Ziguana is now 8-8 on the season after going 3-5 last week. It ended up being a tough week to predict as three series ended tied. Remember, the projected outcome was made before the first pitch yesterday.
Bacon at Mile 11 vs Buster Hugs
Bacon at Mile 11 leads the league with a 53-28-3 record and has the league’s largest division lead at 14.5 games over Hapamon in the North. They are the only team in the league that hasn’t lost a series in 2016. Buster Hugs has just one series win over the past month and have dropped to eighth in the overall standings at 42-38-4. Despite the struggles, they still lead a weak East Division by four games over Land Shark.
Pitching: Two staffs that struggled last week look for more success when they meet in this series. For the first time in 2016, Bacon was swept in the pitching categories in Week 7. They finished with a season-high 5.40 ERA and 1.64 WHIP (the worst WHIP in the league last week) in 63.1 innings pitched as Jon Gray lasted just 3.1 innings in his start and finished with a 24.30 ERA. The team is 5-12-1 on the mound over the last three weeks. Buster Hugs won just one pitching category last week and the team ERA the last four weeks is 3.06, 5.74, 5.30, and 3.96. They had just one Net Save/Hold, which was tied for the worst mark in the league in Week 7 as Kenley Jansen blew two.
Hitting: Bacon had a season-low 21 RBI but a season-high five net stolen bases to sweep the hitting categories last week. They also scored a league-high 41 runs in Week 7, including a combined 16 by Mike Trout and Gregory Polanco. Buster Hugs has gone 10-2 in hitting categories the past two weeks and has a .800+ OPS in four of the first seven weeks. Catcher Cameron Rupp led the team with a 1.492 OPS last week.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Bacon at Mile 11 opens Week 8 as the second biggest favorite this week. Ziguana projects the team has an 86.3 percent chance of victory while Buster Hugs has just a 6.9 percent chance to win the series. There is a 6.8 percent chance the teams will tie.
Home Run 101 vs Lower Haighters
The Lower Haighters hold a slim 1.5-game lead over the Marin Menehunes in the West Division. They have just one series win over the past month and now sit fourth in the league standings with a 48-33-3 record. Home Run 101 is 15th in the league standings at 28-53-3. They’ve won two of their past three series but are 25 games behind Bacon at Mile 11 in the North Division.
Pitching: Home Run 101 won just one pitching category in Week 7 against the Mirrors and they’ve had five series in the first seven weeks where they’ve won one or fewer pitching categories. Jake Peavy lasted just 1.2 innings in his lone start, finishing with a 27.00 ERA. The Lower Haighters salvaged four pitching categories in last week’s series with Stadium Mustard to earn a 6-6 draw. The team has now lost the Net Saves/Holds category the last two weeks despite earning six each week. Nick Vincent and Will Harris combined for four Net Saves/Holds in Week 7.
Hitting: Home Run 101 had a .667 OPS last week, their second lowest mark this season, but still managed to win three hitting categories against the Mirrors. Outfielder Mitch Moreland struck out six times in 16 plate appearances and had a .321 OPS in Week 7. The Lower Haighters are struggling at the plate, going 3-9 the last two weeks. They finished Week 7 with a season-low 24 RBI and 48 Strikeouts, the team’s second highest total of the season. Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton had 17 strikeouts in 25 plate appearances.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: The Lower Haighters have a 78.9 percent chance to win this series while Home Run 101 is a big underdog with a 10.9 percent winning chance. There is a 10.2 percent chance the teams will tie.
Warning Track Power vs JetSetters
All four West Division teams would qualify for the playoffs today, including Warning Track Power, which is last in the division. However, the team is seventh overall with a 47-37-0 record and have won their last two series. The JetSetters are coming off a rare series win, just their second this year, and are now 32-47-5, 13th overall. They are 17.5 games behind High Cheese in the South Division.
Pitching: For the first time in 2016, the JetSetters won five of the six pitching categories in a series. The staff finished with a season-low 1.01 WHIP and a season-high 11.12 K/9 (which led the league last week). The bullpen has been impressive, totaling seven or more net saves/holds in five of the season’s first seven weeks including a league-high eight in Week 7. Alex Colome had three Net Saves/Holds last week with a 19.29 K/9. Warning Track Power has lost just one pitching category over the past two weeks and swept Let’s Play 2 last week. The team posted a season-low 2.19 ERA on 70 innings with six quality starts, as Jon Niese pitched 13 innings with a pair of quality starts and a 2.08 ERA.
