Category: Uncategorized

The Value of a Grinder on Your Roster

A superstar can’t carry a fantasy baseball team to victory. Max Scherzer and Paul Goldschmidt are the most recent examples.

Scherzer is the top-rated player in our league while Goldschmidt is second. Scherzer anchors the rotation for the defending league champion Marin Menhunes, who sit 15th in the league standings with a 47-70-3 record. Goldschmidt powers the offense for Land Shark, a team that is 14th overall with a 49-68-3 record.

Both Scherzer and Goldschmidt are having sensational years, but on a 26-man roster, every player needs to deliver if you are going to field a competitive team. You need some grinders.

The table below shows each team as they are currently ranked in the standings and how many players they have ranked in the Top 200. It’s broken down to show you how many players each team has ranked in the Top 50, Top 51-100 and so on. There is a narrative here.

Top 200

It’s not surprising that the top two teams in the league have the most players ranked in the Top 200. It’s also not surprising that the team at the bottom of the standings has the second fewest and is the only team without a player ranked in the Top 50.

The Menehunes have six players ranked in the Top 50, including the league’s top-rated player, yet are second to last in the standings. Now, we begin to understand the importance of a few grinders.

A quick look at the Menehunes’ roster shows us that starting pitchers Jordan Zimmermann, Josh Tomlin, and Rick Porcello are hurting the team. All three are ranked outside the league’s Top 700 players.

Any player ranked outside of the top 416 is essentially a replacement player and the Menehunes have 11 such players with nine in the team’s starting lineup this week.

The Marsupials have 12 players ranked in the Top 200 on their roster but also have 10 players that fall below replacement level with eight in the starting lineup.

The league’s best team, the Jetsetters, have seven replacement-level players on their roster with five in the starting lineup. Of course, when you lead the league with 17 players ranked in the Top 200, their production can offset five replacement-level players.

Good fantasy baseball roster management is a combination of starting good players, reducing the liability of replacement-level players, and making sure that your lineup is healthy.

There are currently 20 Top 200 players available in our league as free agents. They are all relief pitchers but they can instantly make your team more competitive, especially if they are also eligible as starting pitchers.

There are 114 free agents that are better than replacement-level including a number of utility infielders, outfielders, and even a few starting pitchers. They aren’t stars. They are grinders, players that can knock in five or six runs a week and limit their strikeouts.

As we prepare for the second half of the season, look at your roster, make sure you are starting healthy players and scan the waiver wire for players ranked in the Top 400 to replace the dead wood that is currently dragging your team down. Add a few grinders to your starting lineup and your team will instantly become more competitive.

Assessing the League One-Third of the Way Through

Chris Sale

Chris Sale is the league’s top-rated player

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

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

NORTH DIVISION

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

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

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

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

SOUTH DIVISION

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

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

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

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

EAST DIVISION

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

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

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

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

WEST DIVISION

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

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

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

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

Competent Starting Pitching is Rare as a Unicorn

noah-syndergaard

Noah Syndergaard is one of several key starting pitchers to go down with injury.

Starting pitching has been brutal the past two weeks. In Week 4, the league’s teams totaled 54 quality starts, the lowest league total this season. Yes, it’s early, but in Week 5, there were only 57 total quality starts. But this goes far beyond our league.

Steve Gardner, the excellent fantasy baseball writer at USA Today, described starting pitching as a minefield. Here’s how he summed up the season.

Yes, pitchers can be unpredictable, but this season seems to have taken disappointment, despair and disabled list stints to new levels. It’s enough to drive fantasy owners crazy.

Scott White at CBS penned an article titled, “Fantasy Baseball: All pitchers are terrible (including yours).” It’s difficult to argue. As White said, the worries about starting pitching began before the season’s first pitch.

In putting together my initial starting pitcher rankings, there were about 30 who I felt pretty confident were trustworthy and about 70 who could honestly go either way.

White describes a starting pitching landscape that has changed a great deal over the past five years. Quite simply, there are too many variables.

More than at any other point in its history, baseball is a three-true-outcomes game, meaning most every plate appearance (if you’ll excuse the exaggeration) ends in a home run, a walk or a strikeout. In that environment, the only sure way to sustained success is by missing bats, which puts an emphasis on velocity, which begets injuries, which begets early hooks and innings limits.

The problem isn’t at the top of fantasy pitching rotations. Most teams have one or two reliable starters. The problem is depth. It is difficult to find reliable No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 starters. Fantasy GMs that can build deep starting rotations will have a leg up on the competition.

Do you trust veterans like Andrew Cashner, Ricky Nolasco, or Jered Weaver? Do you wait for minor league pitchers to be promoted? Both decisions are fraught with peril.

At this point, your best strategy might be to cross your fingers and hope.

Chris Sale, Bryce Harper Top Player Rankings

Chris Sale

Chris Sale is the league’s top-rated player over the season’s first month.

In the first month of the season, two players have shown they have the ability to lead their respective fantasy teams to a championship – Chris Sale and Bryce Harper.

Sale is the top-ranked player in the league. He’s started five games, earned five quality starts, pitched 37.2 innings with a 1.19 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, and 12.4 K/9. Sale is the primary reason Warning Track Power has 19 quality starts over the first four weeks of the season. That’s tied for the third most quality starts in the league.

Over 25 games, Harper is hitting .391 with a 1.281 OPS. He’s scored 32 runs and knocked in 26. The only blemish is his base stealing, where he’s -2 on the season. A-Rod’s Mirrors are fifth in RBI with 132 but, by himself, Harper hasn’t been able to make the Mirrors one of the top offenses in the league. Outfielder Steven Souza, added by the team as a free agent, is the only other Mirrors hitter ranked in the league’s Top 80.

While Harper and Sale are the top two players, neither Warning Track Power nor the Mirrors lead their division. It’s early, but the top teams in the league are Let’s Play 2, the JetSetters, Land Shark, the Lower Haighters and Hapamon. Each team is built differently. Let’s take a look at their construction.

Let’s Play 2

Louie Bottaro has built a deep, offensive, powerhouse. Eight players are ranked in the league’s Top 80, including six offensive players and two pitchers. Shortstop Corey Seager is the team’s top-rated player. He’s hitting .319 with a .961 OPS. He’s scored 16 runs and knocked in 17. The addition of Joey Gallo as a free-agent has paid big dividends, as the power hitter has 16 RBI and a .880 OPS. Let’s Play 2 is fourth in runs scored, fourth in strikeouts, fourth in plate appearances, and tied for first in net stolen bases. This team is bludgeoning teams to death.

JetSetters

The JetSetters have seven players ranked in the Top 80 including starting pitchers Ervin Santana and Ian Kennedy, offensive payers Chris Owings, Joey Votto, Jose Ramirez and Starlin Castro, and relievers Adam Ottavino and Cody Allen. Offensively, the team is second in plate appearances, fifth in runs scored, fourth in RBI, fifth in strikeouts, and fifth in OPS. On the mound, they are first in innings pitched, fourth in ERA, fifth in WHIP, third in quality starts, and third in net saves/holds. Is the picture clear? This team is balanced. They can beat you a number of ways.

