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Fantasy Baseball: Is streaming always bad?

Ryan Vogelsong

Readers, we love you. We love when you read our stuff and especially love when you share your thoughts with us in the comment section. This may sound unusual to you, but we even like it when you disagree with us and voice that fact. As a matter of fact, we sometimes prefer it.

I recently had a reader who didn’t seem to care about a topic I was writing on. He didn’t outwardly slam me or what I said, but didn’t seem to care for the subject matter. The following is the word-for-word quote. You can read the whole article here.

Streaming is always bad. What does Streaming have to do with Baseball. It’s like playing Jacks to see who can pickup the most stars. Try playing real fantasy baseball and join a league that rewards the teams with good staffs and not the unemployed who can pickup the two start pitchers while the rest of the league is working. Streaming is like playing slot machines, you can win but it’s all luck. Join a real league.

First of all, I want to thank this reader for taking the time to comment. I normally wouldn’t address a comment in a new piece, but his response raised some issues that I feel should be addressed for all readers. First, I will defend myself a little bit with this quote.

Join a real league:

I am actually a part of four leagues. I have been lucky in that the jobs I have always had have actually made it beneficial to me to spend some time in fantasy leagues of different kind in all sports.

In two of the leagues, there’s really nothing that deters streaming. You do have to take your chances on ERA and WHIP, but that’s about all. The other two leagues are a different story.

One of those leagues has a weekly transaction limit, while the others has an innings cap and counts walks against as a category. So, when you stream in more pitchers, you’re naturally going to walk more hitters.

Nash and I actually discussed this at length in our Crackerjack Chat show earlier in the season. If you don’t like streaming, have an innings max, transaction limit, or counted stats (walks, hits, losses, total runs allowed) work against you. That is a very handy way to limit streaming.

The point is that I am in two leagues that limit streaming and/or its effectiveness. I enjoy those leagues as much as I do the other ones. I would encourage other readers to join those kind of leagues as well, as they really show off diversity in skills.

 

Try playing real fantasy baseball and join a league that rewards the teams with good staffs and not the unemployed who can pickup the two start pitchers while the rest of the league is working:

There’s a lot to be said about this section, but here’s the main point. Yes, I know that baseball is an everyday sport, so fantasy baseball is as well. But between four leagues, I spend about 10 minutes a week making roster moves, and that’s probably a conservative guess.

The reality is that it’s not a huge time strain at all, even if you’re streaming for pitchers going twice in a week. In reality, that consists of looking at the probable starters for Monday and possibly Tuesday, and deciding who is worth the risk, if anyone is. If you have a job where you can’t do that, you should probably not be playing fantasy sports. As a matter of fact, if you have a job that limits your time that much, it had better either be really enjoyable, pay you a lot, or I would suggest looking elsewhere for employment. Just a personal idea.

What does Streaming have to do with Baseball:

Again, a few points need to be made on this question.

  1. Try as hard as you want, but fantasy baseball and Major League Baseball are not the same thing. If they were the same thing, then every fantasy team would have their fantasy team comprised of nothing but players from the same actual team. When healthy, one of my teams has an outfield of Matt Holliday, Matt Kemp, and Jay Bruce. What does that have to do with baseball? Try finding a team with an outfield like that. And FYI, I am not bragging, I am far from a dominant team in that league. In baseball, you can do things to spark a slumping hitter or pitcher. You can’t do that in fantasy baseball, as you have no say over your players. They’re just not the same game.
  2. Also, real teams don’t win championships because they assemble All-Star teams, even when the Big Market teams win. No, those teams win because they make good under the radar moves, often meaning making an underrated trade for a middle reliever, or fourth outfielder.  That is pretty close to being on par with streaming in fantasy ball.
  3. Lastly, every now and again you’ll stream your way into a strong pitcher. At the beginning of this year, both R.A. Dickey and Ryan Vogelsong were perfect stream candidates. Halfway through the season, they are two of the most solid arms in the league. (Click here to tweet this.)

 

Streaming is like playing slot machines, you can win but it’s all luck:

There is certainly some truth to this point. But that’s fantasy baseball. Actually, that’s fantasy any sport. All you can do is put the players on your team. How they do is completely out of your hands. So, luck has a lot to do with anything you do. If anything, streaming shows a bit of knowledge of the game. The people you’re bringing in aren’t stars, so if you can utilize them well, I would say that you did an excellent job.

 

I am actually very grateful for this comment. Readers are always welcome to disagree with us. I know that we won’t often write a whole piece breaking down the disagreements, but when they raise bigger issues we might.

The “real leagues” he was referring to are actually a lot of fun and I would suggest that any fantasy players out there participate in some, at least once they’ve gotten their feet wet in fantasy baseball.

Personally, I will always defend streaming as a good strategy, although I have no problem when LM’s put rules in place that limit it. If you can master different formats, you are the definition of a strong fantasy player.

I hope you’ve seen a few sides of a common fantasy baseball argument now.

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  • JPoppe

    I am for streaming. Unless it works against you or is against the rules why wouldn’t you? One of my four leagues is a 16 teamer that is extremely competitive. I still manage to do some streaming in that league. Granted it is far more risky.

