Tenniballs to the Wall
I warned everyone that the defending champs were due for a big hurt very soon and while this team suffered plenty of injuries and a below .500 record in May, somehow they are still in first place. A lot of Jerome's early draft picks have been on the shelf lately and a major blockbuster trade has been a disaster for the commish but a combination of hustle and luck has kept them on top. Jerome's trade of Ryan Braun to Kevin in exchange for Prince Fielder seemed like a fair one but the normally unbreakable Prince Fielder was obviously not his normal self this season and a major neck problem seems to be the major reason for this 2014 fantasy pain in the neck. Prince will not return this season and I would be amazed if Tenniballs to the Wall returns to the top spot the remainder of the season. Prince, Bruce, Belt, Cuddyer, Myers, Sale, Lee, and Cobb are all important players and all were on the DL at some point in May for this team and a big reason why the team stats suffered. There have been a few nice surprises in Pollack, Melky, Alexi, and Chisenhall but they can't possibly make up for the lost star power this team missed in May. A hugely underperforming pitching staff and injuries has caused the commish to seek help via the trade block but right now all he has is a couple of sell high guys to offer and a boat load of buy low options. Every possible stat and eyeball test says this team is bound to fall and we'll have to see if the commish has enough hustle and luck to fight his decline for another month.
Healthy and Happy: Alexi Ramirez
Hurting and Horrible: Jay Bruce
Stroke My Shaft
Zach is another owner that has dealt with far too many injuries this month but where Jerome has sputtered, Zach has stepped on the accelerator. This team had a .711 winning percentage in May thanks to a pitching staff that threw pitches that were stankier than the cashier at the local 7-11. Corey Kluber has been a tremendous find for Zach as he's now a legitimate SP2 on this staff. Kluber set an Indians record for most strikeouts in a month and this record helped Kluber become this league's top pitcher in May. The rest of Zach staff hasn't been setting team records lately but they've also been able to stay away the occasional meltdown much better than any other team. The entire bullpen has been pretty solid for Zach and if he can get Price and Shields to pitch more like their usual selves it's only going to help Zach's chances of taking 4-5 pitching categories every week. The hitting has been equally as reliable with pretty much everyone chipping in and a few guys clubbing everything in sight. Josh Donaldson is certainly no fluke as he's squaring everything up lately and could be on his way to a 35 HR season. Say what you will about Yasiel Puig's very questionable baserunning, outfield skills, and bat flipping (especially when it stays in the yard) but he's a guy that's starting to figure out how to play the game a little smarter and he's someone you can't take your eye off of whenever he's out there. Puig's been awesome this month and if he continues to grow and cut down on the mistakes, it could be a matter of time before Zach is boastfully flipping his phone after he looks at the weekly score on Sunday afternoon.
Happy and Healthy: Corey Kluber
Hurting and Horrible: Austin Jackson
Fightin' Buck Showalters
Meyer's team looks to be a steady one so far as he's in the same spot now as he was four weeks ago. If you read the Owner History section of this website, you'll know that Meyer's bugaboo has always been pitching but it looks like the 2014 version of the Showalters are going to the bullpen phone much less than year's prior. Mark Buehrle puts about as much pregame effort into his pitching as we do to our Thursday night softball league but whatever Buehrle is doing this season is paying off as he's 10-1 with a 2.10 ERA so far. Zack Grienke was my preseason bust of the year prediction, for no reason really, and that pick looks about as stupid as it could possibly be as Grienke is quite possibly the most reliable quality start pitcher in our league so far. Meyer made a pretty smart trade in swapping Desmond Jennings for Sonny Gray and if he can stabilize the bullpen, I'd venture to say that Meyer's built a pretty formidable collection of pitchers. Shocker History 101 has taught us that the colony of Granger has been the most ruthless, blood thirsty army of batters ever and even though they aren't raping and pillaging the batting categories like years past, they are still to be feared when they are charging towards their enemy from the hilltop, bats in hand. Miguel Cabrera caused a minor scare when he was slow to start the season after a humongous contract extension and Miggy shut everyone up quickly by going back to his normal self of sending frozen ropes all over the yard as the best hitter in the game. Meyer has never really had the feeling of roster balance for his team but if this team plays like they have so far, Granger will be able to get wins from the batter's box and pitching mound all year long.
