When we dealt Keith Law to the Blue Jays for a player to be named (hey, J.P., you getting on that?), we lost a key member of our staff. Oh, Keith was great on economic issues, and a significant contributor to the book, and always good for a batch of brownies when we had bake sales, but most importantly, he was our fantasy baseball guy. Most of you know Keith wrote "The Pivot" for ESPN.com, in which he provided fantasy baseball tips.
Me, I'm a Strat-O-Matic player, as are many of the people on staff, including Rany Jazayerli, Chris Kahrl, Greg Spira, and Clay Davenport. The fantasy game I've played the most is probably Scoresheet Baseball (along with Rany, Greg, Gary Huckabay, and Dave Pease). I've mixed in a Yahoo league or two the last couple of years, invited in by one of my best friends. My last straight roto league was in 1992, while I was a junior at USC. All I really remember is cursing Phil Plantier a lot.
This is a long-winded way of saying that our new Lawless state left us in a bit of a bind when it came to our entry in Baseball Weekly's League of Alternative Baseball Reality, a straight rotisserie league founded by the magazine's John Hunt some time back. It's a league of nominal experts from publications and Web sites and stat services, and Keith had always represented us well. Now, we would be left with relative roto novices at the helm.
We decided to run the team as a group effort. Chris attended the auction about three weeks ago, making the long trip from Baltimore to D.C. I'm the day-to-day guy, getting input from Chris and Rany as needed, and handling the nuts and bolts of transactions. I'll be pestering the few roto guys we do have on staff to make sure that we're not making the kinds of decisions that work in Strat/Scoresheet/real life but look real bad in roto.
So what did Chris end up with? Here's the Baseball Prospectus team right now. Remember that LABR (National League) is 4×4 roto, $260 for 24 players, with a six-man reserve list and a $100 Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB).
C: Charles Johnson 12 C: Tom Lampkin 1 1B: Richie Sexson 26 2B: Marcus Giles 13 3B: Craig Counsell 4 SS: D'Angelo Jimenez 10 Corner: Tyler Houston 7 Middle: Jose Ortiz 20 OF: Bobby Abreu 33 OF: Lance Berkman 32 OF: Roosevelt Brown 9 (last player acquired) OF: Kerry Robinson 5 OF: Ruben Mateo 4 Utility: Jason Lane 1 Greg Maddux 26 Roy Oswalt 18 Wade Miller 14 Ruben Quevedo 7 Steve Kline 5 Paul Quantrill 5 Giovanni Carrara 3 Omar Daal 2 Brian Anderson 1 Joey Hamilton 1 Reserve List Jamey Wright, P Kirk Rueter, P Jimmy Anderson, P Tony McKnight, P Ramon Castro, C Ryan Christenson, OF
We're light on saves, although the hope is that we can find some as the season wears on. Our three-man core of starters should give us a leg up on wins and a good anchor for our ERA and Ratio. Offensively, we're deep in the middle infield, but light at third base and in the outfield, and almost certainly have a steals problem.
I'm taking the group effort one step further now, and soliciting input from the people who read this column. Got ideas? Suggestions? Kudos? Drop me a line. (Criticism? That goes to email@example.com.) I'm serious about the lack of straight roto experience, and am looking forward to hearing from those of you who have played the game.
And hey, if we win, that's thousands of people who are responsible and can e-mail John Hunt and taunt him.