Wacky Leagues Week 14: A Spooky Ghost

Off with my head!

Ah, the All-Star Break, the Seventh Inning Stretch of the season. (Does that analogy work at all? I don’t think it does but what’s done is done.) I know I originally said I was gonna check in on the “normal”-format leagues where rosters don’t change much week-to-week, but that’ll happen next week since there won’t actually be any updates on the regularly scheduled leagues. But anyway, this week I got to talk to PL’s own Nicole Cahill about her experience in The Big Three this season so far.

Asher Dratel: Ok, so we’ll begin with the standard opener: How many leagues are you in this year, wacky or otherwise?
Nicole Cahill: In 6 leagues (3 are Wacky) and I was the commish for 2 home run derby leagues! Wait! I forgot a wacky one! So it’s actually in 7, 4 are wacky.

Oh, that’s always fun, are [the home run derby leagues] draft and hold or in-season managed?
All of the ones I’m in except the blind draft league are managed in-season. The HR Derby leagues were BestBall, top 5 of 6 hitters. Those were first half of the season leagues for charity.

Ah, right, I meant to sign up for one of those! I was in an in-season moves dinger league once. That meant some amazing transactions, like when I dropped Acuña Jr for Gary Sanchez. As far as the wacky leagues go, I wanted to actually start with the WorstBall team. I looked expecting to see a team made up of guys who were accidentally good, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, have you just been getting brutally unlucky?
Slightly embarrassing, but I didn’t understand or realize how the worstball league was set up until about a month into the season. I thought it was draft and hold because I’m not used to the weekly lineup leagues so I just figured we couldn’t make any transactions or set lineups :woman_facepalming_tone1: but then I started adding and dropping guys. I just checked the first few weeks and my pitching was pretty good (or terrible for worstball). In week 5, I had a 2.53 ERA and 0.88 WHIP.

So given that you thought it was draft-and-hold, who ended up being the biggest boom and biggest bust from your draft?
MadBum was my biggest bust. I grabbed him early on in the draft and he was in my lineup when he threw those 7 no-hit innings and he hasn’t been as bad as I anticipated. I guess Jay Bruce was almost too big of a boom because he got DFA’d.

Um excuse me he retired at the peak of his game! (Please do not look at his stats or the Yankees record, thank you.) [Author’s note: Oh my goodness Jay Bruce played for the 2021 Yankees, that actually happened.]
Oh my gosh he retired?? Maybe it was someone else who got DFA’d…

Pujols got DFA’d, but now he’s mashing on the Dodgers so who knows what’s going on there.
One hot streak can tank a worstball team!

Ok so you Reeves’d WorstBall by not knowing the format, but how’re things going in Grand Theft? That’s a little more straightforward…
Grand theft has been fun! But twice I’ve been duped by Yahoo scoring changes and end up being stolen from instead of the one doing the stealing, but I love that one and guillotine.

Sadly I lost my head this week in Guillotine, but you pulled off an amazing come-from-behind victory, were you watching the points all night or did you just let the chips fall as they may?
I thought I was dead all week and then on Sunday the update completely caught me by surprise. I couldn’t believe it. I try not to check too much and obsess over it! How long did you think you were gonna last?

Definitely not this long! I’m sad to be done, but definitely happy with how I did given that I was a first week casualty last year. I know over in League 2 none of you have FAAB money left, so what’s your plan in the coming weeks?
I have $5 left, two have $4, and the last one $0 so I’m trying to decide if I should use $4 on DH Shohei or Woodruff. What would you do?

I just threw $1 at a bunch of dudes the last few weeks and it worked out pretty well, so I guess I would recommend that? But then again, I’m dead now…
Not a bad idea because those two will probably be the guys most will go after, I just don’t want to pick up 0 this week and then get killed off.

It’s always a tightrope trying to keep a buck or two to get Your Guys later on.
Yeah, this season is the first time I’ve been in more serious leagues with FAAB, so it’s been interesting navigating that aspect of it.

Is this your first year doing the Wacky Leagues?
Yeah, I’m new here this season!

It’s been interesting watching the dynamic between the grizzled vets trying to chase specific strategies and the newbies just going for it this year. Did you do any specific prep for the leagues, or just dive in?
I did some light prep, kind of tallying a few top guys at each position based on the stats kept in each league, but nothing major. When it got into the later rounds in the drafts, I had no idea what I was doing; I was just winging it!

