Tagged: fantasy baseball

Bacon at Mile 11 Finds Late-Round Values in 2017 Draft

 

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.

JetSetters Enter Playoffs as the Top Seed

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.

2016 Draft: Late-Round Value in Relievers

addison-reed

New York Mets reliever Addison Reed is a shining example of how set-up men offer great value late in the draft. In 2016, Reed was chosen by Sean McKenna with the last pick of the draft, 416th overall. Reed pitched 78.2 innings, striking out 92 batters, while earning 37 net saves/holds. The last player chosen in the draft finished the season ranked 41st overall.

Of the 10 best values in last year’s draft, six were relievers chosen in the 22nd round or later. Houston reliever Will Harris was chosen by the Lower Haighters with the 382nd pick, was promptly released on April 3 and remained unclaimed until May 7 when he again joined the Lower Haighters. Harris finished as the league’s 79th ranked player after earning 37 net saves/holds.

No position in fantasy baseball offers more late-round upside than set-up men. Major League teams often spend April determining late-inning roles and those frequently fluctuate as the season progresses.

Overall, teams struggled in the 2016 draft. The Lower Haighters had the highest-rated draft, finishing with an average player value of 337.84 (average BaseballMonster ranking for each player at the end of the season). That ranks 11th in league history and was just the team’s fourth best draft.

High Cheese had an excellent draft in 2016. The team’s 344.8 player ranking was best in franchise history. Pitchers Shawn Kelley, Roberto Osuna, Tanner Roark, Dellin Betances, Kevin Siegrist and Aroldis Chapman led the team to 149 wins, the third most in team history.

Third baseman Pablo Sandoval, starting pitchers Gerrit Cole and Yordano Ventura, and relievers Kevin Jepsen and Huston Street all underperformed in 2016 which led to Bacon at Mile 11 having the second worst draft in team history. The 532.5 average player value was the 12th highest in league history but General Manager Eric Brown did a masterful job of managing and eventually guided the team to 149 wins.

General Manager Mark Peterson had the second best draft in franchise history and led Warning Track Power to 147 wins and the team’s first West Division pennant. Pitchers Kyle Hendricks, Pedro Strop, Zach Britton, and Justin Wilson were great draft values as was catcher Wilson Ramos.

While the 2016 draft won’t go down as one of the league’s best, it did show that team’s can recover from a bad draft to have a good season and it reinforced that set-up men are a valuable late round drat commodity.

Menehunes Earn First SFRRC Fantasy Baseball Championship

Ian Kinsler

Veteran infielder Ian Kinsler helped lift the Menehunes to their first championship.

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.

  1. Marin Menehunes
  2. Lower Haighters
  3. Land Shark
  4. Warning Track Power
  5. JetSetters
  6. High Cheese
  7. Buster Hugs
  8. Bacon at Mile 11
  9. The Bulls
  10. Los Coches Bomba
  11. Stadium Mustard
  12. Eephus Monkeys
  13. A-Rod’s Mirrors
  14. Hapamon
  15. Home Run 101
  16. 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.

Menehunes, Haighters: Western Division Foes Fight For Championship

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Milwaukee Brewers

Can Odubel Herrera lead the Menehunes to their first fantasy baseball championship? The Menehunes are the first No. 8 seed to advance to the championship series. 

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.

CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS

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.

CONSOLATION FINALS

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.

 

Four Teams Claim Playoff Berths

Rougned Odor

Texas second baseman Rougned Odor was the highest-rated player in fantasy baseball last week. He’ll try to rally the Bulls into the playoffs in the final week of the regular season.

Half of the playoff field is set. Bacon at Mile 11, High Cheese, Warning Track Power and the Lower Haighters all qualified for the playoffs last week. Four spots remain.

Buster Hugs leads Land Shark by 2.5 games in the East Division as both teams fight for a playoff berth while the JetSetters, Marin Menehunes, and Bulls are also in the hunt. Good luck to everyone fighting for those final postseason berths!