Healthy and Happy: Miguel Cabrera
Hurting and Horrible: Matt Wieters/Carlos Beltran
Head First Dumb Fucks
This team had the look of a champion at the end of April but the problem of predicting winners in April is that it's still April. Jeff might want to ask for a courtesy runner for his team because they have a really uncanny way of getting hurt on the bases. Arenado, Harper, and Hamilton all need to start sliding spikes first into bases because they have been the shining example as to why Jeff has changed his team name already this year. This is another team that has been on the trainers table far too much and it's starting to wear down J. Petty's winning percentage in the process. Some of the big names on this team are healthy but some are starting to cool off from their hot April like Tulo, Posey, Rizzo, and Lowrie. The pitching staff might be mostly healthy but the numbers are anything but this month with guys like Scherzer, Masterson, and Liriano all looking like shells of themselves this month. In fact, if Jeff wants to place the blame for a lame month, it has to be on his underperforming pitching staff. This recap might make it sound like Jeff should be dripping with flop sweat right now but the truth is he still has the best hitting team in our league and the pitching hopefully will turn around a little in June. This team didn't play .500 ball in May but they're still in fourth place with a pretty solid roster. All they need is for some of these dumb fucks to correct their sliding technique or we might see some more of these guys slide head first right into the back of an ambulance this summer.
Healthy and Happy: Michael Wacha
Hurting and Horrible: Nick Castellanos
The preseason championship prediction can be thought of as a curse of sorts for whomever receives it but this team had the look and feel of a contender in March and they are building up that championship pedigree one week at a time. Castillo had the second most wins in May and that's mostly because they've been healthy and consistent as any team this year. You don't usually think of hitting excellence when you hear the name Victor Martinez but he's always been a major weapon at the plate and seems to get better with age. Martinez has 13 home runs so far and only 13 strikeouts, which is absolutely astonishing in this day and age of swing and missers. Castillo might not see his guys doing their thing on SportsCenter much as they are about average in the power categories but Castillo does the little things right as he's a top three team in batting K's, stolen bases, and batting average. If Mark Teixeira can ever quiet his barking wrist and Evan Longoria can break out of his power slump for the slumping Rays, Castillo could move up in the power categories as well. Castillo has the best 1-2 pitching punch in our league with King Felix and Masahiro Tanaka knocking out batters like LL Cool J's momma told them to. Castillo's got a nice, steady batch of closers and a pretty stable overall team so if the right amount of fucks are given from Yo, he's got enough fuckers to make a fucking run at the fucking title. Castillo seems to have given a sufficient amount of fucks in May but does lose .5 fucks on the Give-a-Fuck O'Meter by having Chris Colabello on his roster for a week while Colabello was in the minors. The fuck patrol will not rest until all fucks are given on the Shocker streets.
Healthy and Happy: Victor Martinez
Hurting and Horrible: Evan Longoria
Piss On The Ball
Kevin's team hasn't been able to put bat to ball often enough this young season and it looks like Kevin has had many closed door conversations with himself in his office as he's scooped up about 25% of the entire Shocker batting population on his roster right now. No matter who is started and who is benched for the day, none of them are making much of a difference. I did hammer Jason Heyward on a blog post on this site not too long ago and it seems like that may have lit a fire under his ass as he's finally hitting for average to put him back to respectability. We'll see if he can continue that in June. Ryan Braun has been fighting some daily aches and pains so far but when he's in the lineup, he's hitting the ball just like the Braun of old. Lucroy, Adrian Gonzalez, and Gordon are starting to hit some slumps, which isn't helping this team gain traction with the bats, though. The pitching rotation is short and sweet on this team and Kevin can be equally happy and concerned about his staff at the moment. Kevin has had his ups and downs with his streamers and really has only three guys on his normal rotation, which is pretty funny to see. Kazmir has been great so far while Burnett and Wheeler have been hit or miss throughout the year so once again, Kevin's probably needs to spend as much time on his iPad scouting players as he does watching Barbie cartoons with his daughter at night. This roster seems to be as lifeless and hollow as a barbie doll but if Kevin applies the right amount of makeup and accessories, he might have a team that will be whistled at when they walk by on your schedule later this year.
Healthy and Happy: Dee Gordon
Hurting and Horrible: A.J. Burnett
Harry Doyle dozed off aka passed out during some slow Indians games while in the booth and he might be reaching for the Jack Daniels to help bring some excitement when he's announcing Matt's fantasy games. This team should be a little more exciting from the mound this month as Matty finally got some of his pitching stars back on the bump but not without some damage to Matt's ERA in the process. Kershaw should be just fine the rest of the year, same with Iwakuma but they've both had some inconsistent outings since coming off the DL. Darvish looks like he'll just toy with an owner's emotions all year long as he's constantly fighting strains and pulls all year but if he's a Probable Pitcher for the day, you have to start him no matter what. Matty did have a serious sleeper candidate in Yordano Ventura but an elbow scare in late May will have Matty crossing all his fingers that baseball doesn't lose yet another young, hard throwing pitcher this season. The bats have been pretty damn boring for this team in May as Pujols ins't making nearly as much contact as he did a month ago and is back to being "Overpaid Albert". Young guys like Bogaerts, Simmons, Marte, and Hamilton are filled with potential but have yet to make a big impact with the sticks so far. Overall this looks like a pretty steady team but unless Matt likes to remain steadily in the bottom half of the standings, he might need to buy a cutout of Rachel Phelps and tell the team he'll start peeling off clothes when this team starts winning more statistical categories. Matt has been swinging some trades to his credit, so it doesn't look like he'll be content until he finds the right players.
