FB365 League Midseason Roundtable

We are just about to the All-Star break, which means that not only do most Major League players get a break from the daily grind, but fantasy owners as well. To this point in the season, teams have a pretty good idea if they can compete or not, but anything can happen in the season’s second half.
 
I took this opportunity to invite every owner in the FB365 League to participate in a midseason roundtable Q&A. This gives us an opportunity to look all the way back to draft day as well as all the free agent additions and trades that have gone down in the season’s first half.
 
Nine of the twelve teams participated and I think you’ll find it quite interesting to see exactly how each owner has operated and what they think can happen as each battles for position the rest of the season.
 

MaidenCorreia (Goose Joak) – 9th Place

1. Who was your best draft pick? 
In terms of pure value, Scott Rolen in round 23 is hard to beat.  He’s my wife’s favorite player so I can’t say we based the pick on any kind of advanced scouting or sabermetrics.

From a pure decision making perspective, the pick I like the most is strangely one that failed me.  That is, my decision to take Dan Haren in the fourth round.  It’s like getting beat in Texas Hold ‘Em with a pair of aces in your hand.  Sometimes you get beat by a weird draw.

2. Who was your best free agent pickup? 
Brad Lidge and Huston Street because they enabled me to trade for Albert Pujols.  I picked them up with that trade in mind.

Marlon Byrd has been surprisingly productive.

3. If you could do it over again you would have drafted___instead of___. 
There are some obvious do-overs like Jared Weaver and Vlad Guerrero where very few people saw it coming.  I won’t pretend to have predicted those.  For the record though, I was all over Miguel Olivo!

As far as regrets go, based on bad information or bad decision making, I would single out Jason Bay in the third round and Carlos Beltran in the sixth round.  Yuck.  I ignored a lot of warning signs on both.
4. Is there one player (free agent) that you wanted to add, but regret not adding? 
I’ve unsuccessfully tried to add Brennan Boesch at least three times now.  Apparently I had him at one point, but I don’t remember it. 

I regret missing out on Eric Young, Jr. but he got injured anyway.

85 moves and 6 trades later I’ve had a lot of roster churn so far.
5. Who has been your team’s biggest disappointment? 
Prince Fielder didn’t give me first round value, so that is a pretty big disappointment.

That said Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran are right up there.
6. Who has been your team’s biggest surprise? 
Scott Rolen
7. How have you faired on trades this season (if applicable)? 
I’ve been extremely happy with my trades.  I feel like I’ve boosted myself about 10 points already and positioned myself to make a strong run in the second half.  

Essentially I’ve traded:

Prince Fielder
David Wright
Jason Bay
Heath Bell
Jonathan Sanchez
Kelly Johnson
(FA) Huston Street
(FA) Juan Uribe
(FA) Gaby Sanchez

for

Albert Pujols
Troy Tulowitzki
Felix Hernandez
Jorge De La Rosa
Brad Hawpe
Carlos Pena
Aaron Hill (dropped)

It’s hard to analyze at that level, but essentially I’ve traded excess saves for a huge gain in ERA/WHIP and upgraded in average/power.

8. What does your team need to do to contend in the second half? 
I need Pujols to be Pujols.  I also need to fill out as many games (at bats) as possible by shuffling my roster daily.  I’ve been playing a lot of splits recently and have enjoyed the results. 
9. What player on your team will have the best second half? 
Albert Pujols
10. Can you win this league?
Realistically it is a longshot.  But I strongly believe I can finish second.  I feel like it would be a great accomplishment and am gunning for it.

Guppies (Twitter @FakeBaseball) – 1st Place

1. Who was your best draft pick?
While I’m still a bit skeptical he’ll keep it up all year, I’m pretty pleased with the production I’ve gotten from my 22nd-round pick, OF Chris Young. Additionally, those of you who follow my Twitter fantasy blog @fakebaseball know that I spent a chunk of the offseason tweeting about Votto, Andrus, Colby Lewis, and Jeff Clement (all of whom ended up on all my mixed league teams this year), so of course I’m stoked that three of the four worked out really well so far (as for Clement… gah, still feeling like a turbo-dope about that one).

