Injured but still part of surplus
You know how that baseball maxim goes "You Can Never Have Enough Pitching?"
Well, never has that been more self-evident to me than this season.
Still, I need to preface this pending ramble with the notion that injuries and slumps to all our players is indeed part of the game. We all deal with it, and this year injuries seem to have been particularly cruel to especially my National League LABR (League of Alternative Baseball Reality) squad. Though things have indeed been no more friendly to my American League Tout Wars squad, either.
Listed below are the pitching staffs I purchased for each team in the spring:
National League LABR
American League Tout Wars
Before I go further, remember that in Tout Wars, we are now allowed to draft a "Swingman": that player can be either an extra pitcher or hitter, and we can adjust that slot each week. Unlike most of my league mates (who took hitters in the Swingman slot), and fearing that I would not have enough starting pitching, I put Niemann in that slot on draft day.
So, I took the standard six starting pitchers in Tout, and even grabbed seven in LABR, and honestly, before Opening Day, Collmenter, whom I have since jettisoned, seemed like as reasonable a gamble as Vogelsong.
However, as you can see, I have lost Wilson, and now Luebke for the year, while Stauffer has been on the DL for the bulk of the season in the National League. In the American League, McCarthy has been down for two weeks while Niemann is down for roughly two months with a broken fibula.
That means I have been scrounging the free agent pool for names like Jeff Suppan, Travis Blackley, Joe Savery and Jeremy Hefner. In fact, I even considered picking Collmenter back up just in case of something, although I am not exactly clear what that something could be.
Now, I agree that once the season begins, there are more starting pitchers brought up who appear for potential FAAB buys than potential impact hitters, so I do understand why, for example, in Tout just about everyone else went to fill that Swingman slot with a hitter.
But, I also think one is better off with too much pitching, for it is a lot easier to find a team who needs an arm - especially a starter - than work out a deal for a hitter.
Further, despite being reduced a couple of weeks to just four starting pitchers, my guys have kept pace in strikeouts, arguably the hardest of the counting stats to gain ground within once your team has fallen behind.
But, back to that trading thing, in the American League I was also able to nab Fernando Rodney, so I do have a closer to swap, and the closer we get to Niemann's return, I could have a starter to trade. In fact I was very close to trading Masterson to Andy Behrens just a couple of weeks back for some hitting help, but at the deadline we were still haggling.
The next day Niemann was hurt, so needless to say, I was happy to not have made the move.
In the National League, taking Ernesto Frieri on my reserve list seems to have mitigated the Wilson loss a little, but with my team down to four starters plus Suppan and Hefner (I am as equally loathe to designate them with that moniker as I was Collmenter, and after Sunday, barring a miracle, Suppan will indeed join Josh in the pitching dog pound, hoping for a new forever home). And, since I am sitting on the Dodgers' Nathan Eovaldi on my reserve list, his pending return could be a big help.
Amazingly, though, both my teams are sort of in the middle of the standings, and that is because each squad was built around a strong pitching staff.
Which means I need to be a little patient, make one good FAAB pickup for a starter in each league, hope to make a trade, and, well, most of all hope my hitting continues to improve.
However, had I not selected all those arms in the first place, this focus of this article would have been much more rooted in why I will never come close to winning either contest this year because I did not draft enough pitching on auction day.
Hey, now you can get me on Twitter @lawrmichaels!
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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 MLB.com as a statistician.