The SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League isn’t radically different from most fantasy baseball leagues, but when I established it nine years ago my goal was to use settings that would create excitement while accurately assessing the contribution of players in a sport that was quickly changing.
Since the league’s inception, we’ve worked together to tweak the settings to try to keep up with the changing strategies in Major League Baseball while maintaining the fun and excitement of fantasy baseball.
Weekly Lineup Changes
This is a key element to our league. I play in leagues that allow daily lineup changes as well as weekly leagues. In my opinion, leagues that allow daily lineup changes can be a grind and are best for money leagues. In a free league, I prefer a more relaxed approach and weekly lineup changes provide that.
Head-to-Head vs. Rotisserie
These remain the two most popular scoring systems in fantasy baseball and I enjoy them both. My FanTrax Razzball Commenters League is a 12-team daily Rotisserie league while this league is a 16-team head-to-head weekly league. Personally, I enjoy tweaking my lineup on weekly basis to face a specific opponent. Should I use an extra starter or reliever in my lineup to gain an advantage? Do I go with speed over power at the plate? It brings the game to life for me.
The SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League is a two catcher league with three open pitching slots and two utility slots for hitters.
What is the purpose of requiring teams to start two catchers in a 16-team league? I think Brad Johnson’s article on FanGraphs last year says it better than I can. As Johnson notes, two catcher leagues opens considerable strategic variance when it comes to deciding who to keep from year-to-year and how we approach the draft. The concept of Relative Position Value advanced by Joe Pisapia in The Fantasy Baseball Black Book nails it. You can gain a significant advantage on draft day by quantifying how much better or worse a given player is compared to the next guy available at his position. The variance in catcher value in two catcher leagues is significant and smart managers will exploit this advantage.
Having three open pitching and two hitter utility slots gives managers the roster flexibility to adjust to their opponents in weekly head-to-head leagues. Understanding your opponent’s weakness and exploiting it by adjusting your roster brings excitement to the game.
Weekly Roster Management
Restrictions on adding free agents, both on a weekly basis and over the course of the season, creates strategic decision-making situations for managers. In the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League, managers are limited to three free agent acquisitions in any given week and 40 per season. Each team has a limit of three DL spots.
Trades between teams, however, are not limited. We encourage trade talks. The only restriction on trades is the deadline of Aug. 12.
Compare this to my FanTrax daily league where the number of free agent acquisitions is capped at 500 for the year and the number of weekly transactions is unlimited! You can see how strategy changes based on the league’s roster management settings.
Hitting and Pitching Categories
My FanTrax league is very traditional: Hitting categories include Home Runs, RBI, Runs Scored, Stolen Bases, and Batting Average, while the pitching categories are Saves, Strikeouts Pitched, Wins, Earned Run Average, and WHIP Ratio.
Compare that to the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League settings. Hitting categories include Runs Scored, RBI, Strikeouts, On-base + Slugging Percentage (OPS), Net Stolen Bases, and Plate Appearances. The pitching categories are Innings Pitched, Earned Run Average, WHIP Ratio, Strikeouts per Nine Innings (K/9), Quality Starts, and Net Saves/Holds.
Traditional settings like the ones used in my FanTrax league value hitters over pitchers. Ten of the first 12 players drafted and 22 of the first 24 were hitters. Compare that to the SFRRC League where seven of the top 16-rated players are pitchers, including a pair of relievers.
Managers in the SFRRC League are penalized for open roster spots through the use of Innings Pitched and Plate Appearances.
We use OPS rather than batting average in the SFRRC League to measure hitters because it rewards the ability to draw a walk as well as hit for power. Pitchers are measured on quality starts rather than wins while holds are as valuable as saves because protecting a lead in the sixth or seventh inning can be just as important as the last inning.
Keeping up With The Changing Sport of Baseball
In the SFRRC League, we’ve changed the settings to try to keep up with the changing face of baseball. OPS replaced On-base percentage because it was a better reflection of a batter’s skills. Saves and holds were collapsed into net saves/holds while K/9 replaced strikeouts to boost the importance of all relievers, not just closers, because major league baseball managers were using their bullpens differently.
In the future, we’ll likely make more changes to keep the game fun, fresh, and relevant to the ever-changing sport of professional baseball.
You can’t keep everybody. With that said, there were few surprises this year when it came to naming keepers for the 2018 SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League season.
Sure, there are plenty of players with real value available in our March 27 online draft. Position players such as Daniel Murphy, Whit Merrifield, Tommy Pham, Andrew Benintendi, Justin Turner, and Andrew McCutchen can help any fantasy team. There are plenty of bullpen arms available and starters Alex Wood, Gio Gonzalez, and Chase Anderson remain strong options for a fantasy pitching rotation.
To analyze this year’s keepers, I compared them to the value assigned to them from FanGraphs Steamer projections and assigned each player a Z-value through BaseballMonster. I also added the current Yahoo Average Draft Position (ADP) so you can see how the fantasy community values the players. If both Yahoo ADP and Steamer projections identify a player inside the Top 80, they agree with your assessment that you have a “keeper-level” player.
Of course, following the fantasy baseball herd doesn’t necessarily win championships.
My Name is Judge
OF – Aaron Judge – Judge arrived in Yankee Stadium last year and destroyed baseballs. In 678 plate appearances, Judge posted a 1.056 OPS (third highest OPS for players with a minimum of 400 plate appearances) with 114 RBI and 128 runs scored (second most in the league). That led to a final ranking of 20th overall, which would have been higher had Judge not struck out a league-high 208 times. Can Judge repeat that performance? Steamer expects a slight cooling off of Judge’s hot bat. His projections are 601 plate appearances with a .891 OPS, 96 RBI, and 94 runs scored. Steamer has Judge ranked 64th overall. Yahoo ADP: 16
C – Gary Sanchez – In a two catcher league, you can gain a significant position advantage by drafting one of the top two catchers. Sanchez is one of those two catchers. In 529 plate appearances last year, Sanchez posted a .879 OPS with 90 RBI and 79 runs scored. He finished as the league’s 134th-rated player. Steamer has Sanchez ranked 124th entering the season and projects 491 plate appearances with a .856 OPS, 84 RBI and 72 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 24
1B/OF – Cody Bellinger – In 551 plate appearances last year, Bellinger posted a .933 OPS with 97 RBI and 87 runs scored. He ended 2017 as the 74th-ranked player. Steamer expects similar results in 2018. They project 579 plate appearances with a .856 OPS, 97 RBI and 81 runs scored. He’s ranked 67th overall. Yahoo ADP: 28
SP – Madison Bumgarner – It was a lost season for Bumgarner in 2017 when he crashed a dirt bike and spent significant time on the DL. He appeared in just 17 games, earning 12 quality starts with a 3.32 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 8.19 K/9. He finished the season as the league’s 166th rated player. Steamer expects Bumgarner to bounce back, though projections have him falling short of keeper status. He’s projected to make 32 starts with 207 innings pitched, a 3.74 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 8.6 K/9. Bumgarner is currently ranked 112th. Yahoo ADP: 26
