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Saturday 16th Dec 2017

I guess it is that time of year, when out of contention to win my top leagues, I sit back and think about what might have been.

Last week, I discussed a player I had unfairly and inaccurately snubbed on my fantasy rosters, New York Mets’ knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

This time around, I will share my second-thoughts about a player that I actually had drafted in National League Tout Wars, but short-sightedly traded away as a throw-in.

My subject is none other than the reigning National League Player of the Month, Atlanta’s Kris Medlen. It has been quite a rise for the right-hander. Having moved into the rotation on July 31, Medlen proceeded to have an extraordinary month.

In five starts during August, the 26-year-old posted a 4-0 record and the lowest ERA among all MLB starters at 0.50 - just two earned runs in 35 2/3 innings pitched.

What may be most telling is that Medlen recorded 28 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings during the month. It is longest stretch by an Atlanta hurler since some guy named Greg Maddux logged 39 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings in 2000.

Just like me, the Braves may have taken too long to fully appreciate Medlen’s capabilities, though in all fairness, the right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery in August 2010, so perhaps now he is finally reaching his stride.

While Medlen has appeared in 115 games in his four years with Atlanta, he has been given only 25 career starts, including just seven to date in 2012. He only received a shot in the rotation this time when Tommy Hanson was injured.

He wasn’t sexy to the fantasy community with a strikeout rate in the seven per nine innings range, but he keeps the ball down and lets his defense collect ground ball outs behind him.

Wins are important, too. And that is about all the Braves do when Medlen is given the ball to open the game. In fact, the club has won each of Medlen's last 18 starts dating to May 2010 and is 21-4 in his 25 career starts.

Unfortunately for me, I have watched Medlen log his killer stats while on the roster of my Tout Wars competitor, ESPN’s Nate Ravitz.

I spent $4 on Medlen on draft day, with the exact right thoughts. While he was to begin the season in the bullpen, he had the stuff to take over a rotation spot. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right combination of conviction, patience and roster spots to remain with Medlen long enough to see it through.

On May 31, with the league’s best offense and the worst pitching, I negotiated a deal that fetched me Zack Greinke and then (and seemingly always) injured Lance Berkman. NL batting leader Melky Cabrera was Ravitz’ trade target.

Nate wanted $50 FAAB in addition to the Melkman, at which I balked. Instead, we compromised at $40 with me sending Medlen his way in addition.

It seemed like a great idea at the time. Looking back, it has been a disaster.

Since then, Medlen is 6-0 with a 0.83 ERA and a WHIP of 0.87. Despite his slow start with the Angels, Greinke hasn’t been terrible overall, with an 8-3 record, a 3.75 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. But, a comparison is not the point. I could and should have both.

Further, when you include the money and the benefit of Melky’s results before his suspension compared to Berkman’s completely ruined season, it is pretty clear that I lost this trade badly.

It is all because I sold Medlen short.

Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 14-year history. Though he is the only one to remember or care, he also finished second in each of the two subsequent seasons. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com and in-season at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.


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