2010 Fantasy Baseball: Scarcity Vs. Projections Vs. Balance: What's Best

Ray TannockSenior Analyst IFebruary 9, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 19:  Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a solo home run in the top of the fifth inning against of the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Four of the NLCS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 19, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Brewing deep in the black murky cauldrons of fantasy baseball is a battle of epic proportions. A battle that is so heavily debated it should be featured in a town hall every Friday night. A debate so complex, you’ll lay your head to rest at night wondering if you chose the right path.

Is position scarcity really that important? Is relying on what a player is projected to accomplish really that accurate? Can the pseudo-Taoist approach of balance be the new key in building a dominate team?

Along the arduous path of “preseason” fantasy baseball, we often find these debates rearing their heads, filling us with complex analogies and strategies to consider, and throwing a wrench into what is already a multifaceted and expansive fantasy world.

Make no mistake, as most will divulge, fantasy baseball is, by far, the most difficult of fantasy sports. Between the myriad of league types, the countless amounts of players that one has to sift through, and the shear notice of a 162-game season, the last thing we often remember to consider is specific strategies.

Sure, there are some out there who have their approach to the 2010 season already devised in a neat little plan that “can’t fail.”

But for the majority, there are greater numbers who simply try their best at a solid draft day approach, only to find themselves casting fate to the wind by the fourth round.

So what is the best path to take?

Well, far be it from me to actually attempt to tell anyone what to do, but perhaps we can take a peek into the three theories and let you, the reader, decide what will be best for you and your draft day.

Position Scarcity is the new fad in fantasy baseball, now that everyone has shed the old IBM computers, Wrangler jeans, and gaudy tube socks the '70s afforded us, and its way teaches the principles of depth in a specific position.

In essence, position scarcity refers to supply and demand.

The practice teaches that while the “best player” in the draft—best being very subjective so you know— is available for those of you with a No. 1 pick, he may not be the best selection if other positions are shallow.

This plays a big hand in draft strategies as owners make pass on the overall number one selection and go with a player of equal talent from another position, ex: taking Hanley Ramirez over Albert Pujols with the No. 1 selection.

There are those that will call you an idiot for making such a move, unless of course they’re the guy with the No. 2 pick, but there are those that applaud such a move as it satisfies the early need for a quality starter in a position that may not offer very much later on.

Player Projections and rankings is another practice owners use, where the title is basically self explanatory: take the best player right off the bat, period, and deal with the later rounds when they come.

This approach is brazen, bold, and can yield a powerful team of starters, but usually leaves your bench as weak as Jim Hendry’s team management skills.

There are, however, benefits with this strategy. Drafting for power and projected stats can often lead you to construct a team that has a high potential for bartering.

Perhaps you never really wanted Pujols, Utley, Rollins, A-Rod, Kemp, Sizemore, and Upton with a crappy the bad news bears as your bench warmers, but rather, took as many brand names as you could to get yourself some quality trades.

Now grant it, before I continue, and before you go racing down the bottom to the comment section to ream me out, the chances of building a team like that through the draft is next to near impossible, but in the same vein, building a team like that with no quality backups is an absurd approach in my opinion.

In addition to all of that , building a team comparable to those starters with a quality bench to back them up is conceivably possible through good trading.

Balance is the third of the practices and relatively new. There aren’t many who choose balance or even reward the approach with praise and accolades since most people hate it when their cheese gets moved, but the system does have its benefits.

For one, yes you may miss out on some high profile players, but what you will get in return is a greater collection of players who could rise above mediocrity: strength in numbers.

Balance also accommodates the other two practices in that, you will inevitable draft both early to accommodate scarcity, and draft with power to ensure authority.

But without the emphasis on the other two, you have an open door to a clarified way of drafting.

Your playing field can increase, your research could, perhaps, be more in-depth depending on how many options you want to explore, you can gain insight to you competition’s planned strategy, and more importantly you could have an edge on all of those wonderful players left on the waiver wire just waiting to bust onto the scene.

Last year, Nyjer Morgan, Andrew McCutchen, Dexter Fowler, Eric Aybar (for those who paid attention early), and a myriad of other players never got a fair shake, sat for months on the waiver wire, but in the end not only offered a significant jolt to those who picked them up, but also offered a new landscape to this year’s draft.

In the end, the ironic part is none of these categories can exist without the other, so in theory they are all relative, and subject to your own personal way of competing. But to say one is flat out better than the other is misleading, and you would be better suited to figuring out exactly what works for you, BEFORE it’s too late.

So where do you all stand? Leave a comment below and talk about why you favor one approach over the next.