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NFBC Main Event Tracker: Week 11 review

The offense did its job once again this week, but the pitching side of the ledger failed to pull its weight yet again. Our ratios are flying out of control and we have a massive growing deficit in victories that gets larger each week. Can anything be done to turn it around? Only time will tell.

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Hitting Review

Week 11 Hitting.png
Week 11 Hitting.png

Alright, the power came in a little light, but the offense really isn’t the problem with this team, it’s the pitching staff.

The catching position as a whole had its first down week on the season – with no homers or stolen bases from William Contreras or David Fry and only one run and two RBI from each of them. Hopefully that’s just a blip on the radar and not a trend that will continue.

Paul Goldschmidt was at least serviceable this week – hitting .286 with three runs and three RBI. You’d like to see some power, but we’ll take that.

Luis Rengifo went on a base stealing binge, thieving five bases on the week while hitting .273 with a pair of runs scored and an RBI. Rengifo entered the season with 18 career stolen bases in 448 games. He has now stolen 17 bases through his first 49 games this season. Angels’ new manager Ron Washington said that he wanted to run more this season – he wasn’t kidding. Rengifo has obviously exceeded expectations and is carrying the team in the stolen base department at the moment.

Ezequiel Tovar continued to perform as an absolute stud – hitting a pair of homers (in the same game) while scoring five runs and driving in four. He has been a monster for us.

Jose Ramirez continues to perform at an MVP level – hitting .316 with a pair of homers, six runs scored, five RBI and a stolen base on the week. Absolute stud.

Speaking of studs, I can’t say enough about what a godsend Jurickson Profar has been for us. He had another outstanding week – hitting .320 with two homers, five RBI, four runs scored and a swipe.

Max Kepler had his third rough week in a row and may be a problem. We don’t have much better options as matchup plays when he faces a majority of right-handers, but we have to hope that he gets it going again. Speaking of problems, Randy Arozarena played for us over the weekend and actually went 4-for-11 (.364), though it came with only one RBI and nothing else.

Jake Fraley did a real nice job in a half-week of action for us, scoring four runs, driving one in and stealing a base in just 13 at-bats. Akil Baddoo played for us in the front half of the week and stole a base, but his playing time has been cut to where he’s not even an everyday option against RHP any longer. That probably makes him a drop.

Tyler O’Neill returned to action mid-week, allowing us to swap him into our lineup for the weekend. He gave us one at-bat before suffering another knee injury and missing the remainder of the weekend. It was a double-whammy too, as we would’ve played MJ Melendez if we couldn’t use O’Neill – and he socked a pair of dingers with six RBI. That one stings.

Jo Adell swiped a base, but did so while going 1-for-15 (.067) with another mountain of strikeouts. It’s getting harder and harder to put him in the lineup.

Edmundo Sosa contributed a couple of runs scored and three RBI. His useful fantasy life is coming to an end soon though with Trea Turner (hamstring) on the mend. Isiah Kiner-Falefa had a strange week, going 8-for-25 (.320) with a whopping nine RBI (including five on Sunday) though he didn’t contribute anything else at all, not even a run scored.

Overall, looking at our weekly targets, there’s not a whole lot to complain about this week. We came up a hair short in runs (-1.1), but had a large surplus to work with there. The homers were obviously light (-3.1), but we’re still not in a terrible spot overall in the category (-7). We actually made our RBI target by the skin of our teeth (+0.9), though there’s still work to be done on the season-long number there (-20). Then we had a bonanza of a week in stolen bases with 14 thefts, putting us +6 on the week and bringing us into the green at +1 overall on the season. We also came in right at the weekly batting average target, so while we didn’t make up any ground there, we also didn’t lose any.

That was all with missing basically an entire weekend from O’Neill and still getting to 301 at-bats on the week. That was also with just four individuals hitting home runs for us, it just so happened that they each hit two. This group is good enough to get the job done if we can improve the pitching staff.

Pitching Review

Week 11 Pitching.png
Week 11 Pitching.png

After a couple of miserable weeks on the pitching side, we had targeted this week as a spot where we were going to make up ground – specifically in the wins department. Unfortunately, it didn’t play out quite as well as we would have hoped.

Our first action of the week came on Monday night, as we had both Justin Verlander and Ryne Nelson take the hill for the first of their two starts of the week. Verlander got us off on the wrong foot, giving up four runs with a 1.80 WHIP over four innings against the Cardinals. Not exactly what we were hoping for.

Nelson was much better in his debut for our squad – allowing just two runs on six hits over his 7 2/3 innings of work – but the Diamondbacks’ offense didn’t do enough to earn him a victory. The ratios helped to offset Verlander’s bad outing though, even though Nelson recorded just one strikeout.

