A pair of Western Division rivals face off in a winner-take-all week’s worth of fantasy baseball to crown the 2016 SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League champion.
General Manager Elizabeth Gravely defied odds and guided the No. 8-seeded Menehunes to the championship series in her first playoff appearance. It was quite a turnaround season for the Menehunes, who finished 15th in the league standings last season with a 99-151-14 record.
This will be the fourth appearance for the Lower Haighters in the championship series. They played in 2010, 2011 and 2013, winning the championship in 2011 with the best record in league history. This year’s team struggled with inconsistency and injuries. The Haighters finished 142-118-8, the league’s fourth best record, but were lucky to advance past the first round as they tied Buster Hugs (the Haighters owned the tiebreaker). The team entered the postseason having used all of its 40 free agent moves.
Now it all comes down to seven days of baseball.
Lower Haighters vs Marin Menehunes
The season series couldn’t have been much closer. The Lower Haighters won two of the three meetings but the teams finished 17-17-2 against each other. The Menehunes beat the Haighters 9-2-1 in Week 21 as Rick Porcello tossed a pair of quality starts, Wil Meyers knocked in eight runs, and Adam Eaton scored nine times. The Haighters finished that series with a 6.41 ERA and a .640 OPS.
Pitching: Porcello killed the Lower Heighters when they last met and he’s been hot in the playoffs. He has three quality starts over the last two weeks, striking out 22 batters over 23.2 innings. Porcello has a 2.31 ERA and 0.73 WHIP in that stretch. James Paxton has two quality starts in the playoffs for the Lower Haighters. Paxton has allowed just three runs over his 14 postseason innings, striking out 16 batters.
Hitting: The Menehunes have two of the hottest bats in the playoffs entering this series, outfielder Odubel Herrera and third baseman Todd Frazier. Herrera is hitting .435 with a 1.176 OPS during the postseason. He’s scored 13 runs and has five net stolen bases. Frazier has knocked in 10 runs, scored 12, and has a 1.080 OPS in the postseason. Veteran first baseman Carlos Santana is hitting .367 during the playoffs for the Haighters.
Land Shark vs Warning Track Power
Warning Track Power was favored to beat the Menehunes and advance to this year’s title series but were upset and will now face Land Shark for third place. The two teams played each other in Week 4 when Land Shark defeated Warning Track Power 7-5. Jeremy Hellickson and Felix Hernandez combined to pitch 14.2 scoreless innings and earn quality starts while second baseman Logan Forsythe had a 1.310 OPS.
Pitching: Veteran pitcher Dan Straily has earned three quality starts for Land Shark in the postseason. He’s allowed just six earned runs over 20.2 innings while striking out 18 batters. In the postseason, Straily has a 2.61 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. Kyle Hendricks has continued his magical season for Warning Track Power in the postseason. Hendricks has tossed a pair of quality starts with a 1.93 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, with 16 strikeouts over 14 innings.
Hitting: First baseman Paul Goldschmidt and outfielder Nelson Cruz have combined to knock in 20 runs during the fantasy playoffs for Land Shark. Cruz is hitting .302 with a 1.178 OPS while Goldschmidt has a .994 OPS and has added four net stolen bases. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is hitting .319 with a 1.046 OPS during the postseason for Warning Track Power. He has 11 RBI, seven runs scored, and three net stolen bases over the past two weeks.
JetSetters vs High Cheese
A pair of South Division foes face off in this year’s Fifth Place series. The JetSetters and High Cheese know each other well. High Cheese defeated the JetSetters 7-4-1 to open the season and just continued to beat them through the season. They swept the season series 4-0 with a combined score of 30-16-2. Cole Hamels had six quality starts for High Cheese this season against the JetSetters.
Pitching: Jon Lester has been the best player in the fantasy postseason. Period. The High Cheese starter has three quality starts, allowing just one earned run over 21.2 innings. He’s struck out 20 over that stretch. Reliever Andrew Miller hasn’t given up a run in five postseason appearances for the JetSetters. During that stretch, he’s allowed just two baserunners while striking out 10.
Hitting: First baseman Freddie Freeman is hitting .475 with a 1.367 OPS during the playoffs for High Cheese. Freeman has knocked in 13 runs over 11 games while scoring nine times. Second baseman D.J. LeMahieu is 20-for-48 with nine RBI and 10 runs scored for the JetSetters during the postseason. He has just three strikeouts in 54 postseason plate appearances.
