C.J. Wilson is currently owned in 96 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Thousands of fake-baseball owners are dealing with his slump and trying to figure out which way is up.
I'm no longer one of them. Sometimes a timely and emotional drop of a player can be incredibly liberating and satisfying, no matter if it flies in the face of conventional wisdom.
The puzzling slump with Anaheim's rotation is a well-documented theme. Ervin Santana and Dan Haren have been a mess just about all year (Haren's back problem is obviously part of his story). Zack Greinke has struggled in his brief stint with the club. Jered Weaver doesn't deserve any scorn, though he allowed nine runs in his last turn.
And then there's the Wilson funk. His latest mess came Saturday against the Rays, where he couldn't hold on for a win despite an early 8-0 lead. The Angels eventually hooked him in the fifth, after six hits and seven runs were on the board. Wilson hasn't won a game since June (that's 10 starts ago), and he has a 5.70 ERA and 1.58 WHIP over that span.
Pitchers are the most maddening of fantasy commodities, and they don't come with easy-to-read diagnostics. Wilson's slump could be tied to anything: a minor injury or a major one; bad pitch sequencing; variance and bad luck; tipping of his pitches. The possibilities are endless. Everyone can take an intelligent guess (or a random one), but no one knows for sure.
His current ERA and WHIP (3.62 and 1.31, respectively) are almost identical to his career numbers, though most of us were hoping for something similar to the 2.94/1.19 arm we saw last year. There's a ton of noise when it comes to projecting wins, but the 9-9 record is an unqualified disappointment. If you crunch the numbers in the Yahoo! game to this point, Wilson is merely the No. 58 starting pitcher in the ranks. Big name, big contract, ordinary returns.
I dumped Wilson on Sunday morning in the Yahoo! Friends & Family League (yes, that team that's buried under 20 feet of snow). The F&F bloodbath is a 13-team mixer but with a very low innings cap, so the value of starting pitching is significantly devalued. To give you a sense of the road we navigate, I've streamed Clay Buchholz a couple of times in recent starts and I just picked up Jeremy Hellickson for a rental. You can always find decent arms in this pool. And the trading deadline just came and went, so moving Wilson was not an option (I doubt I would have received a nibble anyway, though I do expect someone else to pick him up — hopefully someone in my neighborhood.)
I snagged Hisashi Iwakuma as I dropped Wilson, looking ahead to Iwakuma's next start, a Safeco date against Cleveland. Maybe it's a rental, maybe it's not. The way I figure it, I'll turn the Wilson roster spot into a streaming position. I'll have some fun with it, look to exploit favorable matchups and parks. It's not like we can be optimistic about Wilson's Fenway Park start next week (after that, he faces the Red Sox in Anaheim).
Now it's time for your input. Have any theories on the Wilson slump? Have you ever dropped a player mostly for therapeutic reasons (the names Hosmer and Darvish have been mentioned by some Tweeps), or do you cling to March player values like Linus Van Pelt clings to his blanket? Let's sort through this in the comments.
I'm OK, you're OK.