Fantasy Baseball

Fantasy Baseball 2016 So Far

moneyball-jonah-hill

There are six weeks left in the regular Fantasy Baseball season, with three weeks for the playoffs in my league, but it’s probably safe to say that my season is already over. My second year ever playing Fantasy Baseball, I followed a year in which I finished the season in 1st place with my current standing of 11th place among 12 teams, sitting on a dismal 5-12 record. It’ll be the first time across any of my fantasy sports that I fail to make the playoffs, and by far my most losing season. Yikes.

Once all is said and done, I’ll diagnose the whole season, but the downfall of my team, Moneyball, has been a combination of missed sleepers in favor of disappointing busts during the draft (taking Andrew Cashner, Drew Smyly, Yordano Ventura or Mike Fiers over the undrafted Rich Hill made sense at the time!), some truly bad injury luck (Kershaw, Bautista, Dee Gordon to suspensions, Hunter Pence, Taijuan Walker, and more long dropped) and a handful of poor and misguided lineup decisions as I chased immediate wins over long term results (Chris Devenski? Tom Koehler? Really?). That meant missing out on studs when they were still on the waiver wire (Jake Lamb, Melvin Upton Jr.)  and trying to ride the hot hand only to get burned.

For those who have played Fantasy Baseball, our league is a bit unusual: 5×5 Head to Head Categories league, 3 Outfielders, 1 Catcher, and then most differently from the norm, 9 pitchers, either 6-7 starters and 2-3 relievers. It made it so that position players were surprisingly deep, while pitching was barren.

Some categories leagues give a win per category, so winning in every category makes your record 10-0 for that week (I might be doing even worse if we were playing by this method), but our league is one win, one loss, much in the way Fantasy Football operates. You’re welcome to debate the merits of this in the comments, but the 12 of us tend to find this model pretty fun.

Prior to setting up this blog, I’ve been journaling each week in a spreadsheet to go along with the stats. Presented below are the recaps for each week along with a quick screencap of the week’s results. I’ll be devoting new posts to each of the remaining weeks this season. Until then, enjoy the pain of Fantasy Baseball 2016!

Week 1
Opponent: The Gondola
Outcome: 5-5 W (tiebreaker is total of R, HR, Ks, Ws)

Team Moneyball The Gondola
BA 0.306 0.273
HR 6 10
RBI 32 25
R 29 30
SB 1 3
K 51 52
W 4 1
S 4 3
ERA 3.1 4.18
WHIP 1.00 1.52

Close, nail biter of a week. Started with no showing of power but ended up with a late surge thanks to Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp, both of whom got really lucky with the number of RBIs they delivered. I felt like I was doomed, having lost two starts this week, one from Sonny Gray due to food poisoning of all things, and one from Drew Smyly after his game got postponed on Saturday and his start arbitrarily pushed back to Sunday, ruining my hopes of stealing a win in Ks, not to mention when Santiago Casilla blew a save. Yangervis Solarte is injured, Travis D’Arnaud was a bust in his first week, so hoping for a bounce back there, and I’m fortunate that Gondola’s stud pitching staff of Cole, Richards, Kluber, Carrasco, Santana and Samardzija didn’t quite deliver.

Week 2
Opponent: Old Style & Foul Bowels
Outcome: 6.5 – 3.5 W

Team Moneyball Old Style & Foul Bowels
BA 0.227 0.23
HR 6 6
RBI 29 19
R 23 20
SB 6 4
K 65 51
W 4 2
S 2 3
ERA 2.46 3.46
WHIP 0.97 0.96

Another late burst of power, with 3 homers on Saturday alone. For much of the week I got unlucky with saves and wins. But Vince Velasquez made history by throwing a shutout with 16 Ks. Drew Smyly wasn’t bad either, notching 11 in a loss and answering Noah Syndergaard’s 12 the previous day. Batting Average was a serious step down from the previous week and left much to be desired, but Gerardo Parra had a strong week on the bench. Had an incredible ERA and WHIP but still managed to lose the latter category. Steals finally showed up from Dee Gordon and Xander Bogaerts, and hopefully Kemp gets out of his slump.

