Assessing the League One-Third of the Way Through

Chris Sale

Chris Sale is the league’s top-rated player

Now that we’re more than a third of the way through the season, it’s time to check in with each team. Obviously, each team has its own personality at this point. Of course, that can change based on trades, free agent acquisitions, etc.

The team assessments are categorized by division to make it easier for you to assess your team against your primary competition. Have fun!

NORTH DIVISION

Hapamon (43-38-3): The trio of Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, and Mike Leake provide Hapamon with three of the top starters in the league. All three rank in the league’s Top 50 players, so it’s not surprising that Hapamon is tied for second with 36 quality starts. Kershaw has eight quality starts in nine games. Darvish is fourth in the league with 63.2 innings pitched and Leake is a perfect 8-for-8 in quality starts. Outfielder Charlie Blackmon is the team’s best hitter. He’s the league’s 10th-ranked player and has 203 plate appearances, second most in the league. Unfortunately Blackmon is the primary offensive threat, as the team has the leagues second lowest OPS at .714.

Home Run 101 (41-40-3): The chronically injured A.J. Pollock went down again, this time with a groin strain. Pollock’s loss was a blow to Home Run 101, as he was a Top 50 player at the time of his injury and led the team with nine net stolen bases. Second baseman Jose Altuve ranks 24th overall and leads the team in runs scored and OPS. The seven highest ranked players on the team are hitters and the team is 6-1 in OPS, 5-1-1 in Runs, and 5-2 in both RBI and Plate Appearances. The offense is strong. The starting pitching is not. Home Run 101 is last in the league with 300 innings pitched and yet to win the category through seven weeks. No team has fewer quality starts (13). The team’s four highest rated pitchers are relievers and the top-ranked starter, Tyler Skaggs, is injured.

Bacon at Mile 11 (39-42-4): Outfielder Mike Trout, third baseman Nolan Arenado, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and outfielder Nomar Mazara are four of the team’s five highest ranked players. Trout is the league’s third-ranked player and has a 1.205 OPS over his first 184 plate appearance. Arenado is ranked 19th. The team ranks second in the league with a .834 OPS. Michael Pineda and Chris Archer anchor the starting staff. Archer is third in the league in both innings pitched (64.2) and strikeouts (77). Archer and Pineda have combined for 12 quality starts.

The Bulls (36-45-3): The Bulls have stayed fairly healthy, though starting pitchers Kenta Maeda and Jonathan Gray have missed time, but it’s been a struggle. The bullpen has struggled, as the team has just nine Net Saves/Holds, second lowest in the league. The Bulls haven’t won the K/9 category and have a league-low 7.5 K/9. The pitching staff has too many average starters in the rotation and not enough elite relievers. Jim Johnson is the team’s only reliever ranked in the league’s Top 150 players and he leads the team with seven net saves/holds. Stephen Strasburg and Andrew Triggs have combined for 12 quality starts and the team is 6-1 in Innings Pitched and 5-1-1 in quality starts. The Bulls could jettison Jason Hammel, who has just two quality starts and a 6.20 ERA in eight starts, and add a solid reliever to help shore up the pitching staff. Outfielder Kevin Pillar is the team’s top hitter and is ranked 50th among the league’s players. Chris Davis is striking out at a phenomenal rate, registering 65 K’s in his first 179 plate appearances. The Bulls have the second most strikeouts in the league.

SOUTH DIVISION

JetSetters (51-30-3): This is the best team in the league. Nine players are ranked in the league’s Top 100 including first baseman Joey Votto, who is ranked sixth and is tied for second in the league with 38 RBI. The offense has 1,839 plate appearances, second most in the league. General Manager David Kahn has worked the waiver wire, successfully replacing outfielder Starling Marte (PED suspension), Carlos Gomez (hamstring strain), and third baseman Jose Reyes (ribcage). He’s also had to replace starting pitchers Cole Hamels (oblique) and Brandon McCarthy (shoulder). Zack Greinke and Ervin Santana have anchored a pitching staff that is second in the league with 432 innings itched. They also have the second lowest team WHIP at 1.20. Greinke and Santana have combined for 14 quality starts and both have posted WHIP’s under 1.00 and ERA’s under 3.00. Adam Ottavino has 13 Net Saves/Holds in 19 appearances and the JetSetters are tied for second in the league with 38 Net Saves/Holds.

High Cheese (44-37-3): It was a huge blow to High Cheese when first baseman Freddie Freeman was hit on the wrist by a pitch. It resulted in a non-displaced fracture that could leave Freeman out of the lineup through early July. Freeman had a 1.209 OPS over his first 165 plate appearances and led the team with 35 runs scored. When Freeman hit the DL, he ranked 14th overall among the league’s players. With Freeman injured, first baseman Mark Reynolds and third baseman Evan Longoria will need to continue to swing hot bats. Reynolds leads the league with 39 RBI while Longoria leads the league with 205 plate appearances. The pitching staff is good enough to carry the team for six to eight weeks. They lead the league with 432.2 innings pitched and are second in team ERA at 3.60. No team has more quality starts than the 38 posted by High Cheese. Reliever Addison Reed has nine Net Saves/Holds while starter Gerrit Cole is 8-for-10 in quality start attempts.

