As I looked over my roster on this Friday before opening day, something caught my eye:
With the PFBL being trimmed to eight teams, rosters increased to 25 for each team. Starting positions also changed as well. Previously, the offensive positions were C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, Util, Util. This season, one additional Util spot was added, and the two previous Util spots were changed to be one IF and OF one spot. This is the lineup construction that I voted for and I'm glad that it's what the majority of the PFBL affirmed.
However, the more I see this new roster setup, the more it looks strange to me. The block of four OF spots just seems to stick out to me. Every infield roster spot aside from IF is specifically delineated by its defensive position around the diamond. But when it comes to the outfield, there is no such precision. It's just a glut of generic OF spots. Heck, it kinda looks like I just have four rovers playing in my outfield.
Since the PFBL has already drafted, I don't think it would be appropriate to make any changes right now. But for 2016, I think the PFBL constituency should consider changing the offensive roster spots in the outfield to be LF, CF, RF and OF, with the infield and Util spots unchanged. That would result in an offensive lineup that looks like C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, IF, LF, CF, RF, OF, Util.
If specified outfield positions have been previously considered for the PFBL, it's been too long for me to remember precisely how that conversation went. I imagine that the idea was likely dismissed since (1) it is less common among fantasy baseball settings, (2) it adds too much complexity, and (3) it forces owners to deal with even more position scarcity. In response, I'd say that the PFBL has evolved a great deal since its early days. It now resembles nothing like any other fantasy baseball league I've ever heard of, and it features an immense amount of complexity. Position scarcity would be an issue that owners have to face, but I don't think it would be a significant one since the eight-team PFBL is a shallow league. If, say, CF is a scarce position talent-wise, that means only eight of the thirty starting CFs in the majors would need to be owned, leaving no less than twenty-two CFs left over--and this doesn't even account for players that will be eligible at CF as well as other corner OF (or infield) positions. Moreover, the generic OF and Util spots would still be available for an owner to start up to four corner outfielders at a time.
Finally, the PFBL strives to simulate real baseball from a managerial perspective as much as possible. I believe that this change could advance that longstanding goal. After all, no competitive major league team could field three Manny Ramírez-type defenders in left, center and right field at the same time!
What do you think, OSITF readers? Am I focusing too much on appearances? Would this change turn out to be an aggravating novelty? Or is this a good idea for a now-shallow(er) league like the PFBL?