When I last wrote about my first fantasy exploits, I was losing in the first week with only three days left. My staff was performing poorly, and I was freaking out in front of my computer screen while Madison Bumgarner, Matt Thornton, and Ted Lilly tried to sabotage my team. After an awkward first week, my staff looked up the definition of “pitcher” in the Oxford-English dictionary and realized what they were doing didn’t fall under those guidelines—and they did something about it (or I made a move). We’ve been through four weeks of heated battles, and I thought I’d give the reader a breakdown of each week, including my weekly moves (henceforth referred to as “Strategery”), best hitter (“Neck Snapper”) and best pitcher (“Cash Checker”). It goes a little something like this:
Week 1 – Team Putouts or GTFO vs. Team Carry on My Heyward Son
Result: Putouts or GTFO wins 477-425
Neck Snapper: Miguel Cabrera – 43 total points, 24 TB, 4 HR, 9 RBI
Cash Checker: Gio Gonzalez – 49 total points, 2 W, 13 IP, 10 H, 1 ER, 8 K
Strategery: On April 10th I was sick and tired of watching Vernon Wells and Matt Thornton do absolutely nothing to help my team, so I made my first moves in dropping their bitch asses. In their places I picked up Alex Gordon and Joel Hanrahan from free agency. Alex Gordon is still beasting at the plate, showing off the abilities that got him drafted 2nd overall in ’05. And Joel Hanrahan was just an impulse grab. I needed a closer, and he was the best available at the time. He’s been solid so far, but his WHIP is a little high at the moment (1.38) even though he’s converted all of his 9 save opportunities. I can’t complain.
Week 2 – Team Putouts or GTFO vs. Team DoesntKnowShim
Result: Putouts or GTFO wins 396-327
Neck Snapper: Starlin Castro – 33 total points, 7 R, 20 TB, 5 RBI, 2 SB
Cash Checker: Josh Johnson – 37 total points, W, 7.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K
Strategery: I spent the beginning of this week trying to figure out how to improve my pitching staff. Both Bumgarner and Lilly were about as useful as Todd Wellemeyer and Jeff Weaver, so they had to go. I still had no idea how to effectively deal players, so I just stuck with picking up free agents. Since our league is so shallow, there were still plenty of decent pitchers available, as well as some rookies off to hot starts. With the dead weight of Buttgarner and Slick Lilly gone, I used “research” and “strategy” to pick up Zach Britton on the 12th and Josh Beckett on the 14th. Beckett paid off immediately, pitching a 7 inning, 9 strikeout gem during the week. Britton, after a scorching start to the season, netted me a fat goose egg in his worst start of the season (5 ER thru 6 IP at Cleveland). But I wasn’t worried; everything I read seemed to hint that he was the real deal. My team was coming together.
Week 3 – Team Putouts or GTFO vs. Team FunkyCold Mussina
Result: Putouts or GTFO wins 458-343
Neck Snapper: David Wright – 33 total points, 7 R, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 6 BB, 3 SB
Cash Checker: David Price – 58 total points, 2 W, 16 IP, 12 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 14 K
Strategery: No moves this week. My offense (which rocks, by the way) struggled more this week than any other, but my pitching staff more than made up for it. The Cash Checker award could have gone to Price, Johnson (56 points), or C.J. Wilson (52 points); they were all more than deserving. But in a total points league the award should obviously go to the points leader. Although I’m happy with my roster at the moment, at this point I’m noticing that Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez are cooling down quickly. And I’ve learned from Mike Rosenbaum (a big ChiSox fan) that when these guys go cold, they can go very, very cold. I’m keeping my eye on them.
Week 4 – Team Putouts or GTFO vs. Actually Team Derrick Rose
Result: Team Putouts or GTFO wins 339-292
Neck Snapper: Jay Bruce – 28 total points, 6 R, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 2 SB
Cash Checker: Zach Britton – 40 total points, 2 W, 12 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 3 K
Strategery: Going into the last day of the week (May 1st was the last day), I’m losing 249-233. On the 29th I finally dropped Beckham and picked up Justin Smoak, who was on something like an 11-game hitting streak at the time. I wasn’t worried about losing a middle infielder: I still had Pedroia, Castro, and Alexei. Plus, this was only Part One in something I learned from Tony LaRussa: the gratuitous double-switch. After picking up Smoak, I dropped David Freese the same day and picked up Mike Aviles, who has 2B/3B eligibility in my league and was heating up. He hasn’t disappointed yet. I’m just hoping that he gets the playing time necessary to make him valuable to me. I honestly don’t remember why I decided to pick up Smoak—it must have been the hitting streak. But, dear reader, I wasn’t done making moves like a damn fantasy pro. After Jonathan Sanchez made his start on April 30th (he walked 4 in the first inning without giving up a run), I was sick and tired of his free pass issues. I dropped him later that night and pick up Justin Masterson, who’s been nothing short of stellar this season. The main reason I picked him up (besides the solid numbers) was because he was scheduled to start May 1st, giving me three starters going (Masterson, plus Gonzalez and Britton) on one day. Having that extra insurance made me confident I could pull off the win on the last day, and I most certainly did. Fantasy baseball, meet your destroyer: Team Putouts or GTFO is 4-0!