NFBC Main Event Tracker: Week 2 review

Main Event Tracker: Week 2 review

If you’re coming along for the ride, be sure to check out the first two articles in this series to get up to speed. The first one (which can be found here) breaks down the pre-draft preparation and the actual assembling of this fine squad that we’re going to track all season. The second article (here) takes a look at the first half-week of games, lineup decisions, planning and FAAB process.

Alright, now that we’re all on the same page, let’s take a look at how things went over the first full week of MLB action for the 2024 season.

In terms of looking back to last week’s article, we had a couple of hitting decisions that were up in the air heading into the first half of the week. Ultimately, we chose to roll out Mark Canha, Jarred Kelenic, Joey Meneses and Trey Lipscomb in those available spots, with J.D. Davis, Jose Abreu and Jake Fraley on the pine.

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Hitter Review

Week 2 Hitting.png
Week 2 Hitting.png

None of the decisions from the first half of the week wound up being worth agonizing over, as no one from that group contributed much of anything during the Monday-Thursday scoring period, though Meneses was particularly brutal. Jarren Duran continued functioning as a superstar for this squad, with a homer and four stolen bases during the first half of the week alone – and another bomb against the Angels over the weekend. He also hit a blistering .481 with five runs scored and five RBI. Stud.

The elder Contreras brother crushed a pair of home runs over the first half of the week, but was then hit by a pitch and missed a few games with a sore left hand. Fortunately, the X-rays were negative for any fractures and it sounds like he’ll avoid the injured list for the time being. The younger Contreras brother socked a pair of dingers on Sunday as part of a five RBI onslaught against the Mariners (and Emerson Hancock).

Tyler O’Neill has continued to mash baseballs – crushing three more long balls after launching a pair over the first weekend. He’s carrying the team in the power department. Ezequiel Tovar had a terrific week across the board with a homer and a stolen base while Mark Canha and Jorge Polanco each left the yard.

Randy Arozarena, who was our second bat drafted, had a miserable week after a pair of homers and two steals during the opening weekend. He’s a streaky hitter, and you just have to trust that he’ll end up around 20/20 at the end of the season. Joey Meneses played every day and got 22 at-bats, but he did virtually nothing with them, logging just one RBI.

I noted it in last week’s write-up, but I made an error in judgment in not adding a backup middle infielder to play in place of Luis Rengifo – or simply to replace him outright. Rengifo once again only appeared in one game during the first half of the week, which he left due to feeling lightheaded. He drew a second start on Saturday though and chipped in a couple of hits and a stolen base. The position flexibility is wonderful, but at-bats are king and we need more production from that spot, even if we can’t quite cut Rengifo just yet.

Speaking of poor performances, Jose Abreu is looking once again like a shell of his former self and probably shouldn’t be counted on at this stage. I did roll him out in place of Paul Goldschmidt over the weekend though, as I liked the matchups and gave Abreu’s three games the edge over Goldschmidt’s two against the Marlins. Or maybe as a manager, I was just trying to show faith in my guy and get him going. Either way, it didn’t work and he was a major nothing burger over the weekend, though Goldschmidt went 0-for-the weekend as well so it didn’t come back to bite me. Abreu could very well be a drop for me as well. Jake Fraley faced a slew of left-handers throughout the week and couldn’t work his way into the mix.

Last week’s major FAAB addition J.D. Davis didn’t do anything meaningful, but he’s still seeing everyday at-bats in the middle of the A’s lineup. That makes him worthy of a roster spot. Trey Lipscomb started every game at third base for the Nationals, but there are rumblings that Nick Senzel is making a speedy recovery from his hand injury and could even be back before the end of next week. That could make Lipscomb expendable.

In tracking to our targets, you can see that we came up short everywhere across the board except for batting average and we were significantly short of the goal in RBI (-7.5). We noted before the season that if we had a deficiency on offense it could be RBI, and that’s playing out so far. We’re still on track overall in runs, home runs and stolen bases – though there’s a major reliance on Duran in the speed department at the moment.

