The year was 2013. It was the last time the Marin Menehunes won three consecutive series. In that season, the team won six of its first nine, including a pair of three week winning streaks. It wasn’t enough to qualify for the playoffs as they finished 135-144-20, ninth overall.
With last week’s 7-3-2 victory over Hapamon, the Menehunes won their third straight series to begin this season. Can the team continue to win and qualify for its first playoff berth since GM Elizabeth Gravely took over in 2012?
The Menehunes are getting tremendous production from veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler, utility man Daniel Murphy, and journeyman starter Jaime Garcia. Kinsler has started the season 25-for-75 with 12 RBI and 15 runs scored. Over his first three starts, Garcia has pitched 20.0 innings with a 2.70 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. Murphy gives the team roster flexibility as he’s eligible at three infield positions. He’s also hitting .397 with a 1.100 OPS and nine RBI in his first 17 games.
The Menehunes are the surprise of the early season but we saw this in 2013. Can Gravely manage the pitfalls of a long fantasy season and guide the Menehunes to their first playoff appearance in league history?
Week 3 Hitting Stats
|Home Run 101||26||26||69||0.729||3||261|
|Bacon at Mile 11||44||37||41||1.040||-3||276|
|Let’s Play 2||42||54||50||0.904||9||292|
|Warning Track Power||27||28||44||0.784||0||270|
|Los Coches Bomba||27||23||57||0.663||1||246|
Week 3 Pitching Stats
|Los Coches Bomba||78.2||2.40||1.00||8.35||9||5|
|Warning Track Power||49.2||4.89||1.25||6.89||3||4|
|Bacon at Mile 11||54.0||2.83||1.07||8.17||4||8|
|Let’s Play 2||55.0||3.11||1.00||8.35||6||1|
|Home Run 101||52.1||4.13||1.28||6.71||4||5|
Bacon at Mile 11
Bacon at Mile 11 has won three straight series to open the season after dispatching the JetSetters 9-2 last week. They are 24-10-2 and first in the division, 8.5 games ahead of Hapamon. Dating back to last season, the team has won eight of its last 10 series. First baseman Anthony Rizzo drove in 10 runs, scored six more, and finished last week with a 1.183 OPS to earn series MVP honors. What is wrong with Chris Archer? The young starting pitcher doesn’t have a quality start in four attempts. Archer has pitched 20 innings, giving up six homers, and posting a 7.20 ERA and 2.05 WHIP.
Home Run 101
Home Run 101 is digging a big hole and they haven’t been competitive in a series this season. For the second week in a row, they won just two categories, losing 10-2 to Buster Hugs. This from a team that had high hopes entering the season after winning five of their last seven series in 2015 to qualify for their first playoff appearance in franchise history. Home Run 101 is now 7-28-1 and last in the division, 17.5 games behind Bacon. Second baseman Jose Altuve needs some support. Altuve carried the offense in Week 3, going 8-for-25 with four runs scored, three RBI, a 1.033 OPS and three net stolen bases. Part of the team’s problem has been the bullpen. Tom Wilhelmsen has -1 net saves/holds in six attempts with a 15.00 ERA and 3.00 WHIP.
After last week’s 7-3 loss to the Menehunes, Hapamon has started the season with a tie, a win, and a loss. Dating back to last season, they’ve won three of their past 11 series. Hapamon has a 14-17-5 record this season, second in the North Division, 8.5 games behind Bacon at Mile 11. Closer Steve Cishek was perfect for Hapamon in Week 3. He was the team MVP after pitching three perfect innings to earn three saves. Cishek struck out four of the nine batters he faced. The team needs Collin McHugh to begin pitching like an ace. He has one quality start in four attempts with a 7.56 ERA and 2.10 WHIP.
The Bulls can’t buy a series victory. After tying their first two, they lost 9-2 to Los Coches Bomba last week. Dating back to last season, the Bulls have one series win in their last 15 attempts. They’ve won two or fewer categories in three of their last six series dating back to last season. The Bulls have a 13-20-3 record and are 10.5 games behind Bacon at Mile 11 in the division. The one bright spot was starting pitcher Drew Smyly, who was the league’s top-ranked player last week. In two starts, Smyly tossed 15 innings, allowing just one run while striking out 17 batters. The Bulls are patiently waiting for outfielder Anthony Gose to begin hitting. In 51 plate appearances this season, Gose is hitting .174 with 19 strikeouts and just two RBI.
High Cheese sits atop the South Division with a 24-11-1 record following last week’s impressive 7-5 victory over Warning Track Power. It was the third straight series victory for High Cheese and the team has lost just twice in their last eight dating back to last season. They hold a 2.5 game lead over Los Coches Bomba in the South Division. Outfielder Ian Desmond earned series MVP honors in Week 3. He went 8-for-19 with a 1.384 OPS, seven runs scored, five RBI and three stolen bases. Pedro Alvarez is off to a slow start, hitting .108 with one RBI in his first 45 plate appearances.
The JetSetters are still looking for their first series win this season after losing 9-2 to Bacon at Mile 11 last week. It was the team’s worst loss since a 9-2 loss to Bacon in Week 3 last year. The JetSetters are now 11-22-3 and last in the South Division, 12 games behind High Cheese. Outfielder Starling Marte was the team’s MVP in Week 3. Marte went 9-for-29 with a .816 OPS, three RBI, five runs scored, and a stolen base. The team needs Alex Wood to get untracked. He has one quality start in four attempts, pitching 21 innings with a 6.00 ERA and 1.76 WHIP.
Los Coches Bomba
Last week’s 9-2 series victory over the Bulls saw Los Coches Bomba win its most categories in a series since a 9-2 victory over High Cheese in Week 6 last season. They’ve won two of their three series this season and are 21-13-2, 2.5 games behind their arch rivals, High Cheese, in the South Division. This is a different Bomba team, led by pitching rather than hitting. In Week 3, it was Hector Santiago who earned series MVP honors. He started two games, pitching 13 innings, striking out 17 hitters and allowing just two runs to earn a pair of quality starts. Bomba is waiting for outfielder Justin Upton to heat up. Upton has 30 strikeouts in his first 73 plate appearances and is hitting just .214 with 3 RBI.
Let’s Play 2
That was a much needed series victory. Let’s Play 2’s 8-4 win over Stadium Mustard last week was the team’s first series win since a victory over the Menehunes in Week 17 of last season. That was seven weeks without a series victory spanning both seasons. The win pushes Let’s Play 2 over .500 for the season at 18-17-1 and they now sit third in the South, six games behind High Cheese. Outfielder Mookie Betts finished Week 3 as the league’s highest-ranked hitter. Betts went 11-for-34 with a 1.008 OPS, five RBI, 10 runs scored and two stolen bases. Veteran catcher Russell Martin is off to a slow start. In his first 17 games, Russell is hitting .154 with 25 strikeouts in 60 plate appearances.
Land Shark earned a 9-3 series victory over the defending league champion Mirrors last week and are now 16-19-1 and second in the division, 5.5 games behind Buster Hugs. The nine category wins was the most since a 9-3 victory over the Lower Haighters in Week 16 last season. It’s not often a catcher wins series MVP honors but Welington Castillo did just that last week. Castillo went 8-for-21 with nine RBI, six runs scored, a 1.535 OPS and he even swiped a base. It looks like outfielder Khris Davis may be breaking out of his early season slump that has seen him hit .197 over his first 17 games.
Going back to last season, Stadium Mustard has just two series wins over their last 10 and they are looking for their first playoff berth since 2012 when they won the East Division. Last week’s 8-4 loss to Let’s Play 2 was their third series loss this season and leaves them with an 11-24-1 record and 10.5 games behind Buster Hugs in the division. Mat Latos continued his early season success for Stadium Mustard last week, earning a pair of quality starts and finishing as the team MVP. Latos pitched 12.1 innings, allowing just one run while striking out seven batters. The team needs outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Ender Inciarte to return to the lineup. Both are sitting on the DL with injuries.