RP – Kenley Jansen – Jansen trailed only Craig Kimbrel in last year’s closer rankings and the Dodger closer finished the season as the league’s 13th ranked player. Jansen made 65 appearances, recording 41 net saves/holds (third highest in the league) with a 1.32 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 14.36 K/9. He opens 2018 as Steamer’s top-rated closer and he’s ranked eighth overall. Jansen is projected to make 65 appearances with 38 net saves/holds, a 2.77 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and a 12.6 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 40
Let’s Play 2
OF – Mookie Betts – Steamer ranks Betts seventh overall and the second-rated hitter behind Mike Trout. He finished 2017 as the 11th ranked player. In 712 plate appearances, Betts had a .803 OPS, with 101 runs, 102 RBI and 23 net stolen bases. Betts is projected to make 641 plate appearances with a .893 OPS, 103 runs scored and 90 RBI. Yahoo ADP: 8
3B/OF – Kris Bryant – In 670 plate appearances last year, Bryant had a .947 OPS with 73 RBI and 111 runs scored. He ended 2017 as the league’s 37th rated player. Steamer has Bryant ranked 25th entering 2018 and projects 625 plate appearances with a .930 OPS, 94 RBI, and 101 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 13
SS – Corey Seager – Seager finished 2017 as the league’s 129th ranked player. In 616 plate appearances, Seager had a .850 OPS with 77 RBI and 85 runs scored. Steamer expects improvement for Seager in 2018. They have him ranked 63rd overall. He’s projected to have 602 plate appearances with a .850 OPS, 78 RBI and 88 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 31
SP – Corey Kluber – Kluber was the league’s top-rated player last year and opens 2018 as the sixth-rated player by Steamer. In 2017, Kluber pitched 203.2 innings with 22 quality starts (tied for third highest in the league), a 2.25 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 11.7 K/9. He’s projected to start 32 games with 213 innings pitched, a 3.30 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 10.4 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 15
SP – Robbie Ray – Ray had a breakout season in 2017. In 162 innings pitched, Ray earned 16 quality starts with a 2.88 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 12.1 K/9. He finished the season as the league’s 22nd ranked player. Steamer is projecting a virtual repeat for Ray in 2018. He’s ranked 36th overall with a projected 168 innings pitched with a 3.54 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 11.2 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 53
OF – Giancarlo Stanton – Stanton finished 2017 healthy and was the sixth-rated hitter and third-rated outfielder. With 692 plate appearances, Stanton posted a 1.007 OPS, led the league with 132 RBIs, and scored 123 runs (third most in the league). Steamer ranks him 11th this year and projects 573 plate appearances with a 1.037 OPS, 125 RBI, and 103 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 9
SS – Carlos Correa – Correa played in just 109 games last year but when he was on the field he was very good. In 485 plate appearances, Correa had a .945 OPS with 85 RBI and 82 runs scored. He ended the season ranked 91st overall. Entering 2018, Steamer ranks Correa 33rd overall and projects 587 plate appearances with a .892 OPS, 94 RBI and 87 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 16
OF – Byron Buxton – Buxton struggled in 2016 and was even demoted to the minors at one point during the season. He did, however, finish strong. In 508 plate appearances Buxton posted a .727 OPS with 51 RBI and 69 runs scored. He also had 28 net stolen bases. Steamer isn’t projecting much growth in 2018. Buxton is expected to post a .760 OPS, 70 RBI, 73 runs scored and 12 net stolen bases. He’s ranked 157th overall. Yahoo ADP: 65
OF – Ronald Acuna – While Acuna is the league’s top prospect, the Lower Haighters are taking a big risk making him one of the team’s five keepers. He’s never had a major league at-bat. Steamer is projecting 104 games for Acuna this season with a .783 OPS, 54 RBI and 48 runs scored. While he’s tearing up the Grapefruit League, there are no guarantees in the majors. Yahoo ADP: 195
SP – Luis Severino – Severino had his best year as a pro in 2017. He pitched 193.1 innings with 21 quality starts, a 2.97 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 10.7 K/9. Severino finished 2017 as the league’s 16th rated player. Steamer ranks Severino 37th overall entering 2018. They project him to throw 188 innings with a 3.59 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 10.2 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 48
1B – Joey Votto – Votto was the top-rated first baseman in 2017 and ranked seventh overall. In 713 plate appearances, Votto posted a 1.031 OPS, drove in 100 runs and scored 106. Steamer expects Votto to finish second among first baseman this year behind Paul Goldschmidt. He’s ranked 21st overall and is projected to make 628 plate appearances with a .953 OPS, 88 RBI, and 94 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 19
2B/3B – Jose Ramirez – Ramirez was sensational in 2017, ending the season ranked eighth overall, second among second baseman and the top-rated third baseman. In 645 plate appearances, Ramirez posted a .957 OPS, with 83 RBI, 107 runs scored and 12 net stolen bases. Steamer projects Ramirez as the league’s 17th rated player and second-rated second baseman. He’s projected to make 628 plate appearances with a .855 OPS, 89 RBI, and 89 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 28
OF – George Springer – In 631 plate appearances last season, Springer had a .888 OPS with 85 RBI and 112 runs scored. He finished 2017 as the league’s 43rd rated player. Steamer projects a repeat in 2018. Springer is rated 40th overall with 596 plate appearances, a .869 OPS, with 83 RBI and 96 runs. Yahoo ADP: 26
C – Willson Contreras – In 429 plate appearances last season, Contreras posted a .854 OPS with 74 RBI and 50 runs scored. He finished 2017 as the league’s 313th ranked player. In 481 plate appearances this year, Steamer is projecting Contreras to post a .809 OPS with 69 RBI and 61 runs scored. He’s currently ranked 241st overall. Yahoo ADP: 70
SP – Zack Greinke – Greinke remains one of the league’s elite starting pitchers. In 2017, Greinke tossed 202.1 innings with 19 quality starts, a 3.20 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 9.5 K/9. He finished the season as the league’s 29th ranked player. Steamer expects Greinke to pitch 203 innings this season with a 3.72 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 8.6 K/9. He’s currently ranked 130th overall, a significant drop from last year’s finish. Yahoo ADP: 48
OF – Bryce Harper – A knee injury in August limited Harper to 111 games in 2017 which capped his value. He finished the season with 495 plate appearances and ranked 52nd overall. Steamer ranks Harper 15th entering 2018 and he’s the fourth-rated outfielder. He’s projected to make 581 plate appearances with a 1.003 OPS, 98 RBI, and 96 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 9
3B – Manny Machado – Machado was healthy in 2017 but didn’t live up to expectations. He finished with 698 plate appearances and a .782 OPS and was ranked 74th overall. He was a keeper-level player, but more was expected. He’s ranked 16th by Steamer entering 2018, a reflection of expectations, and is projected to make 634 plate appearances with a .897 OPS, 104 RBI and 96 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 22
SP – Carlos Carrasco – In 32 starts last year, Carrasco pitched 200 innings with 19 quality starts, a 3.28 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 10.1 K/9. He ended 2017 as the league’s 28th rated player. Steamer ranks Carrasco 49th overall entering 2018. He’s projected to pitch 169 issues over 28 games with a 3.51 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 9.6 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 35
SP – Justin Verlander – In 33 starts last season, Verlander pitched 206 innings and was tied for the league lead with 23 quality starts, a 3.36 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 9.5 K/9. He finished the season as the league’s 49th ranked player. Verlander enters 2018 as the 69th ranked player according to Steamer. He’s projected to pitch 204 innings with a 3.84 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 10 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 35
