Fantasy Baseball and Philosophy
I've done the impossible. I [successfully] tied the philosophy of C.S. Lewis, the film Goundhog Day, and Fantasy Sports advice together into one column. Stop me if you heard this one
There are many ways to state the prevailing theory that expectation is the source of disappoint, but few said it with more candor than C.S. Lewis. In his middle years, Lewis stated in his letters that he would no longer seek fame as a writer, and it was that very pursuit of celebrity that made him miserable: If we can take the pain well, and truly now and by it forever get over the wish to be distinguished beyond our fellows, well: if not we get it again in some other form. And honestly, being cured, with all the pain, has pleasure too: one creeps home tire, and bruised, into a state of mind that is really restful, when all one's ambitions have been given up. Ironically, this breakthrough occurred just before Lewis published some of his most famous works, including the Chronicles of Narnia. The point is that he concentrated on the writing and not the expected end. The results were apparent.
groundhog-enorme-toute-grosse-253x300In Groundhog Day, the main character, played perfectly by Bill Murray, found himself locked in what appeared to be a fruitless, ever-repeating day. Was he rescued by his fame as a weather man? Did he break the cycle by turning his attention to the past? Did Murray's Phil Connors find grim relief in death? Hardly. In fact, he abandoned all of those attempts in the course of the 100 minutes film. I shutter to think that if I say more it will be a Spoiler Alert, because if you have not seen this movie, you have urgent business to attend to. In the end, he succeeded by looking beyond his own gratification. More importantly, he took cues that were always in front of his face. No riddles or mysteries, just the desire to make the best with his new surroundings.
Question_mark So, Fantasy Coaches, how does this affect us? I will admit that this is a bit slapdash, and I had to change a few horses during the race to finish this article. In short, the crown of my pyramid originally pointed to the success of Coco Crisp this season. Since we will never speak of that again, let me instead give you two simple guidelines: Throw your expectations out the window and look at what is in front of you. I will tout consistency until it makes me sore, but there are ANY number of surprises this season that even the most savvy drafter will have overlooked.
We all expect great output from Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Braun, and Bryce Harper. The trouble is that the success of a surprise player gets downplayed until we can't ignore it anymore. A prime example is Mets catcher John Buck, a lament that would best be read in my last article, Pass the Buck? http://billytonfantasy.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/pass-the-buck/. The fact is that John Buck was not even a 10th round selection in this year's draft. Now the numbers are writing all checks. Need more examples? Take a look at James Loney [TB] and Josh Donaldson [OAK]. In March, it would have been charitable if I called them The Last Acts of Many a Desperate Coach. Now both have averages OVER .300 and a combined 50 RBI's to date. I will admit, if I saw this coming, they would both be on my team right now. If you learn anything from these posts, do as I say weeks after the fact, not as I did a week ago. Yes, I am referring to Coco Crisp and the roster spot that I just won't get back.
In another class, we have our unproven and overlooked ball players. Todd Frazier , while he sported decent 2012 numbers, broke through his glass ceiling with aid of now famous Bat Boy Teddy Kremer [6 HR, 25 RBI]. Did you know who Jean Segura and Yunieski Betancourt were before this year? Well I didn't, and I wish I had because I could use the 8 homers and 24 RBI's that Betancourt has brought to the party in my punch. And if you had told me that Segura would be on top of Tulowitzki, Zobrist, Andrus, and Rollins at this point in the year, I would still be asking you Sega-WHO?
Then you have the New Crew as I call them: Matt Harvey, Starling Mare, Hisashi Iwakuma, and a host of others that may not have had the track record, but will be sure to make an impact in this, their second [or even third] major league seasons. The good news is that it might not be too late for you, and the waiver wire is open all night.
Here are some other downplayed picks that I would bet are still available for pick up in your leagues:
Nate McLouth BAL, OF
Alex Rios CWS, OF
Vernon Wells NYY DH
Tori Hunter DET, OF
Coco ah almost had me there
Kelly Johnson TB, 2B
Matt Carpenter STL, 1B
Kyle Seager SEA, 3B
Travis Wood CHC, SP
Jeremy Gutherie KC, SP
Ernesto Frieri LAA, RP