2. Who was your best free agent pickup?
Thankfully, I’ve had a couple that have worked out – Jaime Garcia has helped solidify what was a mediocre pitching staff coming out of the draft, and more recent pickups Scherzer and Floyd have been an additional blessing in that regard. It’s become a cliché in fantasy circles that you should wait on pitching, but I’m a believer – it just seems easier to find pitching on the wire than hitting.

3. If you could do it over again you would have drafted___instead of___.
…pretty much any current closer over the knuckleheads I ended up with in the mid rounds, Gonzalez and Qualls. Absolute disasters so far, it goes without saying.

4. Is there one player (free agent) that you wanted to add, but regret not adding?
I was shocked when a team cut Beltre, but I was on a lengthy business trip at the time and didn’t have the opportunity to pick him up. I still cringe over that one. He would have been very useful in a year where 3B is relatively shallow in terms of quality.

5. Who has been your team’s biggest disappointment?
My aforementioned closer debacle for one, as well as Jeff Clement, since I had recommended him repeatedly. I thought he’d hit enough to stick on a weak Pirates team, and thus provide nice late-round value at catcher.

6. Who has been your team’s biggest surprise?
Probably Alex Rios – I thought he was being underrated in drafts, but to say he’s exceeded all expectations is a major understatement.

7. How have you faired on trades this season (if applicable)?
While I certainly am willing to listen to proposals and negotiate in good faith, I find that I almost never make trades in fantasy baseball. It’s exceedingly rare in my experience for someone to offer you a trade that helps you as much as it helps him/her.

8. What does your team need to do to contend in the second half?
Just gotta keep on keepin’ on, as they say. Would be nice if Qualls straightens himself out and Gonzalez comes back to pitch effectively, so I can get more production from my relievers than I’ve been getting.

9. What player on your team will have the best second half?
Nostradamus I’m not… let’s say Votto – I don’t see why he can’t keep providing solid all-around production, barring injury of course.

10. Can you win this league?
Dunno… I’ve built up a bit of a lead, but I’ve seen plenty of seemingly strong teams collapse over the many years I’ve played fantasy baseball, so I’m taking nothing for granted. You know how it is – a couple of key injuries and your season spins down the drain.

Stricktly Business - 4th Place
1. Who was your best draft pick?
Miguel Cabrera … hands down
 
2. Who was your best free agent pickup?
a couple of qualifiers here … Jon Rauch (right place, right time) and Troy Glaus (even though he’s cooled off in June).  Also like Quentin.
3. If you could do it over again you would have drafted___instead of___.
My emphasis on ERA/WHIP for SP’s led me to a low strikeout crowd of Kuroda, Hudson, and later by pickup Penny.  Not a great approach in hindsight.
5. Who has been your team’s biggest disappointment?
Nelson Cruz and/or Ian Kinsler
 
6. Who has been your team’s biggest surprise?
I’ve gotten a lot from unexpected sources like Ty Wigginton.  Kept us afloat for a while, but wasn’t sustainable.
 
7. How have you faired on trades this season (if applicable)?
I’ve found it very difficult to trade in this league.
 
9. What player on your team will have the best second half?
Nelson Cruz had better explode.
10. Can you win this league?
Possible, but more likely a top 3-4.
 
Seeking Relief – 10th Place
1. Who was your best draft pick?
Probably Vlad in the 13th. I was actually targeting him and I have him on three other teams. Texas + DH = Healthy Slugging Vlad.

2. Who was your best free agent pickup?

Chris Coghan..who is having a nice 2nd half. The problem I find is that I’m used to playing in a league with only 9 offensive spots. Which leaves plenty of talent on the wire. In this league I often find myself one step behind. On a couple of occasions I’ve lost out by minutes. Which speaks to the competitiveness of this league. Peeps know thier stuff.

3. If you could do it over again you would have drafted___instead of___.

Anyone other than Beckham. I had high hopes for him. I really thought he was going to be Chase Utley lite. I had the swing spot in round 6 and 7 and selected…are you ready for this Barlett and Beckham..At the time I thought, sweet a “cheap good solid infield”. well I was wrong and it immediately showed.

4. Is there one player (free agent) that you wanted to add, but regret not adding?

A bunch of pitchers.