Bacon at Mile 11 vs Buster Hugs
After finishing the season with the league’s best record, Bacon at Mile 11 is now playing in the Seventh Place series against Buster Hugs. It wasn’t supposed to go this way. Pitching is the main culprit. Luke Weaver, Tony Cingrani, Ryan Madson and Seth Lugo have all struggled. They’ll try to right the ship as they face Buster Hugs for just the second time this yer. In the first meeting, David Ortiz knocked in nine runs and Kenley Jansen had a pair of saves to lead Buster Hugs to a 7-4-1 victory in Week 8.
Pitching: One guy who has pitched well for Bacon in the postseason is Jon Gray. Over 13 innings, Gray has a quality start with a 2.77 ERA and 0.77 WHIP. He’s struck out 26 batters during that stretch. Jansen has been the consistent force at the back of the bullpen for Buster Hugs this season. It’s been no difference in the postseason, where Jansen has four saves in six appearances with a 3.00 ERA and 0.50 WHIP. He’s struck out 11 hitters over six innings.
Hitting: Outfielder Mike Trout has been Bacon’s hottest hitter in the postseason. He’s scored 10 runs over 13 games, hitting .256 with a .857 OPS and 13 walks in his last 57 plate appearances. Middle infielder Jean Segura has led Buster Hugs in the postseason, hitting .373 with a 1.174 OPS over 12 games. Segura has scored nine runs and knocked in nine more during that stretch.
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.
Marin Menehunes General Manager Elizabeth Gravely is now a league champion. She guided the Menehunes to their best regular season record in franchise history and then pulled off three improbable upsets to claim the crown.
With a regular season record of 128-122-14, the Menehunes were not a juggernaut. That’s tied for the 63rd best record in league history and was the lowest number of regular season wins recorded by a league champion. The Menehunes worked some of their island magic to become the first team to win the championship from the eight seed.
The Menehunes faced Bacon at Mile 11 in the quarterfinals, a team that recorded a league-high 149 wins in 2016. Shortstop Marcus Semien drove in 14 runs while outfielder Odubel Herrera stole a pair of bases and posted a team-high 1.312 OPS to key the upset. The Menehunes also won five of the six pitching categories as relievers Steve Cishek and Francisco Rodriguez pitched 4.2 scoreless innings and combined for five net saves/holds.
The Menehunes continued their magical run with a 9-3 semifinal series win over No. 3 seed Warning Track Power. Rick Porcello picked up a pair of quality starts in the series and finished the week with 2.31 ERA and 0.73 WHIP while Herrera and Todd Frazier continued to hit.
Finally, the Menehunes beat the Lower Haighters in the championship, 8-3-1, as Herrera earned playoff MVP honors. The Philadelphia outfielder hit .371 with a .970 OPS, scored 15 runs and had five net stolen bases during the playoffs. Porcello posted four quality starts and struck out 28 batters over 29 innings.
The championship run is a great example of how a couple of hot bats and a strong pitching performance can carry a team in head-to-head fantasy baseball.
Jay Morrison was the general manager for the Sasquatch Sluggers in the initial season. Morrison drafted Tim Lincecum, Victor Martinez, Justin Upton, Melvin Upton, Brian Roberts and David Ortiz with his first six picks. It was a difficult year for Morrison and the Sluggers.
The team finished with a 120-145-11 record. They finsihed 33.5 games behind the East-West Challenge Division champs, the Lower Haighters. Despite the team’s struggles, Morrison made just 10 free agent acquisitions during the season.
Morrison did draft a young pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, and was patient with him as he pitched 68 innings with a 2.91 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. Clay Buchholz (173.2 IP, 19 QS, 120 Ks, 2.33 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) emerged as the team MVP. Unfortunately, Buchholz, who finished the season as the league’s 66th-rated player, missed a month with a strained hamstring. Ortiz (.370 OBP, 32 HR, 86 Runs, 102 RBI, 0 SB, 145 Ks) was the team’s top hitter. He ranked 68th in the player rankings. The bullpen was a weakness as only two relief pitchers recorded saves or holds for the Sluggers.
In 2011, a new general manager took the reins, Elizabeth Gravely. Gravely protected Lincecum, 2010 team MVP Ortiz, Delmon Young, Kelly Johnson, and Buchholz. She drafted Ben Zobrist, Kevin Youkilis, and Billy Butler with her first three selections in the Regular Season Draft.
The Sluggers won their first series and then went five weeks without another victory. After losing three of their final four, the Sluggers finished 116-137-23 and 48.5 games behind the West Division winners, the Lower Haighters. Gravely was a hands-off general manager, making just four free agent acquisitions on the season.
