travis hafner

Pirates and Fantasy Allergies

– Max Scherzer struck out 15 Pirates on Sunday afternoon in 7 innings. Over the course of the three game Detroit-Pittsburgh series, including Verlander’s near no-hitter on Friday, the Pirates struck out 41 times. That’s 41 Ks out of 81 outs…over 50%. Avast ye them Pirates blow….yarrrrrrrrrgh.


This is not really a diatribe, this is more of an apology. Entering the 2010 season, Lance Berkman was a hero in Houston and a paragon of consistency. In the nine previous seasons, Big Puma had never had a season where he played less than 132 games, hit less than 24 homers or had an OPS less than 896. I had never owned Berkman in a fantasy league though at any time during this stretch, but finally got my chance when I drafted him in 2010. He tanked hard and posted simply horrendous numbers (122 games/14 HRs/781 OPS) in a season that saw him get unceremoniously dumped by Houston. Of course, once off my roster, he bounced back to his normal terrific numbers in 2011. And you can guess the rest of the story. Despite my suspicion that Berkman may have a severe allergy to my team, I drafted him again in 2012, only to see him play five games, tweak his calf, miss four games, return and play one and a half games then fully pull his calf, miss 21 games, then play five more games before apparently tearing his ACL while RECEIVING a routine catch at first base. Now his season is most likely done and his career may be in jeopardy as well. That is some bad juju. So I’m sorry Lance. I should have known better. I do hope you have a full recovery. And I promise, I will never draft you ever again.

List of players with severe allergies to my fantasy team: Lance Berkman, Travis Hafner, Vlad Guerrero, Bobby Higginson, Kevin Youkilis.

Yes, I recognize that I list Youkilis with a severe allergy and that I still own him on my team. In fact, I have exclusively owned him in my league since August 2, 2010, the day I traded for him and he broke his thumb on his first at-bat after activation. And I am now in the stage where I am owning him out of spite. It is strange that I somehow feel apologetic towards Berkman and yet so apoplectic at Youkilis, but that’s the way it is. Youk will get over his allergies…or he will die from them.

Fantasy Allergy

I am still holding on to Travis Hafner on my fantasy roster. He’s been hurt for ages (with an injury that might be imaginary) and even when he played he was terrible. He can’t play any position except DH. All he’s doing is taking up space. Well, there’s a reason.

Let’s flash back to my 2007 fantasy draft. Hafner was coming off of a season in which he hit 42 HR in only 129 games, with a 1.098 OPS. For three straight seasons, he had not hit below .305 or had an OPS below .993. He was a beast, and it seemed like he was improving. I was happy to use my early 2nd round pick on him, and I thought it was a freaking steal. Hafner went on to hit 18 less homers in 23 more games, plus see his average drop over 40 points and his OPS drop over 250 points. He still had 100 RBI, but it was piss poor production from a 2nd round pick.

Still, when 2008 rolled around, I thought for some reason that 2007 was the nadir, the absolute low point. All the fantasy “experts” predicted a bounce back season for Hafner. While I try not to listen to these “experts” (because they are mostly morons), I guess some part of me really wanted to believe that he couldn’t be any worse. So I spent a 4th round pick on him. ¬†And he has proceeded to suck beyond suck, to the extent that he is no longer a viable fantasy option.

Now, the question you must have is, if you hate him so much, why hold on to him? And the answer, my friends, is that I do not believe that this is mere coincidence that he started to suck the instant I drafted him in 2007. No, I believe more sinister forces are at work, and I believe that there is a causal relationship here. That is, Hafner has sucked since 2007 BECAUSE I drafted him. He continued to suck in 2008 BECAUSE I drafted him. I have discussed this theory with other owners in private, that some players are simply “allergic” to some teams. As with any other allergies, some players have slight allergies and some have severe allergies. Case in point, look up Bobby Higginson’s 2000 stats (the only year I didn’t own him) as opposed to 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 (the years I owned him). That allergy was so bad, it killed him.

So maybe it’s not Travis’ fault. Maybe there is some cosmic dissonance between him and me, that makes us this incompatible. And since I have caused his downfall, part of me believes that once I release him, he will revert to being an absolute masher. But you know what, I don’t care. This might be a tad irrational, but he has been so terrible, and I’ve paid such a high price to invest in him, that I just hate him. I don’t care that it’s not his fault. I want him to suffer, like I have suffered. So yeah. I’m not going to let him go some place else and prosper. I’m going to hold on to him. I have the power to control his destiny now. So either he sucks it up and learns to get over his allergy or, more likely, he will stop hitting completely, his career will end, his wife will leave him and his children will be very hungry. Maybe then we’ll be even.