M as in Mancy: A Fantasy Baseball Experiment (Week 20)

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I don't have good news for you guys. The last two weeks have been an exercise in pain tolerance:

Mancy Week 21_1.PNG
Mancy Week 21_2.PNG

It's tough to win when your team's batting .215 with a 7.71 ERA. I'm honestly lucky the above weren't sweeps.

THE GOOD

  • I added Mitch Moreland. He's been hitting .389 with 24 TB the past two weeks.
  • It took all goddamn season, but Manny Machado is finally looking good: .321 with 5 HR and 34 TB in the last two weeks.
  • Mark Melancon and Matt Belisle are pitching well for my bullpen. Too bad Melancon hasn't gotten the closer's role back. 

THE BAD

  • Literally everyone not mentioned above
  • Like, Mookie Betts is batting .240 the last two weeks. 
  • Guys like Mike Foltynewicz, Mike Leake, and Michael Wacha all have double-digit ERAs. A team just can't win relying on these types of starters.

THE UGLY

  • INJURIES. Down the stretch I've lost all of the following to injuries: Michael Conforto, Matt Holliday, Mitch Haniger, Miguel Sano, Michael Brantley, and Matt Shoemaker. And that's just who I've lost in August. Roster depth has disappeared, and my pitching strategy of accumulating counting stats is no longer viable. 

I don't think I'm going to make it. I'm 7.5 games back from a playoff spot, and I play illmatic23 this week (yeah, that colluding douche) and Tony's Team next week. I have to hop 3 other players, and am no longer in control of my own destiny. 

Mancy Week 21_3.PNG

Pray to the Baseball Gods, friends, because I need all the help I can get. 

M as in Mancy: A Fantasy Baseball Experiment (Week 18)

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The "Valiant Playoff Push" isn't going so well.

Week 17

Week 17

Week 18

Week 18

I knew Week 17 would be rough. I was playing the 2nd best team in the league, my pitching shit the bed (I couldn't even win counting stats like Strikeouts, despite having 4 more starts than them!) and I was honestly lucky to tie in the HR and RBI categories.

But Week 18? That was a huge missed opportunity. I was playing the team directly ahead of me in the standings. I outnumbered him in Pitching Starts 11 to 8. It was one of my last "easy" matchups for the next month, and my team blew it. As a result, I slipped from 7th to 8th place. 

But the good news: despite these two weeks I'm still just 1.5 games back from a playoff spot. 

The bad news: there are 4 weeks left in the season, and I play the #1, #5, #4, and #6 teams, in that order. The season may come down to that week 22 matchup with Tony's Team for the final playoff spot. 

THE GOOD

  • Matt Belisle won the closer's role for Minnesota! He promptly blew a save after I picked him up on Saturday, but hey, glass half full. 
  • Along those lines, Mark Melancon is back from the DL. For the first time this season I might actually have two closers on my roster!
  • Manny Machado remembered how to be Manny Machado: in the past 14 days he's hitting .355 with 11 R, 5 HR, 20 RBI, and 43 TB. 

THE BAD

  • My 1B is looking shabby: both Matt Adams and Matt Holliday are batting under .200 in the last month. Thank goodness Miguel Sano has 1B eligibility. 
  • Mookie is slumping hard; .220 average in the last two weeks, and with the fewest counting stats of all my starters. 
  • Most of my pitching staff. I knew I couldn't subsist all season with guys like Mike Fiers, Mike Leake, and Mike Foltyreiruoweiureiwicz in my rotation, but I had really hoped they would hold on longer. 

THE UGLY

  • Injuries! Over the past month I've been juggling injuries to Mark Trumbo, Michael Taylor, Matt Holliday, Michael Brantley, Mark Melancon, and Masahiro Tanaka. And that's not counting players I've dropped (Michael Pineda, Matt Andriese, Matt Shoemaker, Matt Harvey, Mitch Haniger.) Starting Pitching was extremely deep at the start of the season, but now it's so thin I may need to rethink my strategy going down the stretch. 

M as in Mancy: A Fantasy Baseball Experiment (PITCHFORK EDITION)

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This week is going to be devoted to something fun: fantasy league drama. But first, the Mancies performance last week:

My offense is a steaming shitbucket right now. Mark Trumbo and Mitch Haniger both hit the DL (sorry about your face, Mitchy), and the rest of the team is putting up 0-fers almost every night. We've had some bad luck. We're right at .500, two games back from a playoff spot.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way: on to the drama! It all started two months ago, when this trade popped up in our league: 

At the time, Blackmon was the #1 ranked player in our league's stats (he's now #4). And deGrom was God-awful. In our league, trades can be vetoed if a majority of the owners think they're fishy. A discussion post was made, and owner illmatic23 wasn't able to defend his reasoning for the trade, so a majority of owners vetoed it. Normally, I'm not one to over-analyze trades or veto them. Unbalanced trades can be totally justified if a team has a big enough need, and if someone wants to weaken their team in one area to strengthen them in another, then that's their business. But illmatic23 graciously said he understood the league's reason for the veto. 

