Under normal circumstances, the only thing more painful than writing about one's own fantasy team is reading about someone else's. We get it...honestly. But the participants in the Roto Arcade Pro-Am are a clever group, capable of making a notional league full of imaginary teams almost interesting. And since "almost interesting" is what we shoot for around here, we've asked everyone to provide a status report.
Did everyone actually respond to the request? No. There are deadbeats. When we get to those owners, you'll find alternative programming.
1. Oscar Meyer Wieters - Eric Hinz, Fake Teams
By far my best draft decision was selecting Twins' catcher Joe Mauer(notes) instead of Orioles' catcher Matt Wieters. At the Memorial Day turn, Mauer is hitting .417/.500/.819 with 8 HRs and 23 RBIS while Matt Wieters is hitting in Triple-A Norfolk.
[Ed.'s note: Eric wrote this prior to the call-up. He feels terrible now. Blubbers like a ninny. Wishes he could take back everything he said, and everything he's about to say...]
Can Wieters overcome that kind of head start with just four months of the season left? If he can, then I get what I deserve for my draft day heresy. If he can't, then I am glad to expose the false god.
2. FBC Big Pimpin - Fantasy Cafe
I have to say I'm pretty happy with my performance so far. I've been solidly in the top two or three for most of the season. I've got some guys who will undoubtedly slow down (like Lind), but others who should pick it way up (Bossman Junior, Beltre, Hardy). I think I'll be in the mix all the way to the end. But it's a fun league. There's next to nothing in the FA pool, so there's almost always a deal pending. I'm just interested to see how it all will play out. I have the feeling that somebody is going to hit on a great pickup or make a sweet deal that's going to make a world of difference.
3. Razzball - Grey and Rudy
Much like Mark Teixeira(notes), Razzball's entry in the Roto Arcade league waited until May before getting going. We were 16th place at some point in April but have clawed back to third place as Fielder started hitting, McCann started seeing, and our pitchers starting winning. We have no allegiance to the last couple spots on our roster and have made a number of innocuous and/or self-defeating (see Ho Chi Var). Picking up Randy Wolf(notes) and LaTroy Hawkins(notes) are probably our best moves so far - hopefully the Andrus/Hawkins for Lugo/Ian Stewart(notes) trade eventually pans out. Not sure if one trade stands out as the best/worst but we're waiting for Carlor to offer us half his team for Frank Francisco(notes) (aka the best Texas Ranger not already on his team).
4. WillieMayesHayes - Marco Fujimoto, The Hardball Times
5. FBC raiders_umpire - Fantasy Cafe
My team is off to a solid start. It's been in the top five most of the year even without my second round pick (A-Rod) playing until just a few weeks ago. As I expected after the draft, my offense has been very good. My pitching has been worse than expected, with Harden and Slowey not being the WHIP helpers I'd anticipated when I drafted them. I can only hope that Harden will give me some strong games the remainder of the year to help my ERA and WHIP. My latest trade of Dunn for K-Rod should help in saves immensely; maybe I can gain a few points there by the end of the season.
As for draft regrets, I imagine most people regret not pushing Greinke up their draft boards just a little bit, but my main regret is quite a bit deeper in the draft. As far as my Round 3 choice, right now I definitely made the wrong pick in Quentin over Markakis and Bay, but we still have four months in the season to see if Quentin can turn it around. Also, in Round 19 I needed middle infield help and a little speed. My rankings looked like this: Asdrubal Cabrera(notes), Jason Bartlett(notes), Alexi Casilla(notes). I grabbed Bartlett in Round 20 which has been great, but in Round 19 I went away from my rankings and grabbed Casilla over Cabrera for the extra steals. What a mistake that's been.
6. Dirty Scottsdale
7. Bullies & Beauties - Carlor
8. Rotodatabase ECB - Brendan Horton, East Coast Bias
A few weeks ago I was having a conversation about this league and said something to the effect of, "My team features Andy LaRoche(notes), Fernando Tatis(notes), Melky Cabrera(notes), and Garret Anderson(notes). How do you think I'm doing?" Slow, injured and/or unexpected starts from the likes of Jose Lopez(notes), Alex Gordon(notes) and Milton Bradley(notes) had me shuffling around the mid-teens in the standings. That's not even taking into account the damage that Scott Kazmir(notes) (benched until further notice) and Jon Lester(notes) have done to my ratios. Many of my guys have finally started to come on as of late, especially top pick Ryan Howard(notes), and also Alex Rios(notes) who I acquired in a package deal. Josh Hamilton(notes) was the main piece I sent, and things are looking up. The serious deficit in power and RBIs that I'd anticipated in the pre-season has come to fruition. As Memorial Day comes and goes, it's time now to set up the pieces for the rest of the season.
