I thought I'd give another update on my N.L. Tout Wars squad.
Overall, I've jumped quite a bit: from 10th place on May 5 all the way to sixth place as of this writing.
My analysis in May was pretty much dead on. My offense has picked it up, and I've picked up 17.5 points across the board. A big chunk of that gain has been in stolen bases, where I went from 8th to 1st in the category thanks to the revival of Jose Reyes, but also due to contributions across the board from less likely everyday players. All of my stars are contributing now; even Carlos Lee finally woke up from his slumber and now has 10 HR and 37 RBI. Joey Votto looks like the superstar many thought he would be, and Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, and Alfonso Soriano have all been great.
My scrubs haven't done much, but John Baker's injury has opened up the door to regular time for Ronny Paulino. Laynce Nix has contributed a few HR and Cristian Guzman's empty average is OK at $3.
Pitching continues to be my Achilles heel. While I haven't lost any ground, there hasn't been much ground for me to lose. I'm still near the bottom in every pitching category except saves, and Kyle Kendrick is the only free agent pick-up I've made all year to bear any fruit (3.43 ERA, 1.179 WHIP since I picked him up). Matt Cain has been a wonderful ace, but I'm not getting the league average pitching I was hoping for behind him.
I've made two trades thus far. One was a minor one and the other one - just completed tonight - was a blockbuster.
First, I moved Paul Maholm and Kenshin Kawakami for Aaron Rowand. Rowand has temporarily been relegated to a part time role with the Giants acquisition of Pat Burrell, but this move was more addition by subtraction. Maholm and Kawakami weren't showing signs of turning it around, and I thought I'd take the chance on Rowand. With an 800+ OPS in the almost two weeks since I've had him, I suspect Rowand will start playing more and provide some counting stats throughout the season.
Then, tonight, I made a big move, swapping Reyes out for Josh Johnson. I might lose a couple of points in steals, but Johnson gives me a chance to make a move in ERA, WHIP and especially strikeouts. With Mike Stanton up now, I'm hopeful that I'll more than make up for Reyes' HR/RBI the rest of the way out.
I'm still not optimistic that I'll win, but I like my chances a lot better than I did in May. My Stars and Scrubs strategy has fallen short on the pitching side so far, but hopefully Johnson will correct this enough so that I can make a belated run. It still might fall short - Brian Walton's team is clicking on all cylinders right now - but I'd put my chances somewhat higher now than they looked back in early May.