Monday, June 11, 2012

The Five Hitters Who Are Killing Your Fantasy Baseball Team

Please react to the news that you suck
Yours, more than mine: I'm in first in my league, though it won't last, because I drafted Paul Konerko and David Wright and Aroldis Chapman and you already hate me. But I also know a little pain, in that I could be winning by a lot more. Let's point some fingers, shall we? (Note: I'm mostly avoiding the injury cases here, though you really should expect that of Jacoby Ellsbury by now. Moving on.)

1) Albert Pujols. Is there any other candidate, really? The #3 pick in many drafts is hitting like a run of the mill first baseman, assuming that run of the mill guy has OBA issues and you stopped paying attention in the last few weeks, once it became apparent that your Pujols-built offense wasn't going to somehow get back those first 150 ABs of meh. Albert will eventually get back to top 50 status, but anyone who paid full price for him in 2012 will never do so again. And the tail end of that 10-year contract with the Angels is just looking all kinds of ugly now, but they needed some new albatross once Vernon Wells went off the boards. Expect LAA to petition MLB for an amnesty clause any day now...

2) Adrian Gonzalez. What's in the drinking water in Boston, and can we make sure it's always there? Gonzo is currently on pace for 15 homers and a .319 OBA for the year, which is to say he's delivering much less than, well, JJ Hardy. At least he qualifies for outfield now, so you can bench him in two slots. I suspect he gets a dead cat bounce at some point, and it's not like all of Boston's offense has betrayed them -- the kids are hitting, and they always have a month or two when double figures are common -- but this was a top 10 pick in most mixers that's just killed his owners to date.

3) Mark Teixeira. Maybe I should just call this post AL First Base Dogs on parade, but to be honest, the train has left this station a while ago; the canine tendencies are just more noticeable now that the Yankee pitching has imploded. Tex Flex has never really banked in anywhere but the payroll window in the New York bandbox, and it might be safe to assume that he never win. The .322 OBA is the real telling point, and while he's still a reasonable bet to stagger in around 30/100, the ride won't be pretty, and he's in no danger of performing anywhere near his draft position. He's no Jason Giambi, is all I'm saying, and his defense isn't doing you any favors, either. (Oh, and as a Yankee / Red Sox hater and A's fan, this list is just filling me with woe. Sweet, juicy woe.)

4) Justin Upton. This last week, the Better Upton (?) got called out by his owner and benched by his manager, and I was kind of happy about the whole thing. Drafted in the Not Matt Kemp and Not Cheater Braun position as the NL OF1 of choice, the emerging JUpton was supposed to build on last year's borderline MVP campaign, with 40/110 and speed and extra vittles to boot. He's at least stolen a few bases (8, woo), but the power numbers are beyond anemic -- on pace for 15/70, and that's assuming he gets enough playing time to get there. The .351 OBA isn't a complete train wreck, and he's still going to score 100 runs, but any team who has him has glaring hole where they expected the RBIs to be. (Finally, to any of my league mates, this is just me getting you to waste your time making lowball offers to me, for him, that I'm just going to delete without reading. That's what I do when I'm in first, bitches.)

5) Ryan Zimmerman. The Washington Nationals are in first place in the NL East as I write this, with a 35-23 record. They have the second best record in the conference, behind only the injury-racked Dodgers. And their triple crown leader in BA, HRs and RBIs is... Adam LaRoche? And LaRoche is hitting .263 / 10 / 40? Inconceivable!

Right now, Ryno isn't even the highest OPS Zimmerman on his team; pitcher Jordan is raking at .833. (Seriously, what's up with the Natty pitcher hitting? Stephen Strasburg is at 1.031. Ye gads.) Ryno has 3 -- three! -- homers in 172 at bats, isn't walking a ton, isn't even popping a mess of doubles to compensate. His isolated power is, well, isolated. A lot. And this isn't a slump experience; every month in 2012 has been sub-.700.

I don't know if he's still hurt, secretly 35, off the PEDs or the very odd guy who turns into Ben Grieve in his age-28 year. But I do know that he was a top 2-3 rounds pick, the "safe" move for production at 3B, and a reasonable dark horse MVP pick if the Nats made the playoffs. Not a guy who's barely provided the ROI of Ryan Roberts or Wilson Betemit. Woof.

More on these later, as soon as JUpton is goaded into a tear. I've got several fires to lit under Yovani Gallardo's ample ass...

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