Seeing Matt Suer at the top of the standings should surprise no one but looks can be deceiving. There’s no question that Matty is more likely to end up a 1 seed than an 8 seed come playoff time but a look at the roto standings (far below) will show you that Matt is closer to a true 8 seed than a 1 seed at the moment. Matt’s bats are very much middle of the road with Votto, Betts, and Lind off to hot starts while Lucroy, Dickerson, and Soler either K too much or get KO’d by the injury bug. This very good pitching staff has been bolstered by Grienke’s early season dominance and the pitching on this team should get even better once Kershaw makes whatever minor adjustments needed to get him back into form. Matt’s luck will catch up to him a little as there’s no way he can sustain a winning percentage above .700 but there’s also reason to believe that the players that make up this team can get better once they improve physically and mechanically.
Three Up: Grienke, Votto, and Betts
Three Down: Lucroy, Soler, Jason Castro
I’m not used to talking about Lance’s team this early in the monthly recap just like I’m not used to seeing the Houston Astros so high when I look at the AL West standings. The start of the 2015 season has gone about as well as Lance could’ve wished for and now Lance doesn’t have to deflect the nonstop jokes coming at him when he wears his Astros hat in public. Mike Trout’s strikeouts last year was reason to chuckle but some offseason adjustments have made Trout an even more complete talent, which is like Katy Perry learning how to become a Michelin rated chef. Josh Donaldson is having no problem adjusting to life north of the border and Wil Myers might become the player we all hoped he could be a few years ago. The pitching on this team is very good and could get better once Lester settles in and Strasburg figures out what in the name of god is wrong with him. Recent memory will make all of us skeptical that both the Arvada and Houston Astros can keep this pace up but there should be nothing but optimism in the Perez household when they talk 2015 baseball at the dinner table.
Three Up: Trout, Donaldson, Myers
Three Down: Rougned Odor, Strasburg, Matt Adams
The Hot Corner
Bryan Archuleta might struggle when trying to compute a +800 boxing bet in a sports book after three Bud Light tall boys but his ability to string together baseball players and projected stats is something out of A Beautiful Mind. Arch sits at third in our standings but make no mistake, this is our best team in the league; at least our roto standings would tell us that. Arch is one bad roto mofo and when you scroll down to see the standings, you’ll see its Arch that should be pegged as a -800 favorite to take home the roto championship. Goldschmidt is doing his usual smashing of baseballs in the desert, Brantley is healthy and hitting again, and Machado will hopefully stay healthy all year to round out this robust lineup. I could name about five or six more guys that are excelling with the sticks for this team but I have to save some complementary adjectives for the rest of this recap. The pitching isn’t as strong as the hitting which is like saying Godfather II isn’t as strong as Godfather I. This argument is debatable and not even worth much time because they are both so damn good. The starting staff is loaded with strikeout artists and the bullpen is equally as overbearing, led by Jeurys Familia, who has been a diamond in the rough for Arch. We haven’t accumulated enough stats to crown Arch the Roto King yet but we all know who we’ll be chasing this year in the roto standings. Look for Arch to counterpunch like Mayweather and rack up more points in boring fashion to win our roto title with minimal controversy. Unfortunately, our payout won’t quite be as much as Money May earned for his fight.
Three Up: Goldschmidt, Brantley, Familia
Three Down: Reyes, Carlos Gomez, Bogaerts
The Dodgers are the new Yankees in that they will outspend anyone to get their man so it was a little surprising to see them dump some older talent and entrust Joc Pederson as their everyday centerfielder. Now we know why. I don’t know who Pederson idolized growing up by my suspicion would be that it was Adam Dunn because Young Joc either strikes out, walks, or hits a home run when in the batter’s box. My preaseason preview pegged this lineup to be boring and slow but this lineup is anything but bland. Anthony Rizzo has been a Dave Henderson/Rickey Henderson hybrid with 7 homers and a surprising 7 steals so far. Matt Carpenter has been a run producing machine and Hanley Ramirez is the Latin, chubby version of Tulo in that if he can stay healthy, he’s going to put up stupid numbers, which he has. The pitching has scuffled a bit as of late but if Downs can find a little more depth and this entire roster gets a little healthier, Tim Downs might be playing meaningful fantasy baseball all year long. Like Laser, this team isn’t usually this high in the standings and like Laser, Tim should just let it hang out and enjoy the moment right now.
