Monday, March 3, 2008

The return of Matt LeCroy

Play fantasy baseball long enough, and you're going to become an unabashed fan of a small cadre of otherwise forgettable players. Maybe a journeyman second baseman was kind enough to provide you his career month after Chase Utley hit the disabled list. Or maybe you won your league due to the extra 100 extra at-bats your utility-man bench player provided. Everyone has a few favorite players who came up big at the right time, and for whom you will always be grateful.

I was pleased to read that Matthew LeCroy had his contract picked up by the Oakland A's after a few years of toiling at the absolute fringes of the major league . On paper, there isn't much to love about his MLB career. Heck, he's had less than 1400 at-bats over eight years! That's fewer than Juan Pierre accumulates over two of his homer-less seasons. Lifetime .260 batting average ... 60 career home runs ... but for a two or three-year stretch he was an absolutely dynamite last-round fantasy pick. Why, you ask? Sneaky catcher eligibility! Oh, how I loved to imagine my league mates grinding their teeth when I catcher-ized him for the three or four days a week he actually played.

Don't underestimate the Matt LeCroys of the fantasy world. Victor Martinez had career highs in home runs and RBI last year. He averaged a home run every 22.18 plate appearances, and an RBI every 4.93. Guess what LeCroy did from 2003-2005, when I had him every year in just about every league? One home run every 21.23 plate appearances, and an RBI every 5.96. That's roughly equivalent performance on a pure "at-bat" basis.

Of course, you had to carry two catchers on your roster or lose out on 50 to 70 games, which was a pain, but even a few years ago the catcher position wasn't such a black hole of utter shittiness.

Bless you, Matt LeCroy. Even though you have no fantasy relevance for 2008. And hold the MLB record for most ABs without ever stealing a base.

(And I'd love to hear about your favorite fantasy scrubs.)


Don Ford said...

Brad Radke was an old favorite of mine, but it was mostly because I used him in MLB 2000 on Playstation.

Sony sent me a 3 inning demo of that game where you could only play the allstar game... it was awesome, a short fun version of the game- why buy the whole thing? anyway, I used Brad Radke's super slow changeup to dominate the Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa.

Anonymous said...

i'm sure you'll be writing a similar article about wiggington in a few years.

i used to love aaron boone's versatility.

Mike Bock said...

Wigginton and Boone, other diamonds in the rough.