In his first season as general manager of the former Scully’s Slammers franchise, Chris Frugiuele led the team, now named Stadium Mustard, to nearly the identical record the team had in 2015.
The undoing of Stadium Mustard came in the keeper draft, when Frugiuele kept Joe Panik over Brian Dozier. Panik missed nearly a month with a concussion and finished the season as the league’s 173rd-ranked player. Dozier finished as the MVP of the Eephus Monkeys, blasting 30 homes with a .886 OPS. Dozier was the league’s 27th-rated player.
Adding to the team’s woes, outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, one of the team’s keepers, had an injury plagued season. He made four trips to the disabled list with calf, hamstring, back, and arm issues and ended 2016 as the league’s 936th-ranked player.
Another keeper, starting pitcher Michael Wacha, had a shoulder injury that rendered him ineffective. Wacha finished with a 5.08 ERA and ended 2016 as the 1,008th-ranked player.
Stadium Mustard could use a little luck in 2017.
General Manager Leslie King drafted Zack Greinke, Matt Holliday, Adam Wainwright, Ryan Doumit and Lance Berkman with her first five picks in the league’s inaugural draft. She added 13 free agents in that first season and made a pair of trades. In June, she sent Matt Garza to the Lower Haighters for outfielder Austin Jackson and in July she traded third baseman Scott Rolen to the Muckrakers for Jorge Cantu and Placido Polanco.
Jackson led the team in runs scored and stolen bases but Holliday quickly emerged as the team’s best hitter. Holliday (.390 OBP, 95 Runs, 28 HR, 103 RBI, 9 SB, 93 Ks) ranked 14th in the league’s player rankings and was the fifth most valuable outfielder.
Holliday and Jackson kept the Slammers in the Biggest Loser Lovers Division race through mid-summer. That’s when the team lost seven of their last nine series to finish 120-136-20. The Slammers were 18.5 games behind division winner Twinkle Toes and they missed the playoffs, finishing 12th in the final league standings.
Starting pitching was a big problem. Wainwright was the only starter with a sub-4.00 ERA. Wainwright (230.1 IP, 25 QS, 213 Ks, 2.42 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) finished as the team MVP. He was the league’s third-ranked starting pitcher behind Felix Hernandez and Roy Halladay and ranked seventh overall. Heath Bell (70 IP, 47 Saves, 86 Ks, 1.93 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) finished as the team’s top reliever.
Entering the league’s second season, King protected Holliday, Bell, Greinke, outfielder Vernon Wells and Polanco. Vernon Wells, James Shields, Encarnacion, and Lorenzo Cain were added in the Regular Season Draft.
Wells struggled, hitting .222 at the All-Star break. He finished with a career-low .248 on-base average and was released by King on May 1. Cain was traded from Milwaukee to Kansas City prior to the season and was sent down to AAA. He was released by King on March 29.
The Slammers slumped at the beginning of the season, winning just two of their first 10 series. They finished last in the East Division standings at 113-150-13. They finished 15th overall.
Shields (249.1 IP, 25 QS, 225 Ks, 2.82 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) earned MVP honors. He was the sixth-rated starting pitcher in the league and ranked 16th overall. Holliday (.388 OBP, 83 Runs, 22 HR, 75 RBI, 2 SB, 93 Ks) was the top hitter while Bell again led the Slammers in saves.
While the first two seasons were a struggle for King, the Slammers broke through in 2012 and won the East Division pennant with a 138-115-23 record. They won eight of nine series between Weeks 6-14. The Slammers upset the Lower Haighters in the championship semifinal before losing a close final to Los Coches Bomba.
The season started with King protecting Holliday, Greinke, Gallardo, Shields and Bell. The key to the season was King’s drafting of Encarnacion in the eighth round of the Regular Season Draft after not protecting him. Encarnacion (.384 OBP, 93 Runs, 42 HR, 110 RBI, 13 SB, 94 Ks) went on to become the team MVP. He was the league’s fifth-rated player and the second-rated first baseman behind Miguel Cabrera.
Kyle Lohse was the staff ace. Lohse (211 IP, 24 QS, 143 Ks, 2.86 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) was the league’s 28th-rated player and the eighth-rated starting pitcher. King selected Lohse with the 338th pick in the draft. The bullpen was a big reason for the team’s improvement. Five relievers had 20+ saves/holds. Jim Johnson (68.2 IP, 51 Saves, 41 Ks, 2.49 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) was the team’s top relief pitcher.
The Slammers protected Johnson, Encarnacion, Shields, Lohse, and Joe Mauer heading into the 2013 season. King then drafted Jordan Zimmermann, Coco Crisp, Jason Motte and Shane Victorino in the Regular Season Draft.