Hitting: Warning Track Power won three of the six hitting categories against Let’s Play 2 last week as the team had just 45 strikeouts, its second lowest total of the season. Amazingly, they were able to win the Net Stolen Bases category with -1. Second baseman Jason Kipnis led the team with nine RBI. It’s beginning to look like the bats aren’t going to come around for the JetSetters. They are 14-28 at the plate this season and they have yet to win the Strikeouts or OPS categories. Last week, they tied High Cheese for the league-high with 64 Strikeouts as Eugenio Suarez finished with 17 strikeouts in 30 plate appearances.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Ziguana is projecting this series will be the most lopsided of Week 8. Warning Track Power opens the week with a 92.7 percent chance to win the series while the JetSetters have just a 2.6 percent chance for victory. There is a 4.7 percent chance they’ll tie.
The Bulls vs Marin Menehunes
The Bulls snapped a four-week losing streak with a 7-5 series victory over Land Shark last week. They are now 35-44-5 and 11th in the overall standings. The Bulls are 17 games behind Bacon in the North Division. The Menehunes are 46-34-4 and just 1.5 games behind the Lower Haighters in the West Division. They have the league’s fifth best record but are in the midst of a three-week losing streak.
Pitching: The Bulls are coming off their first sweep of the pitching categories this season. Zack Greinke earned a pair of quality starts with a .240 ERA and 0.73 WHIP. Over the past three weeks, they’ve gone 14-4 on the mound. The Menehunes are going in the opposite direction. They are 2-16 over the past three weeks and they haven’t finished with a sub-4.00 ERA during that stretch. They led the league in Innings Pitched with 73.2 last week but they were last in Quality Starts with two. Jordan Zimmermann failed to earn a quality start in two tries.
Hitting: The Bulls have won just three hitting categories over the past three weeks. In five of the season’s first seven weeks, Carolyn Greene’s team has a sub-.700 OPS and it has yet to win the Plate Appearances category. Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez finished last week with a .059 OPS in 17 Plate Appearances. The Menehunes won four of the six hitting categories against the JetSetters last week and have been competitive at the plate all season. Veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler scored eight runs and drove in six more. They are 28-12-2 at the plate and haven’t lost the runs scored category in 2016. They finished last week with league-low 32 Strikeouts but also had a league-low 206 Plate Appearances.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: The Menehunes open Week 8 as a slight favorite to defeat the Bulls. GM Elizabeth Gravely’s team is a 50.7 percent favorite while Carolyn Greene’s Bulls have a 32.4 percent chance of victory. There is a 16.9 percent chance the teams will tie.
Land Shark vs Hapamon
After winning three straight series, Land Shark has now lost two following last week’s 7-5 loss to the Bulls. They are 39-43-2 and 10th in the overall standings, four games behind Buster Hugs in the East Division. Hapamon is 36-40-8, ninth in the league, and 14.5 games behind Bacon at Mile 11 in the North. Hapamon has lost just once over the past month.
Pitching: Hapamon won five of the six pitching categories against Buster Hugs in Week 7 and finished the series with a season-low 1.86 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Jerad Eickhoff earned a pair of quality starts, finishing with a 2.08 ERA in 13 innings pitched. The team’s ERA was the lowest in the league last week and they also led the league with seven Quality Starts. Hapamon has won the WHIP category four straight weeks. For the second time in 2016, Land Shark was swept on the mound in Week 7. The team finished with a season-low 4.98 ERA and it was the fourth time in the past six weeks that Land Shark’s ERA was above 4.40. Ubaldo Jimenez had a 10.80 ERA in two starts.
Hitting: Hapamon struggled at the plate in Week 7. The team had a season-low .639 OPS, a season-low 16 RBI (which was the lowest mark in the league in Week 7), and tied a season-low with just 24 runs scored. Hapamon lost five of the six hitting categories as Brett Lawrie struck out nine times in 21 Plate Appearances. Land Shark had one of their best week’s at the plate in Week 7. They took five of six categories against the Bulls and had a season-high 37 RBI, which lead the league last week. Khris Davis and Nelson Cruz combined to drive in 16 runs. The .884 OPS was the second-highest this season for Land Shark.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Hapamon has played well lately and they’ll begin Week 8 as a 52.6 percent favorite. Land Shark has a 30.8 percent chance to win the series. There is a 16.6 percent chance the teams will tie. The team’s .884 OPS was their second highest this season and that led to a season-high 37 RBI. Land Shark also had a season-high six net stolen bases.
Stadium Mustard vs Los Coches Bomba
Stadium Mustard earned a 6-6 tie with the Lower Haighters last week and are now 35-45-4 and 12th in the league standings. They are just seven games behind Buster Hugs in the East Division. Los Coches Bomba is now third in the league with a 48-31-5 record. They’ve won three straight series and four of their last five and trail High Cheese by just a 1.5 games in the South Division.
