Hello? Are any of you still out there? Blink once if you can hear me. Blink twice if you need help. Blink three times if you want to blink three times. I had finally worked my reader count up from nine to fifteen (my math’s a little rusty these days but me thinks that’s about a 67 percent increase) and then this whole COVID-19 has to come along and derail my momentum. I had broken double digits and was on my way to twenty. Once I got to 19 I was going to call that group the MALAMONEY-19. This virus has certainly stolen my thunder. It has also stolen one of my favorite past times. Fantasy baseball. Not to be insensitive as I know this POS-19 has taken much more from people, but man do I miss the daily monotony of fun we call fantasy baseball. I’m really glad I busted my ass back in the first week of March to get my spreadsheet done. I’m sure it’s helped about as many of you as the virus has. At least it’s done, right? Or is it? If and when baseball returns I am clearly going to have to make some modifications. Playing time and projections are obviously going to be altered. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
If I’m being honest I really haven’t been paying attention to the world of baseball much in the past four to five weeks. What’s the point? Instead I’ve been too busy homeschooling my first grade daughter as our school district isn’t doing squat. I was going to say sh!t, but I figured it would get edited out. I’m not sure how it is out there in the rest of the country, but in these parts of Massachusetts the first grade teachers are meeting with their classes online for thirty minutes a day on Mondays and Wednesdays. The first and last three minutes of those thirty are spent by the kids saying “hi” and “goodbye” to each other. So minus those six minutes and the teachers are doing about 48 minutes worth of instruction per week. Oh wait, did I say instruction? I guess if you count Monday’s 24 minutes being spent by having the kids share what they did over the weekend as instruction then yeah, that’s instruction. Every Sunday night the teachers email the parents a list of worksheets and assignments to complete in the coming week. I wish they were more honest and the email would just say “here parents, do our job” instead of trying to act like they’ve got everything under control. When I reached out to the Administration to find out why the teachers weren’t doing more I was told that they have their own families/kids at home to take care of. No sh!t?!! So do the rest of us. Only difference is that the rest of us are also still working our full-time jobs while the teachers get full pay for partial effort. Can you tell I’m not happy?
But I digress. None of you are reading this to hear me rant. Hopefully you’re reading this for fantasy baseball content.
So what points league content can I bestow upon you at this point? We’re all hearing rumblings of an 80 or so game season. I’ll take it! Where do I sign. Sadly I think that might be optimistic, but I’m not losing hope. One of the major stumbling blocks is whether the Players’ Union will get behind it given the salary related negotiations. It always comes down to money in the end. Personally I don’t know how much the players should receive and I really don’t care. Just get on the damn field.
I’m curious about what happens to players that were expected to start the season in minors but eventually find their way to the big leagues? How about a guy like Jo Adell? Does he still start the season in Salt Lake or do the Angels bring him right up. How about Nate Pearson? How will service time be treated? Will any pitchers be on an innings limit or is that idea out the door at this point? There are many players whose 2020 fantasy baseball value is very much up in the air and drafting/owning the right ones could give you an edge.
In a shortened season it’s going to be extremely important to roster players that are hot right out of the gate. Easier said than done, I know. But remember, in an MLB shortened season, the fantasy season is even shorter when you factor in playoffs in head-to-head points leagues. Typically four teams make the playoffs, but it could be six with the top two earning first round byes. Maybe that’s football. Let’s go with the top four teams for now. I’m a strong believer that the playoffs should be two-week matchups. With two rounds of playoffs we’d have four weeks of playoffs. Can the season afford that? Let’s look closer.
With an 80-game season that would be about 13 weeks of baseball. Can you have a 9-week regular season and four weeks of playoffs. I don’t think so. The reason I’m a strong proponent of two week playoff matchups is because the regular season is typically 26 weeks. I found it a hard pill to swallow to put in about 20 weeks worth of dedicated effort only to have one bad week. Heck it didn’t even have to be a bad week. Your opponent could have a great single week. It just didn’t sit well with me. My league mates agreed and about twelve years ago we switched to two-week matchups. To this day the league agrees that was the single best rule change we’ve ever made.
However, if the regular season is only going to be a total of thirteen weeks, then I think the best thing to do is save the last two weeks for the championships. Only two teams make the finals and they play a two-week matchup. So in a 13-week season you’d have an 11-week regular season. In most of my head-to-head leagues we play two opponents each week. If you are only playing one, then you need to make it two this year. I’d even go as far to say to make it three or four, but I’m not sure how the math works out. In fact, I’m going to make a suggestion that some of you might consider crazy, but one I’ve been an advocate of for years. Every week you play every team! That some straight up matrix level shit right there!
I tried to look up weekly stats so I could try and pinpoint a few non obvious hot/slow starters, but my Google search for “weekly stats” landed me at John Weekly’s Baseball Reference home page. Here’s something you might not have know about John Weekly. In 1963 he hit three extra base hits against the Cincinnati Reds, driving in four runs with two doubles and a home run. On the day he tallied at least 12 fantasy points. His home run was his fifth and final big league smash.
The key in points leagues is points. Seems obvious enough. John Weekly clearly had a big day at the plate, but that’s not that only way to eat Reeses. We want players in our lineups that are going to get us points, and we don’t care what they do to get us those points. Remember, at the end of the game it doesn’t matter if you got ten points from three stolen bases, two walks, a run scored and a hit by pitch versus a grand slam and a single. Points are points. One thing that will become more pressing is the need to get players that are experiencing a cold spell out of your lineup. In a shortened season we have no time to droughts.
But enough about John Weekly. How do we deal with keepers? In leagues where you can only keep a player a certain number of years, should this season count, or do we get a freebie? I’m not sure how this should be handled. If I were pressed for an answer I’d say the season counts against his service time.
What are many of you doing about haircuts? I just shaved the back and sides for the second time since the quarantine began, but the top of my head has me ready for a prime role in Trolls 3. At least my daughter appreciates it.
Here’s what I’m going to leave you with today. At the end of the day, if there is a season, I don’t expect fantasy draft day to be any different than it would have been back in March. I believe you are going to see the same players come off the board in the relatively the same order. I’ve been part of two mock drafts with the experts over at CBS since March and this is exactly what I’ve seen. It’s business as usual. Will we see some pitchers go deeper into games? Perhaps. How will players respond with no one in the stands? Does this give the Marlins an advantage considering it’s no different than any other season? Are we going to see a lot more injuries because players just aren’t ready or are trying to do too much? Is Yordan Álvarez going to lead the league in home runs? I hope so. I also hope opposing pitchers don’t target him with their fastballs considering he was not part of the Astros cheating ways and does not unjustly wear a World Series ring. #beamaltuve
Will players have to wear masks? What I’m being told is that everyone is going to have to wear masks. Shouldn’t this include baseball players?
The one thing I do know for certain is that Razzball will continue to be your best source of fantasy baseball information. Once we have a clearer picture of the 2020 season I will update my spreadsheet and get that out as soon as possible. In the meantime, stay safe.
Follow malamoney on Twitter at @malamoney