Come w/Cha Best
Every 11 weeks at minimum you will be forced to get into the ring with Bryan Archuleta and chances are you will exit that ring a battered and bruised man. Once again Arch has trained like Balboa in a Soviet cabin and once again he’s landing more solid fantasy punches than anyone else in this league. The roto stats will show you that this is not the team you want to pick a fight with and that Arch should be well ahead of J. Petty, Zach, and anyone else in the W-L standings. Goldschmidt is starting to hit again, Odor is crushing baseballs and cheek bones, Donaldson is tremendous, Piscotty is a super sleeper and Mookie Betts is the sleeper we all should’ve seen coming. The pitching on this team is loaded with power too as Verlander, Salazar, and Kluber supply the K’s while Hammel and Teheran are suppressing runs and hits. The bullpen is a mixture of power and precision and there’s a pretty good chance Britton, Dyson, and Herrera will leave the game after giving up zero runs on zero hits. You will see below that Arch has the best statistical team by quite a bit but you don’t need a table full of stats and a paragraph from the commish to know that Arch is the Real Deal Holyfield in this league and the #1 contender to take back the heavyweight belt.
Three Up: Mookie Betts, Josh Donaldson, Zach Britton
Three Down: Jung Ho Kang, Sam Dyson, Jason Hammel
Double Tapered Steamers
Jeff Petty is either incredibly patient or incredibly apathetic when it comes to some of his draft picks. Khris Davis was seeing more strikes than Jefferson County Public School teachers, Marcell Ozuna was getting fewer hits than Milli Vanilli, and Anthony Rendon was proving that 2015 was not a fluke; he’s still bad at baseball. Instead of giving up on these slugs, Petty kept trotting them out there and the result was a climb up the standings. Davis is ding-donging again, Ozuna is hitting everything hard, and Rendon is proving that 2014 was not a fluke, he’s pretty dang good at baseball. If Bryce Harper got some pitches in the zone, he might snap out of his recent funk but at least his teammate, Daniel Murphy is getting pitches to hit and Daniel is hitting pretty much all of them. If Jeff can find some speed on the bases, it could be the shot in the arm needed to challenge Arch but this has been a rough year to find any stolen bases on the cheap. The pitching has been very good all year with a lot of solid bullpen arms to go along with the electric arms of Jose Fernandez, Carrasco, and deGrom. This is a pretty good fantasy team and Jeff should be applauded for trusting his slumping sluggers but it might take a real blockbuster move to truly threaten Arch at the top. We’ll see if Jeff wants to continue to trust the players he currently has on his roster or if he's got a big move or two up his sleeve to make Arch take notice.
Three Up: Marcell Ozuna, Daniel Murphy, Jose Fernandez
Three Down: Jaime Garcia, Wade Davis, Ben Revere
Stroke My Shaft
If a group of dudes ever got drunk enough to construct a 10 commandments of slow pitch softball, “No solo bombs” would be in the top 3. The Shockers softball lineup lacks consistent pop, which means Suer’s occasional solo jacks are forgivable but Zach should be taking his fantasy players to kangaroo court for the plethora of solo homers this team is hitting. SMS is ranked 3rd in homers and 2nd in OPS but somehow 10th in runs scored and 9th in RBI’s. Either the dopes batting around these fantasy players need to get on the bases more often or hit a ball in the gap when Suer’s sluggers are on base. Suer can’t be too peeved in general because this season is going very well overall thanks to some great late round picks. Wilson Ramos is our top ranked catcher, Nick Castellanos is suddenly living up to his prospect hype, and Brandon Belt is becoming a reliable one bagger. Besides slow starts from Dozier, CarGo, and Ellsbury, this has been one of the steadiest teams in our league. The pitching on this team is sitting comfortably in the middle of the pack with hot-and-cold starts from Scherzer and Happ to go with the steadiness of Tanaka. Chris Archer has become one of the more hitable pitchers in the league and for all of the saves this team is racking up, they are mixing in some stomach churning late inning drama while they’re at it. The roto numbers will tell you that Suer should be nowhere near Arch and Jeff Petty but with a trustworthy set of players, I think the numbers don't add up, this team is a legit threat. Even though Suer's studs aren't getting much support from their MLB teammates, Miggy & Co. should give Zach a big thumbs up for giving them the lineup support they need to be on a winning fantasy ballclub.
