Lawr needs shelter from the storm
Before I go into how I love the break from the world my week at performing arts camp on California's Russian River provides each year, I need to preface some of the things I did this year in LABR and Tout Wars with what I did last year.
In 2011, I took a lot of heat for assembling a Tout team of somewhat undervalued and/or injury-prone players, like Josh Hamilton, Erik Bedard, A.J. Burnett, Justin Morneau, and Chone Figgins.
That team pulled as close as fourth place below the All-Star Break, but wound up with a solid hold on last place, and as a result, this year decided I would go a little more mainstream this year all around. And, the real tumble began as I was at music camp.
So, this season, I went for the likes of CC Sabathia, Nick Swisher, and J.P. Arencibia in the American League, and in National League LABR, went with more steady guys like John Axford, Cory Luebke, Emilio Bonifacio, and Carlos Ruiz. All nice steady - even young - and theoretically healthy.
So, I guess you can kind of tell where this is going.
Still, though both my Tout and LABR teams were in the middle of the pack when I went off to music camp last Monday, I had hoped I could send some good energy off to my teams, for though I now do have a little Wi-Fi access (no cell) I prefer to really have a week free of baseball when I am there.
Sometimes this works pretty well for me and my teams, but not so much last year, and this year when I returned things went to hell in a handbasket. Oh yeah, and in a hurry.
As I logged into my team pages when I got home Sunday evening, preparing to set my rosters, I found that Sabathia had returned to the DL, that Ryan Kalish had been sent down, that recently reactivated Brandon McCarthy might not make his next start. OK, maybe too little, too late.
However in LABR, it is difficult to describe my surprise when I found that Bonifacio and Mark DeRosa were back on the DL, and Nate Schierholtz was now on the DL, and that recently acquired (via $1 FAAB bid) Dioner Navarro, whom I grabbed to replace the injured Carlos Ruiz, was in the minors. Not to mention Mike Fontenot, who was released while I was knocking around on my Rickenbacker.
I already had Aubrey Huff, Matt Diaz, Jason Giambi, and Troy Tulowitzki (I traded for him in a late season gambit) as injured hitters, joining Shaun Marcum and Tim Stauffer. Not to mention Luebke, Brian Wilson, and Kyle Blanks, whom I already had drafted and released (why is it that in fishing catch and release seems so kind, and its fantasy parallel so cruel?).
Through all this my LABR team fell from the fairly solid sixth place we had held most of the season to 11th, and we currently boast 12 players either on the DL, in the minors, released or communing with Sasquatch on a different planet. Whatever they are doing, they are not helping my team.
Add in the three players I released, and we are looking at 15 players and a chunk of my total $260 salary and $100 FAAB, and really, aside from the Brian Wilson draft gamble, and the Tulowitzki deadline swap risk, the rest of the guys I picked were theoretically "Safe."
They - meaning my team - are also pretty much out of it.
In fantasy it is pretty easy to second guess. It is also pretty easy to use hindsight, living off "shoulda, woulda, coulda."
In fantasy - as in any game or sport - there is always that risk, be it to injury a la Luebke, or just a terrible year, ala Adam Dunn last year, so it is hard to really ever determine what the safe path is.
Furthermore, though winning team statistics are built off the backs of generally steady healthy producers like Sabathia, the real victories come by picking Jose Bautista before he goes crazy at the dish, or Wade Miley as a free reserve pick.
I know this, and I can live with it just fine.
But, I kind of wish that if I have to wind up replacing five guys on my roster at the end of a week, it not happen right when I get back from my vacation. Further, I kind of wish I at least had a little more than the likes of Clint Barmes as a replacement.
Either that, or I guess it is time to bag vacations.
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.