Lessons from the 2012 baseball season highlight this year’s final column of the year.
Before jumping into the baseball news, I just wanted to remind you all to tune into Colton and the Wolfman Tuesdays from 11pm-1am eastern on SiriusXM (Sirius 210, XM 87). A full rundown of week 4 in fantasy football, a look forward to week 5, some real and fantasy pennant race analysis and more.
Ok, now back to current business . . . .
It has been a pleasure working on Week That Was again this year. Thank you to all of our loyal readers. This week I review what the Wolfman and I did right and wrong in 2012 in the hopes of providing some valuable lessons for 2013 [In other words, save this column and read it again in March 2013 before you draft!]
Five We Got RIGHT
Austin Jackson: We bought Austin Jackson for $18 in Tout Wars AL and were rewarded with a .300, 101 Runs, 16 HR, 11 SB season thus far. Jackson is a talented player whose value was depressed by a sophomore slump. As a 25 year old with over 1200 MLB AB under his belt, he was a good bet to produce well above his auction value. LESSON: 25-27 yr. olds with 1000+ MLB ABs and strong tools are good bets to produce beyond their baseline.
Adam Jones: We bought Adam Jones for $25 in Tout Wars. He produced well beyond that number with 32 HR, 100+ Runs, 15 SB and a solid .290 average. LESSON: Players like Jones who made the majors in their early 20s and are trending upward stand a good chance to have a career year at 26 or 27.
Edwin Encarnacion: We bought Edwin Encarnacion for $17 in LABR AL and boy what a bargain that turned out to be. E5 as he is called in roto circles has mashed all year: 42 HR, 110 RBI and even 13 SB. LESSON: When a player is out of position or, in the case of E5, has no position in which he is comfortable, it will affect his hitting. When that player is moved to his natural position or DH, he is likely to thrive. E5 has.
Glen Perkins: We bought Perkins for $4 in Tout Wars and were rewarded with a very good season that has included 16 Saves, a 1.05 WHIP and a 73/16 K/BB. LESSON: Always look for the number two guy with strong stats who sits behind a weak closer. Perkins was sitting behind Matt Capps. Nuff said.
Ian Desmond: We bought Desmond for $17 in LABR-NL and boy did he deliver. Thus far, Desmond is raking to a tune of .294 with 25 HR and 21 SB. LESSON: Just like with Austin Jackson, 25-27 yr. olds with 1000+ MLB ABs and solid tools are good bets to produce beyond their baseline. Of course, the investment on such a player is even smarter when he plays a scarce position like SS. After all, the S in SMART stands for Scarcity.
Five We Got WRONG
Evan Longoria: We invested $31 in Evan Longoria because we focused on his youth, potent bat and scarce position. However, as the Wolfman always says, “injury prone players get injured” and that is exactly what happened here. Longoria sat most of the year with hammy issues and has registered just 14 HR and 34 Runs. In his 4 years in the big leagues, Longoria has never had 600 AB and twice had fewer than 500. So, why did we pay an amount for him that would require him to produce for a full year in order to return value? Because we were stupid. LESSON: Do not invest full value in a player who is likely not to play the full season. Very hard to make money on that investment.
Dan Haren: We paid $25 for Haren in LABR AL. In truth, when looked at from the state of the world in March 2012, it is hard to quarrel with this decision. Haren had been one of the most consistent starting pitchers in the game with, among other things, 190+ K’s in each of the last 5 years. The problem - we spent too much money on pitching overall. LESSON: Do not invest too much in starting pitching -- it is inherently unpredictable. Every year, supposed sure thing starters tank or get hurt. Our mistake in 2012 was not Haren but spending on both Haren and CC -- we risked too much on starting pitching and the law of averages took hold.
Gaby Sanchez: We bought Gaby Sanchez for $20 in LABR NL. In 2010 and 2011, Sanchez had 72-19-78 and 72-19-85. Combine that solid and consistent production to the fact that he was entering his third full season on a team that added Jose Reyes and was getting back Hanley Ramirez and you should have had a solid investment. Alas, Sanchez got sent to the minors and then shipped to the Bucs. Result .224 average and only 7 HR. LESSON: Sometimes even when you make the right calculations, things that should not go wrong do. That is why it so important not to make the avoidable mistakes.
Brian McCann: We invested $22 on McCann in LABR-NL on the theory that he was the only truly solid offensive catcher. The problem -- he is a catcher. Thus, he often gets hurt, or at least nicked and thus is likely to suffer more as he gets older. This investment in McCann was not a total bust as he belted 20 HR but that .227 average is a killer. LESSON: Do not invest over $10-15 in a catcher. Let the big money guys go as they are just too inconsistent and too likely to get hurt. See also Napoli, Mike and his .225 average.
Jordan Walden: We made the boneheaded move of investing $17 in Jordan Walden in Tout-AL. I do believe that rostering one solid closer is a good strategy. However, Walden was hardly that. LESSON: When picking that one closer -- R in SMART stands for Reliever after all -- it should be a healthy closer with a good track record. Walden had one good year and 10 blown saves at that in that year. Boneheaded.