Let’s Play 2 (43-37-4): The team has four players ranked in the league’s top 50, led by outfielder Mookie Betts (16th). Betts has struck out just 14 times in 182 plate appearances. First baseman Kris Bryant (34th), shortstop Corey Seager (39th) and outfielder Brett Gardner (40th) lead a strong offense. Gardner leads the team with 32 runs scored while Bryant has the top team OPS at .974. Joey Gallo leads the team with 29 RBI but has also struck out 63 times, the second most in the league. Reliever C.J. Edwards has recorded a 1.02 ERA and 0.74 WHIP over 17.2 innings while earning five Net Saves/Holds. Starter Jose Quintana has six quality starts in nine attempts.

Las Estellas Rojas (37-44-3): Outfielder Billy Hamilton is a game-changer. He leads the league with 21 Net Stolen Bases and has pushed Rojas to the top of the Net Stolen Bases category with 32. Hamilton also leads the team with 32 runs scored. Hamilton is now the league’s seventh-ranked player. Third baseman Miguel Sano provides power to complement Hamilton’s speed. In 171 plate appearances, Sano has 37 RBI with a 1.077 OPS. The team’s issue is starting pitching. They are second to last with 303 innings pitched and have a 1-6 head-to-head record in the category. Eduardo Rodriguez is 6-for-9 in quality start attempts with a 3.10 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. He leads the team with 49.1 innings. The real problem is injuries. Noah Syndergaard (strained lat), Sean Doolittle (shoulder), Nate Jones (elbow), Ryan Dull (knee) and Francisco Liriano (shoulder) have all missed time.

EAST DIVISION

Everybody Hurts (44-37-3): This has been a quality offense. The team is second in the league in Runs and has gone 5-2 in the Plate Appearances category. Outfielder Aaron Judge is the team’s highest rated player (18th) and has a 1.139 OPS over 164 plate appearances. He’s fourth in the league with 36 runs scored. Outfielders Andrew Benintendi and Adam Duvall both rank in the league’s Top 75 and have combined for 46 runs and 57 RBI. Catcher Buster Posey has been solid, striking out just 12 times in 150 plate appearances while posting a 1.008 OPS. Relievers Kenley Jansen, Bud Norris and Tyler Clippard lead the pitching staff. All three rank in the Top 80. Jansen and Norris each have nine Net Saves/Holds. Starter Dylan Bundy has eight quality starts in nine games while Michael Wacha has gone 6-for-7 in quality start attempts.

Stadium Mustard (39-42-3): James Paxton was a budding ace before a forearm injury sidelined him after six starts. Despite the injury, Paxton still ranks 28th overall, earning four quality starts in six attempts with a 1.43 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. He’s second on the team with 45 strikeouts despite pitching just 37.2 innings. Reliever Andrew Miller is the team’s top-rated player. He has nine Net Saves/Holds in 21 innings with a 0.43 ERA and 0.71 WHIP. While Paxton has been excellent, Mike Fiers has given up more homers than any pitcher in the Major Leagues. Fiers has allowed 17 long balls in eight starts. Overall, the pitching has been good but the hitting has not. Stadium Mustard is last in the league with a .702 OPS and they are 15th in RBI, despite going 7-0 in Plate Appearances. Outfielder Ender Inciarte is the team’s only hitter ranked in the league’s Top 100.

Land Shark (38-44-2): A pair of first basemen, Paul Goldschmidt and Ryan Zimmerman, and outfielder Nelson Cruz provide Land Shark with thunder at the plate. The team leads the league with a .883 OPS and also has the fewest strikeouts. Goldschmidt is the league’s second-ranked player and has drawn 35 walks in his first 201 plate appearances. He’s third in the league with 38 runs scored. Zimmerman is ranked 12th and has driven in 38 runs, which is tied for second. Cruz has 37 RBI. Now, about that pitching staff. Land Shark has the league’s worst ERA (5.30) and WHIP (1.47) and the second lowest K/9 rate (7.58). The team also has the second fewest quality starts at 15. Relievers Anthony Swarzak and Brad Brach are the team’s top-ranked pitchers. Swarzak has 22 strikeouts in 19.2 innings while Brach has 12 Net Saves/Holds in 22 appearances. Jeremy Hellickson and Jerad Eickhoff have been the team’s most consistent starters.