The biggest issue on offense this week was coming up so short in at-bats (263). Realistically, we’re trying to get as close as possible to 300 at-bats per week, if not exceeding it. Part of the shortfall was the limited playing time for Rengifo and the injury to Contreras, but we have to find a way to get more at-bats, even if it means adding another hitter or two to help manage during mid-week swaps.

Pitching Review

Week 2 Pitching.png
Week 2 Pitching.png

The major decision on the pitching side that we debated at the end of last week was whether or not to roll out Ryan Pepiot for his two-start week – against the Rangers and at the Rockies. At that point in time, I was leaning towards using him, thinking that the strikeout upside outweighed the potential ratio damage. After he got knocked around in his first start against the Rangers though, I immediately regretted that decision. Thankfully, Erick Fedde didn’t earn a win or pile up many strikeouts to really punish that move.

Pepiot was one of four starts that we had over that first day of the week – setting the ground for either a huge week on the pitching side or digging us into a massive hole ratio-wise. I wanted to get at least two wins from that group and would have been furious if we didn’t land at least one. Pepiot and Michael Wacha went first of that group, and neither one landed a victory. Wacha pitched decently at least – got five strikeouts and a solid WHIP – but he blew an early 3-0 lead and settled for a no-decision. Thankfully, both starters in the evening came through as Emerson Hancock gutted out a win in a mediocre start with only one strikeout and Kyle Gibson delivered a dominant performance in a victory over the Padres. We even picked up a third victory as Alexis Diaz snagged one in relief.

On Tuesday, the good feelings continued as Shane Bieber delivered his second straight masterpiece to begin the season – with six shutout innings and nine strikeouts in a victory over the Mariners. He had been everything that we ever could have dreamed of from our SP2. Key words: had been.

Corbin Burnes struggled in his second start of the season, with the most frustrating aspect of his start being his accumulating only three strikeouts. Diaz finally landed us our first save of the season on Wednesday with a scoreless ninth against the Phillies. Josh Hader wasn’t able to do his part as he blew his first save chance of the season – squandering a one-run lead with the bases empty and two outs in the ninth against the Blue Jays. Sigh.

Kutter Crawford was cruising in his start against the Angels on Friday, with a 4-0 lead in the fifth inning. He suddenly lost his command though and issued a few walks, getting pulled from the start one out shy of qualifying for a victory. Still, we’re encouraged by what we have seen from him thus far.

After his mediocre first start, Wacha came through in a major way on Saturday night, firing seven shutout frames with eight strikeouts in a victory over the hapless White Sox. We’ll certainly take it. The second starts weren’t as kind to Hancock and Gibson though. I suppose those are the risks that you take when streaming doubles in a 15-team league. Even though Hancock was the best option on paper and we were thrilled to win that bid, it ended up being a complete nightmare. He did earn a victory in that first start, but Sunday’s outing against the Brewers did irreparable damage to our ratios – allowing eight runs on 11 hits over 3 1/3 innings. Woof. Gibson wasn’t much better, as he gave up two three-run homers in the first inning alone and seven runs in the first two frames. He hung around to put up zeroes over the next four innings though and even got a handful of strikeouts to make his overall week actually look alright.

Thankfully, Pepiot’s second start – at Coors Field of all places – worked out well. The right-hander scattered three hits and racked up 11 strikeouts over six scoreless innings on route to a victory. It didn’t erase the ratio damage that Hancock and Gibson caused, but it at least helped to mitigate the damage. We also got a bonus at the end of Sunday night as Josh Hader allowed a run against the Rangers but did lock down his first save of the season finally.

Tracking to our targets above, you can see that we crushed our targets in wins and strikeouts, while falling short again in the saves category. It’s still too early to panic there, as both Hader and Diaz are the unquestioned closers for their respective teams, but eventually we may need to try to add a third or a part-time guy to bridge the gap. The ERA target was missed badly due to the damage that Hancock and Gibson did on Sunday, but it certainly could have been worse. Somehow the WHIP target still exceeded our expectations. All we need to do is grab a couple of saves and get the ERA back in line and we’re good on the pitching side.


