Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Experts League Massacres

It looks like some of the experts in the Experts League are off to slow starts in Benchwarmer Baseball. Certainly, the talent evaluation was strong all around, but proper roster management is severely lacking in many cases.

When in doubt about how to structure a BWB roster, a manager should simply consider: How would I set the lineup/rotation/bullpen on a real MLB team?

Here is some helpful guidance for those team off to slow starts in the form of some practical applications (you know who you are):

1. Drop non-useful players off your Taxi Squad if you need to stash players on long-term DL stints.

Application: It's time to drop Brandon Backe from the Taxi Squad to make room for both Alex Gordon and Ryan Doumit in his place. Don't worry, Backe will still be a free agent when you want to sign him again. After Gordon and Doumit are on the Taxi Squad and off the bench, add 2 bench players that will actually play.

2. Put minor league players... in the Minors. You can stash 12 of them there (and even major leaguers making 250 or less), so don't take up a spot on your active roster.

Application: Neither Joe Mather nor Homer Bailey made their big clubs, but each make 250 or less, so it's time to shuttle them down to the minors and pick up some major leaguers.

Application: News flash! Dayan Viciedo is not the starting 3rd baseman for the ChiSox; time for Plan B.

3. Have a back-up catcher. Catchers are the starting players that get the most days off during the season; you don't need to be an expert to know this. Therefore, a backup catcher will be used a lot on your Benchwarmer team.

Application: If your starting catcher is Joe Mauer and your back-up catcher is Matt Weiters, you are actually currently playing with NO catchers on your team. Any catcher is better than no catchers. A ghost-player (a Benchwarmer Batter) will be used when no one is available, and will go 0-for-5 with 2 Errors *every game*. Even Matt Treanor is better than that.

4. Your bullpen should have 2 MLB closers in R1 and R2.

Application: Even though your current R2 reliever may be a better major-league pitcher than your 2nd best closer (let's say Brad Ziegler), your pitching score will be optimized with Zielger's saves being counted in the R2 spot rather than discarded in the R5 spot.

Parting thought:

At the beginning of the season, I marked Joe Lano's FantasyPros911.com JerseyHitmen as the "Best in League" due to player quality. In order to win the championship this year, however, the Experts will need to show a large amount of roster-management savvy. My suspicion that experience may prove the difference in the long-run -- specifically with Leif Jonson and his Hogan's Heroes -- is looking to be an even larger difference maker than I had originally thought. Benchwarmer Baseball is much more like running a real team and organization than is traditional Roto or Head-to-Head. We shall see over the season which experts have merely a collection of players like a Roto squad, and which ones have assembled cohesive, winning teams.

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