The ultimate goal in the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League is to win the championship but the true measurement of a great team is finishing the regular season with the best record.
This year, that honor belongs to the JetSetters and General Manager David Kahn. The JetSetters finished with a 154-99-11 mark, percentage points ahead of the Lower Haighters, who finished with a 154-101-9 record.
Because of the condensed nature of the playoffs, luck plays a much larger role in determining which team comes out on top. If your best hitters have a seven game weekly schedule during a playoff series rather than six games, that’s a big advantage. If your best pitchers have two starts, rather than one, that’s another advantage.
No matter what happens in the playoffs, a tip of the hat goes to David for managing his team to the league’s best record. That’s no easy feat.
A Championship is on the Line
Cleveland infielder Jose Ramirez is the hottest hitter in baseball and he’ll lead the JetSetters in their first round series against Hapamon. When these teams met in Week 2, the JetSetters cruised to a 9-3 series victory. Ramirez posted a 1.460 OPS in 27 plate appearances and led the JetSetters with eight RBI and five runs scored. Ian Kennedy led the pitching staff with a pair of quality starts.
This series lines up perfectly for the JetSetters as veteran pitchers Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels are both two-start pitchers.
The second-seeded Lower Haighters will face their old West Division rivals, A-Rod’s Mirrors, in the first round of the playoffs. The Mirrors were 2-1-1 in head-to-head meetings with the Lower Haighters this season and they’ll have both Carlos Carrasco and C.C. Sabathia starting twice this week. In his last two starts, Carrasco has given up just two runs over 16 innings. At the plate, Manny Machado is hitting .358 over his last 13 games while Albert Pujols has driven home 15 runs in his last 11 games.
Bacon at Mile 11 faces Let’s Play 2 in another quarterfinal series. It’s a rematch of their Week 4 series that was won by Let’s Play 2, 7-5. Matt Wieters and Ben Zobrist combined to drive in 12 runs to lead Let’s Play 2 while Kyle Hendricks posted a pair of quality starts in that series.
Robbie Ray has three quality starts over the past two weeks for Let’s Play 2 and is the top-rated player in our league during that stretch. Ray has allowed just three runs over his past 20.1 innings while striking out 36 batters.
Bacon and General Manager Eric Brown will counter with a healthy Mike Trout. In his last 10 games, Trout is hitting .343 with a 1.196 OPS. He’s scored 15 runs during that stretch and has five net stolen bases.
Stadium Mustard and Everybody Hurts will renew their East Division rivalry in the final first-round playoff series. Everybody Hurts defeated Stadium Mustard in two of their three meetings this year, including a 9-3 series victory in Week 21.
Edwin Encarnacion and Ender Inciarte are both swinging hot bats for Stadium Mustard over the past two weeks. Encarnacion is hitting .333 with a 1.078 OPS and 12 RBI over his last 12 games. Inciarte is hitting .377 with six runs scored and nine RBI in his last 14 games.
Everybody Hurts will be without starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson, who tossed a total of 12 scoreless innings in his past two starts. Infielder Jean Segura is the team’s best hitter over the last two weeks, hitting .292 with 10 runs scored and two net stolen bases in his last 12 games.
Land Shark Slides Into the Wooden Spoon
Two weeks ago, it appeared Las Estellas Rojas and General Manager Jen Valdevia would take home the Wooden Spoon for the team with the worst regular season record. That was until Land Shark went 4-19 over the last two weeks to finish 103-149-12. That’s a far cry from last year when Land Shark won the East Division pennant and finished third in the playoffs.
No matter where you finished this season, I want to thank everyone for playing and hopefully you enjoyed yourself. The SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League will return in 2018 so it’s never too early to begin scouting prospects.
After squeezing into the 2016 playoffs as the league’s No. 8 seed, the Menehunes went on to shock the league establishment, defeating top-seeded Bacon at Mile 11 in the opening round and earning their first championship with an easy finals victory over the Lower Haighters.
General Manager Elizabeth Gravely won her first championship in her first appearance in the postseason. She joined the league in 2012.
Philadelphia outfielder Odubel Herrera led the postseason charge. Herrera hit .371 with a .970 OPS and five net stolen bases during the playoffs. Herrera also scored 15 runs.
