Roster Doctor

A demand for all prospective patients: Don’t just send your roster – you don’t just turn up to a hospital and throw yourself on a gurney. Tell us what you’re thinking – what you think is going wrong and what you’re thinking about doing to make things right. Think of us as a bit more like Dr. Phil and a little less like Dr. House – we’re not going to break into your apartment to find out the things you aren’t telling us.

Here’s a nice case from Chris – his subject line was “Great Team + (Bad Luck*DL)=Roster Doctor”

“I’ve been stuck in the bottom half of my 20-team league all year and am currently in 13th place overall, third in my division. I’ve made some big moves along the way but am outpacing my transaction cap 31/50 for the year….”

Player Pool: Mixed
No. of Teams: 20
Categories: R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OPS, W, SV, Holds, ERA, WHIP, K
Scoring: Head-to-Head
Four divisions with Playoff Seeding Options: Eight teams; Division winners advance but seeded by overall standings
Roster:
C – John Buck
1B – Kendry Morales
2B – Ian Stewart
3B – Pablo Sandoval
SS – Troy Tulowitzki
LF – Chris Coghlan
CF – Andruw Jones
RF – Justin Upton
Util – Brad Hawpe
SP – Clayton Kershaw
RP – Brian Wilson
P – Jonathan Sanchez
P – Ricky Nolasco
P – Brad Penny
P – Anibal Sanchez
P – Homer Bailey
BN – Luke Gregerson
BN – Koji Uehara
BN – Kevin Jepsen
BN – Jhoulys Chacin
BN – Andres Torres
DL – Grady Sizemore

Certainly this team hasn’t suffered from that much good luck (with the exception of Andruw Jones, perhaps). But sometimes you really do make your own luck and a good part of Chris’ bad luck was in the stars. Sizemore’s coming off a series of injuries and a down year last year, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the trend is continuing. He hasn’t been performing well and may be out for the season. Unlucky? Perhaps, but he was (or should’ve been) acquired at a discount in the Spring for a reason.

Justin Upton and Pablo Sandoval are two other disappointments, I’m guessing. Upton’s put up some nice numbers, but nothing first-round worthy yet. ZIPS has him on pace for 26 home runs and 15 stolen bases but an OPS of around .850. His problem has been that’s he’s striking out in one third of his at bats, in part because of a low contact rate. Meanwhile Sandoval’s power hasn’t shown up yet this year. My bet is that it returns eventually but both he and Upton are still relatively unknown quantities. They are hugely talented but we simply don’t know what their patterns and proclivities are yet. Sandoval could be another Mark Teixeira, starting most seasons cold. We just don’t know yet and that’s the price you pay with youth.

My recommendations lie with the management of your pitching staff, though I do like the NL heavy approach. I’m guessing that with that starting lineup you often win the strikeouts and maybe wins categories. With only one closer and no middle relievers, you lose holds and probably saves.

You’ve gotten a bit unlucky with Nolasco, but karma’s been on your side with Jonathan Sanchez (except for the wins). Most of these pitchers are enigmatic, so you can’t be totally shocked when Penny, Bailey or even Kershaw deposits a stinker. All of which means that if you go up against a team with a solid bullpen, you’re probably more likely to lose ERA and WHIP than win them.

Actually, you have gotten a bit unlucky with your bullpen. If you could land one more closer and/or a middle reliever or if Jepsen can settle in a bit or Uehara can come back and pitch, you could pitch one of them and Gregerson and make a run at winning holds and saves. Jepsen might be a candidate to start for you if he can bring down his walk rate; he’s gotten unlucky with his strand rate. As it is, he’s been getting plenty of holds even though he’s been on a losing team.

Digging up valuable middle relievers can be costly in numbers of transactions so be careful. It looks like you have a pretty good eye for them though, so I’d recommend going for one or two more and “resting” someone like Penny or Bailey. Penny’s low ERA is not long for this world (I think his FIP is overly rosy too – that walk rate and home run rates are going to go back up). I’m sure Jose Contreras is long taken in your league, but keep an eye out for someone like that – a starter helping out a decimated bullpen.

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Comments

  1. Chris said...

    Thanks for the analysis.  I feel like I’m making progress, but last week I lost to a team with an MIA manager DOH.
    Here are some updates:

    Hitting
    I have since tried to shore up my offense by dropping Penny for Travis Snider.  Sizemore is dead to me, but in a league this deep I don’t want to cut him.  ARG SIZEMORE!
    As for catcher, does dropping Buck for Jaso seem like a good idea? I’m not sure on Jaso’s upside and feel that Buck could fall off at any minute. 

    Pitching
    I’ve also cycled through my bullpen by dumping Koji and Jepsen for John Axford and Drew Storen (im a sucker for prospects).  Lastly, I dumped Bailey for Trevor Cahill a slot I most likely will continue to cycle.  I’m up to 35 moves on the year now and want to save at least 5 for the playoffs (hoping I make it).  Which leaves me with 10 for the rest of the year. DOH

    At this point should I dump my waiver level pitchers (ie Cahill) to keep adding middle relief (Masset, Putz) or should I invest in late season call ups like Hellickson, Bumgardner, Chapman, Desmond Jennings instead to save me from making too many moves?

  2. Jonathan said...

    Hi chris,

    normally i’d say go for dropping buck in favor of jaso.  Jaso’s ability seems good, but his playing time is not guaranteed when Shoppach comes back.  So you may need to replace him then.  I don’t know if he’s worth 2 transactions.

    I would put a starting lineup of pitchers together, probably including some more relievers. If you feel you can upgrade on relievers by including a Putz, then you should – if the upgrade will go into your lineup immediately. Normally you can stash prospective pitchers and wait and see on them, but you can’t afford the transactions.

  3. Chris said...

    Hi Jonathan,

    It looks like add/drop = 1 move and I think it doesn’t apply to trades.  I think I’ll keep riding Buck’s hot streak out till I’m forced to drop him.

    My thoughts on Putz center around the possibility he could be traded as a closer (Phils).  My problem with middle relief is that at this depth they are a little unreliable. I’m not sure if I should chase Holds or Ks and ratios?  I feel that in a H2H league RP ratios are worth more.

    Out of those three prospect pitchers I mentioned who do you think will have the biggest impact?

    Thanks again.

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