My thanks to Matt Howell for this article’s premise and some of its writing.
Nearly two months into the fantasy baseball season, most managers can accurately evaluate their teams strengths, weaknesses, and potential for the remainder of the season. This is also the point where managers can evaluate both entertainment and annoyance received from any particular fantasy baseball league.
It seems that every year a good fantasy baseball league is infiltrated by one of many stereotypical managers who drag the league down.
Since my most competitive fantasy baseball league is currently dealing with a number of these characters, I found it fitting to outline a number fantasy baseball managers that you never want to join a league with.
The Guy that Loves the Draft Just a Little Too Much
We have all been in a draft with this guy before. This is the guy who shows up with ESPN rankings, Yahoo rankings, positional rankings, expanded team depth charts, yearly projections, and even candid photographs taken personally from outside an athlete’s home.
Position eligibility and general statistics are child’s play to this guy. Instead, he focuses on stadium-by-stadium statistics, home/road splits, possible drug addictions, and which baseball player is currently dating Alyssa Milano (yeah she’s hot, but ask Barry Zito, Brad Penny, and Carl Pavano what happened to their careers after the breakup).
Sure, his dedication to pre-draft greatness may seem inspiring, but remember that this guy is also a bit underhanded. He is constantly scheming to find out what pick you have, which player you are targeting, and what he can do to completely destroy your current draft strategy. Why, you ask? Because this guy subscribes to the Highlander school of draft philosophy: there can be only one great manager at any given draft.
As you draft the next best player on the board, this guy will be calling his cousin down in Houston who gave Lance Berkman’s neighbor a haircut three weeks ago and found out that there was a loud crash one night at Berkman’s house which could have been him dropping something heavy. You know, these kind of things can affect Berkman’s 2009 campaign. Yes, he is that prepared.
Luckily, this guy can only annoy you for about three hours each year. As the draft winds to an end, he will start scouting for next year and you can grab a beer in peace. Unfortunately, someone who devotes that much time to fantasy sports has a tendency to leave his draft obsessions behind and morph into one of the other stereotypes that plague fantasy sports leagues.
Stay tuned for his potential habits for the remainder of the season.
The Guy that Drafts All Prospects
Speaking of drafts, there happens to be one more guy at every draft that unintentionally-but-oh-so-efficiently drives everyone crazy.
Cheat sheets be damned, this guy arrives at the draft armed with the newest copy of Baseball Prospectus and nothing else.
Instead of drafting “over the hill” players like Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols, this guy targets the hottest prospects in baseball. After all, they have nowhere to go but up, right?
Without a doubt this guy drafted David Price, Matt Wieters, Matt LaPorta, and Tommy Hanson in 2009… Not too shocking, but keep in mind that he did it by the end of the eighth round.
Productive young players are a prize to have in fantasy sports. While most managers delicately balance a cost-benefit analysis when determining which rookies to draft for an upcoming season, this guy seemingly drafts based on one attribute: potential.
It’s as if this guy attended the Al Davis School of Closed Minded Draft Strategies, but instead of falling in love with speed, this guy developed an affinity for first-round draft picks.
In mid-June, this guy will be inexplicably puzzled at how all of his top-tier talent remains in the Minor Leagues. While Weiters, Hanson, and crew are destroying AAA opposition, this guy’s starting roster will feature a slew of fantasy baseball B-Listers and the occasional free agent acquisition.
No worries, champ, there’s always next year (and next year’s top prospects!).
The Guy that Over-Values People from his Favorite Team
This is the guy who misguidedly lets his love for a certain team determine his fantasy baseball decisions.
This guy is generally guilty of three annoying-yet-consistently-present characteristics concerning the treatment of players on his favorite team:
- This guy will make every effort to draft every star player from his favorite team
- This guy will subsequently make every effort to trade for whatever stars from his favorite team that he was unable to draft
- Once acquired, this guy will hold his favorite team’s players at such a high value that they are virtually untouchable
This is the guy whose team name is “Go Red Sox!” and whose draft results look like this:
Round 1 – 2B Dustin Pedroia
Round 2 – OF Jason Bay
Round 3 – UTIL David Ortiz
Round 4 – 1B/3B Kevin Youkilis
Round 5 – RP Jonathan Papelbon
You get the idea…
If his draft strategy fails, however, look for this guy to start offering trades. Giving up Hanley Ramirez straight across for Dustin Pedroia? Sounds good to this guy. Trading Mark Teixeira in exchange for Big Papi? This guy would consider it a steal!
If you decide to deal with this guy, remember that all sales are final. Why? Because once this guy acquires his favorite players, they’re not going anywhere. Offer him Albert Pujols straight across for Josh Beckett and he will reject it. Offer him Ryan Howard for Kevin Youkilis and he convince himself he is getting robbed.
The core problem in all of his dealings is this: he is completely unable to subjectively view his favorite players, and this affects nearly all of his actions in a fantasy league.
Next time you prop a trade to a team named “Bronx Bombers,” keep in mind that the team manager probably ranks his players as follows: A-Rod first, Teixeira second, and Jesus in a distant third.