RP – Craig Kimbrel – Kimbrel was the league’s top-rated closer in 2017 but Steamer ranks him behind Kenley Jansen in this year’s rankings. Last year, he made 69 appearances, recording 32 net saves/holds with a 1.43 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, and 16.4 K/9. Kimbrel is ranked ninth overall and is projected to make 65 appearances with 33 net saves/holds, a 2.63 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and a 13.8 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 50
OF – Charlie Blackmon – Blackmon is quietly good. In 725 plate appearances last year, Blackmon had a 1.007 OPS with 104 RBI and scored a league-high 137. He finished as the league’s sixth-rated player and top-rated outfielder. Steamer ranks Blackmon 23rd entering 2018 and projects he’ll make 643 plate appearances with a .867 OPS, 80 RBI, and 102 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 9
2B – Dee Gordon – The speedy Gordon finished 2017 with 44 net stolen bases, second only to league-leader Billy Hamilton. He can single-handedly win the category for Hapamon on any given week. In 696 plate appearances, Gordon had a .713 OPS with 114 runs scored and 33 RBI. His ability to score runs and steal bases led to an overall ranking of 18th. Steamer ranks Gordon 52nd entering 2018. They project 635 plate appearances with a .685 OPS, 29 net stolen bases, 49 RBI and 77 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 36
OF – Christian Yelich – Yelich leaves the yawning chasms of Marlin Park and takes his big bat to Miller Park where he’s expected to do damage. Yelich was the league’s 47th rated player last year, amassing 700 plate appearances with a .807 OPS, 81 RBI and 100 runs scored. Steamer ranks Yelich 35th entering 2018 and projects 633 plate appearances with a .876 OPS, 79 RBI and 93 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 53
SP – Clayton Kershaw – Despite being limited to 27 starts, Kershaw earned 20 quality starts with a 2.31 ERA and 0.948 WHIP. That earned him the fifth ranking in the final player standings. Kershaw enters 2018 as Steamer’s top-rated player. He’s projected to toss 190 innings with a 2.75 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 10.3 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 5
SP – Yu Darvish – Darvish pitched 186.2 innings in 2017, earning 19 quality starts with a 3.80 ERA and 1.16 WHIP with a 10 K/9. He ended the season ranked 84th overall. Steamer likes Darvish in 2018. He’s ranked 39th and is projected to pitch 173 innings with a 3.64 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 10.5 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 51
Bacon at Mile 11
OF – Mike Trout – Trout played in just 114 games last year but still finished as the league’s 24th ranked player. He made 511 plate appearances and led the league with a 1.071 OPS (minimum 400+ plate appearances), 72 RBI and 92 runs scored. Trout is Steamer’s top-rated hitter and is ranked third overall behind Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale. He’s projected to make 618 plate appearances with a 1.043 OPS, 106 RBI, and 111 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 1
3B – Nolan Arenado – Arenado finished 2017 as the second-ranked third baseman and the 15th rated player overall. With 680 plate appearances, Arenado posted a .959 OPS with 130 RBI and 100 runs scored. He enters 2018 as the 13th rated player by Steamer and is projected to make 627 plate appearances with .939 OPS, 112 RBI, and 97 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 4
SS – Trea Turner – Turner ranked 65th in 2017 after suffering several injuries and playing in just 98 games. When healthy, he was electric on the bases, finishing with 38 net stolen bases, third most in the league. In 447 plate appearances, Turner posted a .789 OPS with 45 RBI and 75 runs scored. Steamer ranks Turner 12th overall and projects he’ll finish with 610 plate appearances, a .810 OPS, 65 RBI, 94 runs and 32 net stolen bases. Yahoo ADP: 6
1B/2B – Anthony Rizzo – Rizzo was the league’s 18th rated player in 2017 and the third-rated first baseman. In 691 plate appearances last year, Rizzo had a .899 OPS with 109 RBI, 99 runs, and six net stolen bases. This year he gains eligibility at second base, making him even more valuable. Steamer ranks Rizzo 14th heading into 2018 and projects he’ll make 610 plate appearances with a .938 OPS, 101 RBI, and 97 runs. Yahoo ADP: 22
SP – Chris Archer – In 34 starts last season, Archer pitched 201 innings with 20 quality starts, a 4.11 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 11.1 K/9. He finished 2017 as the league’s 117th ranked player. Steamer expects Archer to make a big jump in value this season. They rank him 29th overall and project he’ll make 32 starts with 196 innings pitched with a 3.49 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 10.2 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 66
1B – Edwin Encarnacion – Encarnacion continued to be a productive player in 2017 at age 34. In 673 plate appearances, Encarnacion had a .880 OPS with 107 RBI and 96 runs scored and finished the season ranked 39th overall. Steamer has Encarnacion ranked 47th overall. He’s projected to make 600 plate appearances with a .866 OPS, 99 RBI and 88 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 44
3B – Kyle Seager – In 656 plate appearances last year, Seager posted a .771 OPS with 88 RBI and 72 runs scored. He finished 2017 as the league’s 144th rated player. Steamer is projecting improvement for Seager in 2018. He’s the league’s 80th rated player entering the season and Steamer projects 536 plate appearances with a .805 OPS, 85 RBI and 77 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 117
OF – Ender Inciarte – Inciarte earned keeper status in 2017, finishing the season as the league’s 70th rated player. In 719 plate appearances, Inciarte posted a .759 OPS with 57 RBI and 93 runs scored. He was also valuable on the bases, finishing with 13 net stolen bases. Steamer has Inciarte rated 83rd overall entering 2018 with a projected .731 OPS, 54 RBI, 77 runs scored, and 11 net stolen bases. Yahoo ADP: 127
SP – James Paxton – Paxton tossed 136 innings in 2017, earning 14 quality starts with a 2.97 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 10.3 K/9. Despite DL stints with a strained forearm and strained pectoral muscle, Paxton finished the season as the league’s 58th rated player. Steamer has Paxton ranked 78th overall entering 2018. They are projecting 29 starts with 176 innings pitched with a 3.53 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 9.1 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 82
RP – Andrew Miller – Miller earned 26 net saves/holds in 2017 with a 2.15 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and 11.7 K/9. He ended the season as the league’s 31st rated player. Steamer expects Miller to make 65 appearances in 2018 with 13 net saves/holds, a 2.77 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 12.6 K/9. He’s ranked 26th overall. Yahoo ADP: 128
Warning Track Power
OF – J.D. Martinez – A foot injury limited Martinez to 119 games last year. In 493 plate appearances, Martinez posted a 1.066 OPS (second behind only Mike Trout for players with a minimum of 400 plate appearances) with 104 RBI and 85 runs scored. He finished the season as the league’s 40th ranked player. Martinez will enter 2018 as Steamer’s 72nd ranked player. He’s projected to have 530 plate appearances with a .912 OPS, 97 RBI and 80 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 20
3B – Josh Donaldson – Donaldson played in just 113 games last season, making 498 plate appearances with a .928 OPS, 77 RBI, and 64 runs scored. He finished 2017 ranked 196th overall. Expecting a return to health, Steamer projects Donaldson to make 602 plate appearances in 2018 with a .916 OPS, 95 RBI and 96 runs scored. He’s ranked 31st overall. Yahoo ADP: 30
1B – Eric Hosmer – In 673 plate appearances last season, Hosmer posted a .882 OPS with 94 RBI and 98 runs scored. He ended 2017 as the league’s 32nd rated player. Steamer projects a dip in production for 2018. Hosmer enters the season ranked 73rd. He’s projected to have 617 plate appearances with a .832 OPS, 84 RBI, and 75 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 81
SP – Chris Sale – Sale finished 2017 as the league’s third-rated player behind Corey Kluber and Max Scherzer. He pitched a league-high 214.1 innings with a league-leading 23 quality starts, a 2.90 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 12.9 K/9. Only Clayton Kershaw is rated higher than Sale by Steamer entering 2018. Boston’s ace is projected to pitch 192 innings with a 3.14 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 11.3 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 13
