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.

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