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Sunday, October 18, 2009

2009 Fantasy Season in Review

Fantasy Baseball 2009: Where Idiots Found Glory (and Shame)

To quote Principal Seymour Skinner, "It is with a great sense of everything is now back to normal..." Last year was a mirage. It was a blip. An outlier. The Danishevsky brothers - genetically engineered to finish last in fantasy leagues - both reached the finals. But in 2009, order was restored, and they were back at the bottom.

And so begins the least read blog post in the modern world. Fewer people will read this (9) than find Sarah Jessica Parker attractive (1?). Enjoy and feel free to argue with me in the comments. Or simply stop talking to me.

Best Draft Pick:

Mark Reynolds by Backdoor Sliders: 208th overall, after Blalock, Lowell, Gordon, Cantu, Devine, Motte. Reynolds ended the year ranked 20th overall, with 44 homers and 20 steals. Reynolds was the 20th third baseman drafted and ended the year the 2nd most valuable. That's pretty good value for Godsill's Sliders.

2nd Best Pick:
Aaron Hill by Hamburger Earmuffs: 254th overall, after other MI's like Khalil Greene, Iwamura, Weeks, Orlando Hudson and Kelly Johnson. Hill went on to hit 36 homers with 108 RBI and 103 runs and finish ranked 26th overall. Not bad for a last round pick. If Joshwhite wasn't so annoying, this might be #1.

Honorable Mentions:

Zack Greinke by DonkeyPunchers: 117th overall. Jordan nabbed the #2 ranked player after a run of second tier closers like Kerry Wood, BJ Ryan and Bobby Jenks.

Justin Upton by Rayswillrepeat: 176th overall, after Nady, Chris Young, Lastings Milledge. Upton went 26-20 and finished the year ranked 47th overall.

To me, what constitutes the worst pick isn't a guy who gets hurt, because that's just bad luck. So you won't see Webb, Reyes, Beltran or any other Mets here. The worst pick is a pick that looked bad on draft day and looks even worse at the end of the year. Unfortunately for me the pick that best fits that description was made by me. I knew it immediately. In fact, I still don't quite know why I picked him. But I did and he did nothing for me or the Rays all year.

Worst Pick of the Draft

BJ Upton by Naggers: 32nd overall, before Youkilis, Crawford, Kemp, Halladay. Upton went on to steal 42 bases, but post a .686 OPS and hit basically the same number of homers he hit against the Red Sox in the '08 ALCS. Rarely producing and always complaining, Upton was even benched a few times, just for being terrible. I didn't want him when I drafted him and I don't want him now. He ended up ranked 165th overall. Not great value at #32.

Coincidentally, this is my 2nd straight year having the worst pick in the draft. Nice little streak to get going.

Also Bad Picks:

  • Alexei Ramirez by Backdoor Sliders: 33rd overall, before Crawford, Youkilis, Kemp, Halladay. Clearly, Godsill was distracted by my stupidity.

  • Pena, Uggla, Ludwick by DonkeyPunchers: 37th, 43rd, 57th overall, all before Dunn, Haren, Brian Roberts, Cliff Lee. DonkeyPunchers was a bad team. Some of that blame can fall on David Wright and his 10 homers, but most of it falls on this series of picks in the 4th, 5th and 6th rounds. And his subsequent selections Chris Davis, AJ Burnett and Vernon Wells.

  • Papelbon by Big Papi: 50th overall. Next closer was taken 64th, then steve takes another one 70th. That’s pretty clear proof that he took one too early. And hey, the best way to fix that problem is to exacerbate it.
Best Free Agent addition:

Adam Lind – Hamburger Earmuffs
Picked up on April 6th , Lind ended the season as the 26th overall player with a final line of .305, 35 homers, 115 RBI

2nd Best:
Andrew Bailey – Penny for your Smoltz
Picked up on April 19th, Bailed became one of the most dominant relievers in baseball, ending they season ranked 17th in Yahoo with 91 K’s, 28 saves, a WHIP under 1 and a K/BB approaching 4. Who saw that coming?

Honorable Mentions:

  • DonkeyPunchers: Ben Zobrist – May 18th
  • BigPapi: Jason Bartlett - May 3rd
  • Mountain Oysters: Huston Street - April 30th
  • You Guys Should Kiss: Garrett Jones – August 16th
  • Backdoor Sliders: Wandy Rodriguez – April 6th
  • Gay Boys: Shin-Soo Choo – May 14th
  • RaysWillRepeat: Michael Cuddyer – May 22nd
  • Naggers: Hanson – May 28th and Wieters – Sept 21st (without him, I don’t beat Godsill)

Worst Free Agent Add/Drop:

Hands down, no question here. Hard to imagine a simple roster transaction going worse than this one did for Mountain Oysters.

