Wow, that was a pretty horrific start to the Bat Flips & Nerds Fantasy Baseball Invitational #BFNFBI. An 11-day scoring period to start the season in which you cannot make lineup changes.
Injured players clogging up lineup slots and bench players hitting homers for fun, but, as the adage goes … it’s the same for everyone.
The most striking takeaway from Week 1 was that the team which finished the draft with the worst projections – 16th out of 16 – is currently leading. That must be satisfying for David – it’s always a kick in the teeth when you think the draft went well but the projections thought you sucked.
Despite the best effort of Josh Rojas (.074 AVG) to disrupt it, David is fourth in batting average, and his pitchers are first in WHIP. Los Angeles Green Sox drafted the high-upside pairing of Jarred Kelenic and Jarren Duran for the bench, so this hot start is worrying for the rest of us.
At the opposite end of the current standings, we have Dugout Classics who, by drafting Chris Sale, Luis Severino, and Noah Syndergaard, always looked like a second-half team. Unfortunately, Bubba was hit with two further long-term pitcher injuries with Jose Leclerc (TJ) and Dellin Betances (shoulder impingement).
UK MLB Community made picking closers look like child’s play by drafting both of the saves leaders (Jake McGee and Mark Melancon). Week 2 poses a problem for the guys with no other 1B-eligible hitter on the roster to replace the injured Cody Bellinger.
There are 21 players with at least three home runs this season. In a 16-team league, it seems greedy for Fly Ball to the Moon to have five of them (Nick Castellanos, Nelson Cruz, Mike Trout, Nate Lowe and Giants’ favourite Evan Longoria). This puts them right up there in runs, home runs, RBI and batting average. They opted against splashing out on a true closer but already have two saves in the bag from Corey Knebel.
Behind Home Plate shrewdly picked up Ryan McMahon for his triple-position eligibility and power potential, especially with the first seven games at Coors Field. The Rockies 26-year-old leads MLB with five homers. Unfortunately for the Johnny and James dream team, they put Mitch Moreland (0 R, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 0 SB, 0.167 AVG) in the lineup instead of McMahon. Regardless of that, they are still sitting solidly in second place.
Few players, if any, have been more impressive in this opening 10/11-game stretch than Shohei Ohtani. Joey aka Baseball Brit has the dilemma that he can only play one of Ohtani or Giancarlo Stanton in the solitary UT slot. Plus, he can’t switch Ohtani to pitch midway through the week. The frustrations of weekly lineups! Impressively, despite losing speedster Adalberto Mondesi, Joey still has seven stolen bases from the rest of the lineup.
Preseason, Jared Walsh’s playing time was in danger with Ohtani at DH and Albert Pujols at first base, but Walsh has found opportunities in the outfield and is one of the unsung stars of Jamie’s team. Lance Lynn‘s 17 strikeouts and 0.00 ERA justifies the decision by BB Jimbos not to take a pitcher in the first three rounds. Obviously, having no players on the IL is a fortuitous situation for Jamie, but long may it continue for him.
Poor Darius drafted a strong, balanced team but seven players hitting the IL in the first 11 days, plus five others listed as day-to-day is a tough start. It will be interesting to see whether the Corey Kluber / Jameson Taillon gamble works any better for BP Wales than it is for the New York Yankees.
Post-draft projection favourites, Watch Caps Off, are sitting firmly mid-table but will climb a few spots when their 5.24 ERA evens up after a few more innings. Max Fried (9.00 ERA), Raisel Iglesias (7.20 ERA) and Liam Hendriks (7.71 ERA) are better than that. However, it could have been far worse, but Ben had shrewdly decided to bench Zach Davies before his 11.05 ERA start.
Russ (Greenwich Parks) is off to a solid start, sitting first or second in runs, home runs and RBI. Joakim Soria is his only player to hit the IL, which is part of the reason his saves total is zero. The other is that two saves were sitting on his bench. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.
Lady Luck did not look kindly upon Matt from British Baseball Podcast with seven, yes seven, of his 40 already on the IL, and Teoscar Hernandez on the Covid restricted list. He is currently last in four of the five hitting categories, but the ploy of drafting Jacob deGrom with his first-round pick is paying dividends. Matt leads with 103 strikeouts … second place is a lowly 86.
David (Drunc Ork) is leading in the seldom-combined categories of Wins and ERA, but that is what happens when you draft the hotter-than-hot John Means, Jose Berrios and Marcus Stroman. David has as many stolen bases as the bottom four teams combined, although, with four players on the IL and one absence due to Covid, options for Week 2 are reduced.
Adam’s dreadful start was karma for the dreadful team name of Fake Tatis. The news of Fernando Tatis Jr.’s injury is a horrific blow in a league this deep. However, Adam dusted himself off and has gradually moved up the table all week. Thanks, in part, to the Diamondbacks dynamic duo of Eduardo Escobar and Luke Weaver.
Ryan and Peter of Roto Brits suffered all week by seeing Austin Hays and Tim Anderson clog up lineup slots while Willy Adames and Enrique Hernandez racked up counting stats on the bench. They haven’t opted to punt saves, it’s just that Aroldis Chapman (their only closer) hasn’t got any. Losing Adrian Morejon and Chris Archer in the first week gives the rotation options a big hit.
The decision by Adam (St Alban Wasps) to (1) draft Jazz Chisholm and (2) put him in the lineup, worked wonders as the boy with a blue bonce has already swiped two bags. Adam was spoilt for choice with RPs, but unfortunately picked the wrong ones, with Peter Fairbanks hitting the IL, Anthony Bass looking like a fish out of water in the ninth inning, and Jordan Hicks seemingly losing the job to Alex Reyes. Ian Kennedy and his two saves sat on the pine watching on.
And then we come to the Bat Flips & Nerds team. Top of the league after one day
And then it sort of spiralled downwards. If, after 11 days, Dom Nunez is your top home run hitter, you know something’s not going right.
Kyle Isbel’s surprise promotion meant a full outfield of five players, but then Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Gregory Polanco and Tyler O’Neill combined for 13-for-82. Thank goodness Cedric Mullins, Mr .459 AVG, prevented a complete catastrophe.
The draft took place 72 hours before the first pitch of the season, so we all had a pretty good idea of who would making Opening Day. Despite 640 players being drafted, none of the 16 teams selected the fourth-best hitter (Tyler Naquin) or the guy with the highest batting average of .536 (Yermin Mercedes).
Next update in a few weeks … when the BFN team starts moving up the table.
Photo by Ron Vesely
If you enjoyed the article, hit the share button and give Gav feedback @GavTramps if you didn’t, he really doesn’t want to know.