5. Who has been your team’s biggest disappointment?

Beckham (who I spoke about earlier) and and Carlos Lee..although I traded C.Lee a short time after I traded for him. Carlos Lee was supposed to be a huge upgrade over Ludwick(inconsist was my fear). I had Lee for about a month and a half and in that time he had 164 AB, hit 4 hr and batted .207. The whole reason for trading for Lee’s was his avg. He was supposed to help buffer Dunn’s avg. I knew that Lee’s power was in decline, but he’s always had a reliable .300+ avg…I was hoping the two of them with Adam Jones, McCutchen and Vlad would be a surprisingly good outfield. Jones/Lee shat the bed the first half. Dunn/McCutchen/Vlad did well…but missing those two hurt. The moment I traded Lee, he went something like 10/15 with 5 hrs. I hate him with the power of 119 suns.

6. Who has been your team’s biggest surprise?

Well I’d say Vlad exceeded expectations..but I expected a big year…but even this has passed my expectations. Other than that…its been mostly disappointments.
 
7. How have you faired on trades this season (if applicable)?
Well the first trade I made, probably sealed my fate. Although at the time it seemed like I needed that trade CC/Morneau/Ludwick for Cain/Lee/Dunn. Morneau of course goes onto to a career year. Ludwick had a good first half as well. Outside of Dunn I didn’t get much in return. At the time I thought Cain was much closer to CC (outside of wins) than most people thought. My fantasy philosophy is all about margins. Slight margin here, could lead to a huge margin there. I thought Lee/Dunn were a hugh upgrade over Morneau/Ludwick-I was wrong. Everytrade after this one was made based on needs caused by this trade. The Pujols/Lee/Felix for Wright/Prince/Closers…eh…I needed to do something. Wright and Prince definitely were a huge upgrade over Pujols/and who ever I had at 3rd base(Chase Headly). Felix was the piece that hurt. My pitching was already suffering and I sold a cat I already was lean in..but I had to do something.  

8. What does your team need to do to contend in the second half?

Well I need pitching…every cat.

9. What player on your team will have the best second half?

Prince Fielder I hope..and maybe some pitchers step it up.

10. Can you win this league?

Its going to be an uphill climb.
 
WOLF DEN – 2nd Place
1. Who was your best draft pick?
Rd 26 Austin Jackson or Rd 6 Ubaldo
2. Who was your best free agent pickup?
Jose Guillen
 
3. If you could do it over again you would have drafted___instead of___.
Adam Dunn/Josh Hamilton over Nick Markakis-all he does is walk and hit singles. I blame him on us being last in Hrs/Rbis.
4. Is there one player (free agent) that you wanted to add, but regret not adding?
Not really but I regret dropping Jon Rauch for Randy Wolf big time.
5. Who has been your team’s biggest disappointment?
Nick Markakis
6. Who has been your team’s biggest surprise?
Ublado
7. How have you faired on trades this season (if applicable)?
Just made our first one so we shall see.
8. What does your team need to do to contend in the second half?
Sammy Sosa Home Run Binge
9. What player on your team will have the best second half?
Pablo Sandoval I hope
10. Can you win this league?
As Peter Gammons like to say IF Pablo Sandoval starts hitting like Pablo Sandoval and IF Pedro and VMart come back productive and healthly and IF Yunel Escobar finds his swing AND IF Matt Wieters starts having fun playing baseball again. Then yes the WOLF DEN can win this league.
 
Shallow Be Thy Game – 3rd Place
1. Who was your best draft pick?
Looking back at my draft makes me cringe; a lot of busts and misses. David Price (Round 16, Pick 188) is easily my best pick. I have him in 3 of my 4 leagues but more because I felt he was a good value than expecting this much of a step forward.

2. Who was your best free agent pickup?
Where I failed in the draft I feel I made up for on the wire. Most of my outfield (Kubel, Delmon Young, Drew Stubbs, and Michael Bourn). Bourn may end up being the most valuable in the long-term as we have some ground to gain in stolen bases, but Adrian Beltre solidified my corner infield and has been a consistent producer all year.

3. If you could do it over again you would have drafted ANYONE instead of ADAM LIND.
I was high on Lind going into the year and felt that at the time outfield was quickly thinning. Dunn, Hamilton, Ethier are all putting up numbers much closer to what I thought Lind would be doing by this time.

