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The following is Part Two of a Two-Part Series breaking down my first of two NFBC Main Event teams from this past season. It’s a deep dive from draft day straight through strategy from every week during the season. Hopefully it will provide some insight on managing a roster over the course of a long season and provide some valuable lessons going into draft prep for 2022. Thanks for reading.
If you have yet to read Part One -- go ahead and do that before diving into Part Two -- We'll wait for you.
As we saw at the end of Part One, our team went into the All-Star break way ahead of the pace in runs scored, but way behind in RBI. That would be an area that we would like to balance out heading into the second half. We were also behind the number in saves -- and with the expectation that we could lose two closers in Ian Kennedy and Richard Rodriguez at the trade deadline -- though hopefully the Ranger Suarez addition would provide the boost we needed there.
Heading into the second half, this team resides in 17th place in the overall standings. It's in first place in it's league with 120.0 league points, a strong 12 point advantage over second place and 15.5 ahead of third.
(135 AB) .259 AVG / 17 R / 6 HR / 17 RBI / 1 SB
New Pace: -.002 / +43.5 R / +0.1 HR / -30.4 RBI / +0.9 SB
Not the strongest at-bat total for a half-week, though part of that was due to taking another zero at catcher as the Giants held Posey out for the entire weekend. Mitch Haniger had a big week, hitting .455 with seven runs, two homers and six RBI. Candelario homered and drove in three while Ohtani left the yard and plated four runs. Amed Rosario hit .417 and tallied the only stolen base of the weekend. Jarred Kelenic returned and hit .231 with no counting stats in 13 at-bats. We finally dropped Willi Castro to get -- one at-bat from Rodolfo Castro over the weekend.
(32.2 IP) 3 W / 39 K / 2 SV / 2.48 ERA / 1.19 WHIP
New Pace: -1.5 W / +14.9 K / -8.7 SV / +0.21 / +0.13
That's a really strong performance from the pitching staff in half a week. Zach Plesac made his team debut, earning a win and fanning three over six innings. Ranger Suarez picked up another save, while Rich Rodriguez tallied one as well. Aroldis Chapman pitched well, and there's at least some hope that the long break may have cured what ailed him. Gerrit Cole and Robbie Ray deliver gems once more, and each wind up in the win column. Luis Castillo fans eight over six scoreless but winds up with a no-decision. Kershaw is still sidelined with his arm issue, and joins Carrasco as a zero on the bench. Domingo German pitches an inning in relief for the Yankees.
FAAB: Now that the cord has been cut on Willi Castro, we should be able to drop Rodolfo Castro and upgrade that position without thinking twice. We're still carrying Upton as a zero as he had a setback and missed the weekend as well. Should probably have kept Bader instead, but should also be looking to upgrade there now. Moustakas suffers a setback on his rehab assignment and is going to be out a bit longer. While he's a nice stash, it's probably in our best interest to get some live at-bats there. Domingo German looks like a possible cut if we can find an interesting SP. Keep in mind, the trade deadline is fast approaching, things are going to get crazy soon.
We went out and made two additions again this week -- John Nogowski ($7 to $1) and Ramon Urias ($4 unopposed) with Castro and Moustakas as the drops. Nogowski had been playing every day and hitting in the middle of the Pirates lineup while Urias had secured a starting role with the O's.
(320 AB) .247 AVG / 50 R / 14 HR / 36 RBI / 2 SB
New Weekly Targets: .260 AVG / 41 R / 12 HR / 39.9 RBI / 4.8 SB
New Pace: -.005 / +41 R / -5 HR / -49.9 RBI / +0.2 SB
Once again, heading into Period 17 (and after 16 full weeks of data), I updated the target numbers to match the top 20% in the overall standings. That's why the pace numbers have shifted here. As you can see, the target numbers moved a bit back toward the original pace, with offense getting a boost and pitching numbers taking a hit. At this point, we sit in 15th place in the overall standings.
The shift in focus to power instead of speed helped a little, but we're still missing the RBI target and coming in ahead of pace in runs. That at-bat total is sexy though. Jose Altuve, Mitch Haniger and Randy Arozarena each swatted three home runs, with Arozarena scoring eight times and Altuve seven. John Nogowski and Jeimer Candelario each homered and drove in four runs. Ramon Urias and Tyler O'Neill picked up the stolen bases. Justin Upton finally returned to action over the weekend, going 1-for-11 (.091) with an RBI. Buster Posey also returned and slugged a home run. With the Mets getting healthy, Villar has seen his playing time fall off slightly, though he still got 19 at-bats and homered on the bench.