The Monkeys were bombed 11-1 by the Lower Haighters last week, the team’s worst loss since a 12-1 rout by Bacon at Mile 11 in Week 11 of 2014. They’ve now lost three straight series for the first time since Weeks 20-22 in 2014. They sport the league’s worst record at 7-28-1 and sit last in the East Division, 14.5 games behind Buster Hugs. Outfielder Jason Heyward is heating up. In seven games last week, Heyward went 10-for-29 with five RBI, six runs scored, a .855 OPS and two net stolen bases. He finished Week 3 as the team’s top-rated player. GM Jordan Mazur needs veteran hurler Adam Wainwright to get untracked. Wainwright has tossed 22.1 innings in four starts with a 7.25 ERA and 1.75 WHIP.
It’s been a roller coaster ride for Buster Hugs in 2016. They opened with a 9-2 series win over the Eephus Monkeys, lost to the Lower Haighters 9-2 in Week 2, and rebounded with a 10-2 victory over Home Run 101 last week. The rout of Home Run 101 was the team’s biggest since a 10-2 victory over Land Shark in Week 18 last year. Buster Hugs is now 21-13-2 and lead the East Division by five games. Reliever Kenley Jansen was a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities in Week 3, earning team MVP honors. Jansen allowed just two baserunners in four innings while striking out five of the 14 hitters he faced. Outfielder Evan Gattis is off to a slow start. He’s hitting .188 with just one RBI in 10 games.
Warning Track Power
Warning Track Power was pegged as one of the league’s top teams entering the season but they’ve lost two of their first three series. It may be due to scheduling, as they’ve lost to the league’s No. 2 and No. 4 teams. They are 20-16-0 and sit third in the West, seven games behind the Lower Haighters. Veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson was the top-ranked player for Warning Track Power in Week 3. Granderson went 9-for-25 with seven RBI, seven runs scored and a 1.284 OPS. GM Mark Peterson needs more from starting pitcher Shelby Miller. He doesn’t have a quality start in four attempts, pitching 14.2 innings with a 8.59 ERA and 1.98 WHIP.
Despite the winning streak, the Menehunes fell out of first place in the West last week. They still have the league’s second best record at 25-9-2 but are one game behind the Lower Haighters. Outfielder Odubel Herrera earned series MVP honors for the Menehunes in Week 3. Herrera went 8-for-22 with four RBI, seven runs scored, a .944 OPS and three net stolen bases. If the Menehunes are going to make a playoff run, they’ll need closer J.J. Hoover to improve. In his first nine games, Hoover has posted a 15.26 ERA and 2.61 WHIP with zero saves/holds.
After last week’s 9-3 loss to Land Shark, the defending champs have lost two of their first three series and have a 16-19-1 record. They are last in the West Division and last week’s loss was the team’s worst since a 9-3 loss in Week 18 last season to the Lower Haighters. First baseman Chris Carter provided thump to the Mirrors lineup in Week 3. He earned team MVP honors, going 8-for-24 with seven RBI, six runs scored and a 1.149 OPS. The Mirrors need outfielder Carlos Gomez to heat up. He’s 13-for-67 with just one RBI and a .471 OPS in his first 18 games.
The Lower Haighters pummeled the Eephus Monkeys 11-1 in Week 2. It was the largest margin of victory for the Haighters since a 11-1 victory over Los Coches Bomba in Week 11 last year. They now own the league’s best record at 26-8-2. Veteran outfielder Ryan Braun is swinging a hot bat. Braun earned series MVP honors in Week 3, going 13-for-25 with eight RBI, seven runs scored, and a 1.440 OPS. Matt Harvey, one of the team’s keepers, has struggled this season. Harvey has a 5.24 ERA, 1.57 WHIP and just one quality start in four attempts.
Bryce Harper finished Week 2 as the top-ranked fantasy player, leading the defending champion Mirrors to an 8-4 series victory over the Eephus Monkeys in the process.
Harper went 9-for-26 with a 1.246 OPS, 12 RBI, and six runs scored. He also stole a pair of bases to further boost his value. The Mirrors finished the week with 35 RBI, second most in the league, and had 34 runs scored, the league’s third highest mark.
Here’s a look at how each team did last week.
WEEK 2 LEAGUE STATS
Bacon at Mile 11
Nolan Arenado went 9-for-27 with a 1.185 OPS, 12 RBI and seven runs scored as Bacon won five of the six hitting categories to beat Los Coches Bomba 7-5. Arenado drove in nearly half of the team’s 25 RBI and finished as the series MVP. Rookie Vincent Velasquez was the league’s highest rated pitcher in Week 2, tossing a complete game shutout with 16 strikeouts. Velasquez helped Bacon win the K/9 and WHIP categories. The team is now 15-8-1 and lead the North Division by three games.
Home Run 101
The pitching collapsed and the team lost all six categories, falling 10-2 to High Cheese. Home Run 101 finished with a 4.85 team ERA (second worst in the league), a 1.42 WHIP (second worst) and had just two quality starts and net saves/holds. Starters Chris Young and Jake Peavy and reliever Tom Wilhelmsen were the primary culprits. Young started twice, pitching a total of 8.2 innings. He gave up 10 earned runs on 17 hits and four walks. Second baseman Jose Altuve was the team’s best player and the series MVP, going 11-for-27 with seven RBI, eight runs, a 1.336 OPS and just five strikeouts. The team is now 5-18-1 and trails Bacon at Mile 11 by 10 games in the North Division. They have the league’s worst record.
Hapamon defeated the JetSetters 6-5-1 in the closest series of Week 2. They won the RBI and Net Stolen Bases categories by one each and tied Quality Starts. A rare stolen base by catcher A.J. Pierzynski on Sunday salvaged the NSB category while second baseman Dee Gordon drove in a pair of runs on the final day of the series to win the RBI category. Jerad Eickhoff earned team MVP honors for the week with a brilliant seven inning shutout with nine strikeouts. Eickhoff allowed just four baserunners. Hapamon finished with the fourth best ERA for the week and are now one of the surprise teams of the season, sitting second in the North Division with an 11-10-3 record.
The hot hitting of Trevor Plouffe and Delino DeShields and a pair of quality starts from Kenta Maeda helped the Bulls salvage a 6-6 tie with Let’s Play 2 last week. Maeda gave up just one run over 13 innings while striking out 11 batters to finish Week 2 as the series MVP. The Bulls led the league with a 2.47 ERA and finished tied for third with a 1.10 WHIP. Drew Smyly also had an excellent start, striking out 11 batters over seven innings while allowing just two earned runs. At the plate, the Bulls had the league’s fewest strikeouts (36) and highest OPS (.931). Yunel Escobar struck out just one time in 30 plate appearances. The only blemish was the team’s -4 net stolen bases, worst in the league.
High Cheese has the league’s second best record at 17-6-1 following a 10-2 thrashing of Home Run 101 in Week 2. They lead the South Division by five games thanks to a dominating pitching staff led by reliever Dellin Betances. Betances was the team MVP for the week, striking out nine batters over 3.1 innings while earning a pair of net saves/holds. High Cheese finished second in Innings Pitched, ERA, WHIP, K/9 and third in quality starts in Week 2. Jon Lester had a pair of quality starts, allowing four runs over 13.1 innings with 15 strikeouts. First Baseman Chris Davis was the team’s top hitter, going 6-for-23 with a 1.066 OPS with eight RBI and eight runs scored.
The relief corps of Cody Allen, Andrew Miller and Drew Storen were the best in the league in Week 2. They combined for six of the team’s league-high eight net saves/holds. Miller struck out eight batters over three scoreless innings to earn a pair of saves/holds. Despite the 5-6-1 loss to Hapamon, starting pitcher Matt Moore was the series MVP, earning a pair of quality starts. Moore struck out 15 batters over 13.1 innings while allowing just three runs. He issued just one walk combined during in his two starts. The JetSetters will try to get on the winning track this week. They are 9-13-2 overall and last in the South Division and 12th overall.
