Week 19 Fantasy Baseball recap

Dead at the deadline

The intro...

Sup dawgs,

As we come down the home stretch toward the playoffs, the trade deadline came and went Sunday without any action. Still, to commemorate the occasion, in Last Harbinger below I've reviewed the four trades made this year to see who came out on top in each swap.

We're also coming up on rivalry week again for the last time, but before we get to that, we had some interesting goings-on this week. Pete continued his descent down the standings with another loss, Oscar kept hope alive for a playoff spot with a strong win, Jesse strengthened his hold on the top spot while I was the second team to clinch a playoff spot with a close victory.

Alright let's do this!

Jesse vs. Niko

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Ducks drop dueces on Niko's Nancies

This was one of those weeks that made me think "Oh yeah, that's why Jesse's in first place." Solid-ass numbers across the board, especially on offense where Paul Goldschmidt led the way as usual. Goldschmidt had himself a damn night on Tuesday, hitting a tying homer in the 9th inning, then the walkoff bomb in the 11th. That's gold, Jesse! Gold! The Tacos added homers from six other guys too (including having a FIVE homer day on Saturday and three total from Trumbo), making it hard for the Nancies to catch up. Niko had a good week from Big Papi with two homers and a .333 average, but the Nancies didn't really have a whole lot else.

Jesse won despite having some brain farts again, leaving guys on the bench for no good reason. Is it complacency from such a long tenure in the top spot (and an official clinching of a playoff spot after last week)? Who knows, but I hope it continues so I can somehow get past him for first place. It definitely did on Monday as he left Hiroki Kuroda on the bench for a solid start (as well as his Yankee teammate Granderson as he hit a homer). Still, the Tacos had some sweet starts from guys like Jordan Zimmermann and Anibal Sanchez. However, the Nancies were able to salvage a few of the pitching categories thanks to guys like Zack Greinke, who was traded by the Tacos and has killed it ever since switching teams (see Last Harbinger below). Niko piled up the saves this week too but it came at a cost, with his closers putting up some crooked numbers along with them. Oh well, this week didn't change much for either team...Niko didn't lose much ground to his challengers for third place, while Jesse crept further ahead in first.

Dan vs. Eliot

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Pigs take Puigs down a peg

I thought the week was getting off to an inauspicious start when Brad Ziegler blew a save...but then he picked up a vulture win when the D-bags won on a walkoff bomb in the bottom half of the inning. I'll take it! That game proved portentous as I had a ridiculous FOUR vulture wins this week from my closers, including another from Ziegler and one each from Addison Reed and Huston Street. I've had some bum luck at times this year, but can't really claim that this week. Eliot on the other hand? Well he had Stephen Strasburg, who got tossed out of the game on Saturday in the second inning. He may have been throwing at guys, based on the recent history between the Braves and Nats, but he also looked wild as hell, so who knows. Either way, I'll take that too! The rest of my pitchers were only so-so...some good starts from Wainwright balanced by turds from guys like Bartolo Colon, who is now injured and I've since sent to the curb. Niko won ERA and WHIP thanks to a stellar as usual start by Clayton Kershaw and the luck of accidentally sitting a shitty outing by Jered Weaver. Oh well.

As for my hitters, I lost ANOTHER guy to injury, Carlos Gomez who sprained his knee making a sweet catch. Flies usually drop onto pigs, but right now it's the Pigs who are dropping like flies, including both CarGos. However, I was still able to win three of the five stats thanks to guys like Longoria and Heyward who had multiple bombs each. There was a lot of shit though...Joey Votto had his first infield pop-up all year, which is a crazy stat, but was also symbolic of his shitty week. Speaking of pop-ups, my guy Starlin Castro got his slacker ass benched this weekend after letting a guy tag up and score on a pop-up in the infield. What an idiot...he has been an annoying guy to have on the Piggies this year (he also hit a cool .053 this week). Eliot took advantage to win homers and RBI. The Puigs had themselves a damn day on Friday, coming up with four jacks, capped by a Justin Upton extra-inning walk-off. They kept the party train going on Saturday with three more bombs. RUDE. As for the weekly update on Eliot's team's namesake, Puig spent his time gunning down another runner but thankfully kept it quiet on offense. Beat it, Yasiel! With the win, I clinch the second playoff spot and get some good momentum going into my matchup with the bozo below.

Pete vs. Aaron

Tom Petty - Free Fallin'
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Pete's free-fallin', Aaron's shot-callin'

This week continued the freefall of Pete down the standings. Not too long ago he was in third place, but now isn't even above .500. It all started in Week 15 when he hilariously sat Tim Lincecum during a no-hitter. I think that's in Pete's head because now, while mostly a derelict in this league, Pete seems to be super vigilant about starting Lincecum. One can only hope it continues to bone him over like this week, when Lincecum of course blew donkey dong. I love it. Pete BARELY avoided a skunking this week, and only because his dumbass got lucky and (accidentally?) benched three starting pitchers on Saturday, including Jeff Locke whose 27 ERA/4.88 WHIP shitshow would have surely caused him to lose those stats. Oh well. Aaron didn't have to do too much to beat Pete in the other pitching stats. Francisco Liriano was able to right the ship after last week's Shitfest, while Aaron also had a nice pickup of former Piggie Alex Cobb, who had a solid start in his first game back since taking a liner to the dome and going on the DL for a while. Meanwhile Pete had zero saves this week. Good job bro.

