Entering Week 12, the San Francisco Road Runners Club Fantasy Baseball League is beginning to come into focus. The JetSetters, Pittsburgh Xplosion, Lower Haighters and High Cheese are the only teams to post 70+ wins. Six more teams, led by the Bulls, have recorded 60+ wins.
Just nine weeks remain in the regular season so these 10 teams have an inside track at the eight playoff berths but nothing is guaranteed. Using the FantasyPros Power Poll tailored specifically for our league, we can make a more educated assessment.
This week, I ran two sets of numbers. The first is a Power Poll based on results to date. The second is a Power Poll based on rest-of-the-season projections. The polls show the overall strength of each team and then ranks each team’s hitting and pitching. Let’s dig in.
The season-to-date power poll has the following teams in the Top 8: High Cheese, JetSetters, Lower Haighters, Marin Menehunes, Bacon at Mile 11, A-Rod’s Mirrors, Warning Track Power, and Let’s Play 2. That leaves the Bulls, Pittsburgh Xplosion and Hapamon outside the playoffs.
The Rest-of-the-season poll predicts the following teams will qualify for the playoffs: JetSetters, High Cheese, A-Rod’s Mirrors, Marin Menehunes, Bacon at Mile 11, Let’s Play 2, Lower Haighters, and Pittsburgh Xplosion. That leaves Warning Track Power, the Bulls, and Hapamon outside the eight.
Neither power poll predicts My Name is Judge will return to the postseason to defend their championship.
Certainly, with two months remaining in the regular season, we’re getting ahead of ourselves trying to predict playoff berths. There are still plenty of injuries, slumps, and hot streaks left in 2018.
WEEK 12 POWER POLL
POWER POLL: REST-OF-SEASON PROJECTIONS
High Cheese and the JetSetters just went toe-to-toe in a Week 10 series that ended in a 6-6 draw. And while neither team holds the league’s best record – that belongs to the Pittsburgh Xplosion – it’s High Cheese which tops this week’s Power Poll.
While the JetSetters and Pittsburgh Xplosion are separated by percentage points at the top of the standings, High Cheese trails by 6.5 games. The Power Poll, however, believes High Cheese has the league’s best pitching staff and the second best group of hitters.
Gerrit Cole is the top starter for High Cheese while Edwin Diaz and Aroldis Chapman anchor the bullpen. Cole is tied for second in the league with 12 quality starts while Diaz is tied for the league lead with 20 net saves/holds.
The surprising player on offense for High Cheese has been outfielder Andrew Benentendi. The young Boston outfielder is the league’s seventh-ranked player with a .293 average, .920 OPS, 45 RBI and 47 runs scored. Benentendi also has nine net stolen bases.
High Cheese will be challenged over the next three weeks as they make a tour of the West Division, facing A-Rod’s Mirrors, Warning Track Power, and the Lower Haighters. If they can win two of those series, High Cheese will be perfectly positioned for the final seven weeks of the regular season.
WEEK 11 POWER POLL
No team is whiffing at a more prodigious rate in 2018 than My Name is Judge. Andy Berlind’s team has struck out a league-high 700 times and is 0-9-1 in the category. Second baseman Yoan Moncada and outfielder Aaron Judge are two of the biggest offenders.
Moncada has 85 strikeouts in 246 plate appearances. When Moncada walks to the plate, he strikes out 34 percent of the time. Judge is striking out in 30 percent of his plate appearances. He’s tallied 84 strikeouts.
My Name is Judge is the only team winless in any hitting category at this stage of the season.
The only team without a victory in any single pitching category is the Midtown Marsupials, who have yet to win the net/saves holds category. Allen Bush’s team is 0-9-1.
The Marsupials have just 11 net saves/holds on the season and they have all been tallied by Juan Nicasio, who is currently injured. Put this in perspective. Free agent Chaz Roe has 14 net saves/holds, so with one move, the Marsupials can claim a reliever with more net saves/holds than the team has earned over the first two-and-a-half months of the season.
With their 9-3 series win over the Midtown Marsupials in Week 9, the Pittsburgh Xplosion now has the best record in the league. The Xplosion is 58-36-2 and hold a nine game lead over My Name is Judge in the East Division.
