With the season coming to a close I thought today would be a good time to reflect a little bit on the all-stars for my fantasy team this year. These are the guys that made the difference to me and my team and got me to where I am today, the championship game in my fantasy league. They’re not necessarily the best players, but they’re the ones that made the difference for me.
Why not start with the most controversial? PED’s or no, Cabrera was a beast this season for the Giants and was a steadying force for inconsistent batting (ie. Jose Bautista’s slow start) on my fantasy team.
Alejandro de Aza
It seems like so long ago when I was trying to offload Jeter early in the pre-season. He was too old and well past his prime. Thankfully I didn’t find a taker because Jeter has had a magical resurgence this season.
My pitching was mostly by committee and was inconsistent this season. I had pitchers like C.J. Wilson, Felix Hernandez, and Zack Greinke; all perfectly capable starters but none of whom were the level of consistency I was hoping for. They held it together as a team, but individually they all fell apart at one point or another during the year.
That’s it for me, who were your fantasy all-stars this season? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
It’s a tough decision for fantasy owners right now: do you start pitcher Felix Hernandez against the Texas Rangers tonight? While Hernandez is definitely above Matthew Berry’s Wandy Line (the line that divides average pitchers and pitchers that you should start regardless of match-up), he is coming off a tough outing.
Hernandez got lit up by the Cleveland Indians for six earned runs over less than four innings of work in his last start and struck out only three batters. For the most part I would start him without question, expecting a bounce back game. But Felix isn’t up against just any team. He’s up against the Texas Rangers, owners of the MLB’s most fearsome offense and most fearsome offensive player in Josh Hamilton.
In the end, for me, the Wandy Line and Hernandez’s sixty-one strikeouts on the year won out. While my gut says sit him, my head says you don’t bench a sixty-one strikeout hurler because the competition is tough. I’m starting Felix Hernandez, what would you do? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
One of the most important things for a fantasy baseball manager to do is keep your eyes open for deals. Slumping players tend to be great candidates for buy low opportunities. Maybe the player is hurt, maybe his owner doesn’t trust him, or maybe he’s just having a slow start. Regardless, if your team needs a boost a buy-low candidate could pay off in the long run.
But, as with anything, the buy low strategy doesn’t come without its risks. There’s always the possibility the player in question won’t bounce back the way you expect or hope. Sometimes the injuries are just too much to overcome, sometimes the age catches up with you, and sometimes things just don’t work out in your favor.
Such may be the case for struggling slugger Adam Lind. Fantasy owners and the Toronot Blue Jays alike have to be incredibly disappointed in Lind’s performance this season: an average of .186, three home runs, and eleven RBI to date. And that’s only scratching the surface, Lind hasn’t performed at all this season. These stats are coming from a man who has gone from a career high WAR (wins above replacement) of 3.6 in 2009, to a WAR of -0.7 this season. The low WAR is off from his career low of -1.3 in 2010, and is just one of the stats that had some people trying to buy low on Adam Lind.
But things went even worse for Adam Lind and his fantasy owners today as the Blue Jays dropped the slugger to Triple-A in favor of Yan Gomes, who is set to make his major league debut tonight. While this is far from the end of the line for Lind, it is concerning to see a 28 year old struggling this hard to put it together. You have to believe that when Lind does get the call-up, fantasy owners will need to take a wait and see approach before putting in a waiver claim.
Over four weeks into the new baseball season I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a rookie league manager. This year I decided to gather a bunch of friends and start our own league instead of playing in other leagues. This has also offered a new experience for me: my first ever keeper league.
The excitement and detail of a keeper league can’t be overstated. No move can be made without careful thought. You’re not playing just for this season, you’re trying to build sustained success across several seasons. Which brings me to the topic for this article: are closers overrated in keeper leagues?
I don’t mean in terms of day to day operations, of course. Unless you want to get rid of a good opportunity to keep your ERA low and earn some saves, you definitely need closers. I mean in terms of the long run, are closers worth locking up with a keeper slot? Let’s take a quick look at some closers and how they’ve fared this season.
Drew Storen – Washington Nationals
One of the rising young arms, Storen began this season on the DL while three other pitchers held down the closers role for him. He’s still expected back before the All Star break, but there’s some bad news: one of those three pitchers holding his job turned out to be pretty good. Henry Rodriguez has done a fantastic job as everyone else has fallen by the wayside.
So, where does this leave Storen? Still a possible top level closer, does he come back into the staff in a set-up or long relief role? Does Washington demote Henry Rodriguez despite his performance? Or, does Washington now have a carrot to dangle as trade bait? Only time will tell, but nothing is certain right now.
Brian Wilson – San Francisco Giants
Possibly a victim of poor management, Brian Wilson was lost to his fantasy owners after only one appearance this season. A hero of the Giants World Series’ title, this is now the second year in a row Brian Wilson has been shut down. For a terrific closer and fantasy option, Wilson is quickly dropping out of the picture.
Heath Bell – Miami Marlins
One of Miami’s big off-season acquisitions, Bell has been nothing short of inconsistent and terrible this season. So much so that manager Ozzie Guillen recently demoted him from the closers role. With a ballooning ERA and no signs of making a save anytime soon, Bell now finds himself in a set-up role, a specialist. He’ll most likely be back due to his long and hefty contract, but will he be worth looking at as a viable fantasy option?
Mariano Rivera – New York Yankees
Yes, even the greats are susceptible. Even the greatest of all time. Until last week, Mariano Rivera was the exception to my argument. A beacon of consistency in the closer ocean. Unfortunately the Sandman has gone down with a torn ACL, removing the games best closer for the season. Now Rivera has said he’ll be back, so his career isn’t over. But his time as a fantasy stud may be. A torn ACL isn’t an easy injury to overcome, and it is hard to judge if Rivera’s now 42 year old body will be able to return to form.
These are just a few examples, but there are questions all over the league. Papelbon is being underutilized in Philly, Javy Guerra has been ousted for Kenly Jansen in LA, and the Red Sox can’t seem to find any answer right now. Even potential great closers like Aroldis Chapman in Cincinnati are stuck in middle relief limbo right now. So my question to you is this: are closers worth using a keeper slot on? Most of the effective closers right now are pitchers who were available on fantasy waivers the first week of the season. Are there any closers left right now that inspire the confidence for you to use a keeper slot? If so, who? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Images used in this blog remain the property of their respectful owners. No infringement is intended.