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.
Another season, another playoff appearance. It’s becoming routine for the JetSetters and General Manager David Kahn. They’ve qualified for postseason play the last three seasons and five of the league’s seven seasons.
The team’s playoff pedigree can’t be questioned but despite all of the postseason appearances, the JetSetters don’t have a championship. The team’s only championship appearance occurred in 2011, when they lost to the Lower Haighters.
Veteran first baseman Joey Votto is the cornerstone of the franchise. He was chosen in the third round in the league’s 2010 draft. Young second baseman D.J. LeMahieu and outfielder Starling Marte provide additional offensive punch.
Kahn’s team is a perennial favorite to qualify for the playoffs and challenge for the South Division crown.
Los Angeles Dodgers fan Michelle Perry was the original general manager for True Blue. She was the only Dodgers fan in a league full of Giants. She drafted Ryan Braun, Ian Kinsler, Votto, Jayson Werth and Jose Reyes with her first five picks. She added Billy Butler, Josh Hamilton and Ricky Nolasco but had no Dodger stars on that first team.
True Blue was inconsistent at the beginning of the season but won four of their last five series. A crushing loss to Give it a Yankee cost the team a playoff berth. True Blue finished 133-129-14 and ninth overall. Perry acquired six free agents during the season and traded Braun to the Lower Haighters for Jason Hayward and reliever Arthur Rhodes.
The offense was built around speed. Michael Bourn led True Blue with 52 stolen bases while Reyes, Franklin Gutierrez and Chris Young all had 25+ SBs. Votto led the team in home runs (37) RBI (113) and was tied for the lead in run scored (106). He earned team MVP honors, ranking fifth overall.
Starting pitching wasn’t nearly as strong. No starter eclipsed 200 innings pitched or 20 quality starts. Paul Maholm and Nolasco led the team with 16 quality starts but Maholm had a 5.10 ERA and Nolasco 4.51. Andrew Bailey, Brian Fuentes and Juan Carlos Oviedo anchored a strong bullpen. Oviedo was the team leader with 30 saves.
Perry renamed her team HUMA in 2011. She says it best reflected how she managed it in her first year of fantasy baseball (Head Up My A….) She protected Votto, Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Hayward and Werth then drafted Jon Lester, Ted Lilly and Miguel Montero with her first three picks in the Regular Season Draft.
HUMA opened the season with three straight wins but didn’t win another series until Week 9. They closed the season by winning three of their final four to win the South Division with a 141-111-24 record. They beat the Bulls to win the championship semifinals but lost the championship series to the Lower Haighters. Still, it was an amazing turnaround for a general manager that added just five free agents the year before.
Beltre led HUMA in homers (32) and RBI (105) while Votto was tops in runs (101) and OBP (.416). Votto earned his second team MVP award, finishing 19th overall in the final player rankings. HUMA had three starters pitch 200+ innings with Ervin Santana leading the staff in innings pitched (228.2) and quality starts (21). Joel Hanrahan became the team closer and finished with a team-high 40 saves.
Perry and HUMA went from the penthouse to the outhouse in one season. After advancing to the championship season in 2011, they finished last in the South Division in 2012 with a 122-136-18 record. They lost six of their first nine series even though Perry was actively managing the team, acquiring 12 free agents during the season.
She protected Votto, Beltre, Hamilton, Jon Lester and outfielder Peter Bourjos. A knee injury to Votto derailed the team. The team’s two-time MVP tore ligaments sliding into third base and landed on the DL on July 15. He didn’t return until early September.
Ben Revere and second baseman Jose Altuve gave the team speed. They combined for 73 stolen bases. With Votto injured, Hamilton earned team MVP honors. He ranked 17th in the league’s final player rankings and led HUMA in home runs (43), RBI (128) and runs (103). Jordan Zimmerman was the top starting pitcher and led HUMA with 24 quality starts. Sean Marshall was a dependable setup man with 22 holds while Jansen led HUMA with 25 saves.
In Perry’s last season as general manager, HUMA qualified for the consolation playoffs. The team was built around Hamilton, Beltre, Votto, young catcher Wilin Rosario and Jansen. Perry kept the five stars and added veteran pitcher CC Sabathia, Brett Lawrie and Shin-soo Choo in the Regular Season Draft.
Six players hit 20+ homers, led by Beltre’s 30. Votto (101) and Choo (107) both surpassed 100 runs while Altuve and Alcides Escobar both had 22 stolen bases. Six relievers had 15+ net saves/holds with Jansen leading the ‘pen with 40. He also led the team with more than 13 strikeouts per nine innings. Mike Minor and Derek Holland were the only starters to top 200 innings pitched with Minor earning 23 quality starts.
