Full Disclosure: I've learned a valuable lesson
Our Scott White fell into the classic Fantasy trap this past week ... overthinking. As he writes in his latest edition of Full Disclosure, sitting Jon Lester for two-start Wandy Rodriguez was simply a bad idea.
That was the sound of me getting punched in the stomach, which might as well have happened as I suffered the pain and humiliation of the most boneheaded lineup decision I've made all year.
It seems so obvious in retrospect, so why oh why did I start Wandy Rodriguez over Jon Lester in my 10-team mixed league?
Rodriguez was coming off his worst two starts of the season, allowing 19 hits in 8 2/3 innings and scoring minus-4 for the week. Lester, who keep in mind is the better pitcher, was coming off perhaps his best start of the season, striking out 12 batters in six innings at Toronto.
But I started Rodriguez, and I paid the price.
In case you missed it, both pitchers did exactly what you'd expect. Rodriguez allowed 10 hits and seven earned runs in five innings, and Lester threw a complete-game two-hitter with 11 strikeouts. My one boneheaded decision cost me 50 Fantasy points.
Which begs the question, "Why?"
Yeah, you could make the argument Rodriguez's two poor starts came on the road and he tends to pitch better at home, but it goes against the more obvious argument that Lester is better and just so happened to be hotter.
Ability trumps everything else in lineup decisions. Unless you have an irrefutable reason to sit the better pitcher, you start the better pitcher. I made the case myself in an earlier Full Disclosure.
But no-o-o, just because I'm a so-called "expert" with the so-called "answers," I can break the so-called "rules." Well, you know what? I'm really just a so-called "loser."
|Jose Reyes (DL)||SS||NYM|
|Pat Burrell (DL)||OF||TB|
Actually, I ended up winning, but that's not the point.
If you try to get cute, if you try to get clever and outthink yourself by doing the reverse of the obvious, you'll usually end up paying for it. And it'll hurt. It'll hurt bad.
In fact, it might feel worse than a punch in the stomach. Try aiming a little lower.
12-team mixed Rotisserie (4th; 5x5 Score: 72.5)
This team has become a little too push-button for my tastes.
Actually, I love it. Fewer decisions means fewer mistakes. Then again, I don't want to become so complacent that I end up resigning to a third- or fourth-place finish. I could eventually try trading one of my starting pitchers for another bat, but I'm hoping Jose Reyes , when he returns, will give me the boost I need to move up a spot or two in the standings.
And that non-move is really the only move I can report for my own team. Reyes' latest injury sidelines him for a couple more weeks, forcing me to ride the unappealing Emmanuel Burriss longer than I expected. Well, who else am I going to use? Willie Bloomquist ?
So to avoid saying something mundane or nothing at all, I thought I'd comment on a few moves made by other teams around the league, starting with the reaction to the two latest promotions to the majors. No, I don't mean Matt Wieters and Tommy Hanson . Come on now; somebody already owned them.
Everybody had an opportunity to claim Gordon Beckham and Andrew McCutchen , though, and sure enough, somebody did. Two somebodies, actually. Beckham doesn't surprise me since he qualifies at the weakest position and has immediate power potential, but I don't see McCutchen making enough of an impact to deserve a roster spot in this league. He might steal a few bases, but I don't trust him for power or a consistent batting average at age 22. Quite frankly, I'd rather have Melky Cabrera , the player released in favor of McCutchen.
Nick Swisher didn't last long on the waiver wire after I released him, which doesn't surprise me considering he started to heat up immediately afterward. At some point, I bet his new owner will want to cut him too. That's just the way it goes with Swisher.
|Ryan Doumit (DL)||C||PIT|
Believe it or not, somebody actually claimed Mike MacDougal in this league. Yeah, 12 teams. I know the Nationals recently named him their closer, but isn't that kind of like me naming a pork chop dinner? Will it mean anything tomorrow? Does anyone really expect MacDougal to become Lockdown Joe and gobble up the Nationals' 11 remaining save opportunities Eric Gagne-style? He has the shelf life of a fresh mackerel.
Then again, the guy who claimed MacDougal cut B.J. Ryan . No harm in that, I guess.