Pitching: Stadium Mustard lost four of the six pitching categories to the Lower Haighters last week, costing the team a series win. The 5.95 ERA was the team’s highest this season (and highest in the league last week) and the 1.54 WHIP was second highest. Michael Wacha finished with a 13.50 ERA with just four innings pitched in his lone start last week. The 5.79 K/9 was the lowest in the league in Week 7. WHIP is often a leading indicator for the health of a team’s pitching staff and Stadium Mustard has won the category just once in 2016. Bomba split the pitching categories against the Monkeys in Week 7 thanks to a pair of quality starts from Noah Syndegaard. They are now 11-6-1 over the last three weeks on the mound. They have lost the Quality Starts and Innings Pitched categories just once this season but did finish with a league-low 1 Net Save/Hold in week 7.
Hitting: Stadium Mustard won four of the six hitting categories against the Lower Haighters in Week 7 to salvage a series tie. They led the league in Week 7 with nine Net Stolen Bases as outfielder Billy Burns swiped three .They also led the league with 296 Plate Appearances, their second highest number of Plate Appearances this season. After a slow start this season, Bomba’s bats have come alive the last three weeks. They’ve gone 12-6 during that stretch including taking five of six hitting categories from the Monkeys last week. Veteran first baseman Miguel Cabrera was last week’s star, driving in a team-high six runs with a 1.538 OPS. Bomba is coming off a season-high .898 OPS, which led the league in Week 7.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Ziguana expects this to be the closes series of the week. Stadium Mustard is a slight favorite at 47.6 percent chance of victory while Los Coches Bomba has a 36.7 percent chance to win. There is a 15.7 percent chance these teams tie.
High Cheese vs Eephus Monkeys
High Cheese has moved into second place in the overall standings following last week’s 6-6 tie with Bacon at Mile 11. They have a 50-30-4 record and lead the South Division by 1.5 games. The Monkeys remain last in the league with a 25-53-6 record. They’ve lost six of their seven series.
Pitching: The Monkeys posted their first sub-3.50 ERA of the season and won three pitching categories against Los Coches Bomba in Week 17 as Adam Wainwright pitched 6.2 shutout innings to earn a quality start. In Weeks 3-5, this team won just two categories on the mound, so the fact that they’ve won six in the past two weeks indicates progress. High Cheese swept Bacon at Mile 11 off the mound last week and laid claim to having the league’s best pitching staff. It was their fourth sweep on the mound this season and they haven’t lost the Quality Start category or had an ERA over 4.00 this season. Chris Tillman has five quality starts with a 1.62 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over the last month.
Hitting: The Monkeys had a season-low -4 net stolen bases last week as outfielder Stephen Piscotty was caught twice. It was the lowest NSB of any team in the league in Week 7 and the Monkeys failed to win a hitting category. The team hasn’t won the Strikeouts category yet this season. High Cheese was swept at the plate by Bacon at Mile 11 last week and finished the series with a season-low .587 OPS and just 18 Runs. The team had the league’s lowest Runs and OPS and highest number of Strikeouts in Week 7, as outfielder Adam Jones posted a .212 OPS in 24 plate appearances. Over the last three weeks, they are 5-12-1 at the plate.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Could this series be the week’s biggest upset? The Monkeys open Week 8 with a 51.7 percent chance to beat High Cheese. That’s a bold prediction given the strength of the High Cheese pitching staff. Matt Patchell’s team has just a 26.4 percent chance of victory. There is a 21.8 percent chance these teams will tie.
Let’s Play 2 vs A-Rod’s Mirrors
The Mirrors are in hot pursuit of the Lower Haighters in the West Division, trailing their rivals by two games. They have the league’s sixth best record at 46-35-3 and are coming off a 8-4 victory over Home Run 101. Let’s Play 2 has lost three of their past four series and have fallen to 14th in the league standings. They have a 31-50-3 record.
Pitching: For the second consecutive week and the third time this season, Let’s Play 2 was swept on the mound. They lost every pitching category to Warning Track Power in Week 7, despite posting decent ratios. The bullpen has struggled all season, failing to win the Net Saves/Holds category and posting one or fewer NS/H’s in four of the first seven weeks. Relievers Zach Duke and Steve Geltz both have 10.00+ ERAs over the past two weeks. Let’s Play 2 was tied for the league-low with one Net Save/Hold last week. The Mirrors are on a serious roll on the mound. Over the past month, they’ve gone 22-2 and Rich Hill has five quality starts during that stretch. They took five of the six pitching categories in their Week 7 series against Home Run 101. The team had a league-high eight Net Saves/Holds last week along with a league-low 0.76 WHIP. They also had the lowest number of Innings Pitched with 44.2.