HUMA won nine of their last 12 series to finish 138-145-16 and finish seventh in the league. They lost their consolation semifinal to A-Rod’s Mirrors but beat Give it a Yankee in the seventh place game. Jansen was dominant down the stretch, allowing just one hit in his last five innings while striking out nine hitters. He earned team MVP honors and finished the season ranked 13th in the player standings. He was the fourth-ranked relief pitcher.
Under new General Manager David Kahn the team was renamed JetSetters. Kahn was participating in his first fantasy baseball league and inherited a team that had been to the playoffs in two of the past three seasons.
Kahn protected Choo, Votto, Jansen, Beltre and starting pitcher Marco Estrada in his first Keeper Draft. He added Hisashi Iwakuma, reliever Steve Cishek, and Shane Victorino with his first three picks in the Regular Season Draft. Estrada had a disastrous season, allowing 29 home runs, and Kahn released him on June 16 to acquire free agent Andrew Heaney. Choo was released in September as he underwent elbow surgery. Kahn was an aggressive general manager, using all 40 of his allotted free agent acquisitions.
The JetSetters lost just three of their first 10 series and were competitive in the South Division. They won two of their next eight before rallying late to win four of their last five and grab the league’s sixth-seed in playoffs. The JetSetters finished 143-129-14 and faced division rival High Cheese in the expanded eight-team playoff format. They lost the quarterfinal series then lost the consolation semifinal to Bacon at Mile 11. Home Run 101 beat them in the seventh place game, leaving Kahn and the JetSetters 0-3 in their first playoff competition.
Jimmy Rollins led the team with 22 stolen bases but no player on the team exceeded 100 runs or RBI. George Springer was the only player to hit 20 home runs. Jansen led the JetSetters with 39 saves while Yovani Gallardo was the only starter with 20 quality starts. No starting pitcher exceeded 200 innings pitched. Jansen earned another team MVP and finished ranked 49th in the final player rankings.
Kahn and the JetSetters qualified for the playoffs for a second straight season but this time they won a playoff series. They defeated Warning Track Power in the championship quarterfinals before losing to Bacon at Mile 11 in the semifinals. They lost the third place game to the Lower Haighers to finish fourth overall. It was the best finish for the franchise since HUMA finished second in 2011.
The JetSetters finished the regular season 139-133-12, 11 games ahead of High Cheese to win the South Division pennant. It was the second pennant in the history of the franchise.
Kahn built the team around keepers Beltre, Springer, Starling Marte, Votto and Iwakuma. He drafted reliever Dellin Betances, second baseman Dustin Pedroia and catcher Yadier Molina with his first three picks in the Regular Season Draft.
Trevor Plouffe led the JetSetters with 86 RBI and was one of our players to top 80 RBI (Beltre, Marte, Votto). Votto led the Jetsetters with 90 runs and a 1.000 OPS. Marte and DJ LeMahieu each had 20 stolen bases. Betances led the team with 34 net saves/holds and combined with Zach Britton for 66 total. Dallas Keuchel was the team’s top starter, leading the team with 27 quality starts. Keuchel earned team MVP honors, finishing 11th in the league and sixth among starting pitchers.
It was a strange season for the JetSetters. They lost five of their first six series and then failed to lose a series over the next 11 weeks. The team then stumbled to the finish, losing four of their last five.
The JetSetters used the league maximum 40 transactions over the course of the season. Adding reliever Luke Gregerson in June helped solidify the bullpen. Gregerson finished with 24 net saves/holds and a 0.97 WHIP. He ended 2016 as the league’s 129th-ranked player.
The team qualified for the playoffs but lost in the opening round to Warning Track Power. The JetSetters rebounded with playoff series wins over Bacon at Mile 11 and High Cheese to finish fifth overall. It was their second straight top five finish.
The bullpen emerged as the team’s strength. Andrew Miller (74.1 IP, 1.45 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 14.89 K/9, 0 QS, 36 NSVH) led the team in ERA, WHIP, K/9 and NSVH. It was a spectacular season for Miller, who finished the season ranked fourth in the final player rankings. Alex Colome and Cody Allen combined for another 64 NSVH and finished as keeper-level players.
Votto (677 PA, 101 Runs, 97 RBI, 120 Ks, .984 OPS, 7 NSB) led the team in OPS and was the league’s 22nd-ranked player while LeMaheiu (635 PA, 104 Runs, 66 RBI, 80 Ks, .911 oPS, 4 NSB) was ranked 42nd. Outfielder George Springer led the team in runs with 116 and outfielder Adam Duvall scored a team-high 103 runs. Marte was ranked 69th in the final player rankings and led the team with 35 net stolen bases.
Kahn will need to make a tough decision with Keuchel in the keeper draft. After finishing 2015 as the team MVP, Keuchel ended the 2016 season with a 4.55 ERA and had just 168 innings pitched as he missed the final five weeks of the season with a shoulder injury.