We did nab our first save of the week on Monday night though, as Josh Hader worked a perfect ninth inning to close out the Cardinals.

On Tuesday, we had four starters take the mound. The time to make up wins was at hand. It had to be.

Kutter Crawford struggled in his outing, giving up four runs on seven walks+hits over six innings of work. That obviously didn’t earn him a victory, though he did record five strikeouts in the game.

Corbin Burnes was much better against the Blue Jays, allowing just one run on four hits over seven strong frames – snagging our first win of the week. He punched out five in that one. Ryan Pepiot also earned a win – giving up three runs on six walks+hits over six innings against the Marlins while racking up eight strikeouts.

Our sketchiest double of the week, Ty Blach, pitched as such – giving up four runs on 10 walks+hits over five innings in his start, striking out two in the process. Only getting two wins through our first six starts on the week isn’t ideal, but at least it’s something.

On Friday night Alexis Diaz gave up a run in the ninth inning but managed to escape with a save – our second of the week.

On Saturday, Nelson took the hill against the Padres for his second start of the week and was lit up for five earned runs on 10 walks+hits in just 3 1/3 innings of work. It was the same kind of effort from Blach in his second start on Sunday, giving up four runs on nine walks+hits in his five innings. The two streaming doubles definitely didn’t work out for us this week.

We also ended up losing out on two starts on the week, as the doubles we thought we were getting from both Burnes and Crawford were pushed back as each team shifted their rotations around.

Our final start of the week came on Sunday afternoon as Verlander took on the Angels. It was more of the same, as he struggled through five innings – allowing four runs on seven hits in another poor performance. The Astros rallied behind him after he left though – scoring four times in the sixth to give him a three-run lead and put him in line for a victory! Sadly, Ryan Pressly blew that lead in the eighth inning, then Josh Hader came on and gave up two runs in the ninth to crater our ratios even further.

Overall, looking at our weekly targets, it was not a week to write home about. The ratio damage was especially painful, putting us further behind the number in both categories. On a week where we were supposed to make up ground in wins and strikeouts, we missed the target badly in both categories. We finished -12.6 in strikeouts on the week, bringing our surplus in the category down to just 15. We were another -1.7 wins short and are now a full nine wins behind our target on the season. That’s a steep hill to climb. We did just squeak by our saves target (-0.1), but are still five behind the number on the season.

FAAB Plan

Ugh. It’s difficult to know exactly what to do this week. We’re coming off our second straight rough week in a row and aren’t hitting the numbers that we need to on either side of the ball. Our biggest hole is in wins, though streaming weak doubles has only added to the problem – blowing up our ratios and not adding anything in the wins department. That doesn’t mean that we should stop doing it necessarily, as adding starts is the only real way to attack wins, but it’s a frustrating double-edged sword.

Looking over the current roster to see where our drops are this week, a few of them look easy. Both of last week’s streaming doubles (Nelson and Blach) are easy drops. Akil Baddoo looks like an easy drop as well, as he’s not even seeing full-time at-bats against RHP.

Jake Bauers has been floundering on our bench since Rhys Hoskins returned from the injured list and he can probably go as well.

That gives us four easy spots to try to upgrade. If there’s more that we’re interested in, we could potentially go deeper, but four seems like a good number to work with this week.

We need at least one starter that we can roll out this week, and as always we would prefer that it be someone with two starts. The options on the wire aren’t great, but we’re still going to explore them. James Paxton plays for the Dodgers, which gives him a leg up when chasing wins. His two will both come at home against the Rangers and Royals. He looks to be the top two-start option for the week. Dane Dunning is tentatively lined up for two starts, but they aren’t nearly as appealing – at the Dodgers and at the Mariners. He’ll be on the list, but likely further down.

Old friend Colin Rea is lined up for two starts again – both at home against the Blue Jays and Reds. Not terrible. Dakota Hudson is lined up for two starts – at the Twins and against the Pirates at Coors. It’s not ideal, but will be on the bottom of the list.

Cade Povich is the big name available on the pitching side this week, but there’s no certainty that he’s going to stick in the Orioles’ rotation – and if they go to a six-man rotation he’s rarely going to double. Cody Poteet has been pitching well for the Yankees, but he’s probably only keeping the spot warm for Gerrit Cole. He draws a decent single this week taking on the Royals in Kansas City and is worth a buck or two.

Randy Vazquez draws a decent single against the Athletics this week and would line up for two starts the following week. That’s enough to put him on the list most likely. After that, it gets really dicey.