Midtown Marsupials (33-49-2): Charlie and Allen are beginning to get the hang of fantasy baseball. After a rough start, the two rookie GMs moved infielder Daniel Murphy into their starting lineup. They stuck with Jeff Samardzija through a rough April and now the veteran pitcher is playing well. The offense still needs work. The team is last in Runs and RBI and they are second-to-last in plate appearances with 1,515. They have two hitters ranked in the league’s Top 100 – Murphy and shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Murphy leads the team in plate appearances (181), OPS (.962), RBI (33), and Runs (28). Bogaerts has seven Net Stolen Bases and has scored 22 runs. Relievers Chris Devenski and Raisel Iglesias lead the bullpen. Devenski has struck out 44 batters over 24.1 innings while Iglesias has 25 punch outs in 22.2. The team has the second highest K/9 rate in the league at 9.65. Carlos Martinez and Jacob deGrom both are 6-for-9 in quality start attempts. The starting pitching staff needs a turnaround by both Vincent Velasquez and Matt Harvey if this team is going to make a playoff run.

WEST DIVISION

Lower Haighters (43-36-5): The Lower Haighters have shown the ability to hit. Now, if they could only figure out how to pitch. The power at the plate comes from the corners, first baseman Eric Thames and third baseman Jake Lamb. Thames is ranked 18th overall while Lamb is 33rd. Thames has scored 39 runs, second most in the league. The Lower Haighters are 6-1 in the Runs, RBI, and OPS categories and 5-2 in plate appearances. The team leads the league in Runs, RBI and Plate Appearances. Now, about that pitching. The Lower Haighters have the second worst WHIP in the league at 1.39, the team ERA is a bloated 4.21 and they have just 20 quality starts. Their top three pitchers are relievers, Corey Knebel, Matt Bush, and Tom Kahnle. All were waiver wire additions. The team leads the league with 41 Net Saves/Holds and a K/9 rate of 9.71.

A-Rod’s Mirrors (42-38-4): There’s a big sigh of relief coming from General Manager Sean McKenna. That’s because Dallas Keuchel’s injury isn’t serious. Keuchel is the league’s seventh-rated player and is tied for fourth in the league with 63.2 innings pitched. Kimbrel’s the team’s ace, but he’s not the only solid hurler. Reliever Craig Kimbrel is the league’s ninth-ranked player and is tied for the team lead in Net Saves/Holds with Felipe Rivero (11). The strong pitching staff is third overall in WHIP (1.21), sixth in Net Saves/Holds (31), and sixth in K/9 (8.91). Outfielder Bryce Harper leads the league with 42 runs scored as is ranked fourth overall. Harper, third baseman Travis Shaw and first baseman Justin Smoak are the only hitters ranked in the Top 100 for the Mirrors which is also reflected in the team’s .734 OPS, which ranks 14th overall.

Warning Track Power (41-39-4): Starting pitcher Chris Sale is the league’s top-rated player. He’s second in the league with 65.2 innings pitched, is tops in strikeouts with 95, and is 8-for-9 in quality start attempts. Sale, Marco Estrada and Michael Fulmer are all ranked in the Top 50 overall. Warning Track Power is second in Quality Starts with 36, third in Innings Pitched with 421.1, and is tops in both ERA (3.50) and WHIP (1.15). Greg Holland is ranked 11th overall and is the second best closer in the league, behind Kimbrel. He has 19 saves in 20 attempts to lead the league. Now General Manager Mark Peterson needs to find a way to crank up the offense. They’ve scored just 95 runs (14th), driven in 186 runs (13th), and have just three stolen bases (15th). The return of outfielder J.D. Martinez should give this unit a boost. He’s posted a 1.503 OPS over his first 41 plate appearances since returning from injury. Michael Conforto has been the team’s top hitter, leading Warning Track Power in Runs (32) and RBI (27).

Marin Menehunes (32-49-3): General Manager Elizabeth Gravely is finding it difficult to defend a championship. The Menehunes have the worst record in the league. Starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann is the poster child for the team’s struggles. In 44.2 innings pitched, Zimmermann has posted a 6.25 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, and has one quality start in eight attempts. The team has the second worst ERA in the league (4.72) and has the fewest Net Saves/Holds (3). Max Scherzer and the starting staff are propping up the pitching staff. Scherzer (13), Alex Wood (31) and Jason Vargas (43) are the team’s three highest rated players. They have combined for 16 quality starts. Wood has a 1.88 ERA and 1.02 WHIP over 43 innings pitched while Vargas has a 2.03 ERA and 1.03 WHIP over 48.2 innings. Eduardo Nunez is the team’s top-rated hitter and he and Lorenzo Cain have combined for 23 Net Stolen Bases. The team is second in the league with 30 Net Stolen Bases. The team’s .738 OPS ranks 13th, they are second to last in Runs with 192 and are 14th with 182 RBI.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s