Heading into this second full FAAB period, there are a lot of things that we still need to address on this team. First and foremost, let’s get the tough one out of the way, Shane Bieber. After starting the season 2-0 with 12 scoreless innings and a league-leading 20 strikeouts, news came out Saturday morning that the right-hander was dealing with a UCL issue and would require Tommy John surgery – costing him the remainder of the season and likely the start of the 2025 campaign as well. It’s a brutal blow to any fantasy manager to lose such an important piece of their roster so early in the season, but it hit this squad especially hard. If you’ll remember from the draft review, we waited longer than we wanted to grab our SP2, and it was only Bieber’s tantalizing upside in that spot that made our rotation palatable. Now, counting on Crawford and Pepiot to function as our second and third starters is a very tough position to be in. We now need to hope that injured stash Justin Verlander comes back strong and helps to fill in where we are sorely lacking.

In this particular league, there simply aren’t difference-making starting pitchers available on the waiver wire in most weeks – certainly not the kind that can match what we were hoping to get out of Bieber for the duration of the season. We’re not going to sit here and whine and complain about it though, as injuries are part of the game, but oof, this one really hurts.

Aside from replacing Bieber, we have other spots that need to be upgraded as well and lots of other players who could be replaced. John Brebbia didn’t win the White Sox’ closing gig (Michael Kopech is in that chair), so he’s an easy drop. Rengifo is hanging on by a thread, and I could really go either way on him right now. Lipscomb, while interesting, is probably worthy of being dropped if I can find something better or more intriguing on the wire now that Senzel is due back soon.

We also have issues with who we are going to start next week on the pitching side. I mentioned last week that I had five spots that were every week starts for me – Burnes, Bieber, Crawford and the two closers. That’s now down to four. That means I need to find five other pitchers that I can use next week – both while protecting ratios and attacking wins and strikeouts. Not an easy feat. As things currently stand, that would mean having to use Fedde at the Guardians (Bibee), Wacha at the Mets (Manaea), Hancock vs. the Cubs (Imanaga) and Gibson at the Diamondbacks (Nelson).

Fedde and Wacha are my guys, and I’m fine rolling out both of them in non-threatening single starts next week. The other two – not as much. Let’s dig deeper. Here’s what Hancock is staring at over the next couple of weeks after next week: at the Rockies, at the Rangers and against the Braves in three single weeks to close out April. I don’t see a scenario where I would use him again before the month of May – if he even still has a spot in the rotation by then. That makes him an easy drop. Here’s what Gibson will face after his potential disaster at the Diamondbacks next week: vs. the Brewers, vs. the Diamondbacks, at the Tigers and then he gets a double vs. the Mets and at the Brewers in the first full week of May. Maybe I would use him against the Tigers or for the double, but I can’t hold him for that long just to wait for those spots. Plus, he’d be an easy player to reacquire in a few weeks if I wanted to go that route. That makes him a drop as well.

So we need to pick up two pitchers that we can start next week, and survey the landscape to see what’s out there. It’s pretty bleak. We’re looking at a few very sketchy doubles: Trevor Williams (at Giants, at A’s) and Adrian Houser (at Braves, vs. Royals), an intriguing project who could be in the Cubs’ rotation, but may not be (Ben Brown) and some decent singles in Cody Bradford (vs. A’s), Martin Perez (vs. Tigers), Ryan Feltner (at Blue Jays) and Paul Blackburn (vs. Nationals). Remember, this is the cream of the crop that’s available, it gets worse behind these options. If we’re trying to pick up two or three of them, it’s likely that we’re going to end up going deeper down that list. Godspeed.

On the offensive side, as I mentioned above and should have done last week, we need coverage for Rengifo at middle infielder. My favorite target since the beginning of the week has been Oliver Dunn. The problem is that every day this weekend Dunn has gone out and done something positive and it keeps making me up by bid on him. He’s playing everyday for the Brewers against right-handed pitching, and even hit leadoff on Sunday. He’s got a homer and a pair of steals already and should post solid counting stats in the Brewers lineup. He’s also climbing his way toward eligibility at third base to pair with the second base that he already has. We’re hoping that a bid of $34 is enough to get him. Earlier this week, we were hoping to slide him by for high single digits. If that misses, there’s Javy Baez to potentially fall back on as a consolation prize. He’s terrible, I get that, but he still has some power and speed and is playing every day for the Tigers.

