1. Everyone is injured. I once again have to applaud my fellow owners for approving the additional DL spot on our rosters last year but even us savvy fantasy owners couldn't foresee the magnitude at which the new 10-day DL would effect our rosters in 2017. The 10-day DL is making it easy for GM’s to park their players on the disabled list with nagging injuries and there’s no doubt every MLB team is doing exactly that. I tried to see if we could increase our DL spots this year but ESPN has locked up their roster settings just like the hamstring on your starting second baseman right now. I'll see what we can do as the season goes along but it's safe to say increasing our DL spots to four or five next year is a no-brainer. I don’t know what we can do to help reverse this DL plague in fantasy baseball besides say an Our Father every time you submit your daily lineup and hope the next notification on your phone is not another goddamn DL designation for your team.
2. Pitching stinks. This ties into the DL trend as we’ve seen a lot of frontline starting and relief pitchers get injured all year, depressing our overall active talent pool quite a bit. A couple years ago you could go out and stream a starter almost every day and get a quality start but now we're starting to see a reverse trend where some owners are looking for more relief pitchers in order to keep the ERA, WHIP, and Losses in check as much as possible. In the words of Prince, "tonight we're going to see pitching like it's 1999."
3. We are surrounded by dongs. Your overbooked DL and inflated ERA could be ruining your season but you can at least get cheered up by the constant barrage of ding-dongs being produced in the majors this year. I’m not a conspiracy theorist but there is something a little fishy about the sudden uptick in homers hit since the 2015 all-star break but whether or not the bats or balls are juiced right now, this is a much different game than we saw a couple years ago. It seems like most at-bats end with a strikeout or a home run nowadays as baseballs are getting lifted in the air much more frequently and they are landing beyond the fence much more than they did two years ago. This increase in length and girth of dongs is putting a mushroom stamp on our season so far.
Whether you enjoy, hate, or misunderstand how our minor league roster spot is being deployed, you can’t argue that the first example of this new rule has been a sparkling success. Matty is such a hawk on the FA pool that he might’ve scooped him up anyways but the fact that he pinpointed Cody Bellinger and was able to capture the incredible hot streak he’s been on has to be a pretty satisfying feeling and a feeling we should all hope to experience this year. Matty is an early riser and we can all set our clocks to him getting out of bed before the sun rises and putting in work each and every day, week, month, and year in our league thanks to hidden gems like Bellinger.
Downs has himself a very good team but it could be even better if he just got in a few more starts every week from his pitchers. Downs is leaving wins on the table with his lack of K’s and QS’s, which seems fixable but when I went to check his roster, I found out why he’s lacking in these categories and it's because all of his pitchers are currently dead.
The 25th round of the draft is usually when you start making loud, beer-fueled proclamations about your team but Jeff instead went out and used this round to draft a top 10 outfielder. Corey Dickerson is hitting like he used to at Coors Field and has been the most reliable source of brawn and power out of Tampa Bay since Mike Alstott.
Fightin’ Buck Showalters
When the auto draft CPU algorithm landed on closers early and often for Meyer, I thought it would give JGM2 the clear edge in SVHD with a little help to his ERA and WHIP. Instead, this has been a rough lesson in drafting closers early as Melancon, Edwin Diaz, and Jeurys Familia were all off of Meyer’s roster by May 9th. Granger has little patience with combustible closers, which has turned his bullpen into a raging source of frustration all year.
More often than ever, we climb into our cars after a recreational game of softball, basketball or golf, and hate the face that we see in our tiny mirror. Our bodies simply cannot perform like they did five or ten years ago, which means for more embarrassing performances for us weekend warriors. This can be a somewhat depressing realization to have for a late 30’s softball player so I can’t fathom what is going on in Andrew McCutchen’s brain after yet another 0-4 game with 2 K's. Just three years ago McCutchen was the NL MVP, labeled THE GUY to help steer black kids towards baseball, and was fun as hell to watch on the diamond. Now he's a shell of the 2013 version and it’s not really an injury thing or a fixable swing flaw, his skills have simply vanished it appears. It really sucks for fans of baseball, the Pirates, and Zach Suer who probably will have to expect next to nothing from this former superstar the rest of the way. I remember the scene from Goodfellas when they inform Jimmy Conway of Tommy DeVito's fate by saying, “he’s gone and we couldn’t do nothing about it.” and now our dear friend McCutchen is gone and it makes fantasy owners want to kick over a payphone like DeNiro.
Fred McGriffey Jr.
The one beacon of light I could shine after my subpar draft was the fact that my five outfielders could do a little bit of everything. It’s been seven weeks since the draft and here’s the current status of my five star, five man outfield:
-Starling Marte: A convicted druggie. Dropped two weeks ago.
-Yoenis Cespedes: Been on DL twice already. Another admitted patient at the NY Mets Clusterfuck Clinic.
-Gregory Polanco: Another huge disappointment from the Pirates outfield. Currently on DL.
-Stephen Piscotty: Two HR’s all year. Just returned from DL.
-Marcell Ozuna: Started off blistering hot. Traded away to Runge soon after. Trade has been an unmitigated disaster with Ozuna, Estrada, and Cozart all playing great for Runge while Kyle Seager and Tanaka’s early season struggles have gone from frustrating to an all caps MAJOR PROBLEM.
Laser has a great family, great job, and gets to play golf whenever and wherever, it appears; but the one thing I'm most envious of Laser Perez is his fantasy pitching staff. Lance McCullers might not give the Perez Boyz a lot of innings but he does everything else and is on the verge of becoming a fantasy superstar. Pitching is at a premium, as we went over earlier, so if the Perez's could somehow pickup or trade for some bats, this team has the most potential to make a move up the standings.
Mark Trumbo is heating up, evidenced by him somehow pulling a pitch that almost went over the backstop into the Camden bleachers. How in the hell, man?
This is our best hitting team but might not be for long now that Freddie Freeman will be on the shelf longer than that gluten free cookie your kid brought home from daycare. Arch has a long way to go but it appears the pitching is finally starting to turn around a bit, and not an inning too soon. It's still too early to dismiss the 2016 People's Champion but if the poor pitching and injury luck don't change course very soon, his team logo will go from this...
Brett Gardner is an incredibly easy player to ignore in fantasy and real life baseball. He’s never been exceptionally good in his career but has flashed enough leather and done just enough for the Yankees and fantasy owners to toss him into left field and not expect much. Gardner’s utter lack of power and a slow start this season gave Runge zero reason to hold onto him but it’s a great thing he did because Gardner has been a left handed Mike Trout in May. Gardner has nine dongs this month, more than he had over his last 200 games, to go along with an 1.092 OPS. Brett might’ve gone to Brady Anderson’s pharmacist at the end of April but whatever has turned him into The Hulk has helped supplement Runge’s hitting stats. Unfortunately, Runge has seen an unexpected turn for the worse with his pitching staff, leaving this team searching for answers towards the bottom of the standings.
This feels like a team that should be better than their record and overall stats indicate. Pep might have made a couple of questionable decisions on draft night (as most of us did) but he’s done a pretty great job of filling those holes with Chris Owings, Kevin Pillar, Aaron Hicks, and Mike Leake all becoming top 10 ranked players at their positions. His quest for steady starting pitching is something most everyone in this league is looking for but it's especially important for Pep to find some pitching gems or his ceiling is probably 8th place.
This is pretty much the reaction Castillo has when he sees the stat line from John Lackey or anyone else on this fantasy team before he goes to bed.