I’ve said it before but the point where your WorstBall draft starts to line up with your “normal” scoring drafts is always a hilarious moment.
Oh my gosh yes, I felt icky drafting guys in the later rounds of worstball who aren’t that bad.

I always feel like I need to apologize to some of the guys. So now that you’ve lived through half a wacky season, what would you say to anybody who’s been thinking about joining PL+ and getting in on the action?
Wow! Let me think…PL+ is full of incredibly brilliant people who cultivate conversations that help me grow as a baseball fan, but the wacky leagues embody some of my favorite parts of the community. Enjoying and celebrating some of the weirder and wilder parts of baseball is something fans don’t do enough and this season’s PL+ wacky leagues have given me the opportunity to do that with passionate baseball fans who I now call my friends. Sorry I feel lots of emotions so I hope it isn’t too sappy!

No, that’s great!

Also, if you haven’t already, heed Nicole’s sappy words and 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

 

Well, there shouldn’t be any top-line surprises for anybody who read my conversation with Nicole. I had a great run in League 1 but a very underwhelming week for my pitching staff combined with the treachery of time zones meant I ended up on the chopping block. Before my untimely death, however, I received the highest praise one can get:

So hey, I guess I can’t be too upset with a 4th place finish even though gazing at an empty roster is a sad time…

Alex Drennen and KingHippo have embraced an incredibly aggressive streaming strategy at this point (Alex is also going all pitching, with only three rostered position players,) giving them each 90+ point leads over Adam Howe last week. The wire is gonna be worked next week, I can assure you that. It’s a break for fantasy players too, and KingHippo was the only one who picked up any FAAB purchases with Lance Lynn costing the most at $7.

In League 2, Nicole went into Saturday night down 46.25 points to Rich Holman and I thought I had my counterpart in elimination…but then less than 24 hours later she was sitting 57.50 points over him. Adam noted “I knew I was in trouble after the last two days. Then Nola gets scratched and things are bleak…” Swings and roundabouts, folks.

Nicole did end up throwing $4 of her remaining FAAB at Shohei Ohtani the pitcher, but there were a flurry of $0 and $1 bids this week. In total, Callen Elslager picked up three players, Nicole picked up four, and Charley Butcher went big with six pickups. That means Nick Pollack is the odd man out with zero moves coming into the week. Bold strategy, we’ll see how it pans out for the boss.

 

Grand Theft Baseball

 

Grand Theft 1 got a dramatic finish to the week as Tina Yu and Justin Redler were tied at the top while also being barely separated in HR, OBP, and ERA.

They ended up flipping on ERA and OBP, but the result remained a tie, which must have been a relief for both managers, in the end.

Notable thefts:
League 1: Donny Moskovits made off like a bandit, stealing Jose Altuve from Allen Vaughan. Six-man protection lists are brutal!
League 2: Liefmeyer also made a big upgrade at 2B, boosting Marcus Semien from Christian Mack.
League 3: Not all thefts are in yet, but ZachTipp added John Means to his roster, which isn’t a huge move alone, except that he dropped Ronald Acuña Jr. to do it. Sad times.
League 4: Silversnail was the only player to get their theft in by the time this article was submitted, so his Framber Valdez pickup is the most notable by default!

Grand Theft Standings

 

WorstBall

 

Categories: Adam Howe’s team “Howe Bad Can They Be” continues to answer its own question, going 7-0 against Nicole (sorry, Nicole!) despite continuing to roster Germán Márquez, who has been almost ace-like in this first half. We also had a tiebreaker situation between Liam Casey and Scott Sieber, who both ended the week with a .302 OBP. Did you know: In the case of a tie, Yahoo breaks the stat out to eight decimal places? Very thorough, although Scott only needed out to the fourth to win.

Points: A rather sedate affair last week, as the highest score, from Collin Carlone (hey, good for Collin!) clocked in at only 233 points. Collin needed every single one of them though, as he was up against Myles’ second-highest total at 230.75. A 30.75 point week from Kolby Allard helped put him over the top, although his team MVP ended up being (sigh) Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

WorstBall Standings

 

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Asher Dratel

Asher hails from Brooklyn, wears a 2008 Joba Chamberlain jersey to every Yankees game he attends, and pronounces BABIP funny. Appreciator of Beefy Lad dingers and beers.

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