Assessing the League After Three Weeks

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners

James Paxton is one of the early season surprises.

I’m switching it up this week. As I said before the season started, I was going to touch on different topics during the course of the season, rather than stay with weekly series previews. I’ll certainly get back to the previews, but, for this week, I’m looking at the leaders in our scoring categories and what that means early in the season.

In reality, with only three weeks down, stats don’t mean a lot. That doesn’t make them any less interesting, just less important. Let’s dig in.

Innings Pitched

A great measurement to determine the effectiveness of starting pitchers is innings pitched. The deeper a starter can go into a game, the less taxing it is on the team’s relief pitching. In fantasy baseball, it rewards teams that maintain a full roster of healthy starters.

Through the season’s first three weeks, Hapamon and the JetSetters have set the standard in this category. The JetSetters lead the league with 206.2 innings pitched. Leading the way is Minnesota pitcher Ervin Santana. The veteran right-hander has pitched 28 innings over his first four starts. Only Chris Sale has logged more innings through four starts.

Hapamon has two innings-eaters at the top of their rotation. Yu Darvish leads the league with 32.2 innings pitched in five starts while Clayton Kershaw has 28.1 innings in four starts. As a team, Hapamon has logged 194 innings pitched.

Home Run 101 has logged the fewest innings pitched this season with 135.2. Milwaukee’s Zach Davies has struggled, pitching just 19.2 innings over four starts.

ERA

Dallas Keuchel and Carlos Carrasco have been sensational for A-Rod’s Mirrors over the first three weeks of the season and they are a big reason the team leads the league with a 2.87 ERA. Through their first four starts, Keuchel has a 0.96 ERA while Carrasco has a 1.65. The Mirrors posted the lowest weekly team ERA with a 2.21 in Week 1.

Stadium Mustard has a 3.00 ERA thanks to starter James Paxton and reliever Wade Davis. Paxton has logged 25.1 innings in four starts with a 1.78 ERA while Davis has pitched 8.1 relief innings without giving up a run.

The Menehunes have the worst team ERA with a 5.27 and much of that can be traced to miserable Week 2 when the pitching staff posted an 8.39. A number of starting pitchers have underperformed for the team including Josh Tomlin (three starts, 12.1 IP, 11.68 ERA), Jordan Zimmermann (three starts, 16.2 IP, 5.94 ERA) and Brett Anderson (three starts, 14.1 IP, 4.40 ERA).

The Lower Haighters have the third highest ERA in the league and are the only team that has yet to post a weekly ERA under 4.00.

WHIP

Given the performance over the first three weeks of Keuchel and Carrasco, it’s no surprise that the Mirrors own the league’s lowest WHIP at 1.11. The team’s relievers have also been solid. Closer Craig Kimbrel has a 0.64 WHIP over his first 9.1 innings while free-agent acquisition Felipe Rivero has a 0.94 WHIP over 11.2 innings.

The JetSetters have the league’s second lowest WHIP at 1.123. As we’ve documented, Santana has had a hot start to the season and his WHIP is 0.64 after his first four starts. Milwaukee reliever Jacob Barnes has a 0.68 WHIP after 10 relief appearances and he hasn’t given up a run.
Home Run 101 has the league’s highest WHIP at 1.430. The team’s 1.51 WHIP in Week 3 was the third highest weekly WHIP allowed this season. Relievers Sergio Romo and Darren O’Day both have WHIP’s above 2.00.

K/9

The Midtown Marsupials have struggled to win series early this season but the pitching staff throws gas. They lead the league with a 10.17 K/9 mark. Chris Devenski has struck out 25 batters over 13.1 innings playing the role of swingman for the Astros. Starters Vincent Velasquez (11.4 K/9) and Carlos Martinez (12.3 K/9) have also been racking up the strikeouts.

Las Estellas Rojas posted the highest K/9 in a week, striking out 11.05 batters per nine innings in Week 3. The Marsupials have the second and third highest weekly strikeout rates at 10.8 in Week 1 and 10.71 in Week 2.

The Bulls are striking out a league-low 7.57 batters per nine innings. Starter Andrew Triggs is striking out just 5.2 batters per nine innings while Pat Neshek, another ground ball specialist in the ‘pen, has a 6.4 K/9.

Stadium Mustard opened the season with a 5.91 K/9 in Week 1, the lowest weekly K/9 rate posted this year.

QS

With Hapamon and the JetSetters setting the pace in Innings Pitched, it’s no surprise that they also lead the league in Quality Starts with 17 apiece. High Cheese and Warning Track Power each have 16.

Hapamon had eight quality starts in Week 2 while the Menehunes equaled that mark in Week 3. It’s the most weekly quality started totaled this season. Max Scherzer and Ivan Nova are both 4-for-4 in quality start attempts for the Menehunes to begin the season.