The bad news for Let’s Play 2 was the team’s 2016 record, a miserable 91-161-12 mark that earned the team its second Wooden Spoon in the last four seasons. It was the second fewest runs recorded by a team in league history.
The good news is the roster is loaded with youthful talent. The question is, can that young talent coalesce in 2017 and deliver just the second winning season in the team’s eight-year history?
General Manager Louie Bottaro has Mookie Betts, Kris Bryant, Corey Seager, Jose Ramirez, Corey Kluber and Jose Quintana to anchor the team. The 2016 draft wasn’t kind to Let’s Play 2 as pitcher Taijuan Walker and outfielder Yasiel Puig both struggled after they were chosen with two of the team’s first six picks. Walker was chosen with the 54th pick of the drafted and ended the season ranked 504th. Puig was drafted 86th and finished 635th.
If Let’s Play 2 is going to contend in 2017, Bottaro has to surround his young talent with productive players.
This franchise began as GiantsWin2010 under the direction of General Manager Carla Baughman. First baseman Teixeira, Sabathia, Matt Wieters, Elvis Andrus and Chone Figgins were the team’s first five draft choices. Baughman proved to be an aggressive GM, adding 25 players through free agency and swinging three trades during the season.
Her first trade came on May 22 as she acquired Rajai Davis and Trevor Hoffman from the Lower Haighters in exchange for Jay Bruce. A week later, she sent Davis to the Muckrakers for Hideki Matsui. Finally, on July 5, Baughman made a second deal with the Muckrakers acquiring Madison Bumgarner for Corey Hart. Baughman would regret not keeping Bumgarner in 2011.
Teixeira was the team’s MVP. Teixeira (.365 OBP, 113 Runs, 33 HR, 108 RBI, 0 SB, 122 Ks) finished as the 14th rated player in the league. Hudson (228.2 IP, 25 QS, 139 Ks, 2.83 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) was the team’s ace and turned in a Top 50 season, ranking 47th overall. The bullpen was the team’s weakness. Rafael Betancourt (62.1 IP, 24 Holds/Saves, 89 Ks, 3.61 ERA, 0.96 WHIP) and Jose Valverde were the only relievers to reach double-digits in saves/holds.
GiantsWin2010 finished their first season 122-134-20, 28 games behind Las Bolas Buenas in the Giants-Dodgers Slugfest Division.
Baughman renamed the team The Cys and built around Hudson, Sabathia, Teixeira, Jonathan Sanchez and Andrus. Sanchez was coming off a solid 2010 campaign that saw him throw 193.1 innings with a 3.07 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. Baughman remained a busy GM, adding 31 free agents during the season while making another trade with the Lower Haighters, acquiring reliever Carlos Marmol for Jair Jurrjens.
The Cys opened the season with just one series win in the first seven weeks and ended it with three straight losses. Not surprisingly, they finished last in the South Division with a 131-133-12 record.
Teixeira (.341 OBP, 90 Runs, 39 HR, 111 RBI, 4 SB, 110 Ks) was again the team MVP while CJ Wilson (223.1 IP, 23 QS, 206 Ks, 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) was the top starting pitcher. Antonio Bastardo (58 IP, 25 Saves/Holds, 70 Ks, 2.64 ERA, 0.93 WHIP) emerged as the team closer.
The Cys opened the season by winning eight of their first 12 series. They finished with a 141-122-13 record, their first winning season, and a playoff berth. The Cys struggled in the postseason, losing the consolation semifinal to the Jersey Boys and losing the seventh place game to the Mirrors.
Wilson, Sabathia, and Andrus again formed the nucleus of the team but Baughman parted ways with the club’s two-time MVP, Teixeira. Instead, she protected young first baseman Brandon Belt and catcher Carlos Santana. Scully’s Slammers made Teixeira the first pick in the Regular Season Draft but he struggled to stay healthy in 2012.
On May 30, Baughman made a blockbuster deal, sending her ace, Sabathia, to the Lower Haighters for slugger Adam Dunn. In addition, the Cys claimed 24 free agents during the season.
A big reason for the team’s success was the bullpen. Aroldis Chapman and Fernando Rodney combined for 92 saves/holds. Rodney (74.2 IP, 48 Saves, 76 Ks, 0.60 ERA, 0.78 WHIP) finished the season ranked eighth and was the top-rated reliever in the league. He earned MVP honors for the Cys.
The team’s weakness was starting pitching. AJ Burnett (202.1 IP, 20 QS, 180 Ks, 3.51 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) was the team’s highest-ranked starter at 186th. At the plate, Dunn hit 41 homers and drove in 96 runs but struck out 222 times.
