Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Essential Breakdown of My 2014-2015 Fantasy Basketball Draft

After wrapping up the longest fantasy baseball story ever told, I figured that if there was one thing that my loyal readers needed, it was more fantasy talk. But fear not,  my friends, as I have at least moved onto basketball. If you have not had your draft yet, this actually might be helpful, as I will highlight my best and worst picks while highlighting my own thinking on my picks in the round. We can trade draft picks in the league I am in, so just a heads up, I have 4 of the first 14 picks in the draft, and I am going to throw the world's biggest hissy fit if my team doesn't win the championship.

1 LeBron James, Cle SF      The Outsiders
2 Anthony Davis, Nor PF   Flint Tropics
3 Kevin Durant*, OKC SF   The Outsiders
4 Stephen Curry, GS PG     Butt Stuff
5 Chris Paul, LAC PG         The Kid From Thunder Struck
6 James Harden, Hou SG     For the love of the game
7 Russell Westbrook, OKC PG Wennington Baseline
8 Blake Griffin, LAC PF     Team Agan
9 John Wall, Wsh PG           Team Roy
10 Carmelo Anthony, NY SF Team Ehrecke
11 DeMarcus Cousins, Sac C   The Outsiders
12 Serge Ibaka, OKC PF       Team schneider

Best Pick: Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo is about as much of a guarantee that you can get in the top ten. He has always been healthy, and he always finishes in the top 10. Worst case scenario is that you get the tenth most valuable guy at the ten spot. Carmelo may not be a winning player in real life, but he is one in fantasy. I was very disappointed that he got taken one spot ahead of me.

Worst Pick: Blake Griffin
It's tough to fault any of the picks in the first round, but you are taking a gamble that Blake is going to take a step forward this season. He definitely could, as everybody has been raving about his progress in the offseason, but even if he takes a step forward, he'd still only max out around the eighth most valuable player in the league.

My Pick(s): LeBron James, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins
I took LeBron #1, even though I doubt he is the number one rated guy at the end of the season. He is the safest guy to take that will guarantee be a top five guy, and I traded for so many top basketball picks that a safe pick here made total sense, especially with my second pick. Most people may think this is too high for Kevin Durant, but I am in a special situation where I can manage having him on my IR spot while he recovers and still be strong early on in the season. When healthy, he is the best fantasy player to have, so playoff time, I'll be ready to destroy people. Finally, I took DeMarcus Cousins. I would have liked Melo to fall to me, but I am totally good with Cousins, especially since he is just fun to cheer for. I definitely thought about Ibaka here, but in a toss-up situation, I'm going to take the guy I like more.

13 Damian Lillard, Por PG   Team schneider
14 Kevin Love, Cle PF          The Outsiders
15 LaMarcus Aldridge, Por PF Team Ehrecke
16 Kawhi Leonard, SA SF    Team Roy
17 Ty Lawson, Den PG         Team Agan
18 Kyrie Irving, Cle PG        Wennington Baseline
19 Al Jefferson, Cha C          For the love of the game
20 Derrick Rose, Chi PG      It's Not The Same Macklemore
21 Dirk Nowitzki, Dal PF     Butt Stuff
22 Chris Bosh, Mia C           Flint Tropics
23 Kyle Lowry*, Tor PG      Team Marcysquirts
24 Goran Dragic, Pho PG     Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Derrick Rose
This is because I am a Bulls homer, but did you see him against the Cavs the other night? It was magical. D-Rose is BACK. If just one of my predictions for this year comes true, I want it to be me cruising to a fantasy championship, but if two of my predictions can come true, this is the one I am hoping for the second most.

Worst Pick: Kyrie Irving
The other guy on the Cavs is someone I'm not as sold on. He is going to have to work without the ball in his hands, and I don't see him adapting nearly as well as Love. Also, he does have injury issues, and I would not trust his health enough to invest a mid-2nd round pick.

My Pick: Kevin Love
Kevin Love is consistently a top-5 fantasy player when healthy. I understand he is no longer the number one option, but he is still going to be a huge focal point for that offense. With LeBron and Kyrie alongside him, he will get more open three opportunities, but can also hang out near the rim and get more chances for offensive rebounds and putbacks. I actually had him ahead of Cousins on my list but figured I could wait on Love as worst case, I would probably end up with Ibaka. Love fell, and I am very happy to have him.

25 DeMar DeRozan, Tor SG Flint Tropics
26 Andre Drummond, Det C Team Marcysquirts
27 Dwight Howard, Hou C    The Kid From Thunder Struck
28 Nicolas Batum, Por SF     Butt Stuff
29 Monta Ellis, Dal SG         Team Ehrecke
30 Marc Gasol, Mem C         For the love of the game
31 Kenneth Faried, Den PF    Wennington Baseline
32 Joakim Noah, Chi C         Team Agan
33 Mike Conley, Mem PG    Team Roy
34 Kemba Walker, Cha PG   Team Ehrecke
35 Klay Thompson, GS SG   The Outsiders
36 Victor Oladipo, Orl SG    Team schneider

Best Pick: Joakim Noah
This was a tough one, but Noah provides so much in every category but three pointers that he may end up being the best big guy in this round despite being the last one taken. The other guy I would make an argument for is Mike Conley who is usually pretty healthy and will provide strong point guard numbers. He probably won't be a whole lot better than 33rd overall, but it is unlikely that he is much worse.

Worst Pick: Victor Oladipo
He put up solid numbers last year, but he had the ball in his hand a lot more than he will have it in his hands this year with the addition of Elfird Payton. He's a fine player, but I feel like his best case scenario is being around mid-30s at the end of the year, and if his shooting doesn't improve, he could be about twenty spots worse.

My Pick: Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson provides on the scoring stats, because the dude can shoot. But his defense has improved over the last few years, and I think he might improve some of his other counting stats as he has shown a more well-rounded game each year he has been in the league. He was a safe choice, who has some upside, but probably won't be too much more valuable than 35, and he does add value as shooting guard is a very shallow position in the NBA.

