Marlon Byrd is going to be a little under-priced in NL-only fantasy baseball leagues and overlooked completely in deep mixed versions. Thank Alfredo Aceves, a nutritionist and Muay Thai for that.
Last May, an Aceves offering struck Byrd in the head, and he spent a month and a half on the disabled list. This winter, the 34-year-old learned of some food allergies he had and altered his diet. Then, he took up the Thai martial arts discipline.
It's cliche to doubt "best shape of my life" stories, which were already cliche. Let's try not to clump them all together, shall we?
Byrd in the hand
A BSOML story is much more convincing when it involves a change of lifestyle for the subject and it yields dramatic results that are beneficial to an artisan specifically in his craft.
Byrd claims that he feels much more energetic, which we cannot readily observe. He also weighs 215 pounds now, however, and according to Ms. Muskat's feature, he ended last season at 255 pounds. Muay Thai emphasizes the use of his lower half, improves the quickness of his hands and creates more physical harmony. Check.
A BSOML chronicle is also noteworthy when its subject has something on the line or to prove. A player may expect competition for his starting job. He may see an opportunity to earn a starting job. He may need to prove that he's not washed up. He may fear that he'll lose his meal ticket.
Byrd is in the final year of a three-year deal. He probably looks at the winter after 2012 as his last chance at a decent payday that comes with some security. He'll probably be trade bait by July; Brett Jackson is nipping at his heels. There's no threat to Byrd's livelihood, but the scenario is a potential source of motivation. Semi-check.
Everybody but Byrd is Kung Fu fighting
Byrd's numbers are probably not going to be exceptional. But he's the kind of useful player whose rotisserie value is torpedoed by one unfortunate event.
In 2010, his first campaign with the Chicago Cubs, he batted .293 with 12 home runs, 66 RBIs, 84 runs and five stolen bases in 152 games. Those marks were enough to get him drafted in the final third of MLB-universe drafts in 2011. He played in 33 fewer games last season, and now he's made-up mincemeat.
At his age, Byrd invites skepticism about his capacity to achieve his level of production from two seasons ago. He took measures to ensure that he gives himself a greater chance than the average player his age. There's the possibility that he could exceed his 2010 output, too, although it's unfair to expect.
If you don't lose your deep-mixed league in the first third of its draft by reaching for excessively hyped players and injury-prone stars coming off years in which they actually remained healthy, you still have to choose some difference-makers in the middle third and do the little things in the final third.
This year, barring another disaster like Byrd's tragic encounter with Aceves, some winners of mixed leagues will have the outfielder on their rosters. It probably won't be because he had a career year. It'll probably just be because you and 10 or 13 other league mates failed to see the value in a player like that before the victor did. Just one year later, what's so different?
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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