SP/RP – David Price – Price battled a sore elbow last season and made just 16 starts. He pitched 74.2 innings with seven quality starts, a 3.37 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 9.1 K/9. He ended the season as the league’s 245th ranked player. Steamer expects Price to remain healthy this season. He’s projected to make 29 starts, pitch 180 innings and post a 3.75 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 9.0 K/9. They have him ranked 110th overall. Yahoo ADP: 113
Home Run 101
2B – Jose Altuve – Altuve was the top-rated second baseman in 2017 and was the fourth-rated player in our league. In 662 plate appearances, he forged a .957 OPS with 112 runs scored (second most in the league), 81 RBI, and 26 net stolen bases. Steamer ranks Altuve as the top-rated infielder this year and has him ranked 10th overall. He’s projected to make 638 plate appearances with a .849 OPS, 84 RBI and 94 runs. Yahoo ADP: 2
1B – Jose Abreu – In 155 games last year, Abreu had 675 plate appearances with a .912 OPS, 102 RBI and 95 runs scored. He finished the season as the league’s 26th rated player. The White Sox are rebuilding so they could struggle to score runs which is reflected in Steamer’s projections. Abreau is ranked 50th overall. He’s expected to make 600 plate appearances with a .875 OPS, 96 RBI and 82 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 36
SS – Elvis Andrus – Andrus was very good in 2017. He finished the season as the league’s 23rd ranked player with 692 plate appearances, an .806 OPS, 88 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 15 net stolen bases. With Texas in rebuilding mode, Steamer expects a dip in production for Andrus this year. He’s ranked 62nd overall and is projected to have 624 plate appearances with a .749 OPS, 67 RBI, 78 runs scored and 12 net stolen bases. Yahoo ADP: 66
SP – Rich Hill – When Rich Hill is healthy, he can be electric. Keeping him healthy is the hard part. Hill appeared in 25 games last year, pitching 135.2 innings. He earned nine quality starts with a 3.31 ERA and 1.09 WHIP and 12.1 K/9. Despite missing time, he ended 2017 as the league’s 77th-rated player. Steamer projects a repeat of those numbers in 2017. Hill is projected to make 24 starts with 141 innings pitched with a 3.64 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 10.1 K/9. He’s ranked 76th overall. Yahoo ADP: 102
RP – Mychal Givens – In 69 appearances last year, Givens tossed 78.2 innings with 15 net saves/holds, a 2.74 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 10.0 K/9. He ended the season ranked 125th overall. Entering 2018, Steamer has Givens rated 208th overall. He’s projected to make 55 appearances with a 3.93 ERA, 125 WHIP and 10.3 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 239
2B – Brian Dozier – The veteran second baseman was rock-solid again in 2017, finishing the season as the league’s 36th-ranked player. He made 707 plate appearances with a .853 OPS, 93 RBI, and 106 runs scored. Not surprisingly, Steamer expects a virtual repeat in 2018. Dozier is projected to make 636 plate appearances with a .824 OPS, with 85 RBI and 96 runs scored. Entering 2018, Dozier is ranked 38th overall. Yahoo ADP: 42
3B – Anthony Rendon – In 611 plate appearances last season, Rendon posted a .936 OPS with 100 RBI and 81 runs scored. He ended 2017 as the league’s 34th-ranked player. Entering 2018, Steamer has Rendon ranked 70th overall. They are projecting 564 plate appearances with a .857 OPS, 77 RBI and 78 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 54
SS – Xander Bogaerts – Bogaerts finished 2017 as the league’s 103rd-rated player. In 637 plate appearances, Bogaerts posted a .746 OPS with 62 RBI and 94 runs scored. He also finished the season with 14 net stolen bases. Steamer is projecting a very similar season for Bogaerts in 2018. He’s projected to make 574 plate appearances with a .800 OPS, 72 RBI, 75 runs scored and five net stolen bases. Yahoo ADP: 69
SP – Jacob deGrom – The big right-hander emerged as the Mets ace in 2017, pitching 201.1 innings with a 3.53 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 10.6 K/9 and 21 quality starts. He ended the season as the league’s 42nd rated player. Steamer expects continued growth this season. He’s ranked 24th overall and is projected to pitch 203 innings with a 3.46 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 10.0 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 35
SP – Carlos Martinez – Martinez had 20 quality starts in 32 appearances last season, posting a 3.64 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP and 9.5 K/9. He finished the season ranked 102nd overall. Steamer projects Martinez to make 32 starts this season with 202 innings pitched, a 3.74 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 9.0 K/9. He’s expected to finish 2018 ranked 203rd overall. Yahoo ADP: 55
1B/3B – Freddie Freeman – Freeman becomes more valuable this year as he earns third base eligibility. The hard-slugging first baseman was pretty valuable in 2017. He ended the season as the league’s 81st rated player with 516 plate appearances, a .989 OPS, 71 RBI and 84 runs scored. Steamer has Freeman ranked 34th overall entering 2018 and projects 592 plate appearances with a .934 OPS, 92 RBI and 87 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 20
SS – Trevor Story – Is Story primed for a bounce-back season? In 556 plate appearances last year, Story had a .761 OPS with 82 RBI and 68 runs. The problem was his whiff rate. Story struck out 191 times. That left him with a final ranking of 373rd. Steamer is predicting a partial bounce-back. They project 541 plate appearances with a .791 OPS, 79 RBI and 69 runs. He’s only ticketed for 166 strikeouts by Streamer, so that’s improvement. Yahoo ADP: 92
RP – Aroldis Chapman – Chapman wasn’t his dominant self in 2017. He finished the season ranked 169th overall, pitching 50.1 innings with 19 net saves/holds, a 3.22 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 12.3 K/9. Steamer expects he’ll return to dominance in 2018. He’s ranked 18th overall and is the third-rated closer behind Jansen and Kimbrel. Chapman is projected to make 65 appearances with 29 net saves/holds with a 2.91 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 13.2 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 62
SP – Gerrit Cole – Cole was a workhorse in 2017. He pitched 203 innings but was hit hard at times. He earned 20 quality starts with a 4.25 ERA and 1.25 WHIP with a 8.6 K/9. Cole ended the season ranked 272nd. Streamer doesn’t like the odds of a bounce-back season for Cole. They are predicting 175 innings pitched with a 4.17 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 8.5 ERA. They have Cole ranked 894th. This will be one to watch in 2018. Yahoo ADP: 83
SP – Jon Lester – Lester was another key starter that struggled for High Cheese last year. He pitched 180.2 innings with a 4.33 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. He ended 2017 ranked 360th overall. The Patchells are betting the veteran will turn it around in 2018. Steamer, again, is not so sure. They’ve penciled in 195 innings pitched with a 3.92 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 8.6 K/9. It’s certainly an improvement over last year but it leaves him ranked 260th overall. Yahoo ADP: 105
OF – Marcell Ozuna – In 681 plate appearances last year, Ozuna had a .914 OPS with 124 RBI (third in the league) and 93 runs. It led to a final ranking of 33rd overall. Steamer has Ozuna ranked 53rd overall entering 2018. They are projecting 596 plate appearances with a .879 OPS, 97 RBI and 82 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 63
1B – Wil Myers – In 656 plate appearances last season, Myers posted a .792 OPS with 74 RBI and 80 runs scored. It earned him a pedestrian ranking of 160th overall. That’s disappointing for a talent like Myers. Streamer is a believer in the underlying talent and is predicting a turnaround in 2018. They project 600 plate appearances with a .804 OPS, 81 RBI and 76 runs with nine net stolen bases. While those are similar numbers to 2017, they would earn Myers the 95th ranking overall in the stingy Streamer system. Yahoo ADP: 64
OF – Domingo Santana – Santana was on the verge of earning keeper status (Top 80 overall ranking) in 2017. In 610 plate appearances, Santana had a .875 OPS with 85 RBI, 88 runs scored and 11 net stolen bases. Streamer is projecting a drop in production for 2018. They have Santana with 561 plate appearances, a .828 OPS, 79 RBI, 75 runs, and three net stolen bases for an overall ranking of 163. Yahoo ADP: 81
