For the third straight season, General Manager Eric Brown led Bacon at Mile 11 to the league’s best regular season record. And for the third straight year, a playoff upset left the franchise without its first championship.
After winning their fifth North Division title with a league-best 149-102-13 regular season record, the team was upset 7-3-2 by the Marin Menehunes, who went on to claim their first title. Brown’s team went on to lose the consolation semifinals and seventh-place game to end 2016 in eighth place.
This wasn’t the first time Bacon has been upset after entering the playoffs as the top seed. In 2014, the team lost 7-5 to eighth-seeded A-Rod’s Mirrors. In 2013, Bacon lost 8-5 to Los Coches Bomba in the semifinals. In 2015, Bacon made it to the championship series, only to lose to A-Rod’s Mirrors.
For all of their regular season success, the team has three of the four best regular season records in league history, Bacon at Mile 11 is defined by its postseason failures. That won’t change until they hoist the championship trophy.
Bacon finished third in the league’s inaugural season. It won the 101st Division by 13 games with a 148-110-18 record. The regular season success couldn’t be maintained as Bacon lost to the Lower Haighters in the semifinals before rallying to beat Las Bolas Buenas for third.
Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford, Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Adam Dunn were the first five picks for Bacon in the draft. Crawford was the team MVP and finished ninth in the league MVP race. The dynamic outfielder was healthy, stealing 47 bases and driving in 90 runs. He also scored 110 times in 600 at-bats. Jered Weaver was the team’s best starting pitcher, tossing a team-high 224.1 innings and finishing as the fifth-rated pitcher in the league. He led Bacon with 27 quality starts, a 3.01 ERA, 233 strikeouts, and 1.07 WHIP. It was excellent return for a player drafted in the eighth round. Hong-Chi Kuo (60 IP, 33 Saves/Holds, 73 Strikeouts, 1.20 ERA and 0.78 WHIP) blossomed into one of the top stoppers in the game. Brown showed he had an eye for talent when he grabbed the free agent in mid-May.
Bacon failed to make the playoffs after finishing 126-134-16. The team was 10 games behind the North Division pennant winner, the Bulls. Their downfall came early in the season when they won just one series in the first 12 weeks, scoring five or fewer points in 10 of those contests
Hanley Ramirez, Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, Jered Weaver and Adam Dunn were the team’s keepers. Justin Upton was chosen sixth in the draft while Brown again showed an eye for young talent drafting Bryce Harper with the team’s 25th pick in the draft, 398th overall. He also orchestrated two major trades with High Cheese. In July, he swapped Ramirez and pitchers Alexi Ogando and Jordan Walden for shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and relievers Mark Melancon and Nick Masset. Two days earlier he traded outfielder Jose Tabata for third baseman David Freese.
Cliff Lee finished as the team’s MVP. Lee (232.2 IP, 25 QS, 238 K’s, 2.40 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) was third in the Fantasy Cy Young race behind winner Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw. Upton (.369 OBP, 105 Runs, 31 HR, 88 RBI, 21 SB) was the top hitter and the league’s 23rd-ranked player. Grant Balfour (62 IP, 28 Saves/Holds, 59 Ks, 2.47 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) was the closer but the pen was a weakness. Balfour (94th) and Francisco Rodriguez (100th) were Bacon’s only relievers to crack the Top 100.
While Brown drafted Harper, he released him April 9 for pitcher Zach Britton. Harper would haunt his old team four years later in the 2015 championship series where he helped A-Rod’s Mirrors win their first league title.
In the third season, the bottom fell out for Bacon. The team finished with the league’s worst record at 105-150-21 and ended 29.5 games behind the Bulls, who won the North Division. How bad was it? Bacon won just three series over the last 13 weeks of the season. In its last two meetings with division rival Give it a Yankee, Bacon was beaten by the combined score of 21-2.
There was light at the end of the tunnel, however, in the form of mercurial young outfielder Mike Trout. Brown chose Trout in the 23rd round of the draft and he’s now the franchise cornerstone. Trout joined keepers Troy Tulowitzki, Justin Upton, Dan Uggla, Eric Hosmer, and Cliff Lee. Brown also drafted third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and outfielder Jason Heyward.
How good was Trout? He earned league MVP honors in his first full season. In 559 at-bats, Trout had a .399 OBP, 129 runs scored, 30 homers, 83 RBI and 49 stolen bases. Felix Hernandez (232 IP, 21 QS, 223 Ks, 3.06 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) was the team’s top-rated starting pitcher while Eric O’Flaherty (57.1 IP, 28 Holds, 46 Ks, 1.73 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) was the top reliever. The relief pitching was the team’s undoing as O’Flaherty was the only bullpen arm ranked in the league’s Top 115 players.
While the team finished last, they did engineer two major trades to improve their future. On July 25, they traded Brian McCann, Dan Uggla and J.J. Putz to the Bulls for Carlos Gonzalez. The next day, Bacon traded Jason Heyward and Cliff Lee for Felix Hernandez. Bacon also added two young starters, Trevor Bauer and Matt Harvey, as free agents.
With a rebuilt team, Bacon emerged as a title contender. They won the North Division by 5.5 games over Give it a Yankee with a 154-128-17 record. Bacon didn’t win a series in the first three weeks but then caught fire, reeling off six of their next seven. In the playoffs, they lost to Los Coches Bomba, a team that had beaten them handily in Week 2 of the regular season. The next week they squeaked by the Eephus Monkeys to finish third in the final standings. It was their best finish since 2010.
