Fantasy Baseball Tumbling Dice: When Everything Goes Right, Wrong

by Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com on September 11, 2012 @ 09:15:45 PDT

 


All I can say is "ouch."

OK, you need some context.

Right after the All-Star break, my Sluts and Prostitutes team of the Murphy Scoresheet League was hot out of the box, going 6-0, lifting me over the .500 mark (43-43) my team had during the break to an enticing 49-43 record.

San Francisco Giants SP Barry Zito
Zito fueled surprise run

With Roy Halladay coming back, and Shaun Marcum getting there, it seemed I would indeed get my rotation back in full force, so the quintet of Clayton Kershaw, Mark Buehrle, and Barry Zito could put it together and drive for the postseason.

Since at the time, though, the Sad Pandas were 10 games ahead in my division, I knew the ticket would be a Wild Card slot, for again, at the time, the Sluts were in second place in those standings, though six games behind John Boc-CA-BEL-las.

Then we went 3-3 the following week, and tumbled with 5-9 numbers to close out July and suddenly the Pandas led me by 14, and four teams shot past me in the Wild Card standings, where I found myself now nine back of the Boc-CA-BEL-las.

Being a realist - not to mention one who really enjoys rebuilding - I saw the writing on the wall there.

I offered virtually every player on my team as available for trade except hurler Kershaw. That included Halladay, Albert Pujols, Alex Gordon, Fernando Rodney, Erick Aybar, Jonathan Lucroy, Ben Revere, and the rest of the starting pitchers noted above.

So, I swapped Lucroy, David Phelps and my No. 26 pick for a No. 17 selection, and then Alexi Ogando, Rodney, Kurt Suzuki, and Moreland for both a No. 16 and a No. 26 selection.

Since the week between those swaps the Sluts went 1-5, dropping me two games under .500, I knew bailing before the trade deadline and picking up chits for next year was the smart move.

And then something goofy happened.

The Sluts went 6-0 one week, and 5-1 the next and suddenly were back to nine games back of the Boc-CA-BEL-las, and fourth in the Wild Card standings.

Of course it was an illusion, for though my team had played well there, the chances were not any better than they were at the break. In fact though my team had played better, the odds were worse.

Still, it made me wonder how after trading away virtually all my bench and platoon strength, plus my closer, that the team would reel off a better-than-.900 record over the next two cycles?

The basic answer is pretty simple: pitching.

For, in those head-to-head match-up leagues, good arms will triumph over hitters more often than not, and a particularly good run among Kershaw, Halladay, Zito, Marcum, and Buehrle plus a couple of hot weeks for Gordon, Pujols, and Aybar made us pretty much invincible over that pair of cycles.

As I was second-guessing my decision to play for next year, the Sluts struggled a bit last week with a 3-3 record, making the decision to trade feel better, validating itself in the failure of the Sluts.

And, the reality is that the team is 29-23 since the break: over .500, but certainly not a championship record or enough to make a push.

Still, I do have to live with some what-ifs, for if pitching is truly that critical, with Halladay, Kershaw, Buehrle as the ringleaders, well, who knows if I could have sneaked through?

But, I guess I will never know.

Hey, now you can get me on Twitter @lawrmichaels!

You can also subscribe now to the Mastersball Platinum Package, and get the edge that has led to three Tout Wars titles, eight NFBC crowns, two Scoresheet Championship teams, a KFFL title, and a Fantasy Pro 911 title over the last three years.

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About Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com

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.

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