4. Is there one player (free agent) that you wanted to add, but regret not adding?
Two of my former starters, Floyd and Scherzer, I was hoping to get back but was beat to the punch. I also regret dropping Axford prematurely.

5. Who has been your team’s biggest disappointment?
Where to start…Rollins, Johan, Lind, Wandy, Floyd, Scherzer, Jurrjens…Most were due to injury so I have to go with Adam Lind and his .206 average.

6. Who has been your team’s biggest surprise?
Our biggest surprise would have to be Matt Lindstrom’s 19 saves and 2.97 ERA.

7. How have you fared on trades this season (if applicable)?
I forgot about my first trade until looking it up: giving up Floyd for Helton. It didn’t help either team.

My second trade was a big one, giving up my first round pick in Utley to obtain Brandon Phillips and Josh Johnson. At the time we felt we were making a small to moderate downgrade at 2B to acquire a top starter.

Utley was terrible/injured following the trade while Phillips is contributing across the board and Josh Johnson has been the top pitcher since.

We obviously got lucky in how this played out as no one saw Utley going down but is a big reason for our current standings but it’s always tough to pull the trigger when giving away your first pick and we’re happy it paid off thus far.

8. What does your team need to do to contend in the second half?
Stay healthy. As with most teams, we have had our share of injuries but are finally healthy. We will be looking to acquire a pitcher in the coming weeks (hint hint).

9. What player on your team will have the best second half?
I’m going to have to go with Jimmy Rollins because he owes us after missing most of the first half.

10. Can you win this league?
Guppies is having a great season and we have some ground to make up but there are definitely areas we can gain some ground in (or lose a lot of ground, as well)

 
LosPunchadosDePedro (FB Hot Stove) – 6th Place
1. Who was your best draft pick?
Mat Latos in the 19th round. Given that Brandon Webb, Brett Anderson, Yovani Gallardo and now Jake Peavy are on my DL he’s been huge.

2. Who was your best free agent pickup?

Brennan Boesch. Per usual with free agent guys, I thought in all likelihood I’d send him back to the waiver wire a week after I picked him up for the next fool’s gold, but Boesch has never stopped raking.

3. If you could do it over again you would have drafted___instead of___.
I was shocked with how “hitter-centric” the draft went. I took Tim Lincecum as the first pitcher off the board and beyond the fact that Lincecum has had a subpar year, I wish I had one more good bat in the lineup. Someone like Matt Holliday (I wouldn’t have taken Joey Votto at that time).

4. Is there one player (free agent) that you wanted to add, but regret not adding?
Axford is someone that I added in a couple other leagues and didn’t here. My team is ok as far as saves go, but having the inventory to make a trade is never a bad thing.

5. Who has been your team’s biggest disappointment?
Chone Figgins hasn’t been the player he was last year, but shame on me for not seeing that ahead of time. I grabbed him with all the hype of him gaining second base eligibility, but it just wasn’t worth it.

6. Who has been your team’s biggest surprise?
Latos. I felt confident he would outperform his draft slot, but for him to be a top twenty player by the break is beyond even the most biased Padres fans.

7. How have you faired on trades this season (if applicable)?
I think I’ve done really well. I moved Todd Helton for Franklin Morales on April 5th. I had no need for Helton and Morales was good for a couple weeks. On May 4th I got offered Heath Bell for Kevin Gregg. That was an easy move and Bell continues to dominate. Lester for Cargo was a tough trade for me to make because I love Cargo, but based on the aforementioned banged up rotation, I need the pitcher more. Finally I was glad to get rid of Carlos Pena for an emerging player in Gaby Sanchez.

8. What does your team need to do to contend in the second half?
Listen to the Cubs 7th inning stretch more. “Let’s get some runs!”
9. What player on your team will have the best second half?
Ryan Howard. He’s a 2nd half beast.
10. Can you win this league?
Absolutely, but I’ve got some work to do.
 
Braun’s Bombers – 11th Place
1. Who was your best draft pick?
Corey Hart. I was very close to dropping him, not that it would have made any difference.
2. Who was your best free agent pickup?
Aubrey Huff.
3. If you could do it over again you would have drafted___instead of___.
I would have drafted myself instead of Brian Roberts. I hate that guy. I’ve never had him nor will I ever draft him. Lesson to be learned – don’t show up late to the draft or adjust your autopick order.
 