Week 3
Opponent: Joe Buck Yourself
Outcome: 3.5 – 6.5 L

Team Moneyball Joe Buck Yourself
BA 0.248 0.269
HR 6 8
RBI 26 31
R 23 31
SB 4 3
K 65 38
W 5 5
S 1 4
ERA 2.58 2.48
WHIP 1.06 1.1

What a crazy end to the week. By Friday I had taken a small lead and it looked as though I was going to win. There were 4 category ties. By Saturday, I looked dead in the water, unable to catch up in BA and behind in W and SB, with Joe Buck Yourself miraculously catching up in ERA and WHIP. By Sunday early, I suddenly had another late power surge of HRs and two Ws and wondered if there was some chance I could pull off the win. Santiago Casilla pitched in the 9th, but the Giants weren’t able to get the win, but the real loser was Jake McGee, who gave up 5 runs to the Dodgers in the 9th and put me behind for the week in ERA. Not to mention I was unlucky in getting saves or additional Ws from Kershaw and other stud performances. Miguel Montero was a bad pickup, but D’Arnaud wasn’t that much better, and starting Michael Conforto may have made the difference.

Week 4
Opponent: Vandelay Industries
Outcome: 7 -3 W

Team Moneyball Vandelay Industries
BA 0.28 0.244
HR 7 3
RBI 30 16
R 32 25
SB 3 6
K 72 60
W 4 5
S 3 1
ERA 3.6 3.46
WHIP 1.18 1.21

Losing Dee Gordon to a PED suspension was the big news of the week, and yet this was a bizarre week to begin with. Of course the week that my batting finally goes off, my pitching would start to struggle. At one point in the week I was up 10-0, only to have it come back down to a 5-5 tie. Kershaw got roughed up in one of his two starts, Raisel Iglesias and Travis D’Arnaud were both put on the DL, and I’m still having trouble getting save opportunities or win opportunities. With a lot of new pickups this week hopefully I can still stay competitive, but I still feel good about my hitting and pitching right now.

Week 5
Opponent: The Rockford Peaches
Outcome: 2 – 8 L

Team Moneyball Rockford Peaches
BA 0.245 0.249
HR 9 7
RBI 28 31
R 22 26
SB 1 6
K 39 59
W 1 6
S 5 4
ERA 5.4 3.56
WHIP 1.41 1.18

THE HORROR… Honestly things worked out better this week than it originally seemed when I was losing 10-0 for much of the time, and I still got crushed, but I was pretty close in BA, Rs and RBIs when all was said and done. If I had a miracle, I could’ve won. But would it have killed even one of my pitchers to have a decent start? I was already down considering I only had 7 starts to his 12, but things proceeded to collapse from there. Sonny Gray gave up 7 runs after being left in an inning too long. Yordano Ventura gave up 5 walks and is making me want to bench him. Taijuan Walker only went 2 innings before being pulled for an injury. Even Kershaw only went 7 and gave up 2, not bad, but not what you want from your stud. I lost to every team in the league this week relative to the breakdown, but my week would’ve been even less than nothing without 5 HRs from Brandon Phillips. Let’s hope that production continues and that this week was just an unfortunate stretch of bad luck across the board.

Week 6
Opponent: The Zootowners
Outcome: 2- 8 L

Team Moneyball The Zootowners
BA 0.297 0.339
HR 7 9
RBI 36 38
R 32 34
SB 2 4
K 61 58
W 3 4
S 6 4
ERA 4.33 3.55
WHIP 1.20 1.04

After a really rough week last week, it didn’t look this week like things were much better. I lost 8-2 for the second week in a row, but believe it or not, the loss only came because Zootowners batted out of his mind with an absurd .339 BA and a ton of power. I faired a lot better in the breakdown than I did last week. Even my pitching was not as bad as it could be, but Sonny Gray will bother me no more, as I’ve benched him until he figures his stuff out and made some serious changes, dropping Ventura, Denard Span and D’Arnaud in what was a tough decision. If I can keep these batting numbers up and get luckier with my pitching (6 Saves!) then I should be golden.

