Week One Recap

We’re one week into the 2016 baseball season, and buzz seems to be all about rookies off to insane starts.  Trevor Story, Tyler White, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Nomar Mazara – they seem to be popping up out of nowhere, and quickly landing onto season-long and daily fantasy rosters.  While all of these players are due some regression from their insane starts,  it will be interesting to see which ones maintain their fantasy relevance throughout the season.

The key thing to realize is that you must add these players in your season long leagues, because you don’t want to be missing out on the ones that end up parlaying these hot starts into successful full seasons.  It’s worth dropping your mid to lower tier hitters that are off to mediocre starts to pick up one or two of these guys, especially if your league is shallow enough that your dropped players will swim around in the FA pool for a while.    In a deep league, you’ll have to be more careful about who you drop for a high risk/high reward player who may have exhausted most of his production while sitting in the FA pool, but then again, in a deep league you probably already have a couple hitters sitting on your roster that no one really cares about.

On to the recap – as of end of day Sunday, April 10 (End of Week One Matchup)

Week One Final: Won 338-227.33 (second high score in league)

Record: 1-0 (second high point scorer)

Transactions:

Week One

4. Add Jason Hammel, SP, CHC, for Hector Rondon

5. Add Aaron Nola, SP, PHI, for Michael Conforto

6. Add Michael Pineda, SP, NYY, for Chris Tillman

7. Add Mike Fiers, SP, HOU, for Ervin Santana

8. Add Eugenio Suarez, SS, CIN (no drop, Tyson Ross moved to DL slot)

Week Two

  1. Add Vince Velasquez, SP, PHI, for Gerardo Parra
  2. Add Jeremy Hazelbaker, OF, STL, for Carlos Santana

First, the Week one moves.   I decided to completely abandon a relief pitchers, dropping my last one in Rondon, and pretty much ruining the relevance of my team name “The Raging R-dons”, leaving only a single R-don on my team, Carlos Rodon.  Rondon has since been acquired by another team, and will probably remain on a roster for the rest of the season.  I will need to decide fairly quickly if rostering a closer is the way to go, for the FA pool is extremely thin on them.  I’ll write more on the thought process behind this, probably next week.  On a side note I did get a solid 12 point start from Hammel.

Obviously I can’t make up my mind on Conforto, but it seems pretty clear for now that he’s not going to be a super hot ticket for a while yet.  Apparently he won’t play against lefties, and he hasn’t homered yet.  Nola was a pickup as a two-start guy for week 2, along with Pineda and Fiers.  I wasn’t crazy about dropping Santana or Tillman, as both look pretty good so far (although Santana is likely to have a rough time with run support playing for the Twins).  Due to a Yankees rainout, Pineda ended up losing his two-start status, so he might get dropped after his Wednesday start unless he turns in a stellar performance.  I’m not expecting much from Fiers, but sometimes he surprises and racks up some good K numbers.  He’s been good to my fantasy rosters in the past.

With Tyson Ross headed to the DL for a bit I figured I’d grab another available hot bat in Suarez.  He got me a nice 8 point day on Sunday to finish up the week.  I’ve potentially got three strong shortstops now in Seager, Story, and Suarez.  I’m not sure how much trade value they carry yet ( I ignored an offer of Francisco Liriano for Story, based on Liriano’s ugly second outing), but that should become clearer in the coming weeks.

With no more good two-start options, I used my first acquisition of Week 2 to make an early claim on a SP that looks pretty good in Velasquez.  He may end up only having streaming value, but he has a nice matchup in week 2, and Parra wasn’t doing much, even at Coors, and he also looks to be a non-everyday guy.  I’m not going to be upset if he gets rostered.  The Hazelbaker for Santana transaction is a little more risky I think, for Santana did give me a decent 17 points in his one week on my roster, but again I don’t think he’ll get jumped on immediately, and I’ve got to see what comes out of Hazelbaker’s hot start.  He seems Major league ready after tearing it up in the minors for the past year.

