Sunday, March 20, 2011
With many owners drafting fantasy baseball teams in the near future, I wanted to discuss some of my unconventional thoughts on the subject. The first can be applied to both draft and auction formats; the other only in auctions.
In most fantasy baseball leagues, pitchers are not valued enough. Before adjusting for the added health risk of the throwing a baseball too often, all pitchers should be valued the same as all hitters because they contribute to the same number of scoring categories in the vast majority of leagues. Since most leagues have fewer eligible pitching spots than hitters, pitchers should be valued more than hitters. In my League, we play nine hitters and five pitchers with two bench spots so the maximum number of pitchers that can contribute is seven. All things being equal, pitchers are worth a minimum 28% more than a hitter in my League.
Of course, not all things are equal. A hitter’s fantasy statistics are less dependent on their teammates compared to a pitcher’s. A hitter’s fantasy production will be less prone to year-to-year fluctuations than a pitcher’s. And we already touched upon the increased health risk. Hence, a fantasy pitcher offers more risk and reward than the equivalent hitter. But if you play in a keeper league, as I do, holding onto a low draft pick or a cheap good pitcher can be an advantage since your team is minimizing risk (high round pick or low cost) with the same amount of reward or 28% over a hitter in my League.
When my team was going nowhere last year, I implemented the strategy mentioned above by trading for David Price and Clay Buchholz, who each cost only $2 or 2% of the budget. The newly acquired pair teamed with Neftali
Feliz to be the foundation of my club and auction strategy going forward – spend on hitters since spending on high risk-high reward pitchers is not necessary. This fantasy strategy can be applied to many leagues.
Another plan that I used and haven’t seen floating around in the series of tubes was to acquire two completely different hitters. The opposites can complement one another and cost you less than two hitters without any major flaws. My combination of Mark Reynolds and Ichiro Suzuki should average out to 270-75-20-75-20 at a cost of $26 or 26% of the budget. This is a play that should only be tried in auctions. It is too risky for draft formats.
Good luck to all owners not in my League.