The Bulls vs Hapamon

The Bulls have the most difficult road into the playoffs. They trail the Menehunes by seven games entering the final series and are ninth in the league standings with a 118-121-13 record. They are also stumbling down the stretch. They have just one series win over the last five weeks. The did, however, manage to tie Bacon at Mile 11, 6-6, last week. Hapamon is 14th in the overall standings with a 98-132-22 record but they do get pitcher Clayton Kershaw back this week. They lost last week’s series 7-4-1 to Home Run 101 and have lost eight of their last nine.

Pitching: Jeurys Familia was the top relief pitcher in fantasy baseball last week. Familia didn’t give up a run in five appearances for Hapamon, earning three net saves/holds while allowing just one baserunner in 4.1 innings. Veteran reliever Sergio Romo has struggled this year but his slider was sliding for the Bulls last week. He tossed 3.1 scoreless innings and earned three holds in five appearances.

Hitting: Bulls second baseman Rougned Odor went 12-for-27 with 15 RBI to finish Week 21 as the league’s highest-rated player. Odor finished the week with a 1.522 OPS. Outfielder Christian Yelich hit .308 with a 1.112 OPS last week for Hapamon. He drove in nine runs and scored five while stealing a base.

Stadium Mustard vs Land Shark

Land Shark has won three of its last four series and trails Buster Hugs by just 2.5 games in the East Division. They defeated the Monkeys 6-5-1 last week to improve to 128-112-2 and move to seventh in the league standings. Land Shark faces a Stadium Mustard team that is playing the role of spoiler. They defeated Land Shark, 7-5, two weeks ago and thumped Buster Hugs, 9-1-2, last week. Stadium Mustard is 11th in the league standings with a 113-124-15 record but they are a dangerous team.

Pitching: Julio Teheran earned a pair of quality starts for Stadium Mustard last week. Teheran allowed just two runs over 13 innings, finishing the week with a 1.38 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 10.4 K/9. Ricky Nolasco tossed a complete game shutout for Land Shark last week. Nolasco allowed just four baserunners while striking out seven batters.

Hitting: Veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre was hot for Land Shark last week. He went 9-for-24 with seven RBI and 11 runs scored and finished with a 1.256 OPS. Outfielder Ender Inciarte went 11-for-26 over six games for Stadium Mustard last week. Inciarte was also strong on the base paths, finishing with two net stolen bases.

Buster Hugs vs Eephus Monkeys

Buster Hugs was derailed by Stadium Mustard last week on their way to the East Division title. The surprising 9-1-2 loss leaves Buster Hugs with a 131-110-11 record and just 2.5 games ahead of Land Shark in the division race. Buster Hugs has yet to lose to the Monkeys in three meetings this year and defeated their division rival 9-2-1 in Week 20. The Monkeys have lost four straight series following last week’s 6-5-1 loss to Land Shark. They are 110-127-15 and 10th in the league standings.

Pitching: Carlos Martinez had a pair of quality starts for the Monkeys in Week 21. Martinez struck out 19 batters over 12 innings while finishing the week with a 2.25 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. Reliever Kenley Jansen had two saves in three appearances for Buster Hugs last week. Jansen struck out seven batters over three scoreless innings.

Hitting: Second baseman Brian Dozier his .367 with a 1.341 OPS in seven games for the Monkeys last week. Dozier drove in nine runs and scored six more. Infielder Jean Segura hit .421 for Buster Hugs in 20 plate appearances last week. He finished the week with three net stolen bases and a .976 OPS.

Marin Menehunes vs Warning Track Power

The Menehunes snapped a two-game losing streak with an impressive 9-2-1 victory over the Lower Haighters that drastically improved their playoff chances. They are currently eighth in the league standings with a 124-114-14 record. They have a seven game lead over the Bulls for the final playoff berth. Warning Track grabbed the West Division lead with last week’s 7-5 victory the Mirrors. They’ve lost just one series over the last nine weeks and are one of the hottest teams in the league. Warning Track Power has a four game lead over the Lower Haighters in the West and is third in the league with a 139-105-8 record. The Menehunes did defeat Warning Track Power 7-3-2 in Week 18 so this could be an interesting series.

