Raise your hand if you have ever made a fart noise with your armpit. Now raise your other hand if you’ve ever laughed at someone else making fart noises with their armpit(s). Notice I made the word armpit potentially plural since there are many that can do this with both armpits. Not at the same time of course. These people are referred to as being “armpitfartidextrous”. If you currently do not have any hands raised, please close your browser because you are either not being honest or are not going to enjoy my flavor of humor. If you have never heard of an armpit fart, then technically you should have closed your browser and should not be reading this, but if you’ve ignored my instructions and are still here, then watch this dude.
So what does this nonsense have to do with fantasy baseball? Very little to be honest, but the intention was to give you a little insight into what to expect with respect to my level of maturity when it comes to writing. I promise to give you my best insight into fantasy baseball points leagues, but I can’t promise that it won’t be glittered with toilet humor. With that out of the way, let’s get to it.
So apparently I’m the points guy at Razzball. I guess after four full seasons of posts dedicated to points leagues I’ve earned the title. Either that or perhaps the lack of anyone else that gives enough of a shit about points leagues to write a weekly article on the subject. One way or another this is where we are at today. If you’ve been patient enough to support me all this time, thank you. If you’re new, welcome. You might be a one and done, but in the meantime, why not enjoy the ride.
It’s possible that I’ve been playing in points leagues longer than some of you have been alive. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy roto, but points leagues are just more interesting. However, if I’m being honest, I actually hate most points leagues. I’m not going to get into the details (I’ve done that in several posts over the years), but I will say that as much as I hate them, I could never give them up. It’s a love/hate relationship. I love winning and hate losing when I know I should have won.
Points leagues are are the black sheep of fantasy baseball. Speaking of black sheep, RIP Chris Farley. Seriously, points leagues get very little respect. If Rodney Dangerfield were still around he could be the spokesperson for points leagues. Have Farley and Dangerfield ever been in a movie together? I don’t think so, but I’m too lazy to ask Google. And that’s lazy considering I have a Google Home in every room of my house. It’s not like I have to switch tabs and type. All I have to do is open my mouth as ask. “Hey Google. Have Chris Farley and Rodney Dangerfield ever been in a movie together?” I even just typed it, but I’m still not asking Google. Ok fine, I’ll ask. Google Mini says it cannot help me because it does not have a screen. Google Hub just shows me some of the movies each have been in. It appears they have not been cast in the same movie.
“He (or she) that uses roto rankings at a H2H points league draft is like the jackass that brings a knife to a gunfight when he knows he’s headed to a gunfight.” -malamoney
Here is the single most important thing to understand about points leagues. All leagues are not created equal. That might be a controversial thing to say in 2019, but it’s the truth. In 5×5 roto leagues rankings are generally universal, however, this is absolutely not the case for points leagues. League rankings are nearly entirely dependent on the league’s scoring system. League size and roster composition certainly factor into the mix, but it’s the scoring system that weighs the heaviest. Understanding this simple fact will give you an immediate leg up on your competition. Does your league penalize for strikeouts? If so, that really reasonably lowers the value of a power hitter that strikes out a lot. This includes players such as Khris Davis, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. All three of these guys are going to be ranked higher in roto leagues. They are also going to be ranked higher in points leagues that do not penalize for strikeouts. Ranking players in points leagues can be a daunting task, but luckily I will be here all season to help.
I’m going to paraphrase something I’ve said many times over the last four years. If you ask someone to rank a list of players or for advice on roster decisions in points leagues and they do not ask you for your league’s scoring system, then you should ask someone else. Either the question was just dumb in the first place (like asking if you should draft Vlad Jr. or Bryce Harper) or they are giving you a half-assed, uninformed response. Knowing the parameters of the points league is vital to being able to draw the bigger picture.
But enough of my meandering lecturing. Will 2019 finally be the year when Mike Trout leads all hitters in points? If I’m a betting man, and I am, I’m going with no. As good as he is, the odds are just stacked against him. Will he finish in the top ten? As long as he’s healthy he will always finish in the top ten. The key to winning points leagues is to find the players that will unexpectedly finish in the top twenty and have those players on your team. These are the players that can be drafted in the mid to later rounds and will have a tremendous return on their draft value. These are the difference makers. Last year Javier Baez, Matt Carpenter, Whit Merrifield, Trevor Story and Nick Markakis all fit the bill.
If you are one of my eighteen readers you will be familiar with the concept of points per plate appearance. I know, eighteen readers is not impressive, but considering I had only four when I started four years ago, that’s a 350 percent increase. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. Points per plate appearance. How many points does a batter get every time he steps into the batters box. This stat is extremely useful when comparing players and you will find me coming back to it all season long.
Ok, so how about a little bit of useful information. Well since I am still working on my projections and rankings it’s hard for me to dish out solid insight, but I will throw out two names that I expect to talking about in more detail in the weeks leading up to the start of the season and beyond. Those names are David Dahl and Jameson Taillon. I’m not going to elaborate right now, but I’m pretty high on both of them.
Points are points. Sounds simple. That’s because it is. Have you ever heard the phrase “a walk is as good as a hit”? Well it’s not completely true, but from a pure “how many points does each get me” perspective, they are equal. In nearly all leagues both a walk and a single earn you one point. Even Steven. The reason I said it’s not completely true is because a single (hit) is more likely to also drive in a run than a walk. You’d need the bases loaded for a walk to earn you another point from an RBI. But with the bases empty, a single is no better than a base on balls in points leagues. You get the picture. Now just be sure to expand the idea to other point earning categories. Let’s say a home run is worth a minimum of six points (four the homer, one for the run and one for the RBI) and a stolen base is worth two points. Ignoring all other stats, what is the difference between a hitter that smacks 20 home runs and steals no bases and another that swipes 60 bags and hits no homers. The answer is nothing. There is no difference. Obviously there would be a difference once we factoring in the other counting stats, but for the sake of this discussion I think you get the point. Pun intended. I plan to use that one all season long. Might try and shoehorn it in to every single post.
Walks versus strikeouts. As I mentioned earlier most leagues award one point for a walk, but subtract one point for a strikeout. Players with a better K/BB ratio are generally going to be more valuable in points leagues than those with lesser K/BB ratios. And if you can find a hitter that walks more than he strikes out, then you’ve got an excellent option for your points league roster. There are not many of these such players each season. Last year there were only four players that fell into this category. Jose Ramires walked 26 more times than he struck out. Carlos Santana was a +17, Alex Bregman was a +11 and Joey Votto was +7. In 2017 there were five. Votto was +51 (unbelievable), Mike Trout was +4, Justin Turner was +3, Anthony Rendon was +2 and Anthony Rizzo was +1. I will be dedicating an entire post to this topic in the coming weeks.
Consistency is a very attractive feature. Boom or bust (think streaky players like Jay Bruce a few years ago) players can really set you up to fail on any given week. Sure they could also be the reason you win a particular week, I’d rather have a slow and steady bat that I know I can rely upon for about twenty something points each week. Remember winning by one point is the same as winning by two hundred. It might result in a more nerve racking Sunday, but the result on Monday morning is the same.
Expect to hear a lot more from over the coming weeks as I continue to ramp up. In the meantime, if you have questions, be sure to leave comments. If you have insults, be sure to leave comments.