h2h Corner – Positional Flexibility

Positional flexibility – which means a hitter qualifies at multiple line-up slots – is the fantasy draft equivalent to the Siren’s call for most 5×5 h2h 10 and 12 team leagues. I almost went with “The Myth of Sisyphus” analogy route, but I didn’t know how many Camus fans also read my columns and would make the leap to the “absurd.”

In drafts, people tend to reach for certain players simply because that player qualifies at multiple positions, which is, say it with me, absurd. It can be quite alluring, the idea of being able to slide players in and out of different slots of your line-up. While this can be somewhat handy in daily leagues, it isn’t as useful as you might think. Furthermore, if you are in a weekly league, positional flexibility means very little to you.

Typical standard leagues allow five bench spots (which you split between pitchers and hitters). You want to fill those with the best options, not the best options that fit multiple slots. There will only be a handful of instances during the season where having someone qualify at multiple spots helps, which means having a David Newhan isn’t very useful (even if he were halfway decent).

The only time positional flexibility really comes into play is during roster additions (via the wire or trades). If you are looking to trade your starting third baseman to upgrade elsewhere (or because you have a good backup first baseman), then having a Miguel Cabrera, Aubrey Huff, Chris Davis, Youkilis, etc. that you can slide to third to replace the traded player will really help. This gives you the flexibility to go after the best available player. So, in this rare instance, flexibility is handy dandy.

The best positional flexibility guys are: Miguel Cabrera (drafting him early allows you to take the best first or third baseman on the board later in the draft), Kevin Youkilis (ditto), Chris Davis (ditto) Mark DeRosa (it never hurts to qualify at second), Alexei Ramirez (drafting him gives flexibility in the middle infield), Mike Aviles (provides starter stats from the bench for both middle infield positions), Chone Figgins, Pablo Sandoval (although he has the most value as your starting catcher), and, for deeper leagues, Brandon Inge (guys that aren’t everyday catchers but qualify there have a lot of value).

Note: the positions listed below are based on Yahoo! Other platforms/leagues have different rules for how players qualify at positions. It is important to note your league’s rules before the draft.

Miguel Cabrera 1b/3b
Kevin Youkilis 1b/3b
Jorge Cantu 1b/3b
Garrett Atkins 1b/3b
Aubrey Huff 1b/3b
Mark DeRosa 2b/3b/OF
Jose Lopez 1b/2b
Adam Dunn 1b/OF
Conor Jackson 1b/OF
Alexei Ramirez 2b/SS/OF
Mike Aviles 2b/SS
Chris Davis 1b/3b
Chone Figgins 2b/3b
Ty Wigginton 3b/OF
Casey Blake 1b/3b
Carlos Guillen 1b/3b
Pablo Sandoval C/1b/3b
Nick Swisher 1b/OF
Brandon Inge C/3b/OF
Eric Hinske 1b/OF
Marco Scutaro 2b/3b/SS
Jerry Hairston Jr. 2b/SS/OF
Clint Barmes 2b/SS/OF
Felipe Lopes 2b/3b/SS/OF
Mark Teahen 1b/3b/OF
Willie Harris 2b/3b/OF
Jeff Baker 1b/2b/3b
Victor Martinez c/1b

9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mike Whaley on March 24, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Good points. I never let this effect how I draft and don’t plan to do so in the future as long as our league rules stay as they are.


  2. You’ve told me that flexibility is handy dandy and you’ve basically given me the keys to the car. Now all I need is the gas card. When’s your next article?


  3. Posted by Albert Lang on March 24, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    I like the links to the handy dandy part as much as possible. i try to get an Arrested Development shout-out in every post.

    Anyway, i have a couple articles i’m tweaking. Anything you want written on?

    You have a draft on Saturday you need to be preparing for, no?


  4. Posted by Albert Lang on March 24, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    I agree with Mike. I’m glad other fantasy aficionados think positional flexibility can be overrated.

    As a fantasy neophyte, I use to think it mattered and it led to some draft day blunders, including Bill Hall. Ergh that guy.

    Thanks for taking the time to read!


  5. Posted by Ray on March 24, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    I agree positional flexibility is overrated. That said, David Ortiz killed me last year because he only qualified at utility (and had a crappy year to boot)


  6. Posted by Albert Lang on March 24, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    I think he more killed you b/c he has been trending down for the last three years. It is tough though when your UTIL spot is taken up by Ortiz/Thome.

    Maybe, I should amend that playing an actual position is helpful.


  7. Posted by Albert Lang on March 26, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    I dont know if it was my quote of Camus, but it elicited a funny e-mail from my friend Adam who is studying to be a lawyer and husband:

    “Last night I dreamed that I was at batting practice for a team managed by Gandhi, and I was shagging balls. A sharp foul ball hit me in the solar plexus, but it didn’t hurt. Gandhi was impressed, but still refused to throw BP – he was just observing. This can only mean one thing – fantasy baseball season is upon us.”

    And a twitt from my friend Chris who is trying to be a global businessman:

    “uh oh – draft in a league with a friend who 1) writes a fantasy baseball column (http://bit.ly/nwM0w) 2) references Camus in said column”


  8. Posted by Adam on March 26, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Positional flexibility is definitely overrated – as are Gandhi’s managerial abilities. The man could never keep a clubhouse under control. Kind of a diva.


  9. Posted by Albert Lang on March 26, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    I’ve heard that about him and to a lesser extent Indira


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