Los Coches Bomba
Hisashi Iwakuma had a tough start Sunday, finishing seven innings with a 5.14 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. The WHIP was costly, as they lost the category by .04 and dropped the series to Bacon at Mile 11, 7-5. It was surprising they were even in the series by the end of the week. The team finished last in RBI and OPS in Week 2 and had just one net stolen base. They lost five of the six hitting categories. Miguel Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez, and Jacoby Ellsbury combined to drive in four runs during the week. Gio Gonzalez earned team MVP honors, notching a pair of quality starts with a 0.69 ERA and 0.77 WHIP over 13 innings. Bomba is now 12-11-1 and second in the South Division, five games behind High Cheese.
Let’s Play 2
Jose Quintana and Jeff Samardzija each had a pair of quality starts as Let’s Play 2 led the league in Innings Pitched (74.1) and Quality Starts (8) in Week 2. Quintana gave up just three earned runs over 12 innings while striking out 11. Let’s Play 2 split the hitting and pitching categories with the Bulls and split the series, 6-6. Outfielder Mookie Betts was the team MVP, going 9-for-27 with six RBI and four runs scored. Betts finished Week 2 with an .852 OPS. The team is 10-13-1 and seven games behind High Cheese in the South Division pennant race.
Thankfully, Land Shark’s hitters showed enough plate discipline to tie for the league-lead with just 36 strikeouts in Week 2 because that was the only category the team won as they were trounced, 11-1 by the Menehunes. It wasn’t pretty. Land Shark finished last in Runs (16) and Plate Appearances (193). The pitching was worse as the team finished last in Innings Pitched (42.2), WHIP (1.52) and Quality Starts (1). Veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre was the team’s MVP, going 6-for-21 with eight RBI. Land Shark is now 7-16-1 and 14th in the league standings.
It was a rough week for Stadium Mustard. They won just two categories in Week 2, falling to Warning Track Power, 10-2. They are 7-16-1 and 13th in the league standings. Veteran outfielder Nick Markakis led the team with 30 plate appearances and finished as the team MVP. Markakis went 9-for-25 with a 1.027 OPS, eight RBI and three runs scored. He struck out just twice on the week. Michael Wacha, one of the team’s keepers and a key to the season, had a pair of quality starts, giving up just one earned run over 12 innings while striking out 12.
The Monkeys lost their Week 2 series to the Mirrors, 8-4, but it was closer than it looked. The Mirrors won both the Strikeout and RBI categories by one. The Monkeys tallied 12 of their 48 strikeouts on the final day of the series, with Jose Bautista wearing the sombrero with three strikeouts. Bautista also drove in the team’s only runs on Sunday, plating two. The series loss leaves the Monkeys with a 6-17-1 record. They are 15th in the overall standings. Xander Bogaerts was the team MVP in Week 2, going 6-for-24 with six RBI, four runs, just three strikeouts in 25 plate appearances and two net stolen bases.
Buster Hugs needed some hugs after winning just two categories in a 2-9-1 loss to the Lower Haighters in Week 2. They are now 11-11-2 overall but still lead the East Division by 4.5 games. The team pitched well, but struggled at the plate. Buster Hugs posted six quality starts and five net saves/holds with a 3.04 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. The team could have used outfielder Randal Grichuk’s bat in the lineup. Grichuk went 6-for-21 in 26 plate appearances with a 1.090 OPS, six RBI, and eight runs scored. He would have won team MVP honors had he been in the lineup. That honor went to David Ortiz, who finished Week 2 with a 1.187 OPS and a rare stolen base.
Warning Track Power
It’s a little demoralizing when you lead the league in WHIP (0.90), Runs (38), RBI (39) and Plate Appearances (269), win your series 10-2, and LOSE ground in the division. That’s what happened to Warning Track Power, who saw West Division rival Menehunes go 11-1 in Week 2. Warning Track Power is 15-9 on the season but third in the division standings. So it goes in the always rugged West Division. Chris Sale earned series MVP honors against Stadium Mustard, tossing a complete game shutout with nine strikeouts. Outfielder J.D. Martinez was the team’s hitting star, going 11-for-27 in 32 plate appearances with a 1.155 OPS, six RBI, and five runs scored.
Jaime Garcia was brilliant for the Menehunes in Week 2. The veteran hurler tossed a complete-game, one-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts. Garcia sparked an 11-2 rout of Land Shark that leaves the Menehunes with the league’s best record at 18-6. They sit atop the West Division, two games clear of the Lower Haighters. They led the league in K/9, had seven net saves/holds, and finished the week with a 2.85 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Second baseman was the hitting star, going 9-for-31 in 34 plate appearances with a .884 OPS, a stolen base, five RBI and six runs scored. Kinsler struck out five times on the week.
Harper was the league’s best player but he couldn’t keep the Mirrors from losing ground to the red-hot Menehunes in the West Division. The Mirrors beat the Monkeys 8-4 to improve to 13-10-1 but they are last in the division, 4.5 games behind the Menehunes. The Mirrors led the league in Plate Appearances in Week 2 with 269 and had 35 RBI and 34 Runs. Mark Trumbo was on a tear, going 8-for-25 with a 1.306 OPS, 11 RBI, and eight runs scored. Aaron Sanchez earned a pair of quality starts, allowing just two earned runs over 13 innings with 12 strikeouts.
The Lower Haighters had an impressive 9-2-1 victory over Buster Hugs in Week 2 but lost ground in the West Division. They are 15-7-2 overall, third best in the league. They trail the Menehunes by two games. The team’s best player wasn’t in the starting lineup this week. Utility infielder Josh Harrison went 9-for-27 with a .881 OPS, three net stolen bases, four RBI, and five runs scored. He struck out just three times in 30 plate appearances. Team MVP honors went to first baseman Albert Pujols who went 6-for-22 with a .976 OPS and seven RBI.
Hats off to Matt and Zach Patchell for drafting Colorado’s rookie shortstop Trevor Story in the 22nd Round. Story had a historic week, becoming the first rookie to hit seven home runs in his first six games in the Majors.
Story won’t continue that pace, but what can we expect out of the 23-year-old rookie? In 2013, Story struck out 183 times in 554 plate appearances at High A Modesto. A year later, he struck out just 59 times in 218 at-bats in the same league. Last season, Story hit 20 home runs in 575 at-bats between AA and AAA. Here’s what Baseball Prospectus had to say entering this season.
Pitch recognition issues will be constant, but in between some awkward flails at wayward breaking balls he’ll inflict some serious damage.
We’ve seen the “serious damage” and you can bet major league pitchers have seen it. Story will face the Giants on Tuesday. San Francisco’s veteran staff will adjust.
Story was projected to have eight home runs this year. He had seven in the first week. JetSetters GM David Kahn cringed at each highlight. The complete story has yet to be written but the opening chapter was a doozy.
Here’s a review of opening week for all 16 teams in the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League. I’ve included the hitting and pitching stats for your amusement.
Bacon at Mile 11
Anthony Rizzo earned series MVP honors leading Bacon at Mile 11 to a dominating 8-3-1 victory over North Division rival Home Run 101. Rizzo finished as the league’s eighth-rated player. He went 6-for-22 with a 1.085 OPS, 10 RBI and six runs scored. Two young pitchers, Vincent Velasquez and Aaron Nola pitched beautifully, combining to give up one run over 13 innings while striking out 17 batters. Bacon won all six pitching categories but it’s a bit of a concern that Velasquez and Nola were the team’s only pitchers to earn quality starts. Tony Watson led the bullpen with two holds, pitching 3.1 innings without giving up a run.
