Get in the Game! Playing Monthly Rotisserie Baseball is easy, fun and keeps you sharp for your leagues.

This morning when I woke up, I saw an alarm clock that said 6:00 on it and I heard Sonny and Cher singing “I Got You Babe”.  It was a surreal moment and I tried to figure out why all I could think of was Groundhog Day, the 1993 movie with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.  I heard in my head the call for “Phil, Hey Phil. Phil Connors? I thought that was you.”  Groundhog Day is a movie where a weather man is stuck in the same day over and over.  He does the same thing over and over until he finally gets good at it.  So why could I not stop thinking about it?  BING!

Ron, Hey Ron Shandler. Ron Shandler?  I thought that was you.

Well, since April, Fantasy Sports Legend Ron Shandler has been running monthly leagues over at the new ShandlerPark.com. I assume most of you know who Ron Shandler is, but if you don’t, you should.  Ron has been writing and publishing the bible for rotisserie baseball players for almost 30 years.  The first Baseball Forecaster debuted in 1986 and it is still going strong although Ron has taught many people how to do his life’s work without him having to do 100% of the work.  Well, Ron recently decided to start Monthly Rotisserie Leagues.  When Ron starts something, I pay attention.  So I started playing.

Phil: Did you ever have déjà vu?

B&B owner: I don’t know, but I could check with the kitchen.

Here is how it works. It is so simple.  You select a team of 32 players with a $300 salary cap.  The salaries are made based on previous performance so you will find many discounts for players who were bad or injured in July.  You start the standard 23 players: 14 hitters and 9 pitchers.  You cannot change these players for the whole month.  You can set lineups for two periods a week: (Mon-Thu) & (Fri-Sun). You play versus 15 people in leagues that range from $9 - $99.  I play $39 leagues.  You have until Sunday night August 3rd at 11 P.M ET to set your lineup for this month.  The scoring is slightly different as Ron is the inventor of so many statistical categories that we use today and is always trying to create a more realistic “fantasy” game.

Home runs 
Stolen bases 
On base average 
Runs Produced (Runs + RBI – HR)

Wins + Quality Starts 
Saves + Holds 
Strikeouts 
ERA


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So that is the game.  Now, here is what I do to create a team. 

Managing Your Pitching

Opposite from most rotisserie games, pitching is the critical part of this game.  Since you have two periods to make moves, loading your reserves with saves/holds is important to maximize the one week when you have only four starters for one of the weekend periods.  My pitching roster is always 15 pitchers out of the 32 players.  I take the last 21 days to see who are the hottest pitchers with the lowest salaries and then grab at least one of Clayton Kershaw or Felix Hernandez depending on schedule.  Last month I didn’t and it might cost me winning my league.  You need a transcendent pitcher. The relief pitchers have to be from good teams that will win, but they can be new setup guys who get a lot of holds so I can keep this on the cheap side.  Then I look at the pitchers to get as many as possible starts in the first four day period.  What about the second period?  Well, I have relief pitchers to fill in any time not enough players start, but any of my guys who start on Monday or Tuesday of the first period, will likely go in the second period too.  The starts will stagger because of off-days. This will level out over the course of the month nicely and I will maximize starts and relief appearances.  In July, I spent $101 on my staff that looked like this:

 

Pos

Pitchers

Team

Sal

SP

David Price  

TB

22

SP

Jordan Zimmermann  

Was

16

SP

Jake Arrieta 

ChC

8

SP

Charlie Morton 

Pit

7

SP

Tom Koehler 

Mia

5

SP

Mike Leake   

Cin

5

SP

Rick Porcello 

Det

5

SP

Jesse Hahn 

SD

1

SP

Tim Lincecum 

SF

1

SP

Vance Worley 

Pit

1

RP

Aroldis Chapman    

Cin

12

RP

Trevor Rosenthal    

StL

10

RP

Chad Qualls    

Hou

6

RP

Brian Wilson    

LAD

2

 