Veteran third baseman Todd Frazier hit .308 during the playoffs, driving in 12 runs, scoring 15 more and stealing a pair of bases. Ian Kinsler posted a 1.041 OPS during the championship run and also scored 15 runs for the Menehunes.
On the mound, Rick Porcello posted four quality starts with a 2.76 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. Porcello struck out 28 batters over 29.1 innings.
The final league standings looked like this.
- Marin Menehunes
- Lower Haighters
- Land Shark
- Warning Track Power
- High Cheese
- Buster Hugs
- Bacon at Mile 11
- The Bulls
- Los Coches Bomba
- Stadium Mustard
- Eephus Monkeys
- A-Rod’s Mirrors
- Home Run 101
- Let’s Play 2
Let’s Play 2 earned the Wooden Spoon, awarded annually to the worst team in the league, despite having the league’s top-rated player. Outfielder Mookie Betts (1.77 player value) edged Max Scherzer (Menehunes, 1.72 value) and Clayton Kershaw (Hapamon, 1.70 value) to win MVP honors.
Three different West Division teams have now won league championships. Los Coches Bomba (South Division) and Buster Hugs (East Division) are the only teams to win two championships.
Over the next few months, I’ll look back at the 2016 season by focusing on each team in the league. I’ll review draft successes/mistakes and possible keepers for the 2017 season.
Thanks to everyone for putting in the time to manage your teams and I look forward to next season.
A pair of Western Division rivals face off in a winner-take-all week’s worth of fantasy baseball to crown the 2016 SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League champion.
General Manager Elizabeth Gravely defied odds and guided the No. 8-seeded Menehunes to the championship series in her first playoff appearance. It was quite a turnaround season for the Menehunes, who finished 15th in the league standings last season with a 99-151-14 record.
This will be the fourth appearance for the Lower Haighters in the championship series. They played in 2010, 2011 and 2013, winning the championship in 2011 with the best record in league history. This year’s team struggled with inconsistency and injuries. The Haighters finished 142-118-8, the league’s fourth best record, but were lucky to advance past the first round as they tied Buster Hugs (the Haighters owned the tiebreaker). The team entered the postseason having used all of its 40 free agent moves.
Now it all comes down to seven days of baseball.
Lower Haighters vs Marin Menehunes
The season series couldn’t have been much closer. The Lower Haighters won two of the three meetings but the teams finished 17-17-2 against each other. The Menehunes beat the Haighters 9-2-1 in Week 21 as Rick Porcello tossed a pair of quality starts, Wil Meyers knocked in eight runs, and Adam Eaton scored nine times. The Haighters finished that series with a 6.41 ERA and a .640 OPS.
Pitching: Porcello killed the Lower Heighters when they last met and he’s been hot in the playoffs. He has three quality starts over the last two weeks, striking out 22 batters over 23.2 innings. Porcello has a 2.31 ERA and 0.73 WHIP in that stretch. James Paxton has two quality starts in the playoffs for the Lower Haighters. Paxton has allowed just three runs over his 14 postseason innings, striking out 16 batters.
Hitting: The Menehunes have two of the hottest bats in the playoffs entering this series, outfielder Odubel Herrera and third baseman Todd Frazier. Herrera is hitting .435 with a 1.176 OPS during the postseason. He’s scored 13 runs and has five net stolen bases. Frazier has knocked in 10 runs, scored 12, and has a 1.080 OPS in the postseason. Veteran first baseman Carlos Santana is hitting .367 during the playoffs for the Haighters.
Land Shark vs Warning Track Power
Warning Track Power was favored to beat the Menehunes and advance to this year’s title series but were upset and will now face Land Shark for third place. The two teams played each other in Week 4 when Land Shark defeated Warning Track Power 7-5. Jeremy Hellickson and Felix Hernandez combined to pitch 14.2 scoreless innings and earn quality starts while second baseman Logan Forsythe had a 1.310 OPS.
Pitching: Veteran pitcher Dan Straily has earned three quality starts for Land Shark in the postseason. He’s allowed just six earned runs over 20.2 innings while striking out 18 batters. In the postseason, Straily has a 2.61 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. Kyle Hendricks has continued his magical season for Warning Track Power in the postseason. Hendricks has tossed a pair of quality starts with a 1.93 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, with 16 strikeouts over 14 innings.
