The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Monday, October 11, 2004

Friday I noted how my fantasy team hitters had performed. Now it's time to look at my pitching staff.

I have not attempted to normalize the pitcher statistics into a single score. Such a score would be dependent on innings pitched, and my fantasy league statistics don't tell me how many innings each pitcher threw. (Innings pitched varies by player because I carried an extra pitcher and placed a starter on the bench when he was due for a tough assignment such as "at Yankee Stadium." So don't email me that Moyer was really 7-13, not 7-10; I didn't have to eat three of those losses.) A normalized score is helpful for position players because it can be difficult to tell whether the slugger with lots of home runs but no steals outperformed a high-average slap hitter who had lots of steals and few errors. Pitching stats don't suffer from this problem.

(A pitcher gets a Hold when he enters a game in relief and gets at least one out while keeping the lead. WHIP stands for Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched.)

4Jamie MoyerSP710010804.961.40
Seattle Mariner Jamie Moyer started the All-Star game in 2003. In 2004 the Mariners' hitting got worse, the Mariners' defense got worse, and Jamie Moyer got worse. As Strong Bad might say ... They got him! With a home run right through the heart! Jamie Moyer -- I'm pining for you!.

6Johann SantanaSP206026502.610.92
Minnesota pitcher Johann Santana, on the other hand, is about to win the American League Cy Young. Well done by me.

7Joe NathanRP12448901.620.98
In the next round I picked Santana's teammate Joe Nathan, once a Giant reliever who was traded to the Twins for everyone's least favorite catcher, A.J. Pierzynski. Nathan was lights-out as a closer, generating 44 saves.

9Roger ClemensSP174020703.041.18
In March no one knew if Roger Clemens was serious about playing for the Astros. I remember reading in one article that he had scheduled two weeks of motivational speaking in July. I think we can now say that Roger Clemens was serious. Randy Johnson should win the NL Cy Young, but there is a reasonable chance that it will be given to Clemens.

11LaTroy HawkinsRP54256942.631.05
Hawkins started the year in relief, but was moved to closer when Joe Borowski proved ineffective. (We'll get to Mr. Borowski later.) Hawkins had some well-publicized meltdowns, such as a game I blogged about where he walked in the winning run, but overall he did well.

13Mark RedmanSP8706704.521.42
I overestimated Redman's prowess. Yes, he was a world champion, and yes, he was pitching for a good team (the A's) in a pitcher's park, but his 2004 stats were disappointing -- and this is after considerable cherry-picking; in real life he was 11-12 with an awful 1.50 WHIP. (As for the "pitcher's park," Redman had very strange home/road splits in 2004: His home ERA was 7.45 while away from the Colosseum he had a better-than-Clemens 2.90).

17Armando BenitezRP22465801.330.83
Long after I drafted busts like Moyer and Redman, I picked up Benitez as my second closer. Benitez had a reputation as a gas can, and 148 players were chosen ahead of him. Not many of those 148 players had 46 saves and a 0.83 WHIP.

19Miguel BatistaSP/RP9958804.881.49
Batista was a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher traded from Arizona to Toronto. He had a rather bad year, though to be fair, Toronto is a hitter's park -- one of the many facts of which I was ignorant last March. In September the Blue Jays made him their closer, which suited me fine as I was running out of innings (our league had a 1700 inning cap) and couldn't use all my starters.

21Rafael SorianoRP02058318.004.00
Last year Soriano was an up-and-coming young reliever who looked to have a bright future with the Mariners. His first few games in 2004 were horrid, as you can see. I was sitting in front of my computer, minding my own business, when I saw this headline: Soriano sent to minors, replaced by Putz. Yes, he was really replaced by one J.J. Putz. Soriano had been injured and the Mariners felt that he had not had sufficient prep time in spring training. In August it was discovered that Soriano needed to have Tommy John surgery. My motto in April: It takes a nation of Sorianos to hold me back.

22Matt MorrisSP1510013104.721.29
Morris was allegedly the Cardinals' ace, but he didn't pitch that well in 2004 and was probably the fourth best starter on that team. He (and I) benefited from a powerful offense; I remember one game where he gave up eight runs in the first two innings, but the Cards came back and he did not take a loss.

23Luis AyalaRP2701954.431.57
Once upon a time there was a Franco-Spanish team with a closer named Rocky Biddle, and a setup man named Luis Ayala. This team EXPOSed itself as awful, so the closer could not pitch because his team was never ahead. It wasn't allowed! But the setup man could pitch, and he could take lots of losses. After a few weeks I had had enough of this, but manager Frank Robinson plowed on undisturbed. You have to admire steadfastness.

25Ted LillySP97010204.261.37
Lilly had a better season than teammate Batista, but he too suffered the handicap of pitching for a bad team.

26Julio MateoRP0002134.281.46
Our league had planned a 26-round draft, but we ran out of time and cut the draft off after 25 rounds. The next day I picked Mateo up from the waiver wire. He was ineffective, in part because the Mariners were so bad, and I dropped him after a month or so.

My starters survived the year unscathed, but I had to replace some relievers. Here were my midseason acquisitions:

Scott ShieldsRP624100162.871.26
Shields was one of many fine relievers in the Anaheim bullpen. His 16 holds were the second most on my team.

Joe BoroswkiRP1335010.451.84
Cubs closer Borowski was dumped by a fantasy owner who was doing poorly and wanted to shake up his team. I picked Boroski up, and he rewarded me by giving up a walkoff home run to Neifi Perez. Borowski was placed on the DL soon afterwards.

Justin DuchshererRP1302534.891.42
Duke had a great run as Oakland's long reliever in early 2004. Then I picked him up and he reverted to the mean.

Ray KingRP52026213.151.13
When you look at King's honed physique, you're not sure if you're looking at a baseball player or a ballet star. Some people take the cult of physical perfection too seriously. Even though he started playing for me on June 8, King led my team with 21 holds.

Chad BradfordRP020353.001.25
I picked up the Moneyball hero after another fantasy owner dumped him. Rather weird that he had only three strikeouts in the time that he generated five holds.



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