37 Paul Millsap, Atl PF         Team schneider
38 Al Horford, Atl C              The Outsiders
39 Eric Bledsoe, Pho PG       Team Ehrecke
40 Rudy Gay, Sac SF            Team Roy
41 Kobe Bryant, LAL SG     Team Agan
42 Dwyane Wade, Mia SG    Wennington Baseline
43 DeAndre Jordan, LAC C   For the love of the game
44 Jabari Parker, Mil SF       It's Not The Same Macklemore
45 Nikola Vucevic, Orl C     Butt Stuff
46 Thaddeus Young, Min SF The Kid From Thunder Struck
47 Jrue Holiday, Nor PG       The Outsiders
48 Gordon Hayward, Uta SG Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Eric Bledsoe
I love Eric Bledsoe, as he could easily be a top 15 fantasy player if he stays healthy throughout the season. The issue with him is health and likely reduced playing time with the addition of Isaiah Thomas. Still, if he does stay healthy, he will outperform his draft slot and be a very valuable guy who can play both guard positions.

Worst Pick: Jabari Parker
With any rookie, there are going to be growing pains. Jabari is very talented, but he is not a generational talent, as he wasn't even the first pick in the draft. I do think he will likely be the best rookie, but considering some of the other talent available on the wings at this point in the draft, it was too much of a reach for my liking.

My Pick(s): Al Horford and Jrue Holiday
Al Horford is incredible at basketball. His pectorals are incredible at tearing in half. Did I take the wrong injury risk by going with him over Bledsoe? Possibly, but I am going to trust in Horford's talent and assume that pectorals will not constantly rip in two. When he's on the floor, he's one of the best big men in the league, and I have no doubt that he will outproduce his teammate, Paul Millsap, who was taken one pick before him. Also, I love Jrue Holiday. He is a really good point guard who has the talent around him to make plays. Health was a concern last year, but if he would have been healthy last year, he would probably be taken in the early third round. Without him, the Pelicans struggled, but they could make a huge leap with him running the show for the whole season.

49 Ricky Rubio, Min PG              The Kid From Thunder Struck
50 Chandler Parsons, Dal SF        The Outsiders
51 Deron Williams, Bkn PG         The Kid From Thunder Struck
52 Derrick Favors, Uta PF            Butt Stuff
53 Brandon Jennings, Det PG          It's Not The Same Macklemore
54 Brook Lopez*, Bkn C              For the love of the game
55 Nerlens Noel, Phi C                 Wennington Baseline
56 Wesley Matthews, Por SG             Team Agan
57 Jeff Teague, Atl PG                  Team Roy
58 Josh Smith, Det SF                   Team Ehrecke
59 Pau Gasol, Chi PF                    Team Marcysquirts
60 Michael Carter-Williams*, Phi PG Team schneider

Best Pick: Wesley Matthews
Matthews has quietly turned into one of the best shooting guards in the league as the guy can flat out shoot. If you told me his stats at the end of the year were exactly the same as Klay Thompson's, I wouldn't be surprised (although as a Klay Thompson owner, I'd be slightly disappointed). He's just a really solid player. He won't be great, but he'll probably outperform his draft spot by about ten positions. A similar guy is Jeff Teague who was doing some great things when Horford was still healthy at the beginning of last year. In a completely different vein, Josh Smith has enough upside that his risk is worth it at this point.

Worst Pick: Michael Carter-Williams
He is coming off a serious injury so he will likely not be playing at the beginning of the season, and he is someone who was great at the beginning, but then really struggled while having a few bounceback moments at the end. His big question was his shooting, and I don't know if he really answered whether he can shoot. Making it worse is that Rajon Rondo was sitting there, who is better than MCW in just about every conceivable way. I hate Rondo, but I'd draft Satan for a fantasy championship.

My Pick: Chandler Parsons
The worst case scenario for Parsons is that he matches his Houston numbers, but I do think he has a good chance to improve on what he has done in the past. Having Dirk stretching the floor gives him an opportunity to penetrate where he is very good at finishing. Also, there are likely going to be some open three opportunities with Dirk on the outside and Monta driving to the hole. I was actually hoping for Gordon Hayward to fall a couple spots to me, but I was totally happy to still get Parsons.

61 Tim Duncan, SA PF         Team schneider
62 Andrew Wiggins, Min SG Team Marcysquirts
63 David Lee, GS PF            Team Ehrecke
64 Rajon Rondo*, Bos PG    Team Roy
65 Terrence Jones, Hou PF    Team Agan
66 Luol Deng, Mia SF           Wennington Baseline
67 Tony Parker, SA PG        For the love of the game
68 Zach Randolph, Mem PF It's Not The Same Macklemore
69 Joe Johnson, Bkn SG        Butt Stuff
70 Bradley Beal*, Wsh SG   The Outsiders
71 Lance Stephenson, Cha SG Flint Tropics
72 Jonas Valanciunas, Tor C Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Rajon Rondo
Our league has a lot of Bulls fans, so that means we are required to hate Rondo, and that showed in our draft, as he was only drafted as high as he was because the guy who picked him didn't show up and auto-drafted his team. Still, Rondo is good in fantasy basketball situations, so it was probably the best pick of the round. But as a Bulls fan, Rondo is the worst.

Worst Pick: Andrew Wiggins
I think Wiggins will be solid this year, but the guy is raw. He can definitely have some 30 point performances, but consistently, I don't see him getting it done to the level of some of the other guys drafted in this round.

My Pick: Bradley Beal
This is me taking advantage of having many early picks and having the luxury to stock a talented player on my bench for first month or so. Beal is awesome, and I would have taken him two to three rounds earlier if he had been healthy. I could see him making a big step forward this year with his name being just behind James Harden's for best shooting guard in the league.

73 Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mil SF Flint Tropics
74 Tyreke Evans, Nor SF              Team Marcysquirts
75 Marcin Gortat, Wsh C              It's Not The Same Macklemore
76 Kyle Korver, Atl SG                 Butt Stuff
77 George Hill, Ind PG                 It's Not The Same Macklemore
78 Trevor Ariza, Hou SF              For the love of the game
79 Greg Monroe, Det PF               Wennington Baseline
80 Brandon Knight, Mil PG          Team Agan
81 Markieff Morris, Pho PF          Team Roy
82 Ryan Anderson, Nor PF           Team Ehrecke
83 Elfrid Payton, Orl PG               Team Marcysquirts
84 Jeremy Lin, LAL PG                Team schneider

Best Pick: George Hill
Somebody has to put up points for the Pacers; why can't it be George Hill? The other options are not all that appealing. Hill will have the ball in his hands a lot more, and that alone should mean that he sees an uptick in his production.

Worst Pick: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Everybody loves Giannis, but he has a long ways to go before he is a truly valuable fantasy option. He will show brilliant flashes throughout the year, but he is still raw. I think he takes a step forward, but taking him this early requires him taking a leap forward, and he is at least a year away from that.

My Pick: No Pick
This was a good round to not have a pick, as the talent is starting to get pretty uninspired.

