Fantasy Baseball Tumbling Dice: Save Me, Jeff Suppan
I have written frequently how my MidWest Strat-O-Matic League is my favorite among all the leagues in which I play.
Based in Chicago, where my mates Al Koman and Dean Peterson started first with a National League, and then added an American League a couple of years later, the MidWest League now boasts 30 teams and 30 owners (which really could be a Commissioner's nightmare).
Since it is Strat-O-Matic, we play out the season in a head-to-head format using those familiar Strat-O-Matic cards with the statistics from the previous season.
But ultimately, the thing I love about the league is it offers the closest chance of any fantasy contest I have experienced to really build - or rebuild - a franchise from scratch.
For all of us essentially drafted our core teams almost ten years ago, and aside from trading, the thing that allows a rebuild is the January rookie draft, the 2013 version of which is working its way to completion as I write.
As I have noted, the thing that keeps us honest in the league are strict usage rules: We are allowed to use any player for the same innings or at-bats as the previous season plus 20 percent. Meaning my No. 1 starter right now, Kevin Correia, gets 205 innings (171 from 2012 plus 34 more from the 20 percent rule).
My NL Berkeley Liberators have had success over the years, but about a year-and-a-half ago the wheels started to come off the Libs, and I decided it was rebuild time. And, the reality is I really love the process of trying to reinvent my team.
But, my problem came last year when I traded off a bunch of my regulars - like Shane Victorino and Ryan Zimmerman - for draft picks and future gambles. I ran short of starters and was guilty of overusing my players past the 20 percent rule, giving me some ugly demerits, and allowing me to only freeze 21 guys, including my 2013 potential draft picks.
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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