Today, let’s take a look at the possible winners of the 2008 Fantasy Goat of the Year before declaring a winner:
David Ortiz – In most, if not all, leagues, he was drafted by the early second round. The guy had been a fantasy gem for 4 seasons, even with his 35 HR campaign in ’07. The guy has proven time and time again that he is a beast at the plate, averaging 47 HR and 141 RBI from 2004-2006. That was the player owners had anticipated on getting this season, but instead they got a player who was not even close. He hit just .264 with 23 HR and 89 RBI, the first time since 2002 that he failed to break 30 HR or 100 RBI. Injuries certainly played a role, limiting him to just 416 AB, as did the departure of Manny Ramirez. Still, it’s not like he was tremendous in the first half of the season, hitting .252 with just 13 HR. No matter how you look at the numbers, Ortiz was a bitter disappointment and certainly hurt the owners who called his name early on in their leagues.
Alex Rodriguez – Yes, he hit .302 with 35 HR, 103 RBI and 104 R this season, a great season for any player. The thing is, A-Rod is not just any player. In many formats he was the #1 pick overall, and with that owners expect an elite season. Where was the player who hit .314 with 54 HR, 156 RBI and 143 R in 2007? Obviously, the drop-off was not as drastic as Ortiz’ but that doesn’t make his season any less disappointing. When you drafted him #1, you put a lot of your season in his hands, considering you did not pick again until the tail end of the second round. He needed to perform significantly better then he did to help carry your team, but instead he was just like any other first round pick. That means extreme disappointment for owners around the world. Read more
I want to hand out a special Closer of the Year Award, to the closer who was not expected to be quite as successful as he really was. We all expected the Mariano Rivera’s and Jonathan Papelbon’s to have huge seasons, which is why they were among the first closers off the board.
There are people who wait until later in the draft to nab a closer. That is actually a pretty popular strategy these days, given how volatile the closers market has tended to be. Injuries and inability seems to cause constant turnover among the closers. This season alone we saw J.J. Putz go down with injury. We saw Huston Street lose his job due to injury and inability. Joe Borowski was terrible as well. You can add in C.J. Wilson, Manny Corpas, Todd Jones, Billy Wagner and quite a few others.
Basically, what this comes down to is which closer was most valuable to his owners. Value is very objective, no doubt about it. Is value in the number of saves? In the number of K’s? In the WHIP? How much does draft position play in it? There’s a lot that goes into it, so with all that said, let’s take a look at my finalists:
I could run down some of the other candidates for the Fantasy Rookie of the Year Award, but there really is little point to it. I feel like we all know that the final two are going to be Evan Longoria and Geovanny Soto, so why bother wasting time. Let’s just discuss these two and come to an ultimate decision.
Evan Longoria – He started the season in the minor leagues, though he did make his major league debut on April 12. Still, a late season injury caused him to have just 448 AB yet he managed to slug 27 HR and drive in 85 RBI hitting primarily in the #3 or 4 hole in the young Rays line-up. Couple those numbers with a .272 average, 67 runs scored and 7 SB and there really is little not to like about the 23-year old (he actually turned 23 this past Sunday).
While that isn’t quite Ryan Braun-like production (.324, 34 HR, 97 RBI, 91 R, 15 SB in 451 AB), it really isn’t that far off and is more then fantasy owners could have hoped for heading into the season. He led all rookies in HR, was second in RBI and sixth in R. The fact that he helped lead the Rays to the AL East Title and into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, though unimportant to fantasy owners, certainly makes his resume look that much more impressive. Read more
Today, let’s first take a look at a few candidates who were considered for the Fantasy Cy Young Award, but for various reasons were not quite good enough to qualify as finalists:
Cliff Lee – He tied for the league lead in victories with 22 and certainly was the talk of the town this season, experiencing one of the most extraordinary bounce back seasons ever. With his 2.54 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, it only helps make his case for this award. His strikeout total of 170 puts him at twenty-fifth in the majors, certainly hurting his candidacy. To be the Fantasy Cy Young, you have to not excel in three categories, you have to help your owner in all four unless you blow away the field somewhere along the line. Lee doesn’t have that anywhere, so he falls into the Top 5, but that’s where his candidacy ends.
Johan Santana – If it weren’t for the lack of W’s, Santana would be a lot more viable candidate here. It’s unfortunate, because that is something that is very subjective, as the Mets bullpen was pathetic, blowing lead after lead for him in the late innings. Still, you cannot ignore his 2.53 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 206 K’s. I know people would have liked to see more strikeouts, especially considering this was his first season in the NL and the first time since 2004 that he failed to reach 235 strikeouts. Still, he proved that was still among the games elite in the second half, going 8-0 in 15 starts (107.2 innings), posting an ERA of 2.17. With that type of ERA, he really should’ve won significantly more of his starts, but that’s life. He is one of the best in the league, proving that by leading the majors in ERA, and should be one of the first starters off the board in 2009, but without the wins he’s not the 2008 Fantasy Cy Young.
So, just who is the fantasy MVP this season? The decision is extremely difficult, with numerous very worthy candidates. Let’s run down some of the other candidates and why they didn’t get chosen before I get to who actually takes home the award:
- David Wright – New York Mets – He’s not going to win the real MVP award, and that’s clear, but we are talking about fantasy here and he certainly deserves to be in the running. He hit .302 with 33 HR, 124 RBI, 115 R and 15 SB on the season. That’s a tremendous year, but still is viewed a little bit as a disappointment, to be honest. Drafting him in the first round, the hope was that he would once again emerge as a 30/30 candidate, but it just wasn’t to be this season. He was still great, but with the lack of SB, does he still deserve to be considering here, especially given where he was drafted in most leagues? I’d say that his name belongs in the conversation, but at the end of the day, he just didn’t do enough to get the award.
- Lance Berkman – Houston Astros – A tremendous first half puts him in the conversation, but a drastic falloff after the All Star Break pretty much takes him out of play. Only 7 HR and 33 RBI to go with a .259 average? His overall numbers certainly helped your team succeed this season, but his disappearance in the second half easily could have cost some a championship. I know an owner in my keeper league had held down first place much of the season, but after Berkman and Chipper Jones slowed down, he slipped to third. Is that the only reason he fell off? Maybe, maybe not, but it definitely contributed to his slide. That takes him out of contention here. Read more