Let’s jump into some fantasy baseball and existential questions from the readers this week. Why should you ask me questions and take my advice? You absolutely shouldn’t; however, I did draft Troy Tulowitzki this year. Just go admire Tulo’s player card right now. We are not worthy. Hopefully the gods of baseball health acquiesce and keep this guy on the field so he can set the all-time WAR record or something insane.
Harry from San Francisco asks, “What happened to Will Venable? Last year he was a 20/20 guy with a near .800 OPS. This year, he’s failed to contribute even a single SB or HR to my team. Do I give up?”
It’s early, obviously, but yes, I’d probably give up on Venable. He’s 31, he’s not getting the bat to the ball enough, the power is missing in action, and it’s not like he’s some horrendous victim of the BABIP gods right now. Also, unless you are in an NL only league, you should be able to upgrade on Venable even if he does get back to where he was last year (.268/.312/.484, 22 dingers, 22 SB). That near-30 percent strikeout rate and .060 ISO would send me running for the hills right now.
Michael from Gloucester, MA asks, “Is Chris Colabello a witch?”
To the best of my knowledge, Colabello is a living, breathing human being with no relation to witches. If nothing else, he’s a mediocre baseball player who I assume you are partial to because he went to college in Worcester which has some of the same letters as Gloucester. Also, if this is the same Michael from Gloucester who I once worked with for a number of very painful years, it’s time for you to get back to our shared cubicle. I miss you. We can fight the post-traumatic stress together by never leaving.
Also, Colabello is probably thinking that if he’s a mediocre baseball player according to this writer, well, this writer is a 20-grade talent. To which I say…I have no comeback there.
Turkelton from Boston, MA and the hit television show Scrubs asks the existentialist, “I’m in a 16-team, points based, head-to-head league. David Wright is currently my starting third baseman. I’m worried that he is going to eventually hit the shelf, so I’d like to ensure that I have a solid backup on the roster. The problem is that third base seems particularly shallow this season. Right now, I’m rostering Mike Olt who has third base eligibility (and a serious prospect pedigree). Olt offers some power upside, but he’s currently hitting a crisp .162/.237/.353. Here are some other options on the waiver wire: your namesake Mark Reynolds, Cody Asche, Lonnie Chisenhall, David Freese (currently on the DL), Donnie Murphy, etc. Should I hold on to Olt and trust his one-time prospect pedigree?”
My shoulder is still messed up from a recent car accident and I have no bat-to-ball skills. Wait, I’m getting my Mark Reynoldses confused here. Just stay away from anyone named Mark Reynolds. Freese gets hurt all the time, Olt and Chisenhall probably don’t play enough, and I honestly don’t even know what in the world Donnie Murphy is. Is he related to Donnie Baseball?
If the Cubs believed in Olt, wouldn’t they have just turned the position over to him for all 162 this year? What do the Cubs have to lose besides another century’s worth of baseball games? Chisenhall would be more deserving of a gamble than Olt, and Asche is probably your best bet because who else are the Phillies going to put there? The Phillies aren’t actually that bad for me. I’d take Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, and a healthy Cole Hamels any day of the week. Okay, the Phillis probably are that bad despite those guys.
Richard from Alameda, CA asks, “Does good pitching beat good hitting?”
Good pitching beats good hitting and good hitting beats good pitching. As John Kenneth Galbraith said, “Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s just the opposite.” That written, even a great hitter doesn’t get on base 60 percent of the time. Thus, pitching generally beats hitting whether it’s good, bad, ugly, or indifferent. If I were a GM of something other than a fantasy baseball team, I’d draft position players over pitchers with high picks in most cases because of the high attrition rate of pitching prospects. For instance, I think the Astros blew it drafting Mark Appel last year. I watched Appel pitch in person several times at Stanford, and I never walked away thinking of him as some kind of future ace the way people probably did when they saw Stephen Strasburg dominate in college.
John from Petaluma, CA asks, “Should I regret not playing fantasy baseball this year for the first time ever, really?”
If you have to ask, you probably aren’t missing out too much. Like, if there was anything for you to regret, you’d be feeling it in the deepest recesses of your soul. There are a lot of things in my life that I regret having done or not done. That reminds me of the Taoist proverb, “When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.” I kind of understand that, but I couldn’t explain it for the life of me. I guess it means if you do nothing, there’s nothing…yeah, I don’t know. It’s all about the do-do. Intellectually understanding things isn’t that important, anyway, unless you can somehow apply it towards like right living.
Anyway, I quit baseball during my senior year of high school. I regret that decision. I’d probably be in the big leagues right now if I had kept playing. Okay, I definitely wouldn’t be in the big leagues, but the point here is that regret is something you know you are experiencing, not something you have to question. Fantasy baseball might not be for you anymore and that’s okay. It doesn’t matter either way.
Okay, we’ll leave it there for this week. If you have any fantasy questions you’d like answered in a future mailbag—if there is one—you can leave a comment or tweet at me. In the meantime, I’d strongly advise the acquisition of Troy Tulowitzki. He’ll improve your fantasy team and, if you’re like me, your extremely superficial, shallow, and sometimes low self-esteem.
Mark Reynolds graduated from Dominican University of California in 2008 with a degree in Political Science. Since graduating, he's been "blogging" about baseball and other topics.