Pitching: Carlos Carrasco tossed a 7.1 inning shutout for Warning Track Power last week. He allowed just seven baserunners while striking out 11. Max Scherzer struck out 11 over eight innings for the Menehunes in his lone start last week. He allowed two runs but just four base runners.

Hitting: Outfielder Adam Eaton was on fire for the Menehunes at the plate in Week 21. He went 10-for-31 with give RBI and nine runs scored. Eaton finished the week with a .901 OPS. In seven games for Warning Track Power, veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson hit .286 with a 1.169 OPS last week. He drove in eight runs and scored six more, striking out just three times in 27 plate appearances.

JetSetters vs High Cheese

These teams have met three teams and High Cheese has won all three meetings. It’s one reason High Cheese leads the South Division and is second in the league standings with a 142-101-9 record while the JetSetters are 129-111-12 and sixth overall. High Cheese is a coming off a 6-6 tie with Los Coches Bomba but has just one series loss over the last six weeks. The JetSetters snapped a three-week losing streak with a 7-5 win over Let’s Play 2 last week.

Pitching: Luke Gregerson was strong in relief for the JetSetters in Week 21. He earned three net saves/holds, pitching 2.2 scoreless innings while striking out two hitters. Aroldis Chapman had a pair of saves for High Cheese, giving up just one run over five innings while striking out nine hitters.

Hitting: Freddie Freeman went 8-for-20 with seven RBI and seven runs scored last week for High Cheese. Freeman hit .400 with a 1.450 OPS over 30 plate appearances. Infielder Alex Bregman was swinging a hot bat for the JetSetters last week. Bregman went 9-for-26 with just three strikeouts in 27 plate appearances. He finished with a .947 OPS.

Let’s Play 2 vs Los Coches Bomba

It would take a miracle for Los Coches Bomba to qualify for the playoffs and for Let’s Play 2 to dig themselves out of the league cellar. Bomba is 115-120-17 and 10th in the league standings following last week’s 6-6 tie with High Cheese. Their last win was a 6-4-2 victory over Let’s Play 2 a month ago. Let’s Play 2 saw their modest two-week winning streak snapped with a 7-5 loss to the JetSetters last week but the team has been much more competitive since a 12-0 loss to the Menehunes in Week 17. They have the league’s worst record at 87-155-10.

Pitching: Trevor Bauer earned a pair of quality starts for Let’s Play 2 last week. Bauer gave up just three runs over 14.1 innings while striking out eight batters. In his lone start for Los Coches Bomba last week, Gio Gonzalez pitched six strong innings, allowing just one run and three baserunners while striking out four hitters.

Hitting: Will Let’s Play 2 General Manager Louie Bottaro give outfielder Byron Buxton a chance in the starting lineup this week? He was red-hot last week, going 9-for-16 with a 1.875 OPS. Veteran first baseman Hanley Ramirez went 9-for-23 with 10 RBI and eight runs scored last week for Bomba. Ramirez finished the week with a 1.331 OPS.

Bacon at Mile 11 vs Home Run 101

Bacon at Mile 11 has the league’s best record at 142-98-12. They hold a 23.5 game lead in the North Division, the league’s largest division lead. They’ve won three of their past four series but did tie The Bulls last week, 6-6. The question for Bacon at Mile 11 remains: Can they handle the playoffs after a weak regular season schedule? They face Home Run 101 this week, a team they haven’t lost to this year. In fact, they’ve gone 27-8-1 against their North Division rival. Home Run 101 is 15th in the league standings with a 94-144-14 record but they have won two of their past three series, beating Hapamon both times.

Pitching: Reliever Ken Giles had three saves in three attempts for Home Run 101 last week. Giles allowed just one run over three innings while striking out five batters. Eduardo Rodriguez nearly pitched a perfect game for Bacon in Week 21. He allowed just one hit over eight scoreless innings.