Home Run 101
GM Bailey Penzotti entered Week 1 wondering how to replace the offensive production of injured outfielder AJ Pollock. She finished the week with a pitching staff that posted a league-worst 6.46 ERA and just one quality start. It all led to a disappointing 3-8-1 series loss to arch-rival Bacon at Mile 11. In addition, one of the team’s top starters, Tyson Ross, was placed on the DL with a shoulder injury. Second baseman Jose Altuve earned team MVP honors, stealing three bases in six games.
For a team picked to finish last, Hapamon gave The Bulls all they could handle. Ultimately, they fell 5-6-1 but finished the week tied for the league lead with five quality starts. While the starting staff was solid, the bullpen was combustible, earning just one save. The team also finished with -2 net stolen bases, tied for worst in the league. The series literally came down to one plate appearance. Had the Marlins not been rained out, outfielder Christian Yelich would have likely won the series for Hapamon. Clayton Kershaw earned a pair of quality starts and earned series MVP honors, finishing Week 1 as the league’s second-rated player.
Veteran setup man Sergio Romo won this series for the Bulls. He had a team-high four holds as the team led the league with eight net saves/holds. Winning the category was enough to push the Bulls past Hapamon 6-5-1 in Week 1. While Romo was excellent, starting pitcher Bartolo Colon was the team MVP. He allowed just one earned run in 7.1 innings while striking out eight batters. Brandon Finnegan also earned a quality start striking out nine over six innings. Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez was the team’s top hitter, going 9-for-24 with a 1.215 OPS and five RBI.
It was a great week for the pitching staff but it was overshadowed by the loss of young catcher Kyle Schwarber with a knee injury. He’ll miss the season after registering just five plate appearances. Still, the team opened the season strong, beating the JetSetters 7-4-1. In Schwarber’s absence, rookie shortstop Trevor Story carried the offense, going 9-for-27 with a 1.468 OPS, 12 RBI, and seven runs scored. He became the first player to hit seven home runs in his first week in the league and finished as the series MVP. The starting rotation was solid, going 5-for-7 in quality start attempts while leading the league with a 2.61 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. Cole Hamels had two quality starts, pitching 13 innings with a 2.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 8.3 K/9. Closer Robert Osuna earned three saves, pitching four scoreless innings with a 13.5 K/9.
The JetSetters were simply out-pitched as they lost their season-opening series, 4-7-1. The JetSetters led the league with 42 runs scored and 263 plate appearances but lost the OPS category because of rookie Trevor Story’s unbelievable debut. Things might have been different had GM David Kahn started shortstop Eugenio Suarez, who finished the week as the league’s top-rated player. Suarez went 10-for-23 with a 1.457 OPS, nine RBI, nine runs scored and a net stolen base. Compare that to starting shortstop Addison Russell, who finished with a .451 OPS, three runs scored and two RBI.
Los Coches Bomba
Will Noah Syndergaard miss his start in Week 2? It looks like he will as he hasn’t recovered from an injured lat in his first start. Los Coches Bomba can’t be without their series MVP from Week One. Syndergaard was sensational in his only start, tossing six scoreless innings with nine strikeouts, leading the team to a 7-4-1 victory over Let’s Play 2. The team’s pitching staff was tied for the league lead with five quality starts. Veteran pitcher Edinson Volquez started twice and pitched 11.2 innings with a 1.54 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 11.6 K/9. Closer Jeremy Jeffress converted all three of his save chances, pitching 3.2 scoreless innings, as Bomba swept the pitching categories. The only downside was the team’s 209 plate appearances, lowest in the league.
Let’s Play 2
Outfielder Yasiel Puig earned series MVP honors for Let’s Play 2 but it wasn’t enough as Los Coches Bomba won the season-opening series 7-4-1. Puig looked liked a different player than he did in 2015, which is a good sign for GM Louie Bottaro. He went 10-for-26 with seven runs scored, four RBI and a 1.154 OPS. Puig helped Let’s Play 2 score a league-high 38 runs. The problem was pitching. Let’s Play 2 didn’t win a singe pitching category and finished with a 4.60 ERA and 1.44 WHIP. The starters went 2-for-6 in quality start attempts. Ace Corey Kluber gave up four runs in 5.1 innings in his only start, allowing nine hits while walking two.
A quality start by Felix Hernandez on Sunday clinched a 6-5-1 season-opening victory for Land Shark. Hernandez was the series MVP, pitching 13 innings with a 0.69 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 11.1 K/9 and a pair of quality starts. He finished as the league’s fourth-rated player. While they escaped with a tight win over Stadium Mustard, Land Shark needs to find some offense moving forward. The team finished last with 15 RBI. Outfielder Khris Davis went 4-for-23 with 13 strikeouts and failed to drive in a run. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt had nearly half of the team’s total RBI with seven.
It’s tough to win a series when you finish last in WHIP (1.64), K/9 (7.07), and your pitching staff finishes with three quality starts and two net saves/holds. This was a series for the taking but Stadium Mustard’s pitching failed and they fell 5-6-1 to Land Shark. Mike Leake, Kyle Gibson and Michael Wacha pitched a combined 13.2 innings while allowing 12 runs. J.A. Happ was the team’s only effective starter. Second baseman Joe Panik finished as the team MVP, going 7-for-26 with a .821 OPS, six runs scored and six RBI.
That’s a swing-and-a-miss for the Eephus Monkeys to open the season. Not only did the team fall to Buster Hugs 9-2-1, but they led the league in strikeouts. They finished with 65 whiffs, led by Byung Ho Park, who struck out 11 times in 18 at-bats. The Monkeys had an opportunity to win the quality start category Sunday but Adam Wainwright coughed up five runs over five innings. Marco Estrada was the team’s best player, pitching seven scoreless innings while striking out eight. The Monkeys need a strong Week 2 to avoid falling into an early hole.
Buster Hugs had a tremendous offensive performance and dismantled the Eephus Monkeys 9-2-1. They now own the league’s best record as they prepare for a big early season series with the Lower Haighters. Shortstop Jean Segura, catcher Buster Posey, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and outfielder David Peralta all ranked in the league’s Top 20. Buster Hugs led the league with a .906 OPS and six net stolen bases. Segura was the league’s third-ranked player, going 11-for-27 with a 1.317 OPS, two net stolen bases, five RBI and six runs scored.
Warning Track Power
This was a shocking loss. The projections see Warning Track Power as a championship contender but the team opened with a 7-5 loss to the Menehunes. Shelby Miller had a meltdown, failing to convert a quality start in two attempts. He pitched 11 innings with a 8.18 ERA and 1.64 WHIP. On Sunday, he gave up seven hits, walked two, and allowed four earned runs in five innings and was a big reason the Menehunes won the pivotal ERA category and the series. Aside from Miller, the starting pitching was good, finishing tied for the league lead with five quality starts. At the plate, things were different. Warning Track Power was last in Runs (22) and OPS (.600). Curtis Granderson and Adam Lind were a combined 2-for-35 with 12 strikeouts and no RBI. Josh Donaldson was the series MVP, going 9-for-29 with a 1.113 OPS, nine RBI, and eight runs scored. Donaldson led the team with 31 plate appearances.
Veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler came up big for the Menehunes as they opened the season with a 7-5 upset of Warning Track Power. Kinlser went 8-for-19 with five runs, five RBI, and a 1.082 OPS and was the team MVP. He had 25 plate appearances, second only to third baseman Todd Frazier, and the Menehunes won the category by four. It’s amazing the Menehunes were able to win the series. No team pitched fewer innings (38.1) and they had just one net save/hold. They also had -2 net stolen bases, tied for the league low.
The Mirrors suffered a stunning 5-6-1 loss to their arch-rivals, the Lower Haighters. Up 7-2-3 entering the late games Sunday, GM Sean McKenna watched it fall apart as the Haighters strung together big hit, after big hit, to overtake the Mirrors in Runs and RBI. It culminated with a Sean Doolittle save that tied the Net Saves/Holds category and won the series. The Mirrors had one of the best pitching performances of the week, leading the league in Innings Pitched (72.2), K/9 (10.9) and tied for the league lead with five quality starts. The team MVP, however, was a hitter. Outfielder Matt Kemp went 9-for-25 with a 1.080 OPS and team-high 10 RBI.
