I don’t particularly like the term ‘beginner’s luck’. If we won the LABR NL-Only Expert League (sponsored/hosted by Steve Gardner at USA Today), I imagine this dismissive term would be tagged on us. Those smart-ass bloggers won LABR – such beginner’s luck!
Unfortunately, we’ll never know because we finished in a tie for 7th place and ‘Beginner’s average performance’ doesn’t have the same colloquial attractiveness.
(Congratulations to Doug Dennis who managed 41 pitching points (out of 65) after investing just $30 on pitching in the draft. That’s what can happen with a little luck, a couple of good $1 picks (F. Salas, D. Gee), and an April trade for Ian Kennedy)
|2011 NL LABR Standings (13 Team)|
|1st||Baseball HQ||Doug Dennis||99|
|3rd||NFBC||Greg Ambrosius/ Shawn Childs||75|
|4th||Baseball Prospectus||Clay Davenport||71|
|5th||USA TODAY||Steve Gardner||70.5|
|6th||Baseball Prospectus||Derek Carty||69|
|T-7th||RotoWire||Dalton Del Don||65|
|9th||ESPN – EK||Eric Karabell||64.5|
|10th||Baseball Info Solutions||Steve Moyer||64.5|
|11th||Sandlot Shrink||Bob Radomski||61.5|
|12th||ESPN.com – Cockcroft||Tristan H. Cockcroft||60.5|
|13th||Yahoo – Brandon||Brandon Funston||58|
Coming out of our draft, we were feeling pretty good about our offense (which we spent about $180 of our $260) where we placed three big bets (Albert Pujols – $40, Ryan Braun – $37, Jose Reyes – $29) and three medium-sized bets (
Todd Neil Walker – $18, Logan Morrison – $18, Danny Espinosa – $13). While none of our ‘cheap’ picks played particularly well or stayed particularly healthy (Casey Blake, Mark DeRosa), these guys helped carry us to 51 points which was the 3rd best offense. (Our in-season pickups had a modest impact – our three notable ones were Juan Rivera, Paul Goldschmidt, and Brandon Wood).
If our pitching – which we thought might be average – could only overperform a bit, we had a chance to compete for the title. Those of you with 8th grade math skills can surmise that it performed awfully (14 points). And that’s AFTER trading Pujols in an August trade for Cliff Lee who gave us a sick line of 60.2 IP, 1.19 ERA, 0.857 WHIP, 61 Ks.
Here’s a Spaghetti Western breakdown of our pitching:
Yovani Gallardo ($21) – Can’t complain too much about 207.1 IP / 17 W / 3.52 / 1.215 / 207 Ks
Randy Wolf ($3) – 212.1 IP / 13 W / 3.69 / 1.319 / 134
Carlos Marmol ($20) – Yeah, wish we spent $15 for Kimbrel or Marmol blew less saves but 33 saves and 99 Ks (!!!) from a closer is solid.
Chris Capuano ($4) – The 4.55 ERA was ugly but 11 Wins and 168 Ks with an okay WHIP (1.349) was good value.
Clayton Richard ($5) – Ugh, why’d we draft this Hodgepadre instead of Harang or Stauffer? The fact he only made it through 99 IP didn’t help.
Tom Gorzelanny ($2) – He pitched great (1.235 WHIP, nearly a K an inning) but he only pitched 100 innings as the Nationals preferred to give Chien-Mien Wang starts down the stretch and only managed 4 wins.
Matt Lindstrom ($2) – We were hoping for more than 2 saves and he was injured when Huston Street inevitably got hurt. Hurts more when you think what gambling on a SP like Brandon Beachy ($1) or Dillon Gee ($1) might’ve netted.
Clay Hensley ($5) – We hoped he might steal the job from the pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez. He then switched to SP where he was sub-average.
Hong-Chih Kuo ($6) – We really liked three middle relievers with some Saves potential – Kuo, Madson, and Venters. If Kuo has a Madson-like year of 25 saves, it would’ve netted us 7 more points in Saves. Yip!
Javier Vazquez ($11) – This really couldn’t have worked out worse. Grey has covered this numerous times in daily roundups but here’s the painful story. LABR rules dictate that anyone on a 25-man roster HAS to be started. So we couldn’t bench Vazquez during his atrocious April/May. It was either start him or drop him. We prayed he’d go on the Disgraceful List or show some sign of a turnaround but all we got was one bad start after another.
Vazquez has always been one of those guys who Ks a lot but gives up too many HRs and underperforms on his ratios (career xFIP of 3.75 and ERA of 4.22). There is no way Vazquez can be effective if he isn’t K-ing in the 8-10 K/9 range. He started the season at about half that rate so there was little hope for the K mojo (and any level of effectiveness) to return. I dropped him sometime in May – after lobbying hard against a hesitant Grey – when Vazquez had a line of 39.1 IP / 2 Wins / 7.55 ERA / 1.907 WHIP / 20 Ks.
So what did he do the rest of the way? Only 146. 1 IP / 10 Wins / 2.83 ERA / 1.011 WHIP / 135 Ks. My guess is just holding onto Vazquez – which we would’ve done had he not had a historically bad first 8 or so starts – would’ve netted us 10 pitching points (in Wins, Ks, and ERA) and put us close to the top 3.
Oh well…hopefully if they let us in next year, we’ll learn from these pitching mistakes and make a run for the pennant. Or at least make new mistakes so we don’t look stupid when writing the end of season post.