Hitting: In five games last week, outfielder Mike Trout went 10-for-18 with six RBI and eight runs scored for Bacon. He had just one strikeout in 23 plate appearances and ended the week with a 1.986 OPS. First baseman Jose Abreu knocked in 13 RBI for Home Run 101 last week. Abreu went 14-for-34 with a 1.206 OPS.

Lower Haighters vs A-Rod’s Mirrors

The Lower Haighters likely lost the West Division pennant with last week’s 9-2-1 loss to the Menehunes but they are one of four teams that have qualified for this year’s playoffs. Despite the loss, they’ve won six of their past eight series and are 135-109-8 and fourth in the league standings. After winning last year’s championship, the Mirrors have collapsed this season. They are 111-133-8 and 13th in the league. The Mirrors have just one series win over the last 11 weeks and have lost all three series with the Haighters.

Pitching: In his lone start last week, veteran Rich Hill earned a quality start for the Mirrors by tossing six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts. He allowed just three baserunners in the outing. Reliever Will Harris was the one bright spot in a poor pitching effort for the Lower Haighters last week. Harris earned a pair of holds in three appearances without giving up a run.

Hitting: It must be 2010, because first baseman Albert Pujols is on a tear for the Lower Haighters. In five games last week, Pujols went 9-for-21 with a 1.429 OPS, seven RBI, and five runs scored. In six games last week, outfielder Matt Kemp went 10-for-28 with eight RBI and five runs scored. He finished the week with a .974 OPS.

When it Comes to the Playoffs, No Team is Safe

Brewers Spring Baseball

Pitcher Junior Guerra is the league’s top-rated player over the past two weeks.

With just nine weeks remaining in the regular season, it’s a mad scramble to qualify for the postseason. No team is safe at this point. Here is a preview of a crucial Week 14.

Eephus Monkeys vs Land Shark

The Eephus Monkeys dropped a 6-5-1 decision to the Bulls last week and have just one series victory over the past five weeks. They are 14th in the league standings with a 64-82-10 record. Land Shark leads the East Division by six games and are fourth in the league standings at 82-69-5. They saw their five-week winning streak snapped with a 7-5 loss to Los Coches Bomba last week.

Pitching: Land Shark finished Week 13 with the league’s worst ERA at 5.64 and failed to win a pitching category for the first time since Week 7. They are 5-12-1 on the mound in their last three series. Ricky Nolasco has given up 14 earned runs in his last three starts, posting a 6.87 ERA with just one quality starts. Over the last five weeks, the Monkeys have been strong on the mound, going 23-7.They’ve posted a 3.40 ERA or less in six of the last seven weeks. Jacob deGrom has given up just one earned run over his last 13 innings.

Hitting: The Monkeys were tied for the fewest plate appearances in the league last week with 210 and won just a single hitting category. They are now 3-12-3 at the plate in the last three weeks. First baseman Byung-ho Park doesn’t have a hit in his last 16 at-bats, striking out 10 times. Land Shark has one of the hottest hitting teams in the league over the last month. They’ve gone 20-4 during that stretch and have won five or more categories in three of the last four series. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop is 20-for-49 over his last 12 games with 15 runs scored and a 1.065 OPS.

Ziguana Projected Outcome: Ziguana believes the Monkeys are poised to upset Land Shark. Jordan’s team has a 71.9 percent chance to win while Meredith’s team has just a 15 percent chance to take the series.

Los Coches Bomba vs High Cheese

Los Coches Bomba defeated Land Shark 7-5 last week and have now won two of their last three and three of their last five series. They trail High Cheese by 6.5 games in the South Division pennant race and are sixth in the league standings with a 78-66-12 record. High Cheese saw their four-week winning streak snapped with a 9-3 loss to the Menehunes last week. They maintain the league’s best record at 87-62-7.

Pitching: Bomba had five quality starts in Week 13, tied for the league high and swept the pitching categories for the first time since Week 1. They’ve now gone 10-2 on the mound over the last two weeks. Reliever David Robertson has been lights out, giving up just one run over his last 7.1 innings while saving six games. High Cheese finished last week with a 5.07 ERA, their second worst pitching performance of the season. They won just two categories, their lowest total since Week 8. Chris Tillman has given up 10 runs in his last two starts, posting a 9.31 ERA.

