Fantasy Baseball Tumbling Dice: Baseball wasteland

by Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com on March 13, 2012 @ 09:25:40 PDT

 


Hard to believe, but we are now 37 players into my National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) out of 50 total rounds.

Wow. 50 players. Of course there are a couple of rubs if you will, the first being the setup is draft-and-follow. Meaning what you draft is what you get. Furthermore, there are no trades in the league over the course of the season. Meaning, uh, what you draft is what you get.

Now my XFL league actually runs a 40-man roster with a standard 23-man auction that takes place in the fall at the Arizona BaseballHQ First Pitch, and then a 17-round reserve draft that allows the opportunity to compensate for some funky fall purchases.

San Francisco Giants P Eric Surkamp
Surkamp unearthed late

You know, like maybe Carlos Guillen or Jorge Posada, should they have been snatched up by a then hopeful and now disillusioned owner. My Scoresheet league, which drafts this coming Saturday in what is always a marathon, goes 37 rounds, but that is after a soft eight freezes.

And, my Strat-O-Matic league goes 35 players deep, although in that dynasty setting we can freeze up to 29 players and then draft to fill out our rosters.

But 50 guys? I am not sure if that harkens more to the old TV Show title "Bonanza" or alludes better to T.S. Eliot's epic poem "The Waste Land," though truth be told Ben Cartwright had no more consciousness of baseball than did Eliot's Tiresias.

It is, however, a lot of fun plodding through names after say round 27, because if ever there was a time when ADP fell off the face of the earth, well, that is it.

For example, some of the guys I have culled in the later rounds? Hector Sanchez and Eric Surkamp of the Giants are a couple. Along with another Giant, Gary Brown. Not that I love the Giants or their players any more than any other team's. But, I have seen all these guys and I know what they can do, which is worth something.

Furthermore, depending upon how the San Francisco season goes, all three should get some playing time at AT&T; it is only a question of whether this will be sooner or later.

But, how about some of the other names my league mates are nabbing?

Like both Brad Boxberger and Brian Bogusevic in round #35 for the newbie speculators (not to mention fans of alliteration), while Joe Blanton, Kevin Slowey, and Brett Anderson went to the more traditional owners trying to find a resurrection project.

The thing is, though I am sure the bulk of these later round selections will have little impact, let alone see much playing time, I am also sure there will be a couple of guys like Slowey, or Blanton, or even Chone Figgins or Javier Vazquez, who will help the eventual winning team in more ways than we can imagine.

I mean, think back to Cliff Lee, who posted 5-8, 6.27 totals in 2007, and went undrafted in most 2008 formats going into the season. Of course his 22-3, 2.54 2008 Cy Young season at least showed that no matter how many numbers and stats we know, we still never really know.

And, well, though that example is obvious, every season presents a cluster of like examples, maybe not of Cy Young caliber, but, pretty good production out of unexpected sources.

And, we need look no further than Lance Berkman who was written off in every way, shape, and form in 2011 (I actually had Berkman in the XFL, and could have frozen him at a mere $9, but chose not to).

With 555 players to be drafted in the league after the initial 345 players - that is 15 teams' worth of 23 players - there have to be some serious Lee/Berkman-like roughs hiding in baseball's diamonds.

If you are familiar with the rather lengthy tome/poem produced by Thomas Stearns Eliot, and noted in the early paragraphs of this piece, you probably know that the work is essentially about the quest for the Holy Grail.

That search, which is really symbolic of man's desire for eternal knowledge, life, and youth, has puzzled man since we started writing things down, be it presented as Faust, or by Monty Python, or Eliot.

Well, there is no question that in my NFBC league, the owner who nabs the 2012 version of Lee/Berkman will surely feel as if he found the Grail all right. He might consider the pick quite a "bonanza" at that.

Hey, now you can get me on Twitter @lawrmichaels!

You can also subscribe now to the Mastersball Platinum Package, and get the edge that has led to three Tout Wars titles, eight NFBC crowns, two Scoresheet Championship teams, a KFFL title, and a Fantasy Pro 911 title over the last three years.

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About Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com

Lawr Michaels has been a player in the fantasy baseball industry since he began writing for John Benson in 1993. He has written for STATS, Inc, was the first fantasy columnist for CBS Sportsline, and has appeared in numerous journals and on websites. In 1996, he founded CREATiVESPORTS, a staple for serious fantasy players, which he merged into Mastersball in 2010.

Over the years, Lawr has participated in a wide variety of playing formats and won numerous titles, including AL Tout Wars crowns in 2001 and 2009. Along with his Mastersball duties, Lawr works for MLB.com as a statistician.

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