10-team mixed Head-to-Head (5th; Record: 5-4)
To make my decision to bench Jon Lester for Wandy Rodriguez even worse, I was having a great week up until Lester's start. I had about a 200-point lead on Thursday and looked on track for my first runaway victory since my 3-0 start.
But it all went horribly awry from that point forward. Come Sunday, my lead had evaporated, and I found myself in near hysterics, living and dying by every Brian Wilson save and Shane Victorino home run. Even a Chase Utley strikeout could've meant the difference between victory and defeat.
But it didn't. I managed to hold on for a 370-369 victory.
Imagine a sigh of relief longer and louder than most people recite the alphabet. Even so, the scare did the trick. Lester, welcome back. Rodriguez, take a seat.
Apparently, all my hitters decided to wake up at once, because not only did I lead the league in scoring this week, but I also witnessed the rebirth of Andre Ethier and Adam Lind from my bench. How do I welcome them back? I can't go with the old standby of benching Melvin Upton , because he woke up too. Ben Zobrist certainly looks like a mainstay after hitting three home runs in his first week on the job. Really, I have no choice but to sit Denard Span and Todd Helton , who I had come to consider must-starts given their consistency from week to week. If the Blue Jays weren't visiting the Rangers this week, I'd probably stick with Span over Lind, but I have to take advantage of a streaky hitter gone hot in Texas.
I swear if it backfires, I'll never do it again.
On a side note, this league became my first in which somebody released Geovany Soto . I wouldn't call it unfathomable, particularly in a 10-team league -- he really has done nothing, after all -- but you can bet I'll make every effort to claim him myself. Shoot, I could use him until Ryan Doumit comes back. What good has Yadier Molina done for me?
12-team AL-only Rotisserie (10th; 5x5 Score: 53.5)
|Jose Molina (DL)||C||NYY|
|Xavier Nady (DL)||OF||NYY|
|Luis Montanez (DL)||OF||BAL|
|Koji Uehara (DL)||P||BAL|
Well ... it's progress, but more because of Jon Lester , Jeff Niemann and Rich Hill than any of the hitters I acquired last week. Yes, not even Hill's meltdown Sunday at Oakland could negate his two-hit gem earlier in the week. I have no idea what to expect from him going forward, but Lester and Niemann give me reason to believe I won't even miss A.J. Burnett and Edwin Jackson .
Just to recap, I traded Burnett and Jackson along with Fernando Rodney and Jeff Larish in two separate trades for Pat Burrell , Placido Polanco , Xavier Nady and Trevor Crowe . I wasn't thrilled with my haul, but in two months of trying to trade for offense, I was convinced it was the best I could get.
So now we wait to see if it has any kind of impact. And wait and wait. You know, a return from Burrell or Nady might speed this process along. Nady has me worried with the recent pain in his elbow, and Burrell won't return until Friday at the earliest. I went ahead and activated Burrell, though. I wouldn't advise it in mixed leagues or even shallower AL-only formats, but when you have to choose between half a week from Burrell and a full week from Crowe, well, you really don't have any choice to make.
As you can see, I decided to trust Hill for his one start against the Braves this week, but if I had the option of adding a middle reliever off the waiver wire, I might have gone that route instead. I just don't feel comfortable releasing any of the players on my bench -- not yet, anyway. I could see Mike Carp and Kila Ka'aihue becoming regulars for my team if Seattle and Kansas City opt to deal some of their veterans. The Mariners consider Carp their long-term solution at first base, and the Royals should consider Ka'aihue their long-term solution somewhere. That guy can mash. Both guys walk plenty, which you know I like.
Here's my immediate hope for this team: The Rangers realize David Murphy can't do much for them offensively and decide to make Andruw Jones an everyday player with Josh Hamilton sidelined, giving me an unexpected 30-homer man and middle-of-the-order hitter for one of the best lineups in baseball. I also wouldn't mind the Athletics naming Aaron Cunningham their starter in right field for the rest of the season. He might beat Carp and Ka'aihue to the punch.
12-team NL-only Rotisserie (10th; 5x5 Score: 56.0)
Just when I think this team's on the verge of breaking out, it loses four places in the standings on Sunday and ends up right back where it started at the beginning of the week.