Three Down: Chris Archer, David Robertson, Starlin Castro
Fred McGriffey Jr.
We're all at a point in our lives where at least 30 minutes of peace and quiet is cherished. Sitting down and watching a baseball game should be a welcome respite from the daily grind as there is something really enjoyable about chilling out, watching the Yankees, and checking my phone for occasional fantasy updates. Not in 2016. The Yankees are pretty obviously not a good baseball team who find a way to hit, pitch, field, or baserun themselves out of victories frequently. Same goes for Fred McGriffey Jr. They are finally starting to hit but they sure as shit ain't pitching and on the rare occasion one of my pitchers guts out a quality start, the bullpen barfs on themselves or my hitters whiff all night. I’m more than willing to admit I’m lucking the fuck out in 4th place because statistically I have no business being anywhere close to 4th place but even my W-L fortunes aren’t making this season any more calming on the nerves. Without fail, every single week at least 75% of my pitching starts ends in disaster. Whether a starter gets knocked around early or a closer blows it late, I’m always way back in the ERA, WHIP, and Losses categories by Wednesday. EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. This forces me to stream starters in an attempt to get cheap category wins in K’s and QS’s and as someone who is well versed in streaming pitchers, this year is a really bad season to stream pitchers. Either I’m horrible at playing matchups or there is a huge drop-off in the FA pool because all of these clowns are doing more harm than good. For context, I lead the league in most pitching losses with 71 on the season, which is 22 more than the second worst team. I would really rather not have to search for a new starter every morning and make a fuck ton of roster moves but I’m in full kamikaze mode each week where I might as well get crazy and see if I can get cheap wins based on volume. A rational GM probably wouldn’t trade his #2 starter after ranting and raving about this problem but most GM's don't pound malt liquor 40 oz beverages in the thin air of Breckenridge, CO as a negotiating practice. Liquor and frustration helped ink a trade with Arch because Kluber has been maddenly inconsistent all year and he is a pretty apt comparison for the commish’s fantasy baseball experience this year. There have been a lot of grimaces and teeth grinding watching Kluber do his thing this year and you can see how much it wears on Cory when you run through his gamut of emotions.
Three Down: Carlos Correa, Jason Heyward, Streaming Pitchers
Downs and Skul have never been the most exciting franchise to follow, especially with the bats and while the hitters on this team are still yawn-inducing, the pitchers are supplying the excitement in bulk. Bumgarner is bullying batters when he’s pitching and embarrassing pitchers when he’s hitting and MadBum has been a treat to watch every time he's on the boob tube. John Lackey might have the face and temperament of a tasered rhinoceros but he’s somehow our 12th ranked pitcher and another excellent option for Downs & Skul. Grienke was getting back in the groove before hitting the DL, Kenley Jansen is still great, Cueto rules, and Junior Guerra keeps impressing. They’re leading our league in ERA and WHIP, which is impressive but even more so when you consider they they’re still running James “Big Fly” Shields out there. Shields is ranked 226th for pitchers this year and I didn’t think there were 226 pitchers in Major League Baseball. It would be nice to have more household names in their lineup and I don’t know how much longer Pedroia and Beltran will keep this up and stay healthy but when your pitchers are as fun to watch as these guys are on the mound and in the batter’s box, it’s inspiring these owners to run up there and take a crazy hack at a playoff spot this year.