Healthy and Happy: Yu Darvish
Hurting and Horrible: Andrelton Simmons
Tim is another owner that will want to bitch and moan about the injuries he dealt with this month and to his credit, he's done a decent job of holding strong in the 8th spot as his batter get healthy and his pitchers search for control. Chris Davis is starting to look more like the Texas Ranger version, which is a scary thought for Tim. Davis might be battling some injuries as we speak but he's striking out at a breakneck speed once again and Downs has to be concerned that he's gone back to some of the crappy fundamentals that got him run out of Texas. Hanley Ramirez usually has to be monitored for injuries but he's another player that can look awful for a week and then suddenly carry a team for two weeks. Prado was another Get The Fuck Off My Team candidate earlier but he's turned it around a little and is starting to hit for a little more power to put Downs at ease. Heads Up and Tim Downs aptly describes this pitching staff. I give a good 2-3 minute scan of each team before I start typing and I have no idea what to write about this staff no matter how long I stare at them. Samardzija has been incredible this season but trade rumors and an awful outing to end May could send him back into inconsistentland where he usually pitches from. Everyone, myself included, was impressed with Garrett Richard's stuff last month but he's fallen straight off a cliff lately and has gone from potential deep sleeper to ERA destroyer. And just what in the hell is going on with Justin Verlander? Maybe we're just so accustomed to watching him blow guys away year after year but it looks like the many years of blowing gas deep into games might be catching up to Justin right now. He's walking more guys than usual and is much easier to get a hit off of than normal. I don't know if Downs can every really trust Garza, Lackey, and Harang so while Tim might be stressed out working nights, he could be equally as stressed on his couch watching his unpredictable pitchers. If this team could settle down a little in June, I could see this team make a move up the standings a bit the next time we read about this team.
Healthy and Happy: Koji Uehara
Hurting and Horrible: Ben Zobrist
The numbers say this team should be better but their ceiling is going to be limited if the batters don't start batting and the pitchers don't turn their sparkling ERA and WHIP into better Quality Start and K numbers. It appears that Arch has punted the save category, with Houston Street as the only pitcher who will be in there after beer sales have been cutoff, which is fine because you can fill out your roster however you like, just as long as it's full. But what Arch shouldn't be so OK with is that his SP/RP guys aren't really helping him gobble up more K's and QS's. Don't get me wrong, the pitching on this team is not a major problem but there just seems to be one small glitch in Arch's pitching formula that is preventing him from getting optimal results. You can't blame Wainwright who before his last start was possibly the best pitcher of May and is still the owner of a minuscule 0.91 WHIP. Nobody...AND THE ROCK MEANS NOBODY...has been a better hitter than Nelson Cruz who had 20 homers and 53 RBI's by the end of May, which is bonkers. Arch probably needed a $10 beer to calm his fears when Cruz was plunked in the hand with a ball yesterday but there's no doubt Nelson has been laughing at all the PED haters along with every pitcher that has tried to sneak a fastball by him in 2014.
At this point, I think it's a blessing if I tell a player to get the fuck off a team because that's what I told Pablo Sandoval and ever since, he's gone back to smacking rawhide all over the field. Same goes for Khris Davis, who was terrible in April but Arch was either too stubborn or too smart to drop, and it's paid off nicely. The return of Kipnis should help this team and if they straighten out some hitting flaws and rack up a little more counting stats in the pitching area, it won't be too long before Arch n' Rickey make a move up the standings.
