunter
Unfortunately, yours truly didn't make it through to the post-season, just narrowly missing a playoff spot by five games. There were many lessons learned throughout the season, and here are a few tidbits of advice I'd like to share for the future.
In a tied match, the tiebreaker is winning percentage
Honestly, I never expected there to be a tied match in the first round of the playoffs, but it turns out we had two. After checking the rules, the tiebreaker in a tied match in the playoffs goes to the team with the better winning percentage during the regular season. Who knew?
The more the merrier, but the more the tougher to get into the playoffs
As I mentioned earlier, I missed the postseason by a mere five games, but incredibly there were three teams ahead of me with better records who also narrowly missed out on going through to the next round.
With 20 teams involved, the margin of error is very slim and that final few weeks of play can prove detrimental to your play down the stretch. Take it from a guy who went 2-10 in his final week.
Don't grab your catcher with your 4th last pick
As much as I preach not to do it, I always leave one starting position until the very end. This year it just so happened to be the catching position, and I reluctantly picked up Kelly Shoppach with my fourth last draft choice.
Needless to say, my catching position was a revolving door for the remainder of the season. After Kelly Shoppach it was Ivan Rodriguez for a few months, followed by Ronny Paulino (who was suspended 50 games for PED use) and I finally settled in A.J. Pierzynski.
Don't undervalue starting pitching
Out of all of my opening day starting pitchers, only two of them survived the purge: Cole Hamels and Johan Santana. Even with those two solid starters, I still struggled the remainder of the season to gain some semblance of a decent pitching staff.
Especially in a league with 10 or more teams, no position is more recycled than starting pitchers. Watch the waiver wire like a hawk and don't be afraid to give up on struggling starters if they fail to produce within the first two months of the season.
Age after beauty
I'm not saying that younger players are necessarily better, but they have a tendency to bounce back from injuries and also kick themselves out of slumps quicker than your grizzled veterans.
Take a look at the age of some of my starters: A.J. Pierzynski (33), David Ortiz (34), Vladimir Guerrero (35), Derrek Lee (35), Raul Ibanez (38). While I didn't realize it on draft day, my roster was the fantasy baseball team equivalent of Wild Hogs.
Buy low, sell high
Again, this is another instance where I didn't follow my own advice, but it's something that probably could have improved my fantasy team vastly throughout the season. If you have a player on your roster that's playing over their head, sell high.
What goes up, must come down. In the case of Ubaldo Jimenez, he was 13-4 with a 1.15 ERA after the first three months of the season and it was arguably his high water mark. Since then, Jimenez has been 5-5 with a 4.45 ERA.
As an owner, it's difficult to judge where exactly that high water mark might be for your players, but don't be afraid to listen to offers.
On that same token, buying low is another great strategy ... especially on the waiver wire. It's a low risk/high reward game plan that could pay dividends in the future. And if it doesn't, just cut the player loose and find another one.
Once again, thanks to all this year's participants in the 2nd Annual BJH Fantasy Baseball League, and I look forward to doing it next year as well and watching my team tank down the stretch.