The Sluggers didn’t replace Youkilis in the lineup after he injured a thumb in August. At the time, Youkilis was third in the major leagues with 77 runs scored and led all major leaguers with a .798 slugging percentage. Young outfielder Domonic Brown broke his hamate bone in spring training and played in just 41 games.
Ortiz, who narrowly missed the team MVP award in 2010, secured it in 2011. Ortiz (.398 OBP, 84 Runs, 29 HR, 96 RBI, 1 SB, 83 Ks) was the league’s 28th rated player and top-rated designated hitter. Lincecum (217 IP, 23 QS, 220 Ks, 2.74 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) was the team’s top-rated pitcher. He was the league’s 45th rated player. The bullpen improved dramatically as four relievers had 10+ saves/holds led by Juan Carlos Oviedo’s 36 saves. Chris Sale also pitched 71 innings out of the ‘pen and earned 24 saves/holds.
Gravely renamed the team the Marin Menehunes entering 2012. She protected Zobrist, Asdrubal Cabrera, Butler, Johnson and Lincecum in the Keeper Draft. She drafted Shane Victorino, Cory Luebke and Nick Markakis with her first three picks of the Regular Season Draft. Gravely opted not to extend Ortiz, the team’s best player the previous two years.
Gravely was much more active in free agency, adding 29 players to the roster over the course of the season. This included Josh Reddick, Jason Grilli, Max Scherzer, Buchholz, Kris Medlen and Josh Donaldson.
The Menehunes won five of their first seven series and became a playoff contender. They also ended the season by winning five of their last seven and finished with the first winning season in franchise history. The Menehunes were 131-129-16 and just 10.5 games behind the West Division champs, the Lower Haighters.
Grilli (58.2 IP, 32 Holds/Saves, 90 Ks, 2.91 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) emerged as the leader in the bullpen after he was acquired as a free agent. Another free agent acquisition, Scherzer, led the team with 20 quality starts, 187.2 innings pitched, and 231 strikeouts. Josh Willingham, the team’s eighth pick in the Regular Season Draft, emerged as the team MVP. Willingham (.366 OBP, 85 Runs, 35 HR, 110 RBI, 3 SB, 141 Ks) was the league’s 38th rated player and eighth-rated outfielder.
Gravely protected Willingham, Zobrist, Scherzer, reliever Casey Janssen and Lincecum to form the nucleus of the 2013 team. She also drafted Butler, Justin Masterson, Michael Young, and Grilli in the Regular Season Draft.
Willingham battled a bone bruise in his left knee in ’13. He was placed on the DL in early July and was limited to 389 at-bats for the season. The Menehunes acquired 12 free agents to help the team during the season. While Willingham was in the lineup, the Menehunes lost just three of their first 11 series and were challenging for the West Division pennant. They then lost nine of their last 12 to finish 134-144-20 and miss the playoffs. They were ninth overall and 29.5 games behind the West Division pennant winners, the Lower Haighters.
The offense struggled without Willingham but on the mound, Scherzer was turning in an epic performance. Scherzer (214.1 IP, 25 QS, 10.08 K/9, 2.90 ERA, 0.97 WHIP) was the league’s fifth-rated player and third-rated pitcher and earned team MVP honors. The Menehunes didn’t have a hitter in the lineup with 20 homers. Only Butler, Nick Markakis and Dayan Viciedo had more than 50 RBI. Nate McLouth used his wheels to earn the highest ranking of any hitter on the team. McLouth (.329 OBP, 76 Runs, 12 HR, 36 RBI, 23 NSB, 7 GIDP, 86 Ks) ranked 92nd overall. Grilli, Janssen and Brandon Kintzler formed one of the league’s best bullpens, combining for 89 net saves/holds.
The Menehunes finished 10th in the league with a 126-142-18 record. They were 31.5 games behind the Lower Haighters, the West Division pennant winners. Gravely protected Zobrist, Butler, Scherzer, Janssen and Markakis and the team held its own in the first half of the season, winning six of its first 12 series. Gravely made 11 player transaction through June and then checked out, making no more transactions the rest of the year.
Chris Carter and Khris Davis provided the power the Menehunes were missing in ’13. Carter led the team with 37 homers while Davis had 22. Unfortunately, Reddick hurt his knee in June and went on the DL and lost a month of playing time. Andre Ethier also lost playing time with the Dodgers and was a reserve for the second half of the season. Markakis (.342 OBP, 81 Runs, 14 HR, 50 RBI, 2 NSB, 10 GIDP, 84 Ks) was the only hitter to finish ranked in the Top 150 (148th) for the Menehunes.
