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It’s Nearly Time for Fantasy Baseball Once Again
Generally speaking, I don’t tend to delve much into the fantasy sports world in any of my writing. It’s not that I have anything against writing about fantasy baseball, but it’s just simply not my thing. I enjoy playing the games but I’m not one for analyzing draft strategy or for dissecting and discussing which sleepers could round out my roster.
To be fair, I have nothing against fantasy baseball writers. In fact, a number of the bloggers I’ve gotten to know over the past year – and subsequently become friends with – are just that, fantasy baseball bloggers, and good ones too. One of those friends is in the process of launching a new venture with a strong fantasy baseball focus, called Full Spectrum Baseball. I was invited to join the team in anticipation of their official launch (which I believe should be later this week) but I respectfully declined considering it’s just not my area of comfort. But, between FSB and Dear Mr. Fantasy, I’ve got enough resources to read when I find myself in need of fantasy baseball advice.
But, as I said before, I do enjoy playing fantasy baseball. I ran two teams this past season. I am currently slated to participate in three this coming one – though one of them I have yet to learn any details about yet.
One of my leagues from last year has since dissolved. I think I finished 6th or 7th in the 10-team league, but admittedly I’m not certain. Everyone within the league was certainly focused elsewhere and there were some disagreements regarding scoring and roster transaction deadlines that caused some problems right from the start. Ultimately it’s no big loss that the league has folded, especially considering I’ve already found a replacement.
The same friend co-running FSB had an opening in one of his keeper leagues from last year, as one of their owners elected not to return for another season. It’s your typical head-to-head league, where to win a matchup all I need to do is win more categories than my opponent. The draft is coming up in late March, which should be interesting considering how poor my keeper selections are.
I am permitted to keep five players from a collection of possibilities that includes Cole Hamels, John Axford, Ben Zobrist, Al Avila, Huston Street, David Wright, Austin Jackson, and a host of other players who aren’t worth mentioning (and of course, ESPN is performing “routine maintenance on their fantasy baseball databases in anticipation for the 2012 season” so I can’t even check my roster at the moment. Needless to say, the keeper pickings are slim and beyond Hamels and Axford I’m not certain what direction I will likely end up going.
As for the last league, it’s certainly the one I’m more invested in. It’s a 20-team dynasty league that began last year. All of the members are other bloggers, so it’s a league filled with guys who are definitely knowledgeable and interested in the game. I realized early on last year that my team didn’t stand much of a chance, so my focus shifted from winning it all to building for the future. Our rosters carry over in full from one year to the next, so there's no need to plan for a draft each Spring. I was able to make some solid pickups and crafty trades that have put me in a good position going forward.
The first move allowed me to address an area of need by dealing from a position of depth. I needed an outfielder and decided to make a move to acquire Brett Gardner. The team that owned him was in need of pitching, at least from my point of view, so I took a chance and made a preliminary offer. Low and behold, he accepted, and Gardner was mine at the cost of only Rick Porcello.
Almost immediately after the draft I started to receive some trade offers from a number of other teams – specifically with efforts to acquire Buster Posey and Aroldis Chapman from me*. The side heavily seeking Posey, however, was the most persistent. Talks never developed in late March or early April. Then, in mid May he re-approached me about a deal. He wanted Jeff Francoeur and Andres Torres.
He wanted to build his offer around Magglio Ordonez, a player I had zero interest in. I needed a reliever so I countered his initial proposal. He accepted and would get Francoeur and Torres, just as he hoped. I’d receive Chris Perez and Melky Cabrera in return. Once again I was able to address an area of need for parts that didn’t figure into my plans long term.
* In retrospect, considering both players had terrible 2011 seasons (or, in Posey’s case, missed nearly the whole year due to injury) perhaps there should have been a greater willingness on my part to deal them. But looking back at the packages of players being offered, none of the players I would have received would have ended up providing a greater value.
The season would concluded without any additional trades. And while my team may have finished 17th out of 20 teams, I was fairly happy with my roster as a whole heading into 2012. There was still a need to address and some players I hoped to move/replace. So talks once again picked up with another owner, centered on my efforts to acquire Justin Upton from him.
He had expressed some interest in Domonic Brown, so I knew we at least had a starting place but any deal would require more. We exchanged a few proposals and continued to work towards a deal. One of the players I hoped to include he had no interest in, so we had to discuss alternatives, but ultimately we came to an agreement. He’d receive Brown, Jason Kipnis, and Trevor Bauer. I’d get Upton and Mat Latos.
That’s three trades. Three deals that seem, at least at first glance, to fall towards my favor. Considering my roster overall, I think I’m actually in a good place heading into the season. Posey should be healthy for a full season and I’ve got Devin Mesoraco to give me additional catching depth. Robinson Cano will hold down second, Brett Lawrie’s at third, and Andrew McCutchen rounds out my outfield alongside Gardner and Upton.
My rotation now features David Price, Latos, Drew Pomeranz, Jacob Turner, and some combination of Dillon Gee, Mike Minor, and Ricky Nolasco until Brett Anderson returns from injury, potentially mid-season. Perez, Chapman, Sergio Santos, Alfredo Aceves, and Tyler Clippard fill out the bullpen in a league that weighs saves and holds equally.
While fantasy baseball isn’t necessarily my personal expertise, I still enjoy building a team and seeing how it compares to others within my league. I know at least one of my rosters is looking promising heading into the season but the other two are relative mysteries at this point in time. We’ll just have to wait and see how those drafts turn out.