Every year fantasy owners make bold predictions, and sometimes they are right. Those predictions lead you to fantasy gold. Although sometimes, you make a bold prediction and fall flat on your face. Fortunately, hindsight is always 20/20, so we can go back and look at the mistakes we made and laugh about them. Let's go back to four months ago and look at some of the things we thought going into our drafts...
Two years ago, Jimmy Rollins carried fantasy teams on his shoulders through thick and thin. This year, it took him half a season to find his swing. Batting averages all over the country are hurting from his "swing for the fences" mentality. His swing has changed from the beginning of the season to now—which tells me improvements are on the horizon—but it's hard to think he can repair the damage he has already caused. It's difficult to imagine this once MVP will be a first round selection in drafts next year.
If anything, hold off and buy him really low, right before the All-Star break...you know he always turns it on in the second half.
Someone who can hit 140 RBI, 35 HR while collecting a .300 average belongs in the first round, right? Well, not this slugger.
Josh Hamilton had one of the best seasons out of anyone last year, but this year the injury bug hit him very hard. However, this injury bug is a little different than anyone else's...
As you know, Hamilton had a nasty drug habit for a while but finally kicked it. God bless him, but for fantasy purposes this drug addiction really hurt his future in the majors. His body aged very quickly because of the reliance on drugs, and I wouldn't be surprised to see injuries plague the rest of his career because of it.
Let that be a lesson to all of you out there...drugs are bad, m'kay?
The big rumor going into this season was that Jason Motte, a converted catcher, will be the team's new lights out closer. Ryan Franklin did a fine job last year but...does he really have the stuff to be an elite pitcher? Jason Motte featured a 96 mph heater. Unfortunately, he also featured very little experience in one of the most pressure-filled jobs in sports. On opening day, Motte blew a save in disgusting fashion and ended up losing his job to Ryan Franklin.
If only I could have Franklin on my team instead of Motte...
Last year Dice-K was 18-3 with a very shiny 2.90 ERA and a decent 1.32 WHIP. It's too bad this year had to be the year the world came crashing down on him. After a few ineffective starts, Dice-K went on the DL. He returned to be even more ineffective and went back to the DL, never to be heard from again...
This year you had your sleeper picks all sorted nicely on a list, and Chris Davis was at the top. You couldn't wait to grab him in the middle rounds and laugh in everyone's face when he slugged out 30 HR, right? I mean, after all...he did hit 17 HR in 295 AB last year. The signs pointed to a monster year, right?
This powerhouse has some definite holes in his swing, and it took the team half the season to finally realize he needed some minor league work to correct it. Too bad he demolished your batting average in the process...
BJ Upton is an interesting guy. He's got a world of power, and he is one heck of a speedy guy. He has all the tools to be one of the best fantasy players in the league. This year though, he had a lot of trouble finding his swing. It took him almost the entire first half to stabilize his batting average. Luckily for his owners, he still ran with conviction (32 SB on the year). His strikeout numbers are up this year and his walks are down, which don't translate well for a lead-off man.
He's found recent success, but one can only hope he can keep it going.
Pujols is having a fantasy season for the ages. Last year he played through a wrist injury and still received MVP honors. Why wasn't he taken first overall in drafts this year, considering the success he had last year? I can only think of one reason, and it is because he can't produce in every category like Hanley or Wright can.
Look who's laughing now!
I think Pujols decided to steal 10 bases this year just to prove to everyone that he could. He is *that* good. Next year, when you get the first overall pick, you will know better than to pass on Pujols.
At the beginning of Jose Reyes' career, he was labeled a guy who can't stay healthy. Then he rattled off four 150+ game seasons and became a fantasy cornerstone you could take to the bank.
This year, it all came crashing down on him.
After a decent first few weeks, Reyes developed right calf tendinitis. This is a terrible thing to hear from a guy like Reyes because the name of his game is speed. This injury sapped all his speed away, and he was forced to the DL. Still not playing, fantasy owners who drafted him are looking for ways to recover. Most owners didn't recover very well though, and are sitting in the bottom half of the rankings thus far.
This mild-mannered fantasy hero went from hero to zero very quickly in the eyes of owners. Through the first half of the season, Papi destroyed batting averages with his swing-and-a-miss style of playing. He was already a fantasy burden because he could only play DH, and his sub .200 average was killing owners even more.
Here is a bigger mistake you made after drafting Papi...dropping Papi. Right when it seemed like there was no light at the end of the tunnel, owners around the country abandoned ship. It seemed like right after everyone decided to drop him, he was back to his slugging ways. He now has 13 HR for the season and looks to hit around 10 more.
A double-whammy for fantasy owners...
I can't tell you how many times in the preseason I read that Liriano was a sleeper Cy Young candidate. I have to admit, I was sucked in by the hype. Last year I picked up Liriano after he was called up from the minors, and he gave me a string of incredible starts. I figured he could only get better this season.
BOY, WAS I WRONG OR WHAT?
I drafted Liriano in the 6th round in my league...with guys like Billingsley, Beckett, Lee, and Hernandez still on the table. If I could take back the damage Liriano did to my team in April and May, I'd be in first place in my league.
What happened to Liriano? Well, many things point to his decline. First of all, his velocity fell from the 96-98 mph range to the 90-94 mph range. Four mph might not sound like a lot to you, but to major league hitters you might as well sit it on a tee when you lose that much velocity. Because of the loss in velocity, Liriano has had to "reinvent" his pitching and only recently has he become more comfortable. He also isn't throwing his slider—which used to embarrass hitters—and because his fastball isn't what it used to be, batters can just sit on his pitches and wait for one good pitch to send out of the park.
Liriano has also expressed uncertainty when guys get on base against him. He doesn't know what pitches to throw now that he has lost his overpowering stuff.
All of these reason point to the downfall of Liriano. He is like a mechanic who has lost his tool set and is forced to use his neighbors. Will he finally regain his velocity and strikeout potential that he once had? Maybe. Not this year though.