85 Tobias Harris, Orl PF       Team schneider
86 Reggie Jackson*, OKC PG Flint Tropics
87 Arron Afflalo, Den SG     Team Ehrecke
88 David West, Ind PF          Team Roy
89 Nikola Pekovic, Min C    Team Agan
90 Jose Calderon, NY PG     Wennington Baseline
91 Robin Lopez, Por C                 For the love of the game
92 J.J. Redick, LAC SG        It's Not The Same Macklemore
93 Jeff Green, Bos SF           Butt Stuff
94 Danilo Gallinari, Den SF The Kid From Thunder Struck
95 Darren Collison, Sac PG   Team Marcysquirts
96 Larry Sanders, Mil C        Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Larry Sanders
I feel like Sanders will bounce back from the year when everything went wrong. Him putting up 10-10 for points and rebounds while adding a couple blocks a game seems like a likely scenario.

Worst Pick: Tobias Harris
This was a really tough one, because none of these picks were really bad. They were mostly middle-of-the-road picks who are all kind of varying degrees of fine. The reason I picked Harris is because the Magic drafted Aaron Gordon who is also a fringy forward who can play either spot, and they are going to give him minutes to see what he can do. Oh yeah, and they added Channing Frye to soak up some minutes as well. Otherwise, I think Tobias Harris is a pretty solid player who I enjoyed having on my team at the end of last year.

My Pick: No Pick
This was kind of an uninspired round, so I didn't really have any regrets.

97 Isaiah Thomas, Pho PG    The Outsiders
98 Roy Hibbert, Ind C           The Kid From Thunder Struck
99 Jimmy Butler*, Chi SG    The Kid From Thunder Struck
100 Kevin Martin, Min SG     Butt Stuff
101 Jared Sullinger, Bos PF    It's Not The Same Macklemore
102 Patrick Beverley, Hou PG    For the love of the game
103 Alec Burks, Uta SG          Wennington Baseline
104 Eric Gordon, Nor SG       Team Agan
105 Jordan Hill, LAL PF        Team Roy
106 Jamal Crawford, LAC SG Team Ehrecke
107 Tyson Chandler, Dal C         Team Marcysquirts
108 Omer Asik, Nor C            Team schneider

Best Pick: Roy Hibbert
This was an inspired round as there were a lot of high upside guys taken that could pay off. Hibbert was dominant at the beginning of last year, and I think he will be much closer to that than he will be to the guy who looked like a statue down the stretch and in the majority of the playoffs. He could easily lead the league in blocks. By the way, I liked a lot about this round as Butler was a nice value pick. Beverly is now a full-time point guard. Jordan Hill will put up counting stats on a terrible team, and Asik will get consistent minutes again to be the defensive anchor for the Pelicans.

Worst Pick: Kevin Martin
What is the benefit of giving Martin minutes over Wiggins and LaVine? Anyone? Anyone at all? Yeah, I think he will see a big decrease in minutes and production. He's also a likely trade candidate for a contender to have even less of a role off the bench.

My Pick: Isaiah Thomas
I love Isaiah Thomas this year. He was int he top 20 in fantasy production last year. He did switch teams, but the Suns have said they are planning on rotating all three of them in the game, so he can still expect to get 25-30 minutes, with the majority coming with the bench unit where he will have free reign to score at will. His numbers will drop, but not to the point where he should have fallen to this spot. I'm not sure if there was a player I was targeting harder than Thomas.

109 Avery Bradley, Bos SG    Team schneider
110 Anderson Varejao, Cle C Team Marcysquirts
111 Trey Burke, Uta PG         Team Ehrecke
112 Mario Chalmers, Mia PG Team Roy
113 Andrew Bogut, GS C       Team Agan
114 Taj Gibson, Chi PF          Wennington Baseline
115 Nene Hilario*, Wsh PF    For the love of the game
116 Spencer Hawes, LAC C         Team Ehrecke
117 J.R. Smith, NY SG           Butt Stuff
118 John Henson, Mil PF       The Kid From Thunder Struck
119 Paul George*, Ind SF       The Outsiders
120 Julius Randle, LAL PF     Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Trey Burke
Man, I really wanted Trey Burke too, but it made sense that he didn't fall to me. I think Burke will take a significant step forward this year, and considering that Mario Chalmers went one pick after him, how good of a value must Burke be? Like, Burke could play the year with Ebola and still probably outproduce Mario Chalmers.

Worst Pick: Mario Chalmers
Let me just repeat this: Trey Burke could outproduce him with Ebola.

My Pick: Paul George
It's a keeper league, so Paul George in the 8th next year is incredible value, especially since he has already been seen knocking down jumpers. He might be back by Thanksgiving, who knows? But yeah, he'll hang out on IR this season, and next year, I get first round talent in the 8th.

121 Dion Waiters, Cle SG      Flint Tropics
122 Doug McDermott, Chi SF   The Outsiders
123 Terrence Ross, Tor SG     The Kid From Thunder Struck
124 Enes Kanter, Uta C          Butt Stuff
125 Andre Iguodala, GS SF    It's Not The Same Macklemore
126 DeMarre Carroll, Atl SF         For the love of the game
127 Draymond Green, GS SF Wennington Baseline
128 Ersan Ilyasova, Mil PF     Team Agan
129 Josh McRoberts*, Mia PF Team Roy
130 Bojan Bogdanovic, Bkn SG Team Ehrecke
131 Jameer Nelson, Dal PG         Team Marcysquirts
132 C.J. Miles, Ind SF            Team schneider

Best Pick: Ersan Ilyasova
We're getting late in the draft, so it's going to be tough to find great picks. Ilyasova might get back to where he was a few years ago. It is at least a possibility.

Worst Pick: Dion Waiters
I do not like Waiters's chances of fitting in on this new-look Cavs team. I very much think he will find the doghouse quickly, and his best case scenario is getting traded to a bad team for a second round pick where they will not mind him throwing up ridiculous shots while teammates who are wide open slump their shoulders in disgust.

My Pick: Doug McDermott
He's kind of been doing a little bit of everything this preseason. I think his minutes will increase as the season goes on, and he will score no matter what. He's not great, but I think he can add top-100 value.

