May 20, 2009

I love Rotisserie. But if you are in multiple Roto leagues, there is sameness to it. The vast majority of leagues are 5x5 leagues with identical categories. As Yogi Berra would say, "it's like déjà vu all over again."

A little variety is good. I like OPS, a frequent addition in the 6x6 format. I like the hold, a common companion to OPS in the 6x6 format. I like having OBP and slugging percentage as separate categories even more than OPS. Next year, try this: drop batting average and use both OBP and slugging in a 6x6 format. Or better yet, try a really unorthodox format, 7x7, 10x6, or whatever. Use an OBS (Off-Beat Stats) -- it will spice things up. It's like getting the wife to put on a blonde wig.

If you participate in league with non-traditional categories, I salute you. It requires extra skill to manage the additional categories. You also have more trade-offs to ponder. For example, you have to consider specialists that might go unclaimed in more traditional formats.

Let's look at some of the OBS categories and let the 5x5 owners see what they're missing. All of the following players are available in the majority of traditional formats. The ones with value beyond their statistical specialty are for better. Those that are merely niche-fillers in esoteric OBS leagues are for worse.

Quality Starts:Dave Bush, SP, Brewers: Wins is a frustrating category in Rotisserie. A Cliff Lee can pitch his heart out with nothing to show for it. (Lee is only 2-5.) A win has a lot to do with run support and luck. Adding Quality Starts as a category can balance things out. Lee, for example, has six QS, which is only two behind the MLB leaders, Chad Billingsley and Dan Haren. Heck, even Haren is only 3-4. Bush, like Lee, has six QS and is among the league leaders. Bush has only two decisions, which is why he is available in most leagues despite a 1.04 WHIP and 36 strikeouts. Bush is available in nearly 80% of leagues.

OBP:Nick Johnson, 1B, Nationals: Johnson is healthy, at least for now, and doing what he does best. His .433 OBP is 11th in the majors. Johnson's lifetime OBP is .398. Johnson is good in leagues with OPS (.893) as well. Nevertheless, Johnson is only owned in 25% of leagues.

Slugging Percentage:Alberto Callaspo, 2B/SS, Royals: This may seem surprising since Callaspo is not a home run hitter. However, his .524 slugging is better than Ryan Howard's. Combine a .341 average with 15 doubles and you get a slugger's slugging percentage. Callaspo is not a niche player, however, and he should be owned in all formats. Strangely he is still available in two-thirds of leagues.

Doubles:Freddy Sanchez, 2B, Pirates: Callaspo and Sanchez are tied for second in the majors with 15 doubles, just behind Evan Longoria. Sanchez is a lifetime .301 hitter and has had as many as 53 doubles in a season, in 2006. Sanchez is owned in less than half of all leagues.

Triples:Coco Crisp, OF, Royals: Triples are a bit of a crapshoot, having such a short list of suppliers. Crisp is on his way to eclipsing his personal best of seven triples. He already has five, which leads the majors and is three more than Jose Reyes. In traditional leagues Crisp has some value as a base-stealer, but if you are in a peculiar league with triples as a category, Crisp is golden. Absent that, he is only a marginal fantasy player. Crisp is available in 60% of leagues.

Walks:Jeremy Hermida, OF, Marlins: If you are in a league that counts both OBP and walks, then Billy Beane must be your commissioner. Hermida is on pace for 100+ walks this season. The rest of his numbers are quite ordinary: .258 average and only 3 HR. Having to consider Hermida undermines the argument for walks as a Roto category -- sorry Billy.

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