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Silver League Update: I've Made a Huge Mistake

While head-to-head leagues are starting their playoffs (or continuing them), classic roto leagues like the Silver are entering their final push. There's no chance for a miracle ride from the sixth seed through the playoffs, so a lot of teams and owners are fighting for nothing but pride.

My team, the Inch'on Wyverns (named for a Korean team I watch when I can), is one of those many. My team's bounced from ninth to fifth to seventh and back up to fifth this week. It's actually the highest I've been since Grant Balfour got me the year's first save in Tokyo. It got me thinking about good and bad decisions I've made over the course of the year. If I'd just done this or that would I be one of the teams battling for real victory?

Probably not, but it's nice to think that maybe I could have contended, if maybe I'd been a little more -- or less -- patient. My season started out pretty rough, but some of those early-year slumpers are bringing big dividends to their new owners.

Take the aforementioned Balfour. I figured a good-enough reliever would succeed in a low-pressure closing environment, so I drafted him. Mistake No. 1. When he lost his job, I cut him loose. I don't exactly know if that was a mistake -- who would know he'd have the job back by now? It makes me glad this isn't a head-to-head league; I'm so far from third worst in saves that another closer wouldn't have helped me much. With 15 saves on the year -- eight in the last month -- an ERA under 3.00 and a WHIP under 1.00, I really wish he was still on my team.

Maybe one closer wouldn't be enough to move me in the standings, but maybe two would have been. Yes, I was one of those Carlos Marmol enthusiasts before the year started. Regular readers will know how I feel about strikeouts, and when the Cubs traded Sean Marshall (also previously owned by me) away, I figured Marmol would have some job security. Nope. His peripheral numbers are pretty bad, but he got pretty much all 17 of his season's saves after I dropped him.

I was going to stick with Greg Holland as a non-closer, but he hit a rough patch early in the season and I didn't feel like I could keep him...so there he went, with his 12 post-Broxton trade saves to another team. Stinging even worse is how hot he's been in the last month: nine saves, 18 K's in 12.1 IP, an 0.73 ERA, and an 0.89 WHIP. That's help in several categories. To keep full track, I dropped 30 saves that I could have had with patience (and enduring some ugly rate numbers for a little while). The silver lining: those saves would only be worth one spot in the standings, that's how far back I am.

Of course, I could have just drafted Jim Johnson instead of any of those closers, but my lifelong rule of never taking an Orioles closer stopped me. Thank you, ghosts of Kevin Gregg and Jorge Julio ...

Mike Minor is someone I've been excited about for almost two years now, and he's mostly brought me trouble for all the trust I've given him. He got off to an awful start--when I dropped him, his ERA was nearly 7.00. His ERA has steadily dropped since that point--really, it's gone down in nearly every start since the day I dropped him, landing at 4.58. Given that his last month has seen him post a 3.13 ERA and an 0.98 WHIP, I'd bet it keeps going down. So, basically, I got all the bad he was going to do, and let him go before he could fix it. Now he's got a rotation spot on our third-place team.

Jayson Werth was one of my favorite bounce-back candidates of the preseason and he projected to be my number three OF. Instead, he hit the DL for a twelve-week stint. He hit the Silver League wire because I was already sitting on an injury stack so bad that Torii Hunter became my top OF. Yeah. In the last month Werth has hit .330 with 20 runs scored. I'm dead last in runs, so anyone who scores is someone my team misses. At least last place is still worth a point.

Pedro Alvarez is the sort of player that drives you nuts. If you had him on your team at any point--or if you're a Pirates fan--you know what I'm talking about. Of course I picked him up during one of his hot streaks, and of course I dropped him when he went colder than dry ice. Well, the hot has added up to more than the cold, as 27 homers aren't bad at all. Hitting six of those in the last 30 days with an average over .300 is even better.

The worst mistake I made all season, though (outside of drafting Jacoby Ellsbury in the first round), has been Mark Reynolds. Going into the season, I was Reynolds's biggest fan. I'd had him on my team through his 2011 campaign and I don't care too much about batting average. I took him in round six, over the happy, mocking laughter of my leaguemates. I knew Reynolds and I would show them, and--finally--he has. Not me, though. I dropped him in May when he was hitting .191 with just two homers. I was happy to sit out his execrable June and July too, but since August, he's turned it up a bit. That average is all the way back up to .233 and he's hit twelve of his 20 homers in a little over a month. The somehow-contending Orioles owe him some thanks for their good late winning ways, but in the Silver League, all the good he's doing is going to one of my rivals.

To be clear, all these players deserved to be dropped. In some cases, I hung on to them longer than I should have. In others, I drafted them too high or otherwise expected too much from them, but they all needed to be cut from my team. The real mistakes I regret are not keeping tabs on them--I drafted, traded for, or picked up each of them for a reason and didn't notice their resurgence until it was too late. All too often, fantasy baseball in an exercise in "out of sight, out of mind." When these players hit the waiver wire, I was done with them. Now other teams are reaping the benefits and I'm excited to taste fifth place.


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