OF – Lorenzo Cain – Can Cain repeat his 2017 season? He earned keeper status with excellent production over 647 plate appearances. Cain finished the season with 24 net stolen bases, a .809 OPS, 50 RBI and 86 runs scored. That was good enough for a final ranking of 54th overall. Streamer is predicting 578 plate appearances this season with nine net stolen bases, a .784 OPS, 64 RBI and 77 runs scored. Streamer ranks Cain 94th overall. Yahoo ADP: 94
SP – Max Scherzer – The Menehunes have their ace. Scherzer, who finished 2017 as the league’s second-rated player, is Steamer’s third-rated pitcher for 2018 and is rated fourth overall. Last year, Scherzer pitched 200.2 innings with 22 quality starts (tied for third most in the league) a 2.51 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and 12.0 K/9. He’s projected by Steamer to make 32 starts in 2018, pitching 207 innings with a 3.39 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 11.2 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 9
OF – Khris Davis – Davis provides thump in the middle of the lineup for the Bulls. In 659 plate appearances last year, Davis had a .859 OPS with 109 RBI and 91 runs scored. The only drag on his production was 195 strikeouts (tied for third most in the league), which left him ranked 105th overall. Streamer expects a repeat performance from Oakland’s big slugger. In 589 plate appearances, Davis is expected to finish with a .827 OPS, 98 RBI, 81 runs scored and 173 strikeouts. Streamer ranks Davis 109th overall. Yahoo ADP: 69
2B – Rougned Odor – There’s a theme developing with the Bulls. A penchant for whiffs at the plate. Those K’s – 162 in all – killed Odor’s overall ranking in 2017. In 655 plate appearances he posted a .647 OPS with nine net stolen bases, 75 RBI and 79 runs scored. He finished 2017 ranked 288th overall. Streamer expects Odor to cut down on the K’s and improve his final ranking in 2018. They are projecting 554 plate appearances with a .780 OPS, just 119 Ks, with 84 RBI and 72 runs scored. He’s ranked 117th overall. Yahoo ADP: 102
SS – Didi Gregorius – Gregorius ended 2017 as the league’s 110th ranked player. In 576 plate appearances he posted a .799 OPS with 87 RBI and 73 runs scored. Streamer projects a similar season in 2018. Hitting fifth in New York’s potent lineup, Gregorius is projected to post a .753 OPS in 553 plate appearances with 73 RBI and 67 runs scored. He’s ranked 142nd overall. Yahoo ADP: 114
SP – Stephen Strasburg – Strasburg finished 2017 as the league’s fifth-rated starting pitcher and was ranked 14th overall. He pitched 175.1 innings with 20 quality starts, a 2.56 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 10.4 K/9. Steamer expects a near repeat in 2018. Strasburg is ranked 22nd overall and is projected to start 31 games, throw 188 innings with a 3.45 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 10.3 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 24
RP – Roberto Osuna – Osuna emerged as one of the best relief pitchers in baseball last year. In 66 appearances, Osuna earned 27 net saves/holds with a 3.37 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 11.6 K/9. He ended 2017 as the league’s 72nd ranked player. Steamer is expecting continued growth in 2018. They have Osuna ranked 41st overall. He’s projected to make 65 appearances and earn 31 net saves/holds with a 3.46 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 10.4 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 81
Las Estellas Rojas
OF – Justin Upton – Upton finished 2017 ranked 48th overall after posting a .807 OPS in 700 plate appearances. He had 14 net stolen bases along with 109 RBI and 100 runs scored. Streamer projects a slight regression in 2018. Upton is predicted to have 605 plate appearances with a .809 OPS and five net stolen bases. He’s also projected to drive in 91 runs and score 81 times. He’s ranked 107th overall. Yahoo ADP: 42
OF – Billy Hamilton – Hamilton can win the stolen base category by himself during any given week of the season. That’s an excellent weapon to have on your team. Last year, Hamilton finished with a league-high 46 net stolen bases in 630 plate appearances. He’s not a power hitter, as illustrated by his .627 OPS, but he scored 85 times while driving in 38 runs. Hamilton ended 2017 as the league’s 94th ranked player. Streamer ranks Hamilton 121st overall entering 2018 and projects 32 net stolen bases in 530 plate appearances. Hamilton is expected to post a .644 OPS with 42 RBI and 60 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 68
2B – Robinson Cano – Cano finished 2017 as the league’s 77th ranked player. In 651 plate appearances he had a .790 OPS with 97 RBI and 79 runs scored. Steamer has Cano ranked 57th entering 2018. They project 621 plate appearances with a .810 OPS, 89 RBI and 79 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 59
C – Yadier Molina – How much gas does the 35-year-old Molina have left in the tank? He’s no longer one of the league’s elite offensive catchers. In 551 plate appearances last year he posted a .750 OPS with 82 RBI and 60 runs scored to finish the season ranked 176th overall. Streamer is projecting Molina to run out of gas this season. They predict just 442 plate appearances with a .748 OPS, 54 RBI, and 47 runs scored. They have Molina ranked 825th overall. This one bears watching early in the season. Yahoo ADP: 166
SP – Noah Syndergaard – A lat injury limited “Thor” to just seven starts in 2017 and he finished the season ranked 285th. He pitched just 30.1 innings with four quality starts, a 2.97 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 10.0 K/9. This year, Syndergaard is the league’s fourth-rated pitcher according to Steamer and will anchor the pitching staff for Las Estellas Rojas. He’s projected to make 31 starts, pitch 182 innings with a 3.12 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 10.9 K/9. Yahoo ADP: 31
1B – Paul Goldschmidt – Goldschmidt was Wendy Peffercorn’s MVP in 2017, finishing the season ranked ninth overall and the second-rated first baseman behind Joey Votto. In 668 plate appearances, Goldschmidt posted a .966 OPS with 120 RBI and 117 runs scored. Steamer doesn’t expect Goldschmidt to repeat his excellence in 2018 but they do expect him to be very good. He’s ranked 20th overall and is the second-ranked first baseman. Goldschmidt is projected to make 627 plate appearances with a .933 OPS, 93 RBI, and 94 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 8
SS – Francisco Lindor – Lindor ended 2017 as the league’s top-rated shortstop and he finished as the 21st-ranked player overall. He made 721 plate appearances, driving in 89 runs and scoring 99. Steamer ranks Lindor 19th entering 2018 and the second-ranked shortstop behind Trea Turner. He’s projected to make 645 plate appearances with a .852 OPS, with 87 RBI and 97 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 22
OF – Nelson Cruz – Cruz finished 2017 ranked 38th overall and had an excellent season. In 652 plate appearances, he had a .923 OPS with 119 RBI and 91 runs scored. Steamer ranks Cruz 65th entering 2018. They project 585 plate appearances with a .879 OPS, 100 RBI, and 83 runs scored. Yahoo ADP: 38
1B – Ryan Zimmerman – What a bounce-back season for the 33-year-old first baseman. Written off before the season started, Zimmerman posted a .930 OPS with 108 RBI and 90 runs scored over 581 plate appearances. He ended 2017 as the league’s 50th rated player. Streamer expects Zimmerman to give back some plate appearances and OPS, and with it some of his overall ranking. He’s projected for just 469 plate appearances with a .829 OPS, 74 RBI and 61 runs. Zimmerman is ranked 218th overall. Yahoo ADP: 127
RP – Anthony Swarzak – Swarzak was sneaky good in 2017. He earned 25 net saves/holds with a 2.32 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 10.5 K/9. He ended the season with keeper value, ranked 68th overall. Swarzak is ranked 118th by Streamer entering 2018 but don’t be surprised if he exceeds that projection given the opportunities that exist for Milwaukee relief pitchers. Streamer is projecting just two net saves/holds, which is extremely conservative, to go with a 3.32 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 10.0 K/9. Yahoo ADP: Swarzak isn’t being drafted in many Yahoo leagues because he’s a set-up man and those leagues don’t value excellent relief pitching.
