A Kafkaesque look at how to approach the trading season in fantasy baseball.
It’s that time of year: time for the fantasy scribes to put together their annual trading columns. More so than with auctioning, drafting or player analysis, trading is a difficult topic because there is so much variability from league to league and even from fantasy manager to fantasy manager. What works in my 12-team AL-only keeper league probably will not work in your 15-team mixed redraft league.
One constant that does exist across leagues is that you will have to interact with other people. “To write prescriptions is easy, but to come to an understanding with people is hard.” Franz Kafka wrote in A Country Doctor. Kafka died 56 years before Daniel Okrent’s fantasy baseball league had its initial auction at La Rotisserie Francaise in Manhattan in 1980, so we may never know what Kafka would have thought of fantasy baseball, but I suspect that he would have found the frustration with the difficulty of trading extremely relatable.
I’m not really sure what’s going on in the Deep League Report this week. Decent starting pitchers don’t show up here very often, but this week there’s one in each league. There might be some East Coast bias in play, too, since three of the six NL-only players featured this week are Mets. But enough with the prologue—on with the show.
Did you know the Nationals are still feeling around in the dark for a closer?
Welcome back to the Closer Report. It wasn’t a busy week in Reliever Land but, despite that, there is still plenty to talk about with some strange performances, notable usage and returns from injury. Before we get into that, just a reminder that you can keep up with all changes during the week with the Closer Grid. Now, let’s get to the goods.
In a new season, don't be haunted by old ghosts. Try fresh tactics.
There’s an old saying that “generals always fight the last war.” The origin of the saying is unclear, but the idea behind it is not. During their current engagements, people tend to do the things that has worked well and avoid the things that didn’t work well during their previous engagement, rather than choose their course of action based on the current circumstances. And it’s not limited to war—a variation on the statement insists that “economists always fight the last depression.”
In my deep AL-only league keeper league, I’ve had the same issue the past few times I’ve had a contending team. I didn’t trade away my prospects and/or cheep keepers to the teams that dumped early because I didn’t like the prices I was paying. Each time, I felt like the contenders who made those deals overpaid and that I would overtake them when I made subsequent deals at better exchange rates. Each time, I was wrong.
Corey Kluber is described as robot-like for several reasons, including his dependability. So start him twice. The same goes for Clayton Kershaw and Jon Lester.
It's time to preview the hurlers scheduled for two starts in the upcoming week. As the old wrestling promoters would always say: “Card Subject to Change,” because injuries and tinkering managers can make this less than a science. Should new information present itself, we can go over it in the comments.
Most of these recommendations are based on a combination of ADP/auction price and PECOTA projections for opponent strength. As the season progresses and we get more concrete data points for how the pitchers and their opponents perform, the formula will evolve into a performance-based projection. For more information on some key terms—Auto-Start, Start, Consider and Sit—click here.
Cameron Maybin and Mallex Smith make for valuable speedsters in mixed leagues, while Matt Adams continues to show value filling in for Freddie Freeman. Meanwhile, it's time to talk Turley—Nik Turley—and to speak Franchy—Franchy Cordero.
12-team mixed leagues(must be available in at least 50 percent of ESPN, Yahoo, or CBS leagues)
Middle relievers with big strikeout totals are gaining in value, which has fundamental implications for how fantasy baseball should be played.
A large portion of the conversation in fantasy circles has revolved around how the spike in home runs has altered the landscape—and with good reason. Home runs have increased from 4,186 in 2014 to 4,909 in 2015 to 5,610 in 2016. Entering action Wednesday, major-league hitters were on pace to hit 6,133 home runs in 2017. It is with good reason this has been analyzed ad infinitum. But since this fertile soil has been properly tilled, we can look at a different trend that is slipping under the radar somewhat.
Table 1: Major League Baseball Starting Pitchers, 2013-2017