    • Nash

      Yeah, Clave Dixon and I stream on our 15 team league that has a innings cap AND counts walks issued against your pitchers… There is A LOT more skill involved…

  • Dan Gadd

    streaming is a strategy. Some leagues put things in place to deter streaming (transaction limits, hits as a actegory etc) but it’s still a valid strategy.

    I stream in a couple of leagues I play in because I took over dormant teams and their rotations were horrid (and now Halladay is injured). It’s a strategy I use to make myself competitive in the pitching cats.

    I think some people see streaming as – pick up as many starters as you can in a week so that you win K’s and perhaps Wins and/or QS’s (because you’ve had so many starters some will perform). Effectively some players will not try and compete in WHIP or ERA whilst streaming. This, for me, isn’t what I think of when I use the term streaming.

    • Nash

      I am with you there…players that just pick up and drop with no rhyme or reason other than to hope to accrue as many counting stats as possible is not what I am talking about when referring to “streaming”. Streaming as a legit strategy takes a lot of intentionality.

  • Bob

    Thank you for your answers to my comments.
    You said “If you don’t like streaming, have an innings max, transaction limit, or counted stats (walks, hits, losses, total runs allowed) work against you. That is a very handy way to limit streaming.” To me why set up streaming and then put rules in place to limit streaming?
    You said “The reality is that it’s not a huge time strain at all”. That’s my point, it doesn’t take any time at all, it’s like playing the slots. It’s all luck, just look for two good pitchers the system rates high that are getting two starts and pick them up. What fun is that, it’s mostly luck and no skill.
    You said “As a matter of fact, if you have a job that limits your time that much, it had better either be really enjoyable, pay you a lot, or I would suggest looking elsewhere for employment.” There are 10 million goverment employees, if each used 10 minutes to play fantasy and they each made $10 and hour (which they make more on averge). That’s about $100,000.00 (tax dollars) down the drain. Now include the business world to thats and that’s millions of dollars a year spent on picking up two pitchers. Not your best idea.
    You said “1.Try as hard as you want, but fantasy baseball and Major League Baseball are not the same thing.” I never said fantasy baseball and MLB are the same thing. But if you’re playing fantasy baseball, there must be something about baseball you like. Streaming brings you further away from baseball then we need to go. I assume people like baseball and that’s why they play fantasy baseball.
    You compare outfields on your team to streaming pitchers. You don’t pick up hitters like you stream pitchers. You are right it’s not MLB but I never said it was. It’s the fact that you just point at pitchers who have two starts this week and grab them that is mindless. That’s what I don’t like.

    You said “2.Also, real teams don’t win championships because they assemble All-Star teams, even when the Big Market teams win. No, those teams win because they make good under the radar moves, often meaning making an underrated trade for a middle reliever, or fourth outfielder. That is pretty close to being on par with streaming in fantasy ball.” That is just crazy. Do you think Brain Cashman takes 10 minutes finding gems? No, the yankees and other teams spend millions of dollars to find the under the radar guys. It has nothing to do with streaming at all.
    You said “3.Lastly, every now and again you’ll stream your way into a strong pitcher. At the beginning of this year, both R.A. Dickey and Ryan Vogelsong were perfect stream candidates. Halfway through the season, they are two of the most solid arms in the league.
    ” Again, that’s all luck, if you picked up Dickey because he had two starts and he ends up going 10-1. There is a place for luck, but luck is not a good way to defend streaming.

    You said “There is certainly some truth to this point. But that’s fantasy baseball. Actually, that’s fantasy any sport. All you can do is put the players on your team. How they do is completely out of your hands. So, luck has a lot to do with anything you do. If anything, streaming shows a bit of knowledge of the game. The people you’re bringing in aren’t stars, so if you can utilize them well, I would say that you did an excellent job.” There is luck in everything. But comparing streaming to drafting Miquuel Cabreara over Gordon is not luck. The lesser the player the more luck is involved. Streaming doesn’t interest me at all. I’m not buying what you are selling for me. For others fine. I don’t play the slots, but I don’t bother the people who do.

    Thanks for getting back to me.

    • http://fantasybaseballcrackerjacks.com Dixon

      I am not really interested interested in a circular argument, but I will make one point. I was never suggesting that anyone spend 10 minutes on the clock worrying about fantasy baseball. If you have a 40 hour a week job, that leaves you plenty of 10 minute windows of free time when you’re off the clock, and that’s all it takes to play fantasy baseball, whether you stream or not. If someone doesn’t have a job or life that allows for that that, then they probably shouldn’t be playing fantasy sports.

  • http://gravatar.com/paulxl7 Googalslosh

    Legal? Yes. Smart? Probably. Cheap as hell? For sure. It’s happening to me now in the championship and it’s pissing me off.

    • http://fantasybaseballcrackerjacks.com Clave

      Yeah, end of season is when it comes full bore. Owners can see the exact stats they need (wins for instance) and they are less hesitate at this point in the season to drop a starter to grab another.

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