The 2013 squad was built around some familiar names. Tulowitzki, Upton, Carlos Gonzalez, Trout and Hernandez were the keepers. Adding Hernandez and Gonzalez in 2012 trades fueled the team’s playoff run. Trout (.432 OBP, 109 Runs, 27 HR, 97 RBI, 26 Net SB) was the team MVP and finished second to Clayton Kershaw in the league MVP race.
Reliever Greg Holland (45 Net Saves/Holds, 1.21 ERA, 0.87 WHIP) finished 2013 as the league’s second ranked reliever and ninth ranked player overall. Hernandez (204.1 IP, 22 QS, 3.04 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 9.51 K/9) was the team’s top pitcher.
In late July, Bacon engineered another trade with their North Division rivals, the Bulls, sending Gonzalez, reliever Hector Santiago and starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi for outfielder Carlos Gomez, and two starters, Ricky Nolasco and Matt Moore.
The strategy to focus on young talent and acquire players through trades resulted in one of the best season’s in league history. Bacon finished with a 160-103-23 record and won the North Division by 12 games over Home Run 101. The .600 winning percentage is the third highest in league history. The team had a pair of five-series winning streaks during the season.
Despite the regular season success, a major upset ensued in the first-round of the newly expanded eight-team playoffs when the Mirrors defeated Bacon. The team rebounded with a victory over the JetSetters before losing the fifth place game to the Lower Haighters. One of the greatest seasons in SFRRC Fantasy Baseball history ended in an ignominious sixth-place finish.
Felix Hernandez was superb in 2014. He finished second in the Fantasy Cy Young race behind Clayton Kershaw and that’s where both aces finished in the overall player rankings. Hernandez had 236 innings pitched with 27 quality starts, a 2.14 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 9.46 K/9. 2014 was the Year of the Pitcher as five starters finished atop the season-ending player rankings. The highest rated batter was Mike Trout (602 At-Bats, .377 OBP, 36 HR, 115 Runs Scored, 14 Net Stolen Bases, 184 Ks and just six double play balls). Zach Britton (76.1 IP, 40 NSH, 1.65 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 7.31 K/9) finished as the team’s top reliever.
After the embarrassing playoff defeat a year earlier, the team was on a mission. The league jettisoned OBP and GIDP’s as a scoring categories and replaced them with OPS and Plate Appearances. It made no difference, as Bacon sizzled to a league-best 153-97-14 record. Their .606 winning percentage was second highest in league history. After losing the opening regular season series to Home Run 101, Bacon won 10 of the next 11.
Remembering the embarrassing first-round playoff loss to the Mirrors a year earlier, Bacon destroyed the Eephus Monkeys in the opening round of the post-season. In the semifinal they again won convincingly over the JetSetters, setting up a rematch with the Mirrors for the league championship. It wasn’t close. Bryce Harper and the Mirrors stormed to victory and Bacon was again the forgotten meat.
Anthony Rizzo (701 PA, .899 OPS, 94 Runs, 101 RBI, 11 NSB, and 105 Ks) was the team’s MVP. The young first baseman ranked sixth among position players and 12th overall. Only Jose Bautista and Paul Goldschmidt were more valuable at first base. Chris Archer emerged as the ace of the staff. Archer (212 IP, 19 QS, 3.23 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 10.70 K/9) was taken in the 11th round of the draft. A.J. Ramos (70.1 IP, 30 NSH, 2.30 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 11.13 K/9) evolved as the closer.
Brown guided his team to the league’s best record despite a poor draft. The average player value for his draft was 532.5. That was the 12th worst draft in league history yet the team finished with the fourth-highest winning percentage in league history.
The draft was hurt by pitchers Gerrit Cole and Chris Archer. Both were protected by Brown in the keeper draft and both struggled at times. Cole had a mineral season, finishing 2016 as the 681st-rated player. Archer salvaged a Top 200 season, ranking 165th.
Bacon ripped off five straight series wins to open the season, including a 9-2-1 victory over the JetSetters and a 10-2 win over Let’s Play 2. The team then went six weeks without another victory. Bacon finished the season with a rush, going 4-0-1 in the last five weeks to wrap up the league’s best regular season record. Dominance over North Division foes was the key, as Bacon went 6-2-2 over its three main rivals.
Outfielder Mike Trout (681 PA, .991 OPS, 123 Runs, 100 RBI, 23 NSB, 137 Ks) earned team MVP honors for the third time, finishing 2016 as the league’s sixth-ranked player. Trout led Bacon in runs scored and OPS and was second in net stolen bases.
Noland Arenado (696 PA, .932 OPS, 116 Runs, 133 RBI, -1 NSB, 103 Ks) ranked 12th overall and led the team in RBI. Anthony Rizzo (676 PA, .929 OPS, 94 Runs, 109 RBI, -2 NSB, 108 Ks) finished 21st in the final player rankings.
Brown added 30 free agents over the course of the season and snagged one of the league’s rising young stars in second baseman Trea Turner. Turner was picked up by Bacon on June 16 and ended 2016 as the league’s 126th-ranked player. Infielder Aledmys Diaz and veteran reliever Jason Grilli were also rescued off the league’s scrap heap and turned in Top 200 seasons.