Week 7
Opponent: Kickin Ashers
Outcome: 2- 8 L

Team Moneyball Kickin Ashers
BA 0.242 0.235
HR 8 8
RBI 27 29
R 23 32
SB 0 2
K 44 80
W 3 7
S 4 4
ERA 3.29 2.57
WHIP 1.19 1.1

What the hell is happening to meeeee….  Some horrible luck AND some horrible coaching. Adrian Gonzalez, Jung Ho Kang off the DL, Hunter Pence, J.T. Realmuto and Rubby De La Rosa were all held out this week at times, Chris Devenski proved to be a horrible pickup in that he never got a start, and Tyler Duffey, who I hoped would be a good solid starter moving forward, imploded for 6 runs in 5.2 innings. Even Kershaw had his second start moved back for some reason. Meanwhile Conforto, who is having a monster April and good start to May, sat on the bench with 3 HRs in place of a slumping Matt Kemp. And now Sonny Gray is on the DL, more proof that I should’ve traded him when I had the chance. This also marks the first Fantasy Baseball season in which I’ve had 3 losses in a row.

Week 8
Opponent: The Isotopes
Outcome: 2.5- 7.5 L

Team Moneyball The Isotopes
BA 0.313 0.272
HR 7 11
RBI 23 28
R 27 34
SB 1 2
K 51 50
W 1 7
S 2 2
ERA 4.95 1.95
WHIP 1.24 0.93

This has been the worst month of fantasy I’ve ever played. This week The Isotopes played out of their mind with a league high in HRs, Rs and RBIs all before Friday. My pitchers continued to struggle, but it wouldn’t have mattered because just about everyone on his roster pitched like they were Jake Arrieta, resulting in a sub-2 ERA and sub-1 WHIP. I was teased with the prospect of Hunter Pence returning only for him to sit out for more than half the week, as did Conforto and Bautista even for one game. I got caught stealing twice and ended up with 0 stolen bases. De La Rosa collapsed and now landed on the DL. Tony Cingrani didn’t even pitch this week because the Reds are so terrible. Both outcomes continue to put me in a bind for pitching options moving forward. And NO ONE will trade with me. What rotten luck.

Week 9
Opponent: Hog Heat
Outcome: 0 – 10 L

Team Moneyball Hog Heat
BA 0.27 0.296
HR 5 7
RBI 23 41
R 21 34
SB 1 2
K 53 73
W 3 4
S 0 4
ERA 5.34 4.06
WHIP 1.65 1.35

Fuckity Bye. My ERA and WHIP are the worst they’ve been all season. No saves, also the lowest. The lowest number of HRs. Pitiful RBIs and Runs. Pitiful stolen bases. Honestly I should’ve possibly won in pitching this week, since Hog Heat’s 12 pitchers were all streaming scrubs on two start weeks. WTF. Hunter Pence is out for two months. No one will trade with me, except Ryan, who wants Bautista and no one else and won’t give up anyone good. I’ve dropped half of my pitchers and benched the other half. I’m not going to put up with Drew Smyly anymore or waste a roster spot on hoping Blake Snell gets called up. I don’t know what to do anymore.

Week 10
Opponent: Heineken Served
Outcome: 7.5 – 2.5 W

Team Moneyball Heineken Served
BA 0.295 0.235
HR 7 6
RBI 28 25
R 25 25
SB 7 3
K 60 62
W 4 3
S 2 3
ERA 2.63 4.53
WHIP 1.02 1.24

Just when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, someone throws you a bone. Some significant lineup changes paid dividends this week, with Rajai Davis, Yangervis Solarte, Bogaerts, Gonzalez and Parra all homering and with everyone producing on stolen bases, a high point this season for sure. Jerry didn’t have his hottest week, as I would’ve lost to him any number of other weeks when his bats lit up, but my pitching especially started to work its kinks out, with new pickups Michael Fulmer (8 Ks, 0 ER and 2 Ws) and Matt Shoemaker (17 Ks, 4 ER) finally earning their roster spots among my weekly pickups. Even Sonny Gray delivered, and Taijuan Walker had a stellar start on the bench. Hopefully he stays back on track in his two start week next. At the same time, I’m dealing with some injuries, firstly a few missed games for Bautista and worst yet Jake McGee being sent to the DL suddenly. Not sure what I’m going to do about saves until he gets back. Maybe a trade. Velasquez also got hurt on the bench after throwing just two pitches. Not a good sign. He’s someone else’s problem now.