133 Gorgui Dieng, Min C       Team schneider
134 JaVale McGee, Den C      Team Marcysquirts
135 Amir Johnson, Tor PF      It's Not The Same Macklemore
136 Matt Barnes, LAC SF     Team Roy
137 Marcus Smart, Bos PG      Team Agan
138 Tim Hardaway Jr., NY SG Wennington Baseline
139 Danny Green, SA SG       For the love of the game
140 Carlos Boozer, LAL PF         It's Not The Same Macklemore
141 Miles Plumlee, Pho PF     Butt Stuff
142 K.J. McDaniels, Phi SF    The Kid From Thunder Struck
143 James Ennis, Mia SF        The Kid From Thunder Struck
144 Paul Pierce, Wsh SF         Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Paul Pierce
Pierce still has old man game (old man game that he has had since age 16), so he should at least be a solid late round addition, especially early on with Beal out. That's not bad for the end of Round 12.

Worst Pick: James Ennis
Who is James Ennis? I am nearly positive he is a rookie, because his name sounds familiar. Did he play at Syracuse? Maybe. But I don't know who this is, and I know over 50 NBA players, so I will assume he is not good.

My Pick: No Pick
I cannot identify all of the players in this round, so I'm not too worried about missing out.

145 Aaron Gordon, Orl PF      Team Marcysquirts
146 Otto Porter Jr., Wsh SF    The Outsiders
147 Nick Young*, LAL SG         The Kid From Thunder Struck
148 Andrea Bargnani, NY PF Butt Stuff
149 Channing Frye, Orl PF         It's Not The Same Macklemore
150 Timofey Mozgov, Den C For the love of the game
151 Anthony Morrow, OKC SG Wennington Baseline
152 Tony Wroten, Phi PG         Team Agan
153 Wilson Chandler, Den SF Team Roy
154 Jodie Meeks*, Det SG         It's Not The Same Macklemore
155 Dante Exum, Uta SG         Team Marcysquirts
156 Evan Turner, Bos SG         Team schneider

Best Pick: Channing Frye
Yeah, he is hurt to start the year, but he can be a nice fantasy addition when he comes back. They paid him a lot of money, so he will get minutes, and that is a nice asset in the final round.

Worst Pick: Jodie Meeks
If you hold onto Jodie Meeks until he gets healthy, you have a very sad fantasy basketball existence.

My Pick: Otto Porter Jr.
Beal is out early, so I am going to hope that Porter has discovered offense after struggling with injuries in his rookie year. He has a 50/50 shot of surviving two weeks on my roster.

When it comes down to it, my team is the heavy favorite, but Team Ehrecke and Flint Tropics both have a lot of talent on their rosters (Weirdly, two of my favorite picks from those teams play in Utah with Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward). If my team stays healthy, I'm untouchable, but I highly doubt that will happen, so the key will be filling out the back end of my roster, as there are definitely some changes on the horizon. Best of luck to everyone in your own fantasy basketball leagues, and if you can acquire 4 of the first 14 picks, do that; it will make things so much easier.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Longest Fantasy Baseball Story Ever Told - Part Eight

And so we have finally made it to the final part of our journey. For a quick review of where we have been:

For a review of where we have been so far:

Part One - The Draft
Part Two - The Start of the Season
Part Three - Becoming a Seller
Part Four - The Rebuild
Part Five - The Trade Deadline
Part Six - The Stretch Run

Part Seven - The Playoffs

At this point, there is nothing to be done but to review the performance. Since I feel like the absolute maximum anyone could write about their fantasy team is seven parts, I have made this eighth part my longest part of the story. First off, here is the team I started with and what happened to each player.

14 Ryan Braun, Mil OF - Traded
23 Evan Longoria, TB 3B - Traded
26 Joey Votto, Cin 1B - Released
38 Justin Upton, Atl OF  
54 Zack Greinke, LAD SP - Traded
78 Masahiro Tanaka, NYY SP - Traded
83 Wilin Rosario, Col C 
91 Matt Cain, SF SP - Released
98 Cole Hamels, Phi SP  
115 Chase Utley, Phi 2B  
126 Jose Abreu, CWS 1B  
134 Jedd Gyorko, SD 2B  
139 Danny Salazar, Cle SP - Released but then added again.
146 B.J. Upton, Atl OF  
150 David Robertson, NYY RP  
163 Leonys Martin, Tex OF  
179 Koji Uehara, Bos RP - Traded
187 Chris Tillman, Bal SP - Released
198 Chris Carter, Hou 1B  
235 Jose Veras, Hou RP - Released
246 Mike Moustakas, KC 3B - Released
259 Ubaldo Jimenez, Bal SP - Released
270 Josh Johnson, SD SP - Released
283 Edwin Jackson, ChC SP - Released
294 Derek Jeter, NYY SS - Released

Now what my team ended up at and how I was able to acquire all of them:

Wilin Rosario, Col C - Draft
Chris Carter, Hou 1B - Draft
Chase Utley, Phi 2B - Draft
Pablo Sandoval, SF 3B - Trade
J.J. Hardy, Bal SS - Trade
Jedd Gyorko, SD 2B - Draft
Jose Abreu, CWS 1B - Draft
B.J. Upton, Atl OF - Draft
Leonys Martin, Tex OF - Draft
Ben Revere, Phi OF - Free Agency
Gregory Polanco, Pit OF - Trade
Jorge Soler, ChC OF - Free Agency
Justin Upton, Atl OF - Draft
Eric Hosmer, KC 1B - Waivers
Sean Doolittle, Oak RP - Free Agency
Danny Salazar, Cle SP Draft/Free Agency
Kevin Quackenbush, SD RP - Free Agency
Cole Hamels, Phi SP - Draft
Alex Cobb, TB SP - Trade
David Robertson, NYY RP - Draft
Hector Rondon, ChC RP - Free Agency
Marcus Stroman, Tor RP - Free Agency
Jake Arrieta, ChC SP - Free Agency
Jake Odorizzi, TB SP - Free Agency
Justin Verlander, Det SP - Trade

Be honest, you're wondering how in the hell I came one Jordan Zimmermann no-hitter from getting a championship? I seriously don't know either. Chase Utley had the most at bats for my team, and that does not compare to the pitching fact of not having a single pitcher get me double digit wins this season. 

First off, I'm going to look at my active stats leaders to see who were my biggest contributors:

At Bats: 

1. Chase Utley - 589
2. Justin Upton - 566
3. Jose Abreu - 556
Yep, Chase Utley played the most for my team. He was totally fine. Luckily, the next two guys were pretty great. Oh, and if you're wondering why I didn't sell Justin Upton early on, it's because I can't split up the brothers. If I end up drafting Justin again next year, I will end up drafting BJ too, even though I know it is a terrible idea.