Fast forward to yesterday, when the following trade pops up again between those two owners:

Another owner immediately created a message board post calling them out for this. illmatic23 defended it by saying (paraphrased), "I'm desperate for a closer. Greg Holland is a beast, and I don't really need Blackmon." The accusation that the two owners know each other was made, which illmatic23 denied.

Putting aside how pants-on-head crazy lopsided this trade is, his "I'm desperate for a closer," rationalization makes no sense. His team has Wade Davis, Cody Allen, and Fernando Rodney, which have accumulated a total of 78 saves for him, the 2nd most in our league. 

At this point, a lot of owners' jimmies are rustled in the discussion thread. The trade is quickly vetoed. A few minutes later another trade pops up:

This one is a lot more "reasonable." Normally I would never look twice at this trade. 

But here's the thing. Owner "Finding Trevor Story" is someone I've tried to acquire Max Scherzer from half a dozen times. He's always ignored my messages and trade requests. He doesn't even respond, never posts on the message board, has never made any trades with anyone else in the league. Yet he's constantly attempting lopsided trades with illmatic23, who claims to not know him. And then, after being called out on such a lopsided trade, they almost instantaneously come up with a new one, like they're trying to banish suspicions. 

So I peeked at their Yahoo fantasy account histories. 

GET YOUR PITCHFORKS OUT, BOYS!

Both accounts became active in 2005. Both accounts join the same fantasy leagues every year, in football and basketball and baseball. Hell, back in 2005 they had almost identical team names: Virginia Wolfpack, Virginia Lancers, Virginia Gangstas. illmatic23 has tried to cover it up by marking many of his teams as "hidden" (including the league we're in this year) but he didn't do it for every one. 

So they're in all the same leagues, they claim to not know each other, and they're pushing the most lopsided trades I've ever seen in my 10+ years playing fantasy baseball without any believable explanation. It's clear what's going on: this is one person with two separate accounts, team-stacking his rosters depending on need.

Obviously there's not much we can do about it this late in the season. The two owners are ranked #1 and #4, so they're not just going to "fade away" at the bottom of the standings. But at the very least I can publicly shame them, and hopefully alert everyone else in the league. This morning I created a new message board post calling the two owners out on it, citing the above proof.

Now it's time to kick their asses, either in the regular season or the playoffs. The Mancies have got themselves some villains, you guys! 

M as in Mancy: A Fantasy Baseball Experiment (1st Half Review - Pitchers)

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I ran into a juggernaut of an offense in last week's matchup, but still somehow managed to squeak out a 6-5 win. That doesn't help me much in the standings, though; I'm still in 7th place, barely missing out on a playoff spot.

I made some changes to my roster. I dropped Matt Wieters and replaced him with Manny Pina, who has rewarded my vigilance by batting .400 since then. I also added Maikel Franco (who is hot right now) and Miguel Rojas to be a fill-in for other guys. We're at the part of the season where I can't have any wasted days due to a player having the night off. We're fighting for every at bat, and I need that middle infield depth. 

Today we're going to talk about pitching. The part where the guy stands on the thing and throws the ball at the other guy. Here's how the roster looks right now:

THE MONARCHS

  • Marcus "Literally My Only Legit Ace" Stroman
  • Mike "This Is Not A Typo" Leake

Mike Leake is an "Ace" on this team. That's the sorry state of affairs. Worse, I'm skeptical Leake will continue to pitch at this level. Tanaka, Estrada, and Harvey (dropped) were all supposed to be in this category.

THE MID-RANGE MARINES

  • Mike "Please Ignore My FIP" Fiers
  • Mike "Best Scrabble Points Name" Foltynewicz
  • Mike "Greasy Stoner Chick" Clevinger
  • Michael "I'm not dead yet!" Wacha

A passable group of guys. Foltynewuiwroiserwicz and Clevinger run the risk of being shut down in September (they pitched 150 and 146 innings in 2016, respectively) but that's a problem for the Future Mancies, so we'll let those guys worry about it. 

THE MEH

  • Masahiro "Sunk Cost" Tanaka
  • Marco "Sunker Cost" Estrada

I drafted these guys really high and am too proud to drop them, like a battered spouse. I don't wanna talk about it.