One year after Baughman led the Cys to their first playoff berth, the team suffered through its worst season in franchise history. They finished 113-163-23 and 48 games behind the South Division pennant winners, Los Coches Bomba.
Baughman protected Belt, shortstop Starlin Castro, Santana, Chapman and starting pitcher Yu Darvish. Baughman was again busy in free agency, adding 18 players to the roster during the season. She also made three trades. On April 2, she traded reliever Chris Perez to the Eephus Monkeys for starting pitcher Tommy Hanson. On May 12, She traded reliever Joaquin Benoit to the Lower Haighters for utility infielder Martin Prado and on June 24 she sent second baseman Rickie Weeks to High Cheese for Josh Rutledge. By the end of August, Baughman had released Rutledge to make room for corner infielder Todd Frazier.
While the team struggled, Darvish (209.2 IP, 21 QS, 11.89 K/9, 2.83 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) was sensational. He finished the season ranked fourth overall and second in the Fantasy Cy Young race behind Clayton Kershaw. Belt (.360 OBP, 76 Runs, 17 HR, 67 RBI, 3 NSB, 4 GIDP, 125 Ks) was the team’s best hitter while Chapman and Glen Perkins anchored the bullpen.
This would be Baughman’s last season at the helm of the Cys. She protected Darvish, Chapman, Belt, Santana and first baseman Allen Craig in the Keeper Draft. In the Regular Season Draft she added young talent including Matt Harvey, Castro, Carlos Gomez and Billy Hamilton.
Baughman found her frequent trading partner, Matt Patchell and High Cheese, before the season’s first pitch was thrown. She sent relievers Jim Henderson and Huston Street to High Cheese for starter Corey Kluber. On May 1, Baughman made her last trade with the Cys, sending shortstop Jimmy Rollins to David Kahn and the JetSetters for starting pitcher Dillon Gee.
The Kluber deal was brilliant. Kluber (235.2 IP, 26 QS, 10.27 K/9, 2.44 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) finished 2014 ranked fourth overall and earned team MVP honors. Chapman ranked 17th and led the team with 34 net saves/holds. Gomez (.356 OBP, 95 Runs, 23 HR, 73 RBI, 22 NSB, 10 GIDP, 141 Ks) led the Cys at the plate and ranked 34th.
The second half of the season was difficult, as the Cys won just three of their last 11 series. They finished Baughman’s final season with a 118-155-13 record, 41 games behind the South Division pennant winners, High Cheese.
Lifelong Cubs fan Louie Bottaro became general manager and renamed the team Let’s Play 2. Bottaro protected Gomez, Hamilton, Castro, Darvish and Kluber in the Keeper Draft. He then added Betts, Bryant and veteran third baseman Evan Longoria in the Regular Season Draft.
Bottaro’s management style differed significantly from Baughman’s. He didn’t make any trades and added just 10 free agents during the season.
The results were similar, as Let’s Play 2 failed to make the playoffs and finished the season 120-135-9, 20.5 games behind the South Division pennant winners, the JetSetters.
Betts (654 PA, .820 OPS, 92 Runs, 77 RBI, 15 NSB, 82 Ks) earned team MVP honors. He ended the season ranked 27th overall and third among the league’s second basemen. Kluber (222 IP, 19 QS, 9.93 K/9, 3.49 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) was the staff ace while Shawn Tolleson led the team with 39 net saves/holds.
Betts was better than team MVP for Let’s Play 2 in 2016, he was the league MVP. Betts (730 PA, .897 OPS, 122 Runs, 113 RBI, 22 NSB, 80 Ks). Unfortunately, Betts couldn’t carry the team and Let’s Play 2 posted just two series wins in the first three months of the season. Betts did lead the team in plate appearances, runs scored, RBIs, and net stolen bases.
Bryant (699 PA, .939 OPS, 121 Runs, 102 RBI, 3 NSB, 154 Ks) led the team in OPS and finished one RBI shy of Betts for the team lead. He finished 2016 as the league’s 15th-ranked player.
Kluber (215.0, 22 QS, 9.5 K/9, 3.14 ERA, 1.06 WHIP) led the team in innings pitched and finished second behind Quintana in quality starts. He finished 19th in the league’s player rankings in 2016.
While Let’s Play 2 made just 10 free agent acquisitions in 2015, GM Bottaro was even more frugal in 2016. The team made just three transactions on the season and none after May 23.
Brilliant pitching by Jon Lester, a solid bullpen, and clutch hits by Freddie Freeman and Ian Desmond led High Cheese to its second South Division pennant in three years in 2016. But general managers Matt and Zach Patchell are looking for more after watching their team get upset in the first round and finish a disappointing sixth overall.