I am going to stop here and turn it over to the Carlton the Doorman of Fantasy Sports -- Schultz says: “Baseball is a sport that thrives on tradition; changes occur at a glacial pace and the pastime relishes reliving its days of yesteryear. Here at The Week That Was, we share that reverence for tradition . . . and lists. So - drum roll please - Ladies and Gentlemen, children of all ages, Rotoworld and The Week That Was proudly present to you the 2012 ALL-SCHULTZ AWARDS.
The 2012 ALL-SCHULTZ THELMA & LOUISE TEAM. After brilliant and optimistic starts to the season, the second half saw the players on this team drive off into the sunset and into the roto-chasm. In the team category, we would be witnessing a World Series of the Cleveland Indians vs. Pittsburgh Pirates with the Mets, once again falling short.
C A.J. Ellis (LAD) - Career minor leaguers that suddenly find success tend to falter over time. Ellis followed the pattern, falling well off his batting champion pace in the second half.
1B Bryan LaHair (CHI) - Probably could have named this team after him. The perennial Quad A talent went from All Star to the bench of one of the worst teams in baseball.
2B Jason Kipnis (CLE) - After a first half that showed glimpses of the roto-stud he will become, he - like the rest of the Tribe - took the late summer off.
SS Rafael Furcal (STL) - In the Spring, Furcal looked rejuvenated, hitting and stealing bases like the roto-stud he once was and feeding the myth that the Fountain of Youth burbles in St. Louis; by the end, it was all just dust in the wind (and a misplaced Kansas reference to Missouri).
3B Trevor Plouffe (MIN) - At mid-season, Plouffe was possessed by the Bradius Andersonicles, the Norse God of unexplained power. In the second half, the Gods found him unworthy.
OF Mark Trumbo (LAA) - A remarkably poor second half that saw Trumbo struggle to reach the Mendoza line erased all memories of his Triple Crown-like first half and the brief period of time when Trumbo overshadow Phat Albert.
OF Melky Cabrera (SF) - It's unclear whether his suspension for PEDs made the news. Did any of you hear about this?
OF Andre Ethier (LAD) - If this team has a veteran Jason Varitek-type player, it is Ethier, who's Hall of Fame plaque would read "constantly fades in the second half" if that was a Hall of Fame worthy statistic.
SP Carlos Zambrano (FLA) - Think back, there was a moment in time this year when the Marlins had nice things said about them and Big Z was the reason. Hard to remember that now, isn't it?
RP Alfredo Aceves (BOS) - The Sox bullpen was a disaster from the start but Aceves took what little success he had as the closer and handled it like Lenny and his rabbits.
The 2012 ALL-SCHULTZ ARETHA FRANKLIN TEAM. No, the people on this list didn't generate their own gravity field in 2012. Rather, they should have earned your R-O-T-O-R-E-S-P-E-C-T for this year and in the future.
C Wilin Rosario (COL) - Rockies catchers are always alluring roto-options every April. Rosario may be the first one that lives up to expectations. His 30-HR power is legitimate.
1B Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ) - Goldy's hellacious first half will mask the fact that he hit as well as anyone over the summer and, with nearly 20 steals, could position himself as the next Jeff Bagwell.
2B Jason Kipnis (CLE) - On the list twice. His first half was no fluke. The future of roto-second base plays on the banks of Lake Erie.
SS Ian Desmond (WAS) - More post-hype than a pop star touted by the British press, Desmond's .294, 25 HR and 21 SB season is one that many knew he had in him.
3B David Freese (STL) - Post-season heroes tend to be much less heroic when the next season starts (he shall be Livan), Freese put the lie to that notion.
OF Austin Jackson (DET) - One of the key pieces to the deal that led to Curtis Granderson coming to New York, he seemed a little busty until this year. The Yankees tend to shroud their prospects in smoke and mirrors, this one is legit.
OF Josh Reddick (OAK) - Apparently, all Reddick needed was steady playing time. Which the Red Sox were never going to give him with players like Daniel Nava, Cody Ross and Darnell McDonald standing in his way. At least the Sox got their monies worth out of Andrew Bailey. Huh, what's that . . .
OF Jason Heyward (ATL) - Many people forgot that he's only 23. His 20/20 season is but the tip of the iceberg. He will be a fantasy monster in the upcoming years.
SP Steven Strasburg (WAS) - It would just be criminal to not mention him in a year-end column. In 2012, Strasburg established himself as the most prized roto-pitcher not named Justin Verlander.
RP Craig Kimbrel (ATL) - With Mariano Rivera unlikely to return (he may try, but with a repaired ACL in his push-off leg, he won't be the same), the new king of the 9th inning resides in Atlanta.
The 2012 ALL-SCHULTZ NORBIT TEAM. But for injuries, this team would have won you a roto-championship. That "but" though is bigger than the one Eddie Murphy strapped on for Norbit.
