Monday, January 31, 2011

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume IV, Issue IV

Welcome to our 117th edition of the FDH Fantasy Newsletter, as we continue to bring you weekly fantasy sports updates in addition to our usual content on Our archive of past editions is available right here on The Blog and specific links to past editions are available at

This week, we bring you our elaboration about the key point of controversy from last week’s 2011 Fantasy Baseball Top 100 (First Draft).

Why Tulow is Two

In last week’s edition of our fantasy newsletter, we unveiled our early Top 100 for the 2011 fantasy baseball season. It was unusual in one key regard; more about that below. Many of our draft boards end up being controversial in one way or another, particularly in the placement of players at the very top. In that regard, our 2010 football draft board was actually the exception to the rule in that it had a top five (CJ/Peterson/Rice/MJD/Gore) that was not much different from most others in the industry.

When we differ from many other sources, it’s not because we’re setting out to do so deliberately. Such contrivance is ineffective on the whole. Our approach is simply, to process the available information through the prism of our “value drafting” approach and go wherever that path takes us.

In examining the top of our board, it’s clear where the major point of contention for most fantasy owners would lie. Not only do we buck this year’s pervasive trend of putting Albert Pujols at #1, we’ve bumped him to #3 to make room for Troy Tulowitzki directly after our leader, Hanley Ramirez. Now, we’ve placed Hanley at the top for the past few years, so that’s not a huge surprise. But Tulow at two? Consider his placement on some other leading industry draft boards this year: 4, 4, 5, 6 and 11. Incidentally, while we don’t generally reveal which institutions place which players where, we are making an exception to note that one of the #4 rankings for Tulow came from Matt Berry at ESPN. Inasmuch as Berry has mistaken our past criticism of him for a personal jihad, we do try to point out where we agree with him as well as where we violently disagree – so we give him credit to being relatively close to our position while still not getting there altogether.

There are several valid aspects to why we placed Tulow where we did and why the fact that our brethren have not fallen into line is, frankly, irrelevant:

^ The first and foremost point we would make in our defense is that the shortstop position is historically weak this year in fantasy. As always, power is the key separator at the position – all the more so in this “post-steroid” era – and there are no reliable mashers aside from Hanley and Tulow. You have to go back to the time before the ARod/Nomah/Jeter emergence in the mid-‘90s to find a time when the crop was this fallow.

^ Speaking of how thin the position is, consider this: he has been criticized for periods of injury (2008, 2010) or ineffectiveness (2009). But after the first two months of 2009, he had huge numbers (.326, 27 HR, 76 RBI, 80 R, 16 SB) that look even more eyeball-popping when extrapolated over the whole season (.326, 40 HR, 114 RBI, 120 R, 24 SB). Now take a look at the numbers of his legendary two month-stretch at the end of 2010: .335, 18 HR, 56 RBI, 40 R, 4 SB. Extrapolate those over the course of the full season and you’re looking at the following: .335, 54 HR, 168 RBI, 120 R, 12 SB. For two years in a row, over a prolonged period of play, he has been the best hitter in baseball – again, at a time of absolutely historic power shortage at his position.

^ Last year, we had TT ninth on our board when our peers had him generally slotted from about 15th to 18th. Now look at where they’ve put him this year. Advantage, FDH. So if we were right about him then, that lends credence to the thought that we are right again this year.

^ Tulowitzki is 26 years old this year and his upward trend shows that he is in line to keep progressing – and is just one year shy of the “Magic 27” campaign when hitters really come into their own. So decades of science indicate that we haven’t seen the best of him by a longshot.

^ He forms, along with fellow first-round Rockie luminary Carlos Gonzalez, the best 1-2 punch in baseball at this moment.

^ You would worry about many other players getting the security of a long-term contract – but not Troy. He’s no Shawn Kemp, that’s for sure. His intensity is notable in a profession littered with “red-ass” players, so nothing at all should flag in that regard. He knows how great he has a chance to be and he wants to fully live up to the vast potential.

You can tell from the points made here that our reasoning is multi-pronged, and although we have enumerated just how much we consider Tulow to be a special talent at just the right point of his career ascent, our biggest issue comes back to positional scarcity. If you own Hanley or Tulow, you possess an asset in a reliable power-hitting shortstop that only one other team in your league also has. To extrapolate on this a bit further, in AL-only leagues this year, you shouldn’t draft or bid high on ANY shortstop inasmuch as there is no real point of separation in the field between the top players. But in mixed leagues, you can’t go wrong with either of the shortstops from the teams added to MLB in the 1993 expansion.


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