Hitting: First baseman Paul Goldschmidt and outfielder Nelson Cruz have combined to knock in 20 runs during the fantasy playoffs for Land Shark. Cruz is hitting .302 with a 1.178 OPS while Goldschmidt has a .994 OPS and has added four net stolen bases. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is hitting .319 with a 1.046 OPS during the postseason for Warning Track Power. He has 11 RBI, seven runs scored, and three net stolen bases over the past two weeks.
JetSetters vs High Cheese
A pair of South Division foes face off in this year’s Fifth Place series. The JetSetters and High Cheese know each other well. High Cheese defeated the JetSetters 7-4-1 to open the season and just continued to beat them through the season. They swept the season series 4-0 with a combined score of 30-16-2. Cole Hamels had six quality starts for High Cheese this season against the JetSetters.
Pitching: Jon Lester has been the best player in the fantasy postseason. Period. The High Cheese starter has three quality starts, allowing just one earned run over 21.2 innings. He’s struck out 20 over that stretch. Reliever Andrew Miller hasn’t given up a run in five postseason appearances for the JetSetters. During that stretch, he’s allowed just two baserunners while striking out 10.
Hitting: First baseman Freddie Freeman is hitting .475 with a 1.367 OPS during the playoffs for High Cheese. Freeman has knocked in 13 runs over 11 games while scoring nine times. Second baseman D.J. LeMahieu is 20-for-48 with nine RBI and 10 runs scored for the JetSetters during the postseason. He has just three strikeouts in 54 postseason plate appearances.
Bacon at Mile 11 vs Buster Hugs
After finishing the season with the league’s best record, Bacon at Mile 11 is now playing in the Seventh Place series against Buster Hugs. It wasn’t supposed to go this way. Pitching is the main culprit. Luke Weaver, Tony Cingrani, Ryan Madson and Seth Lugo have all struggled. They’ll try to right the ship as they face Buster Hugs for just the second time this yer. In the first meeting, David Ortiz knocked in nine runs and Kenley Jansen had a pair of saves to lead Buster Hugs to a 7-4-1 victory in Week 8.
Pitching: One guy who has pitched well for Bacon in the postseason is Jon Gray. Over 13 innings, Gray has a quality start with a 2.77 ERA and 0.77 WHIP. He’s struck out 26 batters during that stretch. Jansen has been the consistent force at the back of the bullpen for Buster Hugs this season. It’s been no difference in the postseason, where Jansen has four saves in six appearances with a 3.00 ERA and 0.50 WHIP. He’s struck out 11 hitters over six innings.
Hitting: Outfielder Mike Trout has been Bacon’s hottest hitter in the postseason. He’s scored 10 runs over 13 games, hitting .256 with a .857 OPS and 13 walks in his last 57 plate appearances. Middle infielder Jean Segura has led Buster Hugs in the postseason, hitting .373 with a 1.174 OPS over 12 games. Segura has scored nine runs and knocked in nine more during that stretch.
High Cheese is sitting atop the league standings and they are coming off a huge 11-1 victory over A-Rod’s Mirrors last week. The’ve won four straight series for several reasons.
Outfielder Adam Jones and pitcher Jon Lester are big reason for the team’s surge. Jones is hitting .313 with a .959 OPS with 27 RBI and 25 runs over the last four weeks. Lester has five straight quality starts in that period with a 1.46 ERA and 0.84 WHIP.
Can they keep it going and does Ziguana believe in the Cheese this week?
Lower Haighters vs JetSetters
The Lower Haighters have lost just one series over the past six weeks and are coming off an important 8-4 victory over Bacon at Mile 11. The Lower Haighters are 81-59-4 and are second in the league standings The JetSetters are one of the hottest teams in the league. They saw their five-week winning streak snapped last week but they were able to forge a tie with the Eephus Monkeys. The JetSetters are 69-68-7 and 11th overall.
