I’ve got to be honest, I’m not even that excited for the 2020 fantasy baseball season. It almost feels dirty to actually say that. I started playing fantasy baseball back in 1990. For those not so quick with that math, this would be my 30th year playing this great game. So why am I not pumped for the start of the season. Well, I think it’s mostly hesitation. I just do not believe that we will actually see a full season. And by “full season” I mean sixty games. How long is it going to be until a couple of players test positive and things get shut down? I wonder if a player would rather test positive for PEDs or Coronavirus? I asked my buddy if he’d rather have Coronavirus or Syphilis. Any guesses how he answered? He chose Coronavirus because it would be easier to explain to his wife. We are already facing an extremely shorted season, any interruptions would exponentially compound the problem.
A shortened season is much less disruptive to the roto format, but when it comes to head-to-head points leagues, a nine week season practically cripples the season. In roto it’s just less time to accrue stats, but in a 12-team head-to-head league, you’ll play each team once, and some twice if you have two opponents each week. If you play one team each week you won’t even play every team in the league over those nine weeks. And what about playoffs? Why does Jim Mora’s reaction to the topic of playoffs immediately come to mind? For every week of playoffs that’s one less week of regular season. Can playoffs even be afforded? Do you just award the championship to the team that finishes the regular season in first place? I can see it already, the team that finishes first will be the team that got to play the shitty team twice. Can you blame the second place team for feeling slighted?
I think that the number of arguments, headaches and butt hurt participants just might outweigh the love of the game this year. And by “game” I mean head-to-head points leagues. COVID-19 related issues aside, I’m in one league where a member is insisting another team change his team name because it’s offensive. As commissioner I awarded the complainer a lifetime ban from the league. So what if the team was named “Billy Beane Hits Homo Runs”. Isn’t that better than “Rollie Fingers Little Boys”?
The truth is that that there will often be someone that is offended by just about anything. Where do we draw the line. My Facebook page is blowing up with posts from my high school alumni as the Board of Education voted to remove our mascot (the Indians). At first I was like “what the you know what”. I played varsity soccer for four years and will always consider myself an “Indian” when I think about my high school years, but then I actually thought about it for a bit. If the term “Indian” really is offensive to Native Americans, then it was probably a bad choice in the first place. And just because it’s been that way for the last sixty or so years doesn’t make it ok. Can you imagine a high school named the Nashville Negroes. Or how about the Bear Mountain Beaners. For the record I don’t condone either of those names and they were only mentioned for illustrative purposes.
So where do we go from here? The regular season is slated to begin on July 23rd. I just read that Mike Trout is hesitant on playing. I don’t blame him. Others have already opted out. If Trout does too, who else might follow suit? If leagues are drafting this weekend, do you still take Trout with the first pick? Is he just trying to tank is ADP so that his buddies that have the second or third picks in their drafts can get him?
Way back in early March (which feels like months ago) I generated my estimations (projections) and created my spreadsheet. Well since those estimations are now garbage, so is the spreadsheet. It is unlikely that I will be creating a new version. I just can’t justify the effort for what I see as a lost season. I still need to think about it, but for those wondering, now you know which way I’m leaning. The juice doesn’t seem like it’s worth the squeeze.
However, based on Rudy’s top notch projections, here is what I am seeing for top 50 hitters.
Here’s what I have to say about this list. The difference between number 1 (Cody Bellinger) and number 50 (Yordan Alvarez) is 55 points. Over nine weeks, that’s just six points a week. It’s easy to make up six points considering a solo home run is worth six. The key take away is that there is a small margin between a first and approximately sixth round pick when you factor in pitchers. That’s what a shortened season will do. Hot and cold streaks are going to have a tremendous effect on a player’s final stats and there will be very little time to recover from even a slightly prolonged slump.
In fact, I am almost certain that leagues will absolutely be won by the teams that play the best waiver wire game. I think the draft this year is nothing more than a crapshoot which is a big reason why I can’t convince myself to redo my spreadsheets. Many players are going to be on short fantasy leashes this season. I’m wondering if all of this puts a premium on starting pitcher studs as I think it’s easier to find a hitter on the wire that can perform at the “stud” level over 40-50 games than a pitcher.
How in the world is Joey Votto on that list? Comeback Player of the Year?
Will anyone touch twenty home runs? How about a .400 batting average? I’ve heard that thought being tossed around.
Last thought. Should we add a category for positive Coronavirus tests? Perhaps 20 points for your player in a week where he goes down with the virus? Or bonus prize money to the team with the most players that test positive by the end of the season?
One more last thought/question. Is the term/expression “blind date” offensive to blind people? Close your eyes and think about that one.
Follow malamoney on Twitter at @malamoney