Three Down: James Shields, Ian Kennedy, Jose Bautista
Fightin’ Buck Showalters
Matt Carpenter is on a very short list of players with an OPS higher than 1.000. It’s a pretty nifty thing to draw a walk and have your OPS actually decrease in July and Carpenter is one of the many St. Louis Cardinals players that shouldn’t be this good at baseball. He’s also eligible at 1B, 2B, and 3B and the way Meyer’s hitters are (not) hitting, Jeff probably wishes he could plug Carpenter into all three of those spots every night. This team is not very good at doing anyting besides stealing bases and even though Eduardo Nunez has come out of nowhere and Jay Bruce is bouncing back nicely, the rest of this roster is doing all they can to keep Meyer out of the playoffs. The pitching on this team is better but even that collection of players is really only good at one thing in particular, which is not suffering a loss. Steven Wright is starting to show cracks but he’s been arguably the best FA pitching find this season. Jake Arrieta can’t throw a strike anymore like he’s back in Baltimore and hopefully he can sprinkle on whatever magic dust the Cubs gave him when they acquired him in a trade. Strasburg will probably hit the DL again before the season is over but man is he having a hell of a season when he’s out there. You have to pitch well to be undefeated at this point and now that Kershaw is on the DL, Strasburg could be the best healthy pitcher in the game right now. Meyer might have our first all-setup bullpen in league history and while they are helping keep the ERA and WHIP in check, you have to wonder if they’re leaving some SVHD’s on the table as Meyer is ranked in the bottom half of the league in that stat with four RP options in the lineup. This is a team with very obvious strengths and weaknesses and we’ll see if Meyer is inspired to make some deals to balance the scales on his roster.
Three Up: Steven Strasburg, Matt Carpenter, Starling Marte
Three Down: Adam Wainwright, Dee Gordon, Chris Tillman
Mr. Big Time
Kevin spent a lot of early round draft picks on home run knockers so when he started the season like a limp bizkit, Kevin probably wanted to turn his red Yankees cap backwards and just break stuff. Now this team is rollin’, rollin’ rollin’ back towards the top and it’s because he’s getting four baggers from unexpected places. Many Nationals fans have been pleading for Danny Espinoza to stay on the bench but that’s hard to do when Danny is hitting homers on a nightly basis. The Nationals did give up on another infuriating batter, Ian Desmond, and their loss has been the Texas Rangers gain as Desmond has taken to the outfield better than expected and has regained all the lost value from last year's lost season in Washington. Adam Duvall is another source of unexpected pop and even Did Gregorious is golfing baseballs over the fence lately. If Justin Upton could just find whatever has been missing all season long, Mr. Big Time could be our best slugging team in the second half. It has mostly been calm and quiet on the pitching side for Kevin as he’s definitely lagging in K’s and QS’s but also not suffering losses and is hovering towards the middle in all other pitching categories. This is definitely the right strategy in 2016 and if you can find stable starting pitchers you need to hold onto those players tighter than Kanye West holds onto grudges. It’s a smart move by Kevin but I feel like our wild and crazy college buddy just got pussy whipped and now enjoys independent films and iced coffees on a Friday night. I want our Krazy Kevin back. Mr. Big Time is a team on the rise and even though their tenniball-like power surge is likely to die down at some point, it looks like this team will make enough noise with the bats to cause some ruckus for the last two months of the season.
