Fantasy baseball is more than just a numbers game. I can spend hours upon hours leading up to my drafts studying statistical projections and even building my own forecasting models, but ultimately, when the time comes to assemble my squads, gut instinct often takes over. I happen to be a very forgiving person and cannot help but give certain players second chances. My logic seems sound; there’s a reason why I liked this guy going into last season, so what are the chances that he disappoints me yet again? Such was the case with James Shields.
Shields’ impressive 2008 campaign in which he went 14-8 with a 3.56 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 4.00 K/BB ratio had me convinced that he was a star in the making. So I draft him in ’09 only to see his ERA rise by over a half-run and his WHIP skyrocket to 1.32. Unfazed, I take him again in 2010, using his still strong K/BB ratio as a way to rationalize my questionable decision. “Big Game James” rewards me with the worst season of his career, a 5.18 ERA and American League-high 34 home runs allowed. That’s it! I vow to never again draft Shields, cutting off all emotional ties to the Rays’ righty and focusing solely on his dreadful stat line.
Earlier today, Shields notched his second consecutive complete game victory, tossing a four-hit shutout. Through five starts this year, he boasts a 2.35 ERA and 0.97 WHIP, and has served up just three homers. Maybe I should start giving players third chances.
Tuesday, April 26 – 4:45 PM
It’s official, the Dodgers’ closer situation is an absolute mess, and thanks to my $7 draft day investment in Jonathan Broxton, which at the time seemed like a steal, I’m tracking the drama very closely.
A short while ago, GM Ned Colletti announced that the team will go with a closer-by-committee system until Broxton straightens himself out. Will that ever happen? I’m not so sure. Although he has converted five of his first six save chances, Broxton has done so in nail-biting fashion, looking very much like the pitcher who posted a 7.13 ERA and 2.13 WHIP following last year’s All-Star break. His velocity is not what it used to be, he’s walking hitters at a frighteningly high rate and he has yet to throw a clean inning this season. Although I was not assuming that he would return to elite status, I was expecting him to pitch well enough to hold onto the ninth inning gig and register 30-plus saves. I did not foresee this happening, and so soon. The good news is that with Hong-Chih Kuo still on the DL, the team is short of realistic alternatives. Vicente Padilla will be a hot pickup over the next 24 hours, but I don’t see him netting more than a handful of saves. He’s only got two career saves to his name! I’m debating whether or not to put in a claim for Padilla but I don’t want to drop any of my current players. If I had a way to contact the Indians’ front office right now I would. Their delay in officially placing Carlos Carrasco on the DL is costing me a roster spot. I have a feeling that this decision could come back to haunt me, but I’m passing on Padilla.
Tuesday, April 26 – 6:30 PM
Now word comes out that Dodgers’ Manager Don Mattingly has reassured Broxton that he’s still the club’s closer. A GM and manager not being on the same page is nothing new, but this situation is getting stranger by the hour.
Wednesday, April 27 – 10:30 PM
I wish there was such a thing as a fantasy sports shrink because I’m in desperate need of one. A common phrase of advice used on the MLB.com Fantasy 411 show is to never confuse the outcome with the decision. In other words, don’t beat yourself up if a well-informed decision turns out to be the wrong decision. Easier said than done. Prior to last night’s dreadful outing vs. the Angels, Brandon McCarthy had been red-hot, coming off a three-start stretch in which he pitched to a 1.23 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. So I go ahead and snatch him off the waiver wire, and in his debut start for my team he gives up seven runs on 14 hits over 5 1/3 innings. Meanwhile, Jeremy Guthrie, who I benched for the week in favor of McCarthy, goes out and tosses six shutout innings vs. the hard-hitting Red Sox. I know, these things tend to balance out over the course of a six-month long season, but still, this is tough to swallow.
Thursday, April 28 – 7:40 PM
The Indians just placed Carlos Carrasco on the 15-day DL, giving me an open roster spot. Too bad Vicente Padilla was claimed Tuesday night.
I have to admit, these past few days have been rough for a number of my teams, but I still have faith in my guys. They’ll turn things around, and at this early stage of the season, all it takes is a few days to get right back in the thick of things. I’ve got to believe that good stats come to those who wait.