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It 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:

Brian Boehringer
Jim Brower
Kane Davis
Alan Embree
Kevin Gryboski
Hansel Izquierdo
Mike Lincoln
Tim Worrell

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.

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