I Won My Baseball Pool With an Anti-Matthew Berry Team
Eat it, Matthew Berry.
Every spring training, just like the pro’s, I ready myself for another season of baseball – fantasy baseball. I would scour through the Internet looking for scouting reports, sleeper lists, break out candidates and do not draft players. This would always lead me to one place – ESPN.
ESPN prides itself on being the world’s sports leader. By most accounts, it is. It is a trusted network of experts, who I exploit to gain an upper hand on my fellow poolies.
This past Spring, right after I clicked on the ESPN Draft Kit, I read: I Hate Ryan Howard as a headline as part of Matthew Berry’s annual Love/Hate article. My fantasy baseball pool is a keeper league, and I am a sometimes frustrated, but proud owner of Ryan Howard. As soon as you read a headline like that regarding one of your players, naturally, discontent builds up.
I have never been a Matthew Berry fan. His fantasy analysis is good, but judging from his ESPN videos and NFL Sunday appearances, he is a loud, obnoxious and thinks he is greater than he actually is. And I don’t think I am alone on this stance, judging by this blog aptly named I Hate Matt Berry.
As I go through his top 250, I get angrier and angrier.
Soriano ahead of Holliday? Howard ranked 33? Stephen Drew ahead of Derek Jeter? Jeter ranked 89th?!?! Why is Chris Davis so high? Why is Josh Hamilton so high?
** Last year I traded away Josh Hamilton for Matt Holliday, thinking that Hamilton will never produce the way he would during the first half of the 2008 season. I was also weary of the condition of his body with the years of drug abuse. I know he is clean now, but it just scared me. It evidently paid off with Hamilton missing much of this past season and Holliday being the 2009 post trade deadline MVP.
After reading Matthew Berry’s rankings, I went with a new strategy: Do the opposite of what Berry says. I have never been a strong fantasy baseball player, so a new strategy could only improve my chances of winning.
For most of the year, my team consisted as follows:
- C Kurt Suzuki – a guy a picked up. I don’t really put much value into catchers, but Suzuki had an awesome year. He was the unsung hero of my team.
- *CI Ryan Howard – Berry’s big thing against Howard are his K’s and low average. He only had 186 K’s this year, but had a .279 average! He will also probably finish 2nd in NL MVP voting.
- CI Carlos Pena (when he went down, Gordon Beckham took over) – By drafting Pena, I was throwing K’s into the wind and going for BOMBS. In a points league, home runs are worth the most points, so I went for them. He went down early and still led the AL in home runs. Beckham is a future stud, glad I have him.
- *MI Derek Jeter – best player in the league. Berry blasted him for not hitting for power and not stealing bases. Hey, I love any player with .334/18 home runs/30 stolen bases. Apparently, that’s not good enough for Berry. Jeter was ranked the 7th best shortstop by Berry. What a clown. I think Jeter should win the MVP, but probably won’t because baseball needs to grow in the mid market part of the country.
- MI Miguel Tejada – Ranked 189th by Berry. Really? You didn’t think that Tejada would have a good year in a stacked Astros lineup, a year after the dust settled from his troubled 2008 season? This guy is a professional hitter. Finished with a .313 average and 86 RBI’s.
- *OF Matt Holliday – Holliday is my favorite. Berry didn’t have too much hate for Holliday. He was just about as equal as everyone else. All I heard in the offseason was how Holliday was going to have a terrible year and how Coors made him into the player he was. I got chirped for making the Holliday-Hamilton trade, but I knew I would come out on top. I knew Holliday would struggle in Oakland, simply because he didn’t want to be there. I also knew that there was no way he would spend the whole year in Oakland. Second half MVP. I don’t need to go through his numbers because those who gave up on him will hate me.
- *OF Carlos Lee – Mr Consistent. The only guy I have that got love from Matthew Berry. He was ranked in the Top 10, which was a little too high for me, but I’ll take it. Not much I can say about him. He is a lock for .300/100 RBI’. He didn’t quite get to the 30 home run mark, which was disappointing, but you can’t put a price on his consistency.
- *OF Justin Upton – WOOOO!!! So glad I have him. He is a fantasy pool STUD, especially in keeper leagues. I have this future triple crown winner for life!
- UTIL Hideki Matsui – Drafted him. Then dropped him. Picked him back up and it paid off. I will take 28 home runs and 90 RBI’s from a 13th round pick (+ 7 keepers = 20th round) any day.
- BN Mark DeRosa – Didn’t like him last year. Didn’t like him when I drafted him. Didn’t like him at all this year. His versatility kept him on my team.
- *SP Jake Peavy – Can’t wait for next year because this year was a write off.
- *SP Yovani Gallardo – I liked him a lot going into the season, so did everyone else. He throws too many pitches for my liking, though.
- SP Tommy Hanson – Rookie of the year. I didn’t think he would have this good of a year. But now he will liekly be a keeper for life.
- SP Phil Hughes – Awesome pick up. If you have a free SP slot available for a set up man who is SP-eligible, pick him up. Hughes got me a few random wins and saves to help me win my league. He also K’d a lot of guys and kept his ERA low.
- RP Heath Bell – 42 saves. Unreal season. I knew he would get his chances. Padres have good pitching and a bad offense. What does that lead to? Low scoring games. That is an ideal situation for closers, which is why Trevor Hoffman got so many opportunities while he was in SD. Bell was one of the last closers to go on draft night.
- RP Joe Nathan – Another Mr. Consistent. 47 saves. Unreal! These two guys won the league for me. He was my first round pick on draft night, and I don’t regret it.
- BN Carlos Zambrano – shit.
- BN Ricky Nolasco – shit.
- BN Jorge De La Rosa – mid season pick up was outstanding.
- BN Scott Feldman – plucked him up simply for his wins.
- BN Aaron Harang – shit.
* denotes 2008 keeper.
Decent looking team. I led the league in home runs and RBI’s and that’s what led me the whole year. Saves and Wins were big too.
So next year when I try and build my team, I will definitely read Matthew Berry, but I won’t put much stock into anything he says. I will do the opposite of what he says.