Three Up: Ian Desmond, Jon Lester, Marco Estrada
Three Down: Yadier Molina, Justin Upton, Jose Abreu
We all know Matty’s endgame with his pen that has no bulls in it. He’s stockpiling starters in order to drive up the K’s and QS’s to make sure he wins those categories. Matty agrees to forfeit the SVHD category, while gambling on the ERA and WHIP. Even though RP’s throw a combined 9-12 innings for a fantasy team each week, they do help drive down ERA and WHIP usually, which is why I can’t explain why Matt’s SP-only team is ranked 3rd in ERA and WHIP right now. A good place to start understanding this would be to check Clayton Kershaw’s stats, which are so good it’s almost humorous at this point. His K/BB ratio mirrors John Goodman’s pot pies/kale salad ratio right now by striking out almost 11 batters for every walk issued. Kyle Hendricks and Josh Tomlin are quietly very good pitchers and Matty is getting the most out of his FA pickups by playing them against crappy teams, which is helping keep his Losses in check. It’s unconventional and has the potential for disaster but Matty’s pitching strategy is working. Matt is used to winning a lot of hitting categories and he will continue to do so as long as Big Papi is in his lineup. Francisco Lindor is showing us that he’s a legit threat with the bat and is another in a long line of incredible young shortstops in baseball. Maybe the most incredible is Manny Machado who has logged more than a few innings at short stop this year and is pissing on baseballs which is pissing off pitchers. There are so many incredibly awesome shortstops in baseball right now, it reminds me back in the day when these collection of young shortstop studs took their tits out for Sports Illustrated.
Three Up: David Ortiz, Kris Bryant, Clayton Kershaw
Three Down: Adrian Gonzalez, Corey Dickerson, Michael Wacha
Surprisingly, the hitters on this team are really good. Unsurprisingly, the pitchers on this team are god awful. Lucroy, Rizzo, Zobrist, Frazier, Bogaerts, and Hosmer all rank in the top five at their position and have all been really good draft day selections by the Pep’s. They’ve found some usable players in the FA pool with Lamb, Freese, Davis, and Upton Jr. all chipping in. It’s really weird to say this but they worst player on this team has been Giancarlo Stanton, who went through one of the coldest stretches I can remember for a top player. Stanton is starting to heat up a bit and if he can get the OPS back above .800 and stop swinging over every slider thrown at him, the team batting will get even better. The pitching staff is the real concern for Pep. The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Championship reminded us how utterly disgusting that tradition and tubed meat are and I would argue that Peppel’s pitching staff is comprised of the same assholes and lips that make up a hot dog. Walker has been good but inconsistent, Gray has been one of the worst pitchers in our league, while Chen, Wisler, and Velasquez have all suffered through some real rough games this year. The fix on this team is obvious and it should be for Pep if he takes a close look at his roster as there’s too many worthless players on the bench for his hitters and much room for improvement in his rotation and bullpen. It can’t be easy to maintain a fantasy roster when you have to entertain a new human being at home but there is no better example of Peppel’s roster negligence than seeing Randal Grichuk in the starting lineup lately. Peppel might still be trying to learn all the rules of this league so now would be a good time to remind him that AAA stats do not count. Grichuk is your 10th round pick, so I appreciate the loyalty but he was also sent down to the minor leagues three weeks ago to work on his swing. If you don’t notice a row full of zeroes every night for an OF position, it’s safe to say your head isn’t into fantasy baseball right now but it’s not too late to get back in the groove and enjoy some entertaining playoff fantasy baseball in late August.
Three Up: Anthony Rizzo, Xander Bogaerts, Jake Lamb
Three Down: Giancarlo Stanton, Sonny Gray, Randal Grichuk
Andrew McCutchen was Castillo’s keeper and face of the franchise and no player better personifies the Ninja Blacksox 2016 season better than Cutch. Both McCutchen and the Blacksox started out in a huge funk, have shown glimpses of greatness, are definitely better than the numbers suggest, and have been pretty bad most of the season. McCutchen just cannot break out of whatever hex was put on him this year and he’s gone from potential fantasy MVP to the third best outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The same could also probably be said for Castillo’s ace, David Price, who has been too good in the past to look this bad in 2016. Cano has bounced back nicely this year, Arenado is a legit superstar, and Jackie Bradley Jr. has come out of nowhere to help makeup for the unexpected drop in McCutchen’s play. This team is loaded with guys that can go yard but also with players that struggle to hit anything besides a round tripper. The pitchers have been a little steadier but if you hate sweating out every save opportunity, this is not the bullpen for you. Rosenthal has an ERA above 5.00 and has been demoted to the setup role, Huston Street has sucked, and K-Rod is trying to bounce back from a really rough April and May. The starters are starting to cause some major heartburn lately too with Gio having no idea where the ball is going, Zimmerman has crashed back to earth hard, and Noah Syndergaard is the latest Mets injury clusterfuck to monitor. As a Yankees fan, Castillo is well aware of the high priced talent that is not producing for the Bronx Bombers this year and both Yo and Brian Cashman have had similar reactions when looking at the production of their stars compared to the prices they paid.