Week 2 should be interesting; it looks like I’ve got a tougher matchup this time.  Lastly, my top contributors for week one:

Hitters: Yasiel Puig (24.5), Trevor Story (24), Ian Kinsler (21), Corey Seager (19.5)

Pitchers: Clayton Kershaw (27.5), Chris Archer (23), Chris Tillman (22), Ervin Santana (16)

The Big Story

Four days into the 2016 season, and the biggest story so far involves a player named Story, Trevor Story, the rookie SS for the Colorado Rockies.  He’s homered in all three games he’s played in so far, including two on opening day.  Undrafted in my league, I quickly picked him up after that two HR performance, but did not move him into an active slot until Wednesday.  Here’s an update of my weekly matchup and acquisitions so far.  Our league has a maximum 8 transactions per week:

As of games played Wednesday, April 6:

Leading 191.50 to 116.33 (Top scorer in league)

  1. Add Michael Conforto, OF, NYM for Matt Holliday
  2.  Add Trevor Story, SS, COL, for Jason Hammel
  3. Add Juan Nicasio, SP, PIT, for Dellin Betances

As far as the transactions- Obviously I can’t make up my mind on Michael Conforto.  After his strong outing on Sunday, I felt he had too much upside to stay on the FA wire, so I figured Holliday would probably not catch much interest from the other owners.  After Story’s 2-HR performance, I figured he’d be jumped on quick, so I had to drop someone off of my bench (any player in an active slot cannot be dropped until the new day starts, and I didn’t want to risk waiting that long.). Hammel is good enough to be on a team, but I can afford to let him sit out there on FA with my SP depth.  I obviously had a quick change of heart on Betances after his dismal outing on Tuesday (-.17 points), and decided to use his disposal to finally start streaming SP’s.  I made a good choice for my first streamer in Nicasio (14.50 points).

With FA acquisitions early on, I’m mainly looking to roster players that are off to extremely  hot starts.  Some may fizzle out significantly as the season progresses, but some will be in line for strong seasons.  Story and Nicasio are both players that I will hold onto for a bit based on their strong starts, just in case this is a sign of continued high-level performance.  Conforto would be the next guy in line for a drop for a pitcher stream, but I’m not going to do that right away.  I can tell my current opponent has little chance of catching up to me, so there is no need for me to stream pitchers for the next couple of days.  On Friday I have my two-start guys Santana and Tillman going (both looked good on Monday but had outings cut short due to a long rain delay).  After Friday they’lol both be dropped for two-start guys for the following week.  This is how full season head-to-head usually goes- in weeks where you are far ahead, you can acquire pitchers in advance for your next week’s matchup.  On weeks where you have a tightly competitive match, you likely have to use all 8 acquisitions for current week games.

While he hasn’t even pitched yet, I’m tempted to drop Rondon as well.  It’s obvious to me that relievers are once again pretty useless in this league.  I feel I’m better off using his roster slot to try to snatch a strong hitter or SP.

My top batter performers so far are Puig (21.5), Santana (14), and Kinsler (13). Top pitchers are Kershaw (18.5), Archer (16.5), and Nicasio (14.5).

So far, so good…..

Play Ball!

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Full Frontal Fantasy, a blog dedicated to one of my favorite passions, fantasy sports. Bear with me, as this is my first time blogging about anything.

I’m starting off today, the opening day of the 2016 Major League Baseball season, with a recap of my draft in my one and only full season fantasy baseball teams. The league is a 10 team head-to-head points format with the following scoring breakdown:

Hitters:

At-bats: -0.5
Runs: 1.0
Hits: 1.0
Home Runs: 2.0
RBI: 1.0
Stolen Bases: 1.5
Walks: 0.5
Strikeouts: -1.0
Ground into Double Play: -1.0
Extra Base Hits: 1.0
Plate appearances: 0.5
Hit for the Cycle: 5.0
Grand Slam Home Runs: 4.0

Pitchers:

Innings Pitched: 0.5
Wins: 2.0
Losses: -1.0
Complete Games: 2.0
Shutouts: 4.0
Saves: 2.0
Earned Runs: -0.5
Home Runs: -0.5
Walks: -0.5
Strikeouts: 1.5
Wild Pitches: -0.5
Ground into Double Play: 2.0
Saves + Holds: 1.0

Just a few comments about the scoring, which the commissioner, a friend of mine, set up, and I am mostly pleased with:

– As you can probably notice it’s set up kind of funny with the at-bats and plate appearances, but basically it works out to 1 point for a hit or walk, .5 points for a sacrifice, 2 points for a double or triple, 4 points for a home run, and negative 1 point for strikeouts and double plays. I think this works pretty well. It still weights home runs a little heavy, but not as much as last year’s setup did. It rewards strong on-base guys, which I definitely like.