C J.P. Arencibia
1B David Ortiz
2B Dustin Pedroia
SS Troy Tulowitzki
3B Evan Longoria
OF Jose Bautista
OF Jacoby Ellsbury
OF Matt Kemp
SP Roy Halladay
RP Huston Street
The 2012 ALL-SCHULTZ "HEY, YOU'RE TONY RANDALL!!!" TEAM. Because who doesn't like a pleasant surprise over and over and over again.
C A.J. Pierzynski (CHW) - At age 35, Pierzynski set career marks for HRs, RBIs and runs. Entirely unforeseeable and don't claim anything other than luck if you were the roto-beneficiary.
1B Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) - A disappointment for years, the move to first base and DHing awakened a beast. His 42 HR, 110 RBIs are Joey Bats like
2B Aaron Hill (ARZ) - Another veteran on the roto-scrap heap after failing to follow up a career season that didn't lead to the breakout everyone expected. He put up one of the quietest .300 20 HR, 80 RBI seasons in recent memory.
SS Alcides Escobar (KC) - Post-hype prospects trading to Kansas City are easily forgotten. Those that remembered got a .289 with 32 steals.
3B Chase Headley (SD) - Despite what roto-pundits say, it is possible to hit for power in San Diego. Headley's .283, 29 HR, 109 RBI, 15 SB should have received much more attention.
OF Alex Rios (CHW) - Another resurrection in Chi-Town. The Blue Jays laughed when the Sox claimed him on waivers in 2009. The Sox laugh last with Rios' .298, 25 HR, 80 RBI, 90 R and 23 SB. For those who need it spelled out - this is roto-value and then some.
OF Josh Willingham (MIN) - Staggering that the Indians thought giving a fourth year would be a deal breaker. His 35 HR, 110 RBI would be the best season from an Indian since Travis Hafner was in one piece.
OF Carlos Beltran (STL) - Grading on the curve for age, Beltran's 30 HR, 90 RBI are remarkable. At 35-years-old, his 13 steals are a pleasant surprise.
SP Lance Lynn (STL) - When you discount his hiccup in August and early September, Lynn was one of MLB's aces, striking out nearly a batter an inning and putting up respectably ERA and WHIP. For someone that was supposed to start one game for Chris Carpenter in April - phenomenal.
RP Fernando Rodney (TB)/Jim Johnson (BAL) - If you entered April with this closing tandem, you were undoubtedly mocked, possibly tarred and feathered. Laugh last; laugh best, stay thirsty my friends.
The 2012 ALL-SCHULTZ REPLACEMENT REF TEAM. If these players were on your team, you feel like the Packers on a Tuesday morning and just want the pain to stop. Besides, like every other hack, I wanna make a replacement ref joke.
C Carlos Santana (CLE) - He never quite recovered from a concussion in May. He turned in respectable numbers but didn't even come near the Piazza zone.
1B Eric Hosmer (KC) - Many were enticed by his potential. Even more were horrified by the .232, 14 HR, 60 RBI.
2B Dan Uggla (ATL) - His traditional second half that erases all memories of an ugly Spring never materialized this year.
SS Jhonny Peralta (DET) - Perennially disappointing, except for last year, Peralta returned to form and disheartened the masses.
3B Kevin Youkilis (BOS) - Once the heart of the feisty Red Sox, he clashed with Bobby Valentine and changed the color his Sox soon thereafter. Baseball's last angry man had many joining him with his 2012 output.
OF Shane Victorino (PHI) - The Flyin' Hawaiian was a coconut at sea this season. He was so bad that even his .250, 10 HR, 52 RBI doesn't do justice to how terrible he was after being traded to the Dodgers.
OF Justin Upton (ARZ) - Safe to say, he probably isn't getting the NL MVP award this year. Good call, everyone.
OF Desmond Jennings (TB) - The hype machine can do wonders to people's expectations. After Trouting it up in 2011, Jennings was amazingly and spectacularly average this season.
SP Tim Lincecum (SF) - The perennial Cy Young candidate put up a 5.15 ERA and 1.48 WHIP and made Giants fans feel fondly for Barry Zito. Nothing more need be said.
RP John Axford (MIL) - Somehow, Ax got lumped in the sure thing category for closers. If you bought into that, you deserved his 2012 season.
It seems wrong to do a year-in-review column and not mention Kris Medlen, the waiver wire pickup who, along with Mike Trout, swung roto-titles across the country. Consider them mentioned.
It would be remiss of me not to thank Glenn Colton for his patient indulgence for this part of the column over the season and to all of you that take the time to read.
See you all in 2013.
Response: Great stuff Schultzie. Thanks for all the great work and entertainment. I owe you a few cold ones!
Final Thoughts: While we do not do a Week That Was for fantasy football, feel free to send me your FF questions on twitter @glenncolton1 or to call into “Colton and the Wolfman” on SiriusXM if you want to discuss those questions live. See you back here at the Week That Was in March 2013!