If you are in a fantasy baseball league that isn’t rotisserie style, you’re doing it wrong. That’s just a fact.
Unfortunately, rotisserie style fantasy baseball can either be one of two things: horribly frustrating or downright infuriating. It’s the points system.
At first glance, rotisserie play seems to be designed to make fantasy owners pull out their hair in blind fury just so the good people at ESPN can share a malicious smirk in between talking about Brett Favre for no reason and making fun of the Oakland Raiders. [media-credit id=20135 align=”aligncenter” width=”150″][/media-credit]
A closer inspection, however, reveals that there actually is a somewhat coherent method to ESPN’s scoring system. In rotisserie play, you gain points based on how well you do in the various scoring categories compared to the rest of the teams in your league. If you do better in a category than your opponents, you gain points. If you do worse, you lose points. How you rank in the individual categories also affects how you obtain points. For instance, if you are ranked No. 1 in a certain category, you won’t gain any points for doing well in that category because you’re already ranked first. You can’t do any better in that category.
While fair to those with good players and a balanced team, the system can make those owners who rely heavily on either pitching or hitting see red.
Take my team for example. My pitching is absolutely outstanding. Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson is the Gandalf of the MLB with his absurdly low 0.65 WHIP and the Phillies’ Roy Halladay has humiliated hitters whenever he takes the mound. The rest of my staff — which includes Red Sox ace Jon Lester and Padres’ closer Heath Bell — isn’t too shabby either.
At the other end of the spectrum is my hitting. It’s not that I have bad hitters. My team includes Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew and third baseman David Freese of the Cardinals. However, the rest of my lineup has begun the season mired in a slump. While I am first or near first in every pitching category, I’m wallowing near the bottom of most hitting categories. Logic would say that my outstanding pitching would at least counter my tear-inducing hitting, but logic would be wrong.
Because my pitching is so good, it is almost impossible for me gain points from it since I’m already beating the rest of the league in those categories. Even if I get three wins and 20 strikeouts on any given day, it won’t matter. It’s like being the person who sets the curve on a test. You don’t really benefit because you would have gotten the top grade anyway. The only way I can really gain points is through my hitting, since that is where I have room to improve. But since my hitting sucks so much right now, I rarely ever do better than the people ahead of me in the standings and I rarely ever gain enough points to move up. It’s like ESPN is punishing me for being so awesome at drafting pitchers.
In fantasy baseball, being the best is bad unless you’re the best at everything (but we all know that’s not true, because if you were you wouldn’t be reading this). If you’re mediocre at everything, then you have both the potential and the capacity to improve as the season goes on. However, if you are the best in a few categories and horrible in others, you are likely going to be stuck in the middle of the pack for the entirety of the season. You won’t quite have the worst team in the league, but having one of the best teams will always be slightly out of your reach.
That’s why it’s good to be bad sometimes. I know its counterintuitive, but just look at George Thorogood. That dude is bad to the bone, but he has tons of money.
Daily Nexus fantasy sports columnist Josh