Fantasy Baseball – Pushing For The Playoffs
Week 17 was an interesting week transaction-wise for me. With four weeks remaining until the playoffs start, I began shaping my team to compete with the other league powerhouses. I’ve spent most of the season beating up on weaker teams, and thought that I could make a few moves that would line me up to be more competitive with the stronger teams in the league. I need to win only the first round to assure myself of moving up a league, but I’d love to win the league outright.
Many of the top teams are carrying eight to ten starters while I was carrying only six. Sure, my six were fantastic pitchers, but I’d most likely lose counting stats playing a couple of starters down. I could keep pace in ratio stats like ERA and WHIP, but it would be harder for me to accumulate more wins, quality starts and strikeouts with less pitchers. So I began adding starters.
I started by adding Sergio Mitre while he was still on the DL. I chose to not activate him for his first start which proved to be the right move when he served up seven runs in five innings and was dropped from the rotation. I dropped Mitre and picked up Barry Enright, who’s made a couple of impressive starts since being called up. I added one more when Scott Olsen returned from the disabled list, and the arrival of those two starters plus my pickup of Jake Westbrook a few weeks ago, brought my total number of starters to eight, which I believe will be enough to keep pace with the more elite clubs headed to the playoffs.
I also decided to add these starters at the expense of my offense. I have three closers and one reliever who may now be Pittsburgh’s main guy for save opportunities, so I held onto all of them. For the past month at least, Jose Guillen and Brennan Boesch have been awful. Boesch has hit .209 without a home run and Jose Guillen has hit .207 with a paltry .261 on base percentage.
Of the two, I dropped Guillen, because if he’s not hitting homers (which he isn’t) he’s pretty much useless. Boesch is still working some walks and scoring some runs, and is a much better bet to get back on track over the next two months. But instead of sticking him in the lineup every day, he’ll be a matchup player for me going forward. With Jeff Keppinger playing very well, I feel comfortable using him as an everyday starter at short and shifting Ben Zobrist to the outfield full-time once he recovers from some minor back stiffness. Zobrist has hit under .200 the past month, but has a strong on-base percentage and is filling out the stat line with plenty of runs and steals, so he remains valuable.
I feel that carrying more pitchers and less, but better hitters will give me my best chance to make a run in the playoffs and hopefully finish high enough to earn a berth in the next league up.