(46.1 IP) 1 W / 57 K / 3 SV / 3.11 ERA / 1.10 WHIP
New Weekly Targets: 3.6 W / 56 K / 2.73 SV / 3.441 ERA / 1.136 WHIP
New Pace: -1.6 W / +30 K / +5.2 SV / +0.43 / +0.17
Thankfully, Aroldis Chapman looks to have returned to form and picked up a pair of saves. Ranger Suarez notched another as well and seems to be building quite a bit of job security there. Domingo German rebounded in a big way in double starts, posting a 2.45 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 15 strikeouts in 11 innings, though he was denied a victory. The lone win on the week came from another strong Luis Castillo start. Shohei Ohtani struck out eight over six shutout innings.
FAAB: It doesn't look like Bender is next in line for saves in Miami -- Dylan Floro appears to be -- so with Suarez, Chapman and Kennedy/Rodriguez still, he's probably a drop. Aside from that, a case could be made to drop either Nogowski or Urias if an upgrade is available getting full-time at-bats, but there's nothing super pressing there. German looking good in his two starts likely saved his spot.
Two additions were made again this week -- BrIan Anderson ($14 to $1) and Mike Moustakas ($3 unopposed) with Bender and Urias as the drops. Anderson makes sense, as he's just a solid all-around contributor getting everyday at-bats in the middle of the Marlins lineup. Moustakas makes sense for the same reason I picked him up a couple of weeks ago, he offers considerable power upside from the MI spot.
(321 AB) .252 AVG / 43 R / 8 HR / 34 RBI / 4 SB
New Pace: -.005 / +43 R / -9 HR / -55.7 RBI / -0.6 SB
Yeesh. This is one of the few times that even a very strong at-bat total couldn't save the overall offensive production. Power is lacking in a major way and RBI are reaching a point where they'll never get to the target. Shohei Ohtani is certainly doing his part, with two homers, seven RBI and two stolen bases on the week. Jose Altuve homered twice, scored seven and drove in six runs. Jeimer Candelario hit .393 with six runs and five RBI. Tyler O'Neill and Mitch Haniger tallied the other swipes. Buster Posey hit .455 for the week and scored four times. Kelenic homered and drove in seven runs on the bench.
(45.2 IP) 5 W / 59 K / 4 SV / 4.14 ERA / 1.34 WHIP
New Pace: -0.2 W / +33 K / +6.5 SV / +0.43 / +0.16
The ratios are a bit high, but we'll absolutely take five wins and four saves in any given week with plus strikeouts. All four of the saves came from Chapman who struck out seven over four shutout innings. Ranger Suarez didn't record a save, but did earn a victory in relief. Marquez fanned 15 and earned a win in his double starts. Luis Castillo, Robbie Ray and Zach Plesac picked up the other wins, each pitching well in their singles. Gerrit Cole was torched for seven runs in his start, but he did strike out 10. Carlos Carrasco made his season debut on our bench, pitching well in four innings.
FAAB: With the trade deadline hitting, Richard Rodriguez was traded to the Braves, where he is set to function in a setup role, costing us a closer. To make matters worse, Ian Kennedy was also traded -- to the Phillies of all teams. The prevailing wisdom was that Kennedy would jump right into the closer's role there with rumblings from the team that Ranger Suarez would then be shifted to the rotation. If that's the case, it's great that Kennedy keeps a closer's gig, but we still lose two closers with Rodriguez and Suarez down. We'll take a wait and see approach for a week to see how the situation plays out. It makes sense to speculate on another closer though if we can. We're at a point right now where we are getting solid at-bat totals and have at least a couple of viable bench bats. Nogowski could be upgraded if there are any viable corner infield options. With Carrasco back, Kershaw is the lone zero being carried on the bench, but it doesn't seem prudent to drop him until we have more clarification on his injury. Domingo German hit the IL and probably isn't worth carrying through the injury.
We go out into the market and make three additions this week, adding Brandon Belt ($8 to $6), Codi Heuer ($5 unopposed) and Rodolfo Castro ($3 unopposed). The drops are German, Rodriguez and Nogowski. Belt made a ton of sense, as he was set to return from the injured list within the next week or so and represented a power and playing time upgrade at our corner infield spot. Heuer was a shot on the closer's gig for the Cubs with all of their high-leverage relievers moved at the deadline. Castro is simply a player that I couldn't quit, and one I thought would claim the second base gig with Adam Frazier dealt.
(292 AB) .281 AVG / 39 R / 9 HR / 32 RBI / 3 SB
New Pace: -.004 / +41 R / -12 HR / -63.6 RBI / -2.4 SB
Another rough week offensively, as the power has just dried up completely. And that's with Brandon Belt joining the lineup over the weekend and cranking four home runs and driving in six in only 10 at-bats. Jarred Kelenic had a rare good week, hitting .296 with a pair of homers and three RBI. Tyler O'Neill hit .526 with a homer and four runs scored. Mike Moustakas was activated for the weekend and hit .429 with two runs and two RBI. J.D. Martinez and Buster Posey each drove in five runs. Rodolfo Castro went an empty 1-for-10 before being benched over the weekend for Moustakas. Justin Upton went 2-for-16 (.125). Arozarena (in 11 at-bats) and Villar each blasted two homers on the bench.
