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Stock Watch: Ritual Self-Assessment

The season is no longer young. We don't get to pretend anymore that it's the early season, or that so-and-so will snap out of his slump, or that what's-his-name will come back to earth. No, the season's midpoint is a time for sober reflection, a time when fantasy baseball writes must come clean about the predictions they've made over the course of the season, admitting the hits and the misses alike.

Well, maybe we don't have to, but we sure do. So, while I indulge myself in a bit of back-patting while I take enormous credit for some luck-dependant results, I'll balance it out by mentioning my worst misses as well. I was going to go position-by-position, but it turns out that most of my infield predictions have turned out little better or worse than OK, so we'll look at it week by week. Note that my columns came at the end of the mentioned week.

Week 1

Best Call: Pick up Jean Segura. In fact, this is by far my best advise of the column, as Segura's owners have enjoyed 11 homers, 23 steals, and a .334 AVG on the season. More recently, I advised that you trade him away if you're content in the stolen base category, as his homers are probably a bit of a mirage, but keep him if you depend on his speed. I'll stand by that: in fact, I've already dealt him in league that doesn't reward steals much and kept him in a standard format. 

Good Calls: Gerardo Parra got to fill in for injured members of the Arizona outfield, but he ran with the opportunity after a good first week, and he's been the team's best OF since, battin .311 with seven homers. He's not a superstar, but he made a good fill-in. Bartolo Colon has given owners a 1.10 WHIP and a 2.93 ERA, thanks to great control. I wish I hadn't dropped him soon after picking him up.

Bad Call: Franklin Gutierrez has been injured basically all season after that good first week. So that didn't work out too good. He's back now, but no less fragile.

Week 2

Good Call: Daniel Nava was the bright spot in an otherwise unimpressive week for this prognosticator; his .280 AVG with 10 homers is better than most off the waiver wire. 

Bad Calls: I suggested Chris Capuano and Roy Halladay after this week. Capuano immediately got hit hard and hurt. And he's been the better of the two, since at least he's come back since then. The clever suggestions didn't end there, as I promoted Chris Young (the outfielder) and Josh Reddick as buy-low guys. They've hit .192 and .217, respectively. I managed to go 0-3 on the A's outfield, as I recommended selling high on Coco Crisp. Though he sustained an injury, Crisp has been a fantasy force this season, with power and speed coming before and after the injury. Rough week in Stock Watch.

Week 3

Good Calls: This was my most controversial column to date, generating some fun discussions in the comments. Unsurprisingly, the overall results were mixed, but trading for Adam Dunn was one of the better ideas. Though his batting average has been putrid, you could have avoided the worst of his out-making while gaining most of his 20 homers by trading for him at this point. Julio Teheran was scuffling at this point of the season, and lost to a lot of waiver wires. If you picked him up, you got a pitcher who turned in a 2.60 ERA in May and a 2.39 mark so far in June, with a 51:8 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Unfortunately for owners, he still might head to the bullpen in favor of Brandon Beachy, but if you got him for nothing (or thereabouts), you still banked two great months.

Bad Calls: My worst calls of the week were related, as I suggested selling Matt Harvey and Shelby Miller. If you got a huge return, maybe you aren't kicking yourself for dealing these guys, but they haven't shown any signs of declining and both have cemented places among fantay's aces. If you have them now, treat them like you would any other ace.

Week 4

Good Calls: This week treated me pretty well, as my highest-impact advice was all pretty good. Too bad it isn't always this way. I suggested trading away both Bryce Harper and Justin Upton while they were both setting the world on fire. If you traded Harper at this point, all you missed out on was a .193 average in 57 May at-bats, and a bunch of time on the DL. Upton hasn't been a lot better than that since the end of April, with just three homers and an average of about .210. Either of these guys should have fetched a huge return, but you might have won the trade (so far) even if they didn't. Upton might actually be a good buy-low candidate now.