Managing Your Hitting

Now after I have picked my pitching, I do a similar thing for hitting.  I take the statistics for the past 21 days and the last 14 days and cross list them to find the hottest hitters.  I look at them using the categories and especially focus on Run Production (runs scored + runs batted in – home runs).  This is a great indicator for my squad.  Then I make sure I find a couple of the top stolen base guys in the last three weeks.  Last month, it unearthed James Jones as an inexpensive option for speed.  Then, I look  at the MLB transactions list to see what call ups I should look at and what players coming off the DL should be rostered as their prices are likely inexpensive. Bryce Harper was a great example last month although I decided to pass on the Nationals’ outfielder.  One more key here is getting a good bench.  I spent the most time looking at the $1 players for three players.  You do not want to spend more on than $3 on the three players who will likely only play in case of injury, but they need to be real players.  One should be a catcher.  One should be an outfielder.  And finally, you should have a player who plays all the infield positions like I did with Kelly Johnson.  So here is what it looked like last month:

Pos

Hitters

Team

Sal

OF

Mike Trout    

LAA

36

3B

Todd Frazier    

Cin

22

MI

Robinson Cano    

Sea

20

1B

Adrian Gonzalez    

LAD

18

OF

Jay Bruce    

Cin

16

OF

Khris Davis    

Mil

14

SS

Starlin Castro    

ChC

13

2B

Scooter Gennett    

Mil

10

OF

James Jones    

Sea

10

C

Buster Posey    

SF

10

C

Salvador Perez    

KC

9

OF

Kole Calhoun    

LAA

5

OF

Gregory Polanco    

Pit

3

CI

Mike Moustakas    

KC

1

OF

Brandon Guyer    

TB

1

C

Travis D'Arnaud    

NYM

1

ALL

Kelly Johnson    

NYY

1

 

“Nancy: she works in the dress shop and makes noises like a chipmunk when she gets *real* excited.”

Well, I don’t make noises like a chipmunk…as far as you know.  I do get real excited that another month of these leagues is almost here.  Well, the routine of the work involved with picking a team feels right and makes winners.  I won my league in June and am playing with a group of experts and in the hunt in July.  My offense really let me down with guys like Jay Bruce and Robinson Cano who has simply not heated up yet in his new home.  That said, I did have an additional team to make moves with and I must say that it is refreshing to be able to make moves twice per week.  I LOVE the Thursday moves for the weekend and see that as something that will change in all rotisserie leagues someday.  I don’t see the categories changing as drastically as our leader for change in fantasy baseball sees it, but Ron has made some changes that are now main stream that I thought were crazy before so we might see Run Production popping up in roto leagues in a neighborhood near you.

So – why not try a new thing?  You too can have the same day over and over each month.  Like Phil Conners, you might have wished it was a different one until you find true love…

“I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank piña coladas. At sunset, we made love like sea otters. *That* was a pretty good day. Why couldn't I get *that* day over, and over, and over...”

 




Comments

KO 

Agree with 98 percent of the strategy outlined here. Two minor quibbles: While "transcendent" pitching is the way to go, the list of pitchers who qualify is far more exhaustive than Felix and Kershaw. I've lapped the field in WQS, Ks and ERA two months running without either. Two, while I agree that spending minimally on the hitting bench is the way to go, I think it's OK to go to $2 or $3 for good value. Losing Edwin Encarnacion was tough, but being able to plug in Nolan Arenado helped my team hang in this month. Amen on the "carry a third catcher." I've lost one of my starters two months in a row (Ramos, Yadier). I've learned the hard way.


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About Rick Wolf

Rick Wolf is a leader in the fantasy sports industry. Wolf is a founding Board Member and one of only fifteen FSTA Hall of Famers including Bill James, Ron Shandler, Glenn Colton and Matthew Berry. Wolf is the Co-Host of Colton & The Wolfman every week on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio.  With college friend, Glenn Colton, he has won three LABR Expert baseball titles and four FSTA Expert football titles. Twitter: @RickWolf1

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