(47.1 IP) 2 W / 44 K / 3 SV / 3.42 ERA / 1.14 WHIP
New Pace: -1.8 W / +21 K / +6.8 SV / +0.40 / +0.15
A pretty boring week overall on the pitching front, but at least it didn't come with ratio damage. The three saves will certainly play, but the wins number is disappointing for sure. Gerrit Cole wound up getting scratched from his start and placed on the COVID-19 IL, so we took a zero in that spot. Zach Plesac was hit hard in his two starts and came away without a win. German Marquez fired six shutout innings and picked up a win. Luis Castillo gave up just one run in his six frames and did as well. Robbie Ray pitched well over two starts but came up empty-handed with nine K's. Carlos Carrasco pitched well but only lasted 4 1/3 innings. The big news is that Ian Kennedy did function as the Phillies primary closer, scoring a pair of saves. Ranger Suarez made two starts while getting stretched out, and pitched well, firing 5 2/3 shutout innings with five strikeouts.
FAAB: With as well as Suarez pitched, he can't be a drop even with the move to the rotation. He's also tough to start in single-start weeks though while he's building up his pitch count. While we have a nice cushion in saves at the moment, we're down to just two closers in Chapman and Kennedy. Heuer's usage this week indicated that he could be the guy, but the Cubs did not have a save chance to tell for sure. Kershaw is still shelved and it's starting to sound like he's going to be out for awhile. At this point, it may be time to cut bait. With Moustakas healthy, Castro can surely be sent packing again.
Two additions were made to the roster this week, adding David Bednar ($33 to $9) and Elieser Hernandez ($8 to $7) with Castro and Kershaw as the drops. Bednar seems like the most logical candidate to fill the Pirates closer role with Rodriguez dealt. Hernandez is working his way back from injury (gee, another starting pitching stash), but should be back soon.
(280 AB) .250 AVG / 41 R / 11 HR / 35 RBI / 4 SB
New Pace: -.004 / +41 R / -13 HR / -68.5 RBI / -3.2 SB
So long RBI target, it was nice chasing you. Never going to happen. J.D. Martinez had a huge week, hitting .368 with two homers, five runs and eight RBI. Ohtani hit .308 with two homers and two swipes. Jonathan Villar had a jack and a bag while Justin Upton stole a base. Amed Rosario hit .357 with six RBI. Buster Posey hit two over the fence and scored five runs. Tyler O'Neill blasted two homers in half a week. Christian Vazquez hit an empty .091 with one run scored. Last week's hero Brandon Belt went just 1-for-17 (.059) with a run scored.
(40.2 IP) 1 W / 44 K / 1 SV / 7.75 ERA / 1.52 WHIP
New Pace: -4.4 W / +9 K / +5.1 SV / +0.22 / +0.13
Ugh. What a demoralizing week. This is the type of performance that takes you out of the mix for any overall prizes in this competition and puts my league squarely back in play. Carlos Carrasco led the attack on my ratios by allowing 10 runs in his three innings of work. German Marquez was torched for seven runs in four innings. Luis Castillo gave up 11 runs over 10 frames in his two starts. Just gross. We rolled three possible closers in Kennedy/Bednar/Heuer (with Chapman on the IL) and came away with just one save from Kennedy. Robbie Ray and Zach Plesac pitched well in their single starts, with Plesac notching our lone victory for the week. Ranger Suarez pitched well again (on the bench) going 4 1/3 innings in his start. Elieser Hernandez returned on Sunday, giving up one run in 5 1/3 innings. It would have been better had he started the following Monday as scheduled so we could get two starts out of him.
FAAB: After this disaster, it was time to throw away any chances of trying to place in the overall standings (as we had fallen all the way to 51st place) and focus our full attention to the league standings. Our once extremely comfortable lead had been cut to just 0.5 points and we were only seven points ahead of third place. Christian Vazquez was mired in a major slump and only played two games the first half of the week, so we were on the lookout for a catcher to add something extra if we could. Codi Heuer no longer looked to be the leader in the Cubs bullpen for save chances, so he was an easy drop.
Just one addition this time, and it was picking up catcher Yohel Pozo ($5 unopposed) with Heuer as the drop. Pozo looked as though he would see playing time at designated hitter for the Rangers, and he could add some at-bats and power for at least this week in place of Vazquez.