Three Down: Utley, Bruce, Fiers
Stroke My Shaft
I’m guessing the options on Zach’s keeper list were about as good as the options when he opens the refrigerator door and Zach really should’ve checked the expiration date on Carlos Gonzalez before guzzling down all the bad stats he’s producing in 2015. We’ve all seen CarGo run hot and cold and if he turns it around, Zach will be a happy man but CarGo looks like a shell of himself and has given Suer negative value compared to an average fantasy outfielder. Luckily for Zach, one player won’t kill your season in fantasy baseball which is why Zach should be happy with where he’s at right now. The better Gonzalez on this team, Adrian, looks revitalized this season and if he can stay off the DL it will make up for CarGo’s empty production and then some. Zach went fishin’ in the free agent pool and hooked himself a keeper in Devon Travis and you might love to hate A-Rod but the fact is he’s obliterating baseballs deep into the night and is the 6th ranked third baseman so far. Not bad for Zach’s 25th round draft pick. Suer need not worry about the steady bats on his team but he should fret about his starting rotation that has more losses than wins so far and a 4.20 ERA, which might’ve just caused Z to reach for a pot edible on his coffee table. If Yordano Ventura can stop being Mr. Tough Nuts on the mound and the rest of these young, volatile pitchers can settle in, Zach might have himself a darn good fantasy baseball team.
Three Up: Adrian Gonzalez, Adam Jones, Devon Travis
Three Down: Carlos Gonzalez, Vordano Ventura, Justin Morneau
It’s hard to be more average than this team is right now. They have accumulated 42 roto hitting points, which is 6th in our league, 42 roto pitching points, which is 6th in our league, and currently sit in 6th place in our standings. As you might expect, the players on the Blacksox roster are hovering right around the mean when it comes to Player Rater value, which means this team is exactly where it should be. Dee Gordon has been everything Castillo could want so far as he’s batting .425 which means he’s getting plenty of opportunities to steal bases, too. Russell Martin is our top rated catcher so far and Eric Hosmer is looking more and more like the legit power lefty the Royals have been waiting for. If McCutchen can exorcise whatever demons are in his bat, Castillo’s lineup will be much more fearsome. The pitching on this team is also good but not great with guys like Lynn, Price, and Shields being a mixed bag that will hopefully get better as the season progresses. The balance on this team is something Castillo should like but there’s definitely room to improve if he wants to go from a C student to the honor roll.
Three Up: Dee Gordon, Russell Martin, Eric Hosmer
Three Down; CC Sabathia, Melky Cabrera, Michael Morse
The Balloon Knots
It seems like Bryce Harper has been in the league longer than LaTroy Hawkins but it’s easy to forget that he’s still one of the league’s youngest players out there. Harper finally seems to be fully healthy which means his thunderstick is sodomizing baseballs at a rapid pace in D.C. Mark Texeira owners have been scared shitless to trust him based on the past three years of injuries and rapid decline but it's Teixeira that is scaring pitchers now thanks to him finding his power stroke that's been missing for quite a while.
Three Up: Harper, Felix Hernandez, Keuchel
Three Down: Allen, Alex Wood, Mesoraco
Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw are two of the most unhittable lefties in the majors but for some reason these guys are southpawing their way to the Bust of the Year award. They’ve both been too good for too long for their owners to be overly concerned but I don’t think Kevin wants to hear us tell him to chill out when he looks at Chris Sale’s stats in 2015. Robinson Cano is another high draft pick with low returns but he too should be afforded some time to recover and it won’t be a day too soon whenever he does in Kevin’s eyes. At least Todd Frazier, Shelby Miller, and Kendrys Morales are pulling their weight, which is helping ease the tension. There are a few things to like but overall this team is sputtering to start the season and when Kevin and Jeff hang out for some bro time, 95% of the conversation might be filled with bitching about their underperforming fantasy players so far, which I'm sure their wives will love to hear more about all night long.
Three Up: Frazier, Shelby Miller, Kendrys Morales
Three Down: Adam LaRoche, Fernando Rodney, Cano
New Dalai Big Hitters
I didn’t give Colin and Jon a warm welcome to this league when I predicted they would finish dead last and that wasn’t due to a terrible draft really but more the fact that it would take them a few months to figure out the best players to grab and how to deploy a pitching staff. This was evident early as they rostered five relief pitchers, which is at least one too many and as they will see in the roto standings, their starting pitching needs to be improved upon somehow, someway. The student looked like the teacher when these guys got the better of the commish in a trade early in the year as Marcus Semien and Justin Upton have been fantastic for these guys since their acquisition. Guys like Jose Abreu, Kris Bryant, Werth, and Ozuna have yet to really get going, which is holding this team back a bit but these owners are willing to wait it out. The bullpen on this team should be exceptional but they’ve all been a little banged up so far, which will probably change for the better as we get into the season. This isn’t necessarily a bad team but there are still lessons to be learned for these owners and the first order of business should be dropping the 150th ranked starting pitcher. I don’t want to do your work for you but I’ll give you a hint on who that is. He used to play for the Rockies, he throws left handed, and his name is Drew Pomeranz. Can you guess who I’m talking about? These guys are far from buried and when they find their sea legs they might become a team we take seriously around the all-star break.
