Fantasy Baseball: Answers to the Major Draft Day Questions for MLB 2011 Season
With the fantasy baseball season heading into its home stretch, it is now (fairly) safe to answer the biggest questions we had at the beginning of the season.
Now is the time you can justify a questionable draft pick, kick yourself over a poor decision or even make a last-second trade that can put your team over the top.
If you look over your current roster (though it is probably different from the Opening Day version), you must have at least a couple of players your were unsure about on draft day. Some with looming questions or concerns that, finally, you can address.
Here are five major questions, now with answers, that fantasy owners had at the beginning of the season.
1. Who Will Be the Best of the Philadelphia Phillies' "Big Four"?
Answer: Unsurprisingly, Roy Halladay, but Cole Hamels has been a close second.
Halladay has been as good as advertised, going 15-4 with a 2.51 ERA. The 2010 Cy Young Award winner appears poised to repeat, as his 175.2 innings pitched and six complete games lead the league.
Hamels has had a career year, one that may be Cy Young-worthy as well. He's 13-6 with a 2.53 ERA, third-best in the league. His 0.96 WHIP leads the National League, while his 150 strikeouts are good for fifth.
Cliff Lee, meanwhile, has not had a bad season, but he hasn't compiled the numbers that fantasy owners and Philadelphia fans expected from his return to the City of Brotherly Love.
He has a respectable 12-7 record with a more than respectable 2.83 ERA. His 1.09 WHIP is fourth in the National League and his five shutouts rank first.
Finally, Roy Oswalt has a serviceable 3.84 ERA, but his 4-7 record is disappointing, as is his extended stint on the disabled list.
2. How Will Boston's Big Free Agent Sluggers Fare in Fenway?
Answer: Mixed results.
First baseman Adrian Gonzalez has had an outstanding debut in Boston, one that will probably land him his first Most Valuable Player award. Gonzalez leads all of baseball with a .351 batting average and 92 runs batted in. His .412 on-base percentage and 18 home runs aren't too shabby either.
Outfielder Carl Crawford, meanwhile, has not enjoyed much success on his second American League East team. His .257 average is only as high as it is due to a recent hot streak, while his 13 stolen bases are at least 20 fewer than most would have expected at this point in the season.
Both Gonzalez and Crawford were first-round draft picks in most fantasy leagues, but only one is justifying that ranking (as well as his mega-dollars from the Red Sox).
3. Will Jason Heyward and Mike Stanton Suffer from the Sophomore Slump?
Answer: Yes, but to varying degrees.
Jason Heyward hasn't shown any bit of his star-studded rookie form, hitting .222 with 12 home runs and 30 runs batted in. He's also faced some injury problems, mainly with his shoulder.
Heyward's season has been so disappointing that his starting spot may be in question. Atlanta Braves rookie Jose Constanza has been receiving significant playing time and making the most of it.
Mike Stanton, meanwhile, had a miserable April to start his second year in the big leagues. He hit .235 with two home runs. He has since rebounded to have a respectable season.
Stanton currently stands at .262 with 25 home runs and 69 runs batted in.
4. How Will Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder Fare in Their Walk Years?
Answer: Not as you might have expected.
Albert Pujols, who was entering the Walk Year to End All Walk Years, struggled in the first half of the season before finally returning to form. By the end of May, Prince Albert was hitting .267 with nine home runs.
He has since become Albert Pujols again, hitting .317 with eight home runs in June and .295 with seven home runs in July.
Not that anyone was too worried about him anyway.
Prince Fielder, meanwhile, has had a stellar season, hitting .303 with 26 home runs and 85 runs batted in. Few might have predicted that he would win the battle of the National League Central free agents-to-be, but that is just what he has done in 2011.
5. Who Will Be This Season's Diamonds in the Rough?
Lance Berkman, St. Louis Cardinals: .290 batting average, 28 home runs, 75 runs batted in
Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians: .290/19/66
Melky Cabrera, Kansas City Royals: .304/13/62
Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants: 9-2, 2.48 ERA
Joel Hanrahan, Pittsburgh Pirates: 30 saves, 1.08 ERA, 0.90 WHIP
Were any of these guys anywhere on your radar on draft day?