Took a break from the interviews last week and I figured that means we gotta go big this week, so I jumped on a call with The Big Man himself, Nick Pollack. Nick’s been streaming on Twitch every weekday morning, talkin’ shop and recording the First Pitch podcast live, and he’s mentioned that Guillotine has been a rad time, so I figured I should dig a little more into that.
This is actually Nick’s first year in the Wacky Leagues, but you wouldn’t know it from his finishes near the top of League 2 every week so far. We all know Nick’s mantra for drafting is “It’s not BestBall!” and Guillotine is the epitome of that approach given that your roster in week 2 might look wildly different than your draft day, to say nothing of the later weeks.
His draft approach was pretty simple: “It’s important to have an offense you don’t have to think about” and can just set and forget, and then he focused on trying to “get every volume pitcher I can since it’s so hard to get negative starts.” As an example, Danny Duffy pitched 6 innings, giving up 4 ER and taking the L, and that is still worth 8.5 points.
Nick has also taken a page from the KingHippo book and aggressively worked the waiver periods outside of just the big one on Monday. He’s been able to get a lot of value from streaming pitchers with the same volume-based, low-walk approach he took in the draft. It’s also helped that John Means was an 11th round draft pick but is currently the 6th overall SP in the format. Nice when Your Dude ends up being A Dude.
While we were on the call, Nick also placed all of his bids for the Monday waiver period, so we’ll get into that a little more below in the Guillotine Leagues section.
As a reminder, all of the leagues are a mix of staffers and PL+ members, so if you haven’t already, 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, we had to watch as Matt Nielsen fell behind the pack, ending Sunday down 38.75 points behind Christopher Reeves. Matt’s offense didn’t do too poorly, but his pitching didn’t hold up their end of the bargain, with a lot of those Danny Duffy-esque 8.5 point outings rather than the usual 20+ you’d want from your front-end names.
We’ve reached a real stratification of FAAB in League 1, and it showed in the bidding this week. Unsurprisingly the highest price was fetched by Ronald Acuña Jr./strong>, who went to Josiah DeBoer for $220. Freddie Freeman took the second-place spot at $146 to Hunter Denson. But aside from that pair from Atlanta, it was real bargain-bin action as the following names all went for $0: Zac Gallen, Spencer Turnbull (KingHippo got himself a no-no for free!), Starling Marte, Jameson Taillon, and Adolis García.
This meant we got to see the first examples of real waiver jockeying going on, so it’ll be interesting to see if the moneybags like KingHippo and Alex Drennan start “overpaying” to set the market on the names they really want.
League 2 was a great example of the precarious nature of the format, as ZappyAlex got the chop for the same type of pitching underperformance that Matt ran into. However, Zappy’s rotation was absolutely star-studded coming into the week. Nick loaded up the available players while he was on the call with me and actually went “OH BOY!” when he saw who was there. Here’s the rotation that got thrown onto the wire:
This all coming a week after Shane Bieber fetched $702, it’s no surprise that League 2 saw a lot more triple-digit bidding. Nick missed out on the Bieber Fever last week, but has bid what he was willing to pay and didn’t feel like he “missed out on anybody.”
With that said, he snagged himself Jacob deGrom for $518 who should be off the IL any day now. Walker Buehler took the second-highest bid, going to Silversnail for $320, who also picked up Sandy Alcantara and Zach Wheeler for $209 and $191 respectively. That’s a fire sale on pitching, and Silversnail definitely took advantage! Nick was also the beneficiary of attention on the big names as he grabbed Marcus Stroman at a bargain $33. While bidding, Nick also mentioned the “Curse of Zac Gallen” that had befallen League 2, and Justin Paradis paid $10 for the chance to break it.
But as we saw coming into the week from both Matt and Zappyalex, a good rotation on paper is no guarantee that you’ll live to see the end of the season…
Grand Theft Baseball
We’re seeing the effects of win streaks in the Grand Theft Leagues, as the standings have mostly held steady at the top, while folks move around in the middle. In leagues 1 and 2, the top thieves have 5 steals each, and they’ve been able to turn their wins into yet more wins thanks for the format. An exception to the standings note is League 2, where there was a lot of movement in all the positions, points leagues can swing a bit more than categories…
Protection lists were also down to 10 players this week and are only going to get smaller. Since you have to protect players on your IL as well as the active roster, this will put interesting pressure on managers who have Mike Trout on the shelf: a 6-8 week timeline means they have to choose between losing him or losing a player that is potentially producing in the meantime.
League 1: KingHippo stole JT Brubaker from Allen Vaughan, which seemed rude at the time but ended up not working out so well for Hippo this week…
League 2: Adam Sloate forgot to set his protection lists which meant that Collin Carlone got to take José Ramírez. What is this, Guillotine Part 2?!
League 3: TC Zencka and Avery Meyer tied, and swapped Astros, with TC getting Ryan Pressly and Avery adding Kyle Tucker. Symmetry is nice.
League 4: Dave Cherman stole Logan Gilbert from Silversnail, in what has to be one of the most clear-cut cases of theft since Silversnail just spent $30 of FAAB on him on Thursday.
We had no-hitters rostered in both the Categories and Points leagues this week! I believe that marks the third no-hitter to be rostered in WorstBall this season, which is definitely not what you want around these parts.
In Categories, Scott Sieber was the lucky manager, although we won’t see it reflected in the standings until next week. Meanwhile, ZappyAlex can take solace in the best performance of the week, winning 7-1 against TC Zenka. Both managers’ pitching barely took part in the week, with TC’s 8 IP being the higher of the two, Zappy’s offense struck out 13 times to go with a single GIDP and a .294 was enough to take home the week.
Over in the Points league, Wynn McDonald was the one who got to wear Spencer Turnbull’s -31.50 points, but again it applies to the matchup that will be covered in the next installment. Turnbull wasn’t an asset for Wynn last week either, though, putting up -11 points in his previous start. Wynn did win his matchup against Myles, however, helped along but a truly terrible 40 point performance by his catcher Christian Vázquez.
Justin Redler, however, took home the top score of the week thanks to masterful(ly bad) performances by his rotation, getting 35.25 points from Matt Harvey and a whopping 55.50 points from 1.1 innings from Chase Anderson. That’s…something.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)