May 5, 2005

A common mistake fantasy owners often make is avoiding players who have failed them in the past. When you waste an early pick on a guy who ends up batting .220 with 11 home runs, it’s hard to ever say that player’s name on draft day again.

Imagine going to a top-rated restaurant for dinner, but winding up with food poisoning. While you know it was probably a random occurrence, if someone a few months later gives you the choice of two places to eat, and one of them was the poison place, odds are you’ll take the other option.

The same thing holds true in fantasy baseball. Do you think people who owned Paul Konerko in 2003 (.234-18-65) were knocking down the door to draft him in 2004? Probably not.

With that in mind, here are this week’s Klayman Katastrophe Award nominees?

Brandon Webb

Right now I like Webb about as much as the New York media likes Kevin Brown. After his superb rookie season of 2003, I picked Webb in virtually every league last year, assuming he would provide 200 Ks, a sub-3.00 ERA and 15-18 wins. Instead, Webb went 7-16, walked 119 batters on his way to a 1.50 WHIP and didn’t reach 200 Ks (164). When I finally cut him loose in mid-August, he responded with four straight quality starts and a 2-0 record.

So this year I never even considered his name. He was such a disappointment last season that the thought of another season seeing L-5-7-6-6-3-4 every night made him impossible to pick. When Webb was available in the 15th round this year, I opted for Noah Lowry instead.

Following last night’s victory, Webb’s record stood at 4-0, to go along with a 3.20 ERA. Lowry is 1-2 with a sparkling 5.60 ERA, and has since been replaced by Jon Garland (5-0, 1.38 ERA), who is sure to fall apart very soon.

Jamie Moyer

For years Moyer was a guy no one ever wanted to own because of his age and lack of a powerful strikeout pitch. Plus he wasn’t exactly the most fun guy to have to root for all season. But last year, I finally decided he was worth a fourth or fifth starter spot, especially after he went 21-7 with a 3.27 ERA in 2003.

Then in late May, as I’ve mentioned several times before, I was offered Johan Santana (2-3, 5.61 ERA) straight up for Moyer (3-2, 4.26). And after thinking about it for a few days, I turned it down. On May 31, Moyer won his fourth game, and a few days later Santana lost his fourth. I was pretty pleased with myself for my smart decision, and figured Moyer was on his way to another solid season.

From that point on, things changed just a bit. Santana finished 20-6 with a 2.61 ERA and 265 Ks, to go along with the 2004 AL Cy Young Award. Moyer wrapped up his 18th season with a 7-13 record, 5.21 ERA and 125 Ks.

So even though he probably only has a couple of years left in his arm, I swore off Moyer forever. Even if I was in a 20-team, AL-only league and the only two starters left on the board were Moyer and Ryan Drese, I was not picking Moyer.

And just like Webb, Moyer is 4-0 with a solid ERA (3.53) and even has 24 Ks in 35 IP, his best K rate in seven years.

Oliver Perez

After dedicating more than 3,500 words to Perez in last week’s column, you’d think he would thank me by following up his great start from April 26 with another one. Didn’t happen. Perez got creamed by the Giants on Sunday, allowing six runs and 12 baserunners in only five innings of work. His one strikeout didn’t help my preseason prediction of "Oliver Perez will strikeout 290-300 batters this year."

Six starts into the season and Perez’s ERA is a very unlucky 7.11. His WHIP is 1.86 and only Eric Milton (11) has allowed more home runs than Perez (8). The worst part is that he is still undroppable due to his potential, so this could continue the whole season. If Perez keeps this up, I will definitely put him on my banned list and then spend the entire season cursing when he wins 28 games and compiles 384 strikeouts.

Brian Roberts

I traded for Roberts last August, hoping to get 10-15 steals from the speedy second baseman. Instead, I suffered through a two-month span in which Roberts stole only one base, despite playing every day and batting around .300. When I needed a second baseman this year, and he was the top option left, I passed and instead opted for D’Angelo Jimenez, who had far more pop and RBI potential than the diminutive Roberts.

Roberts, as all of you know, has been the top hitter in all of baseball thus far, batting .372 (sixth in Majors) with a career-high eight homers (tied for third), 24 runs (first), 27 RBIs (fourth) and 12 steals (tied with Chone Figgins for first). How many times ever has a player ranked in the top six in all five fantasy hitting categories, a month into the season? Has is ever happened? Rickey Henderson? Eric Davis? Who knows?

By the way, Jimenez is batting .195 with no homers, three RBIs and two steals.

Carlos Pena

I couldn’t take his .162 average, one homer and no steals anymore, so I dropped Pena before Sunday’s games. Pena then decided to wake up and hit two homers on Monday to raise his average back to .200. I put in a claim to get him back, since I figured he was going to break out, and landed him just in time for his 0-for-4 performance on Wednesday.

Making moves like this is a good way to guarantee that you’ll never win a fantasy title.

Robinson Cano

His last name is pronounced Cuh-NO, not CANE-o like most people probably thought before he finally surfaced in the Majors this week. Now for the next 15 years, we’ll have to hear baseball announcers who have nothing better to say, make jokes such as:

"You Know, Cuh-No" and "Oh no, Cuh-No."

Trust me, this will get very annoying, very fast.

And this week’s Katastrophe winner is?

Roberts. Here’s hoping he goes 20-for-his-next-200, although he’d still be hitting higher than Jimenez since his average would only dip to .198.

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