I’m also interested in Joey Gallo. He had a huge week at the plate for the Nationals and will continue to play against all right-handers. He even took left-hander Ranger Suarez deep over the weekend. He’s got 1B/OF eligibility and would be a better option right now than Abreu as a corner. I don’t think his bid should get into the double digits, but I’m willing to go 10-15 to make sure that I get him. Also have some interest in platoon bats that I could use for a period next week like Adam Duvall or Blaze Alexander. Alexander will see increased action with Geraldo Perdomo heading to the IL, but he gets a pair of southpaws at Coors Field and that’s where our interest lies.

FAAB Review

Things didn’t go quite as we had hoped. Even raising the bid up to $34 on Oliver Dunn just before the deadline didn’t do enough to get him as he went for $65 and we finished as the runner-up there. We also raised our bid on what we determined to be the top pitching option in Cody Bradford’s single against the A’s and wound up as the runner-up there as well $15 to $14.

We also missed out on Blaze Alexander ($30) and Paul Blackburn ($17), though we were not the runner-up on either of those bids. We were the runner-up bid on Michael Lorenzen ($9 to $5), but he was a difficult add as he’s no longer scheduled to pitch during the upcoming week.

We did wind up with our third option at middle infield in Javier Baez, nabbing him for $11 unopposed. At least it gives us an option outside of Rengifo if he continues to sit. Trey Lipscomb was the drop on that one.

But wait, there’s more. We also nabbed Joey Gallo for $11 ($1), with Kyle Gibson the drop on that one. As mentioned above, I like what I’ve seen from Gallo so far with a pair of homers and a stolen base over the first week and a half. He’s hitting in the middle of the Nationals lineup and could provide some help in the power categories. He’s also a notoriously streaky hitter, so it would be nice to catch him while he’s running good for a few weeks.

On the pitching side, we added that sketchy double from Trevor Williams for $8 unopposed. Yes, he’s terrible, but at the Giants and at the A’s are about as good as you can get from a pitcher’s park perspective. Just hoping he can grab 6-8 strikeouts and maybe a victory without destroying the ratios – assuming that we elect to start him. Bieber was the drop on that one.

We also added Ryan Feltner for $8 unopposed. He looked outstanding in a no-decision against the Rays on Sunday, registering a career-high 10 strikeouts over six innings of one-run baseball. He draws a matchup on the road against the Blue Jays this week, and the Jays’ offense hasn’t been clicking so far – and most of their real threats hit from the right side. It at least gives us another option for the coming week. John Brebbia was the drop on that one.

The final addition for the week was Martin Perez for $4 unopposed. He has pitched alright through his first two starts, and he gets a nice matchup against the Tigers in Detroit. Like Feltner, he provides another option for the upcoming week. We punted Emerson Hancock into the sun as the drop on this final addition.

Looking around the rest of the league, here’s the other big additions that we were not in on: Junior Caminero ($35 to $5), Jake McCarthy ($35 to $12), Jason Adam ($33 to $17), Josh Smith ($26 to $11) and our drop from last week Brent Rooker ($16 to $16). I did have some interest in Adam, but wouldn’t have gone as high as $33 anyways. Caminero is an interesting stash, but I don’t have the room on the roster to carry another stash with Justin Verlander and Eduardo Rodriguez still in the infirmary.

At a glance, a few interesting drops around the league to keep in mind for next week: Devin Williams, Jose Quintana, Alex Cobb and Trevor Story.

Looking Ahead

Alright, looking ahead for next week on the hitting side, we now have four healthy bats that we can mix and match. Catchers are set, there’s nothing that we can do there – just have to hope that Willson Contreras returns to at least serve as their designated hitter and isn’t a surprise addition to the injured list on Monday. Goldschmidt, Polanco, Tovar, Ramirez, Arozarena, Duran and O’Neill are usually going to start every period, and the first half of next week is no different. That leaves the final two outfield spots, corner, middle and utility to figure out. Let’s dig in.

