Fantasy Baseball's Tumbling Dice: Old Prospectors, Not New Prospects

by Lawr Michaels, on May 20, 2014 @ 07:46:50 PDT


Over the past week or so, Kyle Farnsworth changed teams (for the third time this year), as did Jeff Francis, and Kyle Blanks. Although truth be told, Farnsworth's path was almost tame compared to that of Steve Pearce.

Similarly, Jeff Keppinger was brought back (and then designated, but don't expect that to last long), and Randy Wolf was signed.

1B Kyle Blanks, Oakland Athletics
Fresh start awaits

In the meantime, Martin Perez joined that ever-growing list of young flamethrowers who will now miss a year or so recovering from Tommy John surgery.

And if we think about just that list of surgically impaired hurlers, virtually every hot young arm of the past couple of years has succumbed: Stephen Strasburg, Matt Moore, Matt Harvey, Jose Fernandez and now Perez, just to note the cream of that crop.

What about Brandon Belt, Jose Abreu, Mark Trumbo, Chris Davis, Ryan Zimmerman and Ben Zobrist, position players all, and all on the DL at some point this year.

Now I must be honest here: We all know injuries happen in baseball. Furthermore, we all can guess that Matt Kemp, Troy Tulowitzki, and Coco Crisp will all spend time on the DL over the course of the season.

And though we might not expect the same of either Prince Fielder or Matt Wieters, the law of injury averages usually does catch up with everyone at some point.

The good news of all this is in a perfect world, in a well-distributed collection of players suggests that all the teams in your league have likely been pounded some by this amazing rash of Red Cross victims this season.

But what is perplexing is there are basically two kinds off leagues: keepers and throwback leagues.

There are also deep leagues and shallow leagues, and the reality is should you be in a shallow league, with weekly transactions, you might be scrambling a little, but at least you should be able to get James Loney or Craig Gentry or even Sean Doolittle. So though your roster might not be quite as shiny and promising as on Draft Day, at least you should be able to get regular production.

But in a throwback league, where all the players go back into the player pool at the end of the season, how do you adjust to losing Ryan Zimmerman when your replacement is Jeff Bianchi? Are you indeed better off with no one producing than Bianchi?

A lot of that depends upon your numbers, but if your team average or dingers are solid enough to bite it for a couple of off weeks, do so. On the other hand, if you are desperate for counting stats, looking to Joaquin Arias to help you out of that quandary is probably a mistake. Meaning you might indeed be better off doing nothing.

In either situation you must play the waiver wire aggressively, but again in deference to Bianchi and Arias, do it wisely.

Additionally, if you are going to gamble, spend your FAAB on the experienced players who are looking to make a splash, with a new team and a fresh start. For they have indeed been there before. An they not only stand the best chance to get playing time, at least until roster expansion, but they also present the best chance for success.

If you need arms in a deep format, rolling the middle reliever dice, and vulturing some wins and whiffs and innings, is the way to go.

What about keeper leagues, where you are building a squad to win not just now, but ideally every year?

If you use a waiver pool and FAAB, I would pretty much play that the same as in a throwback league, grabbing veterans and middle relievers while playing the percentages.

But using the trade market, especially if you are rebuilding, is a clear and simple path. As in now is the time to swap for Harvey, Fernandez, and Moore.

Meaning if you have players who will be sidelined for the bulk, if not the rest of this year, and you have a chance to win this year, trade and go for it. That is because it will be another year before the Harveys and Moores will really produce much of anything. And, by then a large complexion of your team will be different anyway.

And, if you have Jason Grilli or Jason Kipnis, don't worry. Heath Bell and Miguel Tejada might well be available soon.

You can get the Mastersball Player Projections as well as our Top 250 Prospects as part of our Platinum package, with more information at 2013 Mastersball Platinum Package. Mastersball Platinum is the edge that supported four of the top five finishers in the NFBC in 2012. You can get the same insights and analysis that helped Dave Potts with the $100,000 grand prize last year by subscribing to Mastersball at 2013 Mastersball Platinum Package.

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About Lawr Michaels,

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 as a statistician. Fantasy Baseball

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