Ask Rotoman :: The Season is Done

Ask Rotoman :: My drafting is done.

The link is to my preseason post auction look at my American Dream League team. Rereading it now I have to say that if you’d told me that Josh Hamilton would be great, that Gavin Floyd would be very good and that Edwin Jackson wouldn’t suck, that Justin Duchscherer would almost lead the league in ERA, that K-Rod would set a saves record, that Joe Mauer would lead the AL in batting average, that Milton Bradley would lead the AL in OBP, I would have been very happy.

If you’d told me that I was able to trade Richie Sexson for Asdrubal Cabrera (who was awfully good from mid-August on), that I’d be able to trade both my closers for a hitter and a pitcher (though neither was great) and still finish tied for third in saves, that Glen Perkins came off my reserve list and did a very creditable job until mid-September, I’d have been ecstatic.

How did I finish 8th? Two black holes: I spent $28 on Travis Hafner and he earned -$4. I spent $33 on Justin Verlander and he earned -$4, too. That’s -$67 I needed to make up just to get to even, from my two most expensive players.

Josh Hamilton earned a profit of $18. Duchscherer earned a profit of $12. Gavin Floyd earned a profit of $15. Francisco Rodriguez earned a proft of $22. That gets us to $67. It took my four best buys to wipe out the misery of my two worst buys.

After that things reverse. Milton Bradley earned a profit of $18. Joe Mauer earned a profit of $6. Torii Hunter earned a profit of $7. Okay, up $31. But… Juan Uribe lost $8, Brad Wilkerson lost $11, Reggie Willets lost $8, and some costly pitching stints from Andy Pettitte, Livan Hernandez and Jason Jennings wiped out the rest.

In a winning season not all the pieces click, but you just can’t have your best picks be offset by disasters. In this case I blame my opponents, who drove up the price of power hitting to such a level that I had almost no choice but to spend ridiculously on Hafner, though he came with risk. I can only blame myself for Verlander. He looked like the best available starter to me then, and he still does now. But clearly I was wrong.

The irony was that in 2007 I picked the right stud pitcher in this league, Johan Santana, and the wrong cheap guys, Cliff Lee and John Danks, who this year earned $40 and $16 respectively.

(For the record, ADL was won by Steven Levy, who had good freezes but then made great choices all draft long. Others in the money, in order, were Alex Patton/Bruce Berensmann, Michael Walsh and Walter Shapiro.)

In the other leagues:

Tout Wars was a disaster. An impressive run of injuries early, some savvy rejiggering in the middle kept me in the middle, but the pitching staff fell apart in August and September. The bad finish is in part a tribute to a Go for it trade in June that didn’t work out all the way, but this was a doomed season healthwise for this team. (First place went to Mike Lombardo for the third time in four years. He’s a great player. Second went to Glenn Colton.)

Rotoman’s Regulars is a format (20 team Yahoo) that bewilders me. I finished third three years ago but the last two years have been a disaster, mostly because I don’t know how to churn good guys off my roster to pick up guys who are playing better. Some of this is about attention, some of it is about temperment. Some of it is about a bad draft (did I really take Andruw Jones and Kelvim Escobar?) I think for 2009 I will be hosting the league, maybe I’ll even be the commish, but I’m not going to play in it again. Too painful, but a great game and an excellent format. (The winner was frequent Guide contributor JD Bolick. Runner up was Eun Park, who won the league in its first year.)

XFL is a 15 team mixed league with an auction in November and a 17 round reserve draft in March. We were in a rebuilding year (it’s a keeper league) but I had an awesome auction and not a bad draft, and we finished fourth. My partner, Alex, thought this was a bottom of the standings team, but he didn’t see the blooming of Youkilis and Jose Lopez and the continued excellence of Bobby Abreu and Randy Winn (this league uses OBP rather than BA). (Steve Moyer finished first, going away, with Doug Dennis and Trace Wood somewhat behind after swapping places daily until a week ago.)

All in all a dismal season for me. Not the other guys.

For those who’ve asked, I’m working very hard on a video about butterflies that will be done very soon. Work on the magazine is underway. There will eventually be real content on this page again. This year, with no weekly gig, I spent less time writing and way more time managing my teams, which I thought would be good. Fail! We’ll see how it works out next year.

Thanks for reading.