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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Fantasy Baseball Prose-ings

    ‘Baseball musings’ is from a baseball website I’ve heard of. When I wanted a word that described the little opinions I had on the subject, ‘musings’ was what worked. But then I wrote this piece and realized it was more prose-like. Hence, ‘prose-ings.’ But that’s neither here nor there. This is a little primer to get everyone back into the fantasy baseball swing and to once again plug our Fantasy Baseball Challenge which will be awe-inspiring, mind-boggling and humbling; for anyone who attempts to take on our esteemed writers.

    Each year my fantasy baseball addiction comes around slowly. I know that in January I start seeing a sprinkling of fantasy baseball magazines in places like Barnes and Noble. I resist the urge as long as possible but I eventually plunk down $6 or $7 and dive into one. Then February rolls around and I remember that Yahoo! opens its game up every year from Feb. 15 to the 20. And sometime before that my yearly keeper league sends out its first email.

    As casual to competitive fantasy players can tell you, fantasy sports is about decision making. The difference is in the amount of decisions that need to be made. Sure, fantasy football is just as important to many and each individual choice might hold more weight (fewer positions and scoring concerns), but fantasy baseball is like a complicated machine. There are lots of parts and if you mess up a couple you can easily be relegated to the bottom of the league.

    So the first round of decisions in my keeper league involved which seven players I would keep. Now I don’t want to bog this article down in numbers but a little perspective is necessary. It’s a typical 12-team, 5 x 5 rotisserie league, with 20 starting positions and no bench. The seven keepers is great because it really helps to give our team’s an identity, but we also include the flexibility of keeping, say, four players and plucking unprotected players in a supplemental round before our draft.

    Ah, the draft. The jewel of fantasy sports. Most casual players come for the draft and don’t stay for the six-month marathon, but who can blame them? Fantasy baseball can become tedious at times. But we’re so far from that now. Fantasy baseball before the season starts is much like spring training. Hope springs eternal. Everyone thinks the draft will be their ticket to first-place.

    But it was down to business, I had to somehow pare down my awesome core of players into seven keepers. I had Joe Mauer, Travis Hafner, Chase Utley, Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, Ryan Braun, Vladimir Guerrero, Alex Rios, Tim Lincecum and Phil Hughes. That’s ten players and seven spots. A competitive player reading this is undoubtedly scoffing at this collection of talent as a byproduct of an easy league. I’ll admit the competition in this league is much less than I’m used to but that’s why it’s the first league I get into before the season. Its nice to ease into fantasy baseball.

    With a Feb. 8 midnight deadline to post our keepers to the website, I had to decide which three players I would let go. Utley (top second baseman), Ramirez (arguably the top shortstop, Wright(top three third baseman), and Braun (top young hitter in baseball and reigning rookie of the year) were no-brainers. Guerrero came soon thereafter. I’m not so high on him, I think his knees will give out any day now but I was persuaded that he is nonetheless a top outfielder. And we start five outfielders. The dearth of top options led to his inclusion. Alex Rios followed because he’s young and trending upwards, meaning his best years are still ahead of him.

    I eliminated Hughes first. As a Yankee fan I wanted to hold onto him, but you can’t have team-allegiance in fantasy sports. Lincecum has everything Hughes has except the wins potential. So it was between Mauer, Hafner and Lincecum. I was down on the two hitters because they under-performed last year so I wanted a fresh perspective. I posed the question to non-biased fantasy players and they pretty much agreed that Mauer could be dropped from consideration based on the merits of the other two.

    It was between a top 10 first base option and a top 15 pitcher because it’s a keeper league and he’s so young. I ended up making my decision based on how many top hitters would be left as opposed to top pitchers. Other managers posted their keepers first and a surprising array of pitchers were left available, while top hitters were retained. Its all about supply and demand in that regard.

    I kept Hafner but not without the fear that the release of Lincecum could come back to haunt me. And here I thought this was the time of optimism.

    Email [email protected] if you want to participate in the fantasy baseball challenge. It will be a competitive, 12-team, 5 x 5 rotisserie league on Yahoo!. We will post a league update in The Statesman and talk about the league in our upcoming baseball podcast, including interviews with participants and analysis on the happenings in the league. We have six spots available.

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