Reliever Greg Holland (62.1 IP, 44 NSVH, 12.99 K/9, 1.44 ERA, 0.91 WHIP) emerged as the team MVP, finishing the season ranked 16th. He was the league’s fourth-rated reliever. Scherzer (220.1 IP, 22 QS, 10.29 K/9, 3.15 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) was the team’s top starter.
Gravely protected Scherzer, Andrew Cashner, Carter, Holland and Alexei Ramirez in the Keeper Draft and added Todd Frazier, Alex Wood and Daniel Murphy with her first three picks in the Regular Season Draft.
Cashner finished with a 4.34 ERA over 184.2 innings while Carter struck out 151 times in 460 plate appearances and finished with a .734 OPS. With two underperforming keepers, the Menehunes finished 99-151-14 and 15th in the league. They were 48 games behind A-Rod’s Mirrors, the West Division pennant winner. Similar to 2014, Gravely actively added free agents in the first half of the season, acquiring 12 through July 6, but abandoned the team in the second half.
Scherzer was the team MVP after finishing fifth in the league’s player standings and fourth in the starting pitching rankings. Scherzer (228.2 IP, 23 QS, 10.86 K/9, 2.79 ERA, 0.92 WHIP) is firmly established as the team’s best player. Frazier led the team in plate appearances (678), RBI (89) Runs (82) and OPS (.807). Brad Ziegler was the top reliever with 32 net saves/holds with a 1.85 ERA and 0.96 WHIP.
Winning a league championship requires production from unexpected sources and Wil Myers provided that for the Menehunes in 2016. Myers went undrafted and Gravely claimed him off waivers on April 15. Myers (676 PA, 99 Runs, 94 RBI, 160 Ks, .797 OPS, 22 NSB) led the team in net stolen bases, was second in runs scored and third in RBI. He finished the season ranked 50th in the final player rankings.
Gravely added 16 free agents during the season, second most in team history. Reliever Steve Cishek was added on Aug. 21 and became a playoff hero out of the bullpen. Cishek finished the season ranked 102nd.
The team started hot, winning its first four series before losing four in a row. The team struggled down the stretch, losing three of its last four series but a 9-2-1 series win over the Lower Haighters on Week 21 helped the team earn the final playoff spot.
Max Scherzer (228.1 IP, 2.96 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 11.19 K/9, 26 QS) tied Porcello for the team lead in quality starts and led the Menehunes in WHIP. He ranked second in the league player rankings and earned team MVP honors for the Menehunes.
Utility infielder Daniel Murphy (582 PA, 88 Runs, 104 RBI, 57 K, .985 OPS, 2 NSB) led the team in RBI and OPS and was ranked 17th in the league’s player rankings. He was one of five players to earn keeper status for the Menehunes in 2016, the most keeper-level players on the Menehunes’ roster at season end in team history.
From 2010-14, Warning Track Power had one playoff appearance. Now, under the leadership of General Manager Mark Peterson, the team has two straight postseason appearances and the two best win-loss records in franchise history.
Warning Track Power struggled with continuity as the team had four general managers in six years. Now, under the guidance of Peterson, the team is a legitimate contender for the league championship.
Warning Track Power went 141-109-14 in ’15, earning a playoff berth and finishing fifth overall. In 2016, the team won its first West Division pennant with a 147-109-8 record. They were upset in the semifinals by the Menehunes, their West Division rival, but finished fourth in the overall standings, their highest finish ever.
The draft was a key to the team’s success. The players drafted by Warning Track Power finished the season with an average value of 348.61, which is the second best mark in team history. The only teams that drafted better last year were the Lower Haighters and High Cheese.
Third baseman Josh Donaldson, pitcher Chris Sale, and second baseman Jason Kipnis were all protected by Peterson in the Keeper Draft and and they all returned keeper value (Top 80). Reliever Zach Britton, chosen in the eighth round, and starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks, chosen in the 15th round, also returned keeper value.
The team was largely healthy and productive in 2016 so Peterson added just 16 free agents during the season. Reliever David Phelps was added on May 1 and finished the season ranked 63rd overall. Veteran shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera joined the team on May 31 and ended the season ranked 188th, or essentially the value of a 12th round draft choice.
Warning Track Power enters 2017 with a strong nucleus and Peterson has proven himself as a top-flight GM. Anything short of a championship will be disappointing.
