Fantasy Articles

The Fantasy Mailbag is back again, and I continue to get great response. As numerous fantasy leagues have already drafted, and the MLB is in the midst of spring training, there’s no shortage of things to talk about. Let’s get right into the emails.

Hey MC,
I’m in a 12 team 7x7 league, and was wondering if you could rate my team. Here it is:

C- Russell Martin
1B- Nick Swisher
2B- Robinson Cano
SS- Jose Reyes
3B- Hank Blalock
OF- Carlos Lee
OF- Corey Hart
OF- Jeff Francoeur
Util- Jeremy Hermida
Bench- Matt Kemp
Bench- Michael Bourn

SP- Jake Peavy
SP- Daisuke Matsuzaka
RP- Joe Nathan
RP- Matt Capps
P- Joakim Soria
P- Matt Cain
P- Rafael Perez
Bench- Rich Harden
Bench- Bronson Arroyo
Bench- Tom Glavine
Bench- Hiroki Kuroda
Bench- Tim Wakefield
Bench- Jake Westbrook
Bench- Andy Sonnanstine

-Ryan

I must say Ryan, I feel like this is a very good team. You seem to be pretty solid in all aspects. Offensively you’re very well-rounded. You have a nice mix of power and speed throughout your lineup. You were able to pluck top tier options at weak positions (Martin at catcher and Cano at second). I feel as though Hank Blalock is an excellent sleeper pick. He played great prior to his injury last season and is expected to be back to complete health. Matt Kemp looks like a guy who’s ready to make the leap this season and has 30 HR potential. Your outfield is extremely deep, and you have five potential stars at that position. Your pitching staff also looks very strong. Peavy and Matsuzaka are strong at the top of the rotation, and you’ve supported them with some nice depth. Rich Harden seems like a good guy to take a risk on as he’s looked good this spring. If he’s able to return to form, your staff will look that much more formidable. You also have three very nice closers. If there was one thing that your team needs, I’d say it’s one more good starting pitcher. If I were you, I might consider moving an outfielder since you have so much depth to draw upon there. You should be able to get a high impact starter for any one of your top 5 outfielders. In my opinion your team is very good, and with a move or two, without seeing the other teams, yours should be an elite one.

What’s up MC,
There are a lot of factors that I consider when drafting a team, but there’s one that many use that I’m not too sure about. I always hear about how important ballpark conditions are when it comes to taking certain players. Are ballpark conditions really that important, or are they a myth?

-Greg

When it comes to playing fantasy baseball, everybody’s looking for an advantage. While people often over analyze certain aspects of the game, ballpark conditions can sometimes have a huge effect. While most ballparks in the league can be considered neutral, meaning they don’t overwhelmingly favor hitters over pitchers or vice versa, there are a handful that really make a difference. The stat that ballparks have the most effect upon is homeruns. Whether it be dimensions or atmospheric conditions, they really can matter. ESPN conducts park factor tests each season. During the 2007 season it was found that Citizen’s Bank Park (Philadelphia), Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati), Camden Yards (Baltimore), US Cellular Field (Chicago), and Coors Field (Colorado) are the easiest parks to hit the long ball in. Petco Park (San Diego), Busch Stadium (St. Louis), Metrodome (Minnesota), PNC Park (Pittsburgh), and McAfee Coliseum (Oakland) allow homeruns at a much below average rate. It’s important to consider these factors when drafting. Pitchers hypothetically have the most upside when they pitch in bigger ballparks. If a hitter moves to a smaller park, a power spike can be expected. Granted these conditions aren’t the be all, end all, but they can give you that slight edge you’re looking for.

Dear MC,
I was fortunate enough to win my keeper league last season, and a big reason for that is the way I was able to pluck high impact players off the waiver wire. The time has come, however, for me to make some tough decisions. I drafted OF Chris Young (ARI) last season, and I was able to pick up Hunter Pence and Corey Hart off waivers as well. I think all three of these guys will be very good, but I only want to keep two. Which two would you suggest that I keep?

-Nate

First off Nate, I commend you for your prowess and congratulate you on your championship. You certainly had great foresight when it came to picking those guys up. While it may seem like you’re in a tough spot, it’s really a good problem to have. You really can’t go wrong with any of the three, but I know that’s not the kind of answer you’re looking for. The first thing’s first. I would absolutely keep Hunter Pence. Pence looked awesome last season, and very well could have won the NL Rookie of the Year Award had it not been for an injury. While he could be considered a risk compared to the other two due to said injury, he has the most upside, he contributes in all categories, and he hits in a very forgiving ballpark. I wouldn’t worry about his injury since he didn’t have an injury history in the minors. On top everything, he ‘s got some solid protection within the lineup. The other choice isn’t as easy. Young and Hart both bring great things to the table. They should both put up similar numbers when it comes to runs scored, RBI, and SB’s. Hart will likely hit for a moderately better average, and Young should hit for more power. If my back was against the wall, I’d go with the power potential. Young possesses a rare blend of speed and power, and is a potential future 40-40 man. It’s extremely difficult to pass that up, and I wouldn’t dare let him slip through the cracks.