Hitting: High Cheese had the fewest stolen bases in Week 14 with just one and won just a single hitting category last week. It was the worst hitting performance for the team since they slumped in Weeks 7-8 and failed to win a category. Veteran infielder Jhonny Peralta has struck out 11 times in his last 47 plate appearances and is hitting .205 over his last 11 games. Bomba had the league’s fewest RBI with 21 last week and the team has won just one hitting category over the past two weeks. Outfielder Justin Upton has scuffled all season and is hitting just .196 over his last 12 games. He’s scored just three runs over 50 plate appearances during that stretch.

Ziguana Projected Outcome: Los Coches Bomba opens the week favored to win this series. Ziguana gives Jenni’s team a 82.2 percent chance for victory while the Patchell Express has just a 8.5 percent chance to win.

Buster Hugs vs Stadium Mustard

Buster Hugs lost to Warning Track Power 9-2-1 last week and have now lost four of their last five series. They trail Land Shark by six games in the East Division pennant race and are 10th in the league standings with a 75-74-7 record. Stadium Mustard defeated Hapamon 7-4-1 in Week 13 and have now won three straight series. They are just eight games behind Land Shark in the East Division and are 12th in the league standings with a 72-75-9 record.

Pitching: Buster Hugs finished Week 13 with six net saves/holds, tied for the league high but won just two pitching categories. They are now 11-12-1 on the mound over the last month. They do have the league’s hottest pitcher, Junior Guerra, who has three quality starts over the past two weeks with a 0.81 ERA and 0.58 WHIP. Stadium Mustard won just one category last week, the third time in the last five weeks they’ve had just one category win. They finished the last week with a 5.03 ERA, their third worst ERA this season. C.C. Sabathia has struggled in his last three starts for Stadium Mustard, posting an 8.31 ERA and failing to earn a quality start.

Hitting: Buster Hugs had the league’s lowest OPS in Week 13 at .697 and failed to win a hitting category for the first time since Week 5. The team is really scuffling at the plate, failing to post a OPS higher than .700 in four of the past five weeks. First baseman A.J. Reed finds himself on the bench after going 2-for-22 with 11 strikeouts in his last seven games. No team had fewer strikeouts last week than Stadium Mustard with 36 as the team swept the hitting categories for the first time this season. They are 12-6 at the plate over the last three weeks. Edwin Encarnacion is dangerous at the plate, hitting .310 with a 1.137 OPS in his last 12 games. He’s driven in 15 runs during that stretch.

Ziguana Projected Outcome: Andrew’s team has a 56.3 percent chance to win this series while Chris’ team has a 27.3 percent chance according to Ziguana.

A-Rod’s Mirrors vs Warning Track Power

The Mirrors have now lost three straight series and have just two category wins over the last two weeks. The defending league champions have fallen to 11th in the league standings with a 74-76-6 record and are last in the West Division. Warning Track Power defeated Buster Hugs 9-2-1 last week and have lost just one series over the last five weeks. They’ve moved to fifth in the overall standings with a 83-71-2 record and they are just one game behind the Lower Haighters in the West Division pennant race.

Pitching: The Mirrors had the league’s worst WHIP (1.61) in Week 13 and had the lowest strikeout rate (7.67). The last three weeks have been a disaster for Sean’s pitching staff as they’ve gone 2-15-1 and haven’t posted an ERA less than 4.67 or a WHIP of less than 1.55 during that stretch. Reliever Jake Diekman has been bombed in his last six outings, giving up six earned runs. Warning Track Power has gone 9-8-1 during that same time and has had a team ERA of less than 4.00 in two of the past three weeks. Carlos Carrasco has given up just one run in his last 16.2 innings while striking out 21 batters.