Apr 1 6:18am
Carlos Villanueva (Mil - SP,RP)
Mountain Oysters
Apr 1 6:18am
Adam Lind (Tor - OF)
Mountain Oysters

On April 1st, before the season started, Frank dropped Adam Lind, the eventual 26th most valuable player for Carlos Villanueva, the presumed closer while Trevor Hoffman was getting ready to go. Villanueva started hot with a win and save in his first two outings, before then allowing 6 runs in his next 3, losing the closers job, and basically being terrible for the rest of the year, finishing an impressive 959th on the Yahoo player rater. For those of you keeping track, there are 30 teams and 25 roster spots (5/6 of the year). That's 750 regular players. Basically, what Yahoo is telling us, is that you'd be better starting an injured player who won't even pitch than leaving Villanueva in your lineup.

Despite that, Frank surged late (36-10 over the last 4 weeks) and ended the regular season with the 3rd best record in the league.

Worst Trade

Naggers: This one is also a no-brainer. Unfortunately. On August 8th, I was looking for saves and acquired Kevin Gregg from Penny For Your Smoltz for Orlando Hudson. On August 11th, the trade was posted. 6 days later, on August 17th, Gregg was removed from the closer role and I dropped him. In his four outings on my team, he took 2 losses, gave up 5 runs and didn't record a single save.

Best Offense:

Tough one to call between You Guys Should Kiss and Naggers. Our records are close:

Jon: 93-51-6
Me: 89-55-6
He's got me by a little bit there. But I led the league in Runs, RBI and OPS, finished 3rd in homers, 3rd in hits and 4th in steals.
Jon didn't lead the league in any category. In fact, he was only as high as 2nd in two - RBI and OPS. He finished 5th in hits and runs, 4th in HR and dead last in steals. Is it possibly his record is due largely to luck? This one goes to the Naggers.

Best Pitching:
Backdoor Sliders had the best overall record as his pitchers combined to go 94-47-9. But Penny For Your Smoltz led the league in Wins, ERA, WHIP and K/BB, so it's gotta be his staff led by Halladay, Beckett, Lester, Weaver and Lilly. His cindarella run into the semifinals as the #5 seed wasn't that surprising. If only he'd gotten any hitting (mainly from Manny)....

Fun With numbers

On our league page, you can see the cumulative leaders in each category. I know what you're wondering: Did the teams with the highest totals in each category have the best records? Let's find out.

Highest Total: Naggers, 1142
Best Record: Naggers, 17-7-1

Highest Total: Mountain Oysters, 2153 (148 more than the next team)
Best Record: Mountain Oysters, 21-4

Highest Total: Hamburger Earmuffs, 334 (4th best record, 15-8-2)
Best Record: Backdoor Sliders, 19-6 (2nd most homers overall)

Highest Total: Naggers, 1133 (16-9 record)
Best Record: You Guys Should Kiss, 20-5 (2nd most RBI total)

Highest Total: Gay Boys, 188
Best Record: Gay Boys, 16-8-1

Highest Total: Naggers, .846 (14-11 record)
Best Record: You Guys Should Kiss/Mountain Oysters, 17-8 (2nd and 3rd in total)

So looking at this, what do we see? First, Frank's team had a shitload of hits. And also, of course that Jon is a lucky motherfucker. But also that the offensive stats pretty closely match up. Now the pitching....

Highest Total: Penny For Your Smoltz/Hamburger Earmuffs, 104
Best Record: Hamburger Earmuffs, 16-7-2

Highest Total: Big Papi, 138 (15-8-2 record)
Best Record: Backdoor Sliders, 17-4-4 (3rd highest total)

Highest Total: Naggers, 1409
Best Record: Naggers, 19-6

Lowest Cumulative: Penny For Your Smoltz, 3.56 (6th best record at 12-12-1)
Best Record: Rayswillrepeat, 19-5-1 (4th best ERA)

Lowest Cumulative: Penny For Your Smoltz, 1.21 (3rd best record at 15-10)
Best Record: Rayswillrepeat, 17-7-1 (4th best WHIP)

Highest Total: Penny For Your Smoltz, 3.25
Best Record: Penny For Your Smoltz, 21-4

Pitching is different. Penny For Your Smoltz and Naggers had the best ERA's in the league and we went 12-12-1 and 11-14 respectively in ERA. By contrast, Hamburger Earmuffs and BigPapi finished 6th and 8th in cumulative ERA, and both went 14-11 in the category. How did that happen? I think it's all about matchups. Who your pitchers face can cost you in any given week.

Mountain Oysters and Penny For Your Smoltz had the most dominating performance in a single category - each going 21-4.

