It’s not all just fun and games over here at Pitcher List, sometimes we all like to really hunker down and focus on only the most serious tests of fantasy skill. Hence, the Wacky Leagues. These leagues are made up of a mix of PL 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 2021 Wacky Season.
The Guillotine Leagues
Week 1 has come and gone and that means two teams in both leagues have gotten The Chop. In League 1, PL+ member Doc Brown and staffer Mary Ankenbruck couldn’t escape the bottom two, while in League 2 the unlucky managers were PL+ member Big Red and staffer uh, *checks notes* Asher Dratel. Ah, wonderful.
With our unceremonious exits from our respective leagues, all of our rosters get dumped back into the Free Agent pool to be picked over bid on by the surviving teams. Notable names in League 1 that were up for auction include Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Rafael Devers, Mike Clevinger, Fransisco Lindor, Giancarlo Stanton, and Josh Hader. In League 2 were such luminaries as Nolan Arenado, Francisco Lindor (again), Jose Altuve, Stephen Strasburg, Jose Berrios, Kirby Yates, Joey Gallo, and Marcell Ozuna.
When it came to spending this week, the highest prices were paid for Francisco Lindor and Nolan Arenado, at $500 and $504 in League 1 and 2 respectively. Managers Austin Bristow II/Michael Ajeto will be adding Lindor (and Trea Turner, picked up for a cool $450) to their roster alongside their existing first-round pick Jacob deGrom in League 1. Manager Chris Nichols will now get to employ the services of Arenado alongside his real-life teammate Charlie Blackmon, and he can also act as a backup for Chris’ first-round pick Alex Bregman. While they are certainly now boasting a formidable roster in League 1, their SS spending spree means that Bris-jet-o(w) only have $50 of their FAAB budget remaining to see them through the season. (Although that still gives them more than Gary Tater, whose six buys have left him only $16 to work with.) In League 2, the spending was much more circumspect, with the lowest remaining balance the $205 left in Justin Paradis’ FAAB pocket.
As far as FAAB bargains go, they were to be found on the pitching side of things: in League 1, mthurlow bet that Tyler Chatwood’s newfound effectiveness is real (53.5 points in week 1) and was able to snag him for $77. In League 2 Noah Scott made a similar bet on Kyle Freeland’s comeback (40 points) for only $55. On the position player side of things, Matt Cava managed to pick up Giancarlo Stanton in League 1 for a mere $105! Joey Gallo generated the most bidding interest, with 8 managers in League 2 placing bids that fell short of Justin’s $355.
As far as the newly chopped, both Mary and I ran into similar issues with key injuries in the opening days putting us in an early hole which was tough to climb out of given the timing of waiver claims and the very fluid nature of the MLB schedule. Such is life trying to outrun the blade.
12 teams remain in each league still vying for the crown, and four more teams will meet their doom at the end of this week. What will Week 2 hold for each contender?
While my attempt at being good at fantasy baseball didn’t go so hot in the Guillotine League, my attempts at being good at being bad are going rather well over in WorstBall Categories. My team leads the league in errors and is currently putting up best-in-class (read: worst-in class) .212 OBP and .248 SLG. On the pitching side, Victor’s staff has given his team a league-leading 7.29 ERA and 1.81 WHIP to go with 16 BBs, tied for first.
Meanwhile, it seems like Corey W managed to accidentally draft a competent offense as they ended their week 1 matchup with a downright respectable .356 OBP and .449 SLG to go with a mere 22 Ks. Scott Chu also got unintendedly brilliant performances from his pitching, ending the week with a sterling 1.60 ERA and 0.98 WHIP to go with along with a paltry 4 BBs and only a single L. That’s real league stuff!
Side note: Trying to draft for blown saves, or even trying to find them on the FA market, is an incredibly maddening feat.
Hitter Of The Week: Adalberto Mondesi. Oh hey, it’s my 3rd round challenge pick. He went 6-for-34 in Week 1 with 14 strikeouts and a whopping 4 errors. Only 1 GIDP but expecting any one man to be a 5-category contributor in this league just seems cruel.