Land Shark

Offensively, this is one of the most puzzling teams in the league. Plate appearances generally drive offensive production. Without opportunities, it’s tough to produce. Land Shark is second-to-last in the league with 876 plate appearances. But they are producing. They have six hitters ranked in the league’s Top 80, though they did lose Adam Eaton this week with an injury. Ryan Zimmerman has found the fountain of youth and has 29 RBI in his first 24 games. While Land Shark hasn’t had as many opportunities, they’ve made the most of them. They lead the league in OPS and have struck out just 158 times, fewest in the league. The question is, can they continue this pace of production without more opportunities?

Lower Haighters

This team features one of the most potent offensive lineups, a strong bullpen, and terrible starting pitching. They are second in net saves/holds and K/9 but they are 15th in ERA and 13th in WHIP. Six of their seven players rated in the Top 80 are hitters. Young starter Luis Severino is the only pitcher that has turned in keeper status. Eric Thames is the team’s top-rated player and his hitting .345 with a 1.276 OPS over 24 games. He’s scored 28 runs. Kevin Gausman and Jake Arrieta have contributed to the team’s poor start on the mound.

Hapamon

The team has six players ranked in the Top 80 and they are evenly divided between hitters and starting pitchers. Clayton Kershaw, Mike Leake, and Yu Darvish have been terrific. Hapamon is third in total innings pitched, and tied for first in quality starts. The bullpen has been leaking oil but that’s the easiest part of a fantasy team to rebuild. Outfielders Christian Yelich, Charlie Blackmon, and Michael Brantley are the top offensive threats. If GM Robert Kirkbride is going to keep this team in playoff contention, he’ll need to scour the waiver wire for additional offensive help and find some a few good relievers.

Assessing the League After Three Weeks

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners

James Paxton is one of the early season surprises.

I’m switching it up this week. As I said before the season started, I was going to touch on different topics during the course of the season, rather than stay with weekly series previews. I’ll certainly get back to the previews, but, for this week, I’m looking at the leaders in our scoring categories and what that means early in the season.

In reality, with only three weeks down, stats don’t mean a lot. That doesn’t make them any less interesting, just less important. Let’s dig in.

Innings Pitched

A great measurement to determine the effectiveness of starting pitchers is innings pitched. The deeper a starter can go into a game, the less taxing it is on the team’s relief pitching. In fantasy baseball, it rewards teams that maintain a full roster of healthy starters.

Through the season’s first three weeks, Hapamon and the JetSetters have set the standard in this category. The JetSetters lead the league with 206.2 innings pitched. Leading the way is Minnesota pitcher Ervin Santana. The veteran right-hander has pitched 28 innings over his first four starts. Only Chris Sale has logged more innings through four starts.

Hapamon has two innings-eaters at the top of their rotation. Yu Darvish leads the league with 32.2 innings pitched in five starts while Clayton Kershaw has 28.1 innings in four starts. As a team, Hapamon has logged 194 innings pitched.

Home Run 101 has logged the fewest innings pitched this season with 135.2. Milwaukee’s Zach Davies has struggled, pitching just 19.2 innings over four starts.

ERA

Dallas Keuchel and Carlos Carrasco have been sensational for A-Rod’s Mirrors over the first three weeks of the season and they are a big reason the team leads the league with a 2.87 ERA. Through their first four starts, Keuchel has a 0.96 ERA while Carrasco has a 1.65. The Mirrors posted the lowest weekly team ERA with a 2.21 in Week 1.

Stadium Mustard has a 3.00 ERA thanks to starter James Paxton and reliever Wade Davis. Paxton has logged 25.1 innings in four starts with a 1.78 ERA while Davis has pitched 8.1 relief innings without giving up a run.

The Menehunes have the worst team ERA with a 5.27 and much of that can be traced to miserable Week 2 when the pitching staff posted an 8.39. A number of starting pitchers have underperformed for the team including Josh Tomlin (three starts, 12.1 IP, 11.68 ERA), Jordan Zimmermann (three starts, 16.2 IP, 5.94 ERA) and Brett Anderson (three starts, 14.1 IP, 4.40 ERA).

The Lower Haighters have the third highest ERA in the league and are the only team that has yet to post a weekly ERA under 4.00.

WHIP

Given the performance over the first three weeks of Keuchel and Carrasco, it’s no surprise that the Mirrors own the league’s lowest WHIP at 1.11. The team’s relievers have also been solid. Closer Craig Kimbrel has a 0.64 WHIP over his first 9.1 innings while free-agent acquisition Felipe Rivero has a 0.94 WHIP over 11.2 innings.

The JetSetters have the league’s second lowest WHIP at 1.123. As we’ve documented, Santana has had a hot start to the season and his WHIP is 0.64 after his first four starts. Milwaukee reliever Jacob Barnes has a 0.68 WHIP after 10 relief appearances and he hasn’t given up a run.
Home Run 101 has the league’s highest WHIP at 1.430. The team’s 1.51 WHIP in Week 3 was the third highest weekly WHIP allowed this season. Relievers Sergio Romo and Darren O’Day both have WHIP’s above 2.00.

K/9

The Midtown Marsupials have struggled to win series early this season but the pitching staff throws gas. They lead the league with a 10.17 K/9 mark. Chris Devenski has struck out 25 batters over 13.1 innings playing the role of swingman for the Astros. Starters Vincent Velasquez (11.4 K/9) and Carlos Martinez (12.3 K/9) have also been racking up the strikeouts.

Las Estellas Rojas posted the highest K/9 in a week, striking out 11.05 batters per nine innings in Week 3. The Marsupials have the second and third highest weekly strikeout rates at 10.8 in Week 1 and 10.71 in Week 2.

The Bulls are striking out a league-low 7.57 batters per nine innings. Starter Andrew Triggs is striking out just 5.2 batters per nine innings while Pat Neshek, another ground ball specialist in the ‘pen, has a 6.4 K/9.

Stadium Mustard opened the season with a 5.91 K/9 in Week 1, the lowest weekly K/9 rate posted this year.

QS

With Hapamon and the JetSetters setting the pace in Innings Pitched, it’s no surprise that they also lead the league in Quality Starts with 17 apiece. High Cheese and Warning Track Power each have 16.

Hapamon had eight quality starts in Week 2 while the Menehunes equaled that mark in Week 3. It’s the most weekly quality started totaled this season. Max Scherzer and Ivan Nova are both 4-for-4 in quality start attempts for the Menehunes to begin the season.

Home Run 101 has the fewest quality starts with six. Zach Davies doesn’t have a quality start in four attempts and the team had just one quality start in Week 3.

NSVH

The value of a good bullpen in fantasy baseball, like real baseball, can’t be ignored. Good relievers can lower your ERA and WHIP, increase your K/9, and they’re the only players to earn saves and holds.