The 149-106-9 record was the team’s best since 2014, when the team finished 157-122-17. The 2016 team was also markedly better than the 2015 version, that went 131-127-6. When you consider that just one of Patchell’s five protected players in 2016 reached keeper status, 2016 was indeed a remarkable season.
Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Kyle Schwarber, and Lorenzo Cain were all keepers for High Cheese and all failed to finish in the Top 80 in the league’s final player rankings. The team’s production came from Lester (6th round pick), relievers Aroldis Chapman (9th round), Roberto Osuna (16th round), Dellin Betances (12th round) and Desmond (10th round).
High Cheese won six of their first seven series, including a 10-2 win over Home Run 101 and a 10-1 win over division rival Let’s Play 2. Winning in the division was the key to the team’s success. High Cheese went 8-1-1 against South Division opponents.
Despite the team’s regular success, the 9-3 upset loss to Land Shark in the first round of the playoffs and an 8-4 loss to their South Division rivals, the JetSetters, in the fifth-place game was a disappointing finish to the 2016 season for High Cheese.
That first team struggled to a 119-135-22 finish. They were last in the Dodgers Slugfest Division, 30 games behind Las Bolas Buenas. The team didn’t win a series through the first two months of the season and eventually finished 11th, but it wasn’t for lack of trying by the general manager. Patchell made 25 player transactions during the losing streak in an attempt to stop the bleeding. That included a five-player deal with the Homerun Newbies that saw the Muckrakers ship J.D. Drew and Brian Duensing to the Newbies for Aubrey Huff, Chone Figgins and Miguel Tejada. The deal bit the Muckrakers as Huff finished the season ranked in the Top 25.
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (.381 OBP, 89 Runs, 27 HR, 95 RBI, 11 SB, 78 Ks) earned team MVP honors. He ranked 18th overall in the final player rankings and second to Hanley Ramirez at shortstop. Chris Carpenter (235 IP, 25 QS, 179 Ks, 3.22 ERA and 1.18 WHIP) was the team ace while Jonathan Papelbon (67 IP, 37 Saves, 76 Ks, 3.90 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) was the closer.
Patchell changed the name of his team to High Cheese and kept Tulowitzki, Howard, Uggla, Carpenter and Gio Gonzalez in the first Keeper Draft. But it didn’t take long for the wheeling-and-dealing Patchell to go to work on his roster.
On April 2, Patchell and Eric Brown made a four-player swap that saw High Cheese send Uggla and Wade Davis to Bacon at Mile 11 for Chone Figgins and starting pitcher Jered Weaver. Weaver (235.2 IP, 28 QS, 198 Ks, 2.41 ERA, 1.01 WHIP) finished as the team MVP, ranking 10th overall and fourth among starting pitchers.
On May 21 Patchell dealt starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin to Carolyn Greene and the Bulls for third baseman Casey McGehee. Patchell then turned to his earlier trading partner, Brown, for two more player swaps. On July 29, High Cheese sent third baseman David Freese to Bacon for outfielder Jose Tabata. Two days later, in one of the biggest trades in league history, Patchell dealt all-star shortstop Tulowitzki and relievers Mark Melancon and Nick Massett to Bacon for shortstop Hanley Ramirez and relievers Alexi Ogando and Jordan Walden.
By the time the dust settled, Patchell had made maxed out his 40 player transactions not counting the unlimited trades allowable.
High Cheese improved on the field, finishing 143-115-18, and was involved in one of the closest pennant races in league history. A 9-1 loss to HUMA in Week 22 doomed High Cheese, who ended the season one game behind Los Coches Bomba for the South Division pennant. The teams met in the first consolation semifinal series where Los Coches Bomba prevailed again, 7-4. High Cheese rallied in the seventh place game to defeat A-Rod’s Mirrors.
Victor Martinez (.380 OBP, 76 Runs, 12 HR, 103 RBI, 1 SB, 51 Ks) was the team’s top hitter, finishing 49th in the final player rankings while John Axford (73.2 IP, 46 Saves, 86 Ks, 1.95 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) was the closer.
After the wheeling and dealing the year before, Patchell protected Ramirez, outfielder Jay Bruce, Weaver, Axford and Gonzalez in the 2012 Keeper Draft. High Cheese added Adam Wainwright, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, and outfielder Adam Jones in the Regular Season Draft.
Patchell’s squad didn’t lose a series in the season’s first five weeks but followed that up by winning just one of the next seven. High Cheese was doomed when they lost four of their final six. They finished 122-130-24, third in the South Division and 22.5 games behind pennant-winning Los Coches Bomba, failing to make the playoffs.
