It doesn't matter how good you are at fantasy baseball, you are going to make mistakes during the draft. Recovering from those mistakes is the sign of a good manager. Here is a look at some of the players that haven't lived up to their draft day hype and how teams are trying to compensate for their under performance.
Heath Bell, relief pitcher, Miami - Bell was a keeper for Leslie King and Scully's Slammers. He was expected to be the team's primary closer on a team that figured to give him a lot of opportunities. Instead, Bell is the lowest ranked player on the roster for the Slammers, giving up 11 earned runs in 9.2 innings. He was demoted from closer in Miami. Leslie didn't panic. She benched Bell to save her ERA and WHIP but moved aggressively on the trade market, bringing Baltimore closer Jim Johnson from HUMA for second baseman Jose Altuve. It was an excellent move as she had depth to spare at second base and Johnson has emerged as a top closer.
Nelson Cruz, outfielder, Texas - Sometimes doing nothing is the best move a fantasy baseball general manager can make. Cruz is hitting .250 with an abysmal .299 OBP to start the season. He has just two home runs and 13 RBI in his first 128 at bats. Still, it's too early to jump ship on a player like Cruz and rookie owner Nikhil Dinesh has wisely kept him in the lineup.
J.P. Arencibia, catcher, Toronto - Sean McKenna invested a lot in Arencibia, designating him with keeper status in February. He's been "rewarded" with just three home runs in his first 88 at bats. While the young catcher has struggled, it would be a mistake to bench him or trade him in a two catcher league. Any possible replacement would have similar stats.
Albert Pujols, first baseman, Anaheim - When certain players slump they can bring an entire fantasy team to the ground. That's the case with Pujols. His first 126 at bats in Anaheim have produced one home run and 11 RBI. He's hitting .198 with a .235 OBP. While the depth of this slump is astonishing, the fact that Pujols is slumping shouldn't be that surprising. He's playing in unfamiliar ballparks facing pitchers he's never seen or seen infrequently. The question facing owner Robert Hood is should Pujols be benched in favor of Adam Dunn until he recovers his stroke? He's elected to start both players and sacrifice speed by benching Tony Campana. Only time will tell if this is the right move.
Josh Johnson, starting pitcher, Miami - Johnson has struggled in his return from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for most of 2011. He has a 5.87 ERA and 1.70 WHIP through his first seven starts, only four of which have been quality. Despite having a talented and deep pool of starting pitchers, Bailey Penzotti has stuck by Johnson, who she gave keeper status in February. She could go with Jeff Neimann or rookie Wade Miley while Johnson sorts through his problems.
John Axford, relief pitcher, Milwaukee - Axford was one of the most reliable closers in the game in 2011 but in his first 9.2 innings this year he's allowed six earned runs. Given the closing experience of Milwaukee setup man Francisco Rodriguez, Axford's leash will be short. Axford is the primary closer for Matt Patchell, who has done a good job of surrounding him with reliable setup men who will pounce on the opportunity to close if given a chance. David Robertson and Steve Cishek are prime examples. Axford will likely bounce back, but if he falters, Matt has done a good job of fortifying the back end of his bullpen.
Tim Lincecum, starting pitcher, San Francisco - Through his first seven games, Lincecum has just one quality start. He is certainly testing first-time fantasy baseball general manager Elizabeth Gravely. Lincecum has allowed 24 runs in 36.2 innings - a 5.89 ERA - and has a 1.58 WHIP. Elizabeth hasn't benched Lincecum but she has added free agents Bartolo Colon, Barry Zito and Anthony Bass in an attempt to find more starting pitching. Handling an underperforming star early in the season is the biggest test fora new owner.