The team stumbled out of the gate, winning one series in the first two months. From Weeks 11-18 the team won just one series. It all added up to a sub-.500 season. The Slammers finished 134-150-15 and 14.5 games behind the Eephus Monkeys, the East Division winners. It was the third time in four seasons the Slammers failed to make the playoffs. King added 13 free agents through June 1 but added just five more during the heat of the summer when the team was slumping.
Encarnacion was the team MVP for the second consecutive season. Encarnacion (.370 OBP, 90 Runs, 36 HR, 104 RBI, 6 NSB, 20 GIDP, 62 Ks) finished 2013 as the league’s 24th-rated player and was the third-rated third baseman. Shields (228.2 IP, 27 QS, 7.71 K/9, 3.15 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) was the top starter while Johnson (70.1 IP, 41 NSVH, 7.17 K/9, 2.94 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) led the bullpen.
The Slammers closed the 2014 season with a flourish, winning three of their last four series. It wasn’t enough, as the team finished ninth overall and missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. The Slammers ended ’14 with a 127-141-18 record, 24 games behind the East Division winners, Twinkle Toes.
King protected Encarnacion, Shields, Hyun-jin Ryu, Zimmermann and Doug Fister. She drafted David Wright, Jay Bruce, Neil Walker, and Austin Jackson with her first four picks in the Regular Season Draft. Fister missed the first month of the season with a strained lat muscle and was limited to 164 innings on the season. Ryu also missed starts with various ailments and pitched just 152 innings. King added 15 free agents during the season including starting pitcher Jason Vargas on March to replace Fister.
For the first time, a relief pitcher won team MVP honors. Wade Davis (72 IP, 33 NSVH, 13.63 K/9, 1.00 ERA, 0.85 WHIP) was the 10th-rated player in the league and the second-rated reliever behind Dellin Betances. Zimmermann (199.2 IP, 24 QS, 8.20 K/9, 2.66 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) was the top starter for the Slammers and the 28th-rated player in the league. Encarnacion (.354 OBP, 75 Runs, 34 HR, 98 RBI, 2 NSB, 18 GIDP, 82 Ks) was the team’s top hitter for the third straight season.
The Slammers missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons when they finished 2015 with a 122-128-14 record. They were 14 games behind Twinkle Toes, the East Division pennant winners. The Slammers finished 10th in the league.
The Slammers protected Bruce, Encarnacion, Davis, Ryu, and Zimmermann. Dozier, Kyle Seager, Ben Zobrist and Koji Uehara were added with the first four picks in the Regular Season Draft. King added 16 free agents during the season but only four were added after June 7. The team needed the most help in the last half of the regular season, when they won just two series over the last nine weeks.
Encarnacion (624 PA, .929 OPS, 94 Runs, 111 RBI, 1 NSB, 98 Ks) earned his third team MVP award in four years, finishing as the league’s 15th-rated player and fourth-rated first baseman. Davis had another sensational season, finishing 23rd in the final player ratings. Davis (67.1, 34 NSVH, 10.43 K/9, 0.94 ERA, 0.79 WHIP) was again the second-rated reliever behind Betances. Zimmermann (201.2 IP, 22 QS, 7.32 K/9, 3.66 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) repeated as the team’s top starting pitcher.
Because of the numerous player injuries, Frugiuele was actively working the waiver wire looking for live bodies. He added 28 different players through Aug. 13. After that, the handwriting was on the wall, and the white flag was waived.
Stadium Mustard opened the season with just three series wins over the first 10 weeks. They bounced back to win five of their next seven and finished the season winning eight of their last 12 series. Stadium Mustard finished 11th in the league with a 122-127-15 record.
First baseman Edwin Encarnacion was the team’s most consistent player. Encarnacion (702 PA, .886 OPS, 99 Runs, 127 RBI, 138 Ks, 2 NSB) led the team in plate appearances, RBI, runs scored, and OPS. He finished as the team’s highest-ranked player, finishing 23rd overall.
Young third baseman Kyle Seager was the only other Stadium Mustard player to earn keeper-level status (ranked in the Top 80). Seager (676 PA, .858 OPS, 89 Runs, 99 RBI, 108 Ks, 2 NSB) was chosen by Frugiuele in the seventh round of the draft and he finished as the 56th-rated player.
Reliever Brad Brach was chosen in the 23rd round of the draft and finished the season ranked 82nd. Brach (79 IP, 2.05 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 10.48 K/9, 21 NSVH) led the team in ERA and K/9. He was the best value in the draft for Stadium Mustard.