Pitching: The JetSetters led the league in Week 12 with a 10.54 K/9. After going 15-2-1 on the mound the previous three weeks, the JetSetters were stymied by the Monkeys last week, losing four of the six pitching categories. Jose Fernandez was brilliant, earning a pair of quality starts while finishing the week with a 0.64 ERA and 0.71 WHIP. The Lower Haighters won four pitching categories last week and are now 16-7-1 on the mound over the last four weeks. Drew Pomeranz pitched seven scoreless innings with a 0.57 ERA to lead the Haighters in Week 12.
Hitting: The JetSetters were tied for the league lead with 46 RBI last week but also were tied for the most strikeouts with 59. They won four of the six hitting categories against the Monkeys in Week 12. Third baseman Jake Lamb drove in eight runs while Wilson Contreras and Jay Bruce each had seven. The Lower Haighters won four of the six hitting categories against Bacon at Mile 11 last week and won the runs scored and RBI categories for the first time in four weeks. Shortstop Carlos Correa led the team with a 1.282 OPS in 27 plate appearances while driving in nine runs and scoring six times.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: The Lower Haighters opened the week as a 77.8 percent favorite. Ziguana predicts the JetSetters have just a 11.4 percent chance to win the series.
Bacon at Mile 11 vs A-Rod’s Mirrors
It’s unbelievable to think Bacon at Mile 11 hasn’t won a series in seven weeks and have lost four of their last five. They are licking their wounds following a 8-4 loss to the Lower Haighters that dropped them to fourth in the league standings with a 75-62-7 record. After winning seven straight, the Mirrors have now lost two in a row and a coming off a 11-1 butt-whipping at the hands of High Cheese. The Mirrors are 73-67-4 and are now seventh in the overall standings.
Pitching: Bacon has won just seven pitching categories over the past six weeks. The team is 7-27-2 on the mound during that dismal stretch. Young pitcher Aaron Nola finished Week 12 with a 17.05 ERA and 3.16 WHIP while John Gray lasted just four innings in his start. The Mirrors have their own pitching problems, losing five of the six categories in each of the last two weeks. In the last month, the Mirrors are just 8-16 on the mound. Starters Nathan Eovaldi and Justin Verlander each finished Week 12 with a 7.00+ ERA.
Hitting: The Mirrors finished Week 12 with 59 strikeouts, tied for the most in the league. Outfielder Matt Kemp struck out eight times in 24 plat appearances. For the first time in 2016, they were swept in the hitting categories and are now 6-12 at the plate over the past three weeks. Bacon at Mile 11 led the league last week with a .969 OPS, their second highest mark this season. Despite the high OPS, the team lost four of six hitting categories. Anthony Rizzo had a 1.036 OPS in 19 plate appearances but failed to score a run and drove in just one.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Bacon at Mile 11 is a heavy favorite to win this series. Ziguana predicts Bacon has a 66.2 percent chance of victory compared to A-Rod’s Mirrors, who have just a 20.2 percent chance to win.
Let’s Play 2 vs Home Run 101
This series features two teams trying to avoid finishing last in the league and earn the Wooden Spoon. Let’s Play 2 is 47-93-4 and currently in last place. They’ve lost seven straight series and are coming off a 12-0 drubbing by Buster Hugs. They are the first team this year to get skunked in a series. Home Run 101 has lost six straight, lost 9-2 last week to Land Shark, and are 47-90-7 and 15th in the overall standings.
Pitching: Let’s Play had just 44.0 innings pitched in Week 12, tied for the league’s fewest. Jeff Samardzija lasted just three innings in his lone start, finishing with a 18.00 ERA and 2.67 WHIP. No team had fewer strikeouts per nine innings than Home Run 101 last week (4.85) or net saves/holds (1). Home Run 101 is 5-17-2 on the mound over the past four weeks and has won just one pitching category in three of those series. Erasmo Ramirez was terrible in relief last week, posting a 22.50 ERA and 3.50 WHIP in two innings while blowing a save.
