B/R Fantasy Baseball: Pitching Leads the Way to a Week One Win

Brian WeyCorrespondent IApril 13, 2009

ST. LOUIS - APRIL 9:  Starting pitcher Chris Carpenter #29 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 9, 2009 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Pirates 2-1.  (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

As some of you may already know, the Bleacher Report fantasy baseball gurus Scott Fender and Collin Hager of the Elmhurst Pub Roundtable put together a Bleacher Report fantasy baseball league.  I'm one of the lucky participants—please allow myself to introduce...myself: I'm Brian Wey, manager of the team "End of the Dugout."

Each week, I'll do my best to do a little recap of the week, delve into my thoughts and strategies, and take a look at the week going forward.  Let's begin, shall we?

Week One Opponent: Sons of Cuyahoga (Collin Hager)

Result: Seven Wins, Two Losses, One Tie (standard 5x5 Head to Head league)

Transactions: Dropped R. Hernandez (C, CIN) for B. Inge (C/3B/OF, DET)


Before our league draft, I thought it would make for more interesting writing if one of us went "Moneyball" and tried to exploit a market inefficiency.  I believed that most managers would go for big hitters the first few rounds, so I decided to run against the current and target the pitching studs.  Just one round into the draft, when T. Lincecum and J. Santana came off the board, I realized I'd have to abandon that strategy.

Since the minimum innings pitched was set so low (7 innings per week), I figured I could still have a chance at winning pitching if I dominated Saves, ERA, and WHIP.  So I drafted six closers and a handful of strong starting pitchers.

On offense, I shied away from the big hitters with low batting averages (au revoir, Adam Dunn) and targeted solid hitters with speed (bonjour, Randy Winn).  The goal was to win in Runs, Stolen Bases, and Batting Average.

This first week, that's pretty much how things went.

My pitchers led the way, with strong performances by Chris Carpenter, James Shields, Heath Bell, Carlos Marmol, and Brad Lidge. I also netted 24 strikeouts from my relievers, which helped me win the strikeouts category.

On offense, my team did well enough, but a .267 average is cutting it too close most weeks.  I expected more than a .167 average from Dustin Pedroia, but not surprised by the .133 and .083 averages posted by Alex Gordon and Chris B. Young, respectively.

My week one fantasy stud award goes to Chris Carpenter, who pitched seven innings of shutout ball with seven punchouts.  I can't complain about that kind of production for a guy that I picked up in the 19th round.  Here's hoping he manages to stay healthy.

If he's available in your league, he's certainly worth picking up.  I can't recommend trading for him until I see a few more quality starts, and even then I wouldn't pay top dollar for this huge injury risk.

On the flip side, my week one red alert goes to Ramon Hernandez.  I wasn't terribly happy about having to draft him, and looked for the first excuse to dump him for e else.  Seeing Brandon Inge go off for four HR sealed the deal, although Inge has yet to contribute positively to my team.

Catcher is definitely a position I'll be looking to upgrade, but I certainly like the idea of non-catchers in my catcher's position.  As far as I know, there's only players that meet that criteria worth rostering—Inge and Pablo Sandoval.

Looking Ahead

Week two pits my team against the Leftfield Lunatics, who recently held a press conference to discuss their team's recent performance.

There isn't anyone on the free agent wire I'm dying to pick up, but I was keeping an eye on Aaron Hill.  (As I was writing this article, Machete Squad scooped him up.)  I'm vaguely interested in Nyjer Morgan, but outfielders with some speed and little power are a dime a dozen.

I'm keeping an eye on David Aardsma, as he fits the profile as a reliever that would help my strategy.  Octavio Dotel is also available, and would be a hot addition should Bobby Jenks become too fat to close effectively.

'Till next week, I'll be at the End of the Dugout.