Weaver (188.2 IP, 21 QS, 142 Ks, 2.81 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) again earned team MVP honors while Jones (.334 OBP, 103 Runs, 32 HR, 82 RBI, 16 SB, 126 Ks) emerged as the team’s top hitter. Ryan Cook (73.1 IP, 34 Saves/Holds, 80 Ks, 2.09 ERA, 0.94 WHIP) became the team stopper in the bullpen.
Patchell couldn’t find a dance partner when it came to trades in 2012 but he was still active on the free agent market, making the maximum 40 player transactions.
High Cheese finished 154-129-16, 10.5 games behind Los Coches Bomba in the South Division pennant race. They lost three of their first five series but put together a seven-week unbeaten streak from Weeks 12-18. They defeated Give it a Yankee 11-2 in the consolation semifinals before losing to A-Rod’s Mirrors 10-3 in the fifth place series.
Patchell protected Ramirez, Weaver, Jones, Gonzalez and Bruce in the Keeper Draft and added young first baseman Freddie Freeman with their seventh pick. As soon as the draft was finished, Patchell began his annual horse trading.
On April 2, he dealt the team’s ace and two-time MVP, Weaver, to Brian Benzing and Give it a Yankee for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. On June 24, he sent second baseman Rickie Weeks to Carla Baughman and the Cys for infielder Josh Rutledge and on Aug. 2 he traded starting pitcher Jarrod Parker and reliever Trevor Rosenthal to Twinkle Toes for utility Matt Carpenter.
Carpenter (.392 OBP, 126 Runs, 11 HR, 78 RBI, 0 NSB, 4 GIDP, 98 Ks) earned team MVP honors. He finished ranked 22nd overall and was the top-rated second baseman. Gonzalez was the team’s top starter but the rotation was a weak spot for High Cheese. Gonzalez (195.2 IP, 21 QS, 8.83 K/9, 3.36 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) finished the season ranked 140th in the final player rankings. Luke Gregerson (66.1 IP, 24 NSH, 8.68 K/9, 2.71 ERA, 1.01 WHIP) was the team’s top reliever and finished the season ranked 109th.
After four seasons, High Cheese finally broke through in 2014 and won the South Division pennant. They opened the season with a three-week winning streak, followed by a three-week losing streak, and followed again by a three-week winning streak. But beginning in Week 10, High Cheese took off, losing just two times in the next 13 weeks.
High Cheese finished the regular season 157-112-17, the third best mark in the league. In the newly expanded eight-team playoff format, High Cheese defeated the JetSetters in the quarterfinals and then beat the A-Rod’s Mirrors in the semifinals. They lost a very close championship series to Twinkle Toes to finish second.
Jones, Ellsbury, Carpenter, Freeman, and Ramirez were protected in the Keeper Draft while pitchers Mike Minor and Tehran were added with the first two picks of the Regular Season Draft. Patchell made two trades early in the season. On March 27, he sent starting pitcher Corey Kluber to the Cys in exchange for relievers, Jim Henderson and Huston Street. Kluber would finish fourth the final player rankings. On April 15 he swapped starting pitchers with A-Rod’s Mirrors, receiving Tyler Skaggs in exchange for Henderson Alvarez. He released Skaggs on Aug. 30. Predictably, Patchell maxed out on the 40 allowable free agent acquisitions.
Ellsbury (.328 OBP, 71 Runs, 16 HR, 70 RBI, 34 NSB, 9 GIDP, 93 Ks) earned team MVP honors, ranking 38th overall in the final player rankings. Teheran (221 IP, 25 QS, 7.57 K/9, 2.89 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) finished as the top starter for High Cheese, ranked 56th overall. Street (59.1 IP, 38 NSVH, 8.65 K/9, 1.37 ERA, 0.94 WHIP) ranked 53rd overall
After their record-setting 2014 season, High Cheese failed to make the playoffs in 2015. They were in championship form to open the season, winning their first five series, but they collapsed down the stretch, winning just one time in the last eight weeks. They ended 2015 with a 131-127-6 record, 11 games behind South Division pennant winners, the JetSetters.
Jones, Ramirez, Ellsbury, Freeman and catcher Devin Mesoraco were protected in the Keeper Draft while young talent like Jorge Soler, Manny Machado and Rusney Castillo were added in the Regular Season Draft. Machado will forever epitomize the 2015 season for High Cheese.
On June 13, as Machado was in the midst of a breakout campaign, Patchell traded him to A-Rod’s Mirrors for journeyman starter Wei-Yin Chen. It will do down as one of the worst trades in league history. Machado finished the season ranked 16th overall and second to Josh Donaldson at third base. Chen finished 222nd. Machado was ranked higher than all but one High Cheese player at season’s end – team MVP Lorenzo Cain.