Healthy and Happy: Nelson Cruz
Hurting and Horrible: Jordan Zimmerman
I don't want to be a roster nazi that shines a spotlight on friends that don't fill out their roster all the time. First of all, I don't look at everyone's roster all the time, which is good for my sanity, but also I can let it go on occasion when someone forgets to plug a hole in their roster. The problem is when it becomes a habit and if I see a DL15 next to a guy in the starting lineup while a DL spot has been open for a week, I probably need to chime in. I do this because I've had some owners bitch at me about dead teams in year's past and it's something that is easily fixable. So after a couple of beers one night, I half jokingly told Richard to take a look at his neglected roster, which he did with no complaints. What's amazing is that while RIchard's team has a lot of room to improve, they still had a better month than me or eight other teams did in May. Goes to show that dead teams can stay alive, too. Rich can attribute most of this to Edwin Encarnacion who pretty much hit a home run every time he was at bat in May. Edwin's hit 17 dongs in the last 30 days and has carried Rich's team that has some nice complimentary bats as well. A tip to all fantasy owners would be to pickup any Blue Jay out there because if they were a slow pitch team they would reach the 5 homer limit every night. The problem, yet again for Rich is his pitching, which is laugh out loud bad. This team is the worst in every pitching category except losses, which lets face it, would probably be worse if he actually played some starters more often. A step towards improvement would be dropping Danny Salazar, who has been in the minors for a couple of weeks. Regulars like Miller, Ervin Santana, and Cingrani have been pretty terrible all month and as much as Rich likes the Cubs, I don't think he can justify having two relief pitchers from that team all month. The problem for Rich has never been the bats and they're as strong as usual but Rich needs to start giving a few more fucks towards his pitchers if he gives half a fuck about making the playoffs.
Healthy and Happy: Edwin Encarnacion
Hurting and Horrible: Tony Cingrani
Jose Can You See
Lance, like Rich has sometimes struggled with filling out a roster and has been one of the most lopsided teams we've ever seen. Where Richard is all hit and no pitch, Lance flipped the script with his outstanding pitching and woeful hitting. We'll start with the good. Johnny Cueto has always been a very good pitcher who has either had funky mechanics or injury get in his way of truly breaking out. So far, he's been healthy and on point and has been the best starting fantasy pitcher of the season so far. Madison Bumgarner is starting to find his strikeout stuff, Jered Weaver has been solid, and Josh Beckett threw the season's first no-no while on Lance's roster. This all adds up to a formidable staff that is keeping Lance out of the basement. Now for the bad. The hitting is once again, pathetic. Matt Adams and David Wright play at the corners, where you should be able to get some power numbers but both have been really slow to get rolling this year. Alphonso Soriano looks absolutely cooked at the plate this year, Chris Johnson was a fluke, and Villar is struggling to hit .200. I do need to give Lance credit for holding onto George Springer, who has been a world beater after getting off to a slow start this month. Again, the commitment is questionable, which is always going to hold this team back and until Lance finds some better hitters, like he did with his Pence trade, this lineup is going to hold the great pitching back all year.
Healthy and Happy: George Springer
Hurting and Horrible: Scott Feldman
Maydew admitted to this commish that he's had a problem keeping up with his team this year and when he asked where he stood in the standings I told him it was as low as his empty beer pint. Maydew has visited his roster since but I think as conmmish, it's about time I start sending out twitter reminders to owners that obviously haven't touched their roster at least as much as they touch a woman's vagina. Maydew has a lot of work cut out for him in order to rise from the basement but he does have a team that is mostly healthy and a bunch of guys that should start playing better. It couldn't get much worse, though as he's got the second worst pitching numbers in the league and the worst batting numbers. We knew speed would be a major problem with this old team and it certainly has with Maydew ranking last in runs scored and stolen bases. The pitching is just as bad with Gallardo, Peavy, Axford, and Joe Smith struggling for most of the month. I don't care if you guys don't check your roster all the time but for the sake of keeping this league as fair as possible, it's time some of you guys get a little nudge when you start dozing off at the wheel. Dew says he has a buddy that helps him with this so maybe it's time they contact each other to see if either of them remember their ESPN account ID and password. It's going to be a large hill to climb back into this thing but there's plenty of time to make a move with a little more hustle from the owners and a little more hustle from the players.
Healthy and Happy: Ian Kinsler
Hurting and Horrible: Yovanni Gallardo
Alright gents, here's your monthly dose of roto stats to absorb.
- As much as Jerome talks about monitoring his roster, monitoring other rosters, and Lance's lack of monitoring, the truth is Lance would be ranked higher than the commish if this were a roto league.
- Does that mean that checking a roster more often can make up for roster shortcomings? I don't really know but it probably doesn't hurt at all
- Kevin and Matty are also playing above their heads in terms of wins and losses compared to the stats behind it. Kevin and Matt also make plenty of roster moves. Hmmm.
- The top four deserve to be in the top four. Zach, Granger, and Castillo have good balance and there's no reason they can't stay up top. Jeff Petty needs to shore up the pitching a little to be considered a real contender but if he does, the batting is already a beast.
- Maydew...good lord.