At this point in the fantasy season, there are likely no more suggested pickups that can help you win your league. In all likelihood, the money places have already been determined. Rather than suggesting players who won’t help you until next year or minor leaguers who haven’t played in nearly a month, I thought I’d use this space to reflect on a few controllable miscues that happened along the way for a team that was expected to be a contender from the first day of the season. With two days left in the season, I’m currently in second place with 130 roto points, just ahead of my bitter rival with 127. Although my chances of “winning” second place seem to be decent, it did not have to come down to this.
First mistake: Don’t fall behind your projected maximum games and innings. I began the year with an extremely talented but shallow team. I put myself in this position by trusting injured players. I thought I made a very deft move in trading George Springer for A.J. Pollock – strikeouts count against you in my league – until Pollock went and broke his collarbone. I also had Tommy John returnees in the form of Yu Darvish, Zack Wheeler, and Patrick Corbin. Despite a setback, I obviously don’t regret holding onto Yu, but Wheeler never returned and Corbin was a net negative during the brief time I activated him. Lastly, I decided I liked Brandon Drury, so I allowed him to take up a spot on my reserve bench as my ten minor league spots were already filled. My league allows for 13 bench spots, which seems like a lot, but considering that each team uses around four relievers who specialize in holds, that many dead spots hurts. On top of that, I couldn’t start Marcus Stroman, Michael Wacha, or Devin Mesoraco due to injury and/or poor performance. The end result was that I slowly fell behind in games and innings. As the season reaches its final days, I’m projected to be 20 games short at catcher, five games shorts at outfield, and ten games shorts at utility. I’m only on pace to meet my innings limit because I’ve been streaming five pitchers per day for the last week. My nearest competitor, only three points back, and a person that I constantly bicker with, is filled up at all positions other than catcher. He’s also only one home run and three RBI behind me. In case you’re not a mathematician, that could lead to a four point swing and a third place finish. From the pitching side, the constant streaming has led me to make some bad choices. For example, I started Matt Wisler tonight. I knew I shouldn’t, but I did it anyway. And he turned a great pitching night into a decent night.
Second mistake: Don’t rely on injured players returning to form. The negative effects of this mistake have already been laid out in the preceding paragraph, but the hope for a timely recovery to Zack Wheeler led me to reject preseason offers of Jay Bruce, Matt Kemp, or Kole Calhoun for him. Big mistake. Due to the shortening of my bench, I felt pressured to make a few trades that I wouldn’t normally have made. I exchanged Rafael Devers and Starlin Castro for Ben Zobrist, Shin-Soo Choo, and Matt Holliday. Choo was currently on the disabled list and, big surprise, did not return to health, much less form. That Holliday also suffered an injury was an inconvenient coincidence. From the pitching perspective, I should know by now not to trust mid-rotation TJ returnees and pitchers coming off shoulder problems. Besides Wheeler, I wasted a lot of games waiting for Wacha and Corbin to turn things around.
Third mistake: Letting controllable categories get away from you. When half of the league is out of the contention portion of their dynasty cycle, it’s inexcusable to let a counting category get away from you. Because I started the season with so many black holes on my roster, I was short-handed in middle relief. It took me a while to find players like Kyle Barraclough and… well that’s the only stud middle reliever I uncovered. I had four of them going at one point but I began to feel pressure to make up games. In June, I traded my injured Pollock for Michael Brantley – READ THE PARAGRAPH ABOVE – and Craig Kimbrel while throwing in two of my holds pitchers. With the extra player coming my way I had one fewer pitcher getting holds and when Daniel Hudson imploded I had Barraclough only. I fell from the middle of the pack to third from the bottom. At the time I wasn’t too worried as I expected to outpace my competitor at the time, and I did. However, when my nemesis’s team decided to gain 25 points on me in the final three weeks it was far too late to make up ground in holds.
Fourth mistake: Holding on to your minor leaguers when an improvement is needed for your major league roster. This has never been a failing of mine as I consider all but my elite prospects to be trade fodder. I don’t have to worry about paying my veterans out of my own pocket so I act accordingly. My dynasty format includes ten roster spots dedicated to minor leaguers which with 12 teams goes 120 prospects deep. This means that there will always been incoming top-100 players as long as you’re quick enough to snag them first. I fortunately am, and if you are reading this website, you probably are too. The owner pushing me for second place was offered David Ortiz for Michael Kopech. He turned it down. I have to think Ortiz would have gotten him the three home runs and five runs batted in that he needed to overtake me. Along the same lines, I suppose I could have also acquired Ortiz – I made a joke of an offer in Michael Wacha – but at the time I wasn’t 20 points out of the money. He was.
I found my first year of writing for this website to very informative and rewarding. It forced me to look deeper at a number of players and begin to understand and interpret results in a way that I didn’t have to before. If you like what you see here, don’t be afraid to try it yourself. Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, Baseball Savant, and Baseball Reference are very easy to use have a wealth of information. I like to use Fangraphs and Brooks baseball for my deeper analysis as they offer customizable heat maps and metrics and measurements that other sites don’t. Baseball Savant is a great site for looking the raw results like exit velocity, launch angle, and other measures of that nature. Thanks for reading and I wish you a productive off-season.
I learned that lesson long ago. Never, never, never-ever fall behind in projected maximums for positions or innings. That’s just leaving bullets in your revolver at the end of the day. My team is almost maxed out at every position. Left field, which I had Sterling Marte and Andrew Benintendi, along with catcher will be my only spots not to hit 162 games and catcher never does anyway. I’m going to miss about 16 starts in LF, which I hate to lose but when you’re in first place and nobody is threatening it doesn’t really matter!
Live and learn friend! Keep up the good stuff. Love reading you guys!