1. Jose Abreu - 80
2. Justin Upton - 77
3. Chase Utley - 74
Yeah, so if you have the most at bats, you will likely be able to lead in things like runs. Jose Abreu is great. That will only become clearer as we go through the other categories.

Home Runs:
1. Jose Abreu - 36
2. Chris Carter - 34
3. Justin Upton - 29
Although I kept Chris Carter the entire year, it doesn't mean that I kept him in the lineup the entire year, so I missed out on a few of his homers. These home run numbers are actually pretty good, but it should be noted that the next most on my team was 12. So yeah, there was a slight dropoff after this point.

1. Jose Abreu - 107
2. Justin Upton - 102
3. Chris Carter - 82
No surprises here after looking at the home run lead. Fun fact about my RBI list is that Ben Revere had over 400 at bats for my team and knocked in 19 runners, while Jorge Soler had 89 at bats and was able to knock in 20.

Stolen Bases:
1. Ben Revere - 34
2. Leonys Martin - 30
3. BJ Upton - 20
See? BJ Upton is not completely useless; he is only very useless.

Batting Average:
Josmil Pinto - .400
Jose Abreu - .317
Ben Revere - .313
I had Josmil Pinto for eight games early on in the season, and it was probably his best eight game stretch of the entire year. Thanks, Josmil. We couldn't have made it without you. Another fun fact is that Ryan Braun hit .309 for my team and ended up with a .266 average. Apparently his new team had a toxic clubhouse.

Obviously, my hitting was not great, but let's look at my pitching leaders, because I must have done something right there.

Innings Pitched:
1. Cole Hamels - 191.1
2. Nate Eovaldi - 180.1
3. Marcus Storman - 115.1
We were not able to manage a 200 inning pitcher. The other thing that jumps out is that there is a big dropoff after those top two pitchers as there was a lot of upheaval on the pitching side. By the end, my pitching was strong, but early on, I had a lot of jabronies taking the mound for my team.

1. Cole Hamels - 185
2. Nate Eovaldi - 126
3. Jake Arrieta - 118
Despite pitching 73 more innings, Nate Eovaldi was only able to beat Jake Arrieta by eight strikeouts. Marcus Stroman and Danny Salazar were he only other two guys to hit triple digits.

1. Cole Hamels - 9
1. Marcus Stroman - 9
3. Jake Arrieta - 8
3. Masahiro Tanaka - 8
Cole Hamels pitched an entire year with a 2.49 ERA and only managed nine wins. The Phillies clearly hate him and should trade him to the Cubs for Chris Coghlan. Also notable is that Tanaka spent two months on my team and nearly led everyone in Wins. Thanks for all of your help, Masahiro.

1. David Robertson - 37
2. Hector Rondon - 26
3. Sean Doolittle - 16
No surprise here, as Robertson was the only closer that was on my roster the entire year. Rondon and Doolittle were both valuable additions.

1. Kevin Quackenbush - 0.00
2. Koji Uehara - 0.76
3. Jonathan Broxton - 1.13
4. Masahiro Tanaka - 2.06
5. Alex Cobb - 2.15
Kevin Quackenbush was my final addition of the season, and he never gave up a run in three innings, so nice job there, Kevin. Koji  pitched 23.2 of dominant baseball before getting traded, and Broxton proved very valuable before Aroldis Chapman came back and took over the Closer role. I expanded this list to five to include Masahiro Tanaka who was so much fun to own early on this year and Alex Cobb who just dominated throughout the second half of the season.

1. Sean Doolittle - 0.71
2. Jaime Garcia - 0.71
3. Koji Uehara - 0.80
4. Jake Arrieta - 0.87
Jaime Garcia only lasted one start with my team before being traded, but at least he had a great WHIP in that game. Also, I expanded this field to show just how great Jake Arrieta was. He was really great. I'm already sad that I likely will not have him next year.

Looking through my leaders, it is pretty clear that Jose Abreu was my most valuable player, while Cole Hamels was probably my most valuable pitcher. Instead, let's end this with the guys that buried my team throughout the year with the 20 least valuable players that I had on my team throughout this season.

20. Joey Votto - He hit .255 with 6 home runs, and since I already had him at first base, I took Matt Cain instead of Anthony Rizzo.

19. Edwin Jackson - Jackson had a 5.02 ERA, a super high WHIP and only one win. Luckily, I got him on a relative hot streak, since his overall numbers ended up much worse.

18. Nate Eovaldi - Overall, he was only below average, but he managed to stay on my team from his first start right up until the final week of the season. He managed to be just good enough to not be dropped. Also, living in Florida throughout the season, I was able to watch him anytime I wanted, and every time I watched, he was just awful. Maybe it's my fault.

17. BJ Upton - The only guy on this list that managed to stay on my team for the entire season. He only managed 12 home runs while hitting .206. Luckily, he got 20 stolen bases, which isn't great, but it is something positive and enough to keep him low on this list.

16. Drew Hutchison - He came on my team at the right time, as it took a lot for somebody to get dropped, as I just didn't have the moves to get rid of guys. Also, he struck people out, and I am a total strikeout whore. Unfortunately, He had an ERA of nearly 5 and a WHIP of 1.36. Oh yeah, and outside of some flashy performances, he really wasn't all that great at striking dudes out. I finally traded him, and he started doing a whole lot better. He must have just not wanted to be a part of a winning culture.

15. Josh Willingham - He hit .198 in 62 games for my team after being a throw-in in the Ryan Braun deal. He did hit ten home runs, which wasn't too bad. He actually earns positive points for being so bad that I dropped him instead of getting rid of Chris Carter.

14. Chris Tillman - Man, I tried to hold onto Tillman as long as I could. Finally, after 71 innings of 5.20 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP, I finally had to replace him. He proceeded to dominate after that, somehow lowering his ERA to 3.34 and his WHIP to 1.23. I did not know he was that good until looking up these stats. That very much sucks. I will likely not be rooting for Chris Tillman anytime soon.

13. Jorge De La Rosa - He was a throw-in on one of my selling trades, and he performed like one in his only start, going 5.1 innings and giving up five runs. He did have five strikeouts, so that was nice at least.

12. Joe Smith - Another throw-in. He managed .2 innings, gave up a run and three hits. He may have been the worst pitcher on a per inning basis, but considering he had less than an inning, he didn't have enough time to be that negative of a presence.

11. Juan Francisco - This ends the trifecta of throw-ins. He played one game, was 0/4. He provided no positive value, but at least his negative value was limited.