THE MERCENARIES

Mancy Review 5.PNG

These are guys who I've been rotating in and out when I need to collect Wins/Strikeouts/Quality Starts. Mostly it's a rotation of Garza, Perez, Gonzalez, and occasionally Boyd. Mike Montgomery was getting me some great starts until the Cubs inexplicably moved him to the bullpen like a buncha jerks. 

Most annoying on this list? Michael Pineda, Matt Andriese, Matt Shoemaker, and Matt Harvey. The first two were pitching great for me before getting injured, and the latter two were just shitty overall. Injuries are extra harmful when you don't have much M-depth.

THE MOONLIGHTERS

Did someone say injuries? Let's talk about my reliever situation!

  • Mark Melancon: currently on the DL. Also, he sucks. Also, the Giants suck. 
  • Matt Bush: owned by another fantasy manager who refuses to trade him. Also, he sucks.
  • Matt Albers: I had him for a while, hoping to get some saves in the trainwreck of a Nationals bullpen, but Dusty Baker hates me and also they just acquired a bunch of good Padres relievers.
  • Matt Grace: why did Dusty Baker give this garbage time loser more save opportunities than Matt Albers this is bullshit dude wtf. 
  • Michael Lorenzen: sometimes I nab him when it looks like he'll have a vulture save opportunity. But he rarely does. Also, he sucks. 
  • Matt Albers: sometimes has a vulture save opportunity (but not really). 
  • Mike Minor: currently occupying one of my RP slots to help with my ERA and WHIP and maybe snag a Win here and there.
  • Mychal Givens: same as Mike Minor, but in orange. 
  • Michael Feliz: like a poor man's Mike Minor or Mychal Givens. Not currently on my team. 

So what has the above shit-show of a pitching staff gotten me in my fantasy league? 

  • W: 3rd
  • SV: 12th (lol)
  • K: 3rd
  • ERA: 10th
  • WHIP: 11th
  • QS: 1st

And my week-by-week breakdown of pitching matchups:

  • Week 15: 4-1-1
  • Week 14: 3-3-0
  • Week 13: 5-0-1
  • Week 12: 2-2-2
  • Week 11: 2-4-0
  • Week 10: 5-1-0
  • Week 9: 0-5-1
  • Week 8: 0-4-2
  • Week 7: 3-3-0
  • Week 6: 3-3-0
  • Week 5: 3-2-1
  • Week 4: 6-0-0
  • Week 3: 2-3-1
  • Week 2: 6-0-0
  • Week 1: 0-6-0
  • TOTAL: 44-37-9

Look at how goddamn passable that is! The quantity vs quality strategy is working! Most of the time I win the Wins, Strikeouts, and Quality Starts categories. Saves are a punt right now, and ERA/WHIP are a coin-toss. I can live with that. 

Things aren't going to get easier. But we've got a chance. For a team made up entirely of M-named players, what more could I ask for? 

M as in Mancy: A Fantasy Baseball Experiment (1st Half Review - Hitters)

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We made it through the first half of the season, everybody! And we're over .500! (Cue sad party kazoo)

But we've got work to do. We're still 2.5 games back from a playoff spot, and it's only gunna get tougher down the stretch. It's time to review the team, the expectation, and our plan going forward. This week we'll focus on the hitters. Depth charts are below, with replacements available via waiver wire.

Catcher

  • Matt Wieters: 27 R, 7 HR, 37 RBI, 1 SB, 102 TB, .249 AVG
  • Mike Zunino: 28 R, 13 HR, 39 RBI, 0 SB, 101 TB, .233 AVG
  • Manny Pina: 28 R, 6 HR, 29 RBI, 0 SB, 91 TB, .295 AVG
  • Martin Maldonado: 26 R, 10 HR, 28 RBI, 0 SB, 105 TB, .245 AVG

Going into the season Wieters was just about my only choice at Catcher, and we knew it'd be a weak position, but he's performed poorly enough that there's lots of contention. I'm seriously considering dropping Wieters for one of the others, but they all have their pros and cons. I'm leaning towards Pina; he's heated up in June/July, and has similar stats to the others in ~60 fewer at-bats.

Outlook: meh

First Base

  • Matt Adams: 34 R, 15 HR, 43 RBI, 0 SB, 128 TB, .286 AVG
  • Matt Holliday: 37 R, 16 HR, 48 RBI, 1 SB, 125 TB, .245 AVG
  • Mitch Moreland: 42 R, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 0 SB, 132 TB, .249 AVG
  • Matt Davidson: 31 R, 18 HR, 43 RBI, 0 SB, 128 TB, .242 AVG
  • Mike Napoli: 35 R, 20 HR, 42 RBI, 0 SB, 123 TB, .203 AVG

I started the season with Mike Napoli alone, eventually dropping him for Matt Holliday when he fell onto the waiver wire. Matt Adams joined the team after being traded to the Braves. I'm still happiest with these two platooning and utilizing the UTIL roster spot (get it? Utilizing?) and won't look at any of the others barring an injury or hot streak. 