Good luck getting anywhere near those top two…
The Guy that Sends Terrible Trade Proposals
It’s 3:12a.m. and you have just completed a tedious fantasy baseball draft. As your mouse hovers over the “sign off” button, you hear a beep notifying you of a new e-mail. Here is what awaits you:
Dear Owner, the following trade has been proposed to you: Pat Burrell, Derrek Lee, and Josh Beckett for Albert Pujols and Johan Santana.
You reread the e-mail fifteen to twenty times just to make sure it isn’t a joke and quickly reject the trade. How pathetic, you think to yourself, and lean back from the computer.
Suddenly, another e-mail notification rings out.
Dear Owner, the following trade has been proposed to you: Pat Burrell, Derrek Lee, Josh Beckett, and Gil Meche for Albert Pujols and Johan Santana. The following message has been attached: “Hey Bro, I thought the first one was fair but I added Meche to even it out even more. Hit me back!”
Now you’re in a quandary. Do you reject this trade quickly and make a dash for bed before another is sent or just leave it pending so this owner will leave you alone? Either way, this is going to be a long season.
Believe it or not, this guy exists in the fantasy baseball world. Regardless of how much disinterest he receives, his trade volume is staggering and his persistence is unprecedented.
This guy doesn’t care about rejection. For him, a 99.5% rejection rate is fine, as long as one of his trades gets accepted at least once. On any given day, he might send out six or seven bad trades in hopes of one acceptance.
In order for this guy to succeed, all he needs is one misguided, misinformed, or questionably sober fellow manager to accept a trade offer.
Sure, his team may start at a disadvantage, but once the token Royals fan in the league accepts a trade which sends Evan Longoria straight across for Zack Grienke (see the previous bullet for more information on this phenomenon) this guy’s team is set.
A GM committee led by Bill Bavasi, Isiah Thomas, and Al Davis would call this guy insane, but that won’t stop him from proposing eight more trades before the end of the night.
Love it or hate it, any manager in a league with this guy will have to develop some sort of strategy to deal with him by the end of the year.
The Guy that Picks Up Ten People a Week
This is the guy that typically rosters the least overall talent, but somehow wins every other week because he picks up whatever player is on a hot streak at that given time. He may not be fielding a team with big names, but he can win if he rides certain free agents hitting hot streaks.
His starting lineup features one-time greats Emilio Bonifacio, Nick Swisher, and Nyjer Morgan, but that doesn’t deter him from making more pickups.
And that’s just for hitters…
Don’t forget that this guy also adds approximately ten starting pitchers per week for spot starts, keeping one spot on his roster flexible for whenever a quick add/drop is required. Why? Because a 7.95 ERA will most likely lose each week, but amassing 250 strikeouts in the process will undoubtedly win that category.
While this guy’s waiver wire fanaticism might get old, keep in mind that justice is eventually served.
Here’s an example of what I mean: How many people picked up Dexter Fowler after his five-steal game on April 27? Consequently, how many people have dropped Dexter Fowler for totaling a zero stolen bases since then? While Fowler’s April 27 performance was outstanding, he spent the next three weeks producing marginal statistics on this guy’s team (probably leading his manager to multiple losses).
While playing the hot hand can be successful, it is not a strategy that breeds long-term efficiency. This guy’s team can get hot for a few weeks, but it will typically tail off and finish in the lesser half of the league.
The Guy that Never Checks his Team
Last but not least, who could forget the guy that forgot the league?
Every league features a team or two whose draft is auto-picked. If these leagues are lucky enough, they might also feature a team whose season is virtually auto-piloted.
This guy manages his team as if his kid sister broke onto his account and registered the team without his knowledge. Every three months or so he will drunkenly stumble onto the site, make some sort of ill-advised change to his team, and vanish once again.
In mid-June his last log-in date will probably be from April, and it’s likely that at least three of his starting players have been placed on the disabled list.
This is the guy whose roster currently looks like this:
C – Ryan Doumit
1B – Carlos Delgado
2B – Rickie Weeks
3B – Aramis Ramirez
SS – Jose Reyes
OF – Manny Ramirez
OF – Ryan Ludwick
OF – Lastings Milledge
UTIL – Barry Bonds
Yeah, you read the last one right. He hasn’t checked his team in that long.
Trade proposals will come and go, but this guy’s absence will remain constant. While other managers enjoy the benefits of free agent acquisitions and trades, this manager remains in a state of isolation, allowing his team to play without his interference (that’s the positive way to see he never checks the damn thing).
At least this guy’s presence can assure you of this much: you won’t finish in last place, he has that spot reserved already.
So what does this list mean to you? Hopefully nothing.
Hopefully every single one of these managers meant nothing to you, because you have never ran across a manager with these character traits.
This is unlikely, however, as these managers seem to weasel their way into thousands of leagues across the country.
Hopefully this list was good for a laugh, and if you’re like me a name popped into your head while reading each one.
Comment with what you like or dislike, and if you think I left any managers off of this list.