Well, the results are in, and in this, the inaugural season of RotoRob’s Fantasy League, our hats go off to Steve Parsons for romping to victory by a whopping 12 points over Dave McBride of the Full (of it) Mounties (sorry, Dave — couldn’t resist one last parting shot), and Jordan Frank of the host site, who finished third. The regular guys certainly showed us the way this year with that one-two finish. Great job, guys, and I want to thank all the participants for a fun season. I’m already looking forward to redemption in 2009.
I’m going to try to take some of Steve’s advice next year and stay away from underachievers and cripples, something I saw way too much of this past season. Now let’s move forward to our very deserving champion Steve’s words of wisdom:
In this special election year edition of the RotoRob’s Regulars (a 15-team mixed, vanilla 5×5 league of writers, bloggers and a few loyal players assembled by Tim McLeod, who surely regrets it now), we gathered together in order to form a more perfect union of quantitatives and qualitatives. A bipartisan mixture of hitting and pitching. One that balanced the needs of middle class infielders with the elites of starting pitching while at the same time not overtaxing our valuable resources of steals and saves.
The mighty Hidalgo All-Stars rode a fantastic roster guided by my unparalleled expertise to a rousing victory. My strategy was basically to not mess up too badly at the draft, and to set up a little shrine of crystals, magnets and, for some reason a 1971 Oscar Robertson trading card, to ward off the injury bugs. One-hundred and thirty-six transactions and one trade later and we had a winner, finishing with 121 points, 12 points more than the second-place Full Mounties!
Gleaned from 25 years of Fantasy play in all sports (Sammy Wynder, if you’re out there, I owe ya!) and this year’s victory, here are SteveP’s 10 immutable principals for fantasy victory. Follow these and you can’t lose:
1. Do not draft players who subsequently get major injuries or unexpectedly stink — This season, I demonstrated this by not drafting Victor Martinez, David Ortiz, Aaron Harang and others. Just ask your league mate who invested a second round pick on V-Mart this past season. They didn’t win. Don’t make this mistake; that’d be like drafting Tom Brady.
2. Manage your risk — Make sure that all of your risky guys do well and don’t let any of them get major injuries. To implement this strategy, this I picked up Brad Lidge at pick 92, Rich Harden at 179, Troy Percival at 209 (see below) and Milton Bradley at 272. Getting players at a discount because of age/injury risk who then universally perform well is a great source of value.
3. It is vital that you follow up your trades correctly — For instance, in my only trade I dealt Hideki Matsui, Julio Lugo and Percival for Chone Figgins. On the face of this, I overpaid for a mixed season for Figgy, but I followed up, and shortly afterwards Lugo and Matsui were done for the year. Percival, who for me had 14 saves and an ERA of 2.95 with a WHIP of 0.66 in two months, afterwards had 14 saves in four months with an ERA of 5.92 and a WHIP of 1.73 for my trading partner. Remember that to maximize your trade value, it’s not only important for you to fill a need, you really want the goods you are selling to stink up the place worse than a Barry Zito start.
4. Sometimes the trade you don’t make is the best one, part I –- After Justin Upton’s fine start, I made an offer to his owner. He declined, and Upton was an albatross around his neck for the rest of the season. Make sure the players you don’t get end up tanking big time and remember to crow about it next year.
5. Sometimes the trade you don’t make is the best one (sorta), part II -– I had a hankering for the fine canuck backstop of the Dodgers. I made an offer (remember his slow start, Russell Martin owners? Yeah, I didn’t think so) which as I recall involved a bucket of warm spit and two used wiffle balls. The owner declined much more politely than I deserved, and he didn’t win. See, by not making that trade he helped me to victory…at least that’s the way I am going to pimp this story when I am offering bad, buy-low sucker deals next season.
6. When old players with recent histories of declining play or players sent to the minors for awful performance are cut by other teams, choose the ones that are going to play like a phoenix rising from the ashes — Three examples:
Mike Mussina (age 39)
2007 — 11 wins, 5.15 ERA, 1.47 WHIP
2008 (for me) — 16 wins, 3.19 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 127 Ks
Jason Giambi (37)
2007 — 31 runs, 14 homers, 39 RBI, .236 BA , one steal
2008 (for me) — 52 runs, 25 homers, 76 RBI, .259 BA, one steal
Brett Myers (dropped prior to his fine finish)
2008 (not for me) — four wins, 5.44 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 100 Ks
2008 (for me) — six wins, 2.86 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 65 Ks
[Due to the wonders of modern technology, one reader asks: “Steve, what kind of site would actually print this? This isn't strategy, you just got lucky.” Ha Ha, excellent question, thanks for writing. Indeed, this is the only web site where you can get this caliber of information, but only when RotoRob is on vacation and forgets to lock the liquor cabinet.]
7. When your pickup doesn’t work, get something else out of the player, part I — Looking at Francisco Rodriguez’s workload, injury history, that he would soon have the save record and that the Angels had wrapped up the division (they would never pitch him on the last weekend in a non-save situation down four runs…oh wait, they did), I grabbed Jose Arredondo for some bonus saves. No saves were forthcoming, but I got a bushel of cheapy vulture wins.
8. When your pickup doesn’t work, get something else out of the player, part II -– In the last weekend, I stood to gain two points in steals, so I grabbed speedster Josh Anderson. No stolen bases, but Anderson, who had four home runs in nearly 500 minor league at bats this season (after hitting two in 513 last year), hit two home runs in one game giving me a point and a half in home runs and RBI.
9. When you’re dropping and adding the same player, make sure you get all their good months and none of the bad — Here I am thinking of Andre Ethier (20th round draft pick), dropped in the middle of the year and then re-acquired just before Manny Ramirez went to the Dodgers. With my team, Ethier had 54 runs, 10 homers, 47 RBI, a .328 BA and three steals, while on waivers he had 36 runs, 10 homers, 30 RBI, a .173 BA and three steals.
10. The Oscar Robertson card — you need to get an Oscar Robertson card.