Pitcher Of The Week: Joe Musgrove. It pains me to grant Musgrove this dubious honor, but in week 1 he made both of his starts, taking the L in each while also walking 6 and putting up a 4.76 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. His ratios alone aren’t enough to win (lose?) you a week, but that’s consistent production across two starts that you didn’t really see from anybody else in the opening week.
What badness does week 2 have in store for us now?
While WorstBall Categories is a new venture for all of us, the points version of our league is a nice, familiar holdover from last year’s Wacky Leagues. It’s easier to figure out how to put together a good lineup in points as you can earn points for just about anything. And I’m not the only one who has prior experience here, as about half our league is running it back from last year. It felt good to get a win right off the bat, and it was a hard-fought one at that. With just a few players left on Sunday, Collin Carlone and I were actually tied, and all Collin needed was for the Astros to not come back and for his pitcher, Josh James, to be saddled with the loss. It’s a strange feeling to be rooting for your opponent’s pitcher to not get hit with the loss, but hey, that’s what the wacky leagues are all about.
Prospect soothsayer Alex Isherwood had the most dominant team of the week, scoring a league-high 257 points, in large part due to Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Ryan Weber. Weber scored 75 points, as he got shelled in both starts, giving up four home runs, and taking both losses. He also got big weeks from a trio of AL Central hitters, Niko Goodrum (35.5 points), Salvador Perez (26.5) and Miguel Cabrera (24.5). On the other end of the spectrum, we had poor David Fenko, who only managed 26 points. He was let down by a lot of his players, like pitchers Kyle Freeland and Tanner Roark, and Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas, all of whom scored fewer than negative 15 points. There was no coming back from all those players doing well.
Hitter of the Week: Adalberto Mondesi, once again. His performance was also good for the best in the points league, scoring 54 points during Week 1.
Pitcher of the Week: Ryan Weber. He completely carried Isherwood with his 75 point performance, and it seems as though he’ll still receive a few more chances to keep his strong season going. It doesn’t appear as though the Red Sox have any other options to replace him with at the moment, so let’s see how long Weber’s run can last.
|10||Erik van Rheenen||100.83|
Grand Theft Baseball
I wish I could have stolen a player this week.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy that I’ve survived the first week of the Guillotine League, and that I won both my WorstBall matchups. It’s fun to win and especially fun to win in some of these strange formats. But I wish I could have won my Grand Theft matchup, so that I could have had the thrill of stealing a player from my opposing team. It’s the ultimate wager, I win, I steal a player from you, you win, you steal a player from me. I’m pretty sure those were the rules for at least one of the major Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments (Battle City comes to mind), and I thought that was such a cool concept as a kid. Beat your opponent, take their prized possession. Now that I write it out, it sounds pretty sociopathic, but it was cool on TV and it’s cool in fantasy baseball.
The one nice thing about Grand Theft is that we do take our time ramping things up in this league. As easy as it would be to start off with little-to-no protection from thefts, we aren’t monsters, and we do give teams a good amount of protection to start the season. After Week 1, we were all able to protect up to 15 players from our roster, and that helped soften the blow as we weren’t losing any key players. That doesn’t mean all the players taken were trash though, as there was plenty to like from what was still available. I lost Giovanny Gallegos, who could easily lead the Cardinals in saves this year. Madison Bumgarner, Adam Eaton, Dinelson Lamet, Nick Anderson, Zack Wheeler, and Yuli Gurriel were all stolen this week, all of whom I could easily see being quality players this year. I mean, Anderson came into the season ranked as a consensus top 10 closer with some people ranking him within their top 5.
Here’s hoping I can turn things around and not lose a player two weeks in a row. With this shortened season, we can only protect 12 players after this matchup, and I was already struggling with my list of protected players last week. I would probably have to leave unprotected players like Luke Weaver, Daniel Hudson, and Jorge Polanco, and I really don’t want to do that. So here’s hoping.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)