Aaron was able to sweep the hitting stats with a great average but only so-so power. He was unfortunately late on the Alfonso Soriano pickup, since Soriano tied an MLB record with 18 RBI over a four-game stretch earlier this week. Wow...I was sure that Soriano was on Pete's bench during that stretch, given his fantasy skillz, but he actually was on the waiver wire until the Shits picked him up for the weekend. Aaron made do with a nice week from Joe Mauer, who had five his and four RBI all by his bad self in a single crazy game on Wednesday. Pete had a couple more homers from Chris Davis (what else is new?) but bupkis from the rest of his team. May you continue your shittiness next week against me, friend.

Sean vs. Oscar

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Mongers make playoff push, Gropers give in

This was another near-skunking and a blowout from the get-go on the mound. On Monday Oscar had...well it might be the best single day of pitching this league has seen all year. Three starts, 25 innings, 33 strikeouts and only two runs. Wow. Cole Hamels and Mat Latos supplied some of the goodness, but the star was Yu Darvish, who flirted with a no-no and had to settle for a mere one-run outing and 15 K's. Meanwhile, Sean's Monday was pretty much the exact opposite, with a shitty start from Wade Miley and an even worse outing from his closer Casey Janssen, who gave up four runs to the A's in a single inning. Thus, the poor Gropers dug themselves into a hole too deep for even the most dexterous hands to get their way out of. Speaking of which, Sean picked up the Groper himself, Chad Gaudin! Unfortunately he pitched like he was blackout drunk and stumbling around a hospital, giving up eight runs in his lone start this week to the Marlins, the team that has BY FAR the least number of runs scored in MLB this year. Way to leave those curveballs hanging Chad (Gore/Bush 2000 joke!).

The offensive side was a little more close between these two cellar dwellers, with Sean salvaging the average stat by a mere .001 percentage point. The Gropers' Giant-heavy lineup has generally been a hindrance to his offense (check again where SF is in this list of runs scored), but they hit the jackpot on Friday with a 14-run explosion against the Marlins. Brandon Belt was the main benefactor with four runs while Fat Pablo went 4-for-4 with 3 RBI. Unfortunately the Giants sat Posey so he didn't get any of that good lovin'. For the Mongers, three different guys had two homers each this week, while Mike Trout filled up all five categories as usual with a 6/1/5/2/.391 line. This win allows Oscar to keep faint hope alive for that sixth and final playoff spot. For more, let's jump on down to the predictions.



AARON VS. OSCAR (season series: 1-0-1 Aaron)
Oscar really needs to pay attention this week since he's still within hollering distance of Aaron for that last playoff spot and has a chance to make up some serious ground by playing the guy he's chasing. Oscar was a good friend (TOO good) to Aaron in Week 6...the Shits lost their first five matchups of the year, but the Mongers gave them their first win. Not that Aaron didn't earn it -- he DID have 40+ runs and a .347 average -- but Oscar had a shitty average and subpar pitching to give up a 7-2 win. Oscar truly gave Aaron a gift in their rematch in Week 13, allowing the Shits to salvage a tie by leaving his guy Cliff Lee on the bench for two starts when that would've been the difference in K's and WHIP. I have the feeling Aaron will edge it out this week since he makes moves like crazy (most in the league by far), which when done right can help salvage a category or two when it's close, and that could make all the difference between making the playoffs and going home. Prediction: Aaron, 6-4.

DAN VS. PETE (season series: 1-0-1 Dan)

So are we revisiting the bet from our last matchup that ended in such an unsatisfying tie? Winner gets control of the other's Facebook profile pic for a week as long as it's family-friendly? I am tempted to puss out because my team has been rather shitty lately, but yours has been even worse so I say what the hell. Looking back at our previous matchups, I dropped an R-rated level of peen on you in Week 6 (39/11/46/.316), but you kept it close thanks to some nice pitching. The Week 13 tie is still almost too spicy to think back on, since both of us had the win in our grasp on the weekend only to see it slip away. The Show-Me's pitching carried your ass again that week and will likely have to once more to stop the Piggies from flying high. We both have a shit-ton of injuries, so this one could come down to whoever works that waiver wire game like a boss. I think I win this bitch and will leave no chance for a Sunday night caper like last time. CAWWWWWWWWW Prediction: Dan, 9-1.

