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Saturday 24th Feb 2018

What was a one-team race a couple months ago turned into a two-team race one month ago, then a three-team race, and now we have six teams with a legitimate chance to win the Tout Wars Mixed Auction league. How exactly did I lose a 20-plus point lead in the span of two months? That's what I've spent the past few days trying to figure out, and my conclusion is that it's easier than it seems. After all, a huge lead can dwindle in two ways. Either your squad goes cold or the other upper-tier teams get hot. But usually, it's a combination of both, and that's sort of what happened here.

Without boring you with the category breakdowns, let me just say that the majority of my hitters have struggled mightily of late. How bad has it been? To be honest, as much as I strive to keep close tabs on the recent performance of every player on my roster, even I was surprised upon studying the split stats and learning just how bad it has been for several of my bats. Here are the main culprits.

Brandon Moss is batting .179 with one home run, five RBI and a .225 OBP since the All-Star break

Actually, Moss' entire 2015 campaign has been one big disappointment, but it's gotten even uglier in recent weeks. At least he was putting up decent home run and RBI totals in the first half. Now, the counting stats have disappeared. Moss is streaky, and there's still time for him to at least partially salvage this lost season. Then again, I was optimistic about his trade to St. Louis, figuring that a fresh start with a contenting team could do the trick. Through eight games with the Cardinals, he's recorded four hits and one RBI.

Justin Upton is hitting .194 with six homers and 22 RBI since the beginning of June

Aside from a mediocre batting average, Upton's overall numbers are solid, and the 18 steals have been a pleasant surprise. But I did expect more consistency from my second-highest priced auction purchase. Perhaps he can put together a stellar final two months and all will be forgiven, but I'm getting the sense he may never reach his "full potential." Maybe this is who he is, a very good player, just not a superstar player.

Cameron Maybin sports a .239 OBP since the All-Star break

Look, Maybin has already given his fantasy owners way more than they expected when they plucked him off the waiver wire back in April. In other words, there's no complaining allowed. Even the most optimistic of Maybin supporters knew that his first half OBP of .356 was unsustainable. The good news is that he continues to steal bases, which keeps him mixed league relevant.

Kolten Wong is batting .224 since the All-Star break with a .283 OBP and one steal in five attempts

Well, it isn't for lack of trying. As it turns out, one of my biggest draft prep errors was projecting roughly 25 steals for Wong. Two-thirds through the season, he's on pace for 16 swipes. But even more troubling than the low stolen base total is that he is getting caught way too often. The Cardinals second baseman has recorded the lowest stolen base percentage (57.9%) among all players with double-digit steals. Anyway, through the season's first two months, Wong was making up for the lack of speed by significantly contributing in the other four categories. Now? Not so much. I do expect the batting average to bounce back, but at this point, his stolen base outlook is murky. Wong's low success rate could result in fewer green lights.

Wilson Ramos is hitting .154 with one home run, nine RBI and a .167 OBP since the All-Star break

Waiting until next year is getting old. For some reason, I keep on drafting this guy, hoping for that long-awaited breakout season. The nine homers and 47 RBI are fine, and at least he's avoided the DL this year, but a .265 OBP? Really? Ramos better rediscover his power stroke fast, because the OBP is a major drain.

I think I'm ready to give up on Ramos for future seasons.

But check back with me in March just in case I reconsider.

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