Interesting adds around the league: Joe Barlow ($50), Frank Schwindel ($44), Bobby Dalbec ($16), Luis Gil ($3), Hunter Dozier ($3), Jorge Mateo ($1). It would have been a good week to have been looking for a corner infielder as Schwindel would wind up being a monster.
(309 AB) .252 AVG / 46 R / 13 HR / 35 RBI / 4 SB
New Pace: -.004 / +46 R / -12 HR / -73.3 RBI / -4 SB
Strong at-bat total again and decent counting stats across the board. Falling further into the void in RBI with no chance of returning. Operation Yohel Pozo failed miserably, as he went hitless in the first half of the week while Vazquez crushed his first home run in eight weeks. Mike Moustakas homered, but that was his only hit in 17 at-bats (.059). Ohtani homered and stole a pair of bases. Amed Rosario homered twice, scored seven runs and drove in five. Mitch Haniger and Justin Upton each had two bombs. Tyler O'Neill homered, stole a base, scored five runs and drove in five. Altuve hit .412 over 34 at-bats with five runs scored. BrIan Anderson went a very empty 2-for-19 (.105). Kelenic went hitless in 16 at-bats on the bench.
(52 IP) 4 W / 53 K / 2 SV / 3.12 ERA / 1.17 WHIP
New Pace: -4 W / +6 K / +4.3 SV / +0.23 / +0.13
A nice bounce-back week from the pitching staff after last week's debacle. Kennedy and Bednar each scored a save. Gerrit Cole struck out 15 over 11 2/3 innings with a 0.77 ERA and 0.77 WHIP to earn a pair of wins. Luis Castillo fanned seven in another strong start and got himself a victory. German Marquez also got back in the win column. Robbie Ray struck out 11 over eight innings of one-run ball but didn't win. Elieser Hernandez was hit hard in his debut for us. Carlos Carrasco gave up three runs in five innings while fanning six on the bench. Aroldis Chapman returned from the IL over the weekend.
FAAB: I mean we have held onto him this long, but maybe it's time to cut bait on Jarred Kelenic? He continues to play every day, which has some value, but yeesh he's been terrible at the dish. BrIan Anderson hasn't been any good and could stand to be upgraded if given the chance. Still feel like we're one good SP short (where have you gone Clayton Kershaw). Yohel Pozo is an obvious drop, and Jonathan Villar is likely going to be squeezed out of playing time with J.D. Davis, Michael Conforto, Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez all back or returning to the lineup soon.
Two moves again this week, adding Willi Castro (what?!?! again?!?! why!!!!) ($3 unopposed) and Griffin Jax ($3 unopposed). Villar and Pozo were the drops. Castro had returned from Triple-A and found himself in the lineup on most nights. He still offered a decent blend of power and speed and carried multiple positions of eligibility, which we were losing with Villar. Jax was an effort to stream a decent double for the following week.
(278 AB) .205 AVG / 41 R / 9 HR / 24 RBI / 4 SB
New Pace: -.007 / +46 R / -15 HR / -89.2 RBI / -4.8 SB
No, unfortunately that isn't a misprint. That's just 24 RBI in a full week of action. It's really on me, as I was aware that it was a problem the entire season, but still wasn't able to do anything to address it. It's almost embarrassing really. Brandon Belt socked a pair of dingers while seven other players -- including Moustakas and Kelenic -- each hit one. Ohtani, BrIan Anderson and Arozarena each had a jack and a bag while Ke'Bryan Hayes notched the fourth swipe and paced the team with five runs scored. Justin Upton had just six at-bats on the bench and suffered another injury.
(54.1 IP) 3 W / 64 K / 2 SV / 4.97 ERA / 1.45 WHIP
New Pace: -4.6 W / +14 K / +3.6 SV / +0.18 / +0.11
Sure, why not, let's just destroy our ratios over the final month and a half of the season. At least we built up a buffer to withstand this sort of damage. That's what I get for streaming unreliable doubles, as Griffin Jax was obliterated in his two starts, giving up a whopping 15 runs in 9 2/3 innings. German Marquez and Ian Kennedy were hit hard as well, though Kennedy still managed to net a save. Chapman notched a save. Ranger Suarez was magnificent, racking up 12 strikeouts over 12 innings in two starts and earning a win. Gerrit Cole and Zach Plesac each pitched well to earn victories, while Castillo and Ray turned in great outings without being rewarded, Ray with 14 strikeouts. Carrasco and Hernandez pitched well on the bench, with the latter earning a victory.
FAAB: Griffin Jax can surely be punted back into whatever abyss he came from. It could be time to move on from Justin Upton as well with him heading back to the IL. He probably should have been ditched after he languished on the IL the first time, but he was so productive early in the season. Everything else looks relatively stable at the moment.
