Fantasy Baseball 2011 Part 2: The Arms

You can check out my pitchers from last year for comparative purposes here.  All-in-all, I feel great about my arms going into 2012, especially with the additions of Mat Latos and Gio Gonzalez.  While it would have been totally unfair to expect my pitchers to run out there and put up numbers similar to my staff from last year, deep down I was kind of hoping that they would.

Cliff Lee, SP [PHI]Acquired via trade, 2009 (Chone Figgins for Cliff Lee)

Yep.  I just enjoy reminding Kyle annually about this one.

Roy Oswalt, SP [PHI] Acquired via draft, 2008

3.69/93/1.33 in 139 innings.  It was a great run, Roy.  I hate goodbyes.

Ubaldo Jimenez, SP [CLE]Acquired via draft, 2008

Ubaldo certainly wasn’t the stud he showed he could be back in the early spring of ’10.  I’m going to write this season off because of finger problems and the shift to the AL and hope he can improve on his 4.68/180/1.40 in 188.1 innings in 2012.  I know I’ll be making a few trips to Cleveland to keep an eye on him.  A lot of my success next year is going to be tied to Jimenez’s ability to produce like 2010.

Brandon Morrow, SP [TOR] Acquired via draft, 2008

4.72/203/1.28 in 179.1 innings in 2012.  Morrow shows flashes of brilliance that are so tantalizing, it makes him worth holding onto year after year.  That being said, this may be the year I have to cut ties with Mr. Morrow.  That will leave me full of sorrow.  I’ll think on it tomorrow.

Jamie Garcia, SP [STL]Acquired via draft, 2011

A late round steal in our fantasy redraft, I think that Garcia has solid #2 upside.  In 2011 he posted a 3.56/156/1.32 (ERA/K/WHIP)  line in 194.2 innings.  He also won me 13 games.  I like groundball lefties like Garcia because they match up well with just about every lineup every time time they step on the bump.  There’s something to be said for consistency.

Mat Latos, SP [SD] Acquired via trade, August 13, 2011 (Starlin Castro, Drew Stubbs, and Mark Trumbo for Alexei Ramirez, Chris Young, Gio Gonzalez, and Mat Latos)

The time to start reimagining my team was the time I realized that Roy Oswalt is never going to be the same pitcher that I remember him as in my head.  So looking to improve on my rotation, I moved some big, young bats for some young, impact arms.  Will owning a starting pitcher from San Diego ever get old?  Not unless they move the fence in over there.  Because Oswalt will be getting the ol’ heave-ho at the beginning of next season, I needed to figure out how to deepen my starting rotation.  While I think Starlin Castro will end up being the future at shortstop in real and fantasy baseball, I think that Mat Latos and Gio Gonzalez will end up being top tier fantasy starters in the next few years.

Over his last eight starts of the season Latos threw 54.2 innings, struck out 55, and posted an ERA of 2.63.  He doesn’t make me forget about Matt Morris, but almost.

Gio Gonzalez, SP [OAK]Acquired via trade, August 13, 2011 (Starlin Castro, Drew Stubbs, and Mark Trumbo for Alexei Ramirez, Chris Young, Gio Gonzalez, and Mat Latos)

With the acquisition of Gonzalez and Latos I have locked up (fingers crossed) two of the premiere arms on the West Coast.  Gonzalez pitches in the friendly confines of the Coliseum, which is great.  Coupled with his last nine starts of 2011 in which he threw 60 innings, struck out 55, and posted an ERA of 2.82, I’ve got a great feeling about my pitching staff going into 2012.

Joel Hanrahan, RP [PIT] Acquired via waiver wire, July 28, 2010

Fantasy baseball is about a little risk-reward.  If you went into Pirates’ closer race at the beginning of 2011 with Evan Meek as your bet, you lost.  Big time.  Hanrahan threw 68.2 innings and struck out 61 while only walking 16.  His ERA at the end of the season sat at 1.83 with a 1.04 WHIP.  The only downside to Hanrahan’s season was his lower K rate.  Last season in 69 innings Hanrahan struck out an awe-inspiring 100 batters.  If Hanrahan posts a 1.83 ERA and saves 40 games like he did in ’11, I think I can live with that.

Jordan Walden, RP [LAA]Acquired via draft, 2011

Jordan Walden was the Mr. Irrelevant of our fantasy baseball league.  I used the last pick in this year’s draft on a hunch that the flamethrower would get a crack at the job at some point.  Remember how I said that fantasy baseball success stems from doing your homework, then having the Baseball Gods smile upon you?

Walden recorded his first save on April 5, and though he hit a few bumps in the road, he was never really in danger of giving the job to Scott Downs, Fernando Rodney, or (last years unsung hero) Hisanori Takahashi.

Chris Perez, RP [CLE] – Acquired via waiver wire, June 14, 2010

This Miami product is crazy.  Clearly.

His K/9 dipped from 8.7 to 5.9, which is worth noting and keeping an eye on.  However, he’s a consistent source of saves, so I’m on board as long as he’s shutting down games.

Daniel Bard, RP [BOS] Acquired via trade, April 18, 2011 (Andrew Bailey for Brandon Belt and Daniel Bard)

Ah, my muse.  I owned Bard in 2009 when he struck out 63 in 49.1 innings pitched.  I knew he was destined to inherit the closer role from Papelbon when Boston decided that they didn’t want to pay him, but I couldn’t afford to keep him, and thus lost him in the 2010 draft.  When I learned that the manager who owned him this year was looking for saves, I quickly became more giggly than Anderson Cooper talking about poop.

From April 20 until July 31 Bard was everything that I had hoped he would be.  He pitched 44.1 innings with an ERA of 1.02 and 43 K’s.  However, to my dismay, Bard completely fell apart down the stretch.  From August 1 until the end of the season, Bard pitched 22 innings and posted a 6.95 ERA.  I’m hoping Boston figures out what ails Bard so that he can become a consistent source of saves for me.  Looking at him before his August implosion, I would’ve said without question that I would’ve traded Andrew Bailey for him.  However, watching those painful last few innings of the year, now I’m not so sure.

Bobby Parnell, RP [NYM] – Acquired via waiver wire, August 19, 2011

He’ll never be the real deal.

Steve Cishek, RP [FLA]Acquired via waiver wire, September 22, 2011

Cishek was a speculative pick up.  He did nothing.  The end.

2011 Boneheaded Move of the Year

Continuing to play Adam Dunn long after he demonstrated he wasn’t going to produce.

Adam Dunn was so bad in ’11, I feel I had to mention that twice.  In all honesty, I feel like I managed the hell out of my pitching staff.  Maybe trading Andrew Bailey for Brandon Belt and [the guy who I thought would inherit the closers role in Boston] Daniel Bard.  Even though Bard imploded down the stretch, he’s still got a shot at the stopper gig next season, so I look at this move as still a high risk-high reward trade.

2011 Snake in the Grass Award

Drafting Jodan Walden with the very last pick in our 2011 redraft.

Knowing that a kid can throw 100 MPH in an unstable bullpen and is going to break camp with the Big Club clearly paid off crazy dividends in 2011 as Jordan Walden, fantasy baseball’s Mr. Irrelevent, went on to save 32 games in 60.1 innings.  He also put up a solid line of 67/2.98/1.23 (K/ERA/WHIP).  His ERA+ was 128 and he was an All-Star.

Not bad, rook.

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