10. Josh Reddick - With Reddick's rampant support of the Ultimate Warrior, I wanted him to stay on my team, but he hit under .200 in 24 games for my team. Also, I saw him in person during that stretch and he played like garbage which was the nail in the coffin for me to drop him. At least he improved after that.

9. Ubaldo Jimenez - I kept him for 21.1 innings, and he provided me with a 6.75 ERA and nearly a WHIP of 2. He shockingly was unable to get a win while pitching like that. Somehow, there were nine guys that I deemed worse than him.

8. Sergio Santos - Santos has been a guy that I have liked for a while, because he throws hard and has the proven closer label which inevitably means he will get more chances. Casey Janssen was hurt to start this year, so Santos stepped into the closer role, and he may have lost his proven closer label because of it. He managed to give up 11 earned runs in 8.1 innings. Somehow, he still managed five saves, but amazingly he never really got better this season, so at least he lost his closer role early enough to not completely destroy my pitching staff.

7. Jedd Gyorko - This one hurts, as I love Jedd Gyorko, which only gave him more of a chance to hurt me. Gyorko was awful at the beginning of the season, and I never even considered dropping him. Despite a lengthy DL stint, he still finished eighth in games played for my team. Obviously, looking back, I wish I wouldn't have drafted him and just picked him up when someone inevitably released him, but that didn't happen, and it turns out he was not the solution.

6. Mike Moustakas - 109 at bats, just 16 hits. He did hit four home runs, so that was something.

5. Mike Olt - I feel like Mike Olt had some good stretches early on this season. None of those moments happened for my team as he went 3/28 for a .107 average and zero home runs. I have actually liked Mike Olt for a while. That is why he was initially lower on this list, and this may still be generous. He was really terrible for my team.

4. Jose Veras - He was given the Closer's job for the Cubs, yet could not manage a save before being demoted and eventually released. He did manage 12.27 ERA. At least I waited and picked up Hector Rondon to be my replacement Closer. Otherwise, he would make a strong case for the #1 spot.

3. Tanner Scheppers - I picked him up at the beginning of the season, because if the Rangers believed in him enough to make him their opening day starter, then surely he would succeed. Four innings and seven earned runs later, he was quickly dropped. Good for him on getting his ERA down to an even 9.00 by the end of the year.

2. Luis Valbuena - Valbuena was brought in when both Chris Owings and Jedd Gyorko were on the DL, and I needed some second base help. Somehow, he performed even worse than Gyorko by batting just .159 in 21 games. I'm really glad I was not a believer in Josh Harrison and went with Valbuena instead.

1. Justin Masterson - Expecting Justin Masterson to immediately turn his fortunes around when joining the Cardinals seemed like a likely outcome to me. Turns out, the Cardinals could not fix his issues. He was the hottest of garbage with an ERA of nearly 8 in 28 innings for my team. The positive was that he was hurting the Cardinals; the negative was that I traded for him and chose Masterson over getting Trevor Bauer in the deal. And, just want to put this on the record: If the Cubs sign him this offseason, there is a 100% chance I end up drafting him two rounds before anybody would even consider him. Why do we love the ones that hurt us?

And that wraps it up. The longest fantasy baseball story ever told is over. I would congratulate the ones who made it to the end, but I highly doubt anyone did. Still, if you did, thanks a lot. Thanks a whole bunch, because fantasy sports stories are boring, and my writing isn't good enough to completely save it, so this was a long, hard journey that you completed. You are a great friend and mentor. All I'm really trying to say in this final paragraph is, "Thanks for reading, Mom."

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Longest Fantasy Baseball Story Ever Told - Part Seven

For a review of where we have been so far:

Part One - The Draft
Part Two - The Start of the Season
Part Three - Becoming a Seller
Part Four - The Rebuild
Part Five - The Trade Deadline
Part Six - The Stretch Run

And that leads us to the playoffs. By hook or by crook, with a whole lot of luck thrown in, my team not only made the playoffs but secured a first round bye. In an ironic twist, my opponent would come out of the two teams that I sold off my best assets to. It was the Greinke/Longoria/Uehara trifecta that bested the Braun/Tanaka combo.

In the biggest game of the season, my offense let the moment overwhelm them. Only Ben Revere, Jorge Soler, Eric Hosmer, and Leonys Martin had what could be described as average or better weeks. Meanwhile, our opponents were crushing the ball. We lost by 6 runs, 10 home runs, 20 RBI, 27 points of batting average, and a single stolen base. Only the last one really hurt, as it was necessary to get the victory. My ragtag group of players gave it their all, but it would not be enough to get a victory...

But my pitching would not be denied. Led by a 13 strikeout, one hitter from Jake Arrieta and two saves and a win for both David Robertson and Hector Rondon, my pitching managed to dominate in four categories. But, due to two pickups immediately picking up saves for my opponent, we were tied in Saves going into Sunday. I had one move left, and I had to decide whether it would be worth using it. Ultimately, I decided that I have to make the championship to win the championship, and I pulled the trigger to pick up interim San Diego Padres Closer, Kevin Quackenbush. He did not get a Save, but luckily, David Robertson did which locked up every pitching category for my team. The week would end in a 5-5 tie. Despite us having the same record, my seed was higher and hence I would be moving on to lead my team into the championship.

The odds were stacked against me in the championship. I was not only playing the number one seed, but he also had seven moves left to secure players as he pleased in the final week. This was another part of my reasoning to pick up Quackenbush as I could use Saves in the final week but stats like Wins and Ks would be tough to get since he could add pitchers as he pleased.

Still, my pitching was strong, and I figured my offense would bounce back after a lousy week. One of these things would prove true. Offensively, both teams were bad. Still, by the end of the week, he pulled away in RBI and average, but I pulled away in stolen bases. Saturday, he solidified his lead in runs. Meanwhile, despite all of his possible moves (he would end up using all seven), my pitching was proving strong. I took care of business in saves thanks to Quackenbush and Robertson getting a save, Rondon getting three, and Stroman adding a 4 inning save in there for good measure. I also had big leads in ERA and WHIP but barring a miracle, he was going to be too much for me in strikeouts.

Going into Sunday, a chance of getting the outright victory was slim. Unless my team got some major power on the final day, I would not be able to close his home run lead, so he was going to win five categories. Still, I could force the tie and split the big winnings for the championship as there are no tiebreakers in the championship round. I had three starters going, he had two, but I had a one win lead. With Cole Hamels, Alex Cobb, and Danny Salazar, I felt great about my chances.

