Posted 06/18/2009 at 04:27 AM
This may sound like itís chest-thumping, but Iíve got some pretty strong fantasy baseball credentials. I wonít bore anyone with a lengthy rundown of the achievements. Suffice to say Iíve been playing for close to 20 years in virtually all formats, and Iíve got a good idea of what Iím doing.
Thatís also why much of the fantasy advice thatís dispensed at various websites kind of cracks me up. Itís not that itís necessarily bad advice, but much of it is little more than useless advice. Is the information potentially valuable to a casual player in a soft league? Sure it is, but those arenít the owners perusing those websites. Therefore the analysis should be geared to hard core fantasy players in tough leagues where some legitimately expert advice may be needed.
Hereís an example of what I mean. Toronto closer Scott Downs went down with a knee injury in Tuesdayís game against the Phillies. Virtually every site I visited was quick to urge readers to go get Jason Frasor right away with Downs a good bet to land on the DL, which in fact he did on Wednesday.
The suggestion is okay in that Frasor seems like one of only two possible options to be the interim closer for the Blue Jays, with the other being BJ Ryan. Since Frasor has enjoyed the far better campaign, heís the logical frontrunner, although a committee with Ryan based on matchups is certainly a possibility.
The problem I have with this advice is that neither pitcher was likely available in any quality league, and Iím talking about 5◊5 leagues where holds donít matter. In a good league of any depth, understudy closers with good numbers arenít largely available, so that takes Frasor out of the mix. As for Ryan, he was drafted in almost every league, and in deeper leagues, owners are generally reluctant to let go of drafted closers even after they lose their jobs.
My aim, when Iím writing about fantasy baseball, is to focus on players I know are likely available in deep leagues with sharp owners. Thatís why I spend time running down the first-time recalls every Monday. My take on these players is frequently exactly opposite of what is widely suggested elsewhere, and while I will certainly miss on occasion, I feel safe in stating that Iíve got a better batting average than most on the newcomers.
As for advice on veterans, Iím simply amused at how many players I can virtually guarantee are absolutely NOT available in a deep quality league, yet are the recommended grabs by the ďexpertsĒ authoring the columns. In my 15-team mixed annual league, the highest rated free agent position player available right now (based on Yahoo rankings) is Ryan Spilborghs. The only other player in the top 500 thatís out there is Miguel Olivo. In other words, if someone is writing for the owners in my league, they need to come up with someone under the radar. Just because a player may only be owned in 25% of all Yahoo leagues doesnít mean heís available in quality leagues. Those numbers are based on all leagues, including shallow public leagues where half the owners gave up two weeks after the draft. Thus, my contention that the majority of the info dispensed is useless.
Okay, talk is cheap, so hereís a suggested move for owners in real leagues with sharp competitors. Take a shot on Giants 1B Travis Ishikawa. Heís a candidate for a lightning in a bottle strike. Perhaps not for the rest of the season, but at least for a little bit. Ishikawa has more power than heís shown so far this season. More importantly, heís a streak hitter and heís getting hot right now. Oh, and heís available almost everywhere. Chances are that if youíre in one of those solid leagues, the last spoit on your roster is someone whoís hardly indispensable. Grab Ishikawa and gamble on him running together a hot month.
Hereís the free opinion for Thursday.
Rookie Vin Mazzaro is off to a dynamite start for the Aís. But heís also been a bit fortunate. All 14 of the hits off Mazzaro have been singles, which means thatís heís been largely able to avoid the high stress situations that really test a rookieís mettle. Mazzaro draws a tough foe tonight, as the Dodgers have been outstanding at home. Oakland doesnít exactly crush lefties, so this could be a good night for LAís Randy Wolf. Iím not a big fan of laying substantial prices, so this isnít a strong opinion, but the Dodgers seem like the right side to me.