JESSE VS. ELIOT (season series: 2-0 Jesse)
Are these guys friends or frenemies? Jesse was not very kind to his buddy Eliot in Week 6, putting up a 8-0 shutout-but-not-quite-skunking. The Tacos were almost comically unlucky to only get one pitching win that week despite some stellar starts, but made up for it by sweeping the hitting categories with a red-hot 38/14/42/5/.302 line. Yowza. The rematch in Week 13 was much more competitive, with a bonehead benching of C.J. Wilson by Eliot helping the Tacos, who nevertheless needed homers in the Sunday night game to clinch a 7-3 win that was much closer than the score suggests. The Puigs have been hot lately before hitting a cold spell against me this week, but I think they turn it on again versus Jesse and edge out a close win. Prediction: Eliot, 5-4.

SEAN VS. NIKO (season series: tied 1-1)

Ah, the ugly stepsister matchup of rivalry week, aka the one between non-friends. The only relevance this one has now is for the sake of playoff seeding for Niko since the #3-6 spots are all pretty bunched together. In Week 6, Sean had *gasp* his first (and only) winning "streak" of the year, beating the Nancies 5-4 for his second straight victory. The Gropers showed they could use those naughty hands to handle some bats, sweeping all five offensive stats that week. Niko did not take kindly to this though, responding with a 9-0 pasting in the Week 13 rematch. The Nancies were a single steal away from the skunking, but nevertheless hit a formidable .300 with a 41/12/47 line. Since Niko still has something to play for while Sean has resorted to novelty pickups (see Gaudin, Chad), I think this rubber match plays out closer to the second battle than the first. Prediction: Niko, 7-2.

Were last week's predictions right? 4-0 (41-24-7 for the year...I don't think I'll do better than last week's predixx...nailed all four, including the exact score for two)

Last Harbinger of Your Wasted Time

It appears no one wanted to make a last-minute deal before the trade deadline passed Sunday. I don't blame us...in such a shallow 8-team league, it's often easier to pick up a good guy off waivers than risk getting your pockets picked in a swap. Nevertheless, we did manage to make four deals this year (with Niko involved in three of them!), so let's review them all to look at who got the better end of each trade.

Trade 1: March 31 - Oscar receives Prince Fielder, Brandon Phillips and Mike Trout/Dan receives Joey Votto, Dustin Pedroia and Carlos Gonzalez.

This preseason blockbuster trade has been better for me so far, based on the current player ranking of each guy from their stats this year. I got CarGo (10), Pedroia (44) and Votto (21), while Oscar got the best guy in the trade, Trout (4), but his other guys Fielder (72) and Phillips (73) have been worse than the first and second basemen he gave up. However, Gonzalez has been on the DL for a bit lately and is not a sure bet for even coming back this year, which could make this trade more even once the season is done. Still, for now I think it's safe to call this...Trade Win: DAN.

Trade 2: April 23 - Aaron receives Adrian Beltre and Adam Jones/Niko receives Kevin Youkilis, Giancarlo Stanton and Michael Morse.

Undoubtedly the trade rape of the year. Aaron got Jones (8th ranked player so far this year) and Beltre (just five behind at 13), for basically a big pile of poop. Stanton is no doubt a big talent, but has been alternately hurt and shitty so far this year, good for only a .238 average, 14 HRs and a player ranking of 417. That's actually the best player Niko got in the trade and the only one still on his team. Morse (ranked 837) and Youkilis (1128!) long ago got sent to the curb by the Nancies. This is the easiest call of the four...Trade Win: AARON.

Trade 3: May 17 - Niko receives Shin Soo Choo/Oscar receives Cliff Lee.

This one is a bit more complicated...Oscar sold high on Choo, who was a top performer earlier in the year but has slipped a bit lately to a player ranking of 70. Cliff Lee (53) has been better, but with a caveat...he's spent several of those good starts on the Mongers' bench! I can't in good faith call this one a win for Oscar when he hasn't even enjoyed the fruits of his successful trade, so we'll have to call this...Trade Decision: DRAW.

Trade 4: June 29 - Niko receives Zack Greinke/Jesse receives Edward Mujica.

The player rankings for these guys (Greinke at 120 and Mujica at 57) don't really do justice to Niko's side of the trade. Greinke's low ranking is due to his extended absence earlier this year from the infamous brawl against the Padres, and that was when he was a Duck Taco. Since the trade, Greinke had a 2.63 ERA in July and has been even better in August, 3-0 with a stellar 0.90 ERA. Niko was selling from a position of strength too...he still has the second-most saves despite trading away a top guy. Still, Mujica HAS been pretty damn good for Jesse: a 1.50 ERA and nine saves in July, and no runs given up yet in August (though only one save), so it isn't like he is totally ruing the trade. Can't come to a conclusion yet on this one, especially since Greinke and Mujica could be the difference in a playoff matchup, so let's call this...Trade Decision: UNDECIDED.

Alright, that's it for now fellas. I'll see you next week, hopefully after some spicy rivalry week shenanigans.