Unluckiest Team:

Gay Boys: Burdened with a terrible team name and hopes of a repeat, Gay Boys fell victim to an injury/underperforming plague, losing the following picks long term or just watching them disappoint:

  • Jose Reyes – 1st round pick, 36 games played
  • Lance Berkman – 2nd round pick, career low in RBI and Slugging %
  • Carlos Quentin – 3rd round pick, 99 games played
  • Brandon Webb – 5th round pick, 1 start, 4 IP
  • Jake Peavy – 6th round pick, 16 games started

Fittingly, Gay Boys is a Mets fan. Hard to overcome a start like that. Injuries to his top 2 starters left him with way to many non-Santana Mets pitchers in his rotation. But if any team deserved this treatment, it was this one – a year after winning it all as the #5 seed with a sub .500 record.

Runner up:
RaysWillRepeat: Cruising into the playoffs, he lost the 6th and final playoff spot on the last week when BigPapi failed to reach the innings minimum against You Guys Should Kiss, sending Jon into the playoffs and Dave home for the winter. This is three years in a row not making the big dance for Dave. Rebuilding?

Add/Drop Notes:

  • Jon added Kenshin Kawakami 4 different times this season. April 20th, May 25th, June 7th and August 17th. For a guy who hates Japanese people, this is unusual.

  • Speaking of Japanese guys, Hideki Matsui was our league's most passed around player. Like a strung out crackwhore waiting for Bukake, Matsui let 3 different teams have their way with him this year: You Guys Should Kiss, Backdoor Sliders and Naggers.

  • 8 FA closers put up 17 saves or more. Ryan Franklin and David Aardsma led the way with 38 each. These closers hammered home the benefits of not using a early round pick on the likes of Papelbon or Nathan. Though they do come with a lot more risk and higer ERA...

League Notes:

  • Hamburger Earmuffs and Mountain Oysters led the league with only 4 matchup losses all season. Impressive consistency. Earmuffs went 18-4, while Oysters went 16-4-2. The only team to beat them both? Backdoor Sliders.

  • Backdoor Sliders also had the best record against any opponent, facing DonkeyPunchers three times and savagely beating him 32-2-2.
  • Big Papi finished the season with the fewest RBI in the league (904). So of course he had the league's highest RBI total in one week with 70 in week 5. Not a great power year for Papi, as he had the fewest HR and RBI in the league as well as the lowest OPS.

  • Our league has been head to head for 6 years and this was first year that the top 2 seeds met in the finals.

  • Only once in those 6 years has the #1 seed won the championship.

2004: #1 vs. #3 - #3 won (Megan)

2005: #2 vs. #4 - #4 won (Steve)

2006: #2 vs. #5 - #5 won (Joshwhite)

2007: #1 vs. #6 - #1 won (Parsons)

2008: #4 vs. #6 - #4 won (Mike Danishevsky)

2009: #1 vs. #2 - #2 won (Parsons)

  • Amazing to think that #4 seeds have won more titles than #1 seeds.

  • Every seed but #6 has won the title. Moral: Just make the playoffs. (I'm pretty sure I wrote that same line in last year's roundup)

  • Also worth noting is Mountain Oyster manager Frank Chang. In these last 6 years, Frank has made the playoffs 5 times. He's never won a single matchup. He's 0-5 in the playoffs. How is that possible? Maybe he's the unluckiest owner. Like whoever owns the Bills, or whoever owns Steve.

  • Gay Boys only won 3 matchups all season. But one was against Naggers, the eventual league champ, over the last week of the regular season. The other two teams to lose to Gay Boys were You Guys Should Kiss and BigPapi.

  • Gay Boys also set a new standard for for terrible. His winning percentage was a shockingly bad .311, which is good for worst in our league's history.

  • Over the final 2 weeks of the season, in his consolation matchup, BigPapi hit 5 homers. FIVE. Over two weeks. 14 days. 5 homers. His team swung the bat like Torii Hunter in a key spot against the Yankees. (badly)

  • The Danishevsky brothers still have 2 more fantasy wins than the Fusco brothers.

Expanding to 10 teams made the league exponentially better. With fewer FA's, more competition and a third Jewish player in our midst, the league was greatly improved. I think the $50 made things better, too. People were definitely a little more intense come playoff time. I know that I for one was ready to murder Jon if he'd beaten me in the Semis.

Just a reminder, that our draft order for next year will be:

1. Gay Boys
2. Donkey Punchers
3. Big Papi
4. Rayswillrepeat
5. Hamburger Earmuffs
6. Mountain Oysters
7. Penny For Your Smoltz
8. You Guys Should Kiss
9. Backdoor Sliders
10. Naggers

Let the comments begin?

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