Decision Matrix: Similar Player Dilemmas, Part 3

  • This week we’ll wrap up our look at the decision-making process for when you are torn between drafting and/or adding one of two or more guys to your roster. We’ll start with a decision a friend of mine had to make recently. He’s a diamond player on one of the major fantasy systems and he’s in a keeper league where 9 guys can be kept. Now he explained to me that there were a number of rules around balancing between hitters and pitchers as well as positions. They were a lot to absorb, but I took it to mean that every 4 years, a manager had to keep a catcher. This was his leap year, if you will, and so he was forced to keep a catcher.

    He had a pretty good choice. Keep Kirk of Toronto at the cost of a 14th round pick or Melendez of KC at the cost of a 15th round pick. He asked me point blank who he should take. Now, the next point on my decision matrix is this: What do industry experts say about the players. (Oh he wasn’t asking me as an industry expert, no he was asking me because I read and/or listen to a lot of fantasy baseball experts. I do my research, and so he sought out my advice). Funny enough, I’d just listened to an hour-long podcast where two of my favorite industry experts had projected out their top-5 players (10 for pitchers and outfielders) at each position for 2026. Funny enough, Kirk was on both lists. I know for a fact that Melendez was honorable mention on one expert’s list and as I was writing my friend back, I remembered in fact Melendez was on both honorable mention lists. Now those guys didn’t talk about 2023 in particular, they were looking into their crystal ball to project out 2026, but I don’t think Melendez is a guy who is going to peak and then fall off in the next three years. Still, I could conclude Kirk will be and currently is ahead of Melendez in ranking systems.

    In my day job I’m a professor and in one of my classes I tried to help students with the art of the pivot. That is shifting strategies when new information comes available. You have to do that in fantasy sports too, especially when drafting.

    Let me share how I tried to help students be nimble in order to apply it to fantasy baseball. Once upon a time I was as big of a fan of Lance Armstrong as anyone. How I taught students to pivot was to give them the scenario where they finally got a chance to interview Armstrong for a project they’d been working on for some time. Then boom. The conversation with Oprah drops. You know the one where Armstrong admitted he’d broken the rules. My educational scenario was that this comes out the day before your interview him. So now the question becomes, what questions do you ask him. What do you ask him now – because plans have to change. The questions you once had are no longer valid. You have to pivot based on new information, right?

    An article or so back I noted that by following the decision matrix, I’d take GRod over Perez or Painter. As I write this, with bated breath, I’m awaiting news on the health of Painter. For the sake of baseball, I hope he’s okay. Just because I wasn’t going to take GRod over him doesn’t mean I don’t think he’s going to be awesome. I think that. I believe in Andrew Painter. No matter the news of his tender elbow, I still believe.

    But I have to make decisions honoring the new information. I’m simply adding here that I thought GRod is the clear favorite of the three and I still think that. Painter has some new health concerns and though the sample size is small, Perez isn’t pushing the Marlins to find a big-league spot for him. In five Spring Training innings he’s given up four runs, with two homers, two balks, and one hit batsman. He’s also only had three strikeouts in those five innings but no 4-pitch walks. Again, small sample size, but Spring is about small sample size and my instinct is that the Marlins are going to get as much out of Perez as they can so they won’t start his service time clock any sooner than they need to. I have to speculate too that the news on Painter will serve as warning to any inclination otherwise.

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