Fantasy Focus Mailbag: Reflection

I haven’t opened up the ‘ole mailbag in a while, but I received an email today that I really enjoyed and wanted to share with you. The email came from a reader that I regularly corresponded with throughout the year, letting me know how his league turned out.

Mail time!

Here’s the email:

Hey Derek, I just wanted to thank you for all the help you’ve given me this season through email and your column. I ended up winning my most important league, with a big chunk of the reason being trades you assisted me with or pickups advised in the column.

Here’s a little breakdown on the ones you helped me with directly or indirectly:

May 21
I Gave: Rich Hill – I Got: Billy Wagner (after the Huston Street injury, you helped me realize how overvalued Hill was at the time) – Hit!

May 24
I Gave: Ryan Zimmerman and John Maine – I Got: Garrett Atkins and Dave Bush (Bush was dropped shortly after, but Atkins has been a monster and Maine/Zimm have been decidedly average) – Hit!

May 27
I Gave: Roy Oswalt – I Got: Cole Hamels (Oswalt kept a good ERA, but the WHIP stayed up and Hamels was better everywhere else) – Hit!

June 1
I Gave: Chris Young (SD) – I Got: Curt Schilling (We realized shortly afterward that Schill was pitching hurt and then went on the DL, but came back and pitched solid. Young fell off a bit, and went on the DL himself) – Miss, but not really our fault

July 14
I Gave: Carlos Guillen and Joe Blanton – I Got: Mark Teixeira and James ShieldsHuuuge Hit!

August 1
I Gave: Michael Young – I Got: Manny CorpasHit!

August 18
I Gave: Kelvim Escobar and Matt Capps – I Got: Jeremy Bonderman and Jose Valverde – Bonderman + Escobar were double busts, Valverde outperformed Capps a little, so still a Hit to some degree

Anyway, I won the league by 8 points and I can’t wait to see your end of season analysis and your help next year.

Thanks again!

It definitely feels good to know that you achieved your goal for the year… helping people win their leagues. I didn’t talk with all of you on a regular basis (although, as you see, I am more than willing to help anyone who asks), but hopefully the posts here helped some of you in your quest for a Fantasy Baseball Championship. Those of you I did help throughout the year, I’d love to hear how your teams finished.

Part skill, part luck

I sincerely hope you were all able to win your leagues. However, fantasy baseball is a game part skill, part luck. The best constructed team with the best strategy will not always win. It will be the team most likely to win, and over time this owner will win most often, but it is not a certainty that this owner will always win. Patrick DiCaprio holds the sentiment that a fantasy baseball owner must focus on ‘process’ and not ‘results.’ I hold this sentiment as well.

Fantasy baseball is similar to poker in that you can make the correct play and still lose. If another person at the table pushes you all in before the flop, and you’re sitting on pocket aces, you have to call. Your call, though, does not guarantee victory. There will be occasions, though infrequent, that you will lose.

This draws a great parallel to fantasy baseball. Focusing on ‘process,’ we see that Erik Bedard had the best LIPS ERA in baseball (3.13), but his ‘result’ was finishing just ninth in ERA, behind guys like Fausto Carmona (4.23 LIPS ERA) and Brad Penny (4.42 LIPS ERA). Still, if I had to do it all over again, I would go with Bedard because he is the much better percentage play.

Concluding thoughts

Again, I hope that I have helped you throughout the year. I also hope that even if you didn’t win, you understand that focusing on ‘process’ over ‘results’ is the right way to go, and I hope this is some consolation to you. Continue to play smartly, and I guarantee you will win yourself a championship in no time.

Anyway, I’ll be back tomorrow with some player analysis as we prepare for 2008!

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