Now when looking at pitchers that could be potential stashes for us, that’s where it gets really interesting. Shane Baz is already rostered in 86 percent of all Main Event leagues, but he’s available in ours. He delivered a dominant performance his last time out at Triple-A Durham with 10 strikeouts and should soon be ready to join the Rays’ rotation. Similarly, the return of Max Meyer to the Marlins’ rotation appears to be imminent. He’d be a nice option to add to our stable of arms as well.

On the hitting side, Justin Turner was dropped last week and his bat started to show some signs over the past few days. I think he’s worth a shot given his track record and our failing production overall out of the corner infield position. After that, Wilmer Flores, Justyn-Henry Malloy and Harrison Bader are all interesting to me. Same goes for Captain Jack Suwinski who has been playing center field regularly since his return. David Dahl has always intrigued me, and if he’s going to see regular action against RHP for the Phillies that piques my interest. He’s got the power and speed combination and he gets six RHP this week. He’s on the list for sure. After them, it’s Elehuris Montero, Josh Rojas, Jose Abreu and a mix of other unappealing options.

I’m starting to think that making plays for both Baz and Meyer makes some sense, even though we probably can’t afford either of them with our remaining budget. The problem on the pitching side seems to be an overall lack of talent. Losing Shane Bieber and Alec Manoah didn’t help, but we need to add more talent to our starting pitching pool and those two (or even one of them) would help the cause.

Come to think of it, Enmanuel Valdez could be a drop as well. It’s not like he’s really doing much, and he draws two LHP next week, so he’ll only play two games max each period. Some of the CI options look like they’d be upgrades, so he may get added to the drop list as well.

FAAB Review

Welp. If we thought that we had to conserve FAAB before this week, now we really need to do so.

The biggest buy in the league this week wasn’t someone we were chasing – that ended up being Spencer Horwitz for $59 ($4). The second biggest spend of the week was someone that we had interest in as our secondary pitching stash – Max Meyer – who went for $38 ($33). We had a bid on Meyer, but it was short of the runner-up bid there.

We also had a bid in on Shane Baz, who could potentially be the impact arm that we need in the second half of the season. We secured his services with a bid of $34 ($33) and didn’t leave any money in the table in doing so. Just need the Rays to call him up now. Nelson was the drop on that one.

We had the runner-up bid on Cade Povich, but it wasn’t close at $33 ($7). Joey Loperfido went for $27 ($7), Ryne Stanek pulled in $20 ($1), so did Ezequiel Duran at $20 ($8), but that’s not where we were shopping this week. Dane Dunning was on our bid list, but we were nowhere near the $20 winning total or the $14 runner-up bid there.

The next few we passed on – Mike Tauchman ($18 to $16), Mitch Spence ($17 to $7), Masataka Yoshida ($17 to $14), Eloy Jimenez ($14 to $14) and Chase Silseth ($14 to $3). Silseth should be back in a couple of weeks and could be a nice stash.

We did have interest in Colin Rea’s double, but he was out of our range at $14 ($6). Also had Jack Suwinski on our list, but he went too high as well at $14 ($5 - ours).

A bit further down we find our next win, and unfortunately it is an overspend for Justin Turner at $12 ($2). I just like what I saw from him this week and think that he could potentially turn into a solid CI for us. Or he’ll be cycled through like the rest of the trash we’ve been running through the position over the past few weeks. Baddoo was the drop there.

Apparently I’m the only one who had any real interest in James Paxton coming off of his worst start of the season. He’s still tentatively lined up for two starts this week and with our urgent need for victories, I’ll hope he can go five and let the Dodgers’ offense do work against Dane Dunning and Brady Singer this week. He was landed for $8 ($2) with Blach as the drop. Maybe I’m the fool on this one, and the return of Bobby Miller this week ends up bumping Paxton from the rotation instead of Gavin Stone.

We also picked up a couple of extra bats – both that qualify at corner infield as well to add to our army there. Wilmer Flores for $7 ($1) and Justyn-Henry Malloy for $7 (unopposed). I wish I would have lowered some of the bids on the conditionals and wouldn’t have overspent here, but I also thought that there would be action on both bats. Hopefully we land something useful long-term from this group. Bauers and Valdez were the drops.

Speaking of drops, there were a few interesting names around the league that were thrown back into the waiver wire this week. They include Jorge Soler, Colt Keith, Evan Carter, Joe Musgrove, Miguel Andujar, Michael Kopech, Ty France and Brendan Rodgers. Combined with some of the rookies that will be available, next week could be some fun.

Unfortunately, we’re now down to just $280 remaining on the season and need to go into thrift mode for the next month or so to get back in line with where we need to be at the end of the season. Only three teams in the league have spent more than us and the leader that we’re chasing still has $496 remaining.

