Fantasy baseball can be a lot like dating. Well, perhaps you’ve never made this particular comparison, but it comes into play time and time again for me. Sometimes it’s easy to spot a jerk – for instance, even if a fellow treated you pretty darn well for most of 2016, once he gets accused of assault, you realize he has outstanding DUIs in like 4 different countries, and then isn’t even allowed to come back to the U.S., it’s obviously time to cut the cord. (Obligatory shout out to the Pittsburgh Pirates: sending a pitching machine to a guy who fits the above description so he can keep practicing baseball, which I heard you did, might not be the best way to cut the cord). Then there’s the one that got away, the guy you avoided because he just seemed too good to be true. This can lead to heartbreak, like when you didn’t believe a beautiful, muscular, 6-foot tall 30-year old whose nickname in Korea translated to “God” was the real deal, and you miss out on what would have been one of the most beautiful relationships of your young life. (Note to self: when someone’s nickname is “God,” in real-life or fantasy baseball, that could be important). Then there’s the guy who you dated for months – you waited so patiently while he would go days without texting you, and then when he finally did take you out, you went to a chain restaurant for a meal you ended up paying for. You just KNEW he had it in him to be a great guy… but finally had to give up and dump him, only to see him treat his next girlfriend to handpicked flowers every morning and gourmet meals every night (so far in 2017, I call this guy Jason Heyward).

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This morning, I decided to look at my deepest NL-only league to see who the highest-ranked player who went undrafted was. It didn’t take long to find him: as of Tuesday morning, Anthony Senzatela was ranked as the eleventh most valuable pitcher in standard, mixed 5×5 fantasy baseball leagues. My NL–only league includes a fairly complex farm system as well, so it is beyond hard to find a diamond in the rough, since most minor league players with any decent prospect status at all were drafted years ago. It’s clear why Senzatela slipped through the cracks, though – he was a mid-level prospect at best, who entered spring training as a long shot to be part of a pitching rotation in the worst pitchers’ ballpark baseball has ever seen…

Will Senzatela still be the eleventh best pitcher in fantasy at the end of 2017? Uh, no. We’d have to expect some major bumps along the way even if half of his starts weren’t going to come at Coors Field. But he’s owned in just 20% of Yahoo leagues (21% of ESPN), which I think is too low. I am basing this almost entirely on the gut feeling I had while watching him pitch. In fantasy, upside can be overrated: just ask the Robert Stephenson owner in the league I mentioned above. Stephenson has been taking up a minor league spot on his owner’s roster for four years now. Even worse, now that he’s on the big club and his owner feels pot-committed to him, Stephenson and his 5.40 ERA are taking up a valuable active roster spot. There is no guarantee that even the highest-ranked prospects will even reach star status, either in real baseball or the fantasy variety. Taking a flyer on gut feeling won’t always work out either, and sometimes can be fairly disastrous, but it’s a risk that I think you need to take from time to time in a deep league. Otherwise, how will you ever find this year’s Junior Guerra — that guy whose past statistics make you absolutely sick to your stomach, but looks damn good on the mound every time you watch him pitch… and before you know it, has been a major contributor to the success of your single-league team.

Moving on to some other deeper-league names, starting with the AL…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Being in a crazy deep league can be a double-edged sword. Planning for a draft or auction where you know your last roster spots are going to be filled by players who are literally listed as 0% owned in some formats can be mildly terrifying. But in a weird way, it can make the first few weeks of the season easier. When the names at the top of the waiver wire are Rickie Weeks and Matt Cain (and, yes, those are actually the names at the top of the wire in my deepest AL and NL leagues, respectively), you have no chance to second-guess yourself. If you were worried about Jharel Cotton or Mike Foltynewicz’s atrocious first starts, for instance, you couldn’t just rashly dump them to take a flyer on Charlie Morton or Hyun-Jin Ryu… because those players are already ensconced on another team as someone’s third or fourth best starter.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Greetings, Razzball Nation!  When the offseason began, I expected to be addressing you in April after all kinds of doors had opened for women due to the election of our first female president of the United States.  But since we’re all going to have to wait a bit longer for that whole first girl president thing, whereas I am actually writing a fantasy baseball article on the best fantasy website ever, I guess that now makes me the most powerful woman in the country.  Okay, my math from November may be slightly off on that calculation, but that’s not going to stop me from giving you guys some waiver wire suggestions for NL/AL-only or other extra-deep leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
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