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Diary of a Fantasy Baseball Madman: How much is too much?
By Zach Steinhorn
Wednesday, May 8 - 4:15 PM
Spending big on "elite" starting pitching just isn't my thing. And for good reason. We haven't even reached the one-quarter mark of the 2013 campaign, and I would already need more than two hands to count the number of high-end SP disappointments, whether it be due to injury or poor performance.
R.A. Dickey, Jered Weaver, Gio Gonzalez, Zack Greinke, Roy Halladay and David Price are only a few of the preseason surefire top-20 starting pitchers who fit the category. To be fair, Price seems to be turning things around and Halladay headed into the season as an injury risk, which lowered his price tag to a reasonable level. But the bottom line is that the performance of starting pitchers tends to be very tough to predict from one year to the next, and I'd much rather spread out the risk among a number of cheaper options that offer significant profit potential. Sometimes, you need to get lucky, but even if one or two of your lottery tickets comes through, you'll be in excellent shape.
Mike Minor is a perfect example. Although I missed out on the Braves' southpaw in Mixed Tout Wars, I was able to draft him in one of my other leagues. Impressed by Minor's exceptional finish to last season (2.16 ERA, 0.87 WHIP in 14 post-All-Star break starts), I gladly slotted the former top prospect into the middle of my rotation. So far, so good. Today, pitching in hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park, Minor limited a potent Reds lineup to one run over seven innings while whiffing seven, lowering his season ERA to 2.96. And I'm fully expecting continued success. By next March, or maybe the March after that, Minor might be one of those "elite" starting pitchers. I won't be drafting him then.
Friday, May 10 - 9:48 AM
Despite not being a big Ryan Vogelsong believer, I didn't have much of a problem shelling out six bucks for him in Tout this year. After all, it was only right to reward him for the outstanding job he did for my squad last season when I didn't want any part of him but, limited to $1 bids way too early in the draft, I reluctantly called out his name. Maybe Vogelsong's 2011 emergence and 2012 encore wasn't a fluke. Maybe he's just a late bloomer.
Well, it appears that the Vogelsong magic has finally run out. When I went to sleep last night, he had allowed a respectable two runs through four innings versus a tough Braves' lineup. A few minutes after waking up this morning, my cautious optimism turned into continued agitation. 4 1/3 IP, 7 H, 6 ER. A 7.78 ERA and 1.73 WHIP through seven starts. I should've known better. I wasn't a fan of this guy to begin with. Now all of a sudden he's on my roster again? And this time it was actually by choice? I should've known better.
Friday, May 10 - 10:22 PM
Heath Bell was a dominant closer. Then came last season. Signed by the Marlins to anchor their bullpen, Bell completely fell off a cliff. His velocity escaped him. His control escaped him. Everything escaped him.
So why on earth am I planning on putting in a high bid on him in Tout Wars this week? Because saves is a category, and Bell has actually pitched fairly well this year as part of the bridge to closer J.J. Putz. Well, now that bridge is broken because Putz is broken. The oft-injured Putz will be sidelined for awhile, possibly through the end of the season, due to an elbow strain, and to most people's surprise, Bell, not David Hernandez, has taken over closer duties for Arizona. And since I already own Hernandez and only have two closers, one of them being the shaky Steve Cishek, cornering the market on D-Backs saves sounds like a great idea. Of course, there's always the possibility that Bell forgets it isn't 2012 anymore and totally blows up now. Shhh. Let's not think about that.
Saturday, May 11 - 3:40 PM
Rajai Davis was the answer to my Tout Wars squad's stolen base deficiency. Thanks to Rajai, I'm in the middle of the pack in steals. Without Rajai, my early-season $1 FAAB pickup, I would be near the bottom in steals. I'll be without Rajai for 2-3 weeks now, as a strained oblique has forced him to the DL. This is bad news. Very bad news. I need to do something fast. Make a trade? If the price of a decent speedy outfielder isn't over the top, maybe. But it's not like I'm particularly deep in any one area. Head over to the waiver wire? Are there any stolen base contributors on the waiver wire worth even a single FAAB dollar? Or even a single roster spot?
I've got a lot of thinking to do.
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