FIRE JOE MORGAN: David Sabino Might Be the World's Worst Fantasy Writer


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Sunday, March 19, 2006


David Sabino Might Be the World's Worst Fantasy Writer

You would think that a guy who writes about fantasy sports for a living would have some grasp of basic sabermetric principles. You would think his brain wouldn't be intangible-addled or Jeterian-biased. In the case of David Sabino, you would be dead wrong. This article is one of the worst things I've read in years. Keep in mind, I write for a site that encourages people to send in links to bad sportswriting.

This masterpiece is called "Real vs. fantasy." It begins:

There are some players who are just much better on the field than they are in the box score. Here is an All-Star team of players who aren't the best choices for your fantasy squads.

I've skimmed a little bit ahead, and let me just say, if these guys were all on your team, "All-Star" is not one of the words you would be using to describe them. Also, the premise for this article is borderline retarded.

Catcher: Yadier Molina, Cardinals. The best defensive catcher in the NL, Molina is as indispensable to the Cardinals as any player is to any team. However, with a .256 career average, little power and no speed, he's not worth more than a last-round pick (if that) for your team.

Really. Yadier Molina. As indispensable as any player is to any team. Why, David Sabino, are you resorting to such hyperbole right off the bat? You should learn from other terrible sportswriters -- the Baylesses and Celizics of the world. You have to build slowly and gradually to a ridiculous conclusion. Don't blow your shitty-writing load right away. Draw the reader in with a reasonable thought or two. Then bam! Yadier Molina, MVP.

First base: J.T. Snow, Red Sox. A four-time Gold Glove winner who laces line drives all over the field, Snow doesn't consistently hit with the power that one needs out of a fantasy first-sacker.

If he really laced that many line drives all over the field, his career SLG would be more than .003 points above league average. You can't say a guy does a thing all the time, then admit he doesn't actually do it "consistently."

Second base: Mark Grudzielanek, Royals. Was highly sought-after by big league clubs this offseason, but all he'll add to your team is a good average and some runs scored, because his power and speed have all but deserted him.

It sounds like Sabino is trying to give advice for fantasy league drafting, but seriously, who out there is thinking about drafting Yadier Molina?

Shortstop: Derek Jeter, Yankees. The Yankees' best player is no better than the fifth- or sixth-best fantasy option on the team. He's willing to sacrifice himself to move a runner along, and he doesn't run as much as he can because he lets those behind him hit with runners on base.

There we go. Sabino neatly destroys the whole premise of his article just to give the underappreciated Derek Jeter some richly deserved recognition. Remember this sentence, from like three paragraphs ago? Here is an All-Star team of players who aren't the best choices for your fantasy squads. Since when is Derek Jeter not a good choice for your fantasy squad? Besides Miguel Tejada and Michael Young, you're not going to be doing a lot better than Jeter. Also, the Yankees' best player? Are you kidding me with this bullshit? A-Rod is the best player in baseball, and he could play a better shortstop than Jeter, too, who's so self-sacrificing he'll lay down a bunt or two, but won't change positions to help his team.

Third base: Bill Mueller, Dodgers. Blew up in 2003 when he led the AL in batting (.326) and smacked 19 home runs, but for most of his career he's been more of a singles and doubles hitter, and a last resort among fantasy cornermen.

Bill Mueller is a sort of above average major league player. What's your point, Sabino? He's not really better than the guys who are better fantasy options, is he?

Outfielder: Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners. For as good as he is in fantasy baseball (high average, good stolen bases, some pop), he's twice the player on the field, taking extra bases, throwing out runners with his cannon of an arm and hitting appropriately in every possible situation. A consummate professional and one of the 10 best players in the game (although not in the stats).

Again, let me remind you of this sentence: Here is an All-Star team of players who aren't the best choices for your fantasy squads. Ichiro is a great fantasy player. One might say one of the best choices out there.

Starting pitcher: Odalis Perez, Dodgers. A pitcher whose stuff is much better than his record, the southpaw has never won more than 15 games in a season and has racked up only 52 wins in seven NL seasons.

Hmm. Odalis Perez has won 52 games in his career. How many losses does he have? 51. Making him almost exactly average. But his "stuff" is so great! What do you suppose his career ERA+ is? Ugh. It's 100. Exactly average.

Reliever: Instead of a specific pitcher, this belongs to a whole category -- middle relievers. Unsung heroes like Ray King, Aaron Fultz, Mike Myers and Justin Speier get neither many wins nor many saves yet bridge the game from starters to the eighth- and ninth-inning short men. Most often they're closers-in-waiting or failed starters, and while your fantasy team can surely survive without them, no major league team would stand a chance.

No major league team would stand a chance without middle relievers? That is one of the dumbest things I've ever read. That's like saying "no major league team would stand a chance without catchers." Or middle infielders. Or bats. Or uniforms. Or arms, hands, and fingers. Or gravity. Of course teams have middle relievers. That's part of the modern sport of baseball. What David Sabino neglects to mention is that middle relievers are generally the worst pitchers in the game. If you're really good, you start. If you're good but perhaps a bit one-dimensional, you close. If you're not good enough to start or close, you're Justin Speier.

David Sabino, thank you for an utterly pointless article that's completely useless for fantasy players and wholly uninteresting for non-fantasy-playing general baseball fans. You are unfit to carry Eric Karabell's jockstrap.

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posted by Junior  # 12:29 AM
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