Jarred Kelenic is off to a very nice start to the season overall, it’s just that his playing time has been limited since he doesn’t play against southpaws. Not to worry this time, as the Braves get four games over the first half of the week and will face three right-handers. He also gets the added benefit of the revenge narrative against the Mets. He’s in.

Jake Fraley hasn’t done anything to shake my confidence in him either, but like Kelenic he has been limited because he doesn’t start against left-handers. He also gets four games during the first half of the week, but he unfortunately draws two lefties. That means he’ll likely start two, and could appear off the bench or as a pinch-runner in the other two – all of them at home in Cincinnati. So if not Fraley, what are the options? Barring a random day of rest, Mark Canha should play three games against the Pirates and Twins, drawing Mitch Keller, Martin Perez and Joe Ryan. New addition Joey Gallo gets three in San Francisco against the Giants, drawing a pair of southpaws in Blake Snell and Kyle Harrison before taking on Jordan Hicks. He has never really shown major platoon splits in his career and he has started against each of the last three left-handers the Nationals have faced.

Gallo is also an option to start at corner. So is Jose Abreu, who was nearly cut from this squad on Sunday night. We’re giving him one more week to right the ship, or he’s walking the plank next time around. The Astros also get four games – one against the Rangers in Arlington and three in Kansas City. The first one is against Andrew Heaney who Abreu has owned historically, then he gets Cole Ragans, Seth Lugo and Brady Singer from the Royals. The final option at corner is J.D. Davis. He’ll only get three games which puts him at a disadvantage, taking on the Rangers in Texas.

At middle, we’re no longer stuck with relying on Luis Rengifo being in the lineup, we now have a shell of what used to be Javier Baez as a platoon option. Baez is hitting a blissful .154/.148/.154 with an 8/0 K/BB ratio through his first seven games. He’s still the Tigers’ regular shortstop though, and as a bonus he sat out on Sunday so it’s less likely he'll see a random day off. He has zero extra-base hits on the season, though it’s encouraging that despite the miserable .148 on-base percentage he has already managed to steal a pair of bases. They each play three games, with the Angels facing three tough right-handers on the Rays. It’ll probably come down to lineups. If Rengifo is starting on Monday, he’ll likely be the play, otherwise we’ll roll Baez.

The final option is utility. Assuming that we’re leaning Rengifo at middle, Gallo in the outfield and Abreu at corner, that leaves Fraley (likely 2 games), Canha (3), Davis (3), Baez (3) and Joey Meneses as our options at utility. Meneses plays everyday and hits in the middle of the lineup, yet he somehow has just one run scored and one RBI on the season. He isn’t a major power threat and isn’t going to run at all. It’ll probably come down to lineups. I could make cases for Canha, Davis or Fraley.

On the pitching side, we have Corbin Burnes (at Red Sox and vs. Brewers), Kutter Crawford (vs. Orioles), Ryan Pepiot (vs. Giants), Michael Wacha (at Mets) and the two closers as easy starts. We picked up Trevor Williams for his double, and given the overall lack of starts that we have for the week, we’re going to roll with that one. That leaves two spots open for three guys: Erick Fedde at the Guardians (Bibee), Ryan Feltner at the Jays (Gausman) and Martin Perez vs. the Tigers (Mize). Of the three, Perez actually seems like the strongest start on paper, as home run issues should be minimized at Comerica Park and with Kerry Carpenter unlikely to be in the lineup. That leaves Feltner and Fedde for the final spot. Early lean is Fedde, but we’ll see if that sticks.

Where we Stand

As an impartial observer, you would think that with all of the heartache and the struggles through the first week and a half of the season that this team would be languishing somewhere in the middle of the standings. That feels right, given how much room we still have for improvement.

However, this team currently sits atop its Main Event league (by one point) and sits in 98th place out of 855 in the overall competition. That’s with us dropping nearly 10 points in ratios alone after Sunday’s debacle. There’s still a lot of room to grow, so let’s keep the momentum going heading into Week 3.

As always, I would love to hear your feedback on what you think of the article, the team, my poor decision making – anything. Just drop me a line on X (@DaveShovein) and I would be happy to discuss.