Hitting: Home Run 101 tied the Eephus Monkeys for the lowest number of runs scored last week with 22 as the team lost five of six hitting categories against Land Shark. Ben Revere didn’t score or drive in a run in 20 plate appearances last week while posting a .311 OPS. Let’s Play 2 was one of three teams that finished with -1 net stolen bases in Week 12 and had the fewest plate appearances with 193. It can’t get much worse for Louie’s team at the plate as they haven’t won a single hitting category the last two weeks. Brock Holt and Dexter Fowler are both on the DL while Michael Conforto has been optioned to the minors.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: It might be fitting if these teams played to a tie but Ziguana has installed Let’s Play 2 as the early favorite, with Louie Bottaro’s team a 60.1 percent chance to win. Home Run 101 has just a 24.3 percent chance to take the series.
Marin Menehunes vs High Cheese
High Cheese dismantled the Mirrors 11-1 last week, winning their fourth straight series. They have the best record in the league at 84-53-7. The Menehunes are 69-66-9 and 10th in the overall standings. They snapped a two-week losing streak with a 7-4-1 victory over Los Coches Bomba last week but they’ve lost six of their last eight.
Pitching: No team allowed more walks or hits than the Menehunes in Week 12. They finished with a league-high 1.68 WHIP. The last three weeks has been rough on the pitching staff as the team has gone 4-12-2 on the mound. Jordan Zimmermann lasted just 3.2 innings in his lone start last week while finishing with a 17.18 ERA and 2.45 WHIP. High Cheese won five of the six pitching categories against A-Rod’s Mirrors last week and has now gone 12-6 on the mound over the last three weeks. Tyler Roark had a pair of quality starts last week while Aroldis Chapman and Roberto Osuna combined for four saves/holds.
Hitting: High Cheese led the league in runs scored (48), RBI (46) and plate appearances (275) last week. They swept the hitting categories against the Mirrors and have now gone 14-3-1 at the plate over the last three weeks. Chris Davis and Angel Pagan combined to drive in 18 runs last week while Ian Desmond led the team with a 1.495 OPS in 22 plate appearances. The Menehunes won five hitting categories against Los Coches Bomba last week and are now 10-7-1 at the plate over the last three weeks. Adam Eaton scored nine runs in 33 plate appearances in Week 12 while Marcus Semien knocked in seven runs and finished with a team-high 1.223 OPS in 25 plate appearances.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: High Cheese is on a serious roll and Ziguana doesn’t see Matt Patchell’s team slowing down this week. They have a 66.5 percent chance of defeating the Menehunes. Elizabeth’s team has just a 19.3 percent chance to win.
Buster Hugs vs Warning Track Power
Every category win is important for Buster Hugs at this point in the season. They are 73-65-6 and sixth in the league standings but have a host of teams bearing down in the race for the final playoff berths. Buster Hugs is coming off a huge 12-0 victory over Let’s Play 2, ending a three-week losing streak. Warning Track Power has just one series win over the last five weeks but at 74-69-1 they are holding onto the league’s final playoff spot.
Pitching: Warning Track Power led the league with 67.0 innings pitched in Week 12 but finished tied for last in net saves/holds with one. David Price lasted just 2.1 innings in his start while posting a 23.14 ERA. It’s been a tough month for the team’s staff, going 9-15 during that stretch. Buster Hugs had the most quality starts in Week 12 with seven and for the first time this season won all six pitching categories. Sonny Gray and Madison Bumgarner each had two quality starts while Santiago Casilla had three saves without giving up a run and recording a 16.88 K/9.
Hitting: No team had fewer strikeouts in Week 12 than Buster Hugs with 21, or more stolen bases, with 5. They swept the hitting categories against Let’s Play 2 last week, the first time this year they’ve won all six categories in a series. Shortstop Jean Segura posted a 1.029 OPS and scored 11 runs in 34 plate appearances. Buster Hugs hasn’t lost the plate appearances category since Week 5. Warning Tack Power won just two hitting categories last week, their worst performance at the plate since Week 8. Curtis Granderson had a team-low .597 OPS in 24 plate appearances in Week 12.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Ziguana expects Warning Track Power to defeat Buster Hugs. Mark Peterson’s team has a 60.1 percent chance to win while Andrew’s team has just a 23.7 percent chance of victory.
Stadium Mustard vs Hapamon
Stadium Mustard defeated the Bulls 7-5 last week and have now won two straight and three of their last five. They are 65-71-8 and 13th in the league standings. Hapamon defeated Warning Track Power 8-4 and has won two of their last three series. They are 63-69-12 and 12th in the league standings.