The Vicious Fishes took the field in 2010 under the leadership of General Manager Vanessa Hodge. Prince Fielder, Troy Tulowitzki, Derek Jeter, Kendrys Morales and Curtis Granderson were the team’s top five picks in the first draft but the team also included Adam Jones, James Shields, Johnny Cueto, David Price, and Max Scherzer.
The Vicious Fishes alternated series wins and losses for most of 2010 but in Week 10 they slumped, losing eight of their next 10. As their playoff hopes faded, the team rallied, winning their final four to secure a winning record and the league’s final playoff spot. They finished 126-121-29, 18.5 games behind the East-West Challenge Division champion Lower Haighters. They lost their consolation semifinal series to Give it a Yankee and were defeated by division rival A-Rod’s Mirrors in the seventh place game.
Veteran first baseman Paul Konerko earned team MVP honors. Konerko (.393 OBP, 89 Runs, 39 HR, 111 RBI, 0 SB, 110 Ks) was the league’s fourth-rated first baseman and ranked 15th overall. David Price (208.2 IP, 25 QS, 188 Ks, 2.72 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) was the team’s top starter while Darren O’Day (62 IP, 22 Holds, 45 Ks, 2.03 ERA, 0.89 WHIP) led one of the league’s worst bullpens.
The bullpen struggles led Hodge to trade Tulowitzki to the Muckrakers for reliever Matt Capps. It still ranks as one of the most lopsided trades in league history. Hodge also released Max Scherzer in May to add reliever Alfredo Simon. In addition to the trade, Hodge added nine free agents during the season.
Hodge resigned as the team’s general manager in the offseason and Nikhil Dinesh became the new GM for the Vicious Fishes. Dinesh protected Konerko, Price, Fielder, Cruz and Hiroki Kuroda during the Keeper Draft.
The Vicious Fishes played .500 baseball for the first half of the season before the wheels fell off. The team won just one series in the final 13 weeks. They finished 106-150-20 and won the Wooden Spoon as the league’s worst team. The Vicious Fishes finished 60 games behind the West Division champion Lower Haighters.
Fielder earned team MVP honors. Fielder (.415 OBP, 95 Runs, 38 HR, 120 RBI, 1 SB, 106 Ks) was the league’s second rated first baseman behind Miguel Cabrera and ranked 13th overall. Price (224.1 IP, 21 QS, 218 Ks, 3.49 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) was again the team’s top pitcher while the team’s bullpen, always the Achille’s Heel, was led by Andrew Bailey.
The second half of the 2012 season was again painful for the Vicious Fishes. The team lost 15 of its last 18 series to finish 119-142-15. They were last in the West Division, 23 games behind the pennant winning Lower Haighters, and 14th overall.
Dinesh protected Fielder, Cruz, Konerko, Price and Tommy Hanson. Dan Haren, Rafael Betancourt and Alex Gordon were added with the first three picks in the Regular Season Draft. The Vicious Fishes added 12 free agents to the roster during the season and made a trade, sending Ricky Romero and Neftali Feliz to the Lower Haighters for relievers Henry Rodriguez and Drew Storen. Dinesh was desperate to improve the bullpen.
Fielder (.412 OBP, 83 Runs, 30 HR, 108 RBI, 1 SB, 84 Ks) was the team’s MVP for the second consecutive season. He was the league’s third ranked first baseman and finished the season ranked 13th overall. Price nearly captured MVP honors with Fielder, as the young starting pitcher finished 14th in the player rankings. Price (211 IP, 25 QS, 205 Ks, 2.56 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) was the league’s fourth rated starting pitcher. Pedro Strop and Matt Belisle improved the bullpen but it was Betancourt (57.2 IP, 32 Saves/Holds, 57 Ks, 2.81 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) who led the team. He ranked 138th in the final player rankings and was the only Vicious Fishes reliever in the Top 150.
Dinesh protected the team’s MVP, Fielder, along with Price, Gordon, veteran shortstop Derek Jeter and young starting pitcher Chris Sale. Betancourt and Konerko were added in the Regular Season Draft.
The front office was extremely active in the first month of the season, adding 13 players by May 1. A total of 24 free agents would be added by season’s end. They included third baseman Josh Donaldson, shortstop Brandon Crawford, veteran pitcher John Lackey and relievers Junichi Tazawa and Kevin Gregg.
The 38-year-old Jeter was a liability as an ankle injury and other ailments limited the veteran to just 63 at-bats. In August, Betancourt, the team’s closer, suffered an elbow injury. He pitched just 28.2 innings. Starting pitcher Clay Buchholz was superb but his season was also cut short due to injury.
