I love me some trivia games. I have endless amounts of useless information in my head, but if I ever take a part in some Bar’s Trivia Night where top prize takes home $10 million, I wouldn’t hate my chances. I love Jeopardy and back in its heyday, I was definitely a Who Wants to be a Millionaire? guy. I refuse to watch that show with anyone other than Regis asking the questions, though. I have my principles.
Anyway. In the original game, participants had three lifelines. They could eliminate two incorrect choices with a 50/50, phone a friend at home, or poll the audience. The poll the audience one was always interesting. While it was generally very helpful, the questions and results often went something like this.
Who was the first President of the United States of America?
A. George Washington (94 percent)
B. Thomas Jefferson (3 percent)
C. Alexander Hamilton (2 percent)
D. Donald Duck (1 percent)
The first thought that comes to mind is that George Washington is the pretty obvious answer. But then, one persistent question came up. Who voted for D? Does anyone out there actually think Donald Duck was the first president?
Fantasy baseball has a few stats like that, mostly dealing with ownership rates, which will be our focus today. They look right at first glance but given some thought, the minority opinion is a little too big.
Let’s have some fun.
–Nelson Cruz: Owned in more leagues than Ryan Braun
This one is close, but it’s true.
Did I miss something here? First off, Ryan Braun is a much better player than Nelson Cruz. Second of all, both will be eligible to play on Opening Day of 2014.
Obviously, this is really only relevant in keeper leagues. In a non-keeper league, anyone who’s been suspended (or hurt, for that matter) and will miss the whole year needs to be dropped. But if you’re in a keeper league, how do you explain this?
I get being repulsed by Braun for his actions. So, even if you are in a keeper league and see him on the wire, I’d understand that sentiment. But that defense is 100 percent moot if you’re keeping Cruz around.
If you’re repulsed by Braun, you should be repulsed by all of them. If you don’t care, then Braun should be on your team if he’s available. I wouldn’t say the same about Cruz.
I’m not going to tell you how to view cheaters. But if you’re going to judge them (or forgive them), be consistent. Unless you’re Bud Selig and being inconsistent in part of the job description. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Nope. Still can’t. The game needs to be cleaned up. From that angle, I am 100 percent with Selig and everyone else who wants these guys slammed. Here’s the problem:
When I hear these guys talk, I feel like I’m listening to a speech on energy conservation and climate control. Only when I do a little research, I find out that this guy drives a Cadillac Escalade, flies in private jets where he’s the only passenger on board, keeps his mansion’s AC on all night, even when nobody is home, and has a Olympic sized heated pool, even though he’s deathly afraid of water. The points he’s making are all right, but there’s something wrong with the source, and fair or unfair, that damages what he’s saying.
The sentiment of cleaning the game up is fine. But Selig didn’t seem terribly active in the late 90′s-early-00′s when the sport’s greatest records were being routinely smashed by cheaters. If that’s just Selig acting on the will of the owners, fine, but they’re by and large the same people, too. Nobody seemed to ask questions when people around the country were flocking to games hours ahead of time just to see Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa take batting practice in 1998. In case you forgot, 1998 was only four years removed from a player’s strike that cost us a World Series and irritated fans beyond belief.
From the outside looking in, he didn’t seem to care when it was Barry Bonds in 2001. Nope. To my untrained eye, these execs, the same one who are so desperately trying to clean up the game now, didn’t seem all that interested until they were brought to Washington D.C. for a Congressional hearing in March of 2005. It’s amazing how quick someone’s attitude changes when he’s facing down dozens of congressmen.
So, it seems a little disingenuous that these same guys making such an effort to clean up the game when he missed his chance to investigate, take greater action, and possibly preserve the records. He didn’t. I want the game cleaned. I don’t want to hear you talking about why it needs to be, Mr. Selig.
Sorry, been waiting to get that off of my chest and those views are mine, not necessarily anyone else’s on this site. Let’s move on.
–Barry Zito: Owned in nearly 9 percent of ESPN leagues.
While the number isn’t much, his ownership has actually grown since getting pulled from the San Francisco rotation.
It’s downright frightening to me that 9 percent of people think Barry Zito has any fantasy value, even as a starter. Are there leagues out there where pitchers with an ERA over 5.00 and WHIP at 1.70, who also walk an obscene amount of hitters and rarely strike people out have value? Not only are the numbers ugly, but his ERA and WHIP have gotten worse every month of the season. What kind of league do you want a pitcher who isn’t competent in a single category — and doesn’t even start anymore?
I’m stumped. Wisen up, you nine-percenters. If you want a pitcher with a low K-rate, go with one like Bronson Arroyo, who keeps the ERA and WHIP down. I don’t know why anyone would specifically target low K pitchers, but that’s another issue. If you want to gamble on a high K pitcher but can afford a drop in ERA or WHIP, go with someone like Ryan Dempster.
There isn’t a league deep enough to justify having Barry Zito on the roster. I’m serious, you can’t make such a league up, even if it was an NL West only league. Actually, even if it was a Giants only league. Nine percent of the people need to pay attention.
–Tim Hudson: Owned in more than 30 percent of ESPN leagues
Hey, a second member of Oakland’s former “Big 3″ makes the list. I don’t think Mark Mulder will be appearing, though.
With Tim Hudson, it’s pretty simple. With his injury, he’s out for the year. He’ll be a free agent heading into 2014, his Age-38 season, and coming off of an injury. I do get that some people may want him as a keeper, but that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Every roster spot counts at the end of the year when trying to bring in players. If this was 10 years ago, maybe even five, I’d consider keeping Hudson for his keeper value. But right now, there are too many concerns for him to be kept anywhere. Oh, if you’re in a keeper league, maybe go grab Ryan Braun, who’s owned in fewer leagues than Huddy.
–Jeff Samardzija: Owned in more leagues than Chris Tillman.
Alright. Both of these guys are owned in more than 90 percent of leagues, but Samardzija is owned in four percent more leagues than Chris Tillman. I don’t mind saying, this is a little puzzling.
First of all, it’s hard to justify Tillman being available in that many leagues. Take a look at his numbers:
I understand being a little turned off by his WHIP, and even ERA in some leagues. If that’s how you justify this difference fine. But take a look at Samardzija’s numbers.
I guess there’s an edge in K’s to The Shark, but there’s no way that he should be owned in more leagues than Tillman. A much better ERA, a better WHIP, and not that it’s the greatest indicator of value, but he’s going to win more games pitching on a better team.
I actually am writing about this for a reason, and it’s not just an attempt to be funny, or be mean to guys having rough seasons. No, it’s to point out that at this time of the year, there are plenty of fantasy baseball owners who just aren’t paying attention. If you’re looking at ways to identify these guys, look at these kind of things.
Some things may look right at one glance. But when you slow things down and really think about them, they’re not right enough.