FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume III, Issue XII
In this week's edition, we bring you the recap of our 2010 FDH Fantasy Baseball Industry Summit.
2010 FDH Fantasy Baseball Industry Summit
First and foremost, we now have online the most useful guide you could possibly want, FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2010. Here is the Table of Contents:
Page 1: Draft Philosophy Overview, Top 72 Overall
Page 2: Starting Pitcher Rankings, Draft Board Decoder, Lessons of “The Stat”
Page 3: Starting Pitcher Rankings Cont’, 2010 Don’t Be That Guy
Page 4: Starting Pitcher Rankings Cont’, Relief Pitcher Rankings, 2010 Sleepers
Page 5: Catcher Rankings, 2010 Overvalued, 2010 Undervalued, Offseason Movement Winners and Losers
Page 6: First Base Rankings, Injury Risk Management
Page 7: Second Base Rankings, Designated Hitter Rankings, 2010 Position Battle Overview
Page 8: Shortstop Rankings, 2009 Prospect Rankings, Long-Term Keeper League Prospect Rankings
Page 9: 2010 AL & NL Scarcity, 2010 Players With a Wide Range of Opinion
Page 10: Respect Mah Eligibilitah!
Page 11: Third Base Rankings, Suggested League Guidelines
Pages 12-13: Outfield Rankings
Pages 14-17: 2010 Mock Draft and Analysis
Page 18: Dollar Bin Players
Pages 19-20: Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium Memories, Hall of Famer Andre Dawson
Pages 21-22: 2010 Topps Cards Review
Page 23: FDH Standings/Awards Predictions for 2010 MLB, FDH Minor League System Rankings
Page 24: 2010 Fantasy Overview, 2009 Legitimate Breakthroughs/Reclamation Cases
Following in the path of our 2009 FDH Fantasy Football Industry Summit from last August, we convened some outside sources we really respect to be a part of a similar breakdown about the fantasy baseball landscape. Mike Harmon of FoxSports.com and Tim Heaney of KFFL joined FDH Managing Editor Rick Morris, who moderated the discussion. Answers from the participants are reproduced in summary form.
In a climate which has seen the ratio between home runs and stolen bases decrease from approximately 2:1 to 1.6:1 since baseball began taking its cursory steps towards comprehensive drug testing in 2006, is speed overvalued this season? Jacoby Ellsbury and Ichiro are pretty much consensus high picks and are indicative of a continuing infatuation with speed in the industry. Is it out of balance?
Mike: Players who can deliver dependable stolen base numbers are worthy of being valued very highly still. It’s only those who have the potential to fall off who should be regarded with caution.
Tim: The proper approach is to acquire power early, while piecing together stolen base production through the course of a draft.
Rick: Balance is the proper approach, with the ideal players being ones who can deliver some modicum of both power and speed, rather than loading up on ones who are unbalanced in one direction or another.
The middle infield and catcher positions are always the weakest ones. Name some specific notes of interest pertaining to these positions this year.
Mike: The shortstop position is shallow and is made even more so by the uncertainty surrounding Jose Reyes.
Tim: If you miss out on the elite few at each of these positions, it’s especially important not to chase the remainders this year, but rather to value shop in the mid and later rounds.
Rick: Shortstop, which appeared unusually deep a year ago, now is the most shallow position and as a result, the few guaranteed top-flight performers need to be valued proportionately higher.
Troy Tulowitzki is probably the most controversial player in the first round of the FDH draft board this season. Talk about the expectations for him.
Mike: His stolen base tally last year was unprecedented in his history and a regression to the mean is reasonable to expect – thereby depressing his value.
Tim: High value for him is completely contingent on Colorado manager Jim Tracy continuing to encourage him to be aggressive on the basepaths.