Looking Ahead

Listen, I’m a superstitious type of guy, and the fact that we’ve led off with the pitching side here each of the past few weeks, only to crash and burn, we’re going to mix it up and lead off with the offense this week.

We’ve only got two catchers, so Contreras and Fry are obviously in, though I did give at least some consideration to adding a catcher for the first half of the week since Fry is lined up for just two games and may only end up playing one.

Goldschmidt hasn’t been great, but the first base position as a whole around the league has been pretty brutal this season, He’s shown enough life to get a start this period with three against the Pirates. Tovar, Ramirez, Profar, Duran and Rengifo are locked in as well – though where I’ll play Rengifo remains in the air.

Kepler gets four games against the Rockies and A’s with only one LHP in the bunch. If he can’t get it going this week, he may never. He gets a spot. Arozarena also gets four games and he’ll get the nod after a decent weekend.

That leaves us with second base, one outfield spot, CI, MI and utility to fill. Here’s the options:

2B: Rengifo (3 at ARI), Kiner-Falefa (3 at MLW)

CI: Sosa (3 at BOS - all RHP), Rengifo (3 at ARI), Kiner-Falefa (3 at MLW), Turner (3 at MLW), Flores (3 vs. HOU - 1 LHP), Malloy (3 vs WAS - 2 LHP)

MI: Sosa (3 at BOS - all RHP), Rengifo (3 at ARI), Kiner-Falefa (3 at MLW)

OF - Rengifo (3 at ARI), O’Neill (3 vs PHI - if he plays), Adell (3 at ARZ - 1 LHP), Fraley (2 vs CLE - 2 RHP), Melendez (4 vs NYY - 1 LHP)

UTIL – Anything left

Assuming O’Neill doesn’t play, I think the best OF option might be Melendez. He gets the extra game and has been swinging a better bat as of late with a pair of homers over the weekend.

Assuming it’s Melendez, that makes it easy to go with Rengifo at 2B and IKF at MI. That leaves two spots for the rest of the group. For me, Sosa and Fraley are at the bottom of that group. That leaves us picking two of the three new CI additions plus Adell. They all play three games, so there’s no clear advantage. Flores has been a fixture in the middle of the Giants’ lineup and gets decent enough matchups. Turner was the biggest spent of the three, and there’s nothing in the matchups against the Brewers that is worrisome. If they’re both in the lineup on Monday, they probably get the call over Malloy. Adell is the best power/speed option, but the overall lack of hits lately has been worrisome.

On the pitching side, there aren’t any decisions this week. Our only extra pitcher at the moment is Baz, who is stuck at Triple-A for the time being. Unless it’s announced on Monday that he’s coming up to start this week, we just roll with what we have. That’s three closers, five doubles (Burnes, Crawford, Pepiot, Fedde and Paxton) and a Verlander single against the Tigers.

If somehow Baz did get the call on Monday, the decision would come down to sitting one of those starters, or a five-game week from Diaz. Who knows where I’d go there, but it’s too unlikely of a scenario to spend too much time on right now.

We’re going to have to get rid of one of the excess bats next week to add another arm to the mix, as if one of our starters got scratched on Monday or Tuesday, we have no alternative this week, and that’s just poor planning on my end.

Where we Stand

Looking back on the carnage of last week, we finished Week 10 with only 97 league points, which put us 4.5 points ahead of third place and 21 points behind Griffin Benger for the lead in our league. We wound up losing a point down to 96 league points. That’s now 22 points behind Benger for the league lead and just 2.5 points ahead of third place. It’s also just three points ahead of fourth and only 13 points ahead of ninth place. If we can’t stop this slide soon, we could land in the danger zone very quickly.

We finished last week in 95th place out of 855 teams in the overall standings and in ninth place in the CLQ standings. Both of those numbers took a tumble this week as well, as we’re now 129th in the overall and clinging to the final seat at the table in the 15th spot in the CLQ standings.

I’ve tried the past few weeks to remain positive here and to give predictions out of what I want to see from my team for the upcoming week. Obviously, none of those have worked out for me. So, all I want this week is for the team to show up and do some work – especially on the pitching side. This is where we need to dig our feet into the ground, stop the slide, and start the climb back up the board. I have a good feeling about this week, let’s get it.

As always, I would love to hear your feedback on what you think of the article, the team, my decision making, the emotional roller-coaster, why I wasted $7 on Justyn-Henry Malloy, etc. Those that have reached out so far, I can’t tell you how much it’s been appreciated. Just drop me a line on X (@DaveShovein) and I would be happy to discuss.