Just one move this week, and it was ditching Griffin Jax to pick up Eddie Rosario ($4 to $1). Another addition that's currently on the injured list but expected back soon. Yes, the Braves outfield situation is very crowded, but he possesses that dazzling blend of power and speed that you're always looking for.
(294 AB) .269 AVG / 45 R / 16 HR / 43 RBI / 4 SB
New Pace: -.006 / +50 R / -11 HR / -86.1 RBI / -5.6 SB
Now this kind of offensive output will most definitely play, and is something we need more of heading into the final month of the season. Shohei Ohtani only hit .136 on the week, but did so with two homers, four RBI and three stolen bases. Randy Arozarena homered twice, scored six runs and picked up the other steal. Brandon Belt, Amed Rosario, Jeimer Candelario and Tyler O'Neill each clubbed a pair of long balls as well -- Candelario drove in seven and scored seven runs while Rosario plated six. Willi Castro's triumphant return resulted in an empty 2-for-13. Eddie Rosario homered and drove in three runs while scoring four. Kelenic had a homer and a steal on the bench, while hitting just .154. Justin Upton had three at-bats and landed back on the injured list. BrIan Anderson joined him in the infirmary.
(72 IP) 6 W / 92 K / 2 SV / 2.50 ERA / 0.93 WHIP
New Pace: -2.2 W / +50 K / +2.9 SV / +0.27 / +0.14
Yowza. What a monster pitching week. Season highs in innings and strikeouts, while matching the season high in victories -- still notching two saves -- and doing it all with elite ratios. Just a monster week. Four of our starting pitchers doubled here -- Robbie Ray and Zach Plesac were dominant in both starts and each earned two victories. Castillo pitched well in both but didn't win, while Marquez struggled both times out. Gerrit Cole struck out 15 and gave up one run to win his start, while Ranger Suarez struck out seven over five shutout innings in a no-decision. Ian Kennedy tallied the sixth victory and earned a save, while Chapman brought home the second save.
FAAB: This team is starting to look pretty dynamic as a whole. It's time to get rid of Justin Upton as there's no point in holding a marginal injured player at this stage of the game. The same goes for BrIan Anderson who hit the injured list as well. I'm still not convinced Willi Castro is the best available option and would be looking to upgrade if possible.
Alright, we made three small moves -- adding Jackson Kowar ($6 unopposed), Andres Gimenez ($4 to $1) and Harold Castro ($1 unopposed) with Willi Castro, BrIan Anderson and Justin Upton as the drops. Kowar was picked up with the intention to not use him during the upcoming week, but for a strong looking double the following week. Gimenez is back up and playing against most RHP for the Indians, and we still believe in the upside that we drafted him to have in the eighth round. Harold Castro covers five different positions and is nothing more than an emergency bench bat and empty batting average.
Around the league: Eduardo Escobar ($29), Eugenio Suarez ($10), Luke Weaver ($9), A.J. Alexy ($6), Yoshi Tsutsugo ($2), Joe Ryan ($1). I had bids in on both Escobar and Suarez, but came up just short on both.
(292 AB) .298 AVG / 50 R / 17 HR / 49 RBI / 3 SB
New Weekly Targets: .261 AVG / 39.6 R / 11.7 HR / 38.3 RBI / 4.5 SB
New Pace: -.005 / +91 R / +2 HR / -41 RBI / +0 SB
With four weeks left to go in the season we'll update our targets here one last time. During the second half of the season I actually updated them weekly based on the actual standings, but there was very little change from week-to-week, so this should suffice for this exercise. With four weeks to go, we sit at 34th in the overall standings. We're at 116.5 league points, which puts us in second place, 2.5 points back of first. We're 11 points up on third place in the league.
It's a terrific week on offense, definitely nothing to complain about. It's the second straight week in which we have set a new season-high in homers. Andrew Benintendi went crazy, hitting .536 with three homers and 14 RBI to lead the way. Brandon Belt hit .529 with two homers, seven runs and six RBI. Jose Altuve homered twice and scored eight runs. Jeimer Candelario, Mitch Haniger, Jarred Kelenic and Tyler O'Neill each swatted two homers as well, while O'Neill also stole a base. Ke'Bryan Hayes chipped in a pair of stolen bases. Eddie Rosario clubbed two homers in 12 at-bats on the bench.
(42.1 IP) 2 W / 44 K / 2 SV / 3.61 ERA / 1.51 WHIP
New Weekly Targets: 3.3 W / 51.8 K / 2.6 SV / 3.603 ERA / 1.160 WHIP
New Pace: +3 W / +135 K / +6 SV / +0.43 / +0.16
The excitement from the big week on offense comes back down to earth a bit after seeing the blah week from the pitching staff. Ray, Castillo and Cole each struggled in their starts this time. Carlos Carrasco pitched decently in double starts and picked up a win. German Marquez fired six shutout innings in a victory. Bednar and Chapman each notched a save while Ian Kennedy got knocked around. Ranger Suarez delivered another strong start -- one earned and six K's in six innings -- but came away without a win.
