Wednesday marked one of my most celebratory days of the year: I had my first fantasy baseball draft of the season. All of us who play fantasy grapple with the same things—reaching for draft picks, finding sleepers, weighing past injury history, making sure to get enough saves and steals. But then there is this dilemma: how do I, as a close follower of the San Francisco Giants, keep my familiarity with the team (and, thus, inherit bias) from affecting my draft?
Maybe some people don’t worry about that because they want their favorite players on their fantasy teams. Personally, I try to avoid it. It’s a way to hedge my fanhood, to protect against a favorite player’s struggles putting a damper on both the fantasy and reality realms. And I’m trying to win, so I don’t want to compromise that by being like a parent who thinks his children are the best at everything. (Giants players are apparently my children now.)
More from SF Giants Prospects
- SF Giants hitting prospects week in review (8/28-9/10)
- SF Giants farm system: Updated top 31 prospect rankings
- SF Giants pitching prospects week in review (8/22-8/28)
- SF Giants hitting prospects week in review (8/21-8/27)
- SF Giants top catching prospect Joey Bart activated off IL
With the Giants, the home-team influence is particularly tricky, since the sum of the parts is generally better than the individual performances.
There are some exceptions, of course. Buster Posey is the most valuable fantasy commodity on the Giants, since he is clearly baseball’s best hitting catcher (a woefully weak position, offensively speaking). And Madison Bumgarner, unsurprisingly, is one of the more sought-after starting pitchers in fantasy.
But even then, going after either Posey or Bumgarner in your fantasy draft can be dangerous. You could end up selecting them too early, or, perhaps even scarier, in an auction draft you could get caught up in a bidding frenzy, drunk with Giants love. Before you know it, you’ve just blown your draft budget out of whack.
While drafting, I found myself torn in a few instances. I considered Posey, but once the price passed $25, I cut myself off. You gotta know when to say when.
Johnny Cueto is going to thrive pitching in AT&T Park—has to, right? But I couldn’t bring myself to bid on him, just in case he tanks in his first year after signing a huge contract with a new club.
I wouldn’t be surprised if third baseman Matt Duffy continues to improve, perhaps becoming a .300 hitter with 18 home runs and 85 to 90 RBI…but is that my objective baseball analysis, or my Giants-centric analysis?
Joe Panik was also of mild interest, but I had to remind myself he’s a better real player than fantasy asset. Brandon Belt? My judgment is way too clouded by emotion. (What those emotions are, well, that’s entire blog entry unto itself.)
But my fantasy roster is not completely devoid of Giants.
I got Hunter Pence for $10. Maybe if Pence were on any other team, I would have dismissed him for being injury riddled last year and as a player who might be entering the downside of his career.
But as someone who follows the Giants closely, I wear black-and-orange-colored goggles, and see a guy primed for a bounce-back season, not even a year and a half removed from being a guiding force for a World Series-winning squad. I can see a .280 average with 25 home runs, 15 stolen bases and at least 90 each of runs and RBI. Easy. (Please, don’t turn the lights on.)
Oh, and that 1.514 OPS he’s boasting (albeit in just 11 games) this spring is a clear sign Pence is on the verge of a huge season. Duh.
I also got closer Santiago Casilla, who at $4, was considerably cheaper than the top choices at the position, who went for around $15. I’ll take that.
Then again, Giants fans, after hanging on Casilla’s every ninth-inning pitch over the past few seasons, you’ll almost surely say I just bought myself a season full of the spins.