Rick: He had an amazing rookie year in ’07, had a nightmare ’08 and a brutal start to ’09 – before becoming arguably the best hitter in the game over the season’s last four months. His stolen base tally could well regress back to 12-15, but the home run total could climb near 40 inasmuch as he is still approaching his prime. In a shallow shortstop pool, he merits a late first-round selection or a $36 bid in an auction.
Last year, there were only a handful of dependable fantasy aces heading into Draft Day, but a large tier of #2 starters. How does the pool of upper-level pitchers appear this year?
Mike: There aren’t really any pitchers who are definitely worthy of a first-round selection. If pitchers are going that high in your draft, rather than chasing them there, you should seek value later.
Tim: Reclamation projects such as Cole Hamels deliver far more value than King Felix and Zack Greinke given where they will be selected in almost all drafts.
Rick: Top ace pitchers are acceptable for selection as high as the late first round given the enormous leg up that they furnish assuming that they stay healthy. Beyond that, this is more of a conventional season than last year given that the pool of #1 pitchers is of average size relative to most years and approximately the same as the supply of #2s.
Name some of the top sleepers of this season – not just deep sleepers, but any players likely to vastly outperform their average draft position.
Mike: Scott Kazmir, Jake Peavy, Gordon Beckham, Everth Cabrera and Chris Perez.
Tim: Jake Peavy, Ricky Nolasco, Scott Kazmir, Jay Bruce, Jose Lopez, Alex Rios, Jose Valverde, Homer Bailey and Luke Hochevar.
Rick: Stephen Drew, Garrett Atkins, Ricky Nolasco, Vladimir Guerrero, BJ Upton and Scott Kazmir.
In almost every draft this year, Albert Pujols and Hanley Ramirez are going 1-2 – albeit with Pujols seeming to go in the top spot a bit more often. Tell how you would have them ordered at the top of the draft and then state who is the third player on your board.
Mike: 1 Pujols 2 Ramirez 3 ARod
Tim: 1 Pujols 2 Ramirez 3 ARod
Rick: 1 Ramirez 2 Pujols 3 Chase Utley
This industry is the longest-established one in major sports and has just entered its second decade of the 21st century as well as being early in the second quarter-century of its development. Deliver some notes on the current state of the industry and where it is headed.
Mike: As people face ever-growing challenges on their time commitments, team co-managers are growing in popularity. Companies are expanding by leaps and bounds into various digital initiatives, with cell phone apps being the next frontier to be fully utilized. The presence on television continues to grow. In a modern world where the Internet has reduced all barriers to entry on at least a very small level, challenges of differentiation grow every day.
Tim: Information saturation is growing as the industry becomes more popular and the number of sources continues to expand as well. The increased presence for fantasy baseball on television presents new ways for consumers to receive their information. The sheer volume of online leagues is contributing to the overall sense of community on the Internet. Challenges of monetization remain.
Rick: Tim’s point about the challenges of monetization might well be the most important note about the present and future state of the industry, especially as it relates to smaller entities. Points of major innovation are at least equally likely to come from these factors and the prevalence of a free content culture on the Internet presents challenges for the industry as a whole in terms of staying vibrant and continuing to develop newer and better ways to help players win their leagues.
To amplify Tim’s point about fantasy baseball and Internet continuity, speak about how the former and the latter intersect.
Mike: Leagues contribute to what is becoming an evolving standard of community as defined by the Internet. People are meeting and in many instances becoming friends when they are separated by thousands of miles if not entire continents offline.
Tim: The fact that fantasy leagues are now largely defined by the online sector is a sign of the times, especially for the Millennial generation now coming up that may not have ever even experienced pre-Internet leagues.
Rick: In a very real old-school sense, the industry loses a bit of its soul if it moves even further away from interaction among friends and more towards finding substitutes for that dynamic online. The best and most fun leagues are the ones forged between friends, be they close or casual, and especially those that are re-convened every year. Having said that, online league management is invaluable because it allows both these leagues and the purely Internet ones to be run in an efficient and timely manner.