Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Midseason Analysis

Time to assess my managerial skills at the halfway point of the fantasy baseball season. I have 9 teams, so in order from worst to first...

9. sluggin' uvula
Yahoo! Private League, 6x6 (OPS, K/9), 12 teams
10th place (67 pts.)

Ugh. The sad thing is, this is the league I care about the most, too. It's comprised of friends from the Rotten Tomatoes boards --our third year playing together. Lots of smack talk, and we only play for pride. Where did I go wrong?

Second base has been a disaster. In the first of many managerial blunders, I dropped the guy I drafted, Chase Utley, because he wasn't starting at the beginning of the season. As of today, Utley is .303-11-38 with 37 runs and 7 stolen bases for the 5th-place team. I quickly scooped up Clint Barmes from free agency and enjoyed his run while it lasted. [Thanks, venison asshole.] Now I'm plattooning Rob Mackowiak, Antonio Perez and Bill Hall, all of whom are cold at the moment. Nothing like carrying 3 frigid utilitymen on the roster! One of them will be gone before the week is through.

I drafted Jason Kendall at catcher, thinking he'd at least be good for average. When I finally dropped him, he was hitting .240. I switched to Michael Barrett, who was hot for awhile but has cooled off big time. Now I don't know whether to go back to Kendall (who's predictably heated up once he was no longer owned by me), or to sink to LaRue and Barajas levels. I should've made a play for Victor Martinez when I had a chance.

My first pick was one of the year's biggest busts --Todd Helton. How can you second-guess picking him at #10? (Or and under-performing Ichiro at #14, whom I recently traded away for that other Big Bust, Carlos Beltran?) That's just bad luck. Bad management is when I picked up Morgan Ensberg and dropped him a week later (to be fair, he hit .152 during his tenure as a sluggin' uvula.) Carlos Guillen, despite hitting for average, has been worthless at shortstop. Pretty much the only batter who's performed to expectations is Adam Dunn. I did make a nice trade for Travis Hafner (giving up Andy Pettite).

If Beltran and Helton come around, and I find solutions that aren't black holes at catcher and 2nd based, there's no reason I shouldn't make up considerable ground in the batting categories. I'm middle-of-the-pack in the pitching categories, and happy with my current rotation (Sheets, L. Hernandez, Vazquez, Zito, Penny, with Hudson on the DL). Prediction: This team will pull together and I'll make a run for respectability, finishing 4th. No way I catch Tony or Shay though.

8. scrumtulescent
CBS Sportsline Public League, 5x5, 10 teams
5th place (57 pts.)

This team has been the victim of my having too many teams. I've barely looked at this team and have resigned myself to whatever fate the roster provides. The reason is because the CBS public leagues are set for weekly roster moves only, which encourages people like me to forget about managing. I've probably missed out on dozens of waiver wire pick-ups, trades, etc. Also, because CBS Sportsline isn't a site I regularly visit, my team gets screwed there as well. I don't think I'm going to do this next year.

That said, my team MVPs are Miguel Tejada, Andruw Jones and Pedro Martinez. Too bad the rest of my starting pitching has spent time on the DL. Prediction: A slide to 6th or 7th place. I think the bottom-feeders gave up long ago.

7. Fistful of Uvula
Yahoo! Private League, 11x11 (includes 1B, 2B, 3B, K, E, OPS for hitting, and CG, SHO, GIDP, HLD, K/BB, K/9 for pitching), 8 teams
4th place (106.5 pts.)

A fun league I've been in with some friends for several years. Trying to do well in all the categories is a nightmare. The best strategy (I've won this league twice) is to concentrate in categories that overlap with each other. Still, it's awfully hard to predict things like shutouts (although, curiously, the guy with Dontrelle Willis isn't leading the league in that category). I'd thought I'd have Complete Games and Shutouts covered when I drafted Sheets, Buerhle, L. Hernandez, Mulder and Harden, but alas. In an 8-team league, it's possible to draft an entire roster of good-great players and still finish 4th. I should probably dump Mulder; I'm just waiting for Adam Eaton to come off the DL.

I'm last in the league in Strikeouts (for batters) and Errors. I hate negative statistics. I hate them in Fantasy Basketball, and I hate them here. I shouldn't have chosen a catcher who doesn't catch (Inge) or a "rookie" 3rd-baseman (Wright) --that's 27 errors right there. And everyone except for Pujuols has at least 46 k's to their name. On the plus side, I am leading in the hard-to-capture triples category, thanks to Inge and Jose Reyes. I don't know what I can do to move up in this league. I'm just going to keep playing my high-OPS players and hope for better consistency from my pitching staff. Prediction: 2nd place

6. San Ramon Uvula
Yahoo! Winner League, 5x5, 12 teams
4th place (74 pts.)

Draft busts: Garciaparra, Oliver Perez, Greg Maddux, Erubiel Durazo, Justin Speier, Michael Cuddyer
Draft steals: Podsednik (5th round), B.J. Ryan (1oth round), L. Hernandez (12th), Utley (13th)
Bone-head moves: Dropped Kevin Mench, Jorge Cantu, Danny Haren, Yancy Brazoban, Dustin Hermanson, traded for Jim Thome
Good moves: Added Willie Taveras, Bobby Crosby, Placido Polanco, Ken Griffey, Chris Young, Tyler Walker

It's amazing I'm doing as well as I am considering the talent I've given up. The guy who's winning this league is way out in front, but I think I stand a good shot of finishing second if I can get my ERA and WHIP down. Somehow, even with Podsednik and Taveras I'm not winning stolen bases. That should change.

