Fantasy Baseball Tumbling Dice: When your eyes are bigger than your belly

by Lawr Michaels, on August 2, 2011 @ 10:12:27 PDT


I had just suffered through a terrible onslaught of Michael Wuertz, who over the last month hurled just six innings, pounding my numbers with a 13.50 ERA, allowing 10 hits and eight walks, and nine runs over that spell. The result cost me precious points in ERA and WHIP.

As it happened, Erik Bedard was set to come off the DL Friday, so with a sigh of relief I activated Bedard from pretty much every reserve list I have - and I have the lefty in four leagues this year, including Tout Wars, where I dropped Wuertz.

In exchange for my faith, Bedard rewarded me with 1 1/3 innings, allowing three hits, four walks, and five runs over seven batters. Costing me even more precious points in ERA and WHIP.

Seattle Mariners SP Erik Bedard
Bedard's next start is with BoSox

It reminded me of a couple of other instances when my faith was destroyed in this manner.

The first time was with former flame thrower Bobby Witt, whom I drafted in 1988, my rookie year playing roto ball.

In those days, in the AL only format I played, we had no reserve lists, though we could keep three players in what was then referred to as our "minors." We were also allowed to place players on the DL and replace them, and we each got three special reserve moves each season.

Since it was my first year playing, and since I feared squandering my moves too early, I ate Witt - who had had a fine spring that year - and his numbers for the month of April (0-4, 6.97) and one May start (0-1, 11.81).

Then I could take it no longer, and I dropped Witt, burning a move. A week later the Rangers sent him down, which I could have done, if he were still on my roster. Another owner gambled on Witt in July, and while I was stuck with 0-6, 6.97 totals, the other guy got 8-4, 2.97 totals.

Then there was Tigers reliever Matt Anderson, whom I was sure was going to become a dominant closer in 2001. But, after his April 11 game against the Twins, where Anderson twirled one-third of an inning and let up six hits, and a walk, and seven runs, well, I decided maybe I was wrong.

Fortunately, I did not repeat the mistake in 2002, when a little over a year later, on April 14, Anderson again faced the Twins and gave up four hits and a walk and five runs. Soon thereafter it was the DL for the year, and soon after that was the end of his career.

So, this time it was Erik Bedard.

And, I knew enough to wait to activate him, for it is not uncommon for a starter to get knocked around when he returns to the rotation and groove. After all, it took until April 27, and his sixth start this season, before Bedard started to show he was back.

So, why could I not heed that warning and sit on my lefty for a start, letting him get his sea legs back? It is not like I don’t know to do these things.

And, like watching your player on TV seems to guarantee failure, activating a Bedard without a "practice" start always fails. Although, the inverse is you sit on Bedard, keeping him on your reserve list for that Friday start, and he tosses 6-plus innings and allows a run and three hits while striking out eight and getting a win.

To make the Bedard incident, as I now think of it, worse, Wuertz went on the DL right after I dropped him, so had I held back for the start, Wuertz would have garnered no further collateral damage, and Bedard would have had that practice start out of his system. Not to mention his next start would be on the contending Red Sox.

It never fails. The roto gods are both all fickle and all knowing, unlike us mere mortals. I hope someday I learn my lesson, although as with all other things baseball and roto, I am still not sure what the lesson is.

See more of Lawr’s work, including the Hotpage (published each Monday) and Bed Goes Up, Bed Goes Down (each Saturday), along with the work of Todd Zola, Brian Walton, and the Mastersball team at

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About Lawr Michaels,

Lawr Michaels has been a player in the fantasy baseball industry since he began writing for John Benson in 1993. He has written for STATS, Inc, was the first fantasy columnist for CBS Sportsline, and has appeared in numerous journals and on websites. In 1996, he founded CREATiVESPORTS, a staple for serious fantasy players, which he merged into Mastersball in 2010.

Over the years, Lawr has participated in a wide variety of playing formats and won numerous titles, including AL Tout Wars crowns in 2001 and 2009. Along with his Mastersball duties, Lawr works for as a statistician. Fantasy Baseball

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