ASK ROTOMAN: Who Picks/Pans Best?

Dear Rotoman,

I always get the Fantasy Baseball Guide.  Can you please be objective and tell me which of the analysts are the best with their picks and pans?  Thanks very much in advance.

“Judge or Jury”

Dear JoJ:

If I was going to be objective I would go over the Picks and Pans each year and grade them. Was the writer right? Or wrong? On every single opinion.

In fact, every year some readers suggest I do exactly that. But I can’t.

I invite all these writers to my magazine, to participate in an exercise that I hope is as fun for them to write as it is for readers to read. I believe it is, since so many of them have contributed for years and years and years.

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One of the reasons they find it fun, I think, is because the guidelines are loose. The writers choose which players to write about, how many to write, and what a pick or pan is. Sometimes a pan is a slam of a bad player, but more often it’s a reminder that the market on this mid-level hitter or that superstar pitcher is likely to run too hot (and his skills aren’t likely to keep up) so you should stay away.

Sometimes a pick will contain serious analysis, and sometimes it is really a premise for a good joke or a bad pun. The degree of difficulty varies wildly from Pick to Pan and back, from any single writer and between all of them, and that’s how I think it should be.

I understand wanting a scorecard, I think it might be a good idea for someone to do objective polling of preseason player analysis, but I’m not the one to provide it. I host of nearly 30 top fantasy baseball analysts at what I hope feels a bit like a party, and I think it would be rude for me to give them marks.

Grading would also goes against the Picks and Pans premise, and that of the entire Fantasy Baseball Guide, which is to present data and ideas and conversation about players and strategies, in order to help the reader make up their own minds.

To better the conversation, I want the writers to be loose, willing to experiment and have some fun. I fear that in a contest, maybe more of the picks and pans would be “correct,” but that we’d lose a little of the loosey-goosey playfulness that makes these short bits genuinely enlightening sometimes.

But I am curious. Whose comments do you find most useful, and why? Because that certainly is part of the ongoing conversation.