In the first month of the season, two players have shown they have the ability to lead their respective fantasy teams to a championship – Chris Sale and Bryce Harper.
Sale is the top-ranked player in the league. He’s started five games, earned five quality starts, pitched 37.2 innings with a 1.19 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, and 12.4 K/9. Sale is the primary reason Warning Track Power has 19 quality starts over the first four weeks of the season. That’s tied for the third most quality starts in the league.
Over 25 games, Harper is hitting .391 with a 1.281 OPS. He’s scored 32 runs and knocked in 26. The only blemish is his base stealing, where he’s -2 on the season. A-Rod’s Mirrors are fifth in RBI with 132 but, by himself, Harper hasn’t been able to make the Mirrors one of the top offenses in the league. Outfielder Steven Souza, added by the team as a free agent, is the only other Mirrors hitter ranked in the league’s Top 80.
While Harper and Sale are the top two players, neither Warning Track Power nor the Mirrors lead their division. It’s early, but the top teams in the league are Let’s Play 2, the JetSetters, Land Shark, the Lower Haighters and Hapamon. Each team is built differently. Let’s take a look at their construction.
Let’s Play 2
Louie Bottaro has built a deep, offensive, powerhouse. Eight players are ranked in the league’s Top 80, including six offensive players and two pitchers. Shortstop Corey Seager is the team’s top-rated player. He’s hitting .319 with a .961 OPS. He’s scored 16 runs and knocked in 17. The addition of Joey Gallo as a free-agent has paid big dividends, as the power hitter has 16 RBI and a .880 OPS. Let’s Play 2 is fourth in runs scored, fourth in strikeouts, fourth in plate appearances, and tied for first in net stolen bases. This team is bludgeoning teams to death.
The JetSetters have seven players ranked in the Top 80 including starting pitchers Ervin Santana and Ian Kennedy, offensive payers Chris Owings, Joey Votto, Jose Ramirez and Starlin Castro, and relievers Adam Ottavino and Cody Allen. Offensively, the team is second in plate appearances, fifth in runs scored, fourth in RBI, fifth in strikeouts, and fifth in OPS. On the mound, they are first in innings pitched, fourth in ERA, fifth in WHIP, third in quality starts, and third in net saves/holds. Is the picture clear? This team is balanced. They can beat you a number of ways.
Offensively, this is one of the most puzzling teams in the league. Plate appearances generally drive offensive production. Without opportunities, it’s tough to produce. Land Shark is second-to-last in the league with 876 plate appearances. But they are producing. They have six hitters ranked in the league’s Top 80, though they did lose Adam Eaton this week with an injury. Ryan Zimmerman has found the fountain of youth and has 29 RBI in his first 24 games. While Land Shark hasn’t had as many opportunities, they’ve made the most of them. They lead the league in OPS and have struck out just 158 times, fewest in the league. The question is, can they continue this pace of production without more opportunities?
This team features one of the most potent offensive lineups, a strong bullpen, and terrible starting pitching. They are second in net saves/holds and K/9 but they are 15th in ERA and 13th in WHIP. Six of their seven players rated in the Top 80 are hitters. Young starter Luis Severino is the only pitcher that has turned in keeper status. Eric Thames is the team’s top-rated player and his hitting .345 with a 1.276 OPS over 24 games. He’s scored 28 runs. Kevin Gausman and Jake Arrieta have contributed to the team’s poor start on the mound.
The team has six players ranked in the Top 80 and they are evenly divided between hitters and starting pitchers. Clayton Kershaw, Mike Leake, and Yu Darvish have been terrific. Hapamon is third in total innings pitched, and tied for first in quality starts. The bullpen has been leaking oil but that’s the easiest part of a fantasy team to rebuild. Outfielders Christian Yelich, Charlie Blackmon, and Michael Brantley are the top offensive threats. If GM Robert Kirkbride is going to keep this team in playoff contention, he’ll need to scour the waiver wire for additional offensive help and find some a few good relievers.