Last time I started a review of my team in my 15-team 5X5 roto league, with weekly transactions and no trading. The review started with the infielders. Now I’ll tackle the outfielders. Putting them together, we should be able to see why my hitting numbers are so pitiful through the first two weeks of the season.
In fact, before I get to the players in question, let’s look at those numbers. Through the end of the second week, after all games played on Tuesday April 20, I’ve accumulated 47 out of a possible 75 roto points for my pitching staff, but just 30.5 roto points for hitting. 30.5! That is terrible.
The pitching numbers aren’t good either, and I’ll get to that next time, but first we’ll concentrate on hitting.
The gory details include 13th place in BA (.253), tied for 5th in HR (24), 14th in R (74), 5th in RBI (96) and 13th in SB (10).
The infield review showed that with Brian Roberts out, SB have been hard to come by, but more importantly, these guys just aren’t hitting for a good average. Mark Reynolds and Alexei Ramirez have been hitting well under .200 most of the short season so far, plus Mike Napoli when he’s played.
I need some guys hitting closer to the top of the order, who are getting on base and getting driven in by the middle of the order to help in the runs.
Well, let’s take a look at the outfield and see what has worked and what hasn’t. This league starts 5 OF, so by the time the draft hit the latter half and teams were looking to fill their 4th and 5th starter positions, it was getting kind of grim.
Nick Markakis—Another sub-.250 hitter, Markakis is coming around but is just .222 on the season. Our preseason projections indicated he stay pretty much in line with his numbers from the past three years, with a moderate bump in HR, R and RBI over 2009. Right now we’ll take the 2009 numbers with no bump and be happy about it. This is one where we chalk it up as Markakis taking a little time to get going. Stay the course.
Shin-Soo Choo—Choo is one of the hottest bats going right now, winning AL Player of the Week for last week. Hey, between him and Miguel Cabrera my players have won AL Player of the Week both weeks! Who’s next? While I can’t expect Choo and Cabrera to keep up this torrid pace, at least they are helping me through the rough patches by their fantasy team mates.
Hunter Pence—This is where things really take a turn for the worse. Pence was my third drafted OF, taken in the 6th round. He’s still batting under .200 for the season showing just modest improvement from starting the season 0 for 12 before getting a hit in his first at-bat in the Astros’ fourth game. The last seven days he’s hitting .260, and the return of Lance Berkman who started Tuesday, should help. Another hold, wait and see situation.
Corey Hart—Not an everyday player. Ouch. That hurts as your fourth outfielder of five starters, with a small bench and weekly lineups, because it isn’t like I can switch him in and out at a moments notice. Given my other options, he continues to start. He is getting the majority of time in right field but not really making the most of it. The recurring theme of my team continues; Hart is hitting just .242 to date.
Reports indicate after a poor spring training (.172 BA), he’s turned a corner. We’ll see. The “turned a corner” report also seems to be a recurring theme for hitters that are supposed to be in their prime but are starting the season slow.
Jim Edmonds is the guy who surprisingly started in place of Hart for two of three games in the opening series, and Edmonds continues to get regular playing time backing up Hart and CF Carlos Gomez.
Luke Scott—Yet another low average hitter, Scott is under .200. Check the year-to-date BA for my first five OF, from best to worst: .312, .242, .222, .187, .186. Kind of explains my fantasy team’s struggles on this side of the ledger, doesn’t it?
Scott has a couple homers, but hasn’t hit safely twice in a game yet. As a result, he isn’t playing everyday either, switching off with Lou Montanez while Nolan Reimold is the DH. The Orioles are struggling and I’ve got two pieces from their OF. If I can move Scott to the bench while he works out his issues, that would be ideal.
Lastings Milledge—Milledge is a guy about running out of chances with fantasy owners. I took a flier on him late in the draft, but with the Roberts injury and a thin bench, he’s currently manning my UT starting spot. Fortunately, he’s been pretty decent, hitting .270 with 6 RBI and a SB. Nothing earth shattering but if he can up his SB numbers, and I’m not expecting much in the power department, he’ll be worth the small price I paid for him.
Okay, so that is a rundown on the outfield. Unless Hart and Scott turn things around soon, I need to make some moves here. I’m not worried about Markakis, only slightly worried about Pence, but Hart and Scott are better upside bench options at this point. That is, if I can find a suitable replacement, keeping in mind this is a deep league.
I’ll look at the pitchers next, but my early take is I need to drop a catcher, thin out the pitchers a bit to make room for more bench spots for the hitters. Perhaps a shotgun approach grabbing a couple upside options and hope one of them pans out.