Unfortunately, before the early games started, Salazar was a late scratch so they did not give him too many innings. It was 2 on 2 at this point, but I had what were likely my two best pitchers. Alex Cobb finally ran out of steam, as he had a pour outing against Salazar's replacement and the rest of the Cleveland Indians. Meanwhile, Hamels gave up only two runs in eight innings, but the Phillies only scored one.

One of his pitchers was Jordan Zimmermann, whose team also only gave him one run of support. Unfortunately, that was plenty, as he only allowed one baserunner in a no-hitter on the final day of the season. With all of his extra moves, he was able to get the tie in wins and beat me 5-4-1.

There would be no Natural Light celebrations. There would be no team of destiny stories. We were hard luck losers, but I was still damn proud. Usually, the almost champs never have their story told, but with the heart, determination, and chemistry of 25 guys coming together to make a team deserved to have their story shared with the world.

There are so many things that I could expound on, but let's take a break until we get to part eight of the longest fantasy baseball story ever told.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Longest Fantasy Baseball Story Ever Told - Part Six

For a review of where we have been so far:

Part One - The Draft
Part Two - The Start of the Season
Part Three - Becoming a Seller
Part Four - The Rebuild
Part Five - The Trade Deadline

So did all of my moves pay off? Immediately, things were looking pretty good. I was facing a playoff team with the likes of Stanton, Altuve, and Felix, but my team took them behind the woodshed and put a beating on them. Chris Carter led the offense by providing 6 runs, two home runs, seven RBI, and even a stolen base all while batting over .300. On the pitching side, Odorizzi, Salazar, Hamels, Arrieta, and Stroman were all on point. It was an 8-1-1 victory and my fifth straight win.

That matchup was the beginning of the toughest stretch of the season, as it was the first of five straight weeks against every team that would be in the playoffs. Next up was the team that I traded Carlos Gomez to (whoops) as well as Longoria, Greinke, and Uehara. He had won four in a row, and we were tied in the standings so I needed this one. Luckily I had Chris Carter to hit three homers, and Utley, Sandoval, and recent acquisition, JJ Hardy, to add two apiece. The pitching was nearly as good with Eovaldi, Odorizzi, Stroman, and Hamels all adding dominant starts to carry my team to a dominant 7-1-2 victory.

After that, it was time to play the first place team. They hadn't lost in seven weeks. Chris Carter came up big again as he hit four home runs during the week. Jake Arrieta led the pitching staff with two strong starts during the week, yet it was still close going into Sunday. I held a slight lead going into Sunday, but luck was not on my side. I scored a solid 6 runs on Sunday, but he scored 10 to take the lead in that category. While I hit .269 on the final day, he hit .365 to take a .007 advantage in batting average. And finally, despite having Salazar and Arrieta giving up a combined two runs, neither got a win, while he managed to get a win out of Neftali Feliz to take over the lead in that category. My team put up a strong week, but it was not enough, as we lost 6-4.

I was tied for third, but just a game out of second place with three weeks left. Luckily, I would be playing that second place team the following week, and my team was not one to let a single loss get them down, it just made them more determined. This week wasn't pretty, but we managed a solid enough performance. Justin Upton had 11 RBI, and Ben Revere and Leonys Martin combined for five stolen bases to help the offense, while Hector Rondon managed four saves to give me the 7-6 edge, and a 6-4 victory.

Unfortunately, that week also marked Gregory Polanco getting sent down the minors. Since I knew he would be called up in about a week when rosters expanded, I was not ready to get rid of him. My DL spots got filled up by Sean Doolittle getting hurt, so it was time to get rid of some wasted space and boost my outfield. Luckily, the perfect guy just called up to the majors.

I dropped Matt Cain and acquired Jorge Soler in free agency.

I was down to only two moves, and unfortunately, Wilin Rosario was hitting the DL meaning that I would have to get another catcher, so I picked up Travis d'Arnaud while finally ridding my team of Joey Votto.

He had won four in a row, but my team would not let him make it five. Soler and Carter both hit three home runs. Carter did it while hitting .222 while Soler batted .538. Eovaldi, Odorizzi, and Cobb all got double digit strikeouts for the week, which was enough to give me a couple pitching categories. Stolen bases from Ben Revere and Jose Abreu on Sunday were enough to get me a tie in that category for a gritty 5-4-1 victory.

With one week left, there was a three-way tie for second place and an all-important bye in the first round. There would be no drama for my team, as we were playing the worst team in the league, nearly all of my pitchers dominated and Chris Carter added three home runs, while d'Arnaud hit a bomb of his own while hitting over .500. The other two teams won as well, but I had the tiebreaker. This infuriated another member of the league as he felt he should have been #2 or #3 but was instead given the #4 seed. Maybe my favorite moment of the year was him calling me to tell me that he had just talked to ESPN Customer Support to figure out the tiebreakers (turns out it was whoever won the most categories in their matchups throughout the year).

But all that means is that I won nine out of my last ten matchups to earn a bye in the first round despite having the same record as two other teams in the league. It was time to take the week off and let my team rest for the journey ahead, because this Cinderella was ready to wear her slipper. But we will get to all of that in part seven.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Longest Fantasy Baseball Story Ever Told - Part Five

There has been a lot that has led up to this point. First off, I drafted a team that did not fully work out as planned. Then, I got some good luck early on in the season and put together a very solid record. After that, my luck ran out, I saw the writing on the wall and traded away most of my top assets. But then, I managed to make some savvy moves and put together a couple wins.

We last left off where I talked about getting Hosmer and Verlander on the team, but there was a third reason that the second week of July was so important for me. That third reason?

Chris Carter turned into a BOSS. In my draft review, I mentioned that only the most die hard Chris Carter fans would actually hold onto him long enough to take advantage of his value. Well, guess who is a massive Chris Carter fanboy? THIS GUY. And oh man, did it pay off. Hosmer and Abreu each hit over .400 and hit two bombs, Chase Utley added two bombs and two stolen bases, and Chris Carter added four homers in six games to help carry my offense to another big victory. It got me to three straight victories going into the All-Star Break and everything seemed to be coming together for my team.

With the post All-Star week being a 10 game marathon stretch, it took a total team effort. It also took an old love coming home.

I reacquired Danny Salazar in free agency.

With Salazar back in the majors, I knew he had to be mine. I had the Google Alert set up for him so I could monitor when he would be coming back. Along with Stroman and Hamels, Salazar added double-digit strikeouts with two wins. Combined with three saves from David Robertson, my offense was able to combine a total team effort to give me the edge in a 5-4-1 victory as my team was able to make up the difference and pull off a tie in RBI on the final day of the week.