5. scrumtulescent
Yahoo! Winner, h2h, 12 teams
3rd place, 71-50-9

For some reason, I'm doing much better in head-to-head leagues this year. That's not the way I'd like it. You can always sneak into the playoffs with a so-so record and then pull a title out your ass. It's much harder to come from behind in roto leagues.

My weakness in this league is my starting pitching, which can either be dominant or can shit the bed. At various times, Dan Haren, Greg Maddux, Jeremy Bonderman, Victor & Carlos Zambrano, Josh Beckett and Joe Blanton have pitched like Cy Young and Cy Endfield. That's okay in a roto league, where it all averages out, but it can kill you in h2h leagues.

I had the first pick and drafted Pujols, knowing full well that he'd have twice as many stolen bases as Beltran at this point (ha!). I bombed on closers, picking Shingo Takatsu and Mike Adams, but recovered through the waiver wire (Derrick Turnbow has been much better than I ever thought Adams would be). I just added Wily Mo Pena. I should get extra points for homers that travel more than 450 feet. Prediction: My roster is as strong as the two teams' in front of me, but I'll play it safe and predict a 2nd place finish.

4. Mean Mr. Moutard
Yahoo! Private League, h2h, 20 teams
3rd place, 67-43-10

I'm coming up on a soft part in my schedule and, as I announced to the league, I will assume 1st place within the next couple weeks. This is a league consisting of regular users of http://www.mockdraftcentral.com. We all wanted to try a really deep league, and it's been fun, even if quality free agents are scarce. There's been alot of adding on speculation (I've been happy with Robinson Cano and Brian Moehler), and the draft saw me using my chrystal ball (Kreskin wisely chose Dan Haren and Willie Taveras, but whiffed on Nick Lowry and Salomon Torres). I had a good feeling about my chances when I was able to grab Miguel Tejada with the 6th pick (you try finding 20 quality shortstops) and Pat Burrell in the 9th round.

I like my chances to win this league. I have power (Tejada, Burrell, Klesko, Palmeiro, Wright), speed (Taveras, Roberts, Clark), and saves (Hoffman, K-Rod, Bruney --not for long). I just hope my young pitchers can keep it up through September.

3. chubby earls
Yahoo! Public League, 5x5, 12 teams
2nd place, 87.5 pts

I wasn't planning on managing this team very closely, since I originally just wanted to get another live draft in. But it's turned into a successful team (I'm only two points out of first) and might be my best bet for a roto league title. Frankly, my hitting is awesome. I've weathered slow starts from Victor Martinez, Eric Chavez, Aubrey Huff and Todd Helton (all hitting well now) thanks to the unbelievable Brian Roberts, Carlos Lee and Bob Abreu. Rafael Furcal and Adam Dunn perform their roles and Felipe Lopez was a huge free agent pick-up.

The pitchers have also come around and now that I've built up a solid foundation of wins and strikeouts, I went after lowering my ERA & WHIP and adding saves, so I've amassed five closers. Barring injury, I think I will win this league.

2. San Ramon Uvula
ESPN Public League, 5x5, 10 teams
1st place (tied), (69 pts)

At least I'm doing well in the leagues I paid money to play in. In contrast to most of my other teams, my starting pitching is dominant. So dominant, in fact, that I've been able to trade away some of my starters to bolster my struggling offense. I still have Chris Carpenter, Roy Halladay, Rich Harden, Adam Eaton, Josh Beckett and Oliver Perez. Yes, there are some injury concerns, but that's actually a good thing, since I was exceeding the Games Started limit. The bullpen is strong, with B.J. Ryan, Miguel Batista, Ryan Dempster, and Brian Bruney (all of whom were either bargains or off-the-radar on draft day. Unless you're in an AL or NL-only, or a 20-team league, never pick closers early in the draft).

I've got good speed, and the home runs are starting to come along, but my team average is an embarrassing .267, (though only four of the current players on my team are below that: Furcal, Patterson, Palmeiro and Frank Thomas). I've got to raise that, and I hope my early grab of Mark Loretta off the waiver wire yesterday will help (and if Helton can pull a Hafner and bust out). I dunno, this one's going to come down to the wire, as my pitching could regress while my offense catches up. Prediction: I'm in first now, why predict otherwise?

1. Vorndam Scrumtulescent
ESPN Keeper League, h2h, 12 teams
1st place, (73-57)

I wouldn't be winning this league if it were a roto league, but my players have come together at the right times against the right opponents. My only real weakness is in saves, where I have two closers and have been frantically searching for a third all season. My starters are usually solid --who knew Greg Maddux would be biggest headache? I don't have a single great power hitter (except perhaps Guerrero), but all 15 of my players have at least 7 home runs. Similarly, Crawford and Rollins lead in stolen bases, but four other guys have at least seven. I don't think I've been beaten badly in a single match-up yet, but there's a good chance with this team that I'll lose 4-6. Even though this is currently my most successful team, I wouldn't be surprised if I were knocked out early in the playoffs.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?