Entering the ninth season of the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League we welcome two new owners and debut a revised regular season schedule.
Let’s welcome Calvin Chang, who takes over the Marin Menehunes and Lee Magner, who will manage Wendy Peffercorn, the old Land Shark franchise. I want to thank Elizabeth Gravely and Meredith James for their participation over the years. Elizabeth won a championship during her time in the league.
Calvin is a veteran of seven seasons on Yahoo Fantasy Baseball and comes to us from the BaseballMonster.com community. Lee is a neighbor here in San Francisco’s Lower Haight and also a member of the illustrious 8:30-minute-per-mile pace group with the Road Runners. Lee understands pain. He has no record of fantasy baseball participation on his current Yahoo profile. That could lead to more pain.
Along with our new owners, the league debuts a new schedule in 2018. The league is still divided into four divisions. This year, you’ll play your division rivals three times and every other team once. That creates a 21-week regular season schedule with the four division winners earning the top seeds in the three-week, eight-team, postseason.
This format avoids Weeks 25-26 in the playoffs. The last two weeks in the Major League season feature expanded rosters, skipped starts for pitchers, and simply too much uncertainty for the fantasy playoffs.
Keeper Deadline & Draft
Be sure to send me the five players you want to keep from your current roster by Thursday, March 15 at 5pm. I’ll send a league update that night with a rundown on all the keepers.
Also, remember to register the dates you are available for the league’s online player draft. Please vote for ALL of the dates that work for you (March 26, 27, 28 at 7pm PST). Follow this link to register your votes.
Before embarking on the annual process of prepping for the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League draft, I like to review the year before. Occasionally trends emerge that can instruct how I approach the upcoming draft. It’s also important to see how important a team’s draft was to how they performed during the previous season.
With that, here’s a review of the 2017 draft.
Warning Track Power
Warning Track Power finished 125-129-10 and missed the playoffs, finishing ninth overall. The final record was the team’s worst since 2014, when they went 114-148-24.
As drafts go, this wasn’t one of General Manager Mark Peterson’s best. It ranks fifth in team history and 68th in league history. Just two of the team’s five keepers finished 2017 ranked in the Top 80. Fifteen of the 26 draft choices ended the season ranked in the Top 416, giving them enough value to be above replacement level.
Peterson expected more from Josh Donaldson, Zach Britton and David Price. Injuries limited all three (Britton, forearm; Donaldson, leg; and Price elbow) to partial seasons. The one bright spot was Chris Sale, who finished as the team MVP, and ranked third overall at season’s end.
Third baseman Nick Castellanos had a breakout season and was a great bargain for Warning Track Power. The 25-year-old was drafted 317th but finished the season ranked 135th after setting career highs in homes, RBIs, runs and stolen bases.
In eight seasons, the Bulls have finished with a record over .500 three times. It’s no coincidence that each of those successful seasons was preceded by an excellent draft for General Manager Carolyn Greene. Unfortunately, 2017 wasn’t one of those drafts.
By average player value, it was the third-worst draft in team history and it ranked 120th out of 128 in league history. This led to a 108-146-10 record, second worst in team history.
What went wrong? Stephen Strasburg was the team’s only keeper to end 2017 ranked in the Top 80 and finished as the team MVP. Just 14 players drafted by Greene exceeded replacement level (Top 416).
Shortstop Jonathan Villar symbolized Greene’s season. Greene made Villar a keeper after his breakout 2016 season and then watched as he hit .241 with just 49 runs and 40 RBI. Is Villar a bounce back candidate?
Greene found a gem in veteran pitcher Gio Gonzalez. Drafted with the 233rd pick, Gonzalez was a workhorse, pitching 201 innings with 22 quality starts, a 2.96 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.
A solid draft by General Manager Chris Frugiuele helped Stadium Mustard finish with the league’s sixth-best record and qualify for the playoffs in 2017. The team finished with the best regular season record in franchise history at 139-116-9 and Stadium Mustard pushed the eventual league champions, Everybody Hurts, in a tight quarterfinal playoff series.
The foundation for the team’s success was built in a draft that was third best in team history and 41st best in league history. Three of the team’s keepers ended the season ranked in the Top 80 and 16 of the 25 players drafted finished in the Top 416.
Five late-round choices – Shin-soo Choo, Alex Wood, Joe Mauer, Josh Harrison, and Josh Reddick – all had excellent seasons, though Wood and Mauer were waived by Frugiuele early in April. Choo tied for the team lead in runs scored with 96.
Relief pitcher Andrew Miller, chosen with the 86th overall selection, earned team MVP honors, tossing 62.2 innings with 27 net saves/holds, a 1.44 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 13.64 K/9.
The third-best draft in team history ended with the third-best regular season record for General Manager Sean McKenna and the Mirrors.
Four of the team’s five keepers finished in the league’s Top 80 players at year’s end. Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. was the lone keeper who struggled. Craig Kimbrel, one of the game’s elite closers, earned team MVP honors, finishing as the league’s 12th-rated player. Eight players, Aaron Judge, Travis Shaw, Jonathan Schoop, Kimbrel, Carlos Carrasco, Justin Verlander, Bryce Harper, and Manny Machado all finished ranked inside the Top 80. Fourteen of the 26 draftees finished the season at replacement level or better.
Young outfielder Aaron Judge was one of the steals of the 2017 draft. McKenna picked Judge with the 365th pick and he ended 2017 ranked as the 20th best player in the league. Unfortunately, McKenna released Judge on April 6 to make room for reliever Felipe Rivera and Judge’s 1.049 OPS, 128 runs and 114 RBIs production pushed Everything Hurts to the league championship.
McKenna did grab Rivera from the division rival Lower Haighters and he went on to lead the team in net saves/holds, easing some of the pain.
Bacon at Mile 11
Late-round pitching bargains and productive keepers helped GM Eric Brown earn the second best draft ranking in league history.
Relief pitchers Nick Vincent, Will Harris, and Ken Giles were solid selections while starters Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn provided pitching depth after Chris Archer and Danny Salazar failed to live up to their projections.
Four of the team’s five keepers finished in the league’s top 80 players by season’s end. Archer was the lone struggler. Brown drafted five players that ended the season in the league’s Top 80. Anthony Rizzo and Nolan Arenado both finished in the Top 20 and 20 of the players drafted finished at replacement level or better.
