Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Trouble With Elite

Dictionary.com defines “elite” as “the choice or best of anything considered collectively as of a group or class of persons.”

To fantasy baseball competitors, “elite” takes on an additional meaning: high risk, high reward.

English: Miguel Cabrera at Dodger Stadium.

English: Miguel Cabrera at Dodger Stadium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

THE RISK: Drafting elite players are a major investment, making draft day quite challenging, especially in deep salary cap auction leagues.

Draft a Miguel Cabrera or a Robinson Cano, better cross your fingers that your franchise player doesn’t get hurt nor has an off-year because elite players will eat up a major chunk of your $260 draft day budget.

This season, Triple Crowner Miggie typically has been going for $38 – $45, while winning bids for Cano are in the same ballpark.

And then there are the unproven, so-called “elite” players. Angel Mike Trout comes to mind. Sure, he made rookie history last year by performing on at a super elite level, but can he put up similar numbers in his sophomore season? Many fantasy experts have expressed doubts.

THE REWARD: Investing in proven elite studs can pay off big time in multiple categories. And late in the season for keeper leagues, an expensive elite player is irresistible trade bait that can fortify your keeper squad for the next season. Of course the trade could easily stir controversy, but that’s a hot topic for another time.

To finish first by investing in an elite Major Leaguer that costs a bundle, it’s imperative that the draft be finessed. In other words you better position yourself to acquire a few considerably under-valued/under-the-radar guys that produce great numbers. Plus you need to be prescient enough in your bidding to snag a couple of reasonably-priced ballplayers who have breakout seasons.

In other words, the stars have to align just right for you on draft day. To capture your league title, however, you also need to work the waiver wire at a near elite level throughout the season.

What about snake drafts? To me, the risk doesn’t seem to be as high. Let’s say your coveted first-round pick is considered elite but doesn’t pan out. Your picks during the next few rounds can make up for the mistake or bad luck.

In auction leagues, the early rounds often do not include legitimate early round picks. Get the other guys to spend money first. That’s the mantra followed by many.

In our deep, 14-member Blue Moon Mesa mixed league auction, Cabrera went for $37 last year. The team that drafted him, Milwaukee’s Best, captured the 2012 league title. He not only won it all last year, but his team’s first-place reign went wire to wire.

MB’s bidding prowess netted draft day bargains, but the real steals came in our league’s expansion draft, regarded by Mooners as a clearance sale. MB was the only new team to join our league in 2012, anointing him the sole participant in the expansion draft.

Nick Swisher batting in a game between the New...

Nick Swisher batting in a game between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles on 08/31/09. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His roster featured Johnny Cueto, $3, Nick Swisher, $6, Aroldis Chapman, $7, Jason Motte, $2, Jim Johnson, $5, Chris Sale, $10, and Edwin Encarnacion, $14.  Nice.

About our league’s expansion draft…Under Blue Moon’s rules, new owners were able to cherry pick seven players from the pool of ballplayers we didn’t keep.

Incidentally, we eliminated the expansion draft rule last fall after losing to the rookie owner last year AND a new member in 2011. (Actually, the “new” guy in 2011 competed in our league for several years before missing out on the 2010 season.)

For 2013, new owners will not start with keepers. They have to draft 23 players, while the remaining 13 teams will show up on draft day (March 30) with anywhere from five to eight keepers in tow.

The newbies realize it will make the draft considerably more challenging. For some, that means they will have to pay their dues.

On the other hand, we all know there is a plenty of luck in fantasy sports. Feeling lucky? Don’t bank on it.

Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27)

Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

By the way, we have four new owners this season. That’s a first for the Blue Moon Mesa league. Should shake things up on draft day.

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