I was quite pleased after my fantasy draft. I felt I got a number of budget home runs at premium positions (Aaron Hill, Victor Martinez, Adam Lind, Pablo Sandoval, Kendry Morales). I also collected a number of under the radar lead-off men for some stolen bases and runs scored (Justin Upton, Chone Figgins, Andrew McCutchen). April went pretty well, although Hill got injured Sandoval and Lind were off to great starts. I grabbed Rafael Furcal as my shortstop. Things looked good.
And. Then. It. All. Fell. Apart. Fast.
Morales, Furcal, and Martinez got hurt, Lind and Hill became less than useless, Figgins couldn’t hit a barn door. My bench wasn’t too bad, with people like Casey McGehee and Jason Heyward. I tried to replace my starters with more “bargin” power hitters, such as Colby Rasmus, Aubrey Huff and J.D. Drew.
Bottom line: my team was mediocre. They could “compete,” but rarely beat a team that didn’t lose its starting first baseman and contains so many fantasy busts.
So I blew it up.
I realized that I couldn’t put together a HR/RBI oriented batting average with a team of replacement players. But I had two things going for me: first, I was in an 8 man league with small rosters, so there was a deep pool of players from which to choose; second, I’m in a league that uses 14 offensive categories: R, 1B, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, SB, BB, K, TB, E, AVG, OBP, and OFA (outfield assists).
So last weekend I gutted my team, dumping Colby Rasmus, J.D. Drew, Casey McGehee, Carlos Beltran, Chone Figgins, and Andre Either. I picked up Angel Pagan, Andres Torres, Brian Roberts and soon-to-return Jacoby Ellsbury. No longer would I compete in the traditional power/scoring related categories. My entire team is now built around slap hitting, speed and plate-discipline, with an offense of:
- C Victor Martinez
- 1B Aubrey Huff
- 2B Brian Roberts
- 3B Chone Figgins (2B)
- SS Rafael Furcal
- OF Andrew McCutcheon
- OF Justin Upton
- OF Angel Pagan
- UT Andres Torres
- BN Jason Heyward (OF)
- BN Pablo Sandoval (1B / 3B)
Martinez has been solid at catcher. Huff is currently 2nd in the NL in WAR (4.9) and in OPS (.949). Roberts has missed the whole season on the DL, I am hoping to pick up some speed and BB’s at 2B down the stretch. Ramirez has picked it up after a slow start, but he is the one player that doesn’t fit this team. As I write this, I am thinking about dumping him for Figgins again. Furcal is cooling off after a ridiculous first half, but there’s not too many options at SS this year. My outfield is crazy fast, with Angel Pagan, Justin Upton, Andres Torres, Andrew McCutcheon, Jason Heyward, and Jacoby Ellsbury. Pagan is quitely hitting .308/.368/.480 (4.5 WAR) with 23 steals, Torres is .286/.272/.505 with 19 steals, good for a 3.9 WAR and has been one of the NL’s MVP’s since taking over the lead-off spot in late April. McCutcheon’s at a very respectable .288/.364./.435 with 21 steals. Heyward’s now locked in to the #2 spot in the Braves lineup, he’s walking at a nice clip and should see more fastballs hitting in front of Jones; since moving to 2nd in the order, he’s got a .282/.383/.412 line with 6 steals and 28 runs in 43 games. Upton’s strikeouts drive me crazy (120 before August 1st?!?), but he’s gotten better as the season’s gone on–he’s got a crazy .412/.500/.745 split since the All-Star break. I’ll likely have to cut one outfielder when Ellsbury comes off the DL–it will be a tough choice. Pagan might lose playing time with Beltran back, Torres’s minor league career suggests he’s a regression candidate.
My pitching staff is silly good. I’ve had the same staff since May 1st with only two changes–David Aardasma is out, replaced by Houston Street. And I added Josh Beckett (dropping an offensive player) to help me with weekly wins. But I don’t need too much help; here’s my staff:
- Tim Lincecum
- Stephen Strassburg
- Matt Cain
- Francsico Liriano
- Roy Oswalt
- Josh Beckett
- Heath Bell
- Billy Wagner
- Houston Street
- Francisco Rodriguez
- Daniel Bard (my league scores holds)
They are a sick group. If I can squeeze some cheap offense out of all those changes, I might be able to overcome my horrible draft and mediocre season and sneak into the playoffs.
And, since I first started writing this post, I decided to dump Ramirez and pick up Figgins again. For the third time.