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Kicking Rocks: False Positives

Posted By Howard Bender On April 14, 2011 @ 11:15 am In Busts | 33 Comments

My wife was late last week.  Not late for dinner late, but late late.  To subdue the paranoia, it was a quick trip to the drug store and back home for her to pee on the stick.  We sit and wait.  Can’t be, can she?  Apologies to my Catholic readers, but she’s on the pill.  We couldn’t possibly be part of that unlucky 2% could we?  We look and see a plus sign.  That can’t be good.  It’s not.  I hand her another one.  This time it looks negative but there’s some coloration that still makes us nervous.  Rather than reach for the nearest coat hanger, I make her a doctor’s appointment and luck out with an 8am opening the next day.  She goes in, the doctor confirms a false positive and the bullet gets dodged.  Phew!

Nothing worse than a false positive, no matter where it occurs in life.  It either leads with massive anxiety or it ends with utter disappointment.  In fantasy baseball, it’s usually the latter.  You’re high on a particular player, whether it’s a stud or a sleeper, all signs point to a great season, and then BAM!!  Like a swift kick to the groin you’ve got an epic failure on your hands.

Take Carlos Gomez for example…

Gomez was a highly touted prospect in the Mets system and was actually one of the key components that the Twins insisted upon in the Johan Santana trade.  However, he never really blossomed in Minnesota and they quickly grew tired of his low average and abysmal OBP.  He landed with the Brewers last year and had a pretty mediocre season but he still wasn’t drawing walks or getting on base often enough.  While the 18 SBs made him a very low budget option for cheap speed he still wasn’t living up to his potential.

But suddenly, things started to click for the 25 year old this year.  He went down to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic and after 19 games, he was sporting a .364 OBP and a much improved 9.5 BB%.  He was striking out too much, but the team seemed happy enough with the overall performance that they had no trouble parting with their center fielder of the future, Lorenzo Cain, to acquire Zack Greinke.

So in walked Gomez this spring with starting job in hand and a mindset hell-bent on proving the naysayers wrong.  In 63 at bats, he posted a slash line of .333/.344/.667 and while he wasn’t drawing walks, he also wasn’t striking out.  Only 8 to be precise — 12.7 K%.  He also popped a few HR, swiped a few bags, and was looking like a great late round sleeper option.  It was all finally coming together for him and that fantasy pee had plus sign written all over it.

So I waited a little in a couple of my drafts and didn’t go after one of the top burners out there.  I built up my roster with guys who contributed to the category, but no one that dominated.  That was going to be saved for my late round Gomez pick.

Then what happens?  The Brewers go out and trade for stupid Nyjer Morgan!  What’s that all about?  I know they were covering themselves for Corey Hart’s injury, but there’s been plenty of chatter about Morgan moving over to center once Hart comes back.  Enough talk that it put Gomez into a tailspin to start the season as he’s currently sporting a .212/.247/.333 slash line with a dismal 27.4 K%.  Kid’s all wrapped up in his head now waiting for the day that he gets told that he’s going to start riding the pine in favor of a head case like Morgan.    Sure, manager Ron Roenicke gave him a little vote of confidence, but the handwriting is already on the wall.

What’s worse is that I’ve also fallen to the bottom in the SB category in the roto leagues in which I own him and might be forced into trading for one of the top SB guys.  I know it’s early still, but without someone consistently swiping bags like I was hoping Gomez would do, it’s going to be very difficult to catch up without sacrificing more than I’d like, even this early in the year.

And how about a couple of false positives on Ryan Raburn and Sean Rodriguez?  Nothing worse than when a manager gives no thought to how he’s screwing over fantasy owners everywhere, right?  Both players got some well deserved hype during the off season and now each of them is stuck in a ridiculous platoon situation and fighting for at bats.

Raburn was all over everybody’s radar this spring with his starting job in left field and his second base eligibility.  He had solid years in 2009 and 2010 and was finally primed for a starting gig.  Everyone, including myself in one league, drafted him as a second baseman and was expecting 15+ HR with an average somewhere in the .290 range.  Big plus sign.  But then Brennan Boesch had himself a strong spring and now suddenly he’s Jim Leyland’s guy against right-handers with Raburn getting work against southpaws?  Are you kidding me?  Boesch started off the season strong but is actually now 1 for his last 14 with 4 strikeouts and yet he’s still getting playing time.

Ugh.  And what’s up with S-Rod?  Did he sleep with Joe Maddon’s daughter or something?  When the Rays lost Jason Bartlett to free agency, the infield was supposed to have Reid Brignac taking over at short, Ben Zobrist was going to man right field because Matt Joyce stinks, and Rodriguez was going to be playing second full time.  Then one day, of course after my draft, Maddon starts talking about using Rodriguez only against lefties.  Maybe he’ll get some extra work in against some right handed pitching, but nothing is planned.  Seriously?  Even when Evan Longoria went down and they were going to use Rodriguez regularly at third, Maddon couldn’t seem to stomach it for some reason.  Now he’s platooning over there with Felipe Lopez and the likelihood of him getting regular PT is rapidly dwindling; atleast for as long as he sits in Maddon’s doghouse.

These are deep leagues people!  You know how difficult it is to patch up your second base position in a deep league.  These guys are killing me!  Their managers are killing me!  Couple that with the Gomez situation in Milwaukee and I’m ready for a fantasy vasectomy.  These false positives are going to drive me to drink….more.

Got some of your own?  Let’s hear ‘em…


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