How To Avoid a DH Fiasco

Picture this scene: 15 buddies, brought together by their mutual affection for fake baseball, embarking on an adventure. All they could see was possibility ahead of them, and this made them giddy as school girls. Then, on a misguided attempt to set up their fantasy baseball league to closely mimic real American League baseball, they made one of their positions be DH only.

Yeah, we had a DH only slot our first year playing fantasy baseball together and we didn’t even make it until May before I thought I going to have to break up some knife fights. We call it our “DH Fiasco” and it’s a perfect example of what can happen when you don’t fully think out the implications of certain rules or policies in your fantasy baseball league. It sounded like fun, so we didn’t really think about it.

But had we stopped to think for just one second, it would have occurred to us that in even a standard 10 player league (and ours is 15 teams) you wouldn’t have the depth at the DH position for each team to draft a solid DH. If we would have thought for just one more second, the lack of consistent plate appearances in the DH position would have given us pause. With just another one second pause we would have realized that a DH only spot narrows your strategy options significantly by not opening up that position to all hitters. It was a fiasco.

This is the amendment we made to our fantasy baseball constitution (Yes we have one and you should too! We’ll make our case in a future post.) at the end of the season:

Amendment: “The DH Fiasco” At the conclusion of the fantasy baseball season the Utility spot was created. For our inaugural season the spot had been a DH position, available only to players who qualified specifically at DH.  It took roughly 4 minutes into the season for us to realize this was just plain bananas stupid and the Utility position was spawned at our soonest opportunity.

The moral of this story is to really think about the implications of any rule or policy changes. As another example, it might seem like fun to allow teams to play two catchers in a 15 team league but do you want to play that #30 catcher? We’re talking someone like John Jaso who’ll actually hurt your team by playing him. Take just a second to think about it…

If you do want to avoid league mutiny then you must seriously consider what may be a negative – although entirely unintentional – consequence of roster, rule, play style, or trade policy changes. Run it up the flag pole, consult the committee, toss it around, form a task force, or put it in a saucer and see if the cat licks it up, just don’t throw it against the wall and see if it sticks (I promise, I’m out of idioms). Whatever method you want to use to think and work through your decisions, do it. Be deliberate in your decisions and don’t consider changes lightly because there may be unintentional consequences.

And if you do have a “DH Fiasco” then laugh it off and fix it ideally the next season, because changing rules as you go is so jr. high.

What about you? Has your league ever had any rule changes that had unintended consequences? Let us know!

Topics: DH, Fantasy Baseball, Fantasy Baseball 2012, Fantasy Baseball Rule Changes, Fantasy Baseball Rules

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