I’ve been in some interesting fantasy leagues over the years, but this is a first. Yesterday, my good friend and former colleague, Mark Simon, asked me to join a league which he just started up using only defensive stats.
The object of the game is pretty simple, we draft a team – one player at each position – and whoever ends up with the most Defensive Runs Saved at the end of the year wins.
The league includes 13 of us – mostly comprised of Mark’s current ESPN coworkers, including Baseball Tonight analyst Doug Glanville and fantasy gurus Eric Karabell and Tristan Cockcroft. As a result, what we ended up with was, more or less, a list of who a small handful of us deemed to be the 13 best fielders at each position.
And I’m pleased to say that five Indians were selected: Lou Marson and Jack Hannahan (by myself), Shin-Soo Choo, Casey Kotchman and Asdrubal Cabrera.
I went out on a bit of limb with Marson, who may only be behind the plate once or twice a week. But even in limited duty in 2011, Marson managed three DRS (tied for the eighth among catchers).
The fact that three members of the Tribe’s infield were drafted certainly bodes well for the Tribe pitching staff, which is packed full of ground-ball pitchers.
I should also mention that we had a 10th “wild card” slot, which we used to pick the worst defensive player available. So if a certain player earns -20 DRS, our team will be credited with +20 DRS. Fortunately, no Indians made this list. In fact, only one member of the AL Central was picked as a wild card, and you can probably guess who (Miguel Cabrera).
For those curious, here’s the rest of my lineup:
C – Lou Marson (if logs enough innings, he’ll be solid)
1B – Carlos Pena (coming off a -1, but had a +12 relatively recently)
2B – Danny Espinosa (+5 in 2011)
3B – Jack Hannahan (T-10th in 2011, which actually feels lower than he deserves)
SS – Elvis Andrus (T-3rd in 2011, and definitely has the potential to improve)
LF – Desmond Jennings (+3 in limited duty last year, hoping to get double digits from him)
CF – Franklin Guttierrez (a lock for double digits, and just two years removed from a +32)
RF – David DeJesus (+5 when in RF last year, where he should play for Cubs)
P – Ricky Romero (pitchers don’t earn many DRS, but Romero is +12 over last two years)
Wild Card – Jose Reyes (T-6th worst last year, and four straight years in the negatives)