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Fantasy Baseball: Lessons Learned

Each year we are reminded of some age-old fantasy adages, and the 2012 season has been no exception. Fantasy owners will look at a situation and slap themselves in the head, like the old V-8 commercials, and exclaim "I should have...". While hindsight is 20-20, it may help your (and my) 2013 season to be more successful if we keep some basics in mind, that annually find their way into our consciousness, as opposed to fighting a fight we have little chance of winning. In no particular order, I submit the following:

Talent finds a way. Norichika Aoki was a waiver wire guy well into the 2012 season. He was probably picked up and dropped by owners (myself included) waiting for Ron Roenicke to see the light and start him everyday, as opposed to platooning him with Nyjer Morgan. Thus far, in 513 PA in 2012, Mr. Aoki has stolen 24 bases, scored 64 runs, and batted .286. Oh, by the way, he also has a little pop, hitting 8 HR along the way. Not bad for a player some lucky owner (not either of us) probably only paid a dollar to get. Lesson learned.

Don't try to time the market. Nick Swisher. I am a Nick Swisher owner. I drafted him in the middle rounds of a 15 team league draft, and he has been just fine. I'll probably target him again next year, if he does not go too high. To date he has given me, and the other Swisher-faithful 20 HR, 78 RBI, and 64 runs scored. Additionally, he has batted a somewhat respectable .256. He can, however, be frustrating. In seven recent games, between Sept. 3 and Sept. 9 he went 0 for a thousand (exaggeration alert), but came back nicely in the subsequent Boston series. He has done this all season. Lots of 0-fers, and then then the break out. Some players are feast or famine. Want consistency? Draft Jeff Keppinger. Want counting stats? Draft Nick Swisher, and then leave him in your lineup. You can put Freddie Freeman in this category, as well. Lesson learned.

Big league managers do not care about your fantasy team. Juan Pierre has been a pleasant surprise for those fantasy owners lucky enough to have him. Put Juan in the Phillies lineup, bat him second behind Rollins, and there is a good chance he will go 2 for 5, steal a base (or two), and score a run. Thus far, in 2012, a player that was probably taken in the very late rounds or picked up for a buck off the waiver wire, has stolen 35 bases and scored 54 runs, all while batting a tidy .311. Since the beginning of August, though, Mr. Pierre has been relegated to part-time duty, so the Phillies can see what they have in others, considered more important to their future. Dominic Brown? Really? Ty Wigginton? Please. There is no way it takes this long to know that you have nothing but a defensive liability, who cannot hit, in both Dominic and Ty. (Can you tell I need stolen bases to win my league?). Surprising as it might be, major league managers do not care about your (or my) fantasy team. Lesson learned.

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