M as in Mancy: The Fantasy Baseball Experiment Is Dead

RIP Mancies. We finished in 7th place, narrowly missing out on the playoffs.

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In the end, we just weren't a great team down the stretch; I lost 6 of my final 7 matchups. The chance was there, and we couldn't capitalize. And I have to admit that I'm a little butthurt about it, because the #6 guy is roaring through the playoffs and has made it to the Finals:

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But hey. Tom Hanks tells me there's no crying in baseball, fantasy or otherwise.

So let's review. What went wrong?

THE DRAFT

I had a great draft plan based on the availability of M names at certain positions, which I practiced across half a dozen mock drafts. But it just didn't turn out the way I'd hoped. 

  • There were 6 players with M names in the Top 20: Trout, Betts, Machado, Cabrera, Scherzer, and Bumgarner. In all of my mock drafts I was able to get 2 of the 6 (usually Machado and a pitcher), but in the actual draft Bumgarner and Scherzer were taken in the two picks before mine. This left me with an ENORMOUS gap, requiring me to draft Tanaka with my second pick.
  • Marcel Ozuna was averaging as a 10th round pick. My plan was to reach for him in the 8th. Someone else super-reached for him in the 6th, and he ended up having an MVP caliber year.
  • Mike Moustakas was another player I was targeting, but who got scooped up by another player much earlier than his draft position led me to anticipate. He also went on to have an MVP caliber year.

THE SEASON

I made some mistakes.

  • I had my eye on Marwin Gonzalez as a waiting-in-the-wings super utility player. He plays every position, and he's never been any good, so I suspected he would always be available on the waiver wire in case I suffered an injury. Nope: he has a monster first week of the season and is scooped up by someone else. 
  • Closers was my big weak spot all year. I drafted Mark Melancon and Matt Bush, with the assumption that the latter would win his closer's role. He did, but only for a time, and I mismanaged my waiver wire and lost him. It ended up not mattering because he only collected 10 saves all season, and Melancon only collected 11. Tough to win when you're unintentionally punting on a category. 
  • I made a big trade mid-season: Matt Kemp and Michael Fulmer for Mookie Betts. Mookie then posted a .695 OPS in July, and .658 in August. He bounced back in September, but by then it was too late. 
  • Another difficult part of this year: trades were rare. Most of the fantasy owners completely ignored all trade requests, which makes it tough to juggle an M-name only team. 

THE INJURIES

Yeah, it's shitty to blame failure on injuries, but it's especially damaging to a gimmick team with very little depth. Especially late in the season.

  • Michael Conforto: season-ending injury on August 24.
  • Mitch Haniger: missed 6 weeks from April 25 to June 11, and another 2 weeks in August.
  • Matt Holliday: missed all of August.
  • Miguel Sano: my team MVP went down on August 19 and hasn't been back since.
  • Michael Brantley: missed 2 weeks in June, and then a season-ending injury on August 8. 
  • Matt Shoemaker: season-ending injury on June 14. 
  • Matt Harvey: missed most of June, all of July, and all of August. 
  • Michael Pineda: season-ending injury on July 5. 
  • Matt Andriese: missed all of June, July, and August. 
  • Michael A. Taylor: missed 6 weeks in July/August.

Those are just the big injuries that affected me in August; I went 1-9, 4-6, 2-8, and 2-8 that month. Needing to scrape the bottom of the barrel for roster spots certainly didn't help. The pitching injuries were especially debilitating; I was using a quantity-over-quality strategy for starting pitching, and the losses to Shoemaker/Harvey/Pineda/Andriese made this strategy impossible. 

But hey, them's the breaks when you run a gimmick fantasy baseball team. Overall, I'm pleased with how the Mancies did. We were solid, always in the hunt and hovering around a playoff spot until the very end. It was fun, even when it wasn't, and that's all you can really ask for.

Thanks for keeping up with the team all year! I'll absolutely be back again next season with a new smile and a new gimmick, hopefully competing a little more, well, competitively. 

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

Not sure what all this M business is about? Catch up here:

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

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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. 

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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 ('MURICA EDITION)

Wondering what all this M-business is about? Catch up here:

 A sneak peek at a Mancies scouting meeting

A sneak peek at a Mancies scouting meeting

Happy almost-fourth-of-July edition, everybody! I've got a fun piece of off-topic news for you: my wife and I bought a craft brewery. Well, a share in a craft brewery. It will be opening here in Fort Worth this winter. 

Now that the important beer-related news is out of the way, let's catch up on how the Mancies are doing from the past 3 weeks!

Week 11yikes. It's a good thing my offense showed up, because my pitchers were about as effective as a wind sock in a tornado. I got 11 starts from my pitchers, and collected zero Wins. Look at that 8.08 ERA. Walking away winning 7-4 almost feels like cheating.

Week 12: life ain't fair. I was beating the #1 player in the league 7-3 going into the last day, and then on Sunday my team batted .097 with zero runs, zero HR, zero RBI, and 3 TB. My opponent had Cody Bellinger, who single-handedly passed me in most stats by hitting 2 HR with 4 RBI and 9 TB on Sunday. I was going to do a write-up last week but I was too busy pouting from this loss.