Colorado closer Greg Holland has emerged as one of the league’s top relievers, earning nine saves in the first three weeks. Holland has teamed with Justin Wilson (5 NSVH) and Zach Britton (5 NSVH) to form the league’s best bullpen for Warning Track Power, which has recorded a league-high 21 NSVH over the first three weeks.

The Bulls are the only team without a NSVH through the first three weeks of the season. They finished Week 1 with -2 NSVH and Week 3 with -1. In his first seven games, Xavier Cedeno has -3 NSVH.
Plate Appearances

In the first three weeks of the season, Seattle’s rookie outfielder, Mitch Haniger, led the league in plate appearances with 93 over his first 20 games. He’s a big reason the Lower Haighters lead the league in plate appearances with 843 and had 284 in Week 1 and another 280 in Week 3. Haniger, however, hit the DL this week, which is going to hurt the Haighters.

Injured players and the DL are the primary reasons the Marsupials are last in plate appearances with just 657. It’s also the reason Buster Hugs had just 186 plate appearances in Week 2, when Geovany Soto, Buster Posey, and shortstop Jean Segura combined for seven plate appearances because of injuries.

OPS

Land Shark is one of the more interesting teams in the league offensively. They are second to last with 658 plate appearances which would normally indicate poor offensive production. But that hasn’t been the case. The team leads the league with a 0.876 OPS, which has propped up the counting stats.

Cincinnati third baseman Eugenio Suarez (1.200), Washington first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (1.215), Baltimore DH Trey Mancini (1.035) and Atlanta outfielder Matt Kemp (1.080) all have an OPS in excess of 1.000 after three weeks. In Week 3, Land Shark led the league with a 0.918 OPS, the highest weekly OPS this season.

Stadium Mustard has the league’s lowest OPS at 0.662. In 82 plate appearances, outfielder Jose Bautista has a 0.465 OPS for Stadium Mustard. The team finished Week 1 with a .608 OPS, the third lowest in the league.

Strikeouts

In 74 plate appearances, Colorado shortstop Trevor Story has struck out 29 times. Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber has struck out 25 times in 83 plate appearances. It’s no wonder High Cheese leads the league in strikeouts with 189. In Week 2 alone, the team had 68 strikeouts, the most for any team in 2017.

The teams with the fewest strikeouts, Midtown Marsupials (118) and Land Shark (122), also have a low number of plate appearances, so it’s not necessarily related to a great batter’s eye.

Runs

Milwaukee outfielder Eric Thames is absolutely on fire. Thames has scored 21 runs, just one behind league leader Bryce Harper. The hot start for Thames has the Lower Haighters in the league lead with 116 runs scored. But he’s not alone. Mitch Haniger (19), Jake Lamb (15) and Ryan Braun (13), have also been strong for the Haighters. In Weeks 1 and 3, the Haighters scored 44 runs, the top mark in the league.

Home Run 101 also scored 44 runs in Week 2 and they are third behind Land Shark (97) with 96 runs scored. Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes leads the team with 12 runs.

Warning Track Power has scored the fewest runs with 68, followed by the Marsupials (70) and the Bulls (79). The 16 runs scored by the Marsupials in Week 2 was the lowest weekly total this season.

RBI

While Thames is creating headlines, Jake Lamb quietly leads the Lower Haighters with 18 RBI, just three off the league lead. The Haighters lead the league in RBI with 109 followed by the JetSetters with 104, the Mirrors with 103 and Bacon with 100.

The Mirrors have three of the four leaders in RBI after three weeks. Bryce Harper (20), free-agent acquisition Steven Souza (18) and Travis Shaw (18).

High Cheese drove in 43 runs in Week 3, with Trevor Story leading the way with eight. Veteran Mark Reynolds leads the team with 8.

The Marsupials have the fewest RBI with 55 and had just 11 in Week 3, the lowest weekly total this season.

NSB

Jarrod Dyson and Brett Gardner each have five net stolen bases this season to lead a Let’s Play 2 team that leads the league with 17. Gardner had three in Week 1 when the team had seven. Home Run 101 and the Menehunes both had seven net stolen bases in Week 3 to tie Let’s Play 2 for the weekly hight.

After three weeks, Warning Track Power had a total of -1 net stolen bases while High Cheese had zero. Hapamon and the Marsupials both finished Week 3 with -2 net stolen bases while High Cheese did the same in Week 2.

Not surprisingly, Cincinnati outfielder Billy Hamilton leads the league with eight net stolen bases. Hamilton is the only player with Las Estellas Rojas to exceed three net stolen bases.

James Paxton Leads Stadium Mustard Pitching Staff

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners

James Paxton is the top-rated player in fantasy baseball through two weeks

James Paxton has propelled Stadium Mustard’s pitching staff to the top of the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball stats board. Paxton has been on fire in his first three starts. Can he continue his hot stretch?

Here’s the Week 3 preview.

Stadium Mustard vs Let’s Play 2

Pitching

Stadium Mustard: Stadium Mustard leads the league with a 2.42 team ERA and is third with a 1.08 WHIP. James Paxton hasn’t given up a run in his three starts, pitching 21 scoreless innings while striking out 22 batters. He’s allowed just 12 baserunners during that stretch. Julio Teheran has given up just two runs over his first 19 innings while striking out 15 batters. Projected Game Scores: Julio Teheran (55 vs WSH), James Paxton (54 @OAK), Matt Shoemaker (50 @HOU), Adam Conley (53 @SD), Jaime Garcia (52 vs SD, 51 @PHI), Mike Fiers (50 vs LAA, 55 @TB).

Let’s Play 2: It’s been a tough start on the mound for Let’s Play 2. The team ERA stands at 5.00, second worst in the league, while the 1.30 WHIP is tied for 13th. The team’s two aces, Corey Kluber and Jose Quintana, have combined for just two quality starts in their first six attempts. Kluber has a 6.38 ERA while Quintana’s is 6.75. Projected Game Scores: Corey Kluber (58 @MIN), Jose Quintana (53 vs CLE), Kyle Hendricks (62 vs MIL), Sean Manaea (54 vs SEA), Jake Odorizzi (52 vs DET), Robbie Ray (55 @LAD, 52 vs LAD), Shelby Miller (51 @SD, 48 vs LAD).

Hitting

Stadium Mustard: The offense has lacked punch through the first two weeks of the season. They are last in the league with 33 RBI and they are second to last with a .638 OPS. Catcher Yan Gomes has started the season 2-for-30 with 10 strikeouts while first baseman Edwin Encarnacion is 9-for-44 with 18 strikeouts. Shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been the team’s top hitter, striking out just five times in his 49 plate appearances.

Let’s Play 2: This is another team looking for some big hits. Let’s Play 2 has a .653 OPS, which ranks 14th in the league. That lack of a big hit has resulted in just 38 RBI, where the team ranks 15th. Outfielder Dexter Fowler is hitting .143 with 16 strikeouts in his first 54 plate appearances. Outfielders Jarrod Dyson and Brett Gardner have nine net stolen bases and the team leads the league with 12 net stolen bases.

