Another baseball season is in the books and with it, another year living in your mom’s basement with zero prospects of freedom on the horizon. As your fantasy guide donkey, I consider it my duty to lend a hoof in resolving this dire lodging situation. Let me regale you with my story of escape from the comforts of mom’s basement, out into the unknown.

Looking back, there was one major factor which led to my now girlfriend rescuing me from my mom’s basement and allowing me to move into her much nicer basement. It began with an innocent conversation with a friend about stinky balls, sweaty dongs and general swamp crotch. Through this one conversation, I discovered we don’t need to live in constant fear of these groinal afflictions.

My buddy spoke of a miracle cure for this vicious epidemic. The magical solution goes by the name of talcum powder. It turns out, if you cover your genitalia in this wondrous powder, you’ll never fall victim to the swampy nether stank again. Don’t take my word for it, sprinkle away and see for yourself. Just don’t forget about ole Donkey Teeth once you’re living it up in your new girl’s basement.

Now, a bit of fair warning: you’ll want to grasp the sack loosely as you apply the marvelous talcum formula. As a wise man once said, if you cling too tightly you’re gonna lose control of your powder application. This all reminds me of Hold on Loosely – Part 1 & Part 2 where we discussed the dangers of clinging too tightly to mid-round fantasy baseball draft picks.

In the past Hold on Loosely chronicles, I speculated about the growing phenomena of elite offensive fantasy baseball production becoming more available later in drafts, or even on the waiver wire throughout the season. Take a look at some examples of this occurrence in the table below…

Hitter 2018 EOY Razzball Player Rater Rank (Hitters) 2018 NFBC ADP
Mitch Haniger 23 219
Jesus Aguilar 25 477
Scooter Gennett 26 205
Miguel Andujar 29 425
Michael Brantley 30 241
David Peralta 35 270
Jose Peraza 49 210
Aaron Hicks 50 225
Max Muncy 51 Undrafted
Nick Markakis 61 443

In 2018, if you were able to cut-bait on the stinky balls group of Billy Hamilton (ADP 71), Jonathan Schoop (ADP 64), Elvis Andrus (ADP 60), or Byron Buxton (ADP 49), before mid-season, then your fantasy team was much better off. And if you were able to powder your roster up with the some of the fresh names above, then your season took on a whole new fragrance. A fragrance the ladies just might tolerate.

The first item which jumps out to me from the above table, is the lack of speed offered by these players. There were plentiful options for average, runs, RBI and home runs on this list, but only one of these players stole more than 12 bases (Peraza) and none stole more than 23 bases. If we look back at the list of 2017 hitters compiled in Part 1 you’ll notice a less dramatic, but similar phenomenon.

The second item which strikes me, is the lack of hitters included in Part 2’s end of May list remaining on this year-end list. Of the ten hitters highlighted in Part 2, only Jesus Aguilar and Nick Markakis made our year-end list, and even Markakis was fading hard down the stretch. Jed Lowrie was the only other player from Hold on Loosely – Part 2 to finish the season in the top 100 hitters according to the Razzball Player Rater.

So how can we apply all of this powder to our 2019 fantasy baseball draft and in season management strategies? Fantasy Master Lothario will scold me, no doubt, but I’ll be giving elite starting pitchers a boost in my draft rankings once again this year. I’m comfortable giving pitching a value boost, knowing that I’ll be able to scrape together offensive statistics almost as easily as pitching statistics throughout the fantasy season. This is doubly true in shallower leagues where there’s less competition fighting over these breakout hitters on the waiver wire.

I’ll also be looking to build a solid foundation of steals and average from the hitters I draft in the early rounds. We know steals haven’t been abundant from these breakout hitters over the past two seasons, and as we search for this season’s breakout gems, we’ll want a high average built into our roster core allowing us the luxury of gambling on any and all hitters.

In season, don’t be afraid to move on quickly. I’m not telling you to drop your struggling 1st rounder in mid-April, but if your 6th rounder isn’t powdering your family jewels by late May, then it might be time to consider other options. And if the hot bat you pick up in May goes cold for a week or two, don’t be afraid to move on quickly from him either. There are plenty of men fawning for your attention in the fantasy hitter sea.

Of course, league specific variables are always in play here which could affect my draft and in season approaches (league format, depth, moves limits, games played/innings pitched limits, etc.), so feel free to throw your particular league specs in the comments if you’d like some strategic input from Mr. Teeth. Then go sprinkle some Gold Bond on your scrotum and find yourself a lady with a nice basement.

 

Find Donkey Teeth on Twitter @DonkeyTeeth87. Subscribe to his podcast with @DiktaSausagePod: Ditka, Sausage, and Fantasy Sports on Itunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

  1. Darren says:
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    Ineteresting article but one comment just to get the discussion rolling. As you allude, I think your part 2 list seems to argue a bit against your hold on loosely philosophy. Sure you can get lucky and get a guy that keeps it going all year like Aguilar. But you could have also dropped a Carpenter to pick up a Cron instead and been burned the rest of the year by that decision. I don’t think there is necessarily a right or wrong philosophy, but either way you have to be a bit lucky you drop and pick up the right guys. It is interesting though that at the time of your May article, you only had a 20% of finding a year long guy at that point from the list of 10. And one of those two was Markakis who had a very stale fantasy rep that was hard to get excited about. Hindsight is 20-20 but I’d probably rather see if a proven player can figure it out than roll the dice on a hot spare. But admittedly lots of counter examples both ways.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      @Darren: Appreciate the perspective, Darren! Agreed, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer here in the fantasy baseball philosophy game.

      My thinking is, if your league format allows a large number of moves, you can play the hot hand on offense all year and piece together a few top 50 type hitter seasons if you’re diligent. Maybe you get lucky and one of those hot hands stays hot, like Aguilar or Andujar.

      This has been a popular strategy for managing a fantasy pitching staff as long as I can remember, but my theory is that it’s become a much more viable offensive strategy as well.

  2. Darren says:
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    It’s true- in an active Razzball type you can definitely “stream” hitters based on matchups without risking too much- that’s what the ‘bots did to perfection a couple years back- since you know players will be cycled through. And the razzball leagues that are the most active definitely accumulate the most stats, suporting your idea of not holding onto players not producing. But is it simply the act of being active (and not leaving in players losing PT or hurt), or making shrewd moves that results in more (better) stats accumulated? I wonder if it more the former. Which is kinda your point!, lol.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      @Darren: Right, right. Shear activity is rewarded these days.

      Hitter’s have always been streaky creatures, but ever since they changed the baseballs it seems to have been amplified, at least on the hot streak side. We also have more surprise hitters coming out of the woodwork each year.

  3. nightpandas says:
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    hey teeth,

    who would you keep out of this group? 15 team roto keep 11:

    batting cats: sb, rbi, hr, hits, runs, k, obp, slg
    pitching cats: w, l, sv, k, era, whip, k/9, qs

    leaning: Gleybar, Devers, Springer, Vlad, Eloy, Senzel, Meadows, Othani (bat only), Adell, Soroka, Luzardo

    also have: Buxton, Markakis, J Urias, Sheffield, Bundy, W Smith

    would you swap any out? got 8 picks in the first two rounds so figure I can get some decent pitching

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:
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      @nightpandas: Hey nightpandas,

      I’m still a Buxton believer. I’d swap him in for Soroka…

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