Fantasy Baseball 101: Super Utility = Super Useless

Today’s edition of FB101 is dedicated to G-Doggy!

There are many, many lessons one needs to learn to be a successful fantasy baseball player and one of the most important is this: “Don’t Manage Your Fantasy Baseball Team Like Ron F’n Gardenhire!!

Ron Gardenhire is one of baseball’s most successful managers over the last decade, he’s also incredible divisive among the Minnesota Twins faithful. This is largely due to Grady’s incessant reliance on good glove, no bat super utility players who exhibit more “grit” than talent on the field.

This is largely because Gardenhire was a similar banjo-hitting underachiever during his playing days and has a soft-spot in his bacon-grease infused heart for his ilk.

Today, we’re about to learn why it’s a bad f’n idea to rely on super utility players in fantasy baseball.

Let’s start with some stats:

Looking at these raw stats, which player would you prefer to have your team?!

I think it’s safe to say that in a perfect world, neither of these slugs would be anywhere near your roster. For the sake of this experiment, however, let’s see what we’re dealing with here.

We’ve got two seemingly similar hitters with small sample sizes on display. One has ripped extra base hits and one has shown a little speed, but neither one is real impressive in any overall capacity.

To swing things a bit, I’ll let you know that Player A has on OBP of .353 (19 hits/5 walks) in 63 at-bats.

Player B has a far less impressive OBP of .263 (15 hits/5 walks) in 70 at-bats.

Four hits is what separates their OBPs right now; four hits and a difference of seven at-bats. A mere four—likely slap singles—is all that makes the difference here.

The really fun part is that these two players were just swapped for one another.

Player A is Jamey Carroll. Player B is Omar Infante.

Neither one belongs on a fantasy roster right now in a league of this size. Both offer one thing of value, multi-position eligibility. They offer that, because neither one is worthy of being a regular starter on a REAL big league ballclub, so why.—oh why—would someone want them on their fantasy roster?

This is my public, impassioned plea to you G-Doggy. As your brother. As your friend. As someone who likes to see people not named Kunkel succeed in life.


Good players. Legit players. Keepers. They are eligible at one position. There’s a reason for that…they’re good. They’re good enough to hold down a regular, every day job at one position.

Having an Omar Infante or a Jamey Carroll or a Willie Bloomquist or a Maicer Izturis on your roster only makes sense if they’re on a hot-streak. Otherwise it’s wasted roster space.

Why keep a second or third tier guy on your roster on the chance that you can sling him in the lineup somewhere at random?

Most teams have the same basic off-days Monday/Tuesday and then Thursday, so there’s no guarantee this super-utility guy will do you any good if he has an overlapping off-day. He only does you any good as a mid-day fill-in when a regular is going to sit and that only works if you’ve got the ability to change your roster on the fly when you see that someone is out of the lineup that night.

Beyond that, there is the inherent risk that a Jamey Carroll-type player isn’t going to play every day. I guarantee you that if/when the Dodgers are all healthy, Carroll doesn’t have a place in the optimal everyday lineup. That’s because he’s a super sub.

This completely eliminates his value as a bench guy if you can’t count on him being in the big league club’s lineup when you need to use him as a fill-in. This is why we go after every day players in fantasy baseball.

Carroll gets on base at a solid clip and hits for a hollow average. He’s got a modicum of speed, but not enough of anything else to be an everyday regular. Given that he’ll get you roughly 300-350 at-bats a year (most of them while he’d be on your bench) he does you no good.

Pick up a hot hand (ie: Freddie Freeman, Mark Trumbo, Jeff Francoeur, etc…) or pick up someone with serious upside to get their shit together after early struggles (ie: Vernon Wells).

Don’t waste moves on piece of shit, run of the mill secondary guys.

One thought on “Fantasy Baseball 101: Super Utility = Super Useless

  1. mike April 22, 2011 / 11:57 am

    I couldn’t agree more…mulitple position eligibilty is a total waste. It happens for one of three reasons. The one listed above, a ridiculously good bat that is so young as to not have earned a regular position, or an established player making a position change to accomodate either really shitty defense at said position or that team picked up a better defensive option at that position. Ben Zobrist from 2 years ago, Ryan Braun, and Albert Pujols when first called up are perfect examples of the second. Chone Figgens(though he kinda sucked last year) is an example of the third. It is a mistake to take on all the position flexiblilty. Ty Wigginton is the only regular multiposition guy I would ever consider and that is becuase there will be about 3 weeks during any one season where he is the BEST player in baseball. It happens without fail. I don’t know why but it just does.


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