The Xpolosion has won five of its last six series and has moved up five spots in this week’s Power Poll. The Xplosion is tied for fifth in runs scored, they are seventh in strikeouts, and are third in plate appearances. They are also fourth in team ERA and fifth in net saves/holds.
While the Xplosion has the league’s best record, it’s the JetSetters that top the league Power Poll, moving past High Cheese. A-Rod’s Mirrors remain third while the Marin Menehunes jumped from 11th to fourth while Bacon at Mile 11 cracked the top five.
WEEK 9 POWER POLL
A big reason the JetSetters top the league’s Power Pool is the team’s hitting. They lead the league in runs scored, they are second in RBI, fifth in strikeouts, third in OPS, second in net stolen bases and first in plate appearances.
Outfielders George Springer and Shin-soo Choo are tied for fifth in the league in plate appearances with 242 while shortstop Jean Segura is tied for sixth in net stolen bases with 10. Third baseman Eugenio Suarez is also fourth in the league in RBI with 41. They are powering the JetSetters offensively.
Justin Verlander is tied for the league lead with 11 quality starts and anchors a pitching staff that has the Mirrors near the top of the Power Poll. The Mirrors have the league’s sixth best record but top the league in innings pitched with 509.0. They also have the lowest team ERA at 2.99 and WHIP at 1.05 while they are tied for the league lead in quality starts with 36 and net saves/holds with 47.
Great pitching will make the Mirrors a very difficult team to beat in the playoffs.
The Bulls get no love from FantasyPros. Despite forging the league’s best record over the season’s first seven weeks, the site’s power poll has the team ranked ninth overall and 12th in pitching. Why the disconnect?
Strength of schedule is a good place to begin. The combined record of the team’s first seven opponents is 259-304-25. Now, the Bulls can only play the teams on their schedule and the argument can be made that they’ve beaten the teams they should. But FantasyPros views the team’s Week 5 loss to the Lower Haighters, the only team the Bulls have played that currently has a winning record, and projects a rocky road in Weeks 11-14 when three of the four teams they face have a winning record.
You can’t blame Bulls owner Carolyn Greene for doubting the validity of the Power Poll.
The Bulls rank 11th in runs scored; 8th in RBI; 11th in strikeouts; fifth in OPS; eighth in net stolen bases; and 11th in plate appearances. Yet hitting is considered the team’s strength by FantasyPros.
The Bulls rank fifth in innings pitched; fifth in ERA; third in WHIP; ninth in K/9; first in quality starts and 13th in net saves/holds. Despite solid numbers, pitching is considered the team’s weakness.
It’s interesting to note, however, that the Power Poll ranks the JetSetters and High Cheese highly in hitting and they lead the league in most of the hitting categories.
This debate will play out over the rest of the season.
Week 8 Power Poll
Let’s Play 2 outfielder Mookie Betts remains the top-rated hitter in the league. Over the last month, Betts is hitting .354 with a 1.172 OPS with 18 RBI, 25 runs scored and eight net stolen bases…JetSetters infielder Jose Ramirez is also swinging a hot bat. Over his last 27 games, Ramirez is hitting .358 with an 1.160 OPS. He has 23 RBI, 22 runs scored, and two net stolen bases during that period…Mike Trout has quietly pieced together a great start to the season for Bacon at Mile 11. Trout is hitting .302 with a 1.136 OPS, with 22 runs scored, 14 RBI and eight net stolen bases over the past month….Several players have struggled lately, including catcher Alex Avila for the Brooklyn Bombers. In his last 21 games, Avila is hitting .146 with a .490 OPS with just two RBI and four runs scored…Outfielder Kole Calhoun is also scuffling at the plate for Home Run 101. Calhoun is hitting .123 with a .310 OPS in his last 70 plate appearances. He has just two RBI and two runs scored in that period.
Justin Verlander continues to roll for A-Rod’s Mirrors. In his last five starts, Verlander has posted a 1.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP and 11.3 K/9. All five have been quality…Max Scherzer has anchored the staff for the Menehunes. He’s allowed just eight runs over his last 32.2 innings. His K/9 rate is an absurd 15.7….While Verlander and Scherzer have been excellent, Danny Duffy is dragging down the Warning Track Power staff like an anchor. In his last six starts, Duffy has a 9.00 ERA, 2.03 WHIP, and measly 6.6 K/9. He hasn’t had a quality start in that period. Chris Stratton has struggled for High Cheese but he has an excuse, he’s a new daddy. His only quality starts since the newborn arrived were road starts. In his last six starts, Stratton owns a 7.22 ERA and 1.92 WHIP. Get some sleep, kid.
