What Went Wrong This Season

It is time to look back on my season to see what worked and what didn’t. I had planned on just doing this Debby Downer article on what didn’t go right but it was depressing so tomorrow there will be an article full of humble brags and self-back pats. For today, it’s time for a beatdown.

Too much in a single player (a.k.a. the Luis Robert experience)

Tanner Bell and I shared nine draft-and-hold leagues and had the insane “luck” of drafting last in three of them. We liked Robert’s power-speed combination so we kept picking him there to the tune of five times. That was way too much exposure to a single player.

Tanner was on the BaseballHQ podcast with Patrick Davitt and one of his hitter banes was Robert. I commented on him bashing Robert and here was his response.

Tanner is about as calm as it gets and it is a rarity to see him get that worked up. We had Robert in over half our leagues and constantly battled from behind.

Simply, we had too many resources devoted to a single top-round pick. It was tough at the end of the first to diversify (ended up with Ozzie Albies and Bryce Harper, great) but we needed to limit our exposure to a single star.

A lack of diversification isn’t as much of an issue later in the draft, where players are likely headed to the wire at some point during the season.

The other issue with Robert is that I had blinders on for guys with steals and didn’t look at other options. Here are my rankings from my last draft.

Oh look, I have Aaron Judge and Yordan Alvarez ranked higher than Robert and I didn’t draft any Judge or Alvarez. None. While Judge and Alvarez did have some injury risk (so did Robert) and were projected as just four-category guys (I know Judge stole some bases), so I was off. Even though I plan on drafting fewer leagues next year (later topic), I need to diversify my top six to 10 picks (I’m not sure how many) hoping for Judge-like breakouts or not having my season riding on one player.

Lack of Power

I struggled for power in all my leagues. I have gotten to the point of ignoring Runs and RBI on draft day knowing I can stream them. There was no streaming for home runs this season. For reference, here are my overall percentile standings in NFBC leagues with an overall competition.

Here are the average of the percentile finishes:

Stat: Rank
Runs: 76%
HR: 54%
RBI: 77%
SB: 70%
AVG: 80%
K: 84%
W: 65%
SV: 69%
ERA: 56%
WHIP: 60%

Even with my home runs near 50%, I was able to push my Runs and RBI almost to 80%. If only I had a bit more power. I knew this deficiency was going to be an issue about a month into the season but I just couldn’t correct it. In the Main Event, we quit focusing on it and pushed all in for stolen bases and batting average.

Two issues were the cause: I expected the juiced ball to stay but it disappeared along with many 20 HR hitters (102 in 2021, 71 in 2022). Additionally, I just didn’t add enough power bats with too much of a focus on speed and batting average) and when I did, I missed (see: Jesús Sánchez).

I need to settle on a power metric that doesn’t matter what type of ball major league baseball is using that season.

Way Too Many Leagues

Over the past few years, I’ve kept adding leagues as the industry invitations and my bankroll have increased. I even took it a step further and agreed to manage a few leagues. It ended up doing 13 draft-and-holds and 17 FAAB leagues. Even typing it out seems like an insane number. It was way too many!

The volume cost me on two fronts. I don’t think I was able to concentrate on each league, especially at the season’s end. For most of the season, I just tried to add as many stats as possible, but when each league and opponent needed to be scrutinized in detail, the time commitment ballooned.

Here are some close calls:

In this league, I missed out on over $7000 in prizes by losing this close batting average race.

In TGFBI, I could have been the overall winner with just one more Win.

In my auction championship with Tanner Bell, we held onto a second-place tie but just a little bit here-or-there would have helped.

In the NFBC Online Championship, I managed two teams that ended up in the top 20. Each Win was worth around 50 points, so picking up one or two over the course of the season would have made a huge difference.

While it was nice to have more horses in the game, I think it cost me in the long run. I’m going to cut back on the number and concentrate on leagues with higher entry fees. Also, I might consider dropping one or two industry leagues. Finally, I’m going to rely on best ball leagues (zero in-season management) to fill my preseason draft itch.

Cross-off or acknowledge similar players (Myles Straw rule)

In the Tout Wars auction, I had all the speed I wanted when Myles Straw came up for auction. I wasn’t completely off Straw (even though he fell on his face) because Tout Wars is an on-base league.

I didn’t need a speed source at all. I needed a well-rounded power bat and I was grinding for home runs the entire season.

Auctions, especially in dollar days can be a little chaotic, but I need to cross off any rabbits once I feel I have enough speed.


Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR twice, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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1 year ago

re: Luis Robert v. Aaron Judge.

With early round picks (or large auction bids) it’s not about finding the superstar that has a transcendent season. It’s about finding guys that earn their price. You didn’t need to have drafted Judge to have won, you just needed to not be filling so many Luis Robert shaped holes on your rosters. In the case of many teams in many leagues, diversification for the sake of risk-avoidance is every bit as valuable as those stolen bases you put too much weight on.

1 year ago
Reply to  HappyFunBall

Agree with this. Except in rare cases, the guys you draft in the first two rounds won’t win you your league. What you need them to do is not lose you your league.