Hitting: The Mirrors led the league last week with 290 plate appearances but it was their only hitting category victory over the last two weeks. The Mirrors are 1-10-1 during that stretch. Outfielder Kevin Pillar has scored just two runs in his last 48 plate appearances, posting a .548 OPS. Warning Track Power had the league’s most RBI (54) and the highest OPS (1.080) last week and swept the hitting categories for the first time this season. The team set season-highs in Runs, RBI, Stolen Bases and OPS in Week 13. Outfielder Josh Donaldson has 10 RBI in his last 12 games, hitting .408 with a 1.198 OPS.

Ziguana Projected Outcome: Ziguana is predicting Warning Track Power will tighten the pennant race in the West Division this week. Mark’s team has a 63.1 percent chance to win the series while Sean’s team has just a 20.3 percent chance of victory.

Home Run 101 vs Hapamon

Home Run 101 lost to the league’s last place team in Week 13, a 6-5-1 defeat to Let’s Play 2. It was the team’s seventh consecutive series loss. Bailey’s team is now 52-96-8 and 15th in the league standings. Hapamon lost 7-4-1 to Stadium Mustard last week and have now lost four of their last six series. They are 13th in the league standings with a 67-76-13 record.

Pitching: No team pitched fewer innings in Week 13 than Home Run 101 (35.1). The team also had the fewest quality starts (1) and net saves/holds (0). This team has been bad on the mound for the past five weeks, winning more than one pitching category just once during that stretch. They are 6-22-2 on the mound in the last five series. Veteran Chris Young has posted a 11.37 ERA and 2.84 WHIP in his last two starts. Hapamon has been strong on the mound over the last month, finishing with an ERA of 3.43 or less in each of the last four weeks. The team is 16-7-1 on the mound during that period. Closer Jeurys Familia hasn’t been scored on over his last 6.1 innings and he’s earned six straight saves.

Hitting: Home Run 101 led the league in net stolen bases last week with six and has been competitive at the plate during the last month. They’ve gone 12-11-1 during that period. Second baseman Jose Altuve keeps the offense competitive. He’s hitting .408 with a 1.128 OPS and nine RBI over his last 12 games. Hapamon scored the fewest runs in the league in Week 13 with 26 and failed to win a hitting category for the first time since Week 8. The team is now 5-12-1 at the plate over the last three weeks. Catcher Jason Castro is hitting just .214 with 11 strikeouts in his last 31 plate appearances.

Ziguana Projected Outcome: It’s been a while since Bailey’s team has been favored in a series but Ziguana doesn’t like a Clayton Kershaw-less Hapamon. Home Run 101 opens the week as a 76.6 percent chance to win while Robert Kirkbride’s team has just a 12.8 percent chance of victory.

Let’s Play 2 vs The JetSetters

Let’s Play 2 snapped a seven-week winless streak with a 6-5-1 victory over Home Run 101 last week. They remain in last place with a 53-98-5 record. The JetSetters are undefeated over the last seven weeks and are coming off an impressive 10-2 victory over the Lower Haighters. It was their largest margin of victory this season and moves the team to seventh in the league standings with a 79-70-7 record.

Pitching: The JetSetters finished Week 13 with six net saves/holds, tied for the league lead and have been one of the league’s best pitching teams the last seven weeks. They are 30-10-2 during that stretch. Jose Fernandez has a 3.20 ERA and 0.92 WHIP with two quality starts in his last three appearances. After failing to win a pitching category in Week 12, Let’s Play 2 bounced back last week, winning five of six. It was the second time in three weeks they’ve won five pitching categories. Trevor Bauer has given up just three runs over his last 20 innings and has two quality starts in his last three appearances.

Hitting: Let’s Play 2 had just 210 plate appearances in Week 13, tied for the fewest in the league. It’s been a bad month at the plate for Louie’s team. They are just 3-20-1 during that period and have won just a single hitting category the last three weeks. Veteran first baseman Ryan Zimmerman is hitting .159 over his last 50 plate appearances with a .513 OPS. The JetSetters set season-highs with 51 runs and RBI last week. They led the league in runs scored but also had the highest number of strikeouts with 68. They are 9-3 at the plate over the last two weeks. Utility Danny Espinosa has been on five, driving in 21 runs over his last 13 games. He’s hitting .400 with a 1.425 OPS in his last 51 plate appearances.