Outlook: good enough

Second Base

  • Matt Carpenter: 54 R, 14 HR, 45 RBI, 2 SB, 142 TB, .253 AVG
  • Miguel Rojas: 12 R, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 2 SB, 26 TB, .338 AVG

Yep. That's about it for this position. Thankfully Carpenter has been playing well enough and rarely takes a day off. Rojas went down with a fractured thumb in May, and was just reactivated yesterday, so he might be a great backup option should anything happen (he's also eligible at 1B, 3B, and SS).

Outlook: need a reverse-voodoo-doll for Matt Carpenter that I give massages to

Third Base

  • Miguel Sano: 59 R, 22 HR, 63 RBI, 0 SB, 170 TB, .273 AVG
  • Matt Davidson: 31 R, 18 HR, 43 RBI, 0 SB, 128 TB, .242 AVG
  • Maikel Franco: 35 R, 14 HR, 49 RBI, 0 SB, 137 TB, .230 AVG

I started the season with both Sano and Franco. The former chose to rise to the occasion on the Mancies. The latter chose to phone it in, and was dropped back in May. Thankfully Sano has been a BAMF, leading the team in just about every category. As for the depth: Davidson is hot garbage (his AVG by month is .286-.253-.239-.194) and Franco is actually showing signs of coming around, hitting .286 in July with only 4 strikeouts. Another hot day or two and he'll earn a spot back on the team.

Outlook: neato burrito and getting better

Shortstop

  • Manny Machado: 40 R, 18 HR, 48 RBI, 5 SB, 155 TB, .239 AVG
  • Miguel Rojas: 12 R, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 2 SB, 26 TB, .338 AVG
  • Marcus Semien: I don't have the heart to type it out here

Manny was my first draft pick, and he picked a super inconvenient time to have a down year. Still, his numbers are okay. Marcus Semien hit 27 HR last season but has been injured most of this year, so he's at least worth keeping an eye on, but for now it's the Machado Show.

Outlook: tepid bathwater

Outfield

  • Mookie Betts: 65 R, 17 HR, 57 RBI, 16 SB, 185 TB, .274 AVG
  • Mark Trumbo: 59 R, 15 HR, 47 RBI, 1 SB, 153 TB, .253 AVG
  • Michael Brantley: 32 R, 5 HR, 39 RBI, 10 SB, 114 TB, .297 AVG
  • Michael Conforto: 50 R, 16 HR, 46 RBI, 2 SB, 134 TB, .282 AVG
  • Mitch Haniger: 35 R, 7 HR, 23 RBI, 3 SB, 83 TB, .265 AVG
  • Manuel Margot: 23 R, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 10 SB, 95 TB, .259 AVG
  • Michael A. Taylor: 40 R, 12 HR, 35 RBI, 10 SB, 123 TB, .278 AVG

It's a mixed bag, here. Mookie (acquired via trade) has been stellar, as has Brantley (though in reduced time due to injury). Conforto and Haniger and Taylor were dice-rolls and have panned out nicely. But then there's Mark Trumbo, whose drop in power is alarming and annoying, and Manuel Margot, who doesn't excel at much of anything and is still trending downward. But it's a deep position, so I'm not worried; Betts/Brantley/Conforto are a fine core netting me tons of points, with Taylor and Trumbo shifting between OF and UTIL slots. There's lots of others available that I didn't list, but that's alright. This is the one position where I don't lose sleep at night.

Outlook: gumdrops and rainbows

Overall

So how do we stack up in the league?

  • R: 7th
  • HR: 5th
  • RBI: 4th
  • SB: 10th
  • TB: 7th
  • AVG: 9th

Honestly? That's pretty darn good. We're middle of the road! And some of the stats (like SB) will improve after acquiring guys like Betts and Taylor. And here's the big thing: we're super streaky. Here's how our offensive matchups have looked this year:

  • Week 14: 1-4-1
  • Week 13: 6-0-0
  • Week 12: 0-6-0
  • Week 11: 5-0-1
  • Week 10: 0-6-0
  • Week 9: 6-0-0
  • Week 8: 1-5-0
  • Week 7: 4-2-0
  • Week 6: 1-4-1
  • Week 5: 6-0-0
  • Week 4: 5-1-0
  • Week 3: 2-4-0
  • Week 2: 0-6-0
  • Week 1: 3-3-0

We're either hot or cold, alternating depending on the week. And streaky teams can make a hell of a run in the playoffs. All we need to do is get there.

Next week: pitching! (that thing chicks dig less than the long ball)