Cain (604 PA, .838 OPS, 101 Runs, 72 RBI, 22 NSB, 98 Ks) was the third ranked outfielder in the league at season’s end. In many ways, you can’t blame Patchell for trying to swing a deal for another starter, as his pitching staff was leaking oil all summer. Tyson Ross (196 IP, 21 QS, 9.73 K/9, 3.26 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) was the team ace and he finished 2015 ranked 127th overall and 55th at his position. The ever-reliable Sergio Romo and Kevin Jepsen led the bullpen with 34 Net Saves/Holds apiece.
Lester (202.2 IP, 26 QS, 8.75 K/9 , 2.44 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) was the team’s star. Lester led High Cheese in quality starts and ERA and WHIP for starters. He finished the season as the league’s 6th-ranked player.
Chapman (58 IP, 33 NSVH, 13.97 K/9, 1.55 ERA, 0.86 WHIP) led a dominating bullpen that saw three pitchers earn 30 or more net saves/holds. Four members of the ‘pen had K/9’s over 10. Chapman, Osuna, and Shawn Kelley all had WHIP’s less than 1.00.
Desmond (677 PA, .781 OPS, 107 Runs, 86 RBI, 15 NSB, 160 Ks) led the team in runs scored and finished the season ranked 64th in the final player rankings. Freeman (693 PA, .969 OPS, 102 Runs, 91 RBI, 5 NSB, 171 Ks) led the team in plate appearances and OPS and ranked 46th at season’s end.
High Cheese is annually one of the league’s most active on the waiver wire but in 2016, the team added just 19 free agents. Relatively good health and production mitigated the need to add players. Adding outfielder Angel Pagan on April 10 was an excellent move, as Pagan ended 2016 ranked 148th overall.
Jenni Kirk Sorrow, one of the most successful general managers in the history of the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League, has left Los Coches Bomba and she’s being replaced by Jen Valdivia. Valdivia has no experience managing a fantasy baseball team and will face a big decision on one of the team’s top players in the keeper draft.
First baseman Miguel Cabrera, second baseman Robinson Cano and outfielder Andrew McCutchen are the core of the franchise. All three were chosen by the team in the league’s inaugural 2010 draft.
Unlike other stars in the league, The Big Three have delivered championship rings. Bomba won its first title in 2012, a season that saw the Big Three ranked in the Top 20 in the race for league MVP. Another championship was won in 2013.
But age may be catching up to the trio. The team hasn’t made the playoffs in three years and McCutchen finished the 2016 season as the league’s 206th-ranked player. The Pittsburgh outfielder certainly didn’t look like a keeper-level player by the end of the season.
Cabrera, McCutchen and Cano are aging, but are they past their prime? Do they have one more run in them and can a rookie general manager guide this aging team into the playoffs? It’s certainly possible, but a championship won’t come as easy as it did four years ago. During the title runs of 2012-13, Bomba averaged just six player transactions per year. As general manager, Jenni made just one trade in the first six seasons. If the Big Three is going to win, management is going to need to surround them with talent.
The evolution of Bomba began with this draft. Cabrera came in the first round, Cano in the fourth, and McCutchen in the sixth. The Big Three was formed and they continue to be the engine that powers the team. In 2010, Cabrera blasted 38 homers and drove in 126 runs and finished third in the league MVP race. Cano was the league’s highest-rated second baseman, knocking in 109 runs and scoring 103.
Bomba finished the regular season with a league-best 149-105-22 record and won their division by a whopping 20 games. They entered the playoffs as the top seed but failed to win a playoff series, finishing fourth overall.
While Bomba has thump in the lineup, starting pitching has always been an afterthought. That was certainly the case in 2011 when the team did not have a starting pitcher ranked in the Top 100 player rankings at the end of the season. Ryan Vogelsong (179.2 IP, 19 QS, 139 Ks, 2.71 ERA , 1.25 WHIP) was the team’s ace and he was a free agent acquisition. In fact, of the seven starting pitchers on the final roster at season’s end, Mat Latos was the only one drafted.
The lack of starting pitching was a culprit in the team’s 128-129-19 record. Bomba finished 15.5 games behind HUMA in the South Division pennant race. Despite another season that saw Cabrera finish as the league’s top-rated first baseman and a Top 10 player overall, Bomba lost three of their first four series and never recovered.
Entering the season, Jenni kept The Big Three, third baseman Pablo Sandoval and starting pitcher Brandon Beachy. On draft day, the focus again turned to offense, as Matt Garza and Derek Holland were the only starting pitchers added in the team’s first 10 picks. But unlike 2011, this team was able to bash its way to the top of the standings.
They opened the season with three straight series victories and won seven of their first 10. They finished with the league’s best record at 145-108-23. Cabrera finished second in the league MVP race, slugging 44 homers and driving in 139 runs. McCutchen scored 107 runs and knocked in 96, finishing the season ranked ninth overall and third among outfielders. Veterans Yadier Molina and Jimmy Rollins also played key roles.
