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.

Runs:
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.

RBI:
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.

Strikeouts:
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.

Wins:
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.

Saves:
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.

ERA:
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.

WHIP:
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."

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