Las Estellas Rojas vs The Bulls

Pitching

Las Estellas Rojas: GM Jen Valdivia has to hold her breath every time Noah Syndergaard leaves a start early. Last week, Syndergaard had a broken fingernail that caused an early exit. Overall, the team’s pitching has been average. While Syndergaard has been spectacular, Dan Straily and Matt Moore have been shelled. They’ve combined to earn just one quality start in their six attempts. Projected Game Scores: Noah Syndergaard (65 vs PHI), Francisco Liriano (51 vs BOS), Matt Moore (48 @COL), Eduardo Rodriguez (53 @TOR, 53@BAL), Dan Straily (51 @SD).

The Bulls: The bullpen has been a disaster to start the season. The Bulls are the only team without a net save or hold in the season’s first two weeks. They enter Week 3 with -1 in that column. The team ERA and WHIP are average. Gio Gonzalez is a perfect 3-for-3 in quality starts with a 1.33 ERA over 20.1 innings. The addition of Amir Garrett to the staff and the veteran presence of Stephen Strasburg gives the rotation a strong top three. Projected Game Scores: Stephen Strasburg (61 @ATL), Kenta Maeda (56 @ARI), Alex Cobb (50 vs HOU), Gio Gonzalez (53 @NYM), Andrew Triggs (51 @TEX, 53 vs SEA), Jason Hammel (50 vs SF, 51 @TEX), Amir Garrett (53 vs BAL, 51 vs CHC)

Hitting

Las Estellas Rojas: It looks like Miguel Sano is reaching his potential. Sano leads Rojas in Runs (11), RBI (12) and OPS (1.037). Outfielder Billy Hamilton is hitting just .216 but he already has four net stolen bases. Hamilton, Robinson Cano, and Ben Revere are all off to a slow start but nothing compared to veteran catcher Russell Martin. Martin is hitting just .097 after going 3-for-31 with 13 strikeouts to open the season.

The Bulls: The Bulls have two primary issues with the offense. First, they have just 431 plate appearances. Second, 119 of those opportunities have ended in strikeouts. That’s the third highest number of strikeouts in the league and the 14th fewest plate appearances. Infielder Jonathan Villar is hitting just .160 with 21 strikeouts in his first 55 plate appearances.

Land Shark vs A-Rod’s Mirrors

Pitching

Land Shark: Chase Anderson has two straight quality starts and has given up just one run over his first 13 innings. Jerad Eickhoff and Felix Hernandez have combined to earn five quality starts in six attempts but Tyler Glasnow and Tyler Anderson have zero quality starts in five attempts. Projected Game Scores: Felix Hernandez (55 vs MIA), Jerad Eickhoff (54 vs ATL), Tyler Glasnow (45 vs NYY), Jeremy Hellickson (50 @NYM), Tyler Anderson (47 vs SF).

A-Rod’s Mirrors: The Mirrors lead the league in WHIP and are second in ERA after two weeks. They’ve earned 10 quality starts and 11 net saves/holds. This is a very good pitching staff from front to back. Dallas Keuchel is the team ace, earning three quality starts with a 0.86 ERA and 0.62 WHIP in 21 innings pitched. Closer Craig Kimbrel has five saves and has a 13.5 K/9 ratio. Projected Game Scores: Justin Verlander (59 @MIN), Carlos Carrasco (61 @CWS), Dallas Keuchel (56 vs LAA), Tanner Roark (52 @ATL), Edinson Volquez (50 @SEA), Ricky Nolasco (48 @HOU, 52 vs TOR), CC Sabathia (52 @PIT).

Hitting

Land Shark: The offense is doing a good job of avoiding the strikeout which has boosted the team OPS. Land Shark has just 77 K’s on the season, second fewest in the league, and has a .855 OPS, second highest. Third baseman Eugenio Suarez and shortstop Francisco Lindor are off to hot starts. Suarez is second on the team with a 1.145 OPS, leads the team with 10 RBI, and has just eight strikeouts in his first 50 plate appearances. Lindor is hitting .362 and is tied for the team lead with 11 runs scored.

A-Rod’s Mirrors: The Mirrors have driven in 70 runs, third most in the league, and outfielder Bryce Harper is responsible for a team-high 13 of them. Harper has been on fire. He leads the team with a 1.099 OPS, is hitting .333, and has drawn more walks (10) than he has strikeouts (9). He ranks seventh in the league’s player rankings. Shortstop Addison Russell has shown a good eye at the plate, striking out just seven times in his first 53 plate appearances.

High Cheese vs Warning Track Power

Pitching

High Cheese: The pitching staff has logged 130.2 innings, the second most in the league to open the season. The 2.82 ERA is the third lowest in the league while the 1.06 WHIP is second lowest. The team is tied for the league lead in quality starts with 12. Brandon Finnegan earned an 83 game score with his April 5 win over the Pirates. It is the highest game score this year. Projected Game Scores: Jon Lester (58 @CIN), Gerrit Cole (53 @STL), Aaron Sanchez (53 vs BOS), Marcus Stroman (52 vs BOS, 56 @LAA), Bartolo Colon (48 @PHI), Brandon Finnegan (50 vs CHC), Kendal Graveman (49 vs TEX).

Warning Track Power: No bullpen has been better to start the season. Warning Track Power has earned 17 net saves/holds over the season’s first two weeks, tops in the league. Greg Holland, Justin Wilson, and Luis Avilan have combined to earn 13 net saves/holds without giving up a run over 18.1 combined innings. Chris Sale remains the team ace, earning three quality starts in his first three attempts. Projected Game Scores: Chris Sale (58 @TOR), Michael Fulmer (58 @TOR, 52 @MIN), Marco Estrada (53 @LAA), Tyler Chatwood (45 vs SF), Hisashi Iwakuma (52 @OAK), Wei-Yen Chen (53 @SEA).

Hitting

High Cheese: Normally a team’s total runs scored and RBI tend to mirror each other. That’s not the case for High Cheese through the first two weeks. The team is third with 63 runs scored but has driven in just 48. That should normalize over the next few weeks. Freddie Freeman has scored nine runs but knocked in just three. Mark Reynolds is the surprise RBI leader for High Cheese with 11. The team leads the league in strikeouts with 132. Shortstop Trevor Story has 20 in his first 53 plate appearances.

Warning Track Power: This team is struggling to score runs. They rank 15th with 47 runs scored and 13th in RBI with 47. How bad has it been? David Freese is the team’s top-ranked hitter and he’s ranked 161st overall. Young shortstop Tim Anderson has struggled. He’s hitting .163 and has struck out 12 times in 44 plate appearances. Stephen Piscotty leads the team with eight RBI while Nick Castellanos is tops in runs with eight.

Hapamon vs Marin Menehunes

Pitching

Hapamon: Hapamon is tied for the league lead with 12 quality starts and its reflected in their total innings pitched, which is 127.2, third highest in the league. Clayton Kershaw, Mike Leake, Jameson Taillon and Yu Darvish are a combined 9-for-11 in quality start attempts. Leake has been sensational, giving up just one earned run over his first 15 innings. Projected Game Scores: Clayton Kershaw (70 vs COL), Yu Darvish (61 @OAK, 63 vs KC), Jameson Taillon (52 vs NYY), Adam Wainwright (52 @MIL), Matt Boyd (47 @MIN), Mike Leake (52 vs PIT, 53 @MIL), Matt Andriese (50 vs DET, 50 vs HOU).

