Preparing for week 3by Dave Shovein
April 12, 2011
We are only a week and a half into the young season. Roughly only 5 percent of the MLB schedule has been played. Obviously you can’t take what people have done thus far and extrapolate it to accurately depict how they’ll finish the season. Nelson Cruz isn’t going to hit 95 home runs. Albert Pujols isn’t going to hit under .200. And most likely, Jered Weaver isn’t going to win 30 games.
In no way do I advocate dumping key players that you drafted for the sole reason that they have gotten off to a slow start. The last couple of spots on your roster may be ok to replace, provided that there are legitimate options on the waiver wire that are “buy and hold” candidates and would upgrade your team. Now, while you shouldn’t change your whole strategy based on what individual players have done, what about your team as a whole?
Today, I pose an important and interesting question to those of you out there in fantasy land.
Currently, my team in the NFBC main event has a total of two wins through a week-and-a-half. Two. That’s one fewer than the aforementioned Jered Weaver has himself.
To compete in the NFBC, you want to finish in the top 20 percent in every category. This would make my target in wins somewhere between 100 and 105 for the season. Broken down into weekly goals, that’s about four-and-a-half wins per week. Thus far, only having two wins puts us four-and-a-half off the pace already. The question is, how early should you look to correct this problem by adding double starters?
In a 15-team mixed league such as this one, the waiver wire is painfully thin. For example, when looking at potential double starters to pick up for this week there were only five options available. Jesse Litsch, Chris Volstad, Nelson Figueroa, Livan Hernandez and Mitch Talbot. That’s obviously a bunch that doesn’t inspire tremendous confidence.
The major risk that you run when imploring this strategy is destroying your ratios. In theory, picking up a lesser pitcher just because they pitch twice during a given week, will give more of your team’s innings to lower quality hurlers. If they go out and get bombed in two starts, not only are you in a deeper hole for wins, but your ratios can get away from you in a hurry.
On the flip side, if you don’t look to add these double starters you risk falling further behind in wins to the point where it’s near impossible to come back. It’s the managers that can delicately balance when to pull of this move that are generally at the top of your league’s standings.
My co-manager is entirely against this strategy and thinks that we should wait it out a couple of weeks to see if the win problem corrects itself with the pitchers we have on the roster. I think, that if we don’t start now we run the risk of falling into a never-ending hole. Plus, if we start adding them now and the problem corrects itself, it’s not something that we are forced to do the rest of the season. We may even strike gold and find a pitcher that’s worth holding onto for the long term.
Here’s the pitchers that we have on our roster and our decision of what we decided to roll with in week two. We start nine total pitchers.
Justin Verlander and Chris Carpenter are must starts, and they both go twice this week.
Matt Garza was drafted to be our third starter, and though he has struggled in his first two starts, his strikeout numbers have still been solid. He’s in.
We currently have three closers who have jobs that need to be starting: Joel Hanrahan, Jose Contreras and Ryan Franklin. That takes up six of our nine pitching spots.
Mariner phenom Michael Pineda goes twice this week, home against Toronto and @ Kansas City. He’s No. 7.
The battle for the final two spots comes down to Scott Baker (@ Tampa Bay), JA Happ (vs San Diego), James McDonald (@ Cincy), Chris Volstad (@ Atlanta, @ Philadelphia) and Drew Storen.
Though Storen pitched very well last week, he’s still not the closer for the time being, and we just can’t afford to play a fourth reliever when wins are our biggest concern.
McDonald struggled last week and has a tough match-up at the Reds, so he’s out as well.
Chris Volstad is the double starter that we acquired this week for $11 through FAAB. We had a $33 bid in on Jesse Litsch but lost out by $5. Though he has two relatively tough match-ups on the road, the potential to make up ground in wins outweighs the risk in my mind. Volstad is in.
The final spot came down to Scott Baker and JA Happ. Baker has struggled a bit through his first two starts, but we drafted him to be our No. 4. Tampa Bay has really struggled, and it seems likely that he has a much better chance of winning than Happ and the Astros do. Happ was awful in his season debut, but brilliant on Sunday earning our team’s second win. This call really was a toss up, but we ended up settling on Scott Baker.
On the offensive side of things, we had a very boring week. Other than average, we hit or came in just a tad below our weekly targets. Six home runs on Saturday (Including two each from Carlos Beltran and Russell Martin) were instrumental in achieving those. We know that eventually Carl Crawford will come around. We hope that Will Venable will do the same, though that is much more uncertain.
I look forward to hearing any feedback that you guys may have on this issue! Maybe I'm an idiot for throwing Volstad in an effort to chase wins already and owe my co-managers an apology? Or perhaps I'm right in my line of thinking and need to continue this course until the deficit is made up. We'll know soon enough!
Dave Shovein is a graduate student and aspiring fantasy baseball guru. He welcomes all comments and questions at shove1dm AT yahoo DOT com.
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