Pitching: After losing 10 of 12 pitching categories combined in Weeks 9-10, the Stadium Mustard staff seems to have found its bearings over the last two weeks. They won five of six categories against the Bulls last week and are 9-1-2 on the mound over the last two weeks. The bullpen was especially strong last week as Neftali Feliz, Brad Brach, and A.J. Ramos combined for six saves/holds without giving up a run. Hapamon’s pitching staff enters this series on a nice roll, going 12-6 over the last three weeks. They won four of six against Warning Track Power last week.Closer Jeurys Familia earned four saves without giving up a run in Week 12.
Hitting: No team had a lower OPS in Week 12 than Stadium Mustard at .655 or fewer net stolen bases (-1). The team won just two hitting categories, their worst showing at the plate since Week 3. Outfielder Trayce Thompson failed to reach base in 15 plate appearances, striking out eight times, while veteran catcher Yadier Molina posted a .255 OPS in 20 plate appearances. Hapamon also finished with -1 net stolen bases but won four hitting categories against Warning Track Power. It was their best hitting performance since Week 9. It was keyed by Matt Carpenter and Charlie Blackmon, who combined to score 16 runs and drive in 14 more.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Stadium Mustard opens the week as a slight favorite, with Ziguana projecting they have a 51.6 percent chance to win. Hapamon has a 31.2 percent chance of victory.
Los Coches Bomba vs Land Shark
Land Shark is one of the hottest teams in the league. They are coming off a 9-2 victory over Home Run 101, their fifth straight series win. Their record is now 77-62-5 and they sit third in the overall standings. Los Coches Bomba lost 7-4-1 to the Marin Menehunes last week and have now lost three of their last five. They are 71-61-12 and are fifth in the league standings.
Pitching: Los Coches Bomba finished Week 12 with a 6.58 ERA, the league’s highest but also led the league with nine net saves/holds. The team won four of the six categories against the Menehunes but it wasn’t a thing of beauty. In fact, Edinson Volquez’s start was so hideous he finished just one inning while posting a 99.00 ERA and 11.00 WHIP. The team’s 1.64 WHIP was a season-high and they still won the category. Land Shark lost just one pitching category last week and is now 13-9-2 on the mound over the last four weeks. Jeremy Hellickson had a pari of quality starts while Seung-hwan Oh inherited the closing role in St. Louis and earned two saves.
Hitting: Land Shark has lost just three hitting categories combined over the past three weeks and scored a season-high 42 runs last week. Three players (Paul Goldschmidt, Jonathan Schoop, and Francisco Lindor) all posted +1.000 OPS while Schoop scored eight times in 31 plate appearances. Los Coches Bomba failed to win a hitting category last week, the first time this season they didn’t win at least one category at the plate. Catcher Kurt Suzuki was the only payer on the team with a +1.000 OPS in Week 12 while Robinson Cano failed to drive in a run in 32 plate appearances last week.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Meredith’s team enters this series as a big underdog. Ziguana has Land Shark with just an 8 percent chance to defeat Los Coches Bomba. Jenni Kirk’s team has a 83 percent chance to win.
Eephus Monkeys vs The Bulls
The Monkeys haven’t lost a series in the last five weeks and are coming off a 6-6 tie with the JetSetters. They are 59-76-9 and 14th in the league standings. The Bulls have won four of their last six series but did lose 5-7 last week to Stadium Mustard. The Bulls are now 70-66-8 and 9th in the overall standings.
Pitching: The Bulls were tied for the lowest number of innings pitched in Week 12 with 44.0 and had the fewest quality starts with one. That led to the team losing five of the six categories against Stadium Mustard and it only gets worse as Stephen Strasburg hit the DL this week. The Eephus Monkeys finished Week 12 with the league’s lowest ERA at 2.32 and the lowest WHIP at 1.10. This pitching staff is on a roll, going 19-5 over the last four weeks on the mound. Jacob deGrom tossed eight scoreless innings in Week 12 while reliever Sam Dyson had a pair of saves without giving up a run.