Marin Menehunes: It’s been a rough start for the Menehunes on the mound. The team ERA is a league-worst 6.00 and the WHIP has followed, sitting at 1.46. Part of the problem is the staff hasn’t logged enough innings. They are dead last in the league with just 84 IP. Trevor Bauer has an 8.44 ERA and 1.59 WHIP after two starts that saw him give up 10 earned runs over 10.2 innings. Projected Game Scores: Max Scherzer (65 @ATL, 66 @NYM), Rick Porcello (54 @TOR), Jordan Zimmermann (52 @TB), Ivan Nova (54 @STL, 50 vs NYY), Trevor Bauer (51 @MIN), Josh Tomlin (48 @MIN, 50 @CWS).

Hitting

Hapamon: Through the first two weeks of the season, Hapamon is last in the league with a .633 OPS. They have also struck out 121 times, second most in the league. Brad Miller has struck out 18 times in 51 plate appearances and is hitting .227. Tim Beckham has struck out 15 times in 37 plate appearances. Outfielder Christian Yelich leads the team with 13 runs scored but has also struck out 14 times and is hitting just .231.

Marin Menehunes: Outfielder Marcel Ozuna is swinging a hot bat. He’s driven in 18 runs in his first 12 games and has a 1.198 OPS. The Menehunes are third in the league with an .810 team OPS. First baseman Wil Myers has a team-high 10 runs scored and a 1.093 OPS. Eduardo Nunez and Lorenzo Cain have totaled a combined nine net stolen bases and the Menehunes are currently third in the league in that stat.

Buster Hugs vs Home Run 101

Pitching

Buster Hugs: It hasn’t been a good start for the team’s pitching staff. Their 4.45 ERA ranks 14th overall. Their 1.30 WHIP is tied for 13th Masahiro Tanaka has given up 13 earned runs in his 14 innings and he has just one quality start in three attempts. Arodys Vizcaino hasn’t given up a run over six innings and has earned three of the team’s 14 net saves/holds, which is second best in the league. Projected Game Scores: Madison Bumgarner (66 @KC), Masahiro Tanaka (55 vs CWS), J.A. Happ (53 @LAA), Jharel Cotton (55 vs SEA), Michael Wacha (53 vs PIT), Dylan Bundy (49 vs BOS).

Home Run 101: The team 1.39 WHIP ranks 15th, the bullpen has just two net saves/olds and the starters have combined for just five quality starts in two weeks. It hasn’t been a good start for the pitching staff. Zach Davies has given up 14 runs in 14.1 innings pitched while David Phelps has blown three saves, giving up five earned runs over eight innings. Cam Bedrosian has been the most consistent reliever while John Lackey is 2-for-2 in quality starts. Projected Game Scores: Johnny Cueto (54 @COL), Jon Lackey (60 vs MIL, 53 @CIN), Tyler Skaggs (53 vs TOR), Zach Davies (50 vs STL).

Hitting

Buster Hugs: Injuries ravaged the lineup in Week 2 and the team finished last in the league with just 186 plate appearances. The team’s three catchers – Buster Posey, Gary Sanchez and Geovany Soto – are all on the DL. Second baseman Cesar Hernandez leads Buster Hugs with 18 hits, runs scored (13) and is tied for the team lead in RBI (8).

Home Run 101: Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes leads the team with 10 RBI and is the team’s top ranked player (27th overall). The offense has been solid thanks to 538 plate appearances, third most in the league over the first two weeks. Home Run 101 is also second in runs scored with 68 as Cespedes and third baseman Mike Moustakas lead the team with nine each. Last week, they topped the league with 44 runs scored.

Bacon at Mile 11 vs JetSetters

Pitching

Bacon at Mile 11: Michael Pineda had a dominating start on April 10 against the Rays when he went 7.2 innings, allowed just one run, and struck out 11 batters. It earned Pineda a game score of 82, the second highest by a pitcher this season. Bacon leads the league with a 10.03 K/9 but the team ERA and WHIP are pedestrian at best. Zack Wheeler has given up eight earned runs over 9.2 innings and doesn’t have a quality start in two attempts. Projected Game Scores: Chris Archer (61 vs DET), Danny Salazar (57 @MIN, 60 @CWS), Aaron Nola (55 @NYM), Michael Pineda (56 @PIT), Zack Wheeler (50 vs PHI, 47 vs WSH), Taijuan Walker (50 vs LAD).

JetSetters: The JetSetters have 11 quality starts and 12 net saves/holds in the last two weeks. No team has pitched more innings than the 137.2 logged by this staff. Ervin Santana has pitched 22 innings in his three starts, giving up just one run. Adam Ottavino has earned five net saves/holds, allowing one run over 6.1 innings while striking out 10 batters. Projected Game Scores: Danny Duffy (53 @TEX), Cole Hamels (59 vs KC), Zack Greinke (58 @SD), Ian Kennedy (52 @TEX), Ervin Santana (43 vs CLE), Hyun-jin Ryu (50 vs COL), Robert Gsellman (54 vs PHI).

Hitting

Bacon at Mile 11: Bacon leads the league with an .888 OPS and the team is tied for the league lead with 72 RBI. Predictably, Mike Trout and Nolan Arenado have been good, but its outfielder Nomar Mazara who’s stealing the show. Mazara is the team’s highest ranked player, 10th overall, and is hitting .340 with 13 RBI in his first 12 games. He also leads Bacon with 11 runs scored.

JetSetters: Third baseman Jose Ramirez has sparked a hot JetSetters offense during the league’s first two weeks. He leads the team with 13 RBI and is hitting .349 in his first 12 games. The team is tied for fourth in runs scored and is fourth in RBI and is second in plate appearances. What the offense hasn’t done well is steal bases. They are sitting at zero net stolen bases.

Lower Haighters vs Midtown Marsupials

Pitching

Lower Haighters: This has been a below average pitching staff. Closer Seung Hwan Oh has given up five runs over 4.2 innings and has blown a save in four opportunities. Joe Musgrove has a 4.35 ERA, Kevin Gausman has a 3.94 while reliever Shawn Kelley has given up four runs over 5.1 innings. This has not been a good start. Projected Game Scores: Kevin Gausman (51 @CIN), Jake Arrieta (58 @CIN), Lance McCullers (57 vs LAA), Drew Pomeranz (58 @BAL) Charlie Morton (52 @TB), Luis Severino (52 vs CWS).

