Where We Blundered 2011 ConclusionSeptember 26th, 2011 by Eric Kesselman in Uncategorized
So it's going to be a pretty anti-climatic concluding article as its hard to find much to criticize in the top two teams.
I think Clark has played a nearly pitch perfect season. In my first post draft article I wrote of Clark's team "This team terrifies me. I think he had a really strong draft, and has only made his team stronger with trades so far. I'm calling bullshit on $23 for Max Scherzer, who I know is another darling of auctions this year. I think you're all insane. Blah blah blah, potential. Blah blah blah, second half numbers. Jered Weaver went for $2 more. Call me crazy, but I need a pitcher to put together a bit more consistent resume before I fire out $23 and hope to make a profit on it. I really hope I'm right, because otherwise this team is my pick for the cream of the league right now."
I'm not sure I have much more to criticize six months later other than the Scherzer price. Clark has made no mistakes, and added a few nice picks from the faab pool most notably Mark Trumbo. I've generally liked his side of trades, and when I didn't like them 'for value' it was often just because he was shifting resources around in ways that made sense.
Looking at his category management, the only places Clark's isn't super competetive is where he's running away with the category. He's first in runs by about 70, and first in RBI by almost 80. That's a fair bit of extra capital, but its hard to perfectly manage your runs and RBI while fighting for other offensive categories. I think some surplus here is just a byproduct of a dominant season. Clark has made consistent efforts to divert resources to his pitching staff, and they've been very effective. At the trade deadline he was 9th in ks, and 8th in wins. As of today he's 7th in ks (but only 4 ks away from 6th), and 1 win away from first. Perhaps he could have made one more offensive for pitching trade somewhere, but that can easily be just hindsight in how things played out.
With a 9.5 game lead over Derek and 3 days to play, Clark appears to have things wrapped up. Kudos on a fantastic season.
Derek has had a very intersting season, and I think the award for best managed team goes to one of Derek, Clark, or Jason/Paul. He's had an odd mix of good fortune (Granderson, Gordon, Masterson, and his waiver claims) and terrible luck (his win conversion rate was horrible, Francisco, Thornton, Snider, Hill, D Johnson all big blows). He crushed us on the waiver wire with big scores in Kotchman, Weeks, Rasmus, Revere. His category managment has been strong, and extremely flexible. Unable to convert wins at a reasonable rate Derek reconfigured his staff, and has managed to punt wins while remaining competetive in strikeouts (only 3 k's out of 2nd as of this writing). That's no mean feat, as wins and strikeouts are naturaly paired in a league with no restrictions on the number of starting pitchers allowed amongst your nine man staff. Derek could easily have wound up the champion if not for some of his misfortune. By contrast, I'm not sure Clark has had anything go significantly wrong all year. But thats often the case of a winner of a 12 man league this competetive. The winner has to be both good AND lucky.
If I had to find a flaw in Derek's game, I think it would have to be his trade offers. A trade offer with Derek in my experience usally goes something along the lines of Derek offering me player A for players B and C, to which I retort that I would bet him on the forward performance of EITHER B or C vs his A. Derek says 'he'll get back to me on that.' The last one of these I recall was his mid season offer of Pineda for Rickey Romero and E Santana, both of whom I had over Pineda on the grounds they were better pitchers on better teams who weren't going to have an innings limit. I'm never quite sure if these offers are sincere valuation differences (of which we also have many), or gamesmanship, but I often find his ideas so out of line that I'm surprised he ever gets a deal done. That being said Derek made a number of fine trades this season, not only reconfiguring his team to fight everywhere but wins but adding a lot of value on many occasions as well. So perhaps he just thinks I'm fishy and is trying to fleece me!
At the end, its always hard to be that close to the championship and not win, but 2nd place pays pretty well in this league too. Congrats!