My long standing fantasy baseball league "The Hunt For October," should be starting up again this week (I'm hoping it's today). Last season was a great year for the Knaves (ME), in which they posted a 15-3-4 record (Best win % in our 6 year history), won the regular season, and became the first 2-time league champ (1st title came in our inaugural season). Now, the Knaves are looking to become the first back-to-back champ. However, they have a bit of a keeper dilemma.
The way our keeper system works is pretty simple. We base our rankings on Yahoo's "O-Rank." What's unique, though, is that we delay them one season. For example, in 2012, Albert Pujols was ranked as the #3 overall player in the game. Because he is ranked in the top 10, this means he has to be kept in the first round this season. In other words, you must keep the player based on the previous year's ranking. Pretty simple. Also, there are no limits to how long a player can be kept.
So here is my dilemma. I have both Pujols and Bautista on my roster from last season. Both are 1st round keepers this year. I only have one 1st round pick. For the record, this is a 10 team, 5x5, using OPS instead of AVG.
The case for Pujols.
For one thing, Pujols' consistency is unparalleled over the last 10+ seasons. In his career (12 seasons), he has never hit fewer than 30 HR, he has had fewer than 100 RBI once (99 last year), he has had fewer than 100 R only twice, and has hit under .300 only twice (.299 one of those years). Oh, and his career OPS is 1.022. Let's look at his career averages over the last 12 years.
154 games, 576 AB, 115 R, 39.6 HR, 119 RBI, 7.7 SB, .325 AVG, 1.022 OPS.
This should be a no-brainer, right?
The only negative things about Pujols for this season (for my fantasy team) are that he's a 1st round keeper, and although the Yahoo O-Ranks aren't out at the time of this post, all signs point to him being ranked in the top 10 again. It's not that I don't think his numbers are 1st round worthy, because they are; it's the fact that I have this other guy that I picked up cheap last year who will be a whole lot more expensive next year.
The case for Bautista.
Jose Bautista is a much different kind of player than Pujols. He is not he poster boy for health and consistency. In fact, Bautista didn't become a notable fantasy player until his breakout 2010 season. But since then, however, this guy has been an absolute beast in HR, RBI, R, and OPS. Here are his numbers the last three seasons.
2010: 161 games, 569 AB, 109 R, 54 HR, 124 RBI, 9 SB, .260 AVG, .995 OPS.
2011: 149 games, 513 AB, 105 R, 43 HR, 103 RBI, 9 SB, .302 AVG, 1.055 OPS.
2012: 92 games, 332 AB, 64 R, 27 HR, 65 RBI, 5 SB, .241 AVG, .885 OPS.
As you can see, when healthy, Bautista's power numbers are unmatched in the MLB. I would say that he has a higher upside than Pujols at this stage in his career. Pujols has had 2 subpar seasons for his standard over the last two seasons, while Bautsita has gotten better with age. But, after an injury shortened year and the fact that he's only a year younger than Pujols, should we still be looking at Bautista's upside, or his floor? If you're looking at floor, Pujols is probably the safest pick in the game while Bautista is on the more dangerous side. Another thing to consider for my fantasy purposes is the draft value. Like I mention before, Pujols is most likely a 1st rounder for the foreseeable future and he does not play a position of scarcity. On the other hand, I've seen Bautista's early rankings in the 15-20 range. For me, that means Bautista is a 1st rounder this year, but next year he could potentially fall into the 3rd round, which would be ideal. Since I have Trout and Stanton (two guys whose draft stocks rise every year), keeping Bautista over Pujols could mean that for the next year or two, I can keep my power trio together. If I go with Pujols, I'd have to throw Bautista back, and then next year I'd have to throw either Pujols or Trout back, and I'm not really into the whole catch and release thing.
So if you've stuck with me and read this entire post. I commend you. You really must not have much to do. What do you think I should do, besides get a life?