5 Fantasy Baseball Letdowns of 2012 You Will Never Forget
You should never forget these letdowns because they were avoidable. The writing was on the wall and there are lessons to be learned from such mistakes.
Not all of these players were first-round picks or even early picks expected to be studs, but they have all fallen short of expectations to a drastic level and something about their performance did not just lack a positive impact on your team, but likely brought a negative one.
Feel free to share your biggest letdowns in the comment box when you finish reading, as every owner has at least one horror story at year's end. If you don't, maybe you should avoid playing in 2013, as those things tend to catch up with you.
No. 1 Hyped Rookie Pitchers
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Matt Moore was drafted among the top 30 starting pitchers in many fantasy drafts at the season's outset. Owners giggled like valley girls about his Hall of Fame upside, 2011 playoff performance and on and on.
Moore is 8-7 with a 3.84 ERA and 1.391 WHIP thus far. He is walking over four batters per nine innings and, while the strikeouts have been there (8.5 per nine innings), he is averaging less than six innings per start.
Diamondbacks fans were pleading with the team to put Trevor Bauer in the team's major league rotation from day one. On June 28, Bauer finally got his chance. Four starts later, his ERA was over six, he had 13 walks in 16.1 innings and had gone over four innings in just one of them. He was subsequently sent back down to the minors.
Jacob Turner and Julio Teheran, high on many prospect lists, have combined for four relatively ugly starts in short stints at the major league level as well.
Lesson learned: let someone else reach for the all-hype, no-track-record rookie starter.
No. 2 Closers
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Mariano Rivera: five saves, out for the season before June 1.
John Axford: 5.21 ERA, now out of the closer role.
Brian Wilson: one save, out for the season before April 15.
Ryan Madsen: done before the season started.
Drew Storen: one save, not the closer after returning from injury to find Tyler Clippard owning it.
Javy Guerra, Jordan Walden, Heath Bell, Sergio Santos, Kyle Farnsworth, Matt Thornton and the list goes on. The amount of annual turnover of ninth inning men means closers should never be high on anyone's priority list on draft day.
ESPN had Mariano Rivera, John Axford and Brian Wilson among their top five preseason relievers. And they were not the only ones.
Lesson learned: you can always find closers in-season. Spend high draft picks elsewhere, or on Craig Kimbrel.
No. 3 "Safe" Aces
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On August 8, Roy Halladay is 5-6 with an ERA over four. He has 77 strikeouts in 94 innings and has one game over eight strikeouts since May 1. Cliff Lee is 2-6 with a 3.78 ERA. In his last 10 starts, he has allowed four or more earned runs in six of them. And I think we have harped on Tim Lincecum enough.
The fact of the matter is, like running backs in football, starting pitchers do not stay at the top of the game as long as position players. The physical strain on the body from hurling 100 pitches every five days, including the wear and tear on elbow and shoulder, is not conducive to long primes.
Lesson learned: keeper league owners, invest in young bats. But also see slide No. 4.
No. 4 Young MVP Candidates
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Evan Longoria was coming off a season in which, at 25 years old, he mashed 31 home runs, knocked in 99 RBI and scored 78 in runs. That was kid stuff compared to his 55/217/196 from the two years combined before that at 23 and 24 years old.
Today, Longoria has four home runs and 20 RBI, having played in just 24 games and only one since April 30.
At least Longoria has an injury excuse. Justin Upton is coming off a 2011 breakout campaign in which he batted .289 with 31 HR, 88 RBI, 21 SB and 105 R. He is now batting .274 with nine home runs, 45 RBI and 13 steals in 102 games. His OPS is down 134 points from the previous season and he was rumored to be on the trading block for the month before the deadline.
At least Upton was not expected to hit 40 home runs. On August 8 of 2011, 21-year-old Giancarlo Stanton had 25 HR, 69 RBI and 59 runs scored. On August 8 of 2012, 22-year-old Giancarlo Stanton has 19 HR, 51 RBI and 46 runs. Stanton has been hampered by back problems and otherwise has performed sufficiently, but for those who drafted him hoping for 40 bombs and 120 knocked in, his probable 28/70 line is less appealing.
Lesson learned: injuries happen. Sometimes you pick the right guy and he gets hurt. That's sports.
No. 5 Low Average Mashers
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Mark Reynolds came into 2012 with four straight years of 28-plus home runs, 85-plus RBI and 79-plus runs scored. He has eight, 33 and 39 at this point in the season. He is a career .235 batter hitting .211. Carlos Pena came in with five straight of 28-plus HR and 80-plus RBI, with three of those seasons topping 30 and 100. He has 15 HR and 46 RBI at the moment. The career .235 batter is hitting .196.
Finally, and most depressingly, Dan Uggla's six straight seasons of over 26 home runs (five straight over 30), 80 RBI, 83 runs scored and he has 12, 54 and 61 on August 8. This .254 career hitter is batting .212.
Lesson learned: sacrificing average at the altar of pure power does not always yield results.