FAAB: Moustakas has struggled and has not lived up to what we expected him to be, but I doubt we'll be able to find a better replacement via FAAB. We already added Kowar as a potential double for next week, the only truly expendable piece on the roster looks to be Harold Castro. Also, given our current standing in saves, David Bednar could be a potential drop. There's more damage to be done in the league standings with wins and strikeouts, and there isn't much ground to lose in saves. Not to mention, Bednar is sharing the role with Chris Stratton, and he pitches for the lowly Pirates.
We indeed make two moves -- adding Luis Gil ($13 to $10) and Willy Adames ($2 to $1) with Bednar and Castro as the drops. Luis Gil was also lined up for two starts the next week and had pitched very well for the Yankees to that point. Adames was yet another injury stash -- which almost seems crazy with only three weeks left in the season -- but he was expected back either during the upcoming weekend, or the following week, and he represents a major offensive upgrade over Andres Gimenez and the ghost of Mike Moustakas.
(310 AB) .281 AVG / 48 R / 15 HR / 51 RBI / 2 SB
New Pace: -.003 / +99 R / +5.3 HR / -28.3 RBI / -2.5 SB
With three weeks to go in the season, we begin the week in 41st place overall. We're still stuck in second place in the league standings as well, 3.5 points back. Home runs and wins are the biggest battlegrounds available and the primary focus.
Man, the last three weeks have been good on offense. Where was this power the rest of the year? The at-bat total is stellar. Tyler O'Neill led the charge by hitting .391 with three homers, nine runs scored, 10 RBI and two stolen bases. Brandon Belt continued his power binge, adding three dingers and driving in six runs. Mitch Haniger and J.D. Martinez each homered twice and drove in five. Jose Altuve homered and scored nine runs. Randy Arozarena and Ke'Bryan Hayes each swiped a base as well. Mike Moustakas went an empty 3-for-18 (.167). Kelenic had three homers, seven RBI and two swipes on the bench while Eddie Rosario blasted two long balls on the pine.
(54.2 IP) 3 W / 66 K / 3 SV / 5.76 ERA / 1.52 WHIP
New Pace: +2.7 W / +149 K / +6.4 SV / +0.35 / +0.13
While not exactly what you're looking for, we'll take the three wins, saves and the big strikeout total. The ratio damage isn't ideal, but we had a buffer to work with there. Jackson Kowar -- who had been picked up two weeks ago for this double -- gave up 10 runs in his five innings of work. German Marquez was lit up for six runs in four innings. Gerrit Cole had a 6.75 ERA over 10 2/3 in his two starts, but still managed to earn a win. Robbie Ray won as well with a 13-strikeout, one-run gem. Elieser Hernandez hurled 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball but came away empty-handed. Luis Gil struck out 14, but posted a 6.10 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in his two starts. Ian Kennedy notched a win and two saves while Chapman picked up one save. We missed a terrific start from Castillo who picked up a win on the bench.
FAAB: Obviously Kowar can be cut, preferably to stream another two-start pitcher to continue to attack that category. Our remaining FAAB ($11) is minimal and must be spent wisely. Moustakas looks like an easy drop as well as he hit the injured list late in the week. Also safe to move on from Luis Gil as he struggled in his two starts and there's no guarantee he takes another turn through the Yankees rotation.
We wound up picking up three two-start pitchers, but made the huge mistake of spending all $11 in doing so, leaving ourselves with nothing for the final week. We added Josh Rogers ($5 unopposed), Chris Ellis ($5 unopposed) and Paul Blackburn ($1 unopposed). The thinking was, that Rogers and Ellis were the two top targets, and we'd be perfectly fine landing both if we could and spending the full $11. Had we not won both top targets, the conditionals were lower in value and we would have had something left over. Still, it was an error in judgment and we should have left at least $1 or $2 for the final week.
(307 AB) .261 AVG / 52 R / 18 HR / 54 RBI / 6 SB
New Pace: -.003 / +111.8 R / +11.7 HR / -12.6 RBI / -0.9 SB
With two weeks to go in the season, we begin the week in 38th place overall. We have moved up to 119.5 league points, but that still puts us 5.5 back of first. We're comfortably 13 points clear of third place. Home runs and RBI remain the focus on offense as we can't move up or down in stolen bases. Wins are the primary focus on the pitching side.