Ziguana Projected Outcome: Ziguana believes this will be the week Louie’s team scores a series win. Let’s Play 2 has a 67.8 percent chance of victory while David’s team has just a 18.9 percent chance to win the series.

Bacon at Mile 11 vs The Bulls

Bacon at Mile 11 posted their first series win since Week 5 with a 9-1-2 victory over A-Rod’s Mirrors. The team is now second in the overall standings with an 84-63-9 record. The Bulls have won three of their past four series after defeating the Eephus Monkeys 6-5-1 last week. They trail Bacon at Mile 11 by eight games in the North Division pennant race and are ninth in the overall standings with a 76-71-9 record.

Pitching: No team pitched more innings in Week 13 than Bacon at Mile 11 with 79.2. The team also led the league in strikeouts per nine innings at 9.94. Bacon won five pitching categories last week, the first time the team has done that since Week 4, and posted a sub-4.00 ERA for the first time since Week 6. Adam Conley has two quality starts in his last three outings, posting a 2.45 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. The Bulls were sharp on the mound as well, leading the league with a 2.47 ERA and 1.03 WHIP but the team is just 3-9 on the mound over the last two weeks. Reliever Mark Melancon hasn’t given up a run in his last five appearances, earning four saves with a 0.60 WHIP.

Hitting: Bacon has been a good hitting team the last three weeks. They are 10-5-3 during that stretch. Outfielder Mike Trout is the hottest hitter in the league. He’s 23-of-51 with a 1.306 OPS in his last 13 games. The Bulls have their own hot hitter in outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. He’s 17-of-44 with a 1.142 OPS and 14 RBI over his last 12 games. The Bulls lost just one hitting category last week and are 11-5-2 over the last three weeks. They’ve had a .800+ OPS five of the last six weeks.

Ziguana Projected Outcome: Ziguana is predicting Eric’s team will continue to rebound from it’s midseason funk. Bacon opens the week with a 76.6 percent chance to defeat Carolyn’s team while the Bulls have just a 13.5 percent chance to win.

 
Lower Haighters vs Marin Menehunes

The Lower Haighters have just one series victory over the last month and are coming off a 10-2 loss to the JetSetters, matching their worst loss of the season. They have fallen to third in the overall standings with a 83-69-4 record. The Menehunes have won two straight and are coming off a 9-3 victory over High Cheese, the league’s top team. It was their largest margin of victory since an 11-1 win over Land Shark in Week 2. They are clinging to the league’s final playoff berth with a 78-69-9 record.

Pitching: The Menehunes finished Week 13 tied for the league lead in quality starts with five and went 4-2 on the mound. They’ve posted a sub 4.00 ERA in four of the past five weeks. Bud Norris has been sensational in his last three starts, giving up just two runs in 18.1 innings and earning two quality starts. The Lower Haighters lost five of six pitching categories in Week 13 and are 7-10-1 over the last three weeks. The problem is the team’s ace, Jake Arrieta. He’s given up 10 earned runs in his last 15.1 innings and hasn’t earned a quality start in his last three outings.

Hitting: The Menehunes have been strong at the plate the last two weeks, going 10-1-1. They set a season-high with 48 runs, 44 RBI, and 272 plate appearance in Week 13. Wil Myers has driven in 13 runs over his last 11 games, posting a .992 OPS. He’s also stolen three bases. The Lower Haighters have struggled to hit the ball over the last five weeks, going 11-19 during that stretch. Last week, they won just one category. First baseman Eric Hosmer is struggling, driving in just four runs in his last 53 plate appearances. He has a .668 OPS in his last 12 games.

Ziguana Projected Outcome: Ziguana is predicting the Lower Haighters have a 77.3 percent chance to defeat Elizabeth’s team. The Menehunes have just a 12.3 percent chance to win this West Division rivalry.