|Where is the Manual on Rebuilding?|
|Written by Perry Van Hook|
|Thursday, 19 April 2012 13:33|
Part I – Background and A Freeze List
I am sure you have seen fantasy analysts, writers, and very good players talk about “rebuilding” a team. I am even surer you have seen some posts about the subject on our message boards. BUT
Has anyone really explained the concept beyond the trite…..”trading current value for future value” or “trying to get players a year early”? I doubt it.
You see there just isn’t a manual on rebuilding fantasy teams in keeper leagues. Sadly, for one thing keeper leagues are not the most popular format. We can all understand that the inherent dangers for those leagues – “dump” trades and bad rules have broken more leagues than you have played in (for better or worse or just the better part of three decades of competition, I can’t say that). But we all acknowledge that the allure of FF (not sure I am allowed to spell out those dirty words during the beginning of baseball season when it is not even on the horizon, but it involves an oblong shaped piece of pigskin as opposed to a circular orb made of horsehide) is that there is immediate gratification. There is only one day a week when most of the action takes place.
In most weeks the games are on Sunday and Monday so after trying for some free agents to help your team and get your lineups in on Saturday or Sunday morning all you have to do is watch an entire day of (mostly) exciting games with great plays all around the dial. And by Tuesday morning (if not Monday) you know whether you have won or lost your game. Now you can go back to work, family, life until the cycle starts the following weekend.
Compared to baseball it is simple, clean,.and not “boring". And let’s face it folks just not as much work. And that is what millions of Americans who play fantasy baseball enjoy. They aren’t going to be happy with facing the fact that they have to forfeit the $100 or $600 or whatever they paid for their NL only team this year and have no hope of cashing in that league so they need to start tearing that roster apart and working on next year’s team.
And yes I have written that more fantasy baseball players need PATIENCE in the first few days, really weeks, hey even months of the season to not make rash decisions on their teams and the players on their teams. You don’t dump Mark Teixeira because for the first two weeks of the season because he is hitting less than his weight and still hasn’t cleared the fences with even one ball of his bat this year. Actually Tex might be a classically bad example there because we KNOW that he is usually a slow starter – his April stats are legendarily (sorry Noah) bad. But did we do a bad job of conveying that in our write-ups? Profiles? Projections? Or did you just not remember what happened last year or two years ago? The bigger picture is that he ALWAYS hits 30+ home run, he always has more than 100 RBI and for the last two years he has hit about .250. This year won’t be any different.
Besides we are not talking about Teixeira here – well at least not as a target.
What I want to examine for you here is how to rebuild a fantasy team. What happens if you look at your keepers and decide that even if you are brilliant in this year’s auction your resultant team is just not going to be good enough to compete in your league? That there are a couple of really stacked freeze lists and some of them have really good minor leaguers on their bench waiting to help them this year either by arriving at the Show or by being shiny trade chips to entice another owner to give up the extra closer they need or trade them an outfielder to replace their Jacoby Ellsbury or whatever. Or what happens if you tried your best in the auction but then lost key players who would have given you a shot at your league title in the first week of action?
Now truth be told I am going to use one of my own teams here (no matter how painful). One of the reasons for that is that I can give you the actual thoughts that I had before, during, and after the draft. I have on many occasions been critical of teams that I have seen trying to rebuild where they just miss the boat – and not by just an arm’s length.
Trying to rebuild is not just trying to buy a bunch of really cheap players that will look like good value next year. You will leave the auction with an ungodly amount unspent. You might say “so what” here but aside from the ridicule and anger coming from your league mates – they won’t understand and some will be mad because you will at the same time have distorted the auction pricing that is at the heart of your league values. That doesn’t mean for example that if you thought this year that (let’s say) Josh Reddick or Juan Francisco (heir apparent to Chipper?) was going to have a nice debut this year and would really be primed for his first big year next year but would of course cost $20+ next year so you bought him “a year early” for $9 that that would be wrong. But trust me; nobody can be right about half a dozen such players this year. And even if you argue that if you bought twelve of them that you would be right on six, what would you have next year? Six players who are good values…..and what else?
You would like to buy a couple of those, but you also NEED to buy some really good or at least very useful players that any team would be happy to trade for this year. That list runs the gamut from an established good player that has some questions about him BUT if Andre Ethier regains his form this year – hits .300 and batting behind Matt Kemp (as well as Dee Gordon) has a ton of opportunities to drive in runs – then he will be a very valuable trade chip this summer.
And just like other teams in your league you might look for guys who just seem to be undervalued in your auction – the reason doesn’t matter, and frankly (hang with me I haven’t lost the marbles yet) neither does the result. You need to enforce auction prices while hunting for some players to keep and some players to trade and some players to watch and frankly just some to fill out your roster. BTW as an aside a perfect time to buy a player just because you like him or because he plays for your home town team.
There is another category of players you want to buy in rebuild mode – players on the DL or just coming back off injuries. Ryan Howard was an obvious target in NL only leagues; Brett Anderson in AL leagues. And in AL leagues perhaps Justin Morneau should be on the list although personally I think the risk of injury with Morneau could take away his trade value and even if I got him for a reasonable (single digit) price this year would I really want to bet on that again next year? If not there is no point of putting him on a roster you are rebuilding while a perfectly acceptable risk as a CI in leagues where you are competing this year and could easily replace him.
I am suddenly thinking here that some of you may not have drafted yet – that with Passover and Easter last weekend that if you are in keeper leagues with good rules and thus can’t draft until opening day rosters are clarified that if only a Friday night, Saturday, or Sunday works for your league your first real opportunity may be this coming weekend so I will include some players who I thought about for this rebuilding effort or didn’t get or thought they went cheaper than they should have so you might look for them this weekend.
Okay let’s go back to my NL keeper league team – Hook, Line, & Sinker. Frankly my problems started before I even submitted my freeze list as I lost a critical part of my team when my $2 closer Ryan Madson went on the disabled list. Actually the seed may have been planted there as I decided to freeze Madson because if he was only out for a year he would be a great keeper at $2 next year. And of course as good rules would suggest I would have one final time to reconsider that decision when we would have to make a decision on DL and minor league players before the auction started.
I took another hit when the Cincinnati Reds signed Ryan Ludwick to platoon with my $5 Chris Heisey in left field and yet another when they decided top prospect Devin Mesoraco was ready for the majors, reducing my $6 Ryan Hanigan to a part time role. But let’s look at my freeze list and then get to the auction. Here is what I entered the draft with.
C – Hanigan 6C12 & Wilson Ramos 8D11 – fine there
CI – Gaby Sanchez 10C13 & David Freese 8C12 – good there as well
2B/MI – Daniel Murphy 2D11 – great cheap contributor
OF – Heisey 5D10 & Nate Schierholtz 10D11 – not strong here
SP – Tommy Hanson 15C13 & Brandon Beachy 12D11 – very good second tier SP
RP – Madson 2D11 & Heath Bell 22D11 – a great pairing for the price before Madson went down
Okay, no STUD players but a nice $42 projected profit on the hitters and aside from Madson, nearly break even on the pitchers.
Next I would face three decisions prior to the auction on players who had made their teams opening day rosters….to Keep or not to Keep? Brandon Crawford, SS, SF; Randall Delgado, P, ATL; and Ross Detwiler, P, WAS.
Next Monday we will look at those decisions on auction night and then how the auction went
Part III will detail any roster changes the week after the draft.
|Last Updated on Friday, 20 April 2012 11:31|