May 10, 2002
The Daily Prospectus
LABR UpdateIt took most of the first month, but BP's team in the League of Alternative Baseball Reality edged out of the cellar and all the way up to 11th place. And we didn't have to fire anybody to do it.
Most of the gain has come on the pitching side, where the return of Greg Maddux, the continued good work of Roy Oswalt, and the improvement of Braden Looper have contributed to us moving into third place in ERA, and starting to climb in ratio and wins. We've been stuck on two saves for a while, and despite some low-level trade talks, aren't in any danger of picking up a closer anytime soon.
One of the strangest things about roto--and remember, this is new to me--is rooting for players not on your team to perform poorly so that your guys can get save opportunities. I never thought I'd care so much about Vladimir Nunez or Jason Isringhausen or Eric Gagne, but when you have Looper, Steve Kline, and Giovanni Carrara, you really want to see BSv 2/3 3 2 2 1 0 in the box score once in a while.
On the hitting side, the dead spots on our roster have finally begun to make some contributions. Alex Sanchez and Kerry Robinson have combined for 13 steals, enabling us to stay in the middle of that pack. Our catchers--who hit like Jeff Bower for a month--have gotten their averages over .200 and are picking up some RBIs. We're getting killed by Jose Ortiz and by a couple of roster spots filled by guys--Ruben Mateo, Roosevelt Brown--who only get to play when everybody else gets hurt or suspended or indicted.
Over the next month, I'm hoping that we can make a run to the middle of the pack so the second half of the season can be interesting. One thing I'm going to be watching is how midseason deals get made in a one-year league, and what the level of participation is among teams that fall out of the race.
In the immediate future, we have some roster moves to make. Steve Kline and Joey Hamilton will move to the DL this weekend, freeing up two pitching spots. We're also debating the relative merits of keeping Ruben Quevedo around; we'd have to release him outright, but he's been awful so far, and isn't a real good candidate to get wins even if he does improve.
Free-agent pitching is nauseatingly thin in this league, and my slow trigger finger has cost BP's team Steve Reed so far. Here's a short list of candidates for pickup:
There's also the issue of whether to activate Jason Lane. To do so, we'd have to clear room by dropping an outfielder, and as bad as the Four Who Don't Play Much (Mateo, Robinson, Sanchez, Brown) have been, I don't know that Lane is going to get many more at-bats than they do. There aren't many position players worth grabbing, either, unless Troy O'Leary strikes someone's fancy.
Rotohead readers, this is the time: send in your suggestions by Saturday night!
For those of you interested, I'm in chat at ESPN.com at 3 p.m. EDT Friday.
Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact him by clicking here.