I have noticed lately that I enjoy rebuilding my keeper league teams more and more as I age.
In previous articles in this space I documented my XFL team, and draft and trade process, knowing I will have a fun team next year, and with a little luck, a downright dangerous one in two. As it is my guys seem to have turned the corner from their low of 11.5 points (in a league where the worst possible is 10) and are now up to 23.
Which tells me Matt Moore and Alex White and Yoenis Cespedes and Yonder Alonso and their mates are gaining confidence, and hopefully are all on the way to mastering their games. That is along with Dustin Ackley, Alejandro De Aza, and maybe even Hector Sanchez and Tyler Flowers. For all of them are, and will continue to be, cheap for a while.
Just last week I wrote about my Scoresheet League, where I was thinking it was time to move Roy Halladay and even Albert Pujols to keep things fresh with a solid core.
Davis' rebound will be welcome
Well, the same thing has happened in the MidWest Strat-O-Matic League, where my Berkeley Liberators have been also-rans over the past four seasons.
Oh, four years ago we did make the league postseason with a pretty dominant team. They were just not dominant enough and we lost in the playoffs.
Since, we have finished with 92 wins in 2010 and 2011, but that was not enough in the 30-team setup to even make the playoffs. And, I knew with down years from Ubaldo Jimenez, Ryan Zimmerman, and Hanley Ramirez in 2011 (remember, we replay the numbers from the previous season) that I might be a .500 or better team this year, but 92 victories were going to be a reach.
Still, I had enough going into the 2012 season. And, Hanley even started strong.
But not Zimmerman. Nor Ubaldo. And then Mark Ellis, Jonathan Sanchez, and Jeff Niemann all got hurt. And Carlos Marmol lost his job along with Jhoulys Chacin, while Ike Davis could not get untracked. And then Jonathan Lucroy got hurt.
So that my prospects for 2013 were not looking good.
Well, since I have both Zimmerman, who is a third baseman, and Hanley, who will be a third sacker next year, I decided to pack it in for 2012 this early, and trade some of my stars while they still have some at-bats and innings left for new owners this year.
And, once I sent out my trade notice to the league, things began to happen quickly.
First I got a query about Zimmerman from Jeff Waldier, the good owner of the Lions, and then my bud Jeff Erickson, of Rotowire, asked about Shane Victorino for his El Scorcho squad.
Within a day I had worked a swap trading Zimmerman and Javier Lopez for the Lions' 2012 first- and second-round picks along with Alex White. And then I sent the Flyin' Hawaiian along with Laynce Nix to the Scorchos for Jesus Guzman, Domonic Brown, and Jeff's first- and fourth-round picks next year.
Then I swapped off the Lions' second-rounder I had just acquired to Ryan Peterson and his Cutters ballclub for Brandon Crawford.
So, that gives me three first-round selections next year, plus my second-rounder, along with a good fielding (remember defense is paramount in Strat-O-Matic) shortstop in Crawford (meaning the left side of my infield will be OK).
During this year's MidWest Rookie Draft I picked up Trayvon Robinson, Jimmy Paredes, Chase d'Arnaud, Collin Cowgill, Taylor Green, and Dave Sappelt.
Meaning if I can get a couple of good young starting pitchers and a hitter with some power with those three first-round picks, by 2014 again, I should have a more than solid starting nine. Well, also with a return to form from Davis, and continued good hitting from Hanley.
It does seem funny to me, though, that I am savoring watching this bundle of players evolve into what I hope will be a competitive team, especially one that might not really amount to anything for another couple of years (not unlike my XFL team).
I have noticed - since I am on the verge of a new decade, as I will turn 60 this October - that many things don't seem to have the urgency they used to for me. Like, I do want to win and have a killer team, but I can also wait and be a little patient with - and even enjoy - the rebuild process.
Of course, I know I have some seasons left in me with a little more of that same luck that I hope keeps Hanley hitting and fosters an Ike Davis return. But maybe again, planning all this a couple of years ahead is giving my subconscious a reason to really stick around and enjoy the results!
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.