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August 16, 2012

Resident Fantasy Genius

A Summer Success Story

by Derek Carty

I’ve been talking a lot about theory lately, so I thought I’d lighten things up today and talk about my favorite subject: me.  More specifically, I wanted to update you on the progress of my Tout Wars team’s transformation. A couple weeks ago, I talked about how I approach making trades and offered up my Tout NL dealings as a real-life example.  That was in the midst of my process to turn my team into a contender, shifting my resources toward the categories that I could gain the most ground in.  My stated goals at the time basically boiled down to:

1.     Get saves

2.     Get as much offense as possible, regardless of category

3.     Hope Mike Morse and Justin Upton wake up

Below, you’ll find a complete list of the moves I’ve made and a side-by-side comparison of my roster before and after. 

·       Traded R.A. Dickey, Tyler Greene, and Ernesto Frieri for Rickie Weeks, Adam LaRoche, and Kenley Jansen

·       Traded Juan Uribe, Elian Herrera, and $5 FAAB for Mark Ellis

·       Won Francisco Cordero for $17 FAAB

·       Traded Ryan Dempster for J.J. Putz

·       Traded Matt Cain for Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Ruiz (DL), and Ted Lilly (DL)

·       Won Welington Castillo for $15 FAAB

·       Traded $5 FAAB for Jason Marquis

·       Won Tyler Greene for $10 FAAB

Pos

Old Squad

New Squad

C

Ramon Hernandez

Welington Castillo

C

Rod Barajas

Rod Barajas

1B

Mike Morse

Mike Morse

2B

Tyler Greene

Rickie Weeks

3B

Chipper Jones

Chipper Jones

SS

Paul Janish

Tyler Greene

CI

Juan Uribe

Adam LaRoche

MI

Cesar Izturis

Mark Ellis

OF

Justin Upton

Justin Upton

OF

Dexter Fowler

Dexter Fowler

OF

Justin Ruggiano

Justin Ruggiano

OF

Ryan Ludwick

Ryan Ludwick

UT

Jon Jay

Jon Jay

Swingman

Jason Grilli

Ramon Hernandez

P

Anibal Sanchez

Anibal Sanchez

P

Erik Bedard

Erik Bedard

P

Michael Fiers

Michael Fiers

P

R.A. Dickey

Jason Marquis

P

Matt Cain

Jonathan Papelbon

P

Ryan Dempster

J.J. Putz

P

Rafael Betancourt

Rafael Betancourt

P

Ernesto Frieri

Kenley Jansen

P

Matt Belisle

Drew Storen

BN

Nate Schierholtz

Nate Schierholtz (DL)

BN

Jedd Gyorko

Jedd Gyorko

BN

Elian Herrera

Matt Belisle

BN

Juan Carlos Oviedo

Jason Grilli

DL

Todd Helton

Carlos Ruiz

DL

Tim Stauffer

Tim Stauffer

DL

Drew Storen

Ted Lilly

DL

Wil Nieves

Francisco Cordero

DL

(EMPTY)

Juan Carlos Oviedo

Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with the job I did retooling my roster.  I’ve gone from having an offense with several near-dead spots (Uribe, Janish, Izturis, Greene, a MR as my swingman, and even Hernandez) to one without a single dead spot (okay, Hernandez may still count, but Schierholtz is playing every day now while healthy).

While Justin Upton still isn’t showing much sign of life, Mike Morse has begun heating up (.296 with three homers this month) while Rickie Weeks (.311 with four homers) and Adam LaRoche (.301 with seven homers) have been dominant since I acquired them. Ruggiano, Ludwick, and Jay keep pounding away as well, resulting in my team gaining offensive ground quickly.

I was absolutely thrilled to get Tyler Greene back this past Monday.  After I traded him away in the Dickey deal, his new owner soon released him, so I scooped him back up now that he’ll be starting nearly everyday and batting leadoff for the Astros.  Yes, it’s the Astros, but I’ve long-believed in his five-tool talent, and full-time at-bats are incredibly valuable in deep leagues like this.

The addition of Ruiz came after his DL stint, but if he and Lilly manage to come back in early September, I could come out a big winner in the Cain trade.  As with the Dickey/Weeks trade before it, when you’re trailing, sometimes these kind of calculated risks are necessary.  (Even if neither returns, however, Papelbon fills a need and probably isn’t that much less valuable than Cain by himself).

On the pitching side, yes, it kind of sucks to lose Cain, Dickey, and Dempster, but with such a good ERA and WHIP, I really don’t need them.  In their place, I have three new closers that could allow me to win the saves category outright.  My Cordero buy flopped, but Papelbon, Jansen, and Putz are about as stable as they come.

I also like my under-the-radar Marquis buy.  He’s far from a stud, but when I really just need cheap, reliable innings to hold ground in wins and strikeouts, he’s perfectly fine.  And if he keeps pitching like he has since joining the Padres (7.5 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 53% GB%, 3.37 xFIP), I’ll have no complaints.  I’m disappointed I missed out on Justin Germano in this week’s FAAB bidding on a bit of a technicality, but if my biggest regret at this point is missing out on a filler arm like Germano, I think I’m doing all right.  I still would like to find one more low-level starting pitcher, and I have $15 FAAB to play with, so hopefully I should manage to do so.  Plus, I may have Lilly and Stauffer returning in a few weeks, allowing me to play the match-ups and plug in starters with two-start weeks to maximize my innings down the homestretch.

Following my Greene acquisition (which more-or-less signaled the end of my team’s transformation) one of my fellow Tout NL owners told me that he believes I’m a lock for a top-three position by season’s end with first place being decided by a matter of points.  While I’m not counting my chickens yet, I’m starting to believe there’s a really good chance of this happening.  When last I wrote, I stood in ninth place with 66.5 points.  Now, I’m in fifth with 77.5 bones—2.5 out of third place and 11.5 out of first.

I know many fantasy players hate reading about other peoples’ teams, but if you’ve lasted this long, you’ll now hear my reason for engaging in this seemingly self-congratulatory exercise (aside from indulging my own selfishness and vanity, of course). The job isn’t done yet for my Tout team, but whether my competitor’s prediction comes true or not, I think this proves a valuable point that if you truly and honestly evaluate your team and the standings, work hard at fixing the things that can be fixed, and take calculated risks, a big deficit in July can be overcome.  Never give up on a team until all is truly lost, especially if you have strengths you can deal from.

Related Content:  Fantasy Baseball,  Tout Wars

11 comments have been left for this article.

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