Roster Doctor - 4/24/09by Paul Singman
April 24, 2009
Welcome to THT Fantasy's Roster Doctor. If you'd like your team to be analyzed by one of our fantasy baseball experts, please send your full roster to this address. Also be sure to include your league's player pool (mixed, AL-only, NL-only), number of teams, scoring format (roto, head-to-head, points, etc.), categories, whether or not it's a keeper league, and any other pertinent information. If your roster is selected it will be analyzed in a future Roster Doctor column.
In my last few "Roster Doctor" articles I chose relatively standard leagues so I could better establish a context for the team and also so more people could relate to the discussion. Today, however, I decided to veer from that path and have chosen a more quirky team to doctor. Check out these settings:
Player Pool: Mixed
No. of Teams: 10
Categories: 9x9 - R, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, SB, BB, E, AVG, W, L, CG, SHO, SV, K, HLD, ERA, WHIP
Scoring Type: Head-to-Head
C: Geovany Soto
1B: Albert Pujols
2B: Brandon Phillips
SS: Troy Tulowitzki
3B: Ryan Zimmerman
LF: Andre Ethier
CF: B.J. Upton
RF: Jason Bay
UTIL: Hunter Pence
UTIL: Shane Victorino
Vladimir Guerrero (Hurt)
SP: Zack Greinke
SP: John Danks
SP: Erik Bedard
SP: James Shields
SP: Scott Baker
RP: Heath Bell
RP: Francisco Cordero
RP: Matt Capps
First thing to notice is the roster positions. With only three outfield spots and no middle or corner infield spots, the hitting on every team should be very deep, especially considering this is a 10-team mixed league. I like your hitting—how could one not?—but my feeling is that many other teams have a lineup equally as impressive as yours.
I can see your team hitting for a high average, getting a decent amount of home runs, and racking up the doubles so it should do well in most weeks, as I am sure it did in the first two. Even the two hitters you took fliers on—Hafner and Lopez—are performing well, so you have depth to complement the talent.
If you are willing to invest the time, check to see who is pitching against some of your weaker starting hitters. For example, if Victorino is playing against Johan Santana, I would probably bench him in favor of Hafner. Victorino will of course hit a home run off Santana that night, but little things like that accumulate over the season and make a difference.
In head-to-head leagues I cannot stress enough how important it is to be aware of your matchup. Again, most people will not do this because of the time, but know how many starts the opposing and your team's pitchers will make at the beginning of each week. Know if they are playing mostly strong or weak teams. And know beforehand how many of your starters you will start that week, although glancing at your pitching now it seems all of your pitchers are startable.
One thing to not pay attention to—and I am sure you already know this—is batter to pitcher or pitcher vs. team histories. Ignore them. They are almost always so small they are insignificant. Knowing that Victorino has a .231 lifetime batting average against Josh Johnson in 13 at-bats means nothing.
There is no reason to try to make a move to alter your hitting. Look at your hitters: Soto, Pujols, Phillips, Tulo ... who are you actually going to upgrade? Be open to trading, but it is not imperative that you make a move.
Transitioning to your pitching, it is surprisingly good despite its lack of a brand-name ace. Obviously some of your pitchers—Greinke in particular—are pitching like aces, but the level of dominance you got from all of your starters except Baker should not be expected to continue. Shields, Greinke, Bedard, and Baker I like for the long run and Danks is someone whose value is probably at a peak right now. See what he can haul in a trade. Not necessarily a trade with just Danks, but he makes a great add-in to any trade with the power to sway the decision.
Your closers are particularly solid, all secure and racking up the saves early on. The problem is, besides maybe posting slightly better ratios, there is not much more value in having three great closers who generate saves than starting three great setup men who earn holds. I know it is hard to bench one of them, but starting two closers and one setup man such as Dotel might lead to taking both holds and saves.
My feeling is this is a weekly roster update league (as opposed to every day) so using the cheat of starting SP-eligible relievers at SP would not work. If it is a daily update league, however, then target Brandon Morrow, and consider adding Hong-Chih Kuo or even somebody like Dan Meyer. These guys can give you holds—or saves in Morrow's case—from an SP spot, which is extremely valuable.
Overall, though, your pitching seems above-average and is off to a great start, as is your whole team in fact. I would bet you are near the top of the standings right now and figure to remain near the top all season. Good work.
Paul has been managing fantasy baseball teams for many seasons and writing for THT Fantasy over the past three years. He is currently a student at UPenn welcomes readers' thoughts at his email here or in the comments below.
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