To make up for the lack of an interview last week (and I guess also to make up for next week when I’ll be out of town) today you get a twofer! I talked to the two-headed monster of Guillotine, Austin Bristow II and Michael Ajeto!
Asher Dratel: Standard opener: How many leagues are you in this year, wacky and otherwise?
Michael Ajeto: I’m inuillotine, TGFBI, WERF, staff, dynasty, staff dynasty. I think that’s it.
Austin Bristow II: I am doing four: my home league, the PL Staff Legacy League, a dynasty with Mikey, and our guillotine.
Ok so you are co-managing in more than just Guillotine then, was the Dynasty team first?
AB II: Sorry, we are COMPETING in the dynasty league.
Ah, well that’s probably more interesting anyway. In that case how did you both decide to make the most cutthroat wacky league even more complicated?
MA: How do you mean?
Where the did idea to co-manage in guillotine start?
MA: Austin reached out to me, I don’t remember the details, he might!
AB II: Last year, I was in five leagues total. I had already committed to four, the most I had done, but REALLY wanted to do the guillotine league. I thought the best way to do it would be to find a smart co-owner. Mikey was the perfect match, as we were already friends, analyze players similarly, and he specializes in pitchers, while I am more comfortable analyzing hitters.
I guess you figured last year went well enough that you’d join forces again?
MA: Yup, he extended the invite again.
AB II: Correct! Last year, we placed fourth overall, and followed it up this year with a seventh place finish out of 18 teams. Not too shabby!
Did you come into this year with any specific strategy based on what happened last year? I mostly remember you spent almost all of your FAAB in week 1 on a pair of shortstops…
AB II: We didn’t have a specific strategy, but we knew we wanted to avoid that situation again. We still spent pretty aggressively in the first few weeks, as we had drafted a relatively weaker pitching staff compared to most of the league.
It is always very nice to be able to bolster the roster as you, and given that you’re both into the serious analysis side of things, do you think that gives you an advantage in this type of format when it comes to sneaking in lowball bids on guys?
MA: For sure, I think we got some really good games out of guys like Zach Plesac when people were staying away.
AB II: We were able to get some decent deals throughout the season. Each Monday evening we would have a phone call to discuss who to drop, and who to target. We were almost always on the same page, which helped. $33 Tyler Mahle was one of our best pickups, I think.
I can just imagine Mikey putting in a $1 bid on a guy right before submitting a Going Deep on him for review.
MA: That’s pretty much what I asked for a few times!
Ok so that also answers my next question, the only thing I’ve ever “co-managed” is the BestBall Blind Draft stuff so that doesn’t count, but you said “almost always” on the same page, who’s been the most divisive player for the two of you?
MA: Oooohhhhh, probably a pitcher that I like?
AB II: Oooooooo… good question…
MA: I can vividly remember wanting someone and you being like, “Why?”
AB II: Haha that happened a few times in the draft for sure. Robbie Ray was a guy I was not excited to draft, but it clearly worked out well. I think I was most hesitant to pick up Haniger, personally.
Ugh, somebody in my money league grabbed Haniger in the last round, and I was immediately like “oh no he’s gonna go off isn’t he?” and here we are. So I can see how the weekly conference call would work for setting budgets and targets and stuff, but for the initial draft how does the responsibility break down? It’s a slow draft which makes it easier to coordinate, but still…
MA: Austin is pretty much the primary manager, and is almost exclusively the one to reach out so he’ll basically offer up a player, and i’ll offer my thoughts.
AB II: I have a cheat sheet application that we used to determine best values in the draft. I would give a list of suggested picks and we would discuss.
Alright, so a little angel on Austin’s shoulder, got it.
MA: Devil, really.
Now, it’s Tuesday already so I can’t ask your predictions on asking prices for your roster (not that the bids are particularly varied at this point) but looking around League 2, who do you think is looking the best going forward at this point?
AB II: Nick’s team is awesome. My money is on Papa Pollack or Rich Holman.
I have it on very good authority that Rich Don’t Wanna Die [this is his team name], and he does currently lead the pack on money with a whole $31, which does help.
AB II: He didn’t spend ANY until almost halfway through! Wild!
MA: He didn’t spend for weeeeeeeks!
I know how that goes, there are three people in League 1 with over $120 left, Alex has over $300. Now both of you have been writing for PL for a while so for anybody who reads these recaps and is thinking about joining PL+ and maybe the wacky leagues, what would you tell them about the community?
AB II: The PL+ community has to be one of the most open and accepting baseball groups on the internet. While there may be hundreds of us, I often feel like we have a very close-knit mentality of cheering on our own. I personally LOVE the off-topic channels (D&D, TV, movies, etc)!
MA: The fantasy help is unparalleled, so is our community. And yeah, there’s a lot of fun, small perks like that.
Who is the unheralded player I need to pick up right now that will ensure my victory in both guillotine and every other league I’m in?