On the pitching side, I suggested dealing Matt Moore. While he continued to pitch well for most of May, June has seen him regress to the point where his ERA and FIP pretty much match. If you got a good return for him, it was well worth dealing him before the decline came. 

Bad Call: I did suggest acquiring Dan Haren this week, for some reason. Hopefully you didn't do that, because after a pretty decent May, he's pitched wretchedly and gone on the DL. Too bad for the Cubs that he still would have been worth trading Carlos Marmol to get in the offseason....

Week 5

Good Calls: This week wasn't one of my best--in fact, I did pretty awful. But, at least I suggested that you pick up Domonic Brown, who was available in about 75% of ESPN an Yahoo! leagues at the time. This call would have been even better a week or two earlier, but who's going to argue with 17 May/June homers? Not me. Also on the bright side of the week, I suggested grabbing Francisco Liriano for his return, referencing his high upside. Actually, he might be my best pitching suggestion yet, with a 2.30 ERA, a 2.50 FIP,  and a 10.04 K/9 in 54.2 IP.

Bad Calls: I was sure that we'd start to see B.J. Upton begin regressing upwards to the mean, but even his "hot" .247 June batting average hasn't been enough to get his season number even close to the Mendoza Line. At least he's finally starting to trend upwards, so if you've still got him, I wouldn't drop him in most formats. Unfortunately, I also suggested acquiring Will Middlebrooks, who has played bad, been on the DL, and gotten sent down to the minors since this recommendation. Is it possible to do worse than that? Yes--see below.

Worst Call: When I suggested cutting bait and selling low on Jay Bruce, he had just finished April with one homer, a .252 average, and a bloated BABIP. Something seemed wrong (and probably was). But he fixed it, to the tune of seven May longballs and 10 more so far in June. He was untouchable when I tried to get him last week in one league. In that league (a points format) he's been the ninth-highest scoring hitter, including April. Hopefully you didn't find a taker for Bruce.

Week 6

Good Call: I suggested selling low on Jonathon Niese, which would have worked out well if I'd followed my own advice. He's been useless since then, so pretty much any trade you made was a winner.

Bad Call: I advised staying away from the surging Jeff Locke, as his success appeared to be smoke and mirrors. It still does, but here he is still pitching well over a month later.

Week 7

Good Call: I'm pleased to have gotten Kyle Blanks in one league shortly after making this recommendation. He was supposed to be little more than a fill-in player, but he's been better than the guys that got injured in front of him. His eight home runs and .284 average have played very well.

Bad Calls: I suggested low buys on Josh Beckett and Marco Estrada, and both of those guys have spend most of the time since then either getting shelled or being shelved. Carlos Santana and Mike Napoli both started great, slumped, and then got only a little better. Neither was a good investment at this point in the season, but both have lots more potential than most catchers. If you traded for them, the deal might still work out.

Week 8

Good Call: Pedro Alvarez seemed to be just beginning one of his famous hot stretches when I suggested going after him. The results since then have included a .313 average and nine homers in June. If you were patient (or stubborn) and hung onto him through that dismal April and early May, you were well rewarded. Now is actually a good time to trade him, because he trades those hot weeks with cold ones.

Bad Calls: I was excited to pick up Kevin Gausman and Jake Odorizzi. Hopefully they were already owned when you read the article (as they were in my leagues when I wrote it).

Week 9

Good Calls: The "Week of the Prospects" proved a pretty good one for me. The Dodgers telegraphed that Yasiel Puig was coming up, and he's been an amazing surprise so far. I shouldn't accept full credit for the suggestion, but I will anyway. Second basemen Anthony Rendon and Nick Franklin have been well worth owning too, making this a pretty good week for my retrospective ego.

Bad Call: I made the ill-fated suggestion that Jackie Bradley, Jr. might come up and play for a couple weeks with the chance for me. He didn't, costing me a week's free agent pickup in a couple leagues. There's a reason he was available in leagues Puig wans't.

My suggestions after Week 9 have yet to play themselves out, but hopefully they turn out like Segura and Alvarez... not like Bruce and Middlebrooks.


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