Hello, Yahoo! Sports readers. My name is ForWhomJayBellTolls. Here are some words I have written. Skip to the middle or end for bad and/or impertinent jokes.
To start off, let me mention that I drafted Scott Downs(notes) in Round 23 with the 365th pick. That's the best value I've gotten for anything since my college days in Vegas and The Gold Rush Casino had 99 cent steak and eggs breakfast. At the time of this league's draft there were still some closer battles up in the air, and I was able to grab Brad Ziegler(notes) and Kevin Gregg(notes) in the late rounds on speculation they would both earn ninth inning roles. I ended up with a stockpile of closers - K-Rod, Gonzalez, Downs, Ziegler and Gregg. This being a deep league where most teams have two or fewer stoppers, I knew I had some trade chips there. I grabbed a few early saves from Gregg and then dealt him straight up for Mike Cameron(notes) back on April 17. So far I'm liking this trade quite a bit. I've been lacking offensive firepower, so the closer shopping didn't end there. In a two-for-two deal that went through on May 2, I jettisoned Ziegler and JJ Hardy(notes) in exchange for Asdrubal Cabrera and Mark Buehrle(notes). Several of my league competitors thought this trade was pretty bunk and shook their heads that I would trade the great JJ Hardy.
Since the deal: 13 runs, 2 HR, 16 RBIs, 0 SB, .328 AVG for Hardy; 10 IP, 1 SV, 7 Ks, 5.40 ERA, 2.10 WHIP for Ziegler. Hardy's numbers are admittedly pretty good, but I still maintain that he himself is not very good. As for my guys since the trade: 16 runs, 0 HR, 15 RBIs, 3 SB, .307 AVG for Cabrera; 36 IP, 2 W, 20 K, 1.75 ERA, 1.19 WHIP for Buehrle. I don't want to jinx it but so far it looks like I won out in this trade. I can use those steals more than I need the home runs the way things are going. Last week I was offered Adam "House of the Rising" Dunn (Chris Berman'd!) straight up for K-Rod. I like the way Dunn is swinging the bat and I think he can easily hit 45+ HRs so I had to pull the trigger. Plus I met his cousin, Warrick Dunn, one time on a flight from Cincinnati to Tampa and he was a real nice dude. (Since I wrote this, Dunn had a two-homer day and K-Rod went to the hospital for back spasms. As I watched another of my players, JJ Putz(notes), grab a rogue save Saturday in K-Rod's absence I had to let out a Mr. Burns "eeeexcellent".
So for now, I lead the league in K's and Saves, but I sit closer to the bottom of the standings than the top. I still have a core of very good players in Teixeira, Berkman, Koji Uehara(notes), Justin Upton(notes), Adam "Blister In The" Dunn (Double Berman'd!), my future brother-in-law Tim Lincecum(notes) (I don't have a sister but I can still dream) and Shane Victorino(notes). I think a top 5 finish is within my range. As for a few guys on my team that I encourage you to verbally insult should you find yourself at a game within shouting range of them, here goes: AJ Burnett(notes), Placido Polanco(notes), Nick Swisher(notes), Kaz Matsui, and the entire Orioles offense when Uehara is on the mound for not scoring any runs.
These days The Bell is tolling down on the Gulf Coast of Florida and I've made it out to a few Rays games. If you watched it on TV last Monday when they played Oakland you probably saw me, I was that one guy next to the other 6 people there in attendance. Wednesday night produced a much closer game, and I couldn't help but get pumped up when Grant Balfour(notes) was introduced to pitch and his entry music was Pantera. After a few headbangs it dawned on me the name of the song. "Walk". How can you be a pitcher and come out to a song called "Walk"?!?!? People do strange things in the name of Phil Anselmo. So I better wrap this up, it's been good. Time for me to go slip into my pink polo shirt and ski mask to play some squash. Eradicator!!!!