Nolan Arenado edged Mike Trout for team MVP honors.
While Brown’s draft was excellent, the team’s final winning percentage of .563 was just the fifth best in franchise history.
The 2017 draft by Everybody Hurts ranks as the seventh best in league history and provided a base for the team’s eventual championship run. This is amazing considering just one of GM Andy Berlind’s keepers, closer Kenley Jansen, finished the season in the Top 80. In fact, just three of the players drafted by Berlind ended up in the Top 80.
What Berlind did well was draft depth. Eighteen of the 26 players he drafted finished better than replacement value and 10 ended the season inside the Top 200. Jansen was the team MVP, ranking 13th overall.
Berlind did an excellent job of in-season managing, adding outfielder Aaron Judge, first baseman Cody Bellinger, first baseman Rhys Hoskins, and pitcher Lucas Giolito. All four players were instrumental in helping the franchise win last year’s championship.
Starting pitchers Jameson Taillon, Adam Wainwright, Anthony DeSclafani, and Joe Ross sabotaged GM Robert Kirkbride’s 2017 draft. And when ace Clayton Kershaw pitched just 175 innings because of injury, the season headed south.
The 2017 draft ended as the second worst draft in team history thanks to the underperformance of the starting pitching, but Kirkbride managed the team to its fifth best record overall. Kershaw, second baseman Dee Gordon, and outfielders Charlie Blackmon and Christian Yelich kept Hapamon competitive.
Kirkbride added reliever Chad Green late in the season while infielder Alex Bregman earned keeper status after being drafted 115th overall. A big addition to the team was Archie Bradley, who became a dominant relief pitcher after Kirkbride added him as a free agent in late April.
Not surprising, Kershaw again earned team MVP honors for Hapamon
A bad draft left General Manager Matt Patchell in a hole that led to the worst record in team history. Co-manager Zach Patchell was busy scouting players in Cuba for the entire 2017 season and his absence was felt.
None of Matt Patchell’s keepers finished the season ranked in the Top 80. Starting pitcher Jon Lester and shortstop Trevor Story finished outside the Top 300 but their failures paled in comparison to slugger Kyle Schwarber, who ended the season ranked 539th, lower than a simple replacement player.
Reliever David Robertson, drafted with the 187th pick, was the only High Cheese player ranked in the Top 80 at season’s end. Robertson earned team MVP honors. Another reliever, Addison Reed, was picked 262nd and finished 89th.
In a season full of busts, the biggest of them all was Bartolo Colon, who was picked with the 283rd pick and ended the season ranked 1,357th. He would have been ranked in the short-season Class A minors.
This was a season to forget for the Patchells.
Home Run 101
The most important players on any team in any given season are the five “keepers”. They are the biggest investment a team makes and in 2017 they let Home Run 101 General Manager Bailey Penzotti down.
Starting pitcher Johnny Cueto, catcher Jonathan Lucroy, and outfielder A.J. Pollock were all keepers and none finished the season ranked in the Top 80. Cueto was the biggest disappointment, finishing the season ranked 856th as he battled blisters from the juiced baseballs.
Second baseman Jose Altuve and first baseman Jose Abreu performed like keepers with Altuve earning team MVP honors.
Penzotti did uncover a gem in veteran shortstop Elvis Andrew, who was drafted 175th and finished 23rd. Veteran pitcher Rich Hill also performed well as he finished the season ranked 77th after being drafted with the 111th pick.
Overall, only eight players drafted by Penzotti ended the season ranked in the Top 200 while 13 draftees ended 2017 with less value than a replacement player.
To finish with the third best regular season record in league history you have to do something right in the draft. JettSetters General Manager David Kahn turned three mid-round picks into keeper-level talent.
Reliever Ryan Madson, starting pitcher Zack Greinke, and infielder Jose Ramirez were tremendous value picks. Ramirez was chosen with the 156th pick of the draft and finished the season ranked 8th. Madson was picked 261st and finished 60th while Greinke was chosen 101st and finished 29th.
The JetSetters had six players ranked in the Top 80 at the end of the season and 10 ranked in the Top 200. Nine players were ranked lower than replacement level.
First basemen Joey Votto barely edged Ramirez for team MVP honors. Second baseman Whit Merrifield was a brilliant free-agent find, as Kahn added him in June and he finished the season ranked 35th. Veteran infielder Jose Reyes was a tremendous value pick as he finished the season ranked 132nd after being chosen with the 380th pick.
In the last draft for General Manager Meredith James, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
A whopping 20 of the team’s 26 players drafted by James finished the season ranked outside of the Top 200. Unbelievably, 16 of those had less value than a replacement-level player.
What started as a colossal failure on draft day mercifully ended in September when Land Shark finished with a league-worst 103-149-12 record.
Veteran first baseman Ryan Zimmerman was the one draft day success for James. Zimmerman was chosen 414th overall and ended the season ranked 50th. Another first baseman, Paul Goldschmidt, earned team MVP honors, ranked ninth overall.
Veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre and starting pitcher Felix Hernandez were protected by James prior to the draft and both ended the season ranked outside of the Top 200.
Las Estellas Rojas
In her first fantasy baseball league draft, Las Estellas Rojas General Manager Jen Valdivia acquitted herself quite nicely.
She stole reliever Sean Doolittle with the 362nd pick and he finished the season ranked 80th. Doolittle led a bullpen that featured Pedro Strop, Hunter Strickland, Brandon Kintzler and Koji Uehara. All were chosen after the 250th pick and all performed better than their draft slots.
For an encore, Valdivia needs to identify more Top 200-level talent. Her first draft produced just eight players at that level. She also needs to limit the number of “busts” – players that finish the season ranked below replacement-level value. She had 10 in her first season.
The Rojas also failed to find an elite player to carry the team. Outfielder Justin Upton was the team MVP and he ranked 48th overall.
Besides the draft, Valdivia needs to become a better “hands-on” manager in 2018. The Rojas were the only team in the league that didn’t make a player transaction in 2017.
Let’s Play 2
Led by league MVP Corey Kluber, Let’s Play 2 played in its first league championship series in 2017. Despite the loss to Everybody Hurts, General Manager Louie Bottaro has plenty of talent to stock his 2018 squad.
It all started with an excellent draft in 2017. It ranks as the 17th best draft in league history and the second best in franchise history. Three players chosen after the 200th pick in the draft – reliever Carl Edwards, outfielder Brett Gardner, and starting pitcher Robbie Ray – all finished the season ranked 90th or better.
Twelve players drafted by Bottaro ended the season ranked in the Top 200 while just eight players finished less than replacement level.
The successful draft allowed Bottaro to remain quiet in the free agent market during the season. Let’s Play 2 made a total of 12 free agent moves in 2017.
The Lower Haighters had the 18th best draft in league history but it ranks just fifth in team history. This is a team with high standards.
While the Lower Haighters ended 2017 with the fourth best regular season record in league history, the team failed to make the championship series. Fail. General Manager Robert Hood did, however, find some draft day bargains.
Reliever Felipe Rivero, chosen with the 386th pick, finished ranked 25th, while starter Luis Severino was chosen with the 319th pick and finished 16th. Hood’s impatient ways led to the release of Rivero early in the season but Severino finished just behind outfielder Giancarlo Stanton in the team MVP race.
First baseman Carlos Santana joined Rivero, Stanton, and Severino as keeper-level players for the Lower Haighters in 2017. Nine of the team’s draftees ended 2017 ranked in the Top 200 while just seven players finished below replacement level.