The Vicious Fishes lost just two of their first eight series and looked like a playoff team. As the injuries mounted, the team managed just four wins over the final 15 weeks. They finished 132-148-19 and in last place in the West Division. They were 11th in the final league standings.
Sale (214.1 IP, 23 QS, 9.49 K/9, 3.07 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) was the team MVP, ranking ninth among starting pitchers and 18th overall. Alex Rios (.324 OBP, 83 Runs, 18 HR, 81 RBI, 35 NSB, 17 GIDP, 108 Ks) led the team at the plate while Luis Avilan (65 IP, 25 NSVH, 5.26 K/9, 1.52 ERA, 0.95 WHIP) was the top reliever. The Vicious Fishes finished another season without a reliever ranked in the Top 100 players.
Dinesh was out as general manager in 2014 and Donna Hood, previous GM for Emmy’s Hoods/The Machine, ran the team. Renamed the Marauding Schnoodles, Hood protected Fielder, Sale, Donaldson, Rios and Price in the Keeper Draft. She drafted Yasiel Puig, Jean Segura, Jeff Samardzija, and Brian Dozier in the Regular Season Draft.
Hood added 11 free agents during the season, including second baseman Joe Panik. A neck injury sidelined Fielder and he finished the season with just 150 at-bats. Starting pitcher Derek Holland was injured in a freak home accident and pitched just 37 innings in 2014.
The Schnoodles won their first two series but would win just three of their next 15. They finished 114-148-25, last in the West Division, 40.5 games behind the pennant winning Lower Haighters. The franchise failed to make the postseason again, finishing 13th overall.
Sale earned team MVP honors, finishing fifth in the player rankings. Starting pitchers took the top five spots in the 2014 player rankings. Sale (174 IP, 21 QS, 10.76 K/9, 2.17 ERA, 0.97 WHIP) had now matched Fielder as a two-time team MVP. Pat Neshek (67.1 IP, 27 NSVH, 9.09 K/9, 1.87 ERA, 0.79 WHIP) became the team’s first reliever to crack the Top 100 player rankings. He ranked 30th at season’s end. Dozier (.345 OBP, 112 Runs, 23 HR, 71 RBI, 14 NSB, 8 GIDP, 129 Ks) was the team’s top hitter, ranking 37th.
Mark Peterson became the team’s fourth general manager in six years but he inherited a team that had talent. He protected Puig, Donaldson, two-time MVP Price, Sale, and Samardzija. He did allow his former two-time MVP, Fielder, to go and he was drafted by A-Rod’s Mirrors, a West Division rival.
Peterson added 16 free agents during the season, including Kendrys Morales. Puig suffered a hamstring injury in April and managed just 282 at-bats in 2015. Starting pitcher Jered Weaver struggled through 2015, suffering his first losing season, as his velocity plummeted.
Despite the setbacks, Peterson led Warning Track Power to their first winning record since 2010. They finished 141-109-14, a franchise best, and finished just six games behind the pennant winning Mirrors in the West Division. The team won just two of its first six series but then won eight of nine from Weeks 10-18. They lost to the JetSetters in the quarterfinals but defeated the Monkeys in the consolation semifinals. They went on to defeat Home Run 101 and finish fifth overall, the highest finish in team history.
Donaldson (711 PA, .939 OPS, 122 Runs, 123 RBI, 6 NSB, 133 Ks) was the team MVP and the league’s top-rated third baseman. He finished fourth in the final player rankings. Sale (208.2 IP, 23 QS, 11.82 K/9, 3.41 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) was again the team’s top starter, ranking 18th in the league’s final player rankings. Kevin Siegrist (74.2 IP, 30 NSVH, 10.85 K/9, 2.17 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) was the top reliever and ranked 98th in the final player rankings.
Through the first two-and-a-half months of the season, it looked like Warning Track Power was having a power outage. The team won just three of its first 10 series. Then, in Week 11, a 7-5 series win over Home Run 101 sparked a pennant-winning run. Warning Track Power went on to win nine of its final 12 series and clinch the West Division flag.
Donaldson (700 PA, .953 OPS, 122 Runs, 99 RBI, 6 NSB, 119 Ks) earned team MVP honors for the second consecutive year and finished 2016 as the 10th rated player in the league. He led the team in plate appearances, runs scored, RBI, and OPS. Donaldson is the one hitter that is indispensable for Warning Track Power.