It took all season to get the offense firing on all cylinders, and now this is the fourth straight monster week. We set a new season high with 18 home runs and set a new season-high in RBI for the second straight week. I can't say enough good things about Tyler O'Neill. He had another huge week with four homers, 11 RBI, eight runs and a stolen base. Ohtani had a jack and a bag with six runs scored. Ke'Bryan Hayes homered, drove in six runs and stole two bases as part of his late-season surge. Willy Adames entered the lineup on Monday and swatted two homers with six RBI. Belt smashed three more homers and scored eight runs. Altuve had two bombs, a stolen base and five RBI. Jarred Kelenic even contributed a homer and a steal to the cause.
(70.0 IP) 5 W / 59 K / 5 SV / 2.57 ERA / 1.21 WHIP
New Pace: +4.4 W / +156.4 K / +8.9 SV / +0.35 / +0.12
YASSSSS. This is exactly what we needed to see. Ranger Suarez fanned 12 over 15 innings in another pair of brilliant starts, earning one win. Robbie Ray and FAAB addition Josh Rogers each pitched well over two starts and each picked up a win. Paul Blackburn pitched well in his double, but was denied a victory. Chris Ellis was scratched from his start and wound up only throwing three innings on the week, but they were scoreless at least. Gerrit Cole had a mediocre start but earned a win as well. Aroldis Chapman secured three saves. Ian Kennedy tallied two and also earned a victory. Carrasco, Marquez and Hernandez all pitched poorly on the bench.
FAAB: Nothing to see here as we had $0 to spend. Had we had $1 or $2 remaining, we would have traded in Blackburn or Ellis for another double or a solid single start most likely. Could have also added a backup corner infielder for $1, as Brandon Belt was hit by a pitch on Sunday and heading for X-rays.
(254 AB) .303 AVG / 48 R / 13 HR / 48 RBI / 7 SB
New Pace: -.002 / +120.2 R / +13 HR / -2.9 RBI / +1.6 SB
This is it. Don't get scared now. We enter the final week of the season on a massive upswing after the dominant effort in Period 26. We have surged to 29th place in the overall standings and reclaimed first place in our league. We're back up to 126.0 league points, which is eight clear of the nearest competitor.
Brandon Belt did end up going to the injured list, but we had coverage on our team to avoid taking a zero. That was until Ke'Bryan Hayes also hit the IL early in the week. That left us with just four at-bats out of that spot for the week, leading to the lower at-bat total. Still, it's awesome production for the limited at-bats and without Belt who had become a big key in our late-season surge. Mitch Haniger crushed four homers and drove in 12 runs. Amed Rosario homered, stole a base, scored six and drove in six runs. Buster Posey hit .389 with six RBI. Tyler O'Neill hit .421 with two bombs and a stolen base. Randy Arozarena homered and in an effort to get to 20 SB on the season tallied four stolen bases. Willy Adames smacked another homer as well, as did Eddie Rosario.
(41.2 IP) 2 W / 40 K / 0 SV / 4.75 ERA / 1.39 WHIP
New Pace: +3.1 W / +144.7 K / +6.3 SV / +0.31 / +0.10
With the strong need for wins, and not being able to gain or lose ground in stolen bases on offense, we made the decision to roll with Ohtani as a pitcher for the final week as he was tentatively lined up to face the Mariners on the final day of the season. Unfortunately, they opted to shut him down from pitching and he did not make that start. We also sat one of the closers (Kennedy) to get an extra start in there. Robbie Ray, Zach Plesac, Gerrit Cole and German Marquez all finished the season with poor starts for us. Ranger Suarez came through in a big way, firing seven shutout innings with nine K's to earn a win. The other win came from Aroldis Chapman. Luis Castillo and Elieser Hernandez each pitched well, but both were denied victories -- Castillo due to yet another bullpen implosion by the Reds. None of the starters on the bench that we could have used in place of Ohtani pitched well or earned a win.
When all was said and done, we wound up finishing in 30th place overall, a good showing but just outside of any extra money in the overall standings (top 22). We were able to secure the league title though, finishing with 129.5 points in our league, 9.5 ahead of second place and 19.5 clear of third.
Here's a quick breakdown of where we finished in each category relative to the final standings at season's end (as you'll see, offense was way up over the last month of the season so the targets changed drastically), and our biggest contributors in each category (while in our lineup, not season totals). Remember, we were targeting 80% of the available points in every category.
