TOUT NL: Midseason Report

Ask Rotoman is here to kick some second half butt. That’s the message the frontrunners in Tout NL, Brian Walton and Nate Ravitz, should take away from this midseason report. They should be afraid, very afraid. Kreutzer isn’t in last place any more.

Granted, this is what happens when an active participant writes the midseason report. Hopped up on a two-week run that netted him something like 20 points, and brought him out of the basement and into the middle of the pack, the so-called Rotoman is psyched up by the reemergence of Lance Berkman, the chance that Aramis Ramirez won’t be a nightmare from here on out, that the heretofore worthless but free spirited Yunel Escobar will be invigorated out from under Bobby Cox’s authoritarian and crushing breath. If all that happens, it won’t be enough.

But the reemergence of Edinson Volquez, who has looked so good during his minor league rehabs, and the continued brilliance of Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay, could be enough to get this team into running. And speaking of running, what happens if Carlos Beltran actually can run a little? Rotoman’s team gets a lot better, that’s for sure.

And then, if Brandon Webb makes six or eight starts at the end of the year? Cy Young quality starts? Walton and Ravitz better start worrying. Well, they should start worrying on September 1, if they don’t have the dominating lead they have right now. Until they come back to the pack, it is the rest of us who are simply dreaming.

So how did Brian and Nate do it on draft day? Brian first:

Chris Snyder    3
Gregg Zaun    5

Snyder was just fine, though it seems that if if there’s anyone else eligible to play it cuts into his playing time. Zaun didn’t last through June.

James Loney    21
Chipper Jones    16
Daniel Murphy    8

Loney is much the same guy he was last year, with more RBI ops and more conversions, leading to an impressive season thus far. Chipper was a tough call in the preseason. His season could end at any time, and he’s always one hot streak (one game practically!) away from earning his season’s keep. So far, he’s about on par, which is fine when you’re in first place. Murphy was a bad buy.

Martin Prado    16
Everth Cabrera    13
Tommy Manzella    4

Prado has already earned his salary. He was a good sleeper last year because he was backing up Larry Jones. This year he’s making a name for himself. Cabrera started slow (except on the basepaths) and then got hurt before he could help a team like Walton’s. Manzella doesn’t hit, and didn’t hit, as expected.

Jay Bruce    21
Carlos Gomez    12
Corey Hart    17
Conor Jackson    18
Fred Lewis    1

Bruce is having exactly the sort of season Brian should have expected, though he no doubt hoped for more. Gomez is earning on par, despite becoming a platoonist. Corey Hart is having a great season, if you don’t count the second round of the Home Run Derby. Some leagues do! Kidding. Conor Jackson has been a bust, even after moving to the AL. Fred Lewis moved to the AL and thrived, or at least made something useful of his opportunity.

Gerardo Parra    2

A flyer and handcuff on Conor Jackson, Parra hasn’t done much yet, but he’s playing a lot more than a $2 guy might have after the Jackson trade. Could be a nice plus from here on out.

Francisco Rodriguez    18
Chad Billingsley    17
Roy Oswalt    16
Tim Hudson    12
Jonathan Sanchez    10
Ryan Madson    5
Jorge De La Rosa    11
Jason Hammel    7
Jaime Garcia    4

The pitchers he hoped would pitch well, have, and our favorite Cardinal watcher scored with Jaime Garcia, too. This is a team with 57 pitching points. Only saves is a weakness. He’s middle of the pack there.

And what about Mr. Ravitz’s draft day lineup?

Ramon Hernandez    8
Jesus Flores 2

Hernandez is a reliable catcher, but that’s a big price for reliability. Still, he’s earning it so far. Flores is down with a bum shoulder, and may not play this year.

