Adam Dunn asleep at the bat photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
By Andrew Thell
We do our best in February and March. We spend countless hours crunching numbers, reading blogs, poring over spreadsheets and cheat sheets, picking our friends’ brains and buying draft guides. We do it all not just in the name of finding the big breakout candidates, but also to avoid the coming season’s big busts. It’s hard to win a league in the first ten rounds, but you sure can lose one. Despite these efforts, we end up those busts on rosters anyways. Every year, on nearly every roster, it happens to the best of us.
If you’re languishing in your league’s standings, odds are you have several big busts driving you batty, and as we approach the halfway point you’re wondering if it’s time to throw in the towel. In another month or so it might be time to wash your hands of the whole mess and turn to the poker table for your competitive fix … well, even more than you already have been. But it’s not too late to make a run in any league, even if it’s just a surge in the standings for the sake of pride. There are few things more satisfying than turning a disaster campaign around, and what is likely to define this effort is how you handle the busts, both yours and those of your league mates. In the words of Charles Bukowski, what matters most is how well you walk through the fire.
Let’s take a look at the most epic busts of the season thus far and talk about what’s to be done with them. We’ll define them as guys who came into the season as consensus top-100 picks that are currently ranked at least 75 spots below where they started in standard scoring leagues. I’ve looked extensively at the numbers, both traditional and Sabermetric, for all of the below (several of which because they’re on more than one of my rosters), but I’ll keep the comments on each brief and the stats few. It’s been a tough year, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.
Today we’ll work on hitters, later this week we’ll get to the pitcher duds.
Which fantasy baseball big names to buy, sell and hold, after the jump …
I love the steely look in Pat Riley’s eyes as they cut to him after LeBron predicts the eight titles. I like it almost as much as the blank “Oh shit, I’m not comfortable with that” looks on Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh’s faces after he says, “Once the games start … it’s going to be easy.” But before that, LeBron says he’s not about blowing smoke, he’s about business. That’s actually a point I’ll agree with. He’s taken the King James brand name very seriously – though he probably should have dropped the “king” moniker when he signed on to be Wade’s squire last offseason. But speaking of business, here’s a quick economics lesson: you can’t make change for a dollar with no fourth quarter. Oh! Puns! Schadenfreude! What fun. Thanks, Mavs, and congratulations. Dirk and JET deserved this one.
3 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Jun. 14, 2011 at 8:44pm in NBA
Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
By Andrew Thell
In the twilight of Major League Baseball’s Steroids Era we have entered into a period of pitching dominance. Home runs per game are at their lowest mark since 1992, scoring is down across the board, and pundits are tabbing 2011 the Year of the Pitcher. It’s not just that power is down on the offensive side, either. Franchises are doing a better job of handling their young talent these days. Developing arms are treated with more care than ever before, and despite what the willfully ignorant old guard might espouse nightly on local broadcasts across the country, pitch counts are having a positive effect on player health across baseball. With fewer and fewer Dusty Bakers and Joe Torres around, more young talent is staying healthy enough to not only blossom at the professional level but stick around.
When young pitchers do get injured, advances and refinements in the medical procedures are making full recovery an almost assumed outcome. Tommy John surgery is no longer seen as a death sentence for a young arm, but a mere bump in the road. And while the recovery rate isn’t 100% yet, many pitchers have come back from the procedure even stronger than before. The result is more quality young talent taking the mound in the MLB on a nightly basis than perhaps ever before.
And while pitching is thriving in the regular season this year, it’s the postseason where a couple of truly elite starters can dominate a series and put a team on their back for a World Series run. There are few things more frightening to an opponent than knowing they’ll be seeing a true ace on the mound for two games, and one of them is knowing they’ll be seeing two aces for potentially four games. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best 1-2 punches in Major League Baseball this season.
The top pitching duos in baseball, after the jump …