The Anatomy of a Championship Team, Part Two (The Free Agents)

Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Bret Sayre continues his three-part series on how he won the title in his more important home league. Today, a look at the free agent pickups.

In Part One of this series, I went into detail about the draft of my most important league and the role that played in leading my team to a championship. But this is where the fun starts. Don't get me wrong, I love drafts as much as the next fantasy baseball player (especially this one, which is one of my favorite days of the year - I say days since the auction takes 12 hours to complete). But I know myself as an owner, and my strength is more in turning over my roster rather than drafting it.

In this league, there is a standard $100 FAAB budget for the season. Additionally, you can trade FA dollars, so throughout the course of the season, I actually spent $107 (including what I picked up in trades). Here is a full breakout of how I spent my FAAB budget and what stats these players accumulated for my team, broken out by hitters and pitchers:

Date Player $$ AB AVG HR RBI SB
5-Apr Wilin Rosario 2 396 .270 28 71 4
5-Apr Mark Ellis 2 132 .273 2 9 3
12-Apr Kirk Nieuwenhuis 4 64 .328 1 4 1
3-May Mike Trout 56 545 .330 30 83 48
31-May Johnny Damon 1 125 .256 3 14 4
21-Jun Chris Nelson 0 18 .444 1 5 0
9-Aug Darin Mastroianni 0 67 .224 1 7 8
23-Aug Scott Podsednik 2 68 .235 0 3 1
13-Sep Brennan Boesch 0 16 .188 0 2 1
20-Sep Jason Bourgeois 0 17 .059 0 0 0
20-Sep Chris Johnson 0 27 .370 1 7 1
27-Sep Eric Chavez 0 9 .222 2 3 0
Total Hitters 67

Date Player $$ IP ERA W SV K
5-Apr Luis Mendoza 7 9.2 5.59 0 0 3
19-Apr Tom Wilhelmsen 0 6.1 5.68 0 0 6
3-May Pat Corbin 7 21.2 5.40 1 0 13
17-May Joaquin Benoit 1 2 4.50 0 1 2
24-May Alex Cobb 14 122.1 4.27 9 0 93
24-May Scott Feldman 3 22.2 7.15 1 0 24
24-May Kris Medlen 1 18.1 3.93 0 0 14
31-May Garrett Richards 3 53 4.42 3 0 34
13-Jul Brian Duensing 1 2 27.00 0 0 3
13-Jul Bobby Parnell 1 13.2 3.29 0 2 16
19-Jul Tim Collins 0 2 9.00 0 0 2
9-Aug Jeremy Guthrie 2 66.2 2.43 4 0 38
27-Sep Jon Rauch 0 2 13.50 0 0 3
Total Pitchers 40

Clearly, grabbing Mike Trout off of waivers was the move that saved my season. The funny thing around that move is that he was actually not my first choice. That was also the week that Bryce Harper debuted, and I bid $56 on both of them. By some incredible stroke of luck (for me), a competing team bid $57 for Harper and I ended up getting Trout instead. It's not like Harper was a bum or anything, but if that team bids one dollar less, I get Harper instead of Trout and I don't win this league. It's that simple.

The other big FA acquisition during the season came during the first transaction period, when I picked up Wilin Rosario to replace Ryan Lavarnway. My thought process there was that I wanted a backup who had a chance at getting decent playing time and could give me some pop. I thought if I got 12 HR out of Rosario, it would be a great success. In the end, my catching combo of Posey and Rosario was a big part of the reason I was able to deal away other offensive players as the season went on. So for those of you scoring at home, that's $67 in value for my two biggest in-season FA pickups.

On the pitching side, yes I did have the foresight to pick up Kris Medlen back in May, but I also dropped him before he actually made it into the rotation in favor of keeping Garrett Richards. I spoke about that at more length here. However, the pain of watching Medlen tear through the National League like Matt Adams through a cheesesteak was lessened by my unheralded acquisition of Jeremy Guthrie in August. He had just been let go by another team and picked him up out of desperation. Little did I know, he would put up a 2.43 ERA in 66 2/3 innings down the stretch for my team, picking up 4 wins and a handful of K's along the way.

Most of the other pickups were of smaller consequence and not guys I had active for very long. Alex Cobb was extremely helpful in stopping the bleeding from Jeff Niemann's injury - if I hadn't picked him up, I may have fallen too far behind in counting stats to take home the title. In a league this deep, you cannot say enough about a player you pick off the wire and actually performs like a replacement-level player (most of them do not). Also, having a great offense allowed me to roster Darin Mastroianni (who picked up 8 steals in 6 weeks for me, and pretty much nothing else). Six fewer steals would have dropped me four points in the standings.

For the final installment of this series, on Friday I will take a look at the trades I made and how they impacted my improbable comeback to a repeat championship.

Follow me on Twitter at @dynastyguru.
Check out more of my stuff at The Dynasty Guru.

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