Adrian Gonzalez    28
Casey McGehee    10
Adam Dunn    23

Gonzalez was a prime preseason interleague trade candidate, which looks foolish now. In Tout you get to keep a player’s stats when he gets traded out of the league, so that didn’t effect his price. McGehee’s price was suppressed because of the lurking Mat Gamel, I guess, but he’s already earned better than $10. He’s a big win. Dunn is on pace for as many homers as last year, already has as many doubles and is hitting .020 better. That may not last, but he’s a sure win at this price.

Dan Uggla    21
Ryan Theriot    16
Freddy Sanchez    10

Uggla’s numbers are always pretty, if you don’t worry about BA. Despite the early arrival of Starlin Castro, Theriot is earning ahead of pace. Sanchez hasn’t lived up to hopes, but he’s not far off pace at the price Nate paid.

Matt Kemp    38
Eugenio Velez    3
Tony Gwynn    7
Delwyn Young    3
Chris Dickerson    7

Kemp isn’t far off the earnings pace, despite having an off year so far. A second half bump seems in order here. And now Nate chicken hunts. Velez was a Sanchez handcuff, and is having a decent season in Triple-A. A player who steals some bases but hits .220 is a pricing problem. Gwynn has earned $5 so far for an average team. He may be worth $7 for Nate, or never come close. Delwyn Young has earned his $3 so far, but he doesn’t have the chance for PA to roster except in an emergency. Nate’s OF on draft day was an emergency. A secret wrist injury and subsequent surgery derailed Chris Dickerson’s season.

John Bowker    2

This dude’s your DH? Ha ha ha. (But he was good in Fresno last year.)

Dan Haren    28
Billy Wagner    17
Trevor Hoffman    15
Takashi Saito    3
Mat Latos    8
Brad Penny    4
Dan Runzler    1
David Bush    3
Anibal Sanchez

So, how do you put together a first place pitching staff? Dan Haren is pitching like a fourth starter. He’s on pace to earn about $7. That’s better than a loss, for sure, but still a serious disappointment. Billy Wagner is on pace to earn $52. He’s been awesome. He’s not on my team. Can’t wait for him to retire. That’s a lot of money to waste on Hoffman, who should have retired last year. Mat Latos has been awesome, with the only caveat that he’s probably not going to throw much more than 160 innings, so he’ll be worth less going forward. Penny has been fine when he could pitch, but he’s shut down right now. He’s always worth having if cheap, but you can’t count on him for innings. And Anibal Sanchez has helped, and probably always will when healthy.

So, which of our leaders had the better draft? The big question is, did it matter? Here’s what a few Tout Wars NL players had to say.


What has gone right for you this season?

Well, Mat Latos really stands out. I thought he’d be very good, but I was expecting more like a 3.70 ERA than a 2.25. Beyond that, I’ve been aggressive and successful in FAAB, picking up Roger Bernadina ($9), Neil Walker ($19), Jose Tabata ($4, several weeks before his promotion), John Axford ($5) and Travis Wood ($2)

What has gone wrong?

My two highest-paid players, Dan Haren and Matt Kemp, have been huge disappointments. They were supposed to help carry me in the average categories, and instead have weighed them down.

What are your chances of winning?

I think pretty good, maybe 50-50 or so. With all due respect to the other very smart, skilled players, I think it’s a 2-team race right now. Don’t get me wrong, I could easily get passed by Phil and/or Scott and fall to 4th or 5th, but I don’t think anyone else can catch Brian, who has had an awesome 2-year run.

What has to happen from here on forward for you to win?

Matt Kemp and Dan Haren perfoming like themselves would be the biggest factor. It would also be nice if Mat Latos threw 180 innings and not 150.


What has gone wrong?

Chad Qualls, Chad Qualls, Chad Qualls. My pitching was thin to begin with and he was my most expensive pitcher by a longshot.

What are your chances of winning?

1 in 10.

What has to happen from here on forward for you to win?

My slumping hitters have to rebound. My pitchers have to improve. I have to get lucky with a free agent pick-up in the next few weeks, particularly one that will steal some bases.


What has gone right for you this season?

