Continuing my basically week long rant against the world and “the man,” I wanted to voice some continued frustration at the plight of one of my baseball team’s, the one that I have rostered in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC). For those of you who haven’t ever played, it’s a nationwide event with a grand prize of $100,000. Leagues are 15 teams, 5 x 5 scoring, with 30 spots on each roster, and we use a FAAB bidding process with no trading allowed. Because of the depth of the rosters, help off of waivers is often tough to find, so sometimes you have to just sit a struggling player on your bench and hope he comes around as there may not be any better options left to pick up off waivers. Here are a few specific gripes I have with my club which currently sits in 8th place (last year we finished one run, that’s right, one run, out of first place in my 15-team league, so I was obviously already frustrated with this league even before I drafted my team for 2009. By the way, I co-manage the team with Fanball big-wig Ryan Houston).
Dan Haren has been utterly spectacular at fourth in the NL in ERA (2.42), first in WHIP (0.86), third in innings pitched (78) and he has been the toughest starter in the league to hit with a .201 batting average against. Thanks to the suck-ass D’backs offense however, he is just 4-4 through 11 starts which is one of the main reasons our team is 14th in the league in wins. Another reason for this fact is that Joba Chamberlain has just three victories in 10 starts despite a 3.71 ERA for the Yankees. Toss in the work of Jered Weaver who has been spectacular (5-2, 2.26 ERA, 1.00 WHIP), and those three guys have pitched 207 innings, a full seasons worth, while producing a 2.70 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP, all the while producing only a 12-7 record. For a little historical perspective, do you know how many pitchers have posted an ERA below 2.75 with a WHIP below 1.05 only to win 12 or fewer games in a season of at least 162 innings since 2000? Try one by Ben Sheets in 2004 (he went 12-14 with a 2.70 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP.
On offense, we needed power late as we had a ton of batting average potential (guys like Albert Pujols, Ichiro, Michael Young and Placido Polanco) so we took a shot at three guys who we thought should produce something along the lines of about 90 home runs while hitting .250 in Jim Thome, Jason Giambi and Rick Ankiel. Giambi has gone deep the past two days, but the trio has so far underperformed that I almost threw a Nerf football at the television last night out of frustration. Combined, they have hit .231 with 19 home runs and 70 RBI in 419 at-bats. Great job guys.
To be fair, we’ve certainly had a few things work out.
Our first pick, Albert Pujols, has once again been magnificent with his .343-16-45-42-7 line.
Our ninth round selection, Joe Mauer, has been flipping awesome. We did this draft in late March, and at the time no one knew what to expect from Mauer – there were even whispers about surgery and potentially missing half the season. But we felt that we could no longer pass on him in the ninth round, and he has rewarded that faith with a month and a half that none of us have ever seen from a catcher as he is batting .436 with 12 home runs, 35 RBI and 32 runs through just 31 games.
And finally, our 30th and final round pick, Marco Scutaro, who we took for his versatility (2B, SS, 3B) which can be huge in a league as deep as this one, is hitting .298 with five home runs, five steals, and 43 runs scored in 55 games. Not a bad number 436 pick eh?
Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint, we all know that. So let’s hope our guys all have a strong finishing kick and we can hang close enough for it to matter once we hit the month of September.
By Ray Flowers