As you probably know, I not only write these fantastic points leagues posts for all of you, but I also cover dynasty leagues for the football side of the site as well. Yep, I can do it all. In fact, I spent some time doing a fantasy football AMA over on Reddit the other day (which was a ton of fun). Although I’m sure y’all are well aware of it because you read it. Ya see what I did there? Nice little play on words. Yeah, no big deal… Go back re-read it in case you missed it… Anyway, the point is — I swing both ways (no, not that way). Another way to describe it might be to call me versatile, being able to flip back and forth between the two sports seamlessly. That’s not to say I’m great at any of it. Even though I probably am. I mean, come on! All that said, in fantasy baseball, having players that are versatile can potentially be the difference between winning and, well, not winning. If you don’t like to win, you should probably stop reading right now… Still here? Good. What I’m getting at here is that versatility gives you very valuable lineup flexibility.
The importance of having flexibility within your lineup cannot be understated. When you have good players that you can plug in to a number of different positions, it provides you with the opportunity to find the best possible match ups on any given day and take advantage of them. This is especially important when you have players that either don’t have a game or are getting that day off for whatever reason. It also provides better cover in case of injuries, which can’t be completely avoided over the course of a long 162 game schedule. Players are gonna get hurt. It happens. What helps is that if one of your starting outfielders goes down and your 1st baseman (or any other starting player) has OF eligibility, it provides more potential options to find a replacement. You can either find a 1B or an OF, whichever strikes your fancy. The more options the better, that is unless you are really bad at making decisions. But perhaps the biggest benefit to having plays that can play multiple positions, especially in points leagues, is that it affords you the opportunity to carry less bench bats because you have players that can backup multiple positions, in case of injury or what have you. This opens up more spots on your roster that you can use for streaming. In points leagues, most starts from a starting pitcher yield at least some sort of positive return (except for the occasional meltdown). So being able to scour the waiver wire to find the SP matchup that you like the best for any given day. (We have Stream-o-nator to give you a hand with this).
To take this strategy one step further, you can also use the extra roster spots to stream hitters (I recommend Hittertron to help with that. Thanks, Rudy, we gots all the tools!) or utilize various platoons to maximize each position’s production. For example, Brandon Moss hit 30 homers last year. Only four of those came against left-handed pitching, to go with a .200 avg against southpaws. He’s a guy you love to have when facing righthanders but don’t want him anywhere near the lineup when there’s a lefty on the mound. Adam Lind is another guy that falls into the same category of being very strong against righties (.309 avg with 20HR) and weak against lefties (.208, 3HR). If you are afforded an extra roster spot (due to other players being versatile) it gives you the option of platooning these guys to take advantage of each of their best production. Sure there will be rare days when both guys happen to be facing lefties, but it shouldn’t happen very often and you can live with those few days, given the other production you receive.
There are a lot of players out there that are eligible at multiple positions, but some of these guys like Jedd Gyorko and Mark Trumbo should be in virtually every starting lineup. So I’m going to take a brief look at some players (ideally backups on your roster) who may provide varying degrees of value to you based on their ability to slot into multiple different spots in your lineup. It should also be noted that Yahoo is generally more generous with positional eligibility than ESPN, so be sure to keep that in mind.
Dee Gordon — While he is currently only eligible at SS, he should add 2B eligibility to that within the first week or two of the season. We all know that Dee Gordon can absolutely fly. Too bad his dad stole his nickname… The biggest question with him is if he will ever hit enough to earn himself some consistent playing time. Right now, he has the starting 2B job to open the season. He’s hitting .286 (with 9 steals) in spring training, which is an improvement for him, although spring training stats mean very little. He did go 3-4 with a 2B, 2 runs, and an RBI in his first game down under. Who knows? For now, ride out the steals and see if he can hit .250.
Kelly Johnson — Everything I’ve read points to him being the everyday 3B in New York this season. Yeah, he has a hard time hitting for average (.235 last year, .253 career), but he’s got some pop. He’s hit at least 16 HR in each of the past four years, including 16 in only 407 ABs last year. With eligibility at 2B, 3B, and OF, an everyday job and a short porch in RF, I really like Johnson as a late round pick to round out my bench.
Emilio Bonifacio — After being cut by the Royals, Bonifacio caught on with the Cubs on a minor league deal. But with the Cubs being, ya know, the Cubs, Bonifacio has played his way onto the opening day roster with a solid spring. There have even been whispers that he may have unseated Darwin Barney as the starting 2B, although that isn’t saying much from an offensive prospective. Even without the everyday spot at 2nd, it seems like Emilio should get 3-4 starts a week as a super-utility type. Although we’d like to see more, in limited playing time the last two years, Bonifacio stole 30 bags in 2012 and 28 last year. It isn’t unreasonable to expect similar numbers this year (given ample playing time). Again, another guy under consideration for a late (last?) round pick, Bonifacio is also eligible at 2B, 3B, and OF.
Please remember that the information mentioned here should be of use to you not only in points leagues, but in other leagues as well, because a great player in points leagues will probably be a great player in other leagues and vice versa.
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