We are almost at the two-thirds point of the season, so it seems the perfect time to check in with our fantasy baseball leagues.
Scott White Dynasty League
Format: Ninth year of a 24-team dynasty league featuring some of the best-known names in fantasy baseball… and me.
Despite trading away Jose Ramirez, and having Andrew Heaney as a fixture in the rotation, European Franchise will move to 16-1 after Sunday evening. We don’t have Vlad or Juan or Mike or Shohei or FTJ or Ronald, so I fear we may have used up our quota of luck for the next decade, but it’s fun while it lasts.
Of course, first place means little when it comes to the playoffs. To paraphrase Gary Lineker, “Fantasy baseball is a simple game, 24 players chase points all season, and at the end, Scott White always wins.”
Scott has won for the last three seasons and is firmly in the playoff race again.
Jose Fernandez Memorial League
Format: 16-team single-season roto
My inability to focus on baseball from May through to August (Giro, French Open, Wimbledon, Tour de France, and this year EURO 2020) is evident in this league, but thankfully my co-manager stepped up to the plate. Third place is a solid position, especially with Jarren Duran and Jarred Kelenic yet to contribute.
Draft day decisions to take Gerrit Cole and Aaron Nola in the first two rounds worked great, but investing high picks in Keston Hiura, Eugenio Suarez, Mike Moustakas, and Max Kepler means we have struggled in the hitting categories.
TGFBI The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational
Format: 435 teams, split into 29 teams of 15. 5×5 roto
Holy moly! We (and yes, I have a co-manager in this team as well) were pleased with the draft; it went pretty much to our plan. The preseason loss of Nick Anderson, the only closer on whom we invested a high pick, was frustrating, but we had no idea what was to follow.
I think we were 10th from bottom (aka 425th) after the first month. Any luck we may have enjoyed in the Dynasty League was wiped out here with a combination of injuries and poor form. Adalberto Mondesi, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Jeff McNeil, Hunter Dozier, Tommy La Stella, Anthony Santander – not a great selection of names if your strategy was to capitalise on playing time.
With the waiver wire so bare, and injuries hitting hard, we had to field empty slots some weeks. It was the worst run of bad luck in fantasy baseball that David or I had ever endured.
We were fortunate that Nick Castellanos is a stud with the bat, and I was fortunate that David is attentive in free agency. Adolis Garcia has helped us to 271st, but we are still the lowest of the 10 British entrants.
Format: 12 team roto (OPS instead of AVG)
I co-manage this team with Bat Flips & Nerds’ Tom, which is a recipe for disaster as neither of us is reliable. The team stays unchanged for weeks at a time, yet we are surprisingly fifth. August always signifies more time in my life for fantasy baseball, so I’ll start tinkering… which will probably drop us into the bottom half.
We had planned this to be a transitional year, with Wander Franco and Jarred Kelenic warming the bench for most of the season. Although the combined sub-.500 OPS for the two rookies is hurting more than helping our 2021 campaign.
Bat Flips & Nerds Invitational
Format: 16-team single-season, draft & hold roto. No adds, no drops. Weekly lineups.
I never recovered from a disappointing draft. Looking back, I made a couple of critical errors. I refused to leave value on the draft board, so, even though I had drafted three 1B/DH (Paul Goldschmidt, Rhys Hoskins and Franmil Reyes), I couldn’t watch and let Joey Votto fall. One of the quartet is on the bench every week when I have plenty of holes elsewhere.
A second error was that I tried to be too clever. Yes, it’s great that I took Eloy Jimenez with a late-round pick, but that hasn’t helped for the first 16 weeks of the season. Nor has having a spare catcher permanently occupying a bench spot.
Also, I bullied myself into strictly following ADP. According to average draft positions, there were no hitters available for my first/second picks without reaching, so I started pitcher/pitcher. Would it really have been so bad to reach for Vladimir Guerrero and Nick Castellanos?
It seems fitting that the top two teams in the league are the two UK-based Fantasy Baseball Podcasts, Behind Home Plate and RotoBrits. Jonny and James have been there or thereabouts since Week One, but it has been a gradual climb for Ryan and Peter.
The third, fourth and fifth spots are occupied by Russell Eassom (Britain’s favourite sabermetrician), David Greenman (my co-manager in one league) and David Runciman (my co-manager in the other). You could say that I’m the weak link in these leagues, but I am already devising a strategy to beat them all next season.
Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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While we have you, make sure you check out the back catalogue of 2021 podcasts from Bat Flips & Nerds. The one with John in conversation with White Sox ace, Lucas Giolito, is superb. Click on the big fella below.