Midtown Marsupials: No pitching staff in the league strikes out more batters per nine innings than the Marsupials. Reliever Chris Devenski has been nasty, striking out 17 batters over nine innings. Starter Jacob deGrom is the top-ranked player on the team. He’s 3-for-3 in quality start opportunities, giving up just four runs over 19 innings while striking out 22. Projected Game Scores: Jacob deGrom (58 vs WSH), Carlos Martinez (59 @MIL), Matt Harvey (54 vs WSH), Vincent Velasquez (53 @NYM, 54 vs ATL), Jeff Samardzija (49 @COL), Mike Foltynewicz (47 vs WSH, 49 @PHI).

Hitting

Lower Haighters: The Lower Haighters lead the league in runs scored and are tied for the league lead in RBI. Outfielders Eric Thames and Mitch Haniger have powered the offense. Thames is 14-for-38 with 11 RBI while Haniger is 15-for-51 with another 11 RBI. Third baseman Jake Lamb has also driven home 14 runs.

Midtown Marsupials: The Marsupials are last in runs scored and 14th in RBI but it all starts with a lack of opportunities. The team is last in plate appearances with 409. Second baseman Jason Kipnis has been in the team’s starting lineup for the first two weeks of the season despite the fact that he’s on the DL. Daniel Murphy has put up big numbers, he’s rated 17th in the overall player rankings after two weeks, but he’s yet to be inserted into the starting lineup. The team’s biggest threat at the plate is outfielder Yasiel Puig. He’s hitting .326 with 11 RBI over his first 13 games.

Thor Brought the Hammer in Week One

noah-syndergaardTo the ancient Norse, Thor was the god of sky and thunder. His deadly weapon was Mjollnir, a hammer associated with thunder and lightning.

In Major League Baseball, Noah Syndergaard is nicknamed Thor and his deadly weapons are a 98 MPH sinking fastball, a wipeout slider, and a hard changeup. All three were wielded in devastating fashion in Week 1, as Syndergaard finished as the league’s top-rated player.

The question is whether or not rookie GM Jen Valdivia can surround Syndergaard with enough talent to make Las Estellas Rojas a playoff contender. The team appears to have the best player in fantasy baseball, but even the best player can’t win without help.

What will the second week bring in fantasy baseball? Here’s a preview of each series in our league.

Stadium Mustard vs Warning Track Power

Pitching

Stadium Mustard: Julio Teheran and James Paxton helped Stadium Mustard finish second in ERA and third in WHIP during the season’s opening week. Teheran earned a pair of quality starts, tossing 13 innings without giving up a run. Paxton pitched six scoreless innings and had a 0.50 WHIP. Wade Davis led the bullpen with a pair of net saves/holds. Projected Game Scores: Julio Teheran (56 vs SD), James Paxton (54 vs HOU, 57 vs TEX), Matt Shoemaker (55 @KC), Adam Conley (51 vs NYM), Jaime Garcia (55 @ MIA), Mike Fiers (54 @SEA).

Warning Track Power: The team finished third in Innings Pitched, fifth in ERA, and fifth in WHIP to open the season. Greg Holland anchored the bullpen, pitching four innings, earning four net saves/holds while posting a 13.5 K/9. Holland ended the week ranked seventh in the league’s player rankings. Chris Sale tossed seven scoreless innings to earn a quality start and is clearly the team ace. He’ll make two starts this week as will Tyler Chatwood, who finished his lone start last week with a 6.00 ERA. Projected Game Scores: Chris Sale (58 @DET, 64 vs TB), Michael Fulmer (53 vs MIN), Marco Estrada (54 vs BAL), Tyler Chatwood (48 vs SD, 48 @SF), Hisashi Iwakuma (55 vs TEX), Wei-Yen Chen (50 vs NYM).

Hitting

Stadium Mustard: It was a rough opening week at the plate for Stadium Mustard. The team’s .608 OPS was second worst in the league and no team had fewer RBI than Stadium Mustard’s 15. Outfielder Josh Reddick didn’t score or drive in a run all week while Ender Inciarte struck out eight times in 29 plate appearances and finished Week 1 with a .350 OPS. The team did add Gerardo Parra as a free agent. Parra drove in six runs and posted a 1.061 OPS in the first week.

Warning Track Power: The team struggled to drive in runs to open the season, collecting just 20 RBI. Outfielder Josh Donaldson had just two RBI on the week and hurt his calf over the weekend. He’s optimistic he’ll be able to play Tuesday. Outfielder Corey Dickerson led Warning Track Power with four RBI while third baseman Nick Castellanos and Adam Jones each scored five times. Michael Conforto had just eight plate appearances but provided some pop, finishing the week with a 1.333 OPS.

Let’s Play 2 vs The Bulls
Pitching

Let’s Play 2: They led the league in innings pitched but the team’s 5.31 ERA was the league’s second worst and resulted in just three quality starts. Sean Manea and Jose Quintana both made two starts and combined for one quality start. The team’s top-rated pitcher was reliever CJ Edwards, who didn’t give up a run while earning a hold. Projected Game Scores: Corey Kluber (57 vs DET), Jose Quintana (55 @MIN), Kyle Hendricks (64 vs PIT), Sean Manaea (51 vs HOU), Jake Odorizzi (51 @BOS), Robbie Ray (54 @SF), Shelby Miller (49 @SF).

The Bulls: The Bulls held their own on the mound in Week 1, pitching 59.1 innings with a respectable 3.49 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. The only blemish was a pair of blown saves by Xavier Hernandez and Jim Johnson. GM Carolyn Greene added Cincinnati pitcher Amir Garrett in free agency. Garrett pitched six scoreless innings to earn a quality start in his Week 1 debut. Gio Gonzalez also pitched six scoreless innings to earn a quality start. Projected Game Scores: Stephen Strasburg (66 vs PHI), Kenta Maeda (58 vs ARI), Alex Cobb (47 @BOS), Jon Gray (54 @SF), Gio Gonzalez (55 vs STL, 56 vs PHI), Andrew Triggs (54 @KC), Jason Hammel (51 vs OAK).

Hitting

Let’s Play 2: Kris Bryant and Brett Gardner had five stolen bases between them as the team finished Week 1 tied for the league lead in net stolen bases with seven. Shortstop Corey Seager was the team’s top-ranked player in Week 1. He drove in a team-high seven runs, scored four times, had a team-high 29 plate appearances and finished with a 0.994 OPS.

The Bulls: Outfielder Khris Davis was a one-man wrecking crew for the Bulls last week. He scored a team-high six runs, drove in four and had a 1.213 OPS. Unfortunately, he was largely working alone. The Bulls finished Week 1 with a league-low 188 plate appearances and just 20 runs scored. Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is off to a rough start, striking out seven times in 27 plate appearances and posting a 0.442 OPS in Week 1.

Land Shark vs Marin Menehunes

Pitching

Land Shark: It was a nice debut for the Land Shark bullpen, with Brad Brach leading the way. Brach earned three net saves/holds with four scoreless innings. He finished with an 11.25 K/9. The team ERA of 3.13 was sixth best in the league while the 1.12 WHIP was sixth best. The starting rotation earned just a pair of quality starts, with Jerad Eickhoff going 6.2 innings with a 2.7 ERA and 0.9 WHIP. Projected Game Scores: Felix Hernandez (55 vs TEX), Steven Matz (DL), Garrett Richards (DL), Jerad Eickhoff (53 vs NYM, 51 @WSH), Tyler Glasnow (49 vs CIN, 51 @CHC), Jeremy Hellickson (47 @WSH), Tyler Anderson (51 @SF).