As valuable as Donaldson is at the plate, Sale (226.2 IP, 23 QS, 9.25 K/9, 3.34 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) is the same on the mound. Sale led the team in quality starts and finished second in innings pitched as he finished the season ranked 35th overall in the final league player rankings. Sale earned team MVP honors in 2013-14.
Surprisingly, Kyle Hendricks (190 IP, 20 QS, 8.05 K/9, 2.13 ERA, 0.98 WHIP) was the most valuable pitcher on the staff. Chosen in the 15th round of the draft, Hendricks finished the season ranked 13th and was one of the league’s top values.
Closer Zach Britton (67 IP, 47 NSVH, 9.94 K/9, 0.54 ERA, 0.84 WHIP) was one of the most dominant relief pitchers in the league in 2016. He finished the season ranked 24th overall. Only Andrew Miller and Kenley Jansen were more valuable.
The Mirrors entered 2016 as league champion. They left battered and bruised.
The Mirrors started 2016 as one of the hottest teams in the league, winning eight of their first 10 series. But when the injury bug bit, it bit hard. First baseman Prince Fielder missed most of the season with a neck injury and was forced to retire at the end of the season. Starting pitcher Garrett Richards succumbed to an arm injury in May and didn’t pitch again. Outfielder Carlos Gomez wasn’t hurt, but he slumped for most of 2016, hurting any chance the Mirrors had of repeating their championship.
While the hot start had the Mirrors and General Manager Sean McKenna thinking repeat, the injuries and underperforming players led to the Mirrors winning just one of their final 12 series. They finished 116-140-8, the worst mark in franchise history.
The Mirrors have enough talent to make a run at this year’s championship. Justin Verlander rebounded to finish as a Top 15 player while reliever Addison Reed was a Top 50 player. The Mirrors had 10 players ranked in the Top 100, including Manny Machado, Mark Trumbo, and Bryce Harper.
Rodriguez, Ben Zobrist, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jason Kubel and Hamels were the first five players chosen by the Mirrors in the league’s inaugural draft. Jimenez (221.2 IP, 25 QS, 214 Ks, 2.88 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) earned team MVP honors and ranked 26th in the season-ending league player rankings. Daniel Bard (74.2 IP, 3 Saves, 32 Holds, 76 Ks, 1.93 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) emerged as the closer and ranked 40th. Rodriguez (.341 OBP, 74 Runs, 30 HR, 125 RBI, 4 SB, 98 Ks) ended the season ranked 50th and was the team’s highest ranked offensive player.
The Mirrors finished 133-127-16. It was good enough for second in the East-West Challenge Division but it was 18 games behind the Lower Haighters. During the 23-week regular season, the team never had a winning or losing streak longer than two weeks. In the postseason, the Mirrors lost to the Jersey Boys in the consolation semifinals before beating the Vicious Fishes to finish seventh.
Jimenez, Rodriguez, Gardner, Hamels and Bard were protected by McKenna in the 2011 keeper draft but it was veteran second baseman Dustin Pedroia who emerged as the team MVP. Pedroia (.387 OBP, 102 Runs, 21 HR, 91 RBI, 26 SB, 85 Ks) was the first player chosen by the Mirrors in the regular season draft. He finished the season as the league’s 15th ranked player.
Pedroia paced the Mirrors to a 131-124-21 regular season record but they finished a whopping 34.5 games behind the Lower Haighters in the West Division. The entered the playoffs with the fifth best regular season record but were upset by the Jersey Boys in the consolation semifinals. In the final week, they lost to High Cheese in the seventh place game and finished a disappointing eighth.
Hamels (216 IP, 24 QS, 194 Ks, 2.79 ERA, 0.99 WHIP) was the team MVP and finished 18th in the league’s final player rankings. Hamels finished seventh among the league’s starting pitchers. Kimbrel was the team’s closer, finishing with 46 saves. Rodriguez struggled in 2011. At one point, he went 85 at-bats without hitting home run, the longest stretch in his career. He missed time with knee and thumb injuries and finished with just 373 at-bats.
The Mirrors added Stephen Strasburg as a free agent in April and Melky Cabrera and Jake Arrieta in May. Strasburg pitched just 24 innings and recorded two quality starts but flashed his potential by averaging a strikeout per inning.
Pedroia, catcher J.P. Arencibia, Hamels, Kimbrel and Strasburg were protected in the 2012 keeper draft while Rodriguez stayed on the roster when he was chosen with the team’s first pick in the regular season draft.
