Are you ready for it? By ‚Äúit‚ÄĚ I mean Im just about set to lay down the law when it comes to ‚Äúdeep‚ÄĚ fantasy leagues. Seems like many people are in a wading pool that they somehow think is 10 feet deep. I’m here to straighten you all out.
Catchers stink. That’s the common refrain you hear from people in fantasy baseball. The odd thing is that I often hear that from people who are in one catcher leagues. How can you be complaining about your catcher if you only start one? I’m even more put off by folks who complain about catchers in their 10 person leagues. Stop your whining. Try finding a second catcher in a 13 team NL-only league. Then it’s time to start your balling.
And that brings up a point of contention for me. I know that a certain company whose call sign is four letters and is known as The Sports Leader often uses 10 team leagues on their site, but think about how shallow that is. What’s worse, is that a bunch of those leagues use only one catcher and three outfielders. Think of the difference in the player pool penetration.
Hitters: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, UT
10 teams: 90 starters
12 teams: 108 starters
15 teams: 135 starters
Let’s add in a second catcher.
Hitters: C, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, UT
10 teams: 100 starters
12 teams: 120 starters
15 teams: 150 starters
Now let’s add in two more outfielders.
Hitters: C, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, OF, OF, UT
10 teams: 120 starters
12 teams: 144 starters
15 teams: 180 starters
And if you really want to be legit add in a middle and corner infielder as well.
Hitters: C, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, CI, OF, OF, OF, OF, OF, UT
10 teams: 140 starters
12 teams: 168 starters
15 teams: 210 starters
Those of you out there complaining that you can’t find good players in the first example with your 10 team league of 90 starters ‚Äď what are you talking about? If you just add in a catcher and two outfielders you’ve now added in 30 starting hitters. If you wanted to approach the industry standard of 14 starting hitters you’d have upped your starting player pool from 90 to 140 hitters. If you really wanted to step up to the industry standard that a league like the National Fantasy Baseball Championship uses, you’d be looking at 15 teams, 14 hitters each, for a total of 210 starters. Think of that; we’ve now upped the player penetration for hitters nearly 60 percent going from 90 to 210 hitters. So please don’t whine about not being able to find a starter if you are in a 10 team league ‚Äď there are players of worth laying all over the place in those leagues.
Oh, and one other pet peeve of mine as I let the venom fly on this Monday ‚Äď please don’t say you are in a ‚Äúdeep‚ÄĚ 12 team league because I’d bet you money you aren’t. Let’s use our last example on the board above, the one based on 14 hitters:
10 teams: 140 starters
12 teams: 168 starters
15 teams: 210 starters
Are you still going to tell me your in a ‚Äúdeep‚ÄĚ 12 team league when 42 other hitters are starting in a 15 teamer? Also, let’s not forget we haven’t even broached the topic of pitchers or benches. The bottom line for me, is that if you’re in a 12 team league and you want to call it ‚Äúdeep‚ÄĚ you had better be starting 14 hitters, have nine starting pitchers, and at least six bench players. Otherwise you shouldn’t be using the term ‚Äúdeep‚ÄĚ to describe a situation that isn’t.
Death, taxes and Jake Peavy hurt again. That should be the headline on the back of a one dollar bill. Peavy’s arm is alright this time, but he injured his groin and will almost certainly end up on the disabled list as a result. Some players you just cannot trust, and Peavy is clearly in that group. Hopefully you listened when I wrote about him and suggested you get out when you could. We have no idea how long he will be sidelined, or how he will perform once he returns, but we should all know by now not to expect much, at least in terms of durability. I don’t know how/why so many people were willing to overlook the fact that the last time he threw 175 innings was 2008.
Erik Bedard is another hurler you should be worried about. His performance to date has been wonderful. Despite a poor 3-4 record, Erik has a K.9 mark of 8.17, a walk rate of 2.77 (it would be a career best), an ERA of 3.46 an a WHIP of 1.25. However, he’s just as much a health risk as Peavy is ‚Äď if not more. Don’t let Bedard’s great work thus far blind you to the fact that he hasn’t tossed even 85 innings since 2007. It might be the perfect time to try and deal Bedard because you know, you simply must know, that an injury is coming at some point.
Bartolo Colon is bionic. He had some surgery on his arm that major league baseball is investigating (there are rumors of HGH or something else funny going on, but to this point Colon remains on the hill with only suspicion, but no proof, hanging over his head). Like Peavy and Bedard, Colon has been a basket case of healthy woes over the past few years. The oldest of the trio at 38 years old, Colon as has the worst track record of late as the last time he threw 100 big league innings was 2005. Hell, he didn’t even pitch in the big leagues last season. So you explain to me how a guy with that track record is currently posting the second best K/9 rate of his 14 year big league career. Explain to me how he has the best K/BB ratio of his career (3.88). Explain to me how he’s throwing the ball harder, 92 mph, than he has at any point since 2005. Explain to me how a 38 year old with declining health is able to do that without something unexplained going on. I’m not saying Colon took drugs, I have no proof of that and it would be irresponsible for me to suggest such a scenario without proof. I’m just saying what’s happening with Colon simply doesn’t happen. Can you imagine how long the line is outside the doctor’s office for elderly pitchers looking to extend their careers? Maybe Jamie Moyer can have some work done and start throwing 90 mph again.
What do you do with Colon? Like Bedard, it only makes sense to trade him. Find that Yankee fan in your league and deal the big fella. After all, Colon is also posting a career best ground ball rate (47.5 percent vs. 41.4 for his career), GB/FB ratio (1.37 vs. 1.06 for his career), and his LOB percentage is 76.4 percent, his first time over 70 percent since 2005. Sprinkle in his first K/9 rate over 6.90 since 2001, it’s currently all the way up at 8.29, and it’s time to sell before the market collapses. So whether or not your buying that he will stay healthy you need to admit that continued success at his current level shouldn’t be expected.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive, 5-8 PM Eastern, on Sirius 210 and XM 87. Ray’s baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.
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