Week 11
Opponent: Joe Buck Yourself
Outcome: 3.5 – 6.5 L

Team Moneyball Joe Buck Yourself
BA 0.276 0.354
HR 5 12
RBI 25 34
R 28 42
SB 6 6
K 53 62
W 4 2
S 1 3
ERA 3.01 3.35
WHIP 1.22 1.27

Some really bad injury luck this week in what contributed to yet another week where I underperformed from the field. Taijuan Walker left early in his first start but made it back for his second, Gerardo Parra sitting on the bench had a horrible collision and got sent to the DL, as did Jose Bautista after slumping all week and running into a wall. I really wish I could’ve traded him when I had the chance, but not for what Ryan was offering. Even Conforto was injured for a few days and I’m a week away from dropping him if he doesn’t pick it up. Jurickson Profar sat for a while and Solarte didn’t do much. Pitching was real solid this week, with the exception of one bad start from Sonny Gray (5 ER over 6 INN against Texas), but I feel better about that part of my roster. It was solid enough that had Santiago Casilla not gone to the Paternity List late in the week, I could’ve maybe had a chance to win. I also had bad luck on the waiver wire and couldn’t get Jameson Taillon, Michael Saunders or Steve Pearce. I really regret dropping Pearce a few weeks back. Next week’s matchup should be much easier.

Week 12
Opponent: Marrocco Militia
Outcome: 5 – 5 W

Team Moneyball Marrocco Militia
BA 0.259 0.282
HR 5 11
RBI 22 41
R 17 29
SB 3 3
K 68 49
W 2 2
S 4 3
ERA 4.12 7.05
WHIP 1.40 1.56

Man, I was sweating bullets by the end of this week. Even Kershaw stunk and I won by just one strikeout in the tiebreaker. How do 4 pitchers all lose in one day? What kind of luck is that? I had a really strong first half to the week, but a really weak weekend, but managed to pull it off in the end. My batting average started to collapse, no one had any more power or run production, and for some weird reason Rajai Davis, my source of steals, barely had any at bats this week. I survived in part because his pitcher Edinson Volquez had one of the worst starts in baseball history, 11 ER in just 1 inning. I’m starting to sweat some of these upside pitchers, that they may be falling off a cliff soon, so I’m keeping a close eye on Fulmer, Shoemaker, Gray, CC Sabathia and James Paxton, so basically my entire staff. I added Carlos Santana to help with HRs and Logan Forsythe to get some more at bats at 2nd Base. Hopefully I can make some trades and stay afloat but I’m not sure who to deal.

Week 13
Opponent: Old Style & Foul Bowels
Outcome: 1.5 – 8.5 L

Team Moneyball Old Style & Foul Bowels
BA 0.291 0.266
HR 7 7
RBI 18 32
R 33 41
SB 3 4
K 39 63
W 2 3
S 3 4
ERA 5.89 4.62
WHIP 1.60 1.49

I dropped six guys from my team this week. That’s how desperate and unlucky I’ve been. Of all the things that could’ve possibly happened to my team, the worst is that Clayton Kershaw is now on the DL. I’m in panic mode. This week was actually pretty close score-wise, but my bats still aren’t showing up compared to the rest of the league, and every time it looked like a pitcher was doing well, like Gray, Paxton or Doug Fister, they’d just miss being able to avoid huge damage and ended up blowing up my ERA and WHIP for the week, not to mention costing me much needed wins. If I had an extra start from Kershaw and Sabathia this week, who’s second start against the Padres was pushed back, I could’ve competed in Ks and probably ERA as well. I like all my waiver adds this week, so my team looks radically different, and I’m trying to make a big trade, since now I have so many position players.

Week 14
Opponent: The Gondola
Outcome: 2 – 8 L

Team Moneyball The Gondola
BA 0.26 0.311
HR 10 13
RBI 32 45
R 40 37
SB 8 2
K 31 48
W 2 3
S 2 3
ERA 4.5 4.44
WHIP 1.41 1.24

How do you hit a season high 10 HRs and still manage to lose? Just ask my team. I was up 8.5 – 1.5 coming into Friday, and then Gondola hit 5 HRs in an afternoon and took the lead away from me. As usual, my pitching stinks. Walker ended up on the DL, and Tom Koehler was a horrible pickup who did so little for me. He does not deserve to be owned. And Jake McGee, I should’ve never kept in my DL slot. He lost his closer job and managed to give up 2 runs in an inning. I suffered in Ks and Wins as a result, and might’ve come closer in WHIP if it weren’t for those two. I got 8 stolen bases, and my offense, with the exception of my BA late in the week, was pretty solid. Still no one will trade with me, even though I would think Devon Travis, Nick Castellanos and now even Adrian Gonzalez have some value. It’ll be a miracle to still make the playoffs at this point.