Week 13: but the Mancies aren't out of it! Led by the recently-acquired Mookie Betts, we won every offensive category and all but one pitching category. Even the starters I benched on Saturday and Sunday (since I couldn't be caught in those categories) racked up wins and quality starts. 

That week catapults me back above .500, and in 6th place in the standings, which puts me in line for a playoff spot. Can we end the season right now? Pretty please? 

THE GOOD

  • Did I mention I have Mookie Betts now? Dude's batting .330 with 6 HR, 7 SB, and 67 TB in the last month.
  • Matt Adams is leading the team with 10 HR and 68 TB in the past month.
  • I snagged Michael A. Taylor two weeks ago, and he's rewarded the Mancies by batting .390 since then. 

THE BAD

  • Manny Machado and Mark Trumbo are hitting .231 and .215 over the last month, respectively. Two of my earliest draft picks, and they've decided to have a down year when I need them most. Maybe they're saving up all the awesome for my glorious playoff run? 
  • Michael Pineda has a 4.71 ERA over the past month. 
  • In typical AL East competitiveness, Marco Estrada decided to one-up Pineda by posting a 7.88 ERA over the past month.
  • I've been holding Matt Albers, since the Nats are supposedly doing Closer By Committee. But how many saves does Albers have in the past 6 weeks? Zero. Thanks a lot, Dusty Baker. 

THE UGLY

  • Just over a month ago, I tried to acquire Matt Bush so I would have two closers. The other team wouldn't budge. Well he just lost the closer's role, so that would have been an awfully ugly move if it had happened.
  • Injuries! My league only has 2 DL slots, yet I've got Conforto, Holliday, Melancon, and Shoemaker all on the DL. And considering the current state of M-name depth in the league, I can't really afford to drop any of them because I can't assume they won't be picked up by someone else. So they're wasting roster spots for the time being. 
  • Thanks to injuries, and my lack of DL slots, I finally dropped Matt Harvey. RIP Dark Knight. 

That's pretty much the gist of things. Are there any M-named prospects who might be getting call-ups soon? Or any other players that may have slipped through my radar? Let me know! 

M as in Mancy: A Fantasy Baseball Experiment (Week 10)

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We have things to discuss.

First of all, my dreams came true and Koda Glover went on the DL after slipping in the shower while masturbating (or something), which promoted Matt Albers to the role of closer. Awesome! Whistling We Are The Champions to myself, I opened up my browser and went to the Yahoo Fantasy page so I could--

SON OF A BITCH. I missed him by 10 minutes. And to make matters worse, the owner who snagged him is the same guy who has Matt Bush and won't trade him. He's got the M-closer market cornered. 

But that's okay, dear Mancy fans. Because I finally pulled off a big trade. Mookie Betts, welcome to the Mancies! 

Now, let's be clear: this trade is slightly unbalanced. In a vacuum, right now, Kemp and Fulmer are worth more than Mookie. But I had to give up something good to pry away the #2 draft pick, and I feel good about what I've done.

Firstly, I'm betting on Matt Kemp regressing. He's got a .384 BABIP, and his current average of .327 is waaaaay above what he's done in the past four years (he's averaged .268, .265, .287, and .270.) Not to mention his .559 SLG is the second-highest of his career, behind his incredible 2011 season. With Freddie Freeman injured, Kemp is the only real power in the Braves lineup. He's going to start getting pitched around, and my league doesn't count BB as a stat. Already he's slashing .250/.283/.318 for the month of June. I feel real good about trading high. 

That leaves Michael Fulmer. I liked Fulmer on my team, and honestly expect him to keep performing well, even if his HR/FB ratio is worryingly low. But I needed to take a good, long look at my fantasy strategy. My goal for the pitching stats is quantity over quality: trying to snag Wins, QS, and K, while not necessarily caring about ERA or WHIP. This is especially important because, right now, many of the big M-named pitchers are struggling. Two Aces I was relying on, Tanaka and Harvey, are having shit-the-bed years. Fulmer is wasted on such a team. 

So let's look at Mookie Betts. He's underperforming; his .276 BABIP is way below what I would expect someone of his speed, and his Hard Hit Ball % has actually gone up from last year with not much to show for it. So I expect all of that to improve. Then, there's the steals. I really need some help in the Steals category, because right now I'm essentially punting on it: my team's 23 SB puts me in 10th out of 12 teams, and many of those were from Manuel Margot before I dropped him. 

Yeah, it's a gamble. I'm betting on both Kemp and Betts regressing back to the means, which ain't a sure thing. But with Mookie instead of Kemp I'm improving in every offensive category except maybe HR. I think it's a good move. I feel good about it. We'll see.

Other than that, I'm not going to talk much about my team. They sucked last week, and I lost every single offensive category, yet I somehow squeaked out a 5-7 score. That's a win.

I still have Mark Melancon sitting around, wasting a roster spot, doing fuck-all to help me compete in the Saves category. Matt Andriese came off the DL this weekend, pitched 1.0 innings, then promptly went back on the DL. I've been streaming guys like Mike Montgomery, Mike Clevinger, Mike Minor, and Mike Fiers. It's Mikes all the way down. Here's my full transaction list for the past few weeks, a timeline documenting my desperation for those of you looking for some schadenfreude (sidenote: I spelled schadenfreude right on the first try. I'm gunna call that a good omen.)

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