In one of my leagues, my pitching staff was so stacked with superstar pitchers , I couldn't play all of them because of the innings limit. But I needed some offensive help, so I went after A-Rod. Since A-Rod is in Sosa's caliber, I'll show you what I had to give up for him:
I got: Alex Rodriguez
I gave up: Roy Oswalt, Mike Williams, Migeul Tejada
I'm not saying you'll have to go that far, but you might.
The thing is, that only put a tiny dent in my pitchers, so I'm going after Posada or Piazza and I'm offering: Kendall, Fogg, and A.J. Burnett.
I'll still have:
Chan Ho Park
With how Berkman is playing you are going to have only a SLIGHT better chance of acquiring him right now as well. There are a few people in Fantasy that are untradeable UNLESS you get such a great deal that you cannot turn it down. Sosa doesn't get hurt, he hasn't been on the DL in forever. When you talk about Sosa, Johnson, Schilling, ARod, Helton, and Piazza. You aren't going to be able to get them by putting together 2 or 3 average players for just one player.
To get a stud, you have to be willing to depart with one of your own.
I think Piazza is one of the most overrated fantasy players in fantasy baseball. Sure, he's the #1 catcher every year, but the difference between him and the average catcher is getting smaller and smaller every year in fantasy baseball, to the point where it is not worth the price of getting him in the first place.
Interesting point about piazza, and I agree, and disagree.
There's only 3 or 4 catchers in the league right now doing anything offensively. Posada, Piazza, Bennett, and maybe Damian Miller, so it's still the hardest position to fill with a quality player. There is LoDuca, Kendall, and I-Rod but the first two are struggling somewhat, and I-Rod is injured. The injuries and the constant switching of catchers for pitching and defefensive reason (causing low AB's), makes it hard for catcher to build up stats. Sure every year there is a LoDuca, a Hundley, a Kendall, a Charles Johnson, a B. Santiago, a Sandy Alomar, a Javier Lopez, etc..., all of who have had at least one great offensive season, but how many actually repeat their great performances? Only three I can think of, Piazza, Posada, and I-Rod. In fact, some catchers hit for such low stats, that their average and on base percentage can practically become a liability in large roto leagues.
But I agree that the past couple years even the premiere catcher's stats don't warrant them being taken in the first round of a fantasy draft.
I often wonder at the true value of catchers too. Maybe someone more steeped in fantasy baseball strategy can better illustrate the value of the premiere catcher.
I think you meant Barrett rather than Bennett. Bennett did nothing but hurt my average as my #2 catcher behind Piazza, and I finally dropped him. I've found Robert Machado to be a decent #2 in that league (4x4 roto, NL-only, 2 catchers), as he's hit for a pretty good average so far, and if his offensive production stops, he just won't play, and won't hurt my average much (as it is, he doesn't play enough for it to even worry me).
In deep roto leagues, about the best you can expect from your backup catcher is to not hurt your average, and it makes sense to use a minor league or injured catcher if you can't find someone to hit at least .250, as long as that won't hurt your AB's too much.
For a #1 catcher, there's really no one else but Piazza, if you can afford him. I don't believe that much in position scarcity... there are plenty of 2B and SS who can at least hit for a reasonable average, if not for the power of an A-Rod or a Robby Alomar. Having a third-tier starting catcher, though, can really kill you.
Good points - thanks to all. I think a summary so far that everyone will agree on is that a truly great - and consistent - catcher is extremely valuable, but that there isn't really a catcher at the moment who would live up to that billing. Yes? No? Maybe?
Anyway, I'm a great believer in position scarcity. Just because there isn't a star catcher worthy of a first-round pick doesn't mean that the theory itself is flawed, after all. And if there are plenty of decent middle infielders available, it just means that those positions aren't all that scarce. I think EugeneStyles' point here should be interpreted the following way: static position scarcity doesn't exist. Therefore, if you're going to play by this theory, you can't just assume that a position will be scarce just because it has been in the past (see also the example of Piazza mentioned above).
Good point about using injured or minor league catchers, by the way. It hurts, but sometimes that's the best way to go...
Incidentally, I also think the odds of trading for Berkman are a bit higher than those of getting Sosa: name value can be a pretty big factor here, especially when one of those names is Sammy Sosa...
Well, I don't completely agree, because I really think Piazza *is* worth a 1st round pick, maybe 2nd round in very shallow leagues (like a 10-team mixed league). He's a consistent .310-40-100 hitter, which is really as good as they come for catchers (bonus points if anyone can tell me the ML record for HR's by a catcher, set in 1996). No other catcher in the NL (I'm not really up on the AL, sorry - and IRod is real good, but look where he's at now) was projected to have more than about 20 HR's. With the exception of Jason Kendall, who can give you some SB's from the catcher position, no other catcher is really worth even *half* of Piazza's value. Paul Lo Duca can be expected to hit maybe .290-20-75, and he's about the third best catcher in the NL behind Kendall and Piazza.
In a "standard" league (16 team NL or 14 team AL?), the last team to pick a starting catcher is left way out in the cold. Even the 5th person to pick a catcher starts noticing a general lack of options. For outfielders, you can drop quite a few positions before you really feel the hurt. Sure, Sosa, Bonds, Vlad, and the like are all the top of the totem pole, which is why they are generally 1st and 2nd round picks as well, but when you drop to the Chipper Joneses and the Brian Gileses, you don't lose nearly as much as you lose dropping from the Mike Piazzas to the Mike Lieberthals.
These *are* the same reasons why Roberto Alomar and Alex Rodriguez are so highly prized, so you can't completely discount position scarcity. It's extremely hard to get that kind of production out of their position. But the catching position is the only one where missing the boat on the top stars can mean so much.
BTW, when I say that I don't really believe in position scarcity, I mean that I don't believe in sacrificing *too* much for the sake of drafting to position scarcity. I'd almost certainly draft Sosa above Piazza, because Sosa has basically the same potential, plus 20-30 homers, and 30-50 RBI's. Sosa is like a Piazza and a half. But when the numbers get close, you gotta go for the catchers and the middle infielders first.