- NotGraphs Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/not -

Throwing In The Towel

Warning: this entire post is about my fantasy team. I’ve been told that, like hearing about someone’s dreams, this is something that no one cares about. However, I personally am actually fascinated by reading about other people’s fantasy teams, so I’m going for it anyway:

My “home” fantasy league is a very deep fourteen team 6×6 (normal categories + OPS + holds) roto league with a snake draft and eight keepers with contracts. The league has been going for for nine years but this is only my fourth year after inheriting a terrible, terrible team — my best keeper when I got the team was Bobby Abreu. I didn’t really realize how long it would take me to get to a point where the team felt like it was completely mine, but it turns out that the answer was “three full seasons.” Going into this year’s draft, I knew that I had a collection of keepers that could win the league, and I just had to draft around them correctly. My keepers were, in no particular order

I did well in the draft. I added Brian McCann and Yunel Escobar to my infield, Yoenis Cespedes and Adam Jones and J.D. Martinez to my outfield, plus a few other fliers in the late rounds. I focused a lot on pitching, which has typically been my weak spot, adding Sean Marshall, Sergio Romo, Huston Street, Neftali Feliz, Lance Lynn, Ricky Nolasco, Doug Fister, and several holds guys in the later rounds. Later, on the waivers, I picked up Chris Capuano, Ernesto Frieri, and others. A couple of the guys in the league posted messages to the board at the beginning of the season predicting my win. I made a bet with my boyfriend about it. And then the season began, and for one day, I was atop the standings. One awesome day.

And then… my ship started sinking. Between Pujols, injuries piling up, Pujols, a couple other guys in the league having the Matt Kemps or Josh Hamiltons of the world on their teams, and Pujols, my spot in the rankings just continued to err downward, settling right around 10th-12th place for the last several weeks, no matter how many tweaks I made. Looking at the individual stategories, it seems like my generalist / little-bit-of-everything strategy kind of worked, actually. I’m not at the bottom of any one category. I just happen to be precisely near the bottom of the middle of every single one.

I refused to give up. I started sending out trade offers to people a few weeks ago, offering first and second round picks in next year’s draft for shortstops that steal bases or closers. Not a single one of them bit. I continued to watch my team descend the ladder. I studied Pujol’s swing as if I was some kind of expert, trying to pick apart whether he could “recover” in time to save my team. I picked up every hot bat and studied every matchup obsessively…

And then, one day last week, I stared at the leader board for an entire afternoon and… I gave up.

I am a loser.


I updated my trading block and gave away McCutchen, whose contract expired this year, for a pick in next year’s draft. Now I’m trying to get rid of some of my other decent non-keepers for picks or minor leaguers. Giving up never feels good, especially when you think that your year has arrived. But it’s an interesting thing about playing in such a long term league, and it’s apropos of being an Astros fan right now. Sometimes, you just have to keep on looking forward, past this year’s shiny crown, and on to the next one. Or the next next next next one, in the Astros case. Ataying invested in my terrible team feels good, like I’m working on something big (uh, that “big” thing being a future fantasy championship).

Next year is the ten year anniversary of the league, so we’re Vegas bound for the draft. I’m going to win a ton of money, and then I’m going to win the league. Bet on that shit.