How long do we have to repeat this process before I realize this team doesn't have any breaking out to do? It needs a change, preferably an improvement, and the only way I see it getting one is through a trade.
J.A. Happ gives me the maneuverability I didn't have before. I trust him, and that trust allows me to rely on him for wins and strikeouts while I shop a bigger-name pitcher like Ryan Dempster . I might even deal Yovani Gallardo if someone makes a good enough offer.
|Jorge De La Rosa||P||COL|
|Aramis Ramirez (DL)||3B||CHC|
|Chad Tracy (DL)||1B||ARI|
|Angel Pagan (DL)||OF||NYM|
|Brett Myers (DL)||SP||PHI|
Offense wins in these leagues. I don't necessarily need an ace when I can find a million Nick Masset on the waiver wire and finish at the top in ERA and WHIP. Aces help for sure, but mostly in two categories -- wins and strikeouts. When I trail the rest of the league in all five hitting categories, what good is preserving two pitching categories?
But in order for the trade to make sense, I need to get a player who can help in at least three hitting categories -- maybe even four considering the high-end ability of the pitchers I'm offering. I can afford to take my time waiting for the right deal. With Aramis Ramirez marinating in a DL slot, I don't have to act with as much desperation as I did in my AL-only league.
Then again, I have one less potential breakout bat now that the Giants seem content starting Pablo Sandoval at first base and leaving Travis Ishikawa on the bench. I'll have to address that gaping need at some point in the future.
I have a confession to make: I signed Mike MacDougal in this league. How's that for the height of hypocrisy? Hey, don't judge me. Saves don't come easily in leagues this deep -- how do you think I got Jayson Werth and Emilio Bonifacio for Ryan Franklin ? -- so if MacDougal gets even a whiff of consistent opportunities, he's a must-add. Besides, I used only $1 of my FAAB budget on him. I still have the remaining $99, which gives me more than anyone else, so I'll still have first dibs on any player that goes from the AL to the NL (by design, I might add).
Since I bothered to add MacDougal, I might as well start him and ride those save opportunities, scary as they might be, for as long as they last. I'll also get Jose Valverde back this weekend. I wouldn't recommend activating him when you have other closers or worthwhile starting pitchers, but just one save from him this weekend would validate sitting a middle reliever for him.
20-team mixed Head-to-Head (2nd (NL-only side); Record: 6-3)
(10 teams NL-only, 10 teams AL-only)
With two straight victories, I suddenly look like a contender in this monstrosity of a league. Who would've thought my team would catch fire with first-round pick Jose Reyes on the DL? Go David Eckstein !
OK, I won't deny I've gotten lucky with Eckstein so far. He had two of his best weeks of the season, capped by a game-tying three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday. Players like Eckstein just don't do things like that.
|Chris Iannetta (DL)||C||COL|
|Jose Reyes (DL)||SS||NYM|
|Brett Myers (DL)||SP||PHI|
|Anibal Sanchez (DL)||SP||FLA|
So I have to expect my offense to contribute less in the coming weeks without Reyes. And guess what? I get to play the highest-scoring team in the league this week -- one so dominant that, even with my 6-3 record, I don't feel like I have an honest chance of winning.
So I did something radical with my starting lineup this week. Instead of making sure I had my best pitchers in the lineup, meaning even SP-eligible middle relievers could start if I thought they gave me the best chance to avoid hefty negatives in our new standard scoring, I went old school. I loaded up on as many starts as possible -- nine, as a matter of fact -- and will resort to praying all five pitchers perform up to the best of their abilities.
Let's face it: To beat this guy, I have to have a monster week, and by limiting my starts, I limit my upside. I can take a better-safe-than-sorry approach against my usual competition, when I feel comfortable leaning on my high-scoring offense and using my pitching staff as nothing more than a supplement. But against this behemoth of an opponent, I have to roll the dice and pray for an overkill.
I don't often change my strategy for a particular opponent, but in this case, I think it makes the most sense.
In the same vein, I chose to activate Chris Iannetta and release Chris Snyder . The need for more points outweighs the somewhat minimal risk of Iannetta suffering a setback. I did make a somewhat cautious move in replacing Gary Sheffield with Nick Johnson , but you could argue I never should've benched Johnson in the first place. He's just too good.
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