4. Is there one player (free agent) that you wanted to add, but regret not adding?
One player, or 12 players? This team is a mess!
 
5. Who has been your team’s biggest disappointment?
It would be easy to say Sizemore due to injury, but I’m going to say Ryan Braun. I envisioned a .330, 35HR, 125RBI, 115 runs, and 25 SB season.
 
6. Who has been your team’s biggest surprise?
Corey Hart. Too bad it goes to waste (just like real baseball).
 
7. How have you faired on trades this season (if applicable)?
No trades. I hardly ever trade and usually don’t propose many.
 
8. What does your team need to do to contend in the second half? 
A prayer.
 
9. What player on your team will have the best second half?
In light of question 5, Braun is the only guy on my team who can carry a team and I would need him to put up the numbers I projected for my team to have any chance (and a prayer).
 
10. Can you win this league?
About as good of a chance as I do this weekend to come away from my bachelor party sober.
 
FB365 – Dead Last (But climbing!)
1. Who was your best draft pick?
Might as well be Carl Crawford in round two, but value wise Liriano in round 12, Magglio in round 19 and Shaun Marcum in round 22 were all value picks.
 
2. Who was your best free agent pickup?
I think when all is said and done it will be Carlos Santana.
 
3. If you could do it over again you would have drafted___instead of___.
I wish I had taken one of the top first basemen instead of holding off and ending up with Lance Berkman.
 
4. Is there one player (free agent) that you wanted to add, but regret not adding?
Mostly closers, like Jon Rauch for example. Since I always try to find value closers on draft day, I’m one of those owners that chases saves all season. The problem is that this league has been ultra quick to snag saves off the wire.
 
5. Who has been your team’s biggest disappointment?
I’m going to say A-Rod just because he was my first round pick and has not come close to delivering that type of value, but look at my first ten rounds and you’ll see why I’ve toyed with naming my team “Fantasy Busts 365″
 
Rd 1: A-Rod
Rd 2: Carl Crawford (The only bright spot!)
Rd 3: Jose Reyes
Rd 4: Aramis Ramirez
Rd 5: Aaron Hill
Rd 6: Curtis Granderson
Rd 7: Mild Nolaco Sauce
Rd 8: Carlos Quentin (traded)
Rd 9: Josh Beckett (traded)
Rd 10: Lance Berkman
 
6. Who has been your team’s biggest surprise?
I liked Shaun Marcum as a sleeper, but he has pitched well beyond my expectations for him.
 
7. How have you faired on trades this season (if applicable)?
Traded Franklin Morales for Todd Helton (Berkman out, needed a cheap 1B), then flipped Helton for Gavin Floyd once Berkman came back, but I had to cut Floyd as he was struggling and I had no one else to move at that point.
 
Traded Josh Beckett for Justin Smoak. Beckett soon after went on the DL and Smoak, while showing signs of life here and there, has yet to really breakout. This trade hasn’t really helped either club, but we’ll see what the second half has in store for both players.
 
Traded Carlos Quentin for Placido Polanco. At the time, this trade was working out just fine for me. I had plenty of depth in the OF and needed a second baseman and AVG to help make up for Aaron Hills miserable start. Recently, however, Quentin has gone on a power binge and Polanco has hit the DL.
 
Traded David Aardsma for Vernon Wells. This was my best trade, even though I missed the best part of Wells’ season, he has still provided more value than Aardsma and his 5.00+ ERA.
 
Traded Brad Hawpe and Aaron Hill for Carlos Lee and Kelly Johnson. This was the most recent trade and I honestly believe I’ll end up with the better end (Aaron Hill already dropped by the other team).
 
8. What does your team need to do to contend in the second half? 
Everyone to perform at all-star levels from here on out.
 
9. What player on your team will have the best second half?
Ricky Nolasco!!! (That’s almost cliche by now)
 
10. Can you win this league?
Well, my team is in the cellar thanks to a ton of normally reliable bats turning into first half busts. I’ll try like hell to move up the standings, but it looks grim at this point.