The Mirrors finished 134-123-19, six games behind the Lower Haighters in the West Division pennant race. They had the league’s sixth best record in the regular season despite losing their first three series to open the season. The team entered the playoffs without Strasburg. His innings were limited as he recovered from elbow surgery and his last start was Sept. 8. The Mirrors lost to the Machine in the consolation semifinal but rebounded to defeat the Cys in the seventh place game.
Kimbrel (62.2 IP, 42 Saves, 116 Ks 1.01 ERA, 0.65 WHIP) earned team MVP honors and finished as the league’s top-rated reliever. Hamels (215.1 IP, 23 QS, 216 Ks, 3.05 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) was the top starting pitcher for the Mirrors and finished ranked 31st in the final player rankings. The problem for the Mirrors was a lack of offense. They didn’t have a hitter finish the season ranked in the Top 50. Pedroia (.347 OBP, 81 Runs, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 20 SB, 60 Ks) was again the top hitter for the Mirrors.
Strasburg, Hamels, Kimbrel, reliever Rafael Soriano, and Harper were protected in the 2013 keeper draft but it was a new power hitter that helped the Mirrors earn their best regular season record in team history.
First baseman Chris Davis was the team’s MVP. Davis (.370 OBP, 103 Runs, 53 HR, 138 RBI, 3 NSB, 4 GIDP, 199 Ks) was drafted in the 11th round and led the majors in home runs and RBI. He finished 2013 as the 10th ranked player in the league.
Despite Davis’ presence at the plate, the Mirrors again finished second to the Lower Haighters in the West Division pennant race. Their 159-129-11 record was second best in the league but it still left them 10 games behind their rivals. The team finished the regular season strong, winning nine of their final 11 series. They rolled through the consolation playoff bracket, defeating HUMA in the semifinals and High Cheese in the fifth place game.
Kimbrel (67 IP, 46 NSVH, 13.16 K/9, 1.21 ERA, 0.88 WHIP) was the league’s 11th ranked player and was the third highest ranked closer. Strasburg (183 IP, 18 QS, 9.39 K/9, 3.00 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) finished as the 29th rated player and the team’s highest rated starter.
Rodriguez was drafted by the Mirrors with their final pick in the 2013 regular season draft but was released on June 7. He played just 44 games in 2013 and was later suspended for the entire 2014 season due to his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.
For the first time in four years, the Mirrors entered a season without Rodriguez on their roster as he served his suspension. The team did, however, have a better chance of winning a league championship. The playoff field was expanded from four to eight giving teams that didn’t win their division a chance at a title. The Mirrors were the primary beneficiary.
Kimbrel, Strasburg, Hamels, Harper and Davis were protected in the keeper draft. Kimbrel (61.2 IP, 43 NSVH, 13.85 K/9, 1.61 ERA, 0.91 WHIP) delivered another MVP performance, finishing as the league’s 15th ranked player and the third highest rated reliever. Hamels (204.2 IP, 25 QS, 8.71 K/9, 2.46 ERA, 1.15 WHIP) edged Strasburg as the team’s highest rated starting pitcher. Hamels finished ranked 23rd while Strasburg was 24th.
The Mirrors ended 2014 with a 134-132-20 record and finished 22.5 games behind the Lower Haighters. They finished with the eighth best record in the league and secured the final playoff spot in the expanded postseason format. They pulled a shocking quarterfinal upset of Bacon at Mile 11, the league’s top-ranked team. The Mirrors then lost the semifinals to High Cheese and the third place game to Give it a Yankee. Their fourth place finish was the team’s best in league history.
Harper, Strasburg, Hamels, Kimbrel, and Masahiro Tanaka were protected in the keeper draft but it was a June 13 trade with High Cheese that turned the team into a title contender. The Mirrors landed young superstar Manny Machado for journeyman starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen. Machado ended 2014 as the league’s 16th ranked player while Chen finished 222nd.
Machado’s arrival sparked the Mirrors. In the two months after landing the young third baseman, the Mirrors lost just one series. They finished 151-107-6 and won their first West Division title by 2.5 games over the Lower Haighters. They had the league’s second best regular season record behind Bacon at Mile 11.
Harper (654 PA, 1.109 OPS, 118 Runs, 99 RBI, 2 NSB, 131 Ks) was the team MVP, finishing 10th in the league’s player rankings. Kimbrel (59.1 IP, 35 NSVH, 13.20 K/9, 2.58 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) again led the bullpen while Hamels (212.1 IP, 21 QS, 9.11 K/9, 3.65 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) finished as the team’s highest ranked starter at 100.