Hitting: Let’s Play 2 split the hitting categories against Warning Track Power last week but has gone 4-7-1 at the plate over the last two series. It’s surprising given the play of Mookie Betts, who has scored 19 runs and driven in 16 more over his last 19 games. Let’s Play 2 is a free-swinging team, winning the Strikeout category just once in 2016. The Mirrors have struggled at the plate this season, going 14-20-2. They did split the categories with Home Run 101 last week, winning the Runs category for the first time since Week 2 despite scoring a season-low 25 runs. Outfielder Jackie Bradley has been the team’s best hitter the past three weeks, hitting .426 with a 1.288 OPS with 20 RBI.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: The Mirrors have a 58.2 percent chance to defeat Louie Bottaro’s struggling team. There is a 26 percent chance that Let’s Play 2 can pull the upset. Ziguana predicts a 15.8 percent chance the teams will tie.
Bryce Harper finished Week 2 as the top-ranked fantasy player, leading the defending champion Mirrors to an 8-4 series victory over the Eephus Monkeys in the process.
Harper went 9-for-26 with a 1.246 OPS, 12 RBI, and six runs scored. He also stole a pair of bases to further boost his value. The Mirrors finished the week with 35 RBI, second most in the league, and had 34 runs scored, the league’s third highest mark.
Here’s a look at how each team did last week.
WEEK 2 LEAGUE STATS
Bacon at Mile 11
Nolan Arenado went 9-for-27 with a 1.185 OPS, 12 RBI and seven runs scored as Bacon won five of the six hitting categories to beat Los Coches Bomba 7-5. Arenado drove in nearly half of the team’s 25 RBI and finished as the series MVP. Rookie Vincent Velasquez was the league’s highest rated pitcher in Week 2, tossing a complete game shutout with 16 strikeouts. Velasquez helped Bacon win the K/9 and WHIP categories. The team is now 15-8-1 and lead the North Division by three games.
Home Run 101
The pitching collapsed and the team lost all six categories, falling 10-2 to High Cheese. Home Run 101 finished with a 4.85 team ERA (second worst in the league), a 1.42 WHIP (second worst) and had just two quality starts and net saves/holds. Starters Chris Young and Jake Peavy and reliever Tom Wilhelmsen were the primary culprits. Young started twice, pitching a total of 8.2 innings. He gave up 10 earned runs on 17 hits and four walks. Second baseman Jose Altuve was the team’s best player and the series MVP, going 11-for-27 with seven RBI, eight runs, a 1.336 OPS and just five strikeouts. The team is now 5-18-1 and trails Bacon at Mile 11 by 10 games in the North Division. They have the league’s worst record.
Hapamon defeated the JetSetters 6-5-1 in the closest series of Week 2. They won the RBI and Net Stolen Bases categories by one each and tied Quality Starts. A rare stolen base by catcher A.J. Pierzynski on Sunday salvaged the NSB category while second baseman Dee Gordon drove in a pair of runs on the final day of the series to win the RBI category. Jerad Eickhoff earned team MVP honors for the week with a brilliant seven inning shutout with nine strikeouts. Eickhoff allowed just four baserunners. Hapamon finished with the fourth best ERA for the week and are now one of the surprise teams of the season, sitting second in the North Division with an 11-10-3 record.
The hot hitting of Trevor Plouffe and Delino DeShields and a pair of quality starts from Kenta Maeda helped the Bulls salvage a 6-6 tie with Let’s Play 2 last week. Maeda gave up just one run over 13 innings while striking out 11 batters to finish Week 2 as the series MVP. The Bulls led the league with a 2.47 ERA and finished tied for third with a 1.10 WHIP. Drew Smyly also had an excellent start, striking out 11 batters over seven innings while allowing just two earned runs. At the plate, the Bulls had the league’s fewest strikeouts (36) and highest OPS (.931). Yunel Escobar struck out just one time in 30 plate appearances. The only blemish was the team’s -4 net stolen bases, worst in the league.
High Cheese has the league’s second best record at 17-6-1 following a 10-2 thrashing of Home Run 101 in Week 2. They lead the South Division by five games thanks to a dominating pitching staff led by reliever Dellin Betances. Betances was the team MVP for the week, striking out nine batters over 3.1 innings while earning a pair of net saves/holds. High Cheese finished second in Innings Pitched, ERA, WHIP, K/9 and third in quality starts in Week 2. Jon Lester had a pair of quality starts, allowing four runs over 13.1 innings with 15 strikeouts. First Baseman Chris Davis was the team’s top hitter, going 6-for-23 with a 1.066 OPS with eight RBI and eight runs scored.
