Fantasy baseball leagues come in all shapes and sizes - and from lots of different sources. For me there are my two “home” keeper leagues, one dual league keeper league, the industry leagues – for me LABR AL, and then whatever high stakes leagues (now only NFBC) that the bank and my schedule will allow.
This one came out of left field – both literally and figuratively as it is a twelve team, mixed, redraft, H2H points league that my friend John Duckworth had formed last year with several other fantasy football players. They were all veterans of the FFPC and decided to have some fun with baseball with each team putting in $150 so the winner would have a totally paid entry for the FFPC main event in September.
So the lure worked and I signed on to help John (aka The Yellow Line is Unofficial) win an FFPC entry we would split next fall in Las Vegas.
Now H2H is not my usual league – complicated even more by it being a weekly points matchup and not based on winning the standard roto categories. BUT who can resist a challenge with my FF buddies?
So I discussed the format with Todd – heavily weighted to pitching, especially starting pitching as we will start six SP and only two RP. A few immediate candidates for later roster spots came to mind – Daniel Bard, Neftali Feliz, and Chris Sale, all of whom would be listed as RP from last year but would be starting. Except for the very best closers, most starters would score as many points Especially in two start weeks when you would want to deploy them.
I wasn’t sure how savvy the league mates were but figured after the tremendous season Justin Verlander had last year (where on this system he outscored the best hitters by two hundred points) he was sure to go high and there might be several starters drafted in the first round.
John and I ended up with the second pick in the first round, so my plan was pretty clear – take Roy Halladay if he was available or start the hitters with Albert Pujols if Chef Paul took Doc.
Well Paul took Pujols so we started with Halladay. My plan down that path was to take the best hitter and the best pitcher on the 2/3 turn unless the pitcher run had been more vigorous and they had left me two first round hitters. However they only took three more starters – Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, and Cliff Lee – so we took Mark Teixeira, the last of the top first baseman at the end of the second round and when Paul went hitter/hitter on the turn were delighted to roster Dan Haren, giving us two of the top five starters for this league’s scoring.
At the end of the fourth round it was time to get the best hitters available and we selected Brandon Phillips. In the fifth round I was interested in Michael Cuddyer but Duck wisely suggested that he thought this group would leave him for a while and was more likely to take Shane Victorino in coming picks. So we took the Flying Hawaiian at the top of the fifth.
If you are wondering what happened with the pitchers, here is the recap
Four were drafted in the first as noted earlier
Only three (Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia, and Zack Greinke) were taken in the second
After we took Haren in the third, Jered Weaver, David Price, and Tim Lincecum went in the third
In the fourth more attention was paid to them as James Shields, Yovanni Gallardo, Jon Lester, Ian Kennedy, and Matt Cain all came off the board.
The fifth round saw eight drafted and the sixth before our pick saw seven more go.
The only unusual part of this was that the team behind us (#3) had taken five straight pitchers (Verlander, Greinke, Weaver, Kennedy, and Wainwright). The “Sportsbetting Slappers” would go on to take pitchers with their first nine picks which definitely skewed the picks for those who thought they could wait on their first pitchers. Their offense is predictably below average but it will be interesting to see how many weeks they can win with the former “backwards” draft approach.
In round 6 we took Michael Young as the third base pool had captured many targets - most of who are projected to score twenty to thirty fewer points less than Young. And John was right; Cuddyer was there for us in the seventh, by now the top hitter left on the boards.
In the 8th round I drafted Cory Luebke, a pitcher unfamiliar to John, but a strong play because along with the favorable Home Park and good K/9, Luebke has dual eligibility as RP/SP. We got our catcher on the turn – not that in a twelve team league playing one catcher there was a need to rush, but by that time Miguel Montero was a strong play.
Here is the lineup for the team as drafted (round #) along with our ten reserves – as you would suspect in this kind of a points league skewed towards pitching candidates.
C – Miguel Montero (9)
1B – Mark Teixeira (2)
2B – Brandon Phillips (4)
3B – Michael Young (6)
SS – Marco Scutaro (12)
OF – Victorino (5), Cuddyer (7), and Carlos Beltran (10)
UT – Carlos Lee (14) and Corey Hart (17)
Reserves – Brennan Boesch (18), Derek Jeter (22), Angel Pagan (23), and Brent Morel (27)
SP – Halladay (1), Haren (3), Luebke (8), Jaime Garcia (11), Brandon McCarthy (15) and Matt Harrison (19)
RP – Mariano Rivera (13) and Daniel Bard (16)
Reserves – Henderson Alvarez (20), Juan Nicasio (21), Jarrod Parker (24), Trevor Bauer (25), Luis Mendoza (26…also RP), and Danny Hultzen (28).
Obviously Bauer and Hultzen were pure shots since we don’t know at this point (draft time) whether they will break with the big clubs, but they both had a lot more upside than the starters available at that point who will still be available if we need to FAAB them.
How many of you play in H2H points leagues? Let’s compare notes or questions, here or on the message boards and win lots of leagues.