Fantasy Baseball 2012: 7 Ways to Know Your Fantasy Draft Was a Disaster
Immediately after a fantasy draft concludes, half the room is thinking "I own this league. Carve my name into the trophy today," while the other half is thinking, "How do I trade this entire team right now?"
Obviously, it's too early to know what your team will do. But there are still some bad signs at this early stage in the season. None of these things mean to go crazy and rework your entire roster, but they are things to keep an eye on as the month progresses.
I generally avoid trading for the first three weeks of the season just because no owner is rational. Everyone is panicky and with most deals that early, the owner lives to regret them.
Pinch Hitter Syndrome
This is more common in deeper leagues, when you find yourself standing and cheering because Juan Pierre, your starting fourth outfielder, has been called on to pinch run in the seventh inning and you might get something out of him.
In general, if you find yourself selecting someone you know won't be starting, your draft probably could have gone better. Now, the specific example in this case, Pierre, is an upside speed play on a team with injury issues. Pierre could steal 25-30 bases, even playing part-time, with 350-400 at bats.
I own Mark Reynolds in a points league that subtracts half a point for strikeouts. I drafted him because he's 30 HR, 85 RBI, 80 R in the bank, but he comes with 200-plus strikeouts, something I had to accept. So when watching Orioles' games, I find myself cheering for Reynolds if he grounds out, just because he put it in play.
One guy like this on a team is survivable. Adam Dunn, Austin Jackson, Carlos Pena...life goes on. Owning two or more of these players can doom your batting average beyond repair.
Choose wisely. There is value in owning one of them, and you probably got a bargain in the draft because of the prohibitive strikeouts, but you know what you're getting. Be happy with every out that doesn't come with three strikes.
Max Scherzer's 15 wins would have been very helpful to many fantasy teams in 2011. Chances are they would have won a few people their rotisserie league. But what would his 4.43 ERA and 1.35 WHIP have done to that team as well?
There is a common misconception in fantasy baseball that pitchers from good teams should always be drafted earlier because of their wins potential, but throwing out a pitcher just for the win is a losing strategy.
And if you find yourself in need of a starting pitcher and looking at "Who do the Yankees have pitching today?" then you might want to rethink your team's construction.
One for 39-Osis
Two of my three fantasy teams combined to go 1-for-39 on April 5, AKA Opening Day for most of those players. One team, a points league, went 0-for-15. The other, a H2H category league, went 1-for-24, the lone hit coming from Emilio Bonifacio and led by an incredible 0-for-7 from Colby Rasmus.
Its obviously early, and the players you drafted, you drafted for a reason, but if you own Alex Gordon (currently 0-for-13 on the season), it's okay to be a little worried.
This is the time to know your players. If you took streaky players (think Alex Rios), then there's no cause for alarm. You expected times like this. If you drafted players who are generally consistent and reliable, then if they're under .200 after a month, maybe there is something to worry about.
The Saves Bug
If you paid for saves, or thought you were paying for saves, it may trouble you that Brian Wilson, Craig Kimbrel and Drew Storen have yet to throw a pitch this season. Mariano Rivera, Huston Street, Heath Bell, John Axford and Jose Valverde have combined for two losses and no saves.
Meanwhile, Frank Francisco has three saves and Fernando Rodney has two. It is obviously early in the season, and it is too early to freak out, unless you own Storen, who is on the DL already and still has not been diagnosed definitively.
Don't pay for saves. Maybe you will listen next season.
You took these guys for their safety. You knew they'd go out every fifth day and dominate, helping your ERA, WHIP, strikeouts and even grab a win.
Except Felix Hernandez gave up six earned runs in his first start. James Shields and Yovani Gallardo allowed six as well. Dan Haren, Tim Lincecum, CC Sabathia and Matt Cain each allowed five in their first times out this season.
Of course, they should all recover and be just fine, providing everything you hoped for. However, the stress of starters is that you have to wait five days to be reassured. Have patience with your aces.
Rest in peace, Ryan Madson and Joakim Soria.
Grady Sizemore is on the 60-day DL. Andrew Bailey might be headed that way, and Joba Chamberlain seems doomed as well.
This spring didn't see the Adam Wainwright type, catastrophic, season-ending injury, but teams that drafted some of those high-end closers paid dearly in a round in which quality bats were still available. We feel your pain.