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Fantasy Baseball 2011: A Titanic Voyage

Ryan Braun was a fantasy baseball beast. I, on the other hand, was the least. My maiden voyage into fantasy baseball sunk quicker than Leo’s love cruise. The gory details…

If you’re just joining the program, back in April I offered my initial thoughts on joining a keeper fantasy baseball league with some friends who were desperate to fill an empty slot. You can read it here.

The 2011 regular season is now over, my wallet is $50 lighter, and my dignity is unsalvageable. But at least I have some memories to go along with a handful of mocking emails.

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See that team in bold down at the bottom? Yup, that’s me. Chillin in the cold, dark, damp basement. All by my lonesome.

In hoping I was the victim of some unlucky losses, I went through and tallied where my team fell in each statistic. Turns out, I was not a victim of any bad luck. My team was just bad. Offensively, I ranked dead last in HR, Total Bases, and RBI. Kind of a big deal, for those of you not familiar with baseball. I also ranked in the bottom three in Runs, Strikeouts, and Batting Average. I did, however, rank 4th in Hits and Stolen Bases (there’s a reason most fantasy managers ignore SBs for other stats. I know this now.), and 5th in walks (thank you, Paul Konerko).

My team was more consistent on the pitching side, albeit consistently bad. I ranked in the bottom three in Saves and was in the bottom five for Innings Pitched, Strikeouts, Wins, Losses, ERA, and WHIP. I was in the top five for Hits Allowed. Don’t be deceived by those less than awful, but still really bad, finishes, though. The only reason I was respectably bad instead of embarrassingly bad in many pitching categories was because I had so few innings pitched. So, obviously, with more innings pitched, my walks, hits and WHIP could have been significantly worse.

It’s one thing to finish in last place because of a bad season or a few unlucky breaks. It’s another thing to finish last because you run your team as well whoever the heck runs Greece, runs Greece. I didn’t learn until September that fantasy baseball was all about making moves. I made 10, and four of them included adding or dropping the woefully underachieving Domonic Brown. My pitching staff was a mosh pit of mediocrity. I never committed to relief pitchers or closers, so I never won the “Holds” nor the “Saves” category. Furthermore, my team was built on guys I actually heard of instead of guys that, you know, could actually play. Need proof: Until I made a trade for Alex Avila in late August, my roster didn’t include a single 2011 All-Star. True story. Do you have any idea how hard it is to accomplish such a feat? Give me the keys to a super company like Apple and I promise you I’ll have them bankrupt in six months. It’s a gift, I know.

In addition to not having a strategy/clue, I juggled too many players at one position in hopes of keeping the younger, talented players as keepers for 2012. (Yeh, I’ll probably torture myself again. Why not?) For example, I drafted Freddie Freeman in the late rounds (one of the few bright spots for me) to go along with Mitch Moreland (whoops), Paul Konerko, and Adam Lind. That’s four first basemen. I could play two regularly by using the DH slot, but still, I’m a moron. I should have traded one for better value at another position instead of sitting two of them on my bench all year, hoping they’d payoff in 2012.

Was I hurt by some overpaid, underachieving players? Sure. Jayson Werth killed me. Ichiro wasn’t much better. Nor was Colby Rasmus, Trevor Cahill, or Francisco Liriano. Conversely, Brandon Beachy, Ivan Nova, Freeman, and Alexi Ogando are appealing late round keepers for 2012, and a late season flyer I took on Dustin Ackley could pay off. Still, none of those guys are fantasy superstars. In other words, I’m doomed again in 2012.

Bring it on.

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