The relief corps of Cody Allen, Andrew Miller and Drew Storen were the best in the league in Week 2. They combined for six of the team’s league-high eight net saves/holds. Miller struck out eight batters over three scoreless innings to earn a pair of saves/holds. Despite the 5-6-1 loss to Hapamon, starting pitcher Matt Moore was the series MVP, earning a pair of quality starts. Moore struck out 15 batters over 13.1 innings while allowing just three runs. He issued just one walk combined during in his two starts. The JetSetters will try to get on the winning track this week. They are 9-13-2 overall and last in the South Division and 12th overall.
Los Coches Bomba
Hisashi Iwakuma had a tough start Sunday, finishing seven innings with a 5.14 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. The WHIP was costly, as they lost the category by .04 and dropped the series to Bacon at Mile 11, 7-5. It was surprising they were even in the series by the end of the week. The team finished last in RBI and OPS in Week 2 and had just one net stolen base. They lost five of the six hitting categories. Miguel Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez, and Jacoby Ellsbury combined to drive in four runs during the week. Gio Gonzalez earned team MVP honors, notching a pair of quality starts with a 0.69 ERA and 0.77 WHIP over 13 innings. Bomba is now 12-11-1 and second in the South Division, five games behind High Cheese.
Let’s Play 2
Jose Quintana and Jeff Samardzija each had a pair of quality starts as Let’s Play 2 led the league in Innings Pitched (74.1) and Quality Starts (8) in Week 2. Quintana gave up just three earned runs over 12 innings while striking out 11. Let’s Play 2 split the hitting and pitching categories with the Bulls and split the series, 6-6. Outfielder Mookie Betts was the team MVP, going 9-for-27 with six RBI and four runs scored. Betts finished Week 2 with an .852 OPS. The team is 10-13-1 and seven games behind High Cheese in the South Division pennant race.
Thankfully, Land Shark’s hitters showed enough plate discipline to tie for the league-lead with just 36 strikeouts in Week 2 because that was the only category the team won as they were trounced, 11-1 by the Menehunes. It wasn’t pretty. Land Shark finished last in Runs (16) and Plate Appearances (193). The pitching was worse as the team finished last in Innings Pitched (42.2), WHIP (1.52) and Quality Starts (1). Veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre was the team’s MVP, going 6-for-21 with eight RBI. Land Shark is now 7-16-1 and 14th in the league standings.
It was a rough week for Stadium Mustard. They won just two categories in Week 2, falling to Warning Track Power, 10-2. They are 7-16-1 and 13th in the league standings. Veteran outfielder Nick Markakis led the team with 30 plate appearances and finished as the team MVP. Markakis went 9-for-25 with a 1.027 OPS, eight RBI and three runs scored. He struck out just twice on the week. Michael Wacha, one of the team’s keepers and a key to the season, had a pair of quality starts, giving up just one earned run over 12 innings while striking out 12.
The Monkeys lost their Week 2 series to the Mirrors, 8-4, but it was closer than it looked. The Mirrors won both the Strikeout and RBI categories by one. The Monkeys tallied 12 of their 48 strikeouts on the final day of the series, with Jose Bautista wearing the sombrero with three strikeouts. Bautista also drove in the team’s only runs on Sunday, plating two. The series loss leaves the Monkeys with a 6-17-1 record. They are 15th in the overall standings. Xander Bogaerts was the team MVP in Week 2, going 6-for-24 with six RBI, four runs, just three strikeouts in 25 plate appearances and two net stolen bases.
Buster Hugs needed some hugs after winning just two categories in a 2-9-1 loss to the Lower Haighters in Week 2. They are now 11-11-2 overall but still lead the East Division by 4.5 games. The team pitched well, but struggled at the plate. Buster Hugs posted six quality starts and five net saves/holds with a 3.04 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. The team could have used outfielder Randal Grichuk’s bat in the lineup. Grichuk went 6-for-21 in 26 plate appearances with a 1.090 OPS, six RBI, and eight runs scored. He would have won team MVP honors had he been in the lineup. That honor went to David Ortiz, who finished Week 2 with a 1.187 OPS and a rare stolen base.
