A Strategy Turned Tragedy
A Strategy Turned Tragedy
I have been playing fantasy baseball for about 10 years now, and I have done a variety of leagues. Most are traditional leagues, and a few have been out of the ordinary. I have always enjoyed one part of each season more than any others: the draft. So much goes on in the two hours it takes to draft that has such a profound effect on the seasonís end-result.
Your league canít be won on draft day, but it certainly can be lost. For that reason, many people have strained for hours trying to perfect rankings and develop draft day strategies that put them heads and feet above the rest. Last year, I had a radical idea that I thought would make my team the best it could be given the circumstances.
I was part of an 11-team keeper league. We got to keep 6 players from the previous yearís team, and then this year we get to keep 7. I finished 5th place in the inaugural year due to just an average team honestly. The worst part was that Adam Wainwright went down with Tommy John surgery at the end of that year, which completely devastated me. I was counting on him as the ace of my staff for the next 3-4 years. I was going to keep him along with 5 hitters and be ready for the next season.
So now, I was left with a pitching staff devoid of any quality keeping options. I had Dan Haren, but he was coming off a slightly disappointing year, and I donít like to take chances when it comes to keepers unless it is taking a chance on prospects. So I had a crazy idea. What if I kept 6 hitters (I felt like I had 6 good keepers on that side of the ball) and then drafted like 6 closers in the draft?
It seemed like a genius strategy. I would be starting off with a presumably stronger offense than other teams due to keeping 6 hitters, and then I would have a great chance at winning SV, ERA, and WHIP. Sure, I would lose Wins and Kís, but 33 points for wins and 2 points for losses would total 35 points. Divided by 5, that comes to an average of 7 points from each category. Pair that with a strong showing in the offensive categories, and I could easily be looking at a top 3 finish!
It seemed too good to be true! And as I soon found out, it actually was. Anyways, I decided to keep my 6 best hitters: Carl Crawford, Adam Dunn, Andre Ethier (donít judge), Jose Reyes, Mike Stanton, and Kendrys Morales. I know you just read those 6 names and cringed a little bit because we all know that 4 of those 6 guys were complete flops in 2011. Then in the draft I got a hold of Joakim Soria, Jose Valverde, JJ Putz, Houston Street, Brandon Lyon, and Joe Nathan.
Hindsight is always 20-20, and if I would have known that 4 of those 6 hitters would have fallen on their faces this last year I wouldnít have even tried this crazy strategy. It didnít help that Lyon, Nathan and Soria underperformed as well. As it was, I finished at the bottom of every offensive scoring category except steals last year. And finished dead last in the league. Sad story, right?
Well, there is a silver lining here. The only good thing about a bad team that has 6 closers and a horrible, underachieving offense is that closers are always marketable on the trade front, and Crawford still had some trade value for someone hoping for a second-half comeback. I took everyone except for Stanton and formed trades to acquire Prince Fielder, Carlos Gonzalez, Zach Greinke, and Eric Hosmer. Then I carefully scoured the waiver wire to pick up Madison Bumgarner and Brett Lawrie, so now my keeper situation looks extremely solid going into 2012.
My up and down year last year goes to show that seasonís can be lost on draft day if you donít plan effectively. The lesson I learned is that it is NEVER a good idea to punt categories. Never. And just when you think you can, just donít. I somehow managed to correct my horrible, horrible mistakes, but you might not be as lucky. As it is, I have the first pick in this yearís draft to go along with a solid core of 7 players. I will definitely not be drafting 6 closers this year.