10. Manny's Sex Drive - a-mak15
This roto game is humbling. A short time ago, I sat comfortably in third with a respectable 109.5 points. I was making a strong push for the top of the heap, too. Then Ordonez hit a wall, Hafner hit the shelf and I hit the bottle. Right now, it's about maintenance in the offensive categories and making a calculated push in the pitching totals. (I rank near the bottom in total IP; I can certainly cover some ground there).
I want to discuss a little bit about the implemented transaction cap Mr. Horton proposed at April's end. I'm projected for roughly 185 moves. An absurd amount. But 44 percent of my adds have been invested in middle relievers in an unavailing attempt to resolve my closer conundrum (it's comical that only Aardsma has panned out). Look, I'm an advocate for a cap if the figure's reasonable but I play the settings. The league seems divided on this issue, so I pose these questions to you, Yahoo! Nation: Is a cap the best way to go? If so, what is an acceptable amount to employ?
[Ed.'s note: You don't alter settings after a draft, ever. That's criminal. Answer however you like, commenters, but you'll change nothing.]
11. Secret Treasure Loaf - Behrens, Arcade
First of all, my team's name is delightful. I'm as pleased with it today as I was back in March. The team itself has certain issues, however. I've dropped nine points over the past two days, slipping four spots in the standings. (Thanks, Ricky Romero(notes)). Both of my Ramirezes are broken (Hanley and Aramis). Matt Capps'(notes) elbow is hopelessly bruised.
12. The Sherpa - Scott Swanay, Fantasy Baseball Sherpa
I refuse to indulge in any Cheney-esque revisionist history – Team Sherpa’s hitters have
stunk underperformed so far. Only three of my 14 starters have performed remotely near the level they’re capable of. Also, my decision to forego closers in favor of middle relievers who could become closers has not panned out (yet).
When your team gets off to such a disappointing start, the key is to remain patient and resist the urge to make wholesale roster changes (unless forced to do so by injuries and/or suspensions). Predictably, I’ve been offered several trades by people looking to buy low on my underachieving sluggers. Just as predictably, I’ve rejected them.
The maximum IP limit makes it a bit tricky to judge the standings. Several teams near the top of the standings are on pace to exceed this limit by a fair amount, so it’s likely they’ll come back to the pack in the counting stat categories later in the season.
The prognosis for my team is fair. I’m not likely to finish in the money, but I will most likely move up in the standings as my hitters perform closer to their expected levels over the remainder of the season.
[Ed.'s note: There is no money, because that would be scandalous. If Sherps plays for money, ever, then he's wrong to do so. I hereby call upon the FSTA to investigate.]
13. FanHouse Finaglers - Tom Herrera, Fantasy FanHouse
14. FBC Mugrilla - Fantasy Cafe
15. EWC - Jackson Broder, East Windup Chronicle
As soon as the draft was completed, I surveyed my roster thoroughly, sat back in my chair, and wistfully thought to myself, "You know, this team is rubbish and has little chance of finishing in the top half".
And sure enough, I was right.
16. Knife - Charles Hadlow, Fantasy Baseball Geeks
My team is just simply awful. No other way to say it. Aside from the auto-drafted players, the ones I intentionally selected are a virtual “Who’s Who?” of 2009’s Terrible Busts/Slow Starters. I’m hoping most of them are the latter. My all-star squad includes:
• Chris Young (OF) – Despite hitting with an average BELOW the Padres PITCHER of the same name, I have decided to let him live for the time being. If there were anyone with a heartbeat left to acquire in this league, I would drop him. Sadly, I’m at a loss.
So there ya go. In my virgin pro-am season, I am quickly turning out to be the daily relief for those in 14th and 15th place ("Hey, it could be worse. I could have that guy's squad. At least I'm not in last.") It’s cool. I’m having fun and trying to avoid the inevitable desperation trade. With some help from a few players (Justin Morneau(notes), Nick Markakis(notes), etc.) – and perhaps some divine intervention – I might realize a dream that began as a young boy growing up in Tampa…a dream that just won’t die…the dream of not finishing in the cellar of the Roto Arcade Pro-Am. Current spot: 16th. Next stop: Immortality (or 15th place…whichever comes first).
Photos via AP Images