In fantasy baseball, it’s imperative to trade away overrated players before they lose their luster and trade for underrated players. Then there’s simply the rated ones. If this reads vaguely familiar, it’s because I’m cribbing Chuck Klosterman, who I think is brilliant. Here’s the relevant quote to better understand what follows:
If you are the kind of person who talks about music too much, there are two words that undoubtedly play an integral role in your workaday lexicon: “overrated” and “underrated.” This is because those two sentiments pop up in 90 percent of all musical discussions.
He goes on to list bands that are overrated (Wilco, Sonic Youth) or underrated (Duran Duran, Tortoise), coming finally to bands that simply rated, which are no more or less than their reviews (The Beatles). Klosterman’s theory also applies for fantasy baseball. Let’s look at some overrated, underrated and rated players.
Ryan Braun – As I said earlier today, “I had Braun 22 overall. It’s not like I had him between Hank Blalock and David Ross. I think his average is below .285 and he’s below 15 steals. He’s basically Carlos Lee with 3B eligibility and without the track record. Carlos Lee does Braun’s thing for 7 years and Braun does it for four months and Braun should go ten spots before him? I just don’t get it.” When you put a player twenty-two overall and people say you are unfairly down on him, that player is the definition of overrated. (BTW, I have a picture of Jesus in my office and it’s signed, “Grey, Thanks for steering me away from Ryan Braun. You are a Fantasy God. Love, Your Savior. P.S. What do you think about Lackey for Alex Gordon? I’m good on starters, but have Cust as my Utility.”)
Ryan Zimmerman – Before the Anti-Defamation League of Ryans contacts me, I swear I have no prejudice towards the name Ryan. I even just picked up Ryan Franklin in a league and I’ve eaten at Ryan Gosling’s Moroccan Restaurant — the couscous was overcooked, but the bastilla was good. Then again, who’s ever had a bad bastilla? Someone who puts catsup on egg noodles and calls it pasta, that’s who.
Dustin McGowan – He threw too many innings last year. If you like math — Pitcher who has a good season + overworked = overrated. (More math problems, MTV reality shows = mindless wonderfulness. Republicans = Democrats. Hispanics + peanut butter and jelly sandwiches = Unhappy Hispanics.)
Any AL Starter – Hater Bell covered this in this post. I don’t like trading apples for apples (starter for starter, third basemen for third basemen, etc.), but I can almost get behind a trade like Lackey and Cliff Lee for Wainwright and Maine. In fact, I likey. Hey, I just made a hypothetical trade with myself.
Any Closer – Think of them as a necessary evil and you’ll be better off. I love to do trades like Mariano Rivera for Josh Hamilton then turn around and trade Josh Hamilton for Trevor Hoffman and Matt Capps then turn around and trade Capps for Victorino. Closers are like girls. You will overvalue them at first, grow to despise them, wish you traded them for their sister, not understand how they can get over you so fast when you drunkenly call them at three in the morning. Finally, you find a replacement then get a sex tape in the mail of your ex with your best friend time dated to the afternoon of your one year anniversary. Or maybe that’s me. Anyway, don’t get too attached.
Any Setup Man – Rudy claims he taught me how to use middle men many years ago. I don’t remember it, but maybe. Or maybe that’s his consolation for losing to me last year. And three years ago. And four years ago.
Any Big-Bellied 1st Basemen that is Currently Struggling – These guys could go 100/40/100 in their sleep. Howard’s average might leave something to be desired, but he’s a .265 hitter. What, you wanted a fat Ichiro?
Any Padres Pitcher – I could have a 4.50 ERA in Petco and I throw like a girl.
Aaron Cook – He’s a ground ball pitcher. It’s hard to hit ground balls out of the yard.
Any NL Starter – See 5 3/4 inches above.
Me – I think I’m good for about seven to eight posts a week. Maybe 500 to 700 words per post. Everyone has off days, but I think at the end of the season, you’ll be better off with me than without. And I can beat you in checkers. (Union County Checker Champion grades 5 thru 7. That horn is twenty years old and I’m still tooting it.)
Shawn Hill – As someone who has tried to beat the drum about about this guy, I can tell his fan club is not well-attended. In one of my leagues, I tried to trade Hill for Stephen Drew when Tulo went down. That trade got shot down quicker than David Eckstein trying to get on a roller coaster.
Melky Cabrera – Considering the Yankees hype machine it’s weird to find any Yankee on this list, but somehow people ain’t feeling Melky. Even after being crowned the best name in baseball according to Larry King.
Eric Gagne – Backne isn’t on the juice anymore and it’s hurting him. Karma is your mother-in-law.
Nick Punto – Might even be unrated.
Carlos Lee – Everyone knows what you’re going to get.
Mike Cameron – 20/20/.250 for like forty years in a row. He was the only person who got caught sipping the cheating juice and no one lowered one single prediction.
Milton Bradley – Predictable, injury-prone loose cannon. I wonder if Cliff Floyd and him are buds. That’s one carpool I would not want to be party to. (“Milton, can you grab my Mary J. Blige CD from the backseat?” “Sure, Cliff, is it next to your diaphragm?” Car screeches to the side of the road, they jump out to fight only to simultaneously pull a hammy.)