While the Lower Haighters finished with the second best record in the league and played in the championship semifinals, leaving 2017 without a championship trophy will be considered a failure.
The 2017 season was a disaster for the Menehunes and led to the resignation of long-time General Manager Elizabeth Gravely. Heading into spring training, the team is still searching for a replacement.
Gravely’s 2017 draft was the worst in team history and the sixth worst in league history. Starter Max Scherzer finished as the team MVP and was the league’s second ranked player but outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Marcell Ozuna were the only players to join Scherzer as keeper-level talent.
Just eight Menehunes draft choices finished 2017 ranked inside the Top 200 while 14 failed to reach replacement level.
Co-managers Charlie and Allen Bush completed their first fantasy baseball league draft in 2017 and finished with six keeper-level players.
Twelve players in that first draft finished in the Top 200 while 11 players failed to reach replacement level. Starting pitchers Matt Harvey, Alex Reyes, outfielders Tyler Naquin and Adrian Gonzalez and catcher Devin Mesoraco all finished outside the Top 1,000, a major reason the team’s draft was ranked 103rd in league history.
There were also some victories on draft day. Reliever Chris Devenski was chosen with the 309th pick and emerged as one of the league’s premier relievers, finishing 2017 ranked 57th overall. Devenski, pitcher Raises Iglesias, and third baseman Anthony Rendon were all chosen outside the 100th pick and returned keeper value.
A pair of keepers – pitcher Carlos Martinez and and Kelvin Herrera – and shortstop Xander Bogaerts were designated keepers by the Marsupials and failed to reach keeper-level status.
With a year under their belt, the Marsupials are looking for better draft results in 2018.
A pair of pitchers taken in the late rounds helped General Manager Eric Brown and Bacon at Mile 11 earn the second best draft grade in league history in 2017.
Reliever Nick Vincent was chosen with the 377th pick of the draft and finished the 2017 season with a 3.20 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 27 net saves/holds. Vincent ended the season ranked in the Top 200, finishing 193rd.
Lucas Giolito was picked in the last round with the 409th pick but spent much of the early season in the minors before making seven starts late in the season for the White Sox. While Brown released Giolito in April, the young pitcher went on to post a 2.38 ERA and .094 WHIP and was a contributor for Everybody Hurts, who added Giolito on Sept. 3.
Finding late-round contributors is essential for a good draft but equally important is to avoid early round busts. Four of five keepers for Brown finished the season ranked in the Top 80 and Chris Archer, the one player that didn’t, finished 2017 ranked a respectable 117th.
Two late-round flyers, catcher Sandy Leon and pitcher Zack Wheeler, were the lowest-ranked players drafted by Brown. Leon was dropped in early June as he hit just .225 in 301 plate appearances while Wheeler earned just six quality starts in 86.1 innings.
By uncovering several late-round gems, minimizing keeper busts, and squeezing value out of mid-round picks, Brown finished 2017 with the league’s highest-rated draft. It helped him win the North Division title and finish with the league’s fourth-best regular season record.
Can Corey Kluber continue his masterful playoff run for Let’s Play 2 and will rookie slugger Aaron Judge power Everybody Hurts to the title? The two will meet in this year’s SFRRC Fantasy Baseball championship series.
Kluber hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last three starts. He’ll face the White Sox at home on Saturday.
Starting pitching helped Louie Bottaro’s team reach its first championship series. Jose Quintana, Kluber, and Jake Odorizzi all pitched scoreless games last week as Let’s Play 2 earned five quality starts to upset the JetSetters in the semifinals.
Everybody Hurts defeated the Lower Haighters with power at the plate. Aaron Judge and Rhys Hoskins combined to knock in 16 of the team’s 41 RBI. The bullpen was also brilliant, as Blake Treinen had three of the team’s seven saves/holds.
Let’s Play 2 will have nine hitters with an opportunity to play in seven games this week while Everybody Hurts has just six hitters with a game every week. Opportunities often create production at the plate.
Both teams will have six starts from starting pitchers and each team will see their starters at home for four of those six games. It looks like a fairly even matchup on the mound.
In the consolation bracket, the Lower Haighters will face the JetSetters in the third-place series. The JetSetters won the lone meeting between the teams this year, sweeping the offensive categories as Jose Ramirez scored 11 runs and had seven RBI.
Hapamon will play A-Rod’s Mirrors in the fifth-place series. The Mirrors beat Hapamon 6-5 in a tightly contested Week 17 series. Manny Machado had eight RBI in that series for the Mirrors while Hapamon’s ace, Clayton Kershaw, was out with a back injury.
Stadium Mustard and Bacon at Mile 11 will play in the seventh-place series. Bacon at Mile 11 won the lone meeting between the two teams in Week 17. Nolan Arenado drove in seven runs for Bacon while starter Aaron Nola had two quality starts.
Let’s Play 2 looks like a dangerous team entering the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League playoff semifinals.
Starting pitchers Corey Kluber and Robbie Ray have gone 6-for-6 in quality start attempts over the past two weeks. Kluber has pitched 23 innings, allowing just two runs with a 0.52 WHIP while Ray has tossed 20.1 innings with a 1.31 ERA and 0.73 WHIP.
Outfielder Mookie Betts is also swinging a hot bat for Louie Bottaro’s team. In his last 12 games, Betts has a 1.015 OPS with 10 runs scored, 12 RBI, and just seven strikeouts in 57 plate appearances.
Does Let’s Play 2 have enough to upset the Jetsetters, the league’s best team? Ervin Santana and Patrick Corbin will each start twice in the series for David Kahn’s team. Corbin has struggled in his last two outings, giving up nine earned runs over 11 innings.
Zack Greinke has been the team’s ace recently, allowing just three runs over his last 22 innings while earning three quality starts.
Everybody Hurts faces the Lower Haighters in the second semifinal and five hot hitters will pace Andy Berlind’s team. Aaron Judge and Rhys Hoskins have combined to drive home 23 runs over the last two weeks for Everybody Hurts while Jean Segura and Yoan Moncada have combined to score 21 runs during that same stretch.
Swinging the hottest bat is Oakland outfielder Matt Olson. Over his last 13 games, Olson is hitting .313 with a 1.307 OPS, 14 RBI and 12 runs scored.
The Lower Haighters will ride three veteran hitters – Ryan Braun, Carlos Santana, and DJ LeMahieu – and young starting pitcher Luis Severino.
Severino has struck out 17 batters over his last 15 innings while allowing just three earned runs. He has two straight quality starts with a 1.80 ERA and 0.53 WHIP.
Braun has three net stolen bases and has scored 10 runs over his last 11 games while Santana is hitting .391 with a 1.169 OPS over the past two weeks. LeMahieu is quietly putting the finishing touches on a strong season. In his last 14 games, the veteran second baseman is hitting .327 with a .921 OPS.
Good luck to the final four teams!
League Changes on the Horizon for 2018
After eight years, it’s time to shake things up for 2018. Next year, the league will be divided into two divisions, rather than four. Each team will play their division opponents twice and their non-division opponents once.
The divisions will be divided equally based on this year’s regular season standings. The first division will have teams that finished 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th, & 15th. The second division will include teams that finished 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, and 16th.
This will help equalize the strength of schedule for every team in the league.
If you have additional ideas for changes to the league, please let me know. Also, if you aren’t going to rejoin next season, please let me know so that I can find a replacement owner as soon as possible.