Hitting: The Monkeys tied Home Run 101 with the fewest number of runs scored last week with 22 and they’ve won just six hitting categories combined over the past month. Outfielder Jason Heyward had a .513 OPS with just one run scored and one RBI in 31 plate appearances in Week 12. The Bulls won four hitting categories last week and have now gone 7-4-1 at the plate over the last two weeks. Carlos Gonzalez is in a nice groove, posting a 1.007 OPS over his last 30 plate appearances while driving in six runs.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Ziguana expects the Eephus Monkey’s to win this series. Jordan’s team has a 53.7 percent chance of victory compared to the Bulls, who have just a 28.8 percent chance.
Two weeks into the season, it’s time to look at several players who have performed well but aren’t currently on a fantasy roster.
Hector Neris, RP, Phillies – Neris has appeared in seven games, tossing 6.2 innings without giving up a run. He’s only allowed four base runners while striking out nine. Only three of his seven appearances have been in save situations but he’s turned all three into valuable holds. Four times he’s been summoned in high leverage situations. Neris pitched 40.1 innings last year but had only two save opportunities. In 24 of his 32 appearances in 2015, the Phillies either trailed on the scoreboard or were tied. If he continues to excel Neris will earn more high leverage opportunities but, remember, he pitches for the Phillies so temper your enthusiasm.
Jake Lamb, 3B, Diamondbacks – In 390 plate appearances last year, Lamb produced a .716 OPS, 34 RBI, 38 Runs, 1 Net Stolen Base, and 97 Strikeouts. In 56 plate appearances this season, Lamb has a .884 OPS, 9 RBI, 5 Runs, 1 Net Stolen Base, and 12 Strikeouts. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find some horrifying splits. Last year, his OPS vs RHP was .743 while lefties held him to .541. Lamb is off to a hot start but if he can’t hit lefties his value will be limited.
Jhoulys Chacin, SP, Braves – Chacin was cut from the Rockies in 2014 and floated around the minor leagues last season. He did make four starts for the Diamondbacks before signing with the Braves this spring. Chacin had a 4.63 ERA with Arizona in 2015 and a 4.82 ERA in 11 starts with the Rockies in 2014. Now, do you believe in his 2.38 ERA in two starts with Atlanta to open the season? If Chacin can equal his eight-year career ERA average of 3.74 you have an excellent fifth starter.
Melvin Upton, OF, Padres – After two final miserable years in Atlanta that saw Upton his .184 and .208, the 30-year-old outfielder rebounded last year with San Diego, hitting .259 with a .757 OPS and 17 RBI in 228 plate appearances. Upton is starting in left field this season for the Padres and is off to a good start, hitting .289 with a .822 OPS. He’s driven in five runs and scored seven in his first 13 games. Upton has earned a spot in the heart of the order for the Padres but San Diego’s offense is limited which limits Upton’s upside.
After this week, season projections will be meaningless. Weekly projections – and your opponent – are all that matter.
Ziguana.com is another fantasy baseball site that allows you to project your league standings based on league-specific settings and their player statistical projections. I’ve run our league through Ziguana and through a “special blend” of projections supplied by Mr. Cheatsheet and run through Baseball Monster.
The team to beat, according to Ziguana’s statistics, is Warning Track Power. GM Mark Peterson‘s team has a 58 percent chance of winning the league and a 31 percent chance of finishing second. Josh Donaldson, Jason Kipnis, and J.D. Martinez are expected to lead the offense while pitcher Chris Sale is the third-ranked player in the league. Baseball Monster predicted Warning Track Power would finish second with a 109-70-1 head-to-head record so both sites like this team.
Ziguana likes Noah Syndergaard as the ace for Los Coches Bomba and David Robertson as the closer. But it’s Miguel Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen and Robinson Cano that have the team ranked second with an outside shot at the championship (26 percent). The Big Three hitters all rank in Ziguana’s Top 25 player rankings. Baseball Monster predicted Los Coches Bomba would finish fourth with a 99-80-1 head-to-head record.
Both sites expect Home Run 101 to win the North Division and play in the postseason. I write this with a caveat, both systems have outfielder A.J. Pollock highly rated and he’s going to miss a significant portion of the season with a serious elbow injury. Ziguana predicts Home Run 101 will finish third while Baseball Monster projects sixth with a 92-87-1 head-to-head record.