Reliever Sean Doolittle closed the door on the Mariners Sunday and, in the process, finished an improbable rally that saw the Haighters erase a 7-2-3 deficit to defeat their arch-rivals, A-Rod’s Mirrors. Jake Arrieta finished as the series MVP, earning a pair of quality starts with 14 innings pitched, a 1.93 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. Miguel Montero, Albert Pujols, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Hosmer contributed clutch RBI on Sunday to spark the rally.
If only outfielder Hunter Pence could stay healthy. The Bulls finished 1.5 games behind the Menehunes for the league’s final playoff spot in 2016 and Pence could have made a difference.
Pence tore a hamstring last season which required surgery and limited the star outfielder to 442 plate appearances. This came on the heels of his injury-riddled 2015 season that saw a wild pitch fracture his forearm and, when he returned, an oblique injury knocked him out again.
Despite losing Pence, General Manager Carolyn Greene steered the Bulls to a 127-124-13 record. That’s a major improvement from 2015, when the team lost Pence and finished a franchise worst 81-169-14.
Greene guided Bull Durham to a 113-145-18 record in 2010. The team finished 35 games behind the 101st Division winners, Bacon at Mile 11. It was Greene’s first exposure to fantasy baseball and she learned some lessons.
She drafted Matt Kemp, Roy Halladay, Jimmy Rollins, Aaron Hill, and Russell Martin with her first five picks in the league’s initial draft. Greene added 25 free agents to her team during the season including Alex Gordon, Daniel Hudson, J.J. Putz, Hunter Pence, and Jason Vargas.
Rollins played in just 88 games due to injury, the lowest number of games in his career at that time. A strained calf left him on the DL twice. Hill hit the 15-day DL almost immediately and he played in just 138 games.
Pence was an iron man, logging the most at-bats for Bull Durham. Pence (.325 OBP, 93 Runs, 25 HR, 91 RBI, 18 SB, 105 Ks) finished as the top-rated hitter for Bull Durham. The lanky outfielder ranked 65th overall in the league’s final player rankings. Halladay (250.2 IP, 25 QS, 219 Ks, 2.44 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) was the team MVP. He was the league’s 7th-rated player and second-rated pitcher in 2010. Reliever Neftali Feliz finished in the league’s Top 50 players and led Bull Durham with 43 Saves/Holds.
Despite a difficult 2010 campaign, Greene quickly learned the lessons of fantasy baseball. She wisely protected Halladay, Kemp, her prized free agent acquisition Pence, Feliz and Adam Lind. She then drafted Carlos Gonzalez with the first pick in the Regular Season Draft. The team was renamed the Bulls and they were off and running.
They lost just one series over the season’s first six weeks and grabbed the division lead. Despite losing six of their final nine, Greene’s team finished with a 132-120-24 record and won the North Division by 10 games over Bacon at Mile 11. They lost the championship semifinal series against HUMA but bounced back to beat the Machine in the third place game.
Greene was an active GM, adding 29 free agents to her pennant winning team during the season. Her acquisitions included relievers Glen Perkins, Kenley Jansen, and Jayson Werth. She also sent third baseman Casey McGehee to High Cheese in exchange for pitcher Jhoulys Chacin.
Kemp (.399 OBP, 115 Runs, 39 HR, 126 RBI, 40 SB, 159 Ks) was the team’s most valuable player. He finished as the league’s top outfielder and second-rated player overall. Halladay (233.2 IP, 25 QS, 220 Ks, 2.35 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) ranked 11th overall and was the league’s fifth-rated starting pitcher. Brandon League and Feliz combined to save 69 games.
Greene proved 2011 was no fluke when she guided the Bulls back to the playoffs in 2012. They started fast again, losing just one series over the first two months of the season. The Bulls also finished strong, winning seven of their last 11. Their final record was 134-120-22 and they finished 7.5 games ahead of Give it a Yankee in the North Division.
While Greene found regular season success, postseason wins remained elusive. For the second straight year, the Bulls lost their championship semifinal series. This time, it was a hard-fought, close loss to the eventual champions, Los Coches Bomba. The Bulls also lost the third place series to the Lower Haighters, finishing fourth.
Greene orchestrated one of the season’s biggest trades in 2012, sending star outfielder Gonzalez to Bacon at Mile 11 for Brian McCann, Dan Uggla, and J.J. Putz. She also added 29 free agents over the season.
Greene protected Kemp, Gonzalez, Pence, Halladay and Norris entering the season and drafted Chris Carpenter with her first pick in the Regular Season Draft. Kemp missed about two months with a hamstring injury. Uggla hit below .220 through 92 games and struck out at a high rate.
Outfielder Melky Cabrera (.390 OBP, 84 Runs, 11 HR, 60 RBI, 13 SB, 63 Ks) provided the offense, ranking 61st overall in the final player rankings. He earned team MVP honors. Halladay struggled with a shoulder injury in 2012 so Chris Tillman emerged as the team’s ace. Tillman (86 IP, 9 QS, 66 Ks, 2.93 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) started the year in the minors but had a strong second half. Relievers J.J. Putz and Joaquin Benoit combined for 64 Saves/Holds.
Coming off two consecutive pennants, the Bulls entered 2013 as the North Division favorites. Greene protected Kemp, Pence, Moore, Putz, and Ike Davis in the Keeper Draft then added Greinke, Holliday, Carlos Gomez, David Freese, and Halladay in the Regular Season Draft.
The Bulls couldn’t find consistency in the regular season. A three series winning streak from Weeks 17-19 was the team’s longest of the season and they failed to win a series in the final month. They finished a disappointing 134-144-21, 18 games behind the North Division champs, Bacon at Mile 11.
Greene added 24 free agents during the season but it was a six-player trade with Bacon at Mile 11 on July 24 that had the league talking. Greene sent Gomez, Ricky Nolasco and Matt Moore to Bacon for Gonzalez, Hector Santiago and Nathan Eovaldi. The Bulls needed starting pitching as Halladay underwent shoulder surgery in May and would retire from baseball at the end of the season.
Gonzalez (.367 OBP, 72 Runs, 26 HR, 70 RBI, 18 NSB, 7 GIDP, 118 Ks) earned team MVP honors. He finished 36th in the league player rankings while Pence finished 43rd. How bad was the starting pitching? None of the team’s starters topped 200 innings or earned 20 quality starts. Greinke (177.2 IP, 18 QS, 7.50 K/9, 2.63 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) was having an excellent season but suffered a broken collarbone in an April brawl with the Padres and he missed a month. Reliever David Robertson (66.1 IP, 34 NSVH, 10.45 K/9, 2.04 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) was the team’s highest rated pitcher, finishing 47th in the player ratings.
The Bulls finished the 2014 season with their worst record since 2010. At 114-152-20, they were last in the North Division, 47.5 games behind the division champs, Bacon at Mile 11. They narrowly avoided their first Wooden Spoon on percentage points.
Greene protected Uehara, Gonzalez, Holliday, Pence and Greinke in the Keeper Draft. She drafted Alex Cobb, Martin Prado, Jonathan Lucroy and Daniel Murphy with her first four picks in the Regular Season Draft. Greene wasn’t as active in the free agent market, adding just 15 players to the roster during the season.
Uehara had a strong season but Tyler Clippard (70.1 IP, 35 NSVH, 10.49 K/9, 2.18 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) was the team’s top reliever. Clippard ranked 52nd in the final player rankings and was the 15th rated reliever. No hitter on the team topped 100 RBI and only Pence topped 100 runs. Pence (.332 OBP, 106 Runs, 20 HR, 74 RBI, 7 NSB, 13 GIDP, 130 Ks) was the team’s top-ranked hitter finishing 108th in the player rankings. Greinke (202.1 IP, 21 QS, 9.21 K/9, 2.71 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) earned team MVP honors finishing 41st in the league’s player rankings.