AVG: 0.2591 - 5th in League - 201st Overall (68.84%) - Final Target 0.2613 (-0.0022)
.305 - Brandon Belt (141 AB)
.304 - Tyler O'Neill (418 AB)
.300 - Buster Posey (387 AB)
.282 - J.D. Martinez (554 AB)
.280 - Andrew Benintendi (386 AB)
R: 1150 - 1st in League - 23rd Overall (96.43%) - Final Target 1084 (+66)
116 - Jose Altuve (587 AB)
108 - Mitch Haniger (612 AB)
89 - J.D. Martinez (554 AB)
84 - Randy Arozarena (478 AB)
81 - Tyler O'Neill (418 AB)
HR: 316 - 3rd in League - 137th Overall (78.76%) - Final Target 318 (-2)
39 - Mitch Haniger (612 AB)
31 - Jose Altuve (587 AB)
29 - Tyler O'Neill (418 AB)
27 - J.D. Martinez (554 AB)
22 - Shohei Ohtani (268 AB)
RBI: 993 - 7th in League - 293rd Overall (54.57%) - Final Target 1041 (-48)
100 - Mitch Haniger (612 AB)
94 - J.D. Martinez (554 AB)
81 - Jose Altuve (587 AB)
71 - Tyler O'Neill (418 AB)
61 - Randy Arozarena (478 AB)
SB: 120 - 3rd in League - 140th Overall (78.29%) - Final Target 121 (-1)
17 - Randy Arozarena (478 AB)
14 - Tyler O'Neill (418 AB)
13 - Shohei Ohtani (268 AB)
12 - Amed Rosario (525 AB)
W: 89 - 2nd in League - 116th Overall (82.02%) - Final Target 89 (0)
16 - Gerrit Cole (181.1 IP)
12 - Robbie Ray (180.2 IP)
9 - Clayton Kershaw (106.1 IP)
9 - German Marquez (117.2 IP)
K: 1491 - 1st in League - 26th Overall (95.97%) - Final Target 1389 (+102)
243 - Gerrit Cole (181.1 IP)
234 - Robbie Ray (180.2 IP)
164 - Luis Castillo (161 IP)
127 - Clayton Kershaw (106.1 IP)
110 - German Marquez (117.2 IP)
SV: 73 - 2nd in League - 90th Overall (86.05%) - Final Target 70 (+3)
30 - Aroldis Chapman (54.2 IP)
25 - Ian Kennedy (50.1 IP)
13 - Richard Rodriguez (39.1 IP)
3 - Ranger Suarez (70.0 IP)
2 - David Bednar (8.1 IP)
ERA: 3.660 - 2nd in League - 134th Overall (79.22%) - Final Target 3.648 (-0.012)
1.54 - Ranger Suarez (70.0 IP)
2.52 - Richard Rodriguez (39.1 IP)
2.57 - Jake Arrieta (28.0 IP)
2.64 - Shohei Ohtani (44.1 IP)
2.79 - Robbie Ray (180.2 IP)
WHIP: 1.171 - 4th in League - 148th Overall (77.05%) - Final Target 1.165 (-0.006)
0.81 - Richard Rodriguez (39.1 IP)
0.98 - Clayton Kershaw (106.1 IP)
1.02 - Shohei Ohtani (44.1 IP)
1.06 - Robbie Ray (180.2 IP)
1.06 - Gerrit Cole (181.1 IP)
Biggest Impact FAAB Additions:
Tyler O'Neill - .304/81/29/71/14 (418 AB)
Amed Rosario - .278/73/11/55/12 (525 AB)
Brandon Belt - .305/34/17/29/0 (141 AB)
German Marquez - 9/110/0/4.13/1.12 (117.2 IP)
Domingo German - 3/79/0/4.10/1.06 (79.0 IP)
Ranger Suarez - 4/74/3/1.54/1.13 (70.0 IP)
Zach Plesac - 6/42/0/4.98/1.34 (56 IP)
Overall I think it was an outstanding season. Many twists and turns along the way, but happy to come out with a league title. Obviously a lot of things went right in the draft, hitting on the monster years from Shohei Ohtani, Mitch Haniger and Robbie Ray, but also on great late-round production from the likes of Buster Posey and Jeimer Candelario. We were able to absorb a poor season from Luis Castillo in the second round and Clayton Kershaw missing most of the second half with his injury. Also had poor production from Andres Gimenez and Ke'Bryan Hayes in rounds eight and nine. Couldn't have gotten there without the major FAAB additions of Tyler O'Neill, Amed Rosario, Brandon Belt, German Marquez, Domingo German, Ranger Suarez and Zac Plesac.
Also we saw that we had plenty of missed opportunities in FAAB -- Brandon Crawford, Jonathan Schoop, Logan Webb, Frank Schwindel and Eugenio Suarez to name a few. We held onto a few players for way too long (Willi Castro, Andres Gimenez, Justin Upton, probably Jared Kelenic) and should have been looking to upgrade several roster spots much sooner.
We'll use this info and be back stronger than ever heading into next season. If you've made it this far, thanks for reading and I hope you were able to take some actionable strategy information away from this to apply to your own leagues in 2022. Feel free to drop me your thoughts or any questions @DaveShovein on Twitter.