Following last week’s 11-1 victory over Bacon at Mile 11, the Pittsburgh Xplosion is this week’s big mover in the league power poll.
Francisco Lindor, Brett Gardner, Michael Brantley and Trey Mancini keyed the Xplosion’s offense in Week 6 while Dallas Keuchel and Sean Newcomb each earned a pair of quality starts. In 39 games this season, Lindor is hitting .321 with a 1.012 OPS. He’s scored 34 runs while driving in 25 more.
The Xplosion has won four consecutive series and sports the best record in the league at 44-26-2. They face Warning Track Power in Week 7 before returning to East Division play the next three weeks.
Despite last week’s 10-2 drubbing of Warning Track Power, the Bulls fell three spots in this week’s power poll. The Bulls have won four of their first six series, have the second best record in the league at 40-26-6, and are a whopping 11 games ahead in the North Division, the largest division lead in the league.
Week 7 Power Poll
Outfielders Mookie Betts (Let’s Play 2) and Mike Trout (Bacon at Mile 11) are in a heated race to be the league’s top-rated hitter. Betts is hitting .360 with a 1.212 OPS in 36 games with 42 runs scored, 27 RBI, and six net stolen bases. Trout is hitting .315 with a 1.100 OPS in 40 games with 33 runs scored, 25 RBI and eight net stolen bases.
The Lower Haighters and Let’s Play 2 have yet to lose the strikeout category. They are both a perfect 6-0. Bacon at Mile 11 is 5-0-1 in the net stolen bases category.
There are still several teams that have yet to win certain hitting categories. Home Run 101 is 0-5-1 in runs scored; My Name is Judge and Bacon at Mile 11 are 0-6 in strikeouts; while Warning Track Power is 0-4-2 and A-Rod’s Mirrors are 0-5-1 in net stolen bases.
Justin Verlander has eight quality starts in nine attempts for A-Rod’s Mirrors and the Mirrors are the only team unbeaten in quality starts, going 5-0-1. The Mirrors and Bulls are tied atop the league with 29 quality starts.
High Cheese is 5-0-1 in net saves/holds and lead the league with 39. Edwin Diaz leads High Cheese with 12.
The Midtown Marsupials and Brooklyn Bombers are both 0-6 in the innings pitched category; My Name is Judge is 0-6 in K/9; while the Marsupials are 0-6 in net saves/holds.
Over the last five years, A-Rod’s Mirrors and General Manager Sean McKenna have owned the JetSetters. They are 3-1-1 head-to-head against David Kahn’s team in the regular season (the two teams have never played each other in the postseason).
But this season might be different. The JetSetters are ranked second in this week’s Power Poll while the Mirrors are ranked third. Kahn’s team has the best set of hitters in the league and the fourth-ranked pitching staff while the Mirrors are fourth-ranked in hitting and second-ranked in pitching.
The JetSetters have five players (Rick Porcello, Jose Ramirez, Jean Segura, Eddie Rosario and Johnny Cueto) ranked in the league’s Top 50. The team will be without Cueto for this series, who will miss the next six weeks with an elbow injury. Five of Kahn’s hitters have a decisive advantage, playing seven games this week That includes All-Star first baseman Joey Votto.
The Mirrors also have five players ranked inside the Top 50. In fact, all five (Justin Verlander, Bryce Harper, Patrick Corbin, Manny Machado and Adam Ottavino) rank in the Top 20. Harper will benefit from playing seven games this week while Verlander faces Texas at home and Corbin starts against the Dodgers in LA.
The Mirrors need a series win to pad their lead in the West Division while the JetSetters need a victory to possibly leapfrog High Cheese into first in the South Division and possibly the top spot in the league.
Week 6 Power Poll
Several teams have perfect records in the hitting categories entering Week 6. Let’s Play 2, the Midtown Marsupials, and the Lower Haighters are all a 5-0 in the strikeout category while the Mirrors are 5-0 in OPS. Bacon at Mile 11 and the Lower Haighters are both 4-0-1 in the net stolen bases category.