Warning Track Power
It’s a little demoralizing when you lead the league in WHIP (0.90), Runs (38), RBI (39) and Plate Appearances (269), win your series 10-2, and LOSE ground in the division. That’s what happened to Warning Track Power, who saw West Division rival Menehunes go 11-1 in Week 2. Warning Track Power is 15-9 on the season but third in the division standings. So it goes in the always rugged West Division. Chris Sale earned series MVP honors against Stadium Mustard, tossing a complete game shutout with nine strikeouts. Outfielder J.D. Martinez was the team’s hitting star, going 11-for-27 in 32 plate appearances with a 1.155 OPS, six RBI, and five runs scored.
Jaime Garcia was brilliant for the Menehunes in Week 2. The veteran hurler tossed a complete-game, one-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts. Garcia sparked an 11-2 rout of Land Shark that leaves the Menehunes with the league’s best record at 18-6. They sit atop the West Division, two games clear of the Lower Haighters. They led the league in K/9, had seven net saves/holds, and finished the week with a 2.85 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Second baseman was the hitting star, going 9-for-31 in 34 plate appearances with a .884 OPS, a stolen base, five RBI and six runs scored. Kinsler struck out five times on the week.
Harper was the league’s best player but he couldn’t keep the Mirrors from losing ground to the red-hot Menehunes in the West Division. The Mirrors beat the Monkeys 8-4 to improve to 13-10-1 but they are last in the division, 4.5 games behind the Menehunes. The Mirrors led the league in Plate Appearances in Week 2 with 269 and had 35 RBI and 34 Runs. Mark Trumbo was on a tear, going 8-for-25 with a 1.306 OPS, 11 RBI, and eight runs scored. Aaron Sanchez earned a pair of quality starts, allowing just two earned runs over 13 innings with 12 strikeouts.
The Lower Haighters had an impressive 9-2-1 victory over Buster Hugs in Week 2 but lost ground in the West Division. They are 15-7-2 overall, third best in the league. They trail the Menehunes by two games. The team’s best player wasn’t in the starting lineup this week. Utility infielder Josh Harrison went 9-for-27 with a .881 OPS, three net stolen bases, four RBI, and five runs scored. He struck out just three times in 30 plate appearances. Team MVP honors went to first baseman Albert Pujols who went 6-for-22 with a .976 OPS and seven RBI.
Hats off to Matt and Zach Patchell for drafting Colorado’s rookie shortstop Trevor Story in the 22nd Round. Story had a historic week, becoming the first rookie to hit seven home runs in his first six games in the Majors.
Story won’t continue that pace, but what can we expect out of the 23-year-old rookie? In 2013, Story struck out 183 times in 554 plate appearances at High A Modesto. A year later, he struck out just 59 times in 218 at-bats in the same league. Last season, Story hit 20 home runs in 575 at-bats between AA and AAA. Here’s what Baseball Prospectus had to say entering this season.
Pitch recognition issues will be constant, but in between some awkward flails at wayward breaking balls he’ll inflict some serious damage.
We’ve seen the “serious damage” and you can bet major league pitchers have seen it. Story will face the Giants on Tuesday. San Francisco’s veteran staff will adjust.
Story was projected to have eight home runs this year. He had seven in the first week. JetSetters GM David Kahn cringed at each highlight. The complete story has yet to be written but the opening chapter was a doozy.
Here’s a review of opening week for all 16 teams in the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League. I’ve included the hitting and pitching stats for your amusement.
Bacon at Mile 11
Anthony Rizzo earned series MVP honors leading Bacon at Mile 11 to a dominating 8-3-1 victory over North Division rival Home Run 101. Rizzo finished as the league’s eighth-rated player. He went 6-for-22 with a 1.085 OPS, 10 RBI and six runs scored. Two young pitchers, Vincent Velasquez and Aaron Nola pitched beautifully, combining to give up one run over 13 innings while striking out 17 batters. Bacon won all six pitching categories but it’s a bit of a concern that Velasquez and Nola were the team’s only pitchers to earn quality starts. Tony Watson led the bullpen with two holds, pitching 3.1 innings without giving up a run.
Home Run 101
GM Bailey Penzotti entered Week 1 wondering how to replace the offensive production of injured outfielder AJ Pollock. She finished the week with a pitching staff that posted a league-worst 6.46 ERA and just one quality start. It all led to a disappointing 3-8-1 series loss to arch-rival Bacon at Mile 11. In addition, one of the team’s top starters, Tyson Ross, was placed on the DL with a shoulder injury. Second baseman Jose Altuve earned team MVP honors, stealing three bases in six games.