Week 15 (All-Star Break/3-Day Week)
Opponent: Old Style & Foul Bowels
Outcome: 4 – 6 L

Team Moneyball Old Style & Foul Bowels
BA 0.221 0.275
HR 3 1
RBI 9 14
R 12 12
SB 0 0
K 35 28
W 3 3
S 2 2
ERA 3.68 0.31
WHIP 1.13 0.96

Honestly anything could’ve happened in such a shortened week. I tried to mitigate the damage, but it just didn’t work out. All four of his pitchers threw scoreless frames. Not much I can do about that. My pitching wasn’t so bad either, and in fact Shoemaker was dazzling, throwing a complete game shutout with 13 Ks against the White Sox. Batting average suffered this week, and no stolen bases, but the rest looked okay, and at the end of the day the record breakdown looks pretty good. I just got really unlucky yet again.

Week 16
Opponent: Joe Buck Yourself
Outcome: 3.5 – 6.5 L

Team Moneyball Joe Buck Yourself
BA 0.299 0.25
HR 10 12
RBI 29 29
R 32 38
SB 3 15
K 38 49
W 4 3
S 4 2
ERA 5.13 2.38
WHIP 1.37 1.04

Why does this season have to constantly tease me? I kind of knew I wasn’t going to beat the nearly undefeated Joe Buck Yourself, but I was winning up until Saturday, and it had to pull the rug out from under me again? Matt Kemp hit 5 HRs this week, but then so did Trevor Story. JBY even swiped 15 bags, probably the most by any team in a single week this season. The week I think that Kershaw or Hunter Pence are coming back, they get setbacks and now who knows if Kershaw will even play this season. Tyler Glasnow comes up for a start only to immediately land on the DL. It’s ridiculous that I’ve held on to him in the minors slot for this long. Tyler Duffey was a dumb pickup, and I blame a lot of my loss on Sonny Gray, who gave up 7 runs. But I’m finally rid of him, because look at those trades! Bogaerts and Gray are traded for a 4th Round Pick and Joey Votto as a rental, Casilla is traded for Seung Hwan Oh and a 7th Round Pick, and I got Trevor Bauer for Adrian Gonzalez now that I have a surplus of eligible first basemen. I think I got some decent added value for next year and even for this year to maybe turn my luck around, but it’s still a huge uphill battle and may need to trade the rest of my studs.

Week 17
Opponent: Vandelay Industries
Outcome: 0.5 – 9.5 L

Team Moneyball Vandelay Industries
BA 0.228 0.281
HR 6 7
RBI 15 29
R 24 28
SB 0 2
K 23 70
W 2 5
S 3 3
ERA 3.61 3.35
WHIP 1.22 1.17

It’s over. After a five game losing streak, my season’s about done. Even if I managed to win out the last six weeks of the season, the odds of me making the playoffs are slim. I’ve sold Bautista for a 5th round pick and Anthony DeSclafani, but maybe I should try and sell the rest of my pieces while I can. As for this week, I never led, but the overall score doesn’t reflect how razor close I was in a number of categories, so much so that I felt I could’ve staged a comeback that never happened. Had I started Tyler Naquin or Melky Cabrera over Kendrys Morales, who did nothing, or Forsythe or even Dee Gordon in his return over Solarte, who landed on the bereavement list, it might’ve made enough of a difference. Had I hung on to Bogaerts, it honestly might’ve made enough of a difference too. Santana and Bautista were kind of disappointments this week as well, who each hit a HR, but were pitiful in BA. And of course pitching, I would’ve thought I could trust Zach Eflin or Shoemaker or Bauer or Fulmer, but each ran into a little trouble that cost me the week. Bring on Fantasy Football Season!

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