MA: All of our pitchers.
AB II: Kyle Muller is going to turn around Atlanta’s season!
And any last words you want to get on the record?
MA: Yes, someone please reattach our heads.
I will say I was hoping we could discuss another last-minute come-from-behind victory tonight, I was very much rooting for you this weekend.
AB II: I appreciate your support. Alas, we made the mistake of only having five or six active pitchers and A TON of bench bats. That is the absolute WRONG strategy for a daily moves points league.
MA: We were certainly the underdogs…
Well if you want to hang with the crew and talk baseball or D&D or movies, head on over to the PL+ sign-up page and get on the Discord so you can start prepping for the 2022 Wacky Season.
The Guillotine Leagues
In League 1, it was not Josiah DeBoer’s week, as he went into Sunday afternoon down 179.75 points behind Adam Howe. As we’ve seen, last-minute comebacks aren’t out of the realm of possibility in this format, but I am comfortable saying that’s a deficit that can’t be overcome in a single day. No real way to sugarcoat that one.
As I told Bristow II/Ajeto, there are still three managers in this league with over $120, and that’s even after the spending on Josiah’s players. This week, it was Alex Drennan setting the market, dropping $56 each on Blake Snell and Lucas Giolito. Snell immediately got scratched with a stomach bug, because of course that happens when you spend up to get a guy. Adam Howe also made sure he got his guys on the position side, picking up Juan Soto for $42 and Ronald Acuña Jr. for $30. KingHippo and I locked horns on several bids, with my waiver priority beating his for a $1 Kyle Gibson, and a couple of my $1 bids beating out his attempts at free pickups. I have $12 left and things are a little desperate on Monday nights around here…
In League 2 it was looking like the co-managers were going to eke out a win, but Friday morning saw them up only 7.75 points over Rich Holman. While Bristow II/Ajeto had four starts left to score, Rich had a whopping eight SPs still to go. The week ended up tighter than one might have expected given those numbers, with Nicole Cahill avoiding the blade by a mere 15 points, while Rich finished 27 points over the cutoff.
It might be that finish that prompted him to be the high spender this week, dropping $29 each on Juan Soto (love when the same guy is on the wire in both leagues), Rafael Devers, and Aaron Nola. See, survive long enough and you get first-rounders for peanuts! Guillotine is easy! Rich also picked up Luis Castillo for $9, which may prove to be a real steal if he’s truly back.
We’re down to just five teams in League 1 and six in League 2, and names like Randy Arozarena, Starling Marte, Tim Anderson, Freddie Freeman, and Kyle Schwarber are sitting on the wire, just to give you an idea of how stacked these rosters are at this point.
Grand Theft Baseball
Speaking of Kyle Schwarber, he helped Tina Yu to a win in Grand Theft 1 last week and continues his rampage into this current week. She parlayed that win into a theft of Hyun Jin Ryu, who will join her fave Max Fried on her roster. We also got a trade happening in League 2, with Nicole Cahill sending Clayton Kershaw to Alex Tran in return for Anthony Rendon and Trevor Rogers. Protection lists are down to only seven players, so Nicole wasn’t actually able to protect Rendon this week, but a win meant it didn’t come back to bite her.
League 1: Justin Redler stole Michael Brantley from Benjamin Haller, which is just a good solid pickup, and I appreciate it.
League 2: Collin Carlone pulled off a last-second comeback win against Justin Paradis, and got to add a Jose Berríos to his staff for the trouble.
League 3: Avery Meyer bested Mary Ankenbruck, but his late steal selection meant she got to protect an 8th player, and he had to “settle” for Anthony Rendon. Noah Scott also got to replace erstwhile Baltimore closer César Valdez with Zac Gallen. Not a bad upgrade.
League 4: Scott Sieber ended up with a protection crunch this week, and ended up having to pick between Robbie Ray and Framber Valdez with his last slot. His loss is Doug Carlin’s gain as he got to add Framber.
Categories: Gonna toot my own horn here about my continued ability to lose well, as I am the only categories team with a win pct under .400 as of this writing. That said, I’m running into a dilemma with a few of my players as they have started hitting home runs at alarming paces, even though it seems like every non-dinger outcome is a K. To quote Billy Ray Cyrus: much to consider. Nicole Cahill had the best worst performance of the week, though, winning 7-1 over Alexander Chase, with only her WHIP avoiding a sweep. Her final line was really something:
Points: A rather sedate week across the league, with only two teams breaking 200 points, although Justin Redler did put up a very respectable 360.75 against Alexander Chase (not a great WorstBall week for him…) In what has become a recurring theme, Justin was assisted by a two-start Baltimore SP, this time it was a 70-point performance from Keegan Akin. Myles had the low score of the week, finishing below 100 points thanks to negative point weeks from his entire pitching staff. What are the odds?!
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)