Doubting Thomas Dairies

I’m starting a new feature today, where I will share thoughts from the baseball season in real time. This will be relevant to anyone playing fantasy baseball because you will have my insights on players and situations as they develop. I have three fantasy teams that I manage on a daily basis – one Yahoo team and two ESPN teams. In referring to the ESPN teams, I will use their names (Alpha Dog and Team Revenant). The other team will be called the Yahoo team.

All three of my team are public league teams, which means I don’t know any of the other managers personally. When we move into football season, this will change because I have a private league that I have been playing in for four years. You’re going to experience my emotions with each entry, as I endure the agony and exalt in the ecstasy (the emotion, not the drug). I suspect you will be able to sympathize and empathize with much of what I share along the way.

I have a few rules for myself when I play fantasy baseball. First, I won’t have any player on more than one team. I don’t care how good the player is. For example, today I was offered Jose Ramirez in a trade. I accepted the offer (actually the other manager accepted mine). If the trade is approved by the league, I must then attempt to trade Ramirez from one of my other teams. This rule was adopted because I mitigate risk by not owning too many shares of a player.

So, let’s get started. We’re six weeks into the baseball season. My Yahoo team is in first place, with 87 points in a 12-team league. Overnight, I added highly-touted pitching prospect Logan Gilbert to my roster, paying only $1 of FAAB money. The timing was good because Zac Gallen went on the IL yesterday. I now have three starting pitchers on the IL – Jacob deGrom, Gallen and Stephen Strasburg. All were taken in the early rounds of the draft.

Back to Gilbert. He will be overlooked today because it’s Jarred Kelenic day in Seattle, and Gilbert is getting second billing. Kelenic is quite the rage, and I selected him in the draft last February but got tired of waiting for his callup. Of course, it seemed like he was called up by the Mariners right after I dropped him. Gilbert won’t be an afterthought in tonight’s game if he performs well. He towers on the mound, 6-foot-6, with good command of all four pitches.

My second team, Alpha Dog, is in second place in its league. This team has 90 points (also a 12-team league). This is previously mentioned team that has Jose Ramirez, my first-round pick. Like any fantasy team, I have players that are overperforming expectations and underperforming, I picked up Yermin Mercedes. The Yerminator, who is having a breakout campaign, is eligible at catcher at ESPN. He’s hitting .367, with five home runs, 21 RBI, and 13 runs scored in 108 at bats.

Alpha Dog trails the first-place team by nine points. This is a balanced team. The lowest category number is 6, which means 7th place in that Roto category. I’m first in RBI and steals, second in wins, third in runs, fourth in home runs and WHIP, fifth in ERA, sixth in strikeouts and seventh in batting average and saves. Saves is the most difficult category for me because I don’t chase closers. In other words, I generally won’t pay up for a relief pitcher that is a closer.

My third team, Team Revenant, is third place. This team has 82.5 points. This is the team I have had the most challenges with and have done the most work on. I drafted a team, experimenting with a strategy called the Bullpen Method. This is an idea originating with a fantasy analyst named J.B. Branson, where you build your team around seven or eight relief pitchers, focus on low ratios (ERA and WHIP) and pick up the best starters and position players you can find.

I’m not saying the Bullpen Method doesn’t work. But it wasn’t working for me, so I tore the team apart a few weeks ago and started rebuilding. I traded for Marcell Ozuna, Eugenio Suarez and Max Muncy, buying low on their slow starts. I traded Francisco Lindor for Brandon Woodruff, and I traded Josh Hader and Wander Franco for Lance Lynn. Since I made these moves, the team has improved almost 30 points in the standings. It’s early, and we’ll see how it goes.

So, that’s what Doubting Thomas Dairies is going to be like. It’s all about fantasy baseball as it is played in the trenches. There will be days when I’ll be riding high on the waives of good fortune and days when I’ll be so far down that I’ll have to reach up to touch bottom. If you’re in the trenches with me, trying to win your fantasy league, you’re going to enjoy these blogs. If you’re not, you will find other things of interest to read (assuming you’re not illiterate).

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