Saturday, June 9, 2007

Interleague Play in Fantasy Baseball

One of my general philosophies in drafting and trading throughout the fantasy baseball season is to target A.L. Hitters and N.L. Pitchers.

Clearly, this is not something I adhere to all the time (for example, I just traded a lot for Alfonso Soriano in two different leagues, though he did homer three times last night - which is great). But in general, the DH in the American League adds value its offensive players while the lack of a DH in the National League makes its pitchers more valuable in the long run.

At the time of this post, 7 of the top 9 run scoring teams in baseball are in the A.L., while 7 of the 10 best pitching staffs (in terms of team ERA) play in the N.L. (Oakland is 2nd because Dan Haren is a stone-cold beast).

Anyway, my point is that with Interleague play now in effect, the average A.L. hitters on your team(s) will now run into some better pitching, while your average N.L. pitchers will suddenly be forced to deal with the DH and somewhat deeper offensive teams.

Of course, I'm not suggesting you bench your best players because of interleague play. It doesn't matter who's pitching to Vlad Guerrero (he still rakes in Interlague play anyway), or which team Brandon Webb is throwing against. The great players are going to get their numbers regardless.

But look at a guy like Doug Davis of the Diamondbacks. He's a decent pitcher with an ERA under four, and he's a relatively safe bet against teams like the Giants and Padres. But last night, he got roughed up by the Red Sox because they can actually hit.

So over the next two weeks, just be cognizant of your pitching match-ups and don't be afraid to bench a middle-of-the-road N.L. starter against a good A.L. offense, while a mediocre A.L. could have some success against a light-hitting N.L. squad.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some guys that have historically done well in interleague play ... hopefully some of them are available in your leagues and can serve as nice stop-gap players.


PS These stats are through 2006 ...


Mike Young - .347 AVG.
Derek Jeter - 227 hits
Jim Thome - 52 HR

Randy Johnson - 15 Wins
Johan Santana - 2.40 ERA
Mariano Rivera - 49 Saves


Mark Loretta - .339 AVG.
Craig Biggio - 180 hits
Garret Anderson - 111 RBI

Freddy Garcia - 19 wins, 2.34 ERA
Livan Hernandez - 17 wins
Jamie Moyer - 16 wins, 2.54 ERA

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