OK, I know, here come the anti-ARod posts, the barrage of Pujols and Beltraners, Abreuites, who see it differently.
Why this post? In an earlier post I said Beltran third behind Pujols and Arod-- Cornbread and other pointed out that Arod wasn't even a top 10 batter last season; others dogged on Beltran, others were strong supporters; still others said Abreu.
My true thought, hiding in the cafe-closet, was that I wouldn't even take Arod second, I would take him first; I would take him ahead of Pujols, and for the record, I'd take Beltran and Abreu ahead of Pujols as well (not that I'd need to take Abreu ahead of Pujols, I could just take Pujols and trade for Abreu later which would be nice); but I've run this thing up and down and sideways since yesterday and when it comes down to it, I'll take Arod first.
Note: This is for 5x5 roto or head to head; not points based leagues. In a points based league Pujols and/or Bonds are the clear number one choices; but in a 5x5 league, a category league, I'll take Arod first.
Here's my thinking. Feel free to pick it apart and destroy it, I'm sure you will...
IMO 5x5 leagues are not about the best players they've about the most valuable players in 5 categories. I thought about what players would set up up well to compete in all five categories, what players were average or above average in all five cats. This is what I was looking for (honest to God, not knowing who or how many I would find who fit the bill). Average or above average was defined, for purposes of this study, as:
.275 30+ HR, 20+ SB, 100+Runs 100+RBI;
In 2004 exactly two players made the grade: Arod (.286, 36HR, 28SB, 112R, 106RBI and Abreu (.301, 30HR, 40SB, 105RBI, 118R)
Honorable mentions: Vlad (.336 29HR, 15SB, 126 RBI, 124 R)
and Beltran (.267 38HR, 42SB, 104RBI, 106R)
I'd be tempted to take all three outfielders ahead of Arod; but not Pujols. Pujols would go fifth on my rank list.
Two things: Why Arod ahead of the OFs? Because there are enough OFs with average to above average speed or hitting ability that it seems less of a luxury to have those assets in an OF rather than an infielder (although, admittedly, it was better as SS and even better when he was eligible at both!);
Secondly, why all four guys ahead of Pujols-- and I think this is the kicker: no one player is going to win a league; but having a true five category player allows more flexibility for the subsequent rounds. For instance, I could take Pujols and then say to myself that I'll get Figgins or Podsednik later to make up for the speed; but that wastes a position as a speed only position-- maybe it takes me out of Jeff Kent as second base because I need Reyes there; maybe it takes me out of Tejada at short because I need Rollins there. If I start with a void in a category, I"m going to have to make it up somewhere, often at the expense of another one. Pods can't hit for average; Figgins can't hit for power, etc. Why start with a void- when there are true five category players, which lay the foundation from which to start.
I know this isn't rocket science, and i'm sure everyone has thought about this 1,000 times and still come up with the other options as better: and I'm honestly interested in hearing why. I understand why someone might take one of the three other OFs ahead of Arod, I don't understand why someone would take Pujols, when there are home run players and RBI players littered throughout the outfields of fantasy baseball.
OK, pick apart. I'm sure you will.