After years in the expert and dynasty leagues I’ve exiled myself back to the minors for non-performance; middling to horrific results in consecutive years, a case of too many leagues, too much work, and too many members of my family requesting pieces of my soul. In the classic example of work-related irony, the people working in the industry spend all their energy tending to the needs of the masses directing none to their own fantasy teams. The minors in this case are the free public leagues. Note for the all-too competitive – There are no rules in the public leagues prohibiting the experienced from participating and I have no intention of winning any prizes.
I began this journey on the weekend, joining a Yahoo! public “competitive” 12-team mixed league under my wife’s account. I intentionally repeated the major mistake made in the past two seasons by showing up at the draft without a list, thus providing the first of many excuses I’m going to need this season for poor results. As a long-time minor league guy there isn’t many in the majors I haven’t researched, scouted, and formed an opinion on long before they became the player they are today. I‘m also a dynasty league 13-15 category H2H guy, and have struggled in my attempt to come back to 5 X 5 rotocategorical. So I made a concerted effort to concentrate on the stolen base and the save, unnecessary elements in deep-league large category H2H. And I began this draft by making a token gesture to my friend and former editor, Jeff Erickson, who ranked Carl Crawford higher than anyone else I know of in the industry prior to the 2005 season. I took Crawford 10th overall over Bobby Abreu, despite my belief that Crawford is an injury in waiting. For the remainder of the draft I chose players –mainly young — I liked as prospects making the supreme mistake of taking too many high-risk closers and a cheap starting pitcher strategy that’s flawed given the shallow depth of a 12-team mixed league. And to make matters worse, I didn’t factor team into the equation, and wound up owning two Marlins in Miguel Cabrera and Jeremy Hermida, as well as four Devil Rays with Crawford, Aubrey Huff, Jorge Cantu, and Rocco Baldelli. Is it possible for Cabrera to hit 40 solo home runs this year?
I’m currently in search of a Sportsline public league for next week, hoping I can join each of the different free public leagues before the season begins. It’ll be a nice inclusion to the minor leagues and prospects, a chance to routinely report on my own faults and failings as a minor league fallen expert. Who knows, I may actually learn a thing or two about the quality of public leagues along the way.
XM Radio online doesn’t broadcast their baseball coverage at all, or any form of sports talk unless I use the free AOL version off the AIM Triton, and I’m ticked off. My wife thinks “our” XM radio itself belongs in the car with her every morning, and I’m truly annoyed. I do so like to yell at the hosts and guests on baseball shows in the morning. And since the corporate world pissed in my cornflakes, I’m likely to say a few things that might offend some. But since there’s nobody reading, my fall from grace won’t be heard, thus answering any conundrum on trees you may be experiencing.
I spent the last few days perusing the free prospect sites online, and well, they **** for the most part. I reviewed the pay sites I have subscriptions for and found they were infinitely superior but not without flaws. Sage advice – you get what you pay for, in combination with my father’s motto – I can’t afford anything but the best.
Given my experience, one would think I already knew too much on the subject, but candidly, I lost interest in what most had to say on prospects years ago, and thought reading them might distort or alter my own opinions. I trust in a few sites to provide me quality research and have enough contacts to bother people who know what they’re talking about. Why root through the garbage if you can eat from the table?
Many of the free sites discuss prospects adding little or nothing of substance, regurgitating information already known with a remarkable lack of original thought. Too often I ran across organizations providing top 50-100 lists with absolutely nothing else. Being old and jaded I always check the date these were provided. If one comes across a list provided in late-February that has mainly the same names as the Baseball America 100, often altered only slightly, it should cause an eyebrow to be raised or a sniff of the air.
The pay sites are an infinitely different breed, and there’s little cause for negativity or reason to cast dispersions toward the likes of Baseball Prospectus and company. The prospect lists these organizations provide come with an array of discerning and varied analysis, and I know for a fact they’re written in the latter part of the year to meet the hard copy publishing deadlines in January. And while I may not agree with the results, and perhaps not even appreciate some of the representatives, I do applaud anybody who does the work on their own merit.
If I had a criticism for them it would be with the fantasy pay sites that report on prospects. Often they’re a little inbred for being too geared toward the Roto 5 X 5, writing misleading lines on near-prospects viability status with a slant toward the 13-team one-league only type of fantasy league. But to be fair, if readers are paying for this service, it wouldn’t be a stretch to believe most of their clientele are in that demographic. A rather reasonable review factoring my poor mood wouldn’t you say?
In the overall, both pay and free, I found many with a fondness for solid articulation of nothing. In analysis there is an obligation to give opinion. I realize that’s a difficult thing with everyone having their own and ready to fight for it. Over the years I’ve been ripped for comparing Jeremy Reed to Mark Kotsay, Guillermo Quiroz to Charles Johnson at best, and a seemingly never-ending stream of different opinions meaning mine is wrong. Mets’ fans didn’t like my 2005 analysis of Yusimeiro Petit, and I’ve been taken to task by fantasy experts for a lack of faith in Brandon McCarthy, and once declaring Rafael Soriano a closer in waiting instead of a starter stud. And I’ve been wrong often but that’s the nature of the game.
And to prove that I’ll provide some in closing, just so no one can ever declare I’m up for solid articulation of any kind.
Marlins Outfield for 2006
Jeremy Hermida – He’s a lock for right field and we needn’t discuss him. An NL ROY fav, that won’t win.
Chris Aguila – I’m not enamored and don’t think he’s the best option. If he can prove an ability to hit breaking balls –- a prerequisite for the majors — he could make me look like an idiot. Some experts disagree with this, and he may be intriguing to them, but I think he’s Reed Johnson at best, and I define that underwhelming without a great deal of intrigue.
Reggie Abercrombie – I like him as the one with the most unrealized potential for centerfield. He probably won’t get the job as the youngest candidate for it this spring, and Eric Reed looks like the safer option. If he does I’ll project he plays a solid centerfield but gets eaten alive by major league pitching. A Preston Wilson type who emerges from the tools label with a decent, but short career. A bold progostication given how terrible his minor league strikeout-to-walk ratio is at present.
Eric Reed – The guy who will win the centerfield job and the leadoff spot. He has good range, speed on the basepaths, no power and a complete lack of discipline at the plate. The next Eugene Kingsale (did I mention I once offended a fantasy writer with a negative opinion of Kingsale? Who knew anyone liked him?). In other words, he disappears within two years.
Jason Stokes – The guy I like for the left field job, even though I said last season he didn’t have the athletic ability to play there (and still doesn’t). My thinking is they desperately need his power potential in the lineup. If he can stay healthy they can give him time at first base too, a position he’ll eventually take over.
Good thing I have no readers to hold me to any of these statements.