Three Up: Altuve, Justin Upton, Vogt
Three Down: Werth, Pomeranz, Mauer
Fred McGriffey Jr.
As I look over my fantasy roster, I can’t help but feel a little like Clark Griswold on Christmas. I had a great plan, stuck to this plan, and everything possible has blown up in my face. I haven’t reached my breaking point yet but a couple more K’s from Chris Carter or Ian Desmond might send me over to the eggnog bowl to grab a moose shaped glass in attempt to suppress the building rage. The plan was to target heavy hitters early and my draft and trades have definitely done that but the result has been the second worst hitting team in our league with the second lowest amount of homers and the worst OPS. It would be nice if my keeper would play one game this year and I would also love it if any of my power hitters could walk back to the dugout after hitting a home run rather than yet another strikeout. But baseball and fantasy sports can work in mysterious ways as the pitching staff that I ignored for most of the draft is now our top rated pitching staff in the league. My 11th and 18th round picks gave me about 80 pitches before both going under the knife but at least Gerritt Cole is ready to be an ace, Pineda is a monster, and Bartolo Colon is defying his age yet again and was a nice trade chip to use at the end of last week. Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances are David Robinson and Tim Duncan out of the bullpen as these twin towers are making batters look foolish and this combo is extremely fun to watch rack up 1 hold + 1 save at the end of the game. The hitters won’t suck this bad and the pitchers won’t be this great as the season goes along so there’s no telling if the commish will be able to dig himself out of this early season hole or if he’ll be digging his own grave with the draft strategy he put in place.
Three Up: Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, Michael Pineda
Three Down: Chris Carter, Erick Aybar, Ian Desmod
Rich and Michael, if you’re reading this, which you’re probably not, let me quickly outline a simple fantasy baseball to-do list for you to execute every day or every other day if you must.
1. Check roster to make sure no players on DL are currently in starting lineup
2. Check to make sure all probable pitchers on team are in the starting lineup
3. Check for quick news updates on players to see if any adjustments are needed
4. Check to see if any late round pick or free agent find is batting below .200 or has an ERA above 4.50. If so, drop them for another player. Similarly, if a player on the bench is playing great, insert him into the starting lineup.
5. Make a joke about Zach
That’s literally all you have to do to be a competent fantasy baseball owner. These five easy steps can be done in mere minutes and done in the comfort of your toilet, couch, or bed at home. I know this has been a pattern for about three years and habits are tough to break but if you follow these five rules to fantasy success, you might actually enjoy playing fantasy baseball.
Three Up: Nelson Cruz, Brett Gardner, Kolten Wong
Three Down: Brandon Belt, Tajuan Walker, Buchholz
Fightin’ Buck Showalters
Rich and Pep should feel shame for being owners that Dick Monfort would call lazy but it is Meyer who should feel real shame because his team is actually worse than Rich and Pep and Granger is actually trying. How does this happen? A main reason is because Granger has a bunch of batters that are hitting like pitchers so far. The Freeman-for-Souza trade has gone about as bad as Meyer could’ve feared and for whatever reason every player that Jeff drops immediately gets hot and every player he picks up turns into a dung beetle. I don’t know where this team would be if Miguel Cabrera wasn’t playing well but it would be even further back in the games behind because guys like Freeman, Kinsler, Cespedes, Holliday, and Trumbo are not hitting any homers for Jeff, either because he traded or dropped them or because they stink so far. The pitching has been better than the hitting but even the pitching has been tough to watch and they too are making 2015 feel like one unexpected fist to Meyer’s gut.
That wraps up our first regular season recap and I’ll end it as I usually do with an update to the roto standings. Remember, we’re playing for money so you will get your entry fee back if you accumulate the best total stats by the end of the regular season.
Now that we’re all officially old men and don’t play any actual sports any more, this will unfortunately be our only league in which we compete this summer. You would think that a wife with a newborn would welcome the extra time around the house with her husband but instead I was pitied by my wife for failing to participate in basketball, bowling, or softball this year as she actually said she felt sad about me not playing with my friends this summer like I'm some 11 year old being sent off to fat camp. It’s a trend I hope does not continue into 2016 and hopefully we can make up for this with some extra tenniball games and beer drinking excuses. We’re even older and lamer now than we joke about.