Cue Queen, pop the iced champagne, and fire off the virtual confetti: it’s championship time. This year Nicholas Minnix of KFFL.com shot out to an early lead in the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League and never looked back. It was a dominating performance against 35 other competitors for one of KFFL’s managing editors who rarely saw anything but first place.
This year the leagues were named for winners of FSWA baseball writing awards in 2010. Minnix won the Brent Hershey League going away. Fellow KFFL editor Tim Heaney won the David Regan League and last year’s runner up Pierre Becquey won the Scott White League. The champion was determined by comparing the statistics of the top four teams from each league, although one of the three leagues had a tie for fourth so 13 teams were mixed in. The final standings looked like this:
1. Nicholas Minnix – KFFL, 97.5
2. College Fantasy Hoops Insider (Perry Missner), 85.5
3. Tim Heaney KFFL, 81
4. Team Becquey (Pierre Becquey), 78
5. Team Hudson, (Josh Hudson, Luke Kramer), 71.5
6. 411fantasy thitoff/CONN (Jeff Thitoff, Adam Conn), 70.5
7. Rotowire Randy Ball, 69.5
8. Team MikeJones, 67
9. Velasco – Fanway (Dennis Velasco) 64.5
10. Team Pinkerton, (Brad Pinkerton) 64.5
11. The Fonze FSCTI (Stephen Niec, Brad McLurg), 61.5
12. Rotowire Houston-Smith (Ryan Houston-Smith), 52
13. NYC It's Shawtime! (Robert Shaw), 48
As for Minnix, the seeds were sewn for his championship in the draft. He considered the on-base and slugging categories (rather than the more common batting average and homers) heavily and "was elated to have the second pick and get Hanley Ramirez. I would have strongly considered him with the top pick because most middle infielders are more likely to do damage in the OBP/SLG categories." He continued to pound both middle infielders as well as relievers in the opening rounds and ended up with Dustin Pedroia and a pair of Jonathan closers (Broxton and Papelbon). Perhaps his best choice was Joey Votto in the third round. He waited until the 15th round to take a starter (Scott Baker).
During the season, Minnix used the waiver wire early and often. His 140 moves were the third most of the 36 teams. He was able to snag useful players like the Marlins’ Logan Morrison, Scott Podsednik and Scott Rolen. Minnix noted on Podsednik, who stole 29 bases for his team, "I guess at the time maybe some felt that his skill set at his age made him a borderline mixed asset, but I still needed help in stolen bases, so to me, he was a gift." Time and time again, Minnix found usable starters on the waiver wire as well, including Colby Lewis, C.J. Wilson, Brett Myers, Daniel Hudson, and Anibel Sanchez. Despite starting with a strong cadre of closers, including Billy Wagner, Minnix found bullpen help via Koji Uehara and Clay Hensley as waiver pickups.
Minnix also made fortuitous use of trades. He traded Papelbon for C.C. Sabathia after the big Yankee starter’s owner had used up his 180 starts. He also bamboozled one owner in a trade for Hong Chih-Kuo that only cost him Nyjer Morgan.
To celebrate his winning season, Minnix went to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with fellow KFFL’ers. Reflecting on the season, he said that some of the lessons learned included, "Don't overthink. On a personal level, believe in myself. I tended to second- (and third-, fourth-, maybe even fifth-) guess decisions because of their level of perceived risk. I came in with certain players in mind and a somewhat unorthodox strategy that I believed would give me a clear advantage. I just decided that I'd rather take a shot at the possibility of dominating rather than hope I emerge from a large pack of skilled fantasy players." And dominate, he did. Congratulations, Nicholas Minnix.