The projections for the defending champs is vastly different between the two sites. Ziguana has the Mirrors finishing fourth while Baseball Monster projects 15th with a 73-107-0 head-to-head record. Baseball Monster doesn’t like the team’s starting rotation while Ziguana sees Darren O’Day, Craig Kimbrel, and Arodys Vizcaino as Top 50 players that can save the pitching ratios.
The Bulls are another team with wildly different projections. Ziguana projects the team will finish second in the North Division and qualify for the playoffs while Baseball Monster says they’ll finish 13th with an 81-99-0 head-to-head record. Outfielder Hunter Pence is a polarizing player for the computer systems. Ziguana has Pence rated 35th overall while Baseball Monster has him 109th. Both sites agree Stephen Strasburg and Zack Greinke are the team’s best players.
Ziguana and Baseball Monster agree Buster Hugs will win the East Division and return to the playoffs. Baseball Monster has the team finishing third overall with a 107-73-0 head-to-head record. Starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner is seen as the team’s best player by both systems. Ziguana sees Miguel Sano as a Top 40 player by season’s end.
New GM Chris Frugiuele is expected to guide Stadium Mustard to a playoff berth according to both sites. Ziguana is predicting a seventh place finish while Baseball Monster says fifth with a 97-82-1 head-to-head record. Both sites agree that Edwin Encarnacion and Kyle Seager are the team’s two best players.
GM Meredith James and Land Shark are going to be in a tight race for the league’s final playoff berth according to both sites. Ziguana projects the team will capture the final playoff berth while Baseball Monster expects them to finish ninth with a 92-88-0 head-t0-head record. Both systems agree first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is the team leader. Goldschmidt is the league’s top-rated player by Ziguana.
If Ziguana’s projections are correct, the Lower Haighters will miss the playoffs for the first time in league history. The site is projecting a ninth place finish for the team. The “Special Blend” projections in Baseball Monster expect the Haighters to win the West Division with a 113-67-0 head-t0-head record and win the league championship. The key to the season could come down to Drew Pomeranz and Phil Hughes at the back of the starting rotation.
Baseball Monster expects Bacon at Mile 11 and GM Eric Brown to capture the league’s final playoff berth with a 86-93-1 head-to-head record, finishing second in the North Division. Ziguana forecasts a third-place finish in the North Division and 10th overall. Young players Joc Pederson and Ketel Marte will need to exceed projections for Bacon to be a title contender.
Ziguana projects the JetSetters to finish second in the South Division pennant race but miss the playoffs. Baseball Monster also expects the JetSetters to finish second in the division but squeeze into the playoffs with a 92-88-0 head-to-head record. The team’s series with Bacon at Mile 11 and Land Shark will have major playoff implications.
If the computer systems are accurate, it’s going to be a struggle for High Cheese to make the playoffs in 2016. Ziguana is projecting a 12th place finish while Baseball Monster sees High Cheese finishing third in the South Division with a 84-96-0 head-to-head record and 11th overall. The strength of the team is the bullpen with Dellin Betances, Aroldis Chapman and Roberto Osuna.
Both computer systems project the Eephus Monkeys to finish last in the East Division and miss the playoffs. Baseball Monster is forecasting a 85-95-0 head-to-head record and a 10th place finish. Ziguana projects a 13th place finish.
Hapamon and new GM Robert Kirkbride will avoid the dreaded Wooden Spoon awarded to the team with the worst record in the league but both computer systems project a last place finish in the North Division. They also agree that Hapamon will finish 14th overall and Baseball Monster is predicting a 80-100-0 head-to-head record.
The two projection systems differ on which team will earn the Wooden Spoon. Ziguana says it will be the Marin Menehunes while Baseball Monster expects Let’s Play 2 to take the dubious honor. Baseball Monster expects Let’s Play 2 to finish with a 72-108-0 head-to-head record while Ziguana believes they’ll finish 15th, just ahead of the Menehunes. Baseball Monster says the Menehunes will finish with a 82-98-0 head-to-head record and 12th overall.