Marin Menehunes: The team ERA of 4.35 was nothing to write home about but the starting staff earned five quality starts while the relievers failed to earn a save or a hold. Ivan Nova pitched six scoreless innings to earn a quality start and finish the week as the team’s top-ranked pitcher. Rick Porcello walked a tightrope to earn a pair of quality starts. He pitched 12.1 innings with a 4.36 ERA and 1.54 WHIP. Projected Game Scores: Max Scherzer (69 vs STL), Rick Porcello (54 vs TB), Jordan Zimmermann (46 vs MIN), Tyson Ross (DL), Sonny Gray (DL), Junior Guerra (DL), Ivan Nova (51 vs CIN), Trevor Bauer (48 vs DET), Josh Tomlin (48 vs CWS).

Hitting

Land Shark: First baseman Paul Goldschmidt, shortstop Francisco Lindor, and outfielders Adam Eaton and Matt Kemp are raking. Goldschmidt finished Week 1 as the league’s fourth-rated player. He led the team with eight runs scored, had two net stolen bases, and posted a 1.171 OPS. Lindor led Land Shark with seven RBI and was second with 29 plate appearances. Kemp had a team-high 1.654 OPS and drove in four runs.

Marin Menehunes: The defending league champs were solid at the plate to open the season. They finished third in runs scored, tied for fourth in RBI, fifth in OPS and tied for third in net stolen bases. First baseman Wil Myers led the team with 30 plate appearances and six runs scored. Outfielders Joc Pederson and Marcell Ozuna each had six RBI. Catcher Jason Castro was the team MVP in Week 1. He posted a 1.165 OPS with five RBI and five runs scored while striking out just once in 20 plate appearances.

High Cheese vs Home Run 101

Pitching

High Cheese: GM Matt Patchell had a big week on the mound. Starter Brandon Finnegan pitched seven scoreless innings to earn a quality tart while the team landed Kendall Graveman in free agency. Finnegan finished the week ranked 10th overall while Graveman finished 21st in the final player rankings for Week 1. The team led the league with seven quality starts and was fourth with 64 innings pitched. They also finished second in WHIP. Projected Game Scores: Jon Lester (58 vs LAD, 66 vs PIT), Gerrit Cole (56 @CHC), Aaron Sanchez (53 vs BAL), Marcus Stroman (56 vs MIL), Bartolo Colon (53 @MIA), Brandon Finnegan (55 @PIT, 53 vs MIL), Kendall Graveman (47 vs HOU).

Home Run 101: It was not a great week on the mound for Home Run 101. They pitched 46.1 innings with a 4.86 ERA with just two quality starts and one net save/hold. Reliever Cam Bedrosian finished as the team’s top-rated player by tossing 2.2 scoreless innings to earn a pair of holds. That was neutralized by Mychal Givens and David Phelps, who combined for three blown saves. John Lackey and Johnny Cueto earned the team’s quality starts. Projected Game Scores: Johnny Cueto (57 vs COL), Rich Hill (64 vs ARI), Jon Lackey (55 vs LAD), Tyler Skaggs (55 vs TEX, 53 @KC).

Hitting

High Cheese: First baseman Mark Reynolds drove in a team-high eight runs in the season’s first week and posted a 1.200 OPS. High Cheese finished third in runs scored and sixth in RBI. Veterans Jay Bruce and Evan Longoria each scored five times while Kendrys Morales drove home six runs. Shortstop Trevor Story is off to a slow start, striking out 11 times in his first 28 plate appearances.

Home Run 101: The team struggled to find the big hit in the season’s first week, driving in just 20 runs and posting a paltry 0.667 OPS. Shortstop Jose Altuve led the team with 31 plate appearances but failed to score or drive in a run. First baseman Mike Napoli struck out 11 times in 25 plate appearances while Jonathan Lucroy finished the week with a 0.266 OPS. Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and third baseman Mike Moustakas led the team in OPS and both scored four runs.

Hapamon vs JetSetters

Pitching

Hapamon: It should come as no surprise that Clayton Kershaw was the team’s top-rated pitcher in Week 1. He tossed 13 innings with a 3.46 ERA and 0.769 WHIP to earn a quality start. Relievers Joaquin Benoit and Fernando Rodney each earned a pair of net saves/holds without giving up a run. Starting pitcher Matt Boyd was shelled in his lone start while closer Sam Dyson blew a save which is why the team’s ERA finished at 4.08. Projected Game Scores: Clayton Kershaw (76 vs ARI), Yu Darvish (61 @LAA), Jameson Taillon (52 vs CIN, 55 @CHC), Joe Ross (NA), Adam Wainwright (46 @WSH, 47 @NYY), Matt Boyd (45 vs MIN, 46 @CLE), Mike Leake (46 @WSH), Matt Andriese (48 @NYY).

JetSetters: The JetSetters finished second in innings pitched, fourth in ERA and second in net saves/holds with nine. The starters also combined to earn six quality starts. Ervin Santana pitched 13 innings, earning a pair of quality starts with a 0.69 ERA and 0.61 WHIP. Danny Duffy also earned two quality starts with a 2.07 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. Alex Colome and Ryan Madson both earned a pair of saves/holds without giving up a run. Projected Game Scores: Danny Duffy (55 vs LAA), Cole Hamels (58 @LAA, 61 @SEA), Zack Greinke (53 @LAD), Ian Kennedy (52 vs OAK, 53 vs LAA), Ervin Santana (49 vs CWS), Hyun-Jin Ryu (52 @CHC), Robert Gsellman (57 @MIA).
Hitting

Hapamon: Despite finishing last in the league with a .596 OPS, the team cobbled together some runs. Outfielders Kole Calhoun and Christian Yelich each scored five times. Calhoun was the team’s top-rated player last week, posting a .933 OPS in 30 plate appearances. Outfielders Mark Trumbo and Charlie Blackmon each drove in five runs while Blackmon led the team with 31 plate appearances.

JetSetters: the JetSetters led the league in RBI as outfielder George Springer and catcher JT Realmuto combined to drive in 14 of the team’s 42. Realmuto was the team MVP, finishing eighth in the league’s player rankings and leading the team with six runs scored and a 1.450 OPS. He also struck out just once in 24 plate appearances. GM David Kahn also added free agent shortstop Chris Owings to the team. Owings finished last week ranked ninth overall.

Buster Hugs vs Lower Haighters

Pitching

Buster Hugs: The team had the worst ERA in the league last week, 6.07, and tied for the third worst WHIP. Despite the scuffles, the staff earned four quality starts and six net saves/holds. Dylan Bundy pitched seven dominating innings in his quality start, finishing with a 10.28 K/9. J.A. Happ also earned a quality start with an impressive 11.57 K/9. Relievers Ryan Buchter and Blake Treinen each earned two saves. Projected Game Scores: Madison Bumgarner (62 vs COL), Masahiro Tanaka (57 vs TB), J.A. Happ (57 vs MIL, 51 vs BAL), Jharel Cotton (54 @KC, 52 vs HOU), Michael Wacha (48 vs NYY), Dylan Bundy (52 @BOS, 54 @TOR).