For a team picked to finish last, Hapamon gave The Bulls all they could handle. Ultimately, they fell 5-6-1 but finished the week tied for the league lead with five quality starts. While the starting staff was solid, the bullpen was combustible, earning just one save. The team also finished with -2 net stolen bases, tied for worst in the league. The series literally came down to one plate appearance. Had the Marlins not been rained out, outfielder Christian Yelich would have likely won the series for Hapamon. Clayton Kershaw earned a pair of quality starts and earned series MVP honors, finishing Week 1 as the league’s second-rated player.
Veteran setup man Sergio Romo won this series for the Bulls. He had a team-high four holds as the team led the league with eight net saves/holds. Winning the category was enough to push the Bulls past Hapamon 6-5-1 in Week 1. While Romo was excellent, starting pitcher Bartolo Colon was the team MVP. He allowed just one earned run in 7.1 innings while striking out eight batters. Brandon Finnegan also earned a quality start striking out nine over six innings. Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez was the team’s top hitter, going 9-for-24 with a 1.215 OPS and five RBI.
It was a great week for the pitching staff but it was overshadowed by the loss of young catcher Kyle Schwarber with a knee injury. He’ll miss the season after registering just five plate appearances. Still, the team opened the season strong, beating the JetSetters 7-4-1. In Schwarber’s absence, rookie shortstop Trevor Story carried the offense, going 9-for-27 with a 1.468 OPS, 12 RBI, and seven runs scored. He became the first player to hit seven home runs in his first week in the league and finished as the series MVP. The starting rotation was solid, going 5-for-7 in quality start attempts while leading the league with a 2.61 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. Cole Hamels had two quality starts, pitching 13 innings with a 2.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 8.3 K/9. Closer Robert Osuna earned three saves, pitching four scoreless innings with a 13.5 K/9.
The JetSetters were simply out-pitched as they lost their season-opening series, 4-7-1. The JetSetters led the league with 42 runs scored and 263 plate appearances but lost the OPS category because of rookie Trevor Story’s unbelievable debut. Things might have been different had GM David Kahn started shortstop Eugenio Suarez, who finished the week as the league’s top-rated player. Suarez went 10-for-23 with a 1.457 OPS, nine RBI, nine runs scored and a net stolen base. Compare that to starting shortstop Addison Russell, who finished with a .451 OPS, three runs scored and two RBI.
Los Coches Bomba
Will Noah Syndergaard miss his start in Week 2? It looks like he will as he hasn’t recovered from an injured lat in his first start. Los Coches Bomba can’t be without their series MVP from Week One. Syndergaard was sensational in his only start, tossing six scoreless innings with nine strikeouts, leading the team to a 7-4-1 victory over Let’s Play 2. The team’s pitching staff was tied for the league lead with five quality starts. Veteran pitcher Edinson Volquez started twice and pitched 11.2 innings with a 1.54 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 11.6 K/9. Closer Jeremy Jeffress converted all three of his save chances, pitching 3.2 scoreless innings, as Bomba swept the pitching categories. The only downside was the team’s 209 plate appearances, lowest in the league.
Let’s Play 2
Outfielder Yasiel Puig earned series MVP honors for Let’s Play 2 but it wasn’t enough as Los Coches Bomba won the season-opening series 7-4-1. Puig looked liked a different player than he did in 2015, which is a good sign for GM Louie Bottaro. He went 10-for-26 with seven runs scored, four RBI and a 1.154 OPS. Puig helped Let’s Play 2 score a league-high 38 runs. The problem was pitching. Let’s Play 2 didn’t win a singe pitching category and finished with a 4.60 ERA and 1.44 WHIP. The starters went 2-for-6 in quality start attempts. Ace Corey Kluber gave up four runs in 5.1 innings in his only start, allowing nine hits while walking two.
A quality start by Felix Hernandez on Sunday clinched a 6-5-1 season-opening victory for Land Shark. Hernandez was the series MVP, pitching 13 innings with a 0.69 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 11.1 K/9 and a pair of quality starts. He finished as the league’s fourth-rated player. While they escaped with a tight win over Stadium Mustard, Land Shark needs to find some offense moving forward. The team finished last with 15 RBI. Outfielder Khris Davis went 4-for-23 with 13 strikeouts and failed to drive in a run. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt had nearly half of the team’s total RBI with seven.
It’s tough to win a series when you finish last in WHIP (1.64), K/9 (7.07), and your pitching staff finishes with three quality starts and two net saves/holds. This was a series for the taking but Stadium Mustard’s pitching failed and they fell 5-6-1 to Land Shark. Mike Leake, Kyle Gibson and Michael Wacha pitched a combined 13.2 innings while allowing 12 runs. J.A. Happ was the team’s only effective starter. Second baseman Joe Panik finished as the team MVP, going 7-for-26 with a .821 OPS, six runs scored and six RBI.