Home Run 101 has the fewest quality starts with six. Zach Davies doesn’t have a quality start in four attempts and the team had just one quality start in Week 3.

NSVH

The value of a good bullpen in fantasy baseball, like real baseball, can’t be ignored. Good relievers can lower your ERA and WHIP, increase your K/9, and they’re the only players to earn saves and holds.

Colorado closer Greg Holland has emerged as one of the league’s top relievers, earning nine saves in the first three weeks. Holland has teamed with Justin Wilson (5 NSVH) and Zach Britton (5 NSVH) to form the league’s best bullpen for Warning Track Power, which has recorded a league-high 21 NSVH over the first three weeks.

The Bulls are the only team without a NSVH through the first three weeks of the season. They finished Week 1 with -2 NSVH and Week 3 with -1. In his first seven games, Xavier Cedeno has -3 NSVH.
Plate Appearances

In the first three weeks of the season, Seattle’s rookie outfielder, Mitch Haniger, led the league in plate appearances with 93 over his first 20 games. He’s a big reason the Lower Haighters lead the league in plate appearances with 843 and had 284 in Week 1 and another 280 in Week 3. Haniger, however, hit the DL this week, which is going to hurt the Haighters.

Injured players and the DL are the primary reasons the Marsupials are last in plate appearances with just 657. It’s also the reason Buster Hugs had just 186 plate appearances in Week 2, when Geovany Soto, Buster Posey, and shortstop Jean Segura combined for seven plate appearances because of injuries.

OPS

Land Shark is one of the more interesting teams in the league offensively. They are second to last with 658 plate appearances which would normally indicate poor offensive production. But that hasn’t been the case. The team leads the league with a 0.876 OPS, which has propped up the counting stats.

Cincinnati third baseman Eugenio Suarez (1.200), Washington first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (1.215), Baltimore DH Trey Mancini (1.035) and Atlanta outfielder Matt Kemp (1.080) all have an OPS in excess of 1.000 after three weeks. In Week 3, Land Shark led the league with a 0.918 OPS, the highest weekly OPS this season.

Stadium Mustard has the league’s lowest OPS at 0.662. In 82 plate appearances, outfielder Jose Bautista has a 0.465 OPS for Stadium Mustard. The team finished Week 1 with a .608 OPS, the third lowest in the league.

Strikeouts

In 74 plate appearances, Colorado shortstop Trevor Story has struck out 29 times. Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber has struck out 25 times in 83 plate appearances. It’s no wonder High Cheese leads the league in strikeouts with 189. In Week 2 alone, the team had 68 strikeouts, the most for any team in 2017.

The teams with the fewest strikeouts, Midtown Marsupials (118) and Land Shark (122), also have a low number of plate appearances, so it’s not necessarily related to a great batter’s eye.

Runs

Milwaukee outfielder Eric Thames is absolutely on fire. Thames has scored 21 runs, just one behind league leader Bryce Harper. The hot start for Thames has the Lower Haighters in the league lead with 116 runs scored. But he’s not alone. Mitch Haniger (19), Jake Lamb (15) and Ryan Braun (13), have also been strong for the Haighters. In Weeks 1 and 3, the Haighters scored 44 runs, the top mark in the league.

Home Run 101 also scored 44 runs in Week 2 and they are third behind Land Shark (97) with 96 runs scored. Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes leads the team with 12 runs.

Warning Track Power has scored the fewest runs with 68, followed by the Marsupials (70) and the Bulls (79). The 16 runs scored by the Marsupials in Week 2 was the lowest weekly total this season.

RBI

While Thames is creating headlines, Jake Lamb quietly leads the Lower Haighters with 18 RBI, just three off the league lead. The Haighters lead the league in RBI with 109 followed by the JetSetters with 104, the Mirrors with 103 and Bacon with 100.

The Mirrors have three of the four leaders in RBI after three weeks. Bryce Harper (20), free-agent acquisition Steven Souza (18) and Travis Shaw (18).

High Cheese drove in 43 runs in Week 3, with Trevor Story leading the way with eight. Veteran Mark Reynolds leads the team with 8.

The Marsupials have the fewest RBI with 55 and had just 11 in Week 3, the lowest weekly total this season.

NSB

Jarrod Dyson and Brett Gardner each have five net stolen bases this season to lead a Let’s Play 2 team that leads the league with 17. Gardner had three in Week 1 when the team had seven. Home Run 101 and the Menehunes both had seven net stolen bases in Week 3 to tie Let’s Play 2 for the weekly hight.

After three weeks, Warning Track Power had a total of -1 net stolen bases while High Cheese had zero. Hapamon and the Marsupials both finished Week 3 with -2 net stolen bases while High Cheese did the same in Week 2.

Not surprisingly, Cincinnati outfielder Billy Hamilton leads the league with eight net stolen bases. Hamilton is the only player with Las Estellas Rojas to exceed three net stolen bases.

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