The 2015 version of the Bulls resembled a MASH unit more than a baseball team. Hunter Pence suffered a fractured forearm in spring training and then hit the DL twice more during the regular season before finishing with just 207 at-bats. Holliday suffered a quadriceps injury in June and reinjured it twice more and had just 229 at-bats. Alex Gordon was hurt in July chasing down a fly ball and didn’t return until early September.
Pence and Holliday were protected players in the Keeper Draft (along with Gonzalez, Greinke and Cobb) while Gordon was Greene’s second pick in the Regular Season Draft.
Greene scrambled, adding 34 different free agents to the team and trading reliever Kelvin Herrera to the Lower Haighters for shortstop Alcides Escobar. No matter what she did for the team, nothing seemed to work. The Bulls won TWO SERIES the entire year! They finished 81-169-14. It was the worst record in the history of the league as they finished 72 games behind the eventual North Division champs, Bacon at Mile 11.
Despite the roster carnage, Greinke turned in one of the best performances in team history. Greinke (222.2 IP, 30 QS, 8.08 K/9, 1.66 ERA, 0.84 WHIP) finished third in the player standings and repeated as the team MVP. The only players that ranked higher than Greinke were Clayton Kershaw and Jake Arrieta, a pair of starting pitchers.
Gonzalez was the only healthy, productive, hitter in the lineup. Gonzalez (608 PA, .865 OPS, 87 Runs, 97 RBI, 2 NSB, 133 Ks) had a Top 75 season, finishing 60th in the final player rankings. Mark Melancon (76.2 IP, 50 NSVH, 7.28 K/9, 2.23 ERA, 0.93 WHIP) rewarded Greene’s decision to choose him with her third pick in the Regular Season Draft by finishing ranked in the Top 50.
A slow start ultimately doomed the Bulls. They didn’t win a series over the season’s first six weeks. A 7-5 series victory over Land Shark on Week 7 sparked a run that saw the Bulls win six of their next eight series and climb back into playoff contention. Unfortunately, the team couldn’t maintain the momentum and won just three of its last eight series.
Greene was an active GM in 2016, adding 26 free agents to her team during the season. The addition of outfielder Rajai Davis and reliever Kyle Barraclough in May were key. Both players finished 2016 ranked in the Top 100.
The Bulls have one of the premier base stealers in baseball. Milwaukee shortstop Jonathan Villar finished the season with 44 net stolen bases. Villar (679 PA, .826 OPS, 92 Runs, 63 RBI, 174 Ks, 44 NSB) was the team’s highest rated player, finishing 33rd overall. If the 25-year-old can cut down on his strikeouts, he has the potential to be a Top 20 player.
Reliever Mark Melancon (71.1 IP, 43 NSVH, 8.2 K/9, 1.64 ERA, 0.90 WHIP) had his second straight Top 50 season, finishing 2016 ranked 43rd in the player rankings. Expect Melancon to anchor the bullpen again in 2017.
When the Mirrors left Stephen Strasburg unprotected in the 2015 draft, Greene pounced, making him the first pick in the draft. Strasburg (147.2 IP, 15 QS, 11.15 K/9, 3.60 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) finished 2016 ranked 75th overall despite missing most of September with a forearm injury. If he’s healthy, and that’s a big IF with Strasburg, he’s capable of a Top 50 finish.
After qualifying for the playoffs in 2014-15, an injury to young outfielder A.J. Pollock at the end of spring training derailed Home Run 101 in 2016.
Pollock was the team MVP in 2015, finishing with a fantastic stat line (673 PA, 111 Runs, 76 RBI, .866 OPS, 32 NSB, 89 Ks) and ending the season as the league’s sixth-rated player and top outfielder. Because of the injury, Pollock managed just 46 plate appearances last season.
If Pollock stays healthy, this team can return to the playoffs. Johnny Cueto is the staff ace while second baseman Jose Altuve and slugging first baseman Jose Abreu are keeper-worthy players. In addition, corner infielder Justin Turner finished 2016 ranked 62nd overall.
With Pollock healthy, Home Run 101 is again capable of competing with the league’s top teams and challenging Bacon at Mile 11 for the North Division pennant.
The Homerun Newbies opened the season with just one series win in the first 11 weeks. Things didn’t get much better in the second half, as they lost seven of their last eight. The Newbies earned the league’s first Wooden Spoon for finishing last with a 103-155-18 record. They ended the season 45 games behind the North Division pennant winners, Bacon at Mile 11.
General Manager Bailey Penzotti drafted Pablo Sandoval, Ichiro Suzuki, Brian Wilson, Yadier Molina and Bengie Molina with the team’s first five picks. The Newbies drafted Madison Bumgarner in the 15th round but released him on April 5 for veteran hurler Zach Duke.
Penzotti added 17 free agents to her roster in that first season and made two trades. On May 30, she sent J.D. Drew and Brian Duensing to Matt Patchell and the Muckrakers in exchange for Aubrey Huff, Chone Figgins and Miguel Tejada.
Overweight and unproductive, Sandoval hurt the team. By June, he was hitting eighth for the Giants and finished with just 13 home runs. Journeyman Huff (.385 OBP, 100 Runs, 26 HR, 86 RBI, 7 SB, 91 Ks) had a career year for the Newbies. He ranked 22nd in the final player rankings and earned team MVP honors. Max Scherzer (195.2 IP, 18 QS, 184 Ks, 3.50 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) was the team’s top starting pitcher but ranked just 157th overall. Brian Wilson (74.2 IP, 48 Saves, 93 Ks, 1.81 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) was the team’s closer and ranked 41st in the player rankings.
The team was renamed Home Run 101 and Penzotti doubled-down on the Giants in 2011, protecting Huff, Wilson and Romo in the Keeper Draft along with Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez. Penzotti allowed the team’s top starting pitcher from 2010, Scherzer, to walk and drafted Josh Johnson, Colby Lewis, and Brett Myers to lead the staff.
Johnson started strong but pitched just 60.1 innings before he was shutdown with shoulder inflammation. Lewis, Myers and Carl Pavano all had ERAs in excess of 4.00. Penzotti made 14 player transactions during the season, adding outfielders Austin Jackson, Raul Ibanez and Charlie Blackmon, but she couldn’t find a solution for the starting rotation.
In the end, the lack of pitching led to a 115-142-19 record and 14th in the overall standings. The team finished last in the North Division, 19.5 games behind the pennant winning Bulls. Like 2010, the team collapsed down the stretch, winning just two series in the final two months of the season.
Koji Uehara (65 IP, 22 Holds, 85 Ks, 2.35 ERA, 0.72 WHIP) was the team’s best relief pitcher, ranking 61st in the final league player rankings. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez (.361 OBP, 80 Runs, 26 HR, 93 RBI, 1 SB, 69 Ks) earned team MVP honors. Ramirez was the league’s 53rd ranked player. Josh Collmenter (154.1 IP, 15 QS, 100 Ks, 3.38 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) led the starters and ranked 148th in the league.
Penzotti improved the team in 2012 and moved out of the North Division cellar for the first time. Unlike the previous two seasons when the team struggled late, Home Run 101 lost just one series over the final six weeks to finish 120-138-18. They were third in the North Division, 16 games behind the Bulls, who won their second straight pennant.
Penzotti protected infielder Howie Kendrick, Ramirez, Johnson, Wilson and Romo then drafted three outfielders with her first three picks in the Regular Season Draft, Brett Gardner, Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth. Penzotti added 17 free agents during the season including young first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
Ramirez (.360 OBP, 92 Runs, 27 HR, 105 RBI, 9 SB, 82 Ks) repeated as team MVP and ranked 20th in the league. Romo was the team’s most valuable pitcher. Romo (55.1 IP, 37 Saves/Holds, 63 Ks, 1.79 ERA, 0.85 WHIP) ranked 37th in the player rankings while Cueto (217 IP, 23 QS, 170 Ks, 2.78 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) was the top-rated starter, finishing 47th in the player rankings.