Most of my pitchers have met or exceeded expectations (Wainwright, Cueto, Arroyo, Zito, Gorzelanny, Franklin, Lindstrom). That’s much more about luck than it is about design; I wasn’t crowing about this staff in March. Year of the pitcher, indeed. I did like Aubrey Huff and Troy Glaus before the season, but they’ve also been a lot better than what I expected.

What has gone wrong?

I thought I drafted a good offense, but sparked by some bad picks (Bengie Molina, Chris Iannetta, Adam Kennedy) and a little bad luck (say what you want about Mark DeRosa, no one expected him to be worthless), it’s been an uphill climb. Mostly, I blame myself. My FAAB record has been so-so.

What are your chances of winning?

Not very good. It’s going to be hard to get the offense I need – I’m not in a favorable FAAB position and I’m not sure if I can find a willing trade partner. Ryan Howard can only hit so many home runs. I know we’re not supposed to aim for third, but that’s my realistic goal as things stand right now.

What has to happen from here on forward for you to win?

Brian Walton and Nate Ravitz have to lose internet access. Actually, that might not be enough.


What has gone right this year?

Hitting. Furcal is healthy and back to being the player he was before his injuries in 2008. As I hoped, Garrett Jones was not a one-year wonder. Olivo has gotten more playing time than expected. And Andres Torres has been a goldmine for a guy I got on reserve.

What has gone wrong?

Pitching. I began with 7 starting pitchers. All but Lincecum have been on the DL. And even when healthy, they’ve mostly been far below expectations. At this point in the season, I would have expected to have a team ERA of about 3.77, WHIP of 1.31, and 45 wins. I actually have 4.62, 1.43 and 31.

I’m in last place in each of these categories. If I had met my projections, I’d have 24 points for these three categories instead of just 3, and I’d be in first place.

What are your chances of winning?

I’m keeping hope alive, but my chances aren’t great.

What has to happen for you to win this year?

Lincecum needs to go on a tear. My other starters need to stay healthy and pitch well. JA Happ needs to get it together and get back to the majors. Qualls or Hanrahan need to take over as closer and move me up the standings in the saves category. I need Manny and Ludwick to get off the DL and help me move up in the HR category.

Brian Walton and Nate Ravitz coming back to the pack would also help immensely.


What went right for you this year?

I got two front line starters at good prices and they’ve delivered. I picked Tyler Colvin with the first reserve pick. I took Jim Edmonds as my last $1 guys. Angel Pagan, my handcuff with Carlos Beltran, has been terrific. Livan Hernandez has been great.

What has gone wrong?

I bought injuries in the draft, including Beltran, Lance Berkman, Brandon Webb and Edinson Volquez, and they were quickly joined by Felipe Lopez and Yunel Escobar and Aramis Ramirez. Ryan Braun hasn’t gone on the DL, but he’s been a whisper of himself since getting plunked on the hand in mid-May. With no offense and Edwin Jackson’s ERA close to 7.00 I felt I had to deal him for a hitter. That deal went right, Jonny Gomes was fantastic, but now that all my hitters are hitting I could sure use another reliable starter, as Jackson has been recently.

What are your chances of winning?

I have a legitimate shot at 30 more points if things went really well, so it isn’t an impossibility, but I’d be a fool to put a number on it. Let’s say I’m going to play it day by day.

What has to happen for you to win?

Aramis Ramirez, Ryan Braun, Lance Berkman, Ryan Doumit, Yunel Escobar need to hit like they can. Halladay and Carpenter must be themselves. Livan must continue to not be himself. Edinson Volquez and Brandon Webb must be okay, so I can dump the bums I’ve been trying to stream with. And then I have to get really lucky.

The reason I have the chance at so many points is because things are tight in almost all categories. But that means other teams have a real shot at run, too, and there are some good teams ahead of me (and behind me, too). Brian and Nate shouldn’t get too comfortable.