Happy New Year baseball fans! It is the oldest, most played, toughest, and most gratifying of fantasy sports. “The Five-Tool Player” will address various fantasy baseball topics throughout the term to help you fantasy baseball engineering fanatics succeed in the coming season. In the spirit of 2011, I present to you my three fantasy New Year resolutions.
Note: My preference is to play the standard head-to-head 5×5, 12-team mixed league with Runs, Home Runs, RBI, Stolen Bases, Average, Wins, Saves, Strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP as categories. The advice in “The Five-Tool Player” will relate most to this style.
Resolution #2: Less Early-Season Judging
I like to change my team early in April, whether I am adding hot players, dropping cold players, or making bold trades. My team is not paint, I cannot just watch it, but it is sometimes detrimental to act too quickly, especially early in the season. There are two categories of players here: perennial slow starters and hotshot prospects that trip over the starting line. The poster boy for the first group must be Troy Tulowitzki, he of the .237 AVG, 7 HR, 39 RBI, 45 Runs, and 4 SB line over 339 April at-bats. If you can wait for him to shake off his off-season slumber, he posts a .304-32-102-99-8 over 493 career at-bats in September. Other names include Johan Santana, Ryan Howard, Mark Teixeira, and second-half stud Adam LaRoche. In terms of the second group, I was a victim of overreacting last season on some guy named David Price, the ace of the Tampa Bay Rays. My pitching strategy is predicated on strong starting pitchers that can provide on all four SP categories, especially strikeouts. From April to May, Price pitched well for me, but ballooned my WHIP with at least one walk in all his starts. I was fed up after a five-walk performance against Houston on May 23rd. Reminded by his 1.35 WHIP last season, I ditched him. Oops. The walks remained but he finished the year with a 1.19 WHIP, and it was more than balanced by his 19 wins, 2.72 ERA, and 188 strikeouts. When Brian Matusz has a couple of blow-ups this season, I will remind myself of his great potential.
One of the most enjoyable parts of fantasy baseball is making a funny team name. The one I used last season was Honeynut Ichiros. Send me your favourite fantasy team names at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will share them during the term.