On the flip side, several teams have failed to win hitting categories. Home Run 101 is 0-4-1 in runs scored. Bacon at Mile 11 and My Name is Judge are both 0-5 in strikeouts while the Mirrors are 0-4-1 in net stolen bases and Warning Track Power is 0-3-2.
Warning Track Power and My Name is Judge have yet to lose the innings pitched category (a perfect 5-0) while the Midtown Marsupials haven’t lost ERA or WHIP (both 5-0). The Lower Haighters are 5-0 in K/9, the Mirrors are 5-0 in Quality Starts, and High Cheese is 5-0 in Net Saves/Holds (Bacon at Mile 11 is also 4-0-1).
The Marsupials, Brooklyn Bombers and Home Run 101 have yet to win the Innings Pitched category, going 0-5. My Name is Judge has laid a goose egg in the K/9 category, while Home Run 101 is 0-4-1 in Quality Starts and the Marsupials have yet to record a win in Net Saves/Holds.
High Cheese (27-19-2) and the Midtown Marsupials (26-17-5), the teams with the two best win-loss records in the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League, will square off this week in their only head-to-head series.
While their records are similar, this week’s FantasyPros Power Poll illustrates the true gap between these teams. High Cheese tops the Power Poll while the Marsupials are 14th. A quick glance at the starting lineups shows why.
The Marsupials have five injured pitchers in the starting lineup that won’t throw a pitch in this series. Third baseman Anthony Rendon is on the DL but could return for the Marsupials this week while second baseman D.J. LeMahieu is nursing a sore hamstring is listed as day-to-day.
Despite the injuries, there is a chance the Marsupials could win the series because of our league’s weekly lineup structure. If Jacob deGrom, Carlos Martinez, and Masahiro Tanaka all record quality starts for the Marsupials, they have a chance.
This brings up a larger question about our league that I’ve discussed with several owners this week. Have we outgrown the weekly format? Should we move to a daily format in 2019? Daily format leagues give owners the opportunity to react to injuries and play matchups by allowing lineup changes daily.
Ponder that question. I’ll post a poll on the league’s Facebook page where you can register you opinion. If you aren’t a Facebook user, simply email me your thoughts.
HITTING TOTALS THROUGH APRIL 29
The hottest hitter in the league through April 29 is shortstop Didi Gregorius of the Bulls. In 117 plate appearances, Gregorius is hitting .340 with a 1.202 OPS, 30 RBIs and 24 runs scored. He’s only struck out 13 times. Thanks to Gregorius, the Bulls are third in OPS.
The top-rated hitters in the league are Gregorius, Ozzie Albies (High Cheese), Bryce Harper (A-Rod’s Mirrors), Manny Machado (A-Rod’s Mirrors), Mike Trout (Bacon at Mile 11), and Jean Segura (JetSetters).
Mookie Betts (Let’s Play 2) and Albies lead the league in runs scored with 29 apiece. Gregorius is tops in RBI with 30 followed by Jed Lowrie (Marin Menehunes) and Mitch Haniger (Bacon at Mile 11) with 27 each.
Trea Turner (Bacon at Mile 11) leads the league with 12 stolen bases followed closely by Ender Inciarte (Stadium Mustard) with 11.
PITCHING TOTALS THROUGH APRIL 29
Nine of the league’s top 16 ranked players though April 29 are pitchers. Seven are starters and two are relievers. Gerrit Cole (High Cheese) remains the top-rated player in the league.
Cole, Max Scherzer (Marin Menehunes), Justin Verlander (A-Rod’s Mirrors), Sean Manea (High Cheese), Patrick Corbin (A-Rod’s Mirrors), Corey Kluber (Let’s Play 2), Edwin Diaz (High Cheese), Josh Hader (Lower Haighters), and Johnny Cueto (JetSetters) are all first round values through the season’s first month.
Kluber leads the league with 45.1 innings pitched while Cole is tops in strikeouts with 61. Kluber and Cole are the only two pitchers with six straight quality starts to start the season.
Manea has a 1.03 ERA, which leads the league for pitchers with at least 32 innings pitched and Manea’s 0.62 WHIP leads the league for pitchers with at least 15 innings pitched.
Diaz leads the league with 11 net saves/holds followed by Juan Nicasio (Warning Track Power) and Archie Bradley (Bacon at Mile 11) with 10 apiece. Hader tops the league in K/9 at 18.2 for pitchers with a minimum of 15 innings pitched.