With only having three acquisitions remaining and the trade deadline coming on August 1st, I needed to do everything I could to bolster my roster. Well, everything without giving up valuable assets. My first trade was a real blockbuster.

I traded Brad Miller and the right to swap 13th round picks for JJ Hardy.

I made this trade with the same person that I got Gregory Polanco and Justin Verlander from, and I literally couldn't have added less in the deal. His last pick was the 13th round. Also, he ended up picking higher than me, so it turned into Brad Miller for JJ Hardy. Miller was not consistently starting and JJ Hardy could at least provide that while hopefully finding some of his previous power stroke.

And finally, I made one more push to further strengthen my pitching.

I traded Drew Hutchison and a 10th round football pick for Justin Masterson, Alex Cobb, and a 15th round football pick. 

I had wanted Alex Cobb for a really long time, but I wasn't really willing to give up enough to actually get him. Finally, with this team totally out of the playoff picture, they decided to help beef up their football roster and get rid of some pitchers. Justin Masterson had just been traded to St. Louis, and I thought he could turn things around. It turned out I was very wrong about that thought.

I had won four in a row and got creative to add some pieces to both my hitting and pitching. But would it be enough for the stretch run? Tune in next time to find out. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Longest Fantasy Baseball Story Ever Told - Part Four

After a good but not great draft, my team started off hot, but the writing was on the wall. That led to me selling off almost all of my top draft picks so I could worry about next year.

At this point, my team was 5-5-2. We were right in the hunt for the last playoff spot but considering all of the talent I had lost via trade, I was going to be an underdog in just about every matchup for the rest of the year. But due to some savvy free agent acquisitions and a whole lot of scrappiness, my team refused to lie down.

It started off with some good luck in scheduling as I took on the second worst team in the league and got three stolen bases apiece from Polanco and Revere while Marcus Stroman had two very strong starts to lead my pitching staff to victory to get the team back over .500.

Unfortunately, I couldn't rig the schedule to only play the worst teams in the league the rest of the year, and I ran up against a team that was ahead of me in the standings due to a plethora of starting pitching. Still, due to dominant starts by Hutchison, Stroman, and Arrieta and help in relief from Robertson and Rondon (I call them R&R, because there is no need to worry with these guys closing out games), my pitching led the way and a couple stolen bases from BJ Upton and Ben Revere got me a tie in stolen bases to eke out a 5-4-1 victory to put me two games over .500. Also, at the end of the week, I finally conceded that Andrew Heaney was probably not coming back to the majors anytime soon after his disastrous first starts and made a crucial free agent pickup.

I acquired Jake Odorizzi in free agency. 

My pitching was coming together, and it was at this point that I started to believe in my chances. I was no longer looking towards the future, because the future was now.

The next week would prove important for three reasons. First off, I noticed that somebody dropped a player I was quite fond of as a spot opened up on my roster due to a DL stint.

I acquired Eric Hosmer on waivers.

The good news was that I got Hosmer; the only downside was that I was running out of moves. That was my 21st acquisition which left me with just four remaining pickups for the rest of the year. Oh yeah, and I also had the completely worthless Dylan Bundy on my roster. This leads me to the second important thing that happened that week.

I trade Dylan Bundy and a 12th round football pick for Justin Verlander and a 14th round football pick.

I was betting on Verlander putting it together in the second half, and although he was never Verlanderian, he was always better than Bundy, he didn't cost me a move, and the man knows how to perform in the playoffs (even if those are only the fantasy playoffs).

As for the third important thing that happened that week? Well, you'll just have to wait until next time for me to get into that one.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Longest Fantasy Baseball Story Ever Told - Part Three

We started at the draft, and then left off with my team sitting at .500 and needing something drastic to happen to get this team on the right track.

That something happened on June 4. My two months of attempting to trade Ryan Braun finally paid off, but instead of looking to reload my roster, I decided it was time to rebuild and focus on the upcoming basketball season while throwing in the towel on baseball. I would not only lose Braun but also a pitcher that dominated in the first two months of the season.

I traded away Ryan Braun, Masahiro Tanaka, my 8th and 11th round basketball picks for Josh Willingham, Jorge De La Rosa, a 2nd and 3rd round basketball pick and the right to swap first round picks in an upcoming basketball draft. 

It was tough to lose Tanaka, but this baseball team just didn't have what it took to contend. Just two days later, I would complete the selling process with another trade that hurt just as much as the first one.

I traded Evan Longoria, Zack Greinke, Koji Uehara, my 9th and 12th round basketball picks for Daisuke Matsuzaka, Joe Smith, Juan Francisco, a first round basketball pick and a conditional basketball pick depending on how many home runs Longoria had the rest of the year. It was guaranteed to be at least an 8th, would move up to a 6th if he hit ten more homers, and up to a 5th if he hit 20 more homers (it became a 6th). 

These moves decimated my team for all intents and purposes, but right around this time, I made two pickups that seemed to be minor but would change the course of my season.

In free agency, I picked up Ben Revere and Marcus Stroman. 

Stroman had recently gotten blown up as a reliever, but he was getting a shot in the starting rotation. As an undersized person, I love undersized pitchers, so Stroman was a guy I had coveted for a while. Ben Revere was an empty batting average and stolen bases, but if he could do those two things well enough, he could definitely add value, and it wasn't like I didn't have the space to give some new guys a try. Those are moves that worked, but a few days later, I also added Andrew Heaney and Dylan Bundy with speculation that they would be called up soon. Heaney was called up soon, but did not deliver results and Bundy was completely worthless. But hey, you can't win 'em all.

Not shockingly, my team lost immediately after trading away five of my best players. Although, I was selling for this year, I'm always looking for value for next year, so I did the logical thing and made another trade.

I traded Jorge De La Rosa, and a 9th round football pick for Gregory Polanco, a 15th round football pick, and the right to swap 7th round football picks.

Polanco had been drafted in the 25th round, which means he would only cost me a 23rd to keep in 2015. This was worth a later half football pick to me, as all of my trades had left me with nobody to keep but Jose Abreu.

Partially led by Gregory Polanco, I won my next matchup against the worst team to get back up over .500. It was short lived, as I lost my next matchup by falling one run and one RBI short to go back to .500. Still, it was an important week, as I made this move.

I picked up Jake Arrieta in free agency. 

With Revere, Stroman, Polanco, and Arrieta, there were winds of change on the horizon.

But this is only part three, you'll have to wait for part four to get to that story.