Lower Haighters: Blown saves and inconsistency marked the first week on the mound for the Lower Haighters. Ace Jake Arrieta was very good, tossing 13 innings with a 2.07 ERA and 0.84 WHIP to earn a pair of quality starts. He ended the week as the league’s sixth-rated player. Kevin Gausman was very bad, pitching 10 innings in two starts and finishing the week with a 5.40 ERA and 2.00 WHIP. Hector Neris was the team’s lone consistent reliever, earning a pair of holds. Projected Game Scores: Kevin Gausman (54 @TOR), Jake Arrieta (69 vs PIT), Lance McCullers (58 @OAK), Drew Pomeranz (54 vs BAL, 57 vs TB) Charlie Morton (52 @SEA, 51 @OAK).

Hitting

Buster Hugs: The team led the league in plate appearances last week, collecting 295. That’s a lot of opportunities. Buster Hugs finished second in runs scored and fourth in RBI but also led the league in strikeouts. First baseman Brandon Belt was the team’s best hitter, going 7-for-25 with a team-high seven RBI and a1.157 OPS. Jean Segura and Marcus Semien provided speed on the bases, totaling six net stolen bases between them.

Lower Haighters: No team scored more runs in Week 1 than the 44 that crossed the plate for the Lower Haighters. Third baseman Jake Lamb and outfielder Mitch Haniger each scored eight runs to lead the team. Yangervis Solarte collected 10 hits while catcher Salvador Perez finished the week with a team-high 1.112 OPS. The Lower Haighters were the only team to finish Week 1 with negative net stolen bases.

Bacon at Mile 11 vs Las Estellas Rojas

Pitching

Bacon at Mile 11: A 5.04 ERA and 1.45 WHIP isn’t exactly stellar work but the staff did earn three quality starts and five net saves/holds to start the season. Ken Giles and Daniel Hudson combined for four net saves/holds though Giles finished the week with a 6.00 ERA. Chris Archer earned a quality start and finished as the team’s leading pitcher, finishing the week ranked 149th. Projected Game Scores: Chris Archer (59 @ BOS), Danny Salazar (56 vs CWS), Aaron Nola (51 @WSH), Michael Pineda (54 vs TB, 54 vs STL), Zack Wheeler (52 @PHI), Taijuan Walker (52 @SF, 49 @LAD).

Las Estellas Rojas: Thor brought his thunder hammer to open the season. Noah Syndergaard finished as the week’s top-rated player in the league. He pitched 13 innings to earn a pair of quality starts with a 0.60 ERA and 0.76 WHIP with an 11.07 K/9. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a lot of help. Rojas finished the week with a 4.98 ERA and Syndergaard had the only two quality starts tallied by the team. Francisco Liriano was particularly putrid, recording one out before walking off the mound in shame with a 135.00 ERA. Pedro Strop and Brandon Kintzler combined for six net saves/holds to bolster the bullpen. Projected Game Scores: Noah Syndergaard (68 @MIA), Francisco Liriano (53 vs BAL), Matt Moore (53 vs ARI, 52 vs COL), Eduardo Rodriguez (57 vs PIT), Dan Straily (55 vs ATL, 49 vs NYM).

Hitting

Bacon at Mile 11: Outfielder Nomar Mazara paced a red-hot offense to open the season. The team finished second in OPS and third in RBI despite having just 252 plate appearances. Mazara led the team with nine RBI and a 1.211 OPS. He tied third baseman Nolan Arenado for the team lead in runs scored with six. Mazara finished as the league’s fifth-rated player. Mazara, Arenado, and outfielders Manuel Margot and Mike Trout all ended Week 1 ranked in the league’s Top 50.

Las Estellas Rojas: Third baseman Miguel Sano carried the offense in the season’s first week. He had a team-high seven runs scored, eight RBI and a 1.308 OPS. Las Estallas Rojas finished 14th in OPS and tied for last in runs scored. First baseman Miguel Cabrera had a rough opening week, striking out eight times in 21 plate appearances while failing to score or drive in a run. Outfielder Andrew McCutchen struck out seven times in 22 plate appearances and finished with a 0.377 OPS.

A-Rod’s Mirrors vs Midtown Marsupials

Pitching

A-Rod’s Mirrors: Dallas Keuchel was one of the best players in the game last week. He ranked third in the final player rankings after tossing 14 innings with a 0.64 ERA and 0.50 WHIP to earn two quality starts. Keuchel was a big reason the team led the league in ERA and WHIP. Justin Verlander, who has two starts this week, was also solid, pitching 6.1 innings with a 2.84 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. GM Sean McKenna added reliever Felipe Rivero, who earned a pair of holds last week while closer Craig Kimbrel had two saves. Projected Game Scores: Justin Verlander (59 vs BOS, 55 @CLE), Carlos Carrasco (58 vs CWS, 55 vs DET), Dallas Keuchel (58 @OAK), Tanner Roark (54 vs PHI), Edinson Volquez (48 vs NYM), Ricky Nolasco (52 vs TEX), CC Sabathia (52 vs STL).

Midtown Marsupials: The Marsupials led the league in K/9 in Week 1 and finished with a solid 3.44 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. Chris Devenski was the team’s highest-rated player, finishing 17th overall, after he tossed eight innings with a 1.125 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, and a 15.75 K/9. Reliever Tony Watson tossed three scoreless innings to earn a pair of holds/saves. Projected Game Scores: Jacob deGrom (64 @PHI, 66 @MIA), Carlos Martinez (55 @NYY), Matt Harvey (56 @PHI, 58 @MIA), Vincent Velasquez (54 vs NYM), Jeff Samardzija (53 vs ARI, 51 vs COL), Mike Foltynewicz (53 vs SD), Alex Reyes (DL).
Hitting

A-Rod’s Mirrors: Shortstop Addison Russell and outfielder Bryce Harper tied for the team lead with five runs scored while first baseman Albert Pujols and Travis Shaw each drove in six runs. Russell was the only hitter to finish the week ranked in the league’s Top 50, finishing 49th. The Mirrors finished third in strikeouts with just 46. Russell struck out once in 24 plate appearances while Pujols struck out just three times in 30 attempts.

Midtown Marsupials: The Marsupials lacked opportunity in Week 1, finishing with just 195 plate appearances, second fewest in the league. They were tied for the league lead in net stolen bases and had a strong 0.814 OPS. They just needed more chances. Outfielder Yasiel Puig and second baseman Daniel Murphy both finished the week ranked in the Top 25 overall. Puig had a team-high five RBI and finished second behind Murphy with a 1.163 OPS. Murphy drove in four runs, scored five times, and had a team-high 1.220 OPS. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts had just nine plate appearances in the opening week.