Penzotti protected shortstop Ian Desmond, Ramirez, Cueto, Rizzo and Romo in the Keeper Draft. She then added outfielders with her first five picks in the Regular Season Draft. They included Werth, Carlos Beltran, Angel Pagan, Dayan Viciedo and Starling Marte.
Penzotti added 23 free agents during the season including third baseman Nolan Arenado, and a host of starting pitchers including Erik Bedard, Ubaldo Jimenez, Kevin Correia, Felix Doubront, and Roberto Hernandez. Starting pitching was again a big issue for Home Run 101, as Wade Miley was the only starter to exceed 200 innings pitched and earn 20+ quality starts. Cueto suffered a variety of injuries and made just 11 starts.
Home Run 101 won their first two series before a horrific losing streak doomed the season. They didn’t win another series for 14 weeks and finished last in the North Division at 115-162-22, 36.5 games behind pennant winning Bacon at Mile 11.
Werth (.398 OBP, 84 Runs, 25 HR, 82 RBI, 9 NSB, 9 GIDP, 101 Ks) earned team MVP honors and finished the season ranked 27th in the league player rankings. The fact that Miley (202.2 IP, 22 QS, 6.53 K/9, 3.55 ERA, 1.32 WHIP) was the team’s top-ranked starting pitcher but finished the season ranked 1,013th in the player rankings explains the issue with the starting staff. Romo (60.1 IP, 33 NSVH, 8.65 K/9, 2.54 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) was again the team’s top reliever.
This is the season Penzotti and Home Run 101 established they could be a contender and it started with Cueto on the mound. Cueto (243.2 IP, 29 QS, 8.94 K/9, 2.25 ERA, 0.96 WHIP) was healthy and finished the season as the league’s third-ranked player behind Clayton Kershaw and Felix Hernandez. He earned team MVP honors and, more importantly, gave Home Run 101 a bonafide ace.
Heading into the season, Penzotti protected Desmond, Werth, Pagan, Romo, and Cueto. She then chose Jose Abreau, Jose Altuve, and Danny Salazar with her first three picks in the Regular Season Draft. That core led Home Run 101 to a 154-121-11 record and the team’s first playoff berth. During an eight week stretch from Week 7-14, Home Run 101 won seven series. They ended the season by winning five straight. They lost a close quarterfinal playoff series to Twinkle Toes and then lost the consolation semifinal to the Lower Haighters. They rallied to claim seventh place with a victory over the JetSetters.
Penzotti added 12 free agents during the season but the team largely stayed healthy and productive. Altuve (.377 OBP, 85 Runs, 7 HR, 59 RBI, 47 NSB, 20 GIDP, 53 Ks) ended the season as the league’s top-ranked second baseman and ranked 14th overall. Abreu finished with 37 homers while Darren O’Day (68.2 IP, 25 NSVH, 9.57 K/9, 1.70 ERA, 0.89 WHIP) led a powerful bullpen.
The momentum continued in 2015 as Home Run 101 finished 138-113-13. They were second in the North Division, 15.5 games behind Bacon at Mile 11, but more importantly, they qualified for the playoffs for the second year in a row. A strong stretch run that saw Home Run 101 win five of their last seven series secured the postseason berth.
Penzotti finally had some young talent to build around. She protected Abreu, Altuve, Desmond, outfielder Kole Calhoun and Cueto. In the Regular Season Draft she landed outfielder Pollock in the 12th Round. That was a franchise-turning selection, as Pollock earned team MVP honors. Pollock (673 PA, 111 Runs, 76 RBI, .866 OPS, 32 NSB, 89 Ks) ended 2015 ranked sixth overall and was the league’s highest rated outfielder.
Pollock and the improved lineup didn’t bring playoff success. Home Run 101 was steamrolled in the quarterfinals by the Lower Haighters. They rallied to defeat Twinkle Toes in the consolation semifinals before losing to Warning Track Power in the fifth place game.
Cueto (212 IP, 19 QS, 7.47 K/9, 3.44 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) was the team’s top starter but he wasn’t nearly as effective as he had been in 2014. Cueto ranked 208th in the league’s final player rankings. O’Day (65.1 IP, 19 NSVH, 11.30 K/9, 1.52 ERA, 0.93 WHIP) again led the bullpen.
Without Pollock in the lineup, Home Run 101 struggled to start 2016. They lost four of their first six series and had just two series wins over the first 13 weeks of the season. Over the first month, the team went 11-35-2.
The final record of 98-151-15 was the worst in franchise history and third worst in league history.
Altuve (717 PA, 108 Runs, 96 RBI, .927 OPS, 20 NSB, 70 Ks) led the team in plate appearances, runs, OPS and net stolen bases. He finished 2016 as the league’s fifth-rated player and the team MVP.
Cueto is the team’s most consistent player. He was the team’s MVP in 2014 and bounced back from a difficult 2015 season by finishing 2016 as the league’s 31st-ranked player. Cueto (219.2 IP, 22 QS, 8.11 K/9, 2.79 ERA, 1.09 WHIP), led the team in innings pitched, quality starts and ERA.
2016 was a learning experience for rookie General Manager Robert Kirkbride, who took over for previous GM Brian Benzing. The number one lesson was don’t designate Matt Cain as a keeper.
Cain was a major disaster last year, finishing as the league’s 1,047th-ranked player. Cain pitched just 89 innings but gave up 58 runs. He went 4-8 with a 5.64 ERA and was eventually waived by Hapamon.
Cain wasn’t alone. Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw and outfielder Charlie Blackmon were the only designated keepers that finished the season ranked in the Top 80 in the final player rankings. Second baseman Dee Gordon was hurt and had just 325 at-bats. First baseman Brandon Belt had a typical Belt year, 17 homers, 84 RBI, and a final ranking of 161st.
When your draft is ranked the 17th worst in league history with an average player value of 523.92, it’s difficult to post a winning record. Only three teams that have had drafts ranked in the bottom 20 have managed to reach .500 in the regular season. Hapamon wasn’t one of them.
Chalk up 2016 as a learning experience and continue to build around Kershaw and Blackmon. The return of a healthy Gordon and the continued improvement of outfielder Christian Yelich and closer Jeurys Familia give Hapamon a strong nucleus for 2017.
Benzing’s management style came into focus early in the first season. He was a “draft-and-play” manager. Benzing made a total of 15 player transactions during the season. He made three transactions in April and none in May as the team was slumping, winning two of their first eight series. Benzing made seven transactions in June and the team won six in a row to climb back into the playoff race.
Kershaw was good enough to pitch Give it a Yankee into the playoffs in the league’s inaugural season. The team finished 134-122-20 and finished second in the North Division pennant race, 13 games behind Bacon at Mile 11. They had momentum entering the postseason and defeated the Vicious Fishes in the consolation semifinal. They then lost to the Jersey Boys in the fifth-place game and finished sixth.
2010 was Kershaw’s worst season. Kershaw (214.1 IP, 23 QS, 212 Ks, 2.90 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) ranked 43rd overall and 12th among the league’s starting pitchers. He finished 10th in strikeouts and tied for ninth in QS. Roy Oswalt (211.2 IP, 24 QS, 193 Ks, 2.76 ERA, 1.025 WHIP) finished 11th in the final player rankings and became the only Give it a Yankee starting pitcher to ever finish higher in the final player rankings than Kershaw. Brad Lidge (45.2 IP, 27 Saves, 52 Ks, 2.95 ERA, 1.226 WHIP) emerged as the closer but he was the only reliever on the team to finish the season ranked in the Top 100.
Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez earned team MVP honors, ranking 8th overall in the final player rankings. Gonzalez (.375 OBP, 111 Runs, 34 HR, 117 RBI, 26 SB, 135 Ks) was the top-rated outfielder in baseball.