That’s a swing-and-a-miss for the Eephus Monkeys to open the season. Not only did the team fall to Buster Hugs 9-2-1, but they led the league in strikeouts. They finished with 65 whiffs, led by Byung Ho Park, who struck out 11 times in 18 at-bats. The Monkeys had an opportunity to win the quality start category Sunday but Adam Wainwright coughed up five runs over five innings. Marco Estrada was the team’s best player, pitching seven scoreless innings while striking out eight. The Monkeys need a strong Week 2 to avoid falling into an early hole.
Buster Hugs had a tremendous offensive performance and dismantled the Eephus Monkeys 9-2-1. They now own the league’s best record as they prepare for a big early season series with the Lower Haighters. Shortstop Jean Segura, catcher Buster Posey, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and outfielder David Peralta all ranked in the league’s Top 20. Buster Hugs led the league with a .906 OPS and six net stolen bases. Segura was the league’s third-ranked player, going 11-for-27 with a 1.317 OPS, two net stolen bases, five RBI and six runs scored.
Warning Track Power
This was a shocking loss. The projections see Warning Track Power as a championship contender but the team opened with a 7-5 loss to the Menehunes. Shelby Miller had a meltdown, failing to convert a quality start in two attempts. He pitched 11 innings with a 8.18 ERA and 1.64 WHIP. On Sunday, he gave up seven hits, walked two, and allowed four earned runs in five innings and was a big reason the Menehunes won the pivotal ERA category and the series. Aside from Miller, the starting pitching was good, finishing tied for the league lead with five quality starts. At the plate, things were different. Warning Track Power was last in Runs (22) and OPS (.600). Curtis Granderson and Adam Lind were a combined 2-for-35 with 12 strikeouts and no RBI. Josh Donaldson was the series MVP, going 9-for-29 with a 1.113 OPS, nine RBI, and eight runs scored. Donaldson led the team with 31 plate appearances.
Veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler came up big for the Menehunes as they opened the season with a 7-5 upset of Warning Track Power. Kinlser went 8-for-19 with five runs, five RBI, and a 1.082 OPS and was the team MVP. He had 25 plate appearances, second only to third baseman Todd Frazier, and the Menehunes won the category by four. It’s amazing the Menehunes were able to win the series. No team pitched fewer innings (38.1) and they had just one net save/hold. They also had -2 net stolen bases, tied for the league low.
The Mirrors suffered a stunning 5-6-1 loss to their arch-rivals, the Lower Haighters. Up 7-2-3 entering the late games Sunday, GM Sean McKenna watched it fall apart as the Haighters strung together big hit, after big hit, to overtake the Mirrors in Runs and RBI. It culminated with a Sean Doolittle save that tied the Net Saves/Holds category and won the series. The Mirrors had one of the best pitching performances of the week, leading the league in Innings Pitched (72.2), K/9 (10.9) and tied for the league lead with five quality starts. The team MVP, however, was a hitter. Outfielder Matt Kemp went 9-for-25 with a 1.080 OPS and team-high 10 RBI.
Reliever Sean Doolittle closed the door on the Mariners Sunday and, in the process, finished an improbable rally that saw the Haighters erase a 7-2-3 deficit to defeat their arch-rivals, A-Rod’s Mirrors. Jake Arrieta finished as the series MVP, earning a pair of quality starts with 14 innings pitched, a 1.93 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. Miguel Montero, Albert Pujols, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Hosmer contributed clutch RBI on Sunday to spark the rally.
How teams are divided into divisions and the regular season schedule that follows are important elements to consider when building a team in any fantasy baseball league. Are you going to play every team in the league an even number of times? How many teams are included in each division and how do teams qualify for the playoffs?
The 16 teams in the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League are divided into four, four-team divisions. The four division winners automatically qualify for the playoffs. The four teams with the best overall record that didn’t win a division title are then added to the eight-team playoff pool.
The schedule is built around division rivalries. Within a division, the top two teams from the previous year’s standings play each other four times. The teams that finished third and fourth within the division also play four times. Other division rivals play each other three times so that 10 of the 22 regular season series are played within the division. Teams outside of divisions face each other once.
We’ve made it simple – the clearest path to the postseason is by defeating your division rivals. This format compliments Yahoo’s Rivalry Week scheduling and builds a league narrative. You know before the season starts the teams you have to beat to qualify for the playoffs. You also know how you’ve performed against these teams in the past.
One of the primary goals when we built the SFRRC Fantasy Football League was to emphasize continuous competition. A weekly head-to-head schedule coupled with division rivalries accomplishes this goal.