Thursday, August 28, 2008

Surviving Adam Dunn

Q: How do you survive having Adam Dunn's .234 BA in 2008 (138/522 .264BA in 2007) on your team?
A: By learning to even out the bad with some good and doing some homework.

Knowing that he is a career .247 hitter with 40+ HR potential, be sure that you've paired him up on draft day with a relatively low-value guy like Placido Polanco (200/587 .341BA in 2007). Combined for 2007, they'd be a lofty .305 (338/1109) hitter and a respectable .277 (248/895) hitter for 2008 (as of 8/25). It has been my experience that in most Rotisserie-style leagues a .280ish BA keeps you in at least the top five for that category, if not higher.

Dunn's ADP (average draft position courtesy of Fantasy Gameday) going into 2008 drafts was 39th -- a late third rounder or early fourth if people shied away from that potential category-killing batting average for guys like Manny (33rd), Morneau (36th), Hafner (37th!?!?!) or Derrek Lee (43rd). Polanco could have been had at an affordable 162th ADP pick while others were chasing guys like Joba Chamberlain (158th) and Pedro Martinez (156th).

A single player doesn't necessarily have to be a category killer if you balance out the negative(s) with a positive(s) from other players. You need to have a strategy going into draft day depending on the players that are on the board when your pick is up and stick to it. My first draft of 2008 was a disaster. I panicked and selected both V-Mart and Putz way too early because I veered from my initial strategy (cheap catcher and cheap saves) thinking they'd never be there.

A trend I'm seeing in some leagues is that they are dumping Batting Average from their scoring categories and going with more statistically favorable categories such as OBP, SLG, or the combined OPS (OBP+SLG). If you happen to join a league like that, Adam Dunn's value increases immensely. Overall, his current .388 OBP ranks him 18th, his .549 SLG ranks 17th and his .938 OPS ranks him up with the elites at 13th. Now you'd be looking at him as a potential early second round pick in 2009 drafts.

During the research process for this article, I noticed a rotisserie team that I had Adam Dunn on was floundering in the middle of the pack in batting average. So on Aug. 7, I pulled of a deal in which I acquired Kevin Youkilis and Placido Polanco for Alexei Ramirez, Hunter Pence, and Brandon Lyon. Since the trade, Youk and Placido have combined to go 39/119 .328 with five HR, 20 RBI, and 17 R and have helped me gain three points in BA alone over such a short period. On the flip side, Hunter (9/59) and Alexei (21/63) have combined to hit .267 and Brandon Lyon is in danger of losing his closers job on a first place team.

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