– Pitching is very strikeout dependent. As you can see an out via strikeout is worth ten times as many points as a non-strikeout out, with the exception of double plays. This heavily favors some of the power pitchers with ERA, WHIP, and HR issues over low strikeout, low ERA guys. This scoring does offer some more penalties than last year’s did though, so I’m pleased about that.

– Relievers are worth more this year than last, for the commish basically made saves worth three, does not have a blown save penalty, and has holds worth 1 point. I’m going to start out using some relievers in my match ups, but I may still decide to abandon this strategy later on and switch back to last year’s decision to only stream starters.

Our league’s roster format is: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, UTIL, UTIL, SP, SP, RP, RP, P, P, P, P, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, DL, DL. Here is my drafted team, by round and pick number:

1 (5) Clayton Kershaw, LAD, SP
2 (16) Mookie Betts, BOS, OF
3 (25) Edwin Encarnacion, TOR, 1B
4 (36) Stephen Strasburg, WAS, SP
5 (45) Chris Archer, TAM, SP
6 (56) Corey Seager, LAD, SS
7 (65) Yasiel Puig, LAD, OF
8 (76) Ian Kinsler, DET, 2B
9 (85) Tyson Ross, SD, SP
10 (96) Ryan Braun, MIL, OF
11 (105) Maikel Franco, PHI, 3B
12 (116) Jonathan Lucroy, MIL, C, 1B
13 (125) Hector Rondon, CHC, RP
14 (136) James Shields, SD, SP
15 (145) John Lackey, CHC, SP
16 (156) Carlos Rodon, CHW, SP
17 (165) Gerardo Parra, COL, OF
18 (176) Carlos Santana, CLE, 1B
19 (185) Matt Holliday, STL, OF
20 (196) Jason Hammel, CHC, SP
21 (205) Michael Conforto, NYM, OF
22 (216) Sean Doolittle, OAK, RP
23 (225) Dellin Betances, NYY, RP

I made the following transactions prior to my Week 1 matchup (which starts today):

1. Add Ervin Santana, MIN, SP for Sean Doolittle
2. Add Chris Tillman, BAL, SP for Michael Conforto

Overall I’m extremely pleased with my draft. Amazingly, I really only had one guy that I had queued up get snatched from me, and that was Kyle Hendricks (CHC, SP) with my final pick. Looking back, I’m glad I got Betances, which I’ll explain further in a bit.

I’m especially happy with the hitters I was able to assemble after the Kershaw pick. A few of them are high risk guys, but I’m banking on some solid seasons from Seager, Puig, Kinsler, Braun, and Franco. Even if a few of them disappoint, I’m pretty confident I can find adequate replacements. Carlos Santana is much more valuable in this league than more traditional formats, and was a nice value pick.

I have found in the past that a good goal for starting pitchers is to aim for four strong options. To snag Kershaw, Strasburg, Archer, and Ross as my four was an absolute gift. In this format the first three could very well be top-five guys (with Kershaw potentially way ahead in front), and Ross is very likely a top-15 guy. I’m very happy with the remaining four starters as well, especially if Hammel is off to his usual strong start.

I decided I should roster at least one closer, just to see how it goes in the early part of the season. Rondon was the guy I wanted because I didn’t have to draft him too early, he has very good 40+ save potential, and he gets a fair amount of strikeouts. Betances is extremely valuable in this format, considering his tremendous astride out potential, and the possibility that he will lead all relievers in IP and wins. Again, I’m still on the fence about even using relievers in this format though, and it’s a topic I will frequently be addressing throughout the season.

As far as my post draft transactions, I was simply setting up my SP streaming options for week one. Santana and Tillman looked to be two of the better two-start options in Week 1, so I grabbed them. I felt Doolittle was expendable, and I’m not too concerned about him sitting in the FA pool. Plus, there are always closers available later on if I absolutely need more than Rondon. I’m not as crazy about dropping Conforto, who has serious stud potential, but he is certainly far from a sure thing, and my hunch is nobody wants him that badly yet.

One last league format note: I get 8 weekly transactions, which works out to basically one streaming SP per day plus an additional pickup, which I usually use for a needed hitter or a two – start guy for the following week. Managing transactions is a huge aspect of winning fantasy baseball, so I’ll be touching up on that quite a bit over the course of the season. Unfortunately, I don’t really have anybody left to drop, so I may have to eat Tillman or Santana’s second start, which will likely be my choice if either them look ineffective in their first start.

I hope you enjoyed my first blog, and I look forward to discussing my fantasy baseball thoughts throughout the season.