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Fantasy Baseball: Pure luck or skill? - Through The Fence Baseball

Fantasy Baseball: Pure luck or skill?

by Jamie Shoemaker | Posted on Saturday, June 18th, 2011
| 984 baseball fanatics read this article

Are guides like this even worth reading?

How much of Fantasy Baseball is luck?

It’s an honest question you can ask yourself. Is the fact that your team is 12-2 luck? Or perhaps the fact that your team is 2-12 bad luck?

Ever think that maybe you’re either a great manager at fantasy baseball or maybe you’re just a poor manager?

Is the fact that I picked up Dillon Gee against the Pirates (8 innings, 1 ER, W) and he performed well pure luck or is it fantasy baseball skill to recognize the matchup and take advantage?

All solid questions.

These are all questions (and many more!) that were debated between  me and a friend earlier this week. We emailed back and forth (not local to each other) about the issue and we came to one agreement after several lengthy emails and chats:

He believes it’s pure luck … I believe there is skill involved.

I’m about to briefly summarized what happened in the league. Feel free to give me your analysis on the situation and give me your own feel good stories (or bad luck as my friend would call it).

Here’s our box score for a reference if you want to break it down yourself.

On June 10, I picked up Dillon Gee. He was playing against the Pirates who have been struggling to score runs all season.  I also picked up Tyler Clippard. He hadn’t pitched the past couple days; he’s a good reliever, and thought he would probably get into the game against a reeling Padres team.

I was down in the matchup and had to make some moves. They could have hurt me, but they turned out to benefit me greatly. Gee pitched a great game and Clippard made an appearance (two shutout innings, three Ks).  I gained 41 total points off the two.

On June 11, I had to make a few more moves. The guy I was playing had a couple big pitchers coming up in the next two days and I didn’t have anyone really. My pitchers had already gone … I had to make more moves. So I did some research and picked up Mike Minor against the Houston Astros. Minor has good K rates and strikeouts are a premium in this league. He was also pitching against a struggling Astros team that just had been beaten up by the Braves for two straight games, and I mean pounded. He pitches six strong innings and nets me 14 points. I also picked up R.A. Dickey. Dickey is pitching against the Pirates as well. Pirates have a bad offense, so what’s the worst that can happen, he gives up four runs? Dickey pitches eight innings, gets the loss, but still nets me 16 points. I gain a total of 30 total points off the two. We’re up to 71 extra points picked up,  just from pitchers.  We both made some other changes, mine were mostly small, but I ended up winning by 10 points. Without those pickups, I would have lost.

Is that pure luck?

Or was it skill in recognizing the matchups and capitalizing on it?

Would you have done the same thing in your league?

My friend thinks that once the players hit the field, it’s pure luck on what will happen and how many points we receive. I highly disagree. I don’t think its luck that I started Albert Pujols and he hit a home run and I don’t think its bad luck that I started Albert Pujols and he didn’t hit a home run. I think good fantasy baseball managers recognize certain matchups and opportunities to capitalize on, just like real managers. Do I think what Bobby Cox did his entire career was pure luck? No, but I’m sure some of it was luck though. I do believe a little bit of it is luck, just like everything in life is, but it’s not pure luck.

There is skill involved. What do you think? Comment below, let’s debate and I’ll be sure to invite my non-believing friend into the conversation!

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Post By Jamie Shoemaker (119 Posts)

Jamie founded Through The Fence Baseball and is the President & CEO of Through The Fence Sports Corp. He also covers the Atlanta Braves with his column, Braves' March. In addition, Jamie also covers fantasy baseball and baseball rumors. Any questions, email him at throughthefencebaseball@gmail.com

Website: → Through The Fence Baseball

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