Three Down: Trevor Rosenthal, Gio Gonzalez, Evan Gattis
Coming off a surprising 2015 season, Team Perez was ready to take this league by storm. The fans were hyped on opening day, the Perez’s were stoked about their draft, but maybe the adrenaline was running a bit too high when they took the field in an ominous way on opening day.
Three Up: Mike Trout, Ian Kinsler, Aaron Sanchez
Three Down: Mitch Moreland, Dallas Keuchel, Prince Fielder
New Dalai Big Hitters
When you are on a bad team, sometimes you have to really celebrate the small victories within the season. Jon and Colin had gone 11 straight weeks to start the season without an overall weekly victory so when they defeated Arch 6-5-1 in week 12, it represented quite possibly the only reason for these co-owners to celebrate anything this year. They followed that big upset win with a 9-2-1 shellacking of Mike Hawk so maybe this is a sign of a turnaround in the Big Hitters locker room. Owning the best overall hitter and biggest hitting sleeper is a great foundation for a top notch lineup but the remaining 12 starters in the lineup have been outright awful to watch. Tulo looks past his prime, Puig looks like a flash in the pan that is permanently ruined, and Ryan Zimmerman needs to be taken out to the woods and left for dead. Christian Yelich is a pretty solid ballplayer but he shouldn’t be the third best batter on anyone’s team. If you want to see how a 32 games under .500 team is constructed, let me walk you through the first eight players these guys took on draft night.
Keeper: Altuve (Awesome in every way)
Round 2: Votto (Started really slow, Jon and Runge panic dropped him in late April)
Round 3: Matt Harvey (Been one of the worst pitchers in the game, now on DL)
Round 4: Tulo (Strikeout machine that is fueled by DL stints)
Round 5: King Felix (Hasn’t pitched since May)
Round 6: Schwarber: (Was chop blocked by a teammate in 2nd game of the year)
Round 7: David Peralta (Been on DL longer than on the diamond)
Round 8: Yasiel Puig: (Has forearms that Mark McGwire would be proud of. Is also slugging .396 with those forearms)
We can’t expect Jon and Colin to predict injuries but outside of Altuve, these guys have suffered more bad injuries and endured more bad baseball than anyone I can remember. And somehow the pitching is worse than the hitting. Jose Quntana has been the only SP that these owners can remotely trust and while I commend them on trying to find someone reliable in the FA pool, this has been a brutal year to wade in that pool, as mentioned earlier. The selections made by these owners have been about as bad as the selections made by the American voting public this summer. This team is 28.5 GB in the standings to Arch and 67.5 roto points behind him as well so when they defeated Arch a few weeks ago, we should've heard Al Michaels exclaim, “Do you believe in miracles???? YES!!!!!”. They have a little momentum going and if they can ride that while getting some of their injured early round picks back in the mix, they might be able to look at their roster and not see them all doing this for once.
Three Down: Matt Harvey, Yasiel Puig, Martin Prado
We’ll finish this up with another roto standings update. I probably don’t need to provide much commentary on the stats below being that we’ve seen some updates already and you’ve now read over 4,500 words on this post (Holy Julio Franco). I did add some next level excel analysis by adding a heat map for our data to better visually show who is hot and who is not in our roto world, which will hopefully aid your eyeballs as we almost wrap this up.