For the second time in three seasons, Bomba entered the playoffs as the top seed. This time, they avoided upsets with narrow victories over the Bulls and Scully’s Slammers to win their first championship.
Bomba won their third South Division title in four years and finished with the league’s second best record at 161-115-23. From late June through early August, the team won eight of 10 series and finished 10.5 games ahead of High Cheese in the South Division pennant race.
Cabrera (103 Runs, 44 HR, 137 RBI, .442 OBP, 3 NSB, 94 Ks, 19 GIDP) continued to play at an elite level, finishing as the season’s third-ranked player but this time he had help on the mound. Young Matt Harvey pitched 178.1 innings, earned 20 quality starts, and finished with a 2.27 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 9.64 strikeouts per nine innings. Harvey was the league’s fourth-rated starting pitcher and sixth-rated player overall. Hisashi Iwakuma was also a Top 15 player and led the team with 219.2 innings, 23 quality starts, and a 2.66 ERA.
With a combination of hitting and pitching, Bomba had no trouble beating Bacon at Mile 11 in the semifinals and the Lower Haighters in the finals to win their second straight championship.
For two seasons, Jenni set Bomba on cruise control and watched the team win two championships. In 2012, she made just seven transactions. The next year, she made just six. In 2014, the team blew up and management was MIA.
It started with the pitching staff. Matt Harvey, the team’s young star, underwent elbow surgery and didn’t pitch an inning. Veteran C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda were the only starters drafted in the team’s first 10 picks. Sabathia made just eight starts before his season ended with knee surgery while Kuroda pitched 199 innings and led the team with 21 quality starts but was far from overwhelming, striking out just 6.6 batters per nine innings. Scott Feldman, Tim Hudson and Jake Peavy were forced to carry the staff as Jenni made just six player transactions the entire season.
And the Big Three weren’t as big as they had been in the past. Cabrera and Cano fell out of the Top 50 in player rankings. They were good, but they weren’t great.
Without their stars hitting on all cylinders, their pitching staff in tatters, and management asleep at the wheel, Bomba finished last in the standings and earned their first Wooden Spoon. They lost eight of their last 11 series and ended the season 44 games behind High Cheese in the division race with a 114-157-15 record.
Despite the 2014 collapse, Bomba not only stuck to the same game plan during the draft, they took it to a whole another level. Gio Gonzalez and Mike Minor were the only starting pitchers drafted. Management scrambled, adding five free agent starters in April but Minor didn’t pitch an inning during the year due shoulder surgery and Gonzalez pitched 175.2 innings with a 3.79 ERA and 1.42 WHIP.
Once again, the season went down in flames sparked by a combustible pitching staff. Not surprisingly, the team dropped three of their first four series as they cobbled together starters but they eventually righted the ship and by midseason were contending for a playoff berth. But, for the second straight season, the team wilted in the late summer heat, winning just two series in the second half. Bomba limped home to a 101-152-11 record and a second straight last place finish in the South Division.
McCutchen, Cabrera and relievers Cody Allen and David Robertson were the team’s only players to finish ranked in the Top 100. The Big Three slowly continued their descent down the player rankings and it appears their window of opportunity may be closing.
A new leader emerged for Bomba in 2016 and his name was Thor. New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard was the team’s highest-rated player. Syndergaard (183.2 IP, 2.60 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 10.68 K/9, 20 QS, and 1 N/SH) was the league’s 20th rated player at the end of 2016. He led the team in quality starts and WHIP and had the lowest ERA and K/9 of any starter on the team.
Despite his brilliance, Syndergaard couldn’t carry the team over the last two months of the season. Bomba won just two series to close out 2016 and finished under .500 for the third straight year with a 121-124-19 record. Management continued its “hands-off” approach to the team, adding just four players to the roster over the course of the season.
While McCutchen struggled, Cano and Cabrera had resurgent seasons. Cano (715 PA, 107 Runs, 103 RBI, 100 Ks, .883 OPS, -1 NSB) led the team in plate appearances and runs scored and finished 2016 as the league’s 28th-ranked player. Cabrera (679 PA, 92 Runs, 108 RBI, 116 Ks, .956 OPS, 0 NSB) led the team in OPS and was the league’s 29th-ranked player. Veteran first baseman Hanley Ramirez (620 PA, 81 Runs, 111 RBI, 120 Ks, .866 OPS, 6 NSB) thrived in Boston and led the team in RBI.
The starting pitching hurt Bomba. Jorge De La Rosa, Gio Gonzalez, Luis Perdomo, Scott Kazmir and Edinson Volquez all had ERA’s above 4.50. If Bomba is going to make another championship run, they’ll need better pitching.