In the first keeper draft, Give it a Yankee protected first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, catchers Joe Mauer and Mike Napoli, Kershaw and Oswalt. Inexplicably, they left their 2010 MVP, Gonzalez, off their roster and he was drafted with the second pick in the Regular Season Draft by the Bulls, Give it a Yankee’s North Division rival.
Again, the team started slow, winning just two of their first 11 series. Benzing made just one player transaction from April through the end of June and Give it a Yankee failed to make the playoffs. They finished 121-132-23, 11.5 games behind the Bulls in the North Division pennant race.
Kershaw was second in the Fantasy Cy Young rankings behind Justin Verlander. Kershaw (233.1 IP, 25 QS, 248 Ks, 2.27 ERA, 0.977 WHIP) finished the season as the fourth-rated player in fantasy league, earning team MVP honors. He led the league in ERA, WHIP and Strikeouts and was tied for second in quality starts.
Gonzalez was the team’s best hitter. Gonzalez (.409 OBP, 108 Runs, 27 HR, 117 RBI, 1 SB, 119 Ks) finished the season ranked 17th overall and fourth at first base. Francisco Cordero (69.2 IP, 37 Saves/Holds, 42 Ks, 2.45 ERA, 1.019 WHIP) emerged as the team’s closer and ranked 89 overall.
Gonazlez, Napoli, second baseman Brandon Phillips, Kershaw and starter Josh Beckett were protected in the Keeper Draft. Benzing failed to keep corner infielder Mark Reynolds, who hit 37 homers the year before.
Give it a Yankee started slowly again, winning just two of their first seven series, and Benzing gave his core group of players little help. The general manager made just seven player transactions for the entire season.
Despite the lack of help, Kershaw and third baseman David Wright carried the team. They slowly climbed back into the playoff race and challenged the Bulls for the North Division pennant, eventually finishing 129-130-17, 7.5 games behind the Bulls. The record wasn’t good enough for a playoff berth and the team settled for 10th overall.
In a year that saw hitters take the top three spots in the league’s player rankings, Kershaw was the top-rated pitcher and won the Fantasy Cy Young. Kershaw (227.2 IP, 25 QS, 229 Ks, 2.50 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) again led the league in ERA and WHIP and was tied for second in quality starts and strikeouts. He also earned team MVP honors for the second straight season.
Wright emerged as the team’s top hitter. Wright (.391 OBP, 91 Runs, 21 HR, 93 RBI, 15 SB, 112 Ks) ranked 21st in the final player rankings and fifth at his position. Chris Perez (57.2 IP, 39 Saves/Holds, 59 Ks, 3.58 ERA, 1.127 WHIP) emerged as the team’s best relief pitcher.
In a surprise start to the season, Benzing dealt slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to Matt Patchell and High Cheese in exchange for another frontline starting pitcher, Jered Weaver. In April, Benzing shrewdly added exciting rookie hurler Jose Fernandez and in May he added Michael Wacha. By the time the season ended, Give it a Yankee had made 23 player transactions, the most in team history. The influx of talent helped the team earn a playoff berth, despite another slow start that saw them lose four of their first five series.
With Fernandez, Weaver and Kershaw leading the rotation and young second baseman Jason Kipnis hitting, Give it a Yankee challenged Bacon at Mile 11 for the North Division pennant. Over the last five weeks, Give it a Yankee lost just one series and finished 149-134-16, just 5.5 games behind Bacon. In the playoffs, they lost the consolation semifinal to High Cheese and then lost the seventh place game to HUMA to finish eighth.
Kershaw claimed his first Fantasy MVP and his second Fantasy Cy Young in a dominating season. Kershaw (236 IP, 27 QS, 232 Ks, 1.83 ERA, 0.915 WHIP) led the league in strikeouts, WHIP, Quality Starts and ERA and finished second in Innings Pitched.
Fernandez (172.2 IP, 20 QS, 187 Ks, 2.18 ERA, 0.978 WHIP) gave Give it a Yankee a one-two punch at the top of the rotation. He finished the season ranked 8th overall and fifth among starting pitchers and was named Rookie of the Year. Kipnis was the team’s best hitter. Kipnis (.365 OBP, 86 Runs, 17 HR, 84 RBI, 23 NSB, 10 GIDP, 143 Ks) finished the season as the fourth highest rated second baseman and 39th overall.
Give it a Yankee committed to pitching in 2014. They kept Kipnis and then it was four starting pitchers – Kershaw, Fernandez, Wacha and Wainwright. They lost Fernandez in May as he underwent Tommy John surgery. Benzing made just nine transactions on the season but did add a pair of quality bats in outfielder Charlie Blackmon and second baseman Dee Gordon.
Kershaw did it again in 2014, winning both the MVP title as the league’s highest rated player and the Fantasy Cy Young. Kershaw (198.1 IP, 24 QS, 239 Ks, 1.76 ERA, 0.857 WHIP) led the league in ERA and WHIP, and finished third in strikeouts. Wainwright (227 IP, 25 QS, 7.096 K/9, 2.37 ERA, 1.030 WHIP) finished 18th in the final player rankings and seventh in starting pitcher rankings.
Blackmon (.334 OBP, 82 Runs, 19 HR, 72 RBI, 18 NSB, 3 GIDPs, 96 Ks) was the team’s top hitter, ranking 36th overall and seventh among outfielders.
Give it a Yankee finished 140-131-15, 24 games behind Bacon at Mile 11 in the North Division. The team lost six of its last nine series but limped into the playoffs as the seventh seed. That’s when they caught fire, upsetting the Lower Haighters 8-5 in the quarterfinals before losing to Twinkle Toes in the semifinal They finished with a victory over A-Rod’s Mirrors in the third place game, securing their highest finish in league history.
Give it a Yankee kept Kershaw, Wainwright, Blackmon, Gordon, and designated hitter Victor Martinez. In the first three months of the season, the team won just one series and Benzing made just five player transactions the entire season.
Kershaw (246.1 IP, 29 QS, 301 Ks, 2.15 ERA, 0.880 WHIP) claimed his third consecutive MVP and Fantasy Cy Young award, ranking first in Innings Pitched and Strikeouts, third in ERA, WHIP and Quality Starts. At one point during the season, he threw three straight scoreless starts and he was the first pitcher in MBL history to throw back-to-back scoreless starts without issuing a walk.
Blackmon (681 PA, .796 OPS, 93 Runs, 58 RBI, 30 NSB, 112 Ks) finished with a Top 25 season and was the league’s fifth-rated outfielder. He has emerged as the team’s primary hitting threat.
Give it a Yankee finished under .500 again in 2015. Despite the brilliance of Kershaw, they finished 111-146-7, 45.5 games behind Bacon at Mile 11 in the North Division pennant race. They finished the season 13th.
Hapamon went 3-5-3 to start the season and was able to forge ties with Bacon at Mile 11 and Buster Hugs, a pair of playoff teams. The last half of the season was a disaster, as the team won just two series. In Week 14, the team suffered its worst loss of the season, an 11-1-1 humiliation at the hands of Home Run 101. Hapamon went 2-6-2 against North Division foes.
Kershaw (149 IP, 17 QS, 1.69 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 17 QS) earned team MVP honors for the fourth season, ranking third in the final player rankings despite missing time with injury. He led the team in ERA, WHIP, and K/9.
Blackmon (641 PA, .933 OPS, 111 Runs, 82 RBI, 8 NSB, 102 Ks) was Mr.Consistent, earning his second straight Top 25 season. He led the teams in runs scored and OPS and ended 2016 as the league’s 25th-rated player.
Yelich (659 PA, .859 OPS, 78 Runs, 98 RBI, 5 NSB, 138 Ks) led the team in RBI and was a draft day steal for Kirkbride. Yelich was taken in the ninth round with the 141st pick and finished as the 74th-rated player.
Kirkbride added just 11 free agents over the course of the season but nearly found a keeper in reliever Chris Devenski, who finished as the league’s 84th-rated player.
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.