Friday, May 3, 2013

Fantasy Funkhouser: Platooning Isn't Just for the Super Rich Anymore, You Can Do it Too!

Have a day, Brandon Moss! (newswhip.com)
Fantasy Funkhouser will review all things Fantasy Baseball. After all, life is a small sample size.

May is over, and while you shouldn't be panicking about your fantasy team, it's inevitable that on one squad or another, there's cause for concern. While there are a plethora of things that might be ailing your team, let's say you find yourself struggling at first base. The talent at 1B is soooo deep this year ... you heard. If you can't get Prince Fielder or Joey Votto feel free to wait and wait some more. Sure you could have nabbed Allen Craig later than those guys ... the same Craig who hasn't hit a home run yet (and yes I linked to that to show you I picked Chris Davis as a sleepy pick at 1B). Yeesh. 

Needless to say that depth at 1B so far hasn't materialized. A couple of the top guys are right where they belong, but those middle tier/proven veteran guys that are supposed to take a leap/remain consistent have stalled at the gate.

Had your fill of Ike Davis, wondering if Paul Konerko's battle with father time is up, or if you realize that Freddie Freeman can be just as brilliant as he is frustrating, there's answer to your problems. It's platooning. 

Yes, platooning has carried a negative stigma around for quite some time. When a baseball team platoons a position, it's like having two goalies in net ... it basically means you have no one. In this new baseball day and age though, platooning has been used by ball clubs on the cheap to essentially create a well above average player by exploiting match-ups. With the increased dominance of pitching these days, those middle to bottom rung guys might have been able to get by, but if you're Ike Davis and can't hit a lefty (or at this point anyone) then as the game moved into the later innings, there's a lefty coming out of the pen that throws 95 mph and the rest of Davis' night is basically toast - let alone when he's matched up against a Cliff Lee type. You might as well kneel at the alter and pray for at least one base hit.

Now, teams like the A's, Pirates, Yankees, and Red Sox have used platooning to cover up some nasty holes in their line-up. It's added real life value to the Daniel Navas and Travis Hafners of the world. Well, in fantasy players like this are readily available for mass consumption. 

Let's take a look at two failing 3'ers this year. Allen Craig and Paul Konerko. Both were ranked in the top 100 in Yahoo! standard leagues, so if you did draft both of these guys, you were pretty aggressive diving into the first base pool.

As of today's date, their lines are: 

Player AB AVG R HR RBI SB
Allen Craig 103 0.262 11 0 20 0
Paul Konerko 97 0.227 10 4 15 0
Average 100 0.245 10.5 2 17.5 0
Per AB Average 1 N/A 0.105 0.02 0.175 0

Not great. Now maybe you're playing just one of these guys, but odds are you've been hoping for both of them to turn it around in your 1B and CI or UTIL spot. While I certainly wouldn't cut bait on Craig, let's say Paulie just isn't doing it for you anymore. Dump him if you like, as I have no idea what his trade value is unless there's another 1B depressed owner in your league.

It'll take up another roster spot, but if you added two much more available guys like Brandon Moss (57% owned) and Kendrys Morales (48% owned) and played them only when the match-ups favored them (Moss v. RHP; Morales v. LHP) what kind of production would you get?

Player AB AVG R HR RBI  SB
Brandon Moss (v. RHP) 66 0.303 N/A 4 14 1
Kendrys Morales (v. LHP) 40 0.275 N/A 2 5 0
Total 106 0.289 N/A 6 19 1
Per AB Average 1 N/A N/A 0.057 0.179 0.009

On a per at bat average, these two players, when platooned, provide better production out at 1B than Craig and Konerko. The output on Moss' end vastly surpasses Morales', however, there's a decent likelihood there's already someone on your roster that can bash against southpaws better than Morales anyway. Of course, this is a SSS and Moss is coming off of a nice run, but this is something that Moss did last year as well on his way to 21 homers. His slash line last year against northpaws was .290/.363/.643 - that's a 1.000+ OPS.

Certainly, this strategy is more geared towards daily leagues, but it is a viable option to find a cheap way to kick start certain positions. By certain positions, I mean largely 1B and OF as they have the more flexible player options, and power at those positions are more easily projected than say average or speed categories.

Do what you will, but this is a simple option that could lead to some significantly sneaky production.


The Funkman says: Kendrys Morales? You can't be serious.





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