Archive for the ‘Darkhorses’ Category

2023 Season Preview: Part IV

Monday, April 3rd, 2023

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It is now time for the final installment of the 2023 DTBL season preview series.  If you thought we’d seen the last of projected ties after the last section where three teams were slotted to finish tied for fourth place, you’d be wrong.  There are two more teams with exactly four more projected standings points than that trio, which puts them in a tie for second place in these standings.  Then, in a bit of a departure from the norm, the projected champion has a fairly decent lead over all challengers according to these numbers.  That is particularly surprising since that team is expected to have a below average offense.

Based strictly on 2022 results, the presense of two of these teams in the final preview section is quite surprising.  But then if you look at the rosters and examine the reasons for the disappointing seasons a year ago, it starts to make sense.  All three of these squads have the goods to win the DTBL in 2023.  Here are the projected top three teams in the league heading into the 2023 season.

 

Jay’s Jackalope

Category – Projected Rank (2022 Rank)

  • Batting Average – 8th (10th)
  • Home Runs – 3rd (5th)
  • Runs Batted In – 5th (5th)
  • Runs Scored – 7th (9th)
  • Stolen Bases - 2nd (4th)
  • Earned Run Average - 4th (6th)
  • WHIP Ratio - 1st (1st)
  • Wins – 9th (8th-T)
  • Saves – 8th (9th)
  • Strike Outs - 3rd (5th)
  • Total Batting Points – 4th (7th-T)
  • Total Pitching Points - 3rd (5th)
  • Total Points - 2nd-T (7th)

Summary:

Impressively, the Jackalope are expected to finish at or above their point total from last year in all 10 categories.  That’s how you go about turning a disappointing finish one season into championship contention the next, by improving across the board.  While I mentioned the Kings being one of the most balanced teams in the league, the Jackalope probably deserve the title in that regard.  They are projected to finish in the top four in both batting and pitching points.  No other team can claim that.  Having said that, the pitching projections mainly expected full healthy seasons from the Jackalope hurlers, and the season is off to a bad start in that regard.  With Tyler Glasnow, Luis Severino and Triston McKenzie all starting the season on the I.L., they are down three projected rotation pieces.  That still leaves them with two of the best pitchers in the game though in Gerrit Cole and Luis Castillo.  They also have Lance Lynn returning to anchor a spot.  The newcomers who will need to pick up the slack early are Brady Singer and Andrew Heaney.  The bullpen is also banged up heading into the season, most notably without top closer Raisel Iglesias.  Alex Lange, Giovanny Gallegos and Jason Adam give them some other interesting options in relief.  The good news is, they should get all of those ailing pitchers back at some point.  Perhaps the offense will need to carry the load early on though.  Fortunately, they are equipped to do just that.  Ronald Acuna is back to full health and could be a legit 40/40 candidate this year.  His Braves teammate Michael Harris joins him in the Jackalope outfield as well.  Like Acuna, the first round pick Harris figures to be an elite power and speed guy.  And then there is Adolis Garcia, giving the Jackalope three outfielders with at least 20/20 HR/SB projections.  If Giancarlo Stanton can stay healthy, this should be the best outfield in the league outside of the Mavericks.  On the infield, Paul Goldschmidt is the main returning cog.  There are several new additions here, including Jeremy Pena and Josh Jung, with Cal Raleigh behind the plate.  The infield is unproven compared to the outfield, but there are a bunch of young guys with breakout potential.  It has been a couple disappointing seasons in a row for the Jackalope.  These numbers point to a big turnaround in 2023 though.

 

Mike’s Moonshiners

Category – Projected Rank (2022 Rank)

  • Batting Average – 1st (2nd)
  • Home Runs – 5th (4th)
  • Runs Batted In – 4th (3rd)
  • Runs Scored – 3rd (4th)
  • Stolen Bases – 5th (1st)
  • Earned Run Average – 8th (4th)
  • WHIP Ratio – 3rd (5th)
  • Wins – 8th (1st)
  • Saves – 7th (7th-T)
  • Strike Outs – 6th (4th)
  • Total Batting Points – 2nd (2nd)
  • Total Pitching Points – 7th (4th)
  • Total Points – 2nd-T (1st)

Summary:

The Moonshiners finally won their first DTBL championship in 2022 thanks to solid contributions throughout the roster.  On the offensive side of things, they didn’t have any single player with eye-popping numbers.  Kyle Tucker was the only Moonshiner in the top 15 of Batting PAR.  But they got very good seasons out of pretty much everybody.  So they will attempt to defend the title with another strong, deep roster that actually has room for improvement on offense.  The infield is particularly deep with Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Rafael Devers and Tim Anderson leading the way.  Amed Rosario and Ryan Mountcastle return after being two key breakout performers from a year ago.  They lost the benefit of Daulton Varsho occupying a catching slot while spending most of his time in the outfield, but replaced him in that spot with MJ Melendez who will likely do the same thing:  play most days in the outfield while holding down a catching spot.  Varsho will still be a valuable contributor for the Moonshiners as well, but will have to do it as an outfielder.  He’s joining an outfield that already has two of the most dynamic players in the game in Shohei Ohtani and Kyle Tucker.  After a couple straight seasons of excellent work as both a hitter and a pitcher, the Moonshiners had a more complicated decision to make this winter on Ohtani’s position status for ’23.  Ultimately, they opted to leave him in the outfield where he’s been excellent the past three years.  Meanwhile, Tucker is one of only three players (Acuna, Judge) with a 7+ Batting PAR projection for this season.  Part of the reason why the Moonshiners elected to keep Ohtani in the outfield is because they already have arguably the best starting rotation in the league.  Justin Verlander, Alek Manoah and Yu Darvish were three of the top five finishers in Pitching PAR last year, with Verlander taking home the Cy Young award.  Unfortunately, he’ll start this season on the I.L.  Dustin May, Reid Detmers and Jeffrey Springs were all added to the roster in the draft, giving the Moonshiners incredible depth in the rotation.  The bullpen suffered a crushing blow with Edwin Diaz tearing his ACL during a WBC postgame celebration.  This seventh place saves projection was pre-Diaz injury, so they will be hard pressed to not finish near the bottom of the league in saves.  Clay Holmes is probably their best bet to rack up saves.  But Diaz is irreplaceable across all of his numbers.  The Moonshiners certainly have the talent to defend their title.  It just might come in a different manner this time around.

 

David’s Darkhorses

Category – Projected Rank (2022 Rank)

  • Batting Average – 9th (3rd)
  • Home Runs – 8th (9th)
  • Runs Batted In – 8th (9th)
  • Runs Scored – 6th (5th)
  • Stolen Bases - 3rd (2nd)
  • Earned Run Average – 1st (10th)
  • WHIP Ratio – 2nd (10th)
  • Wins – 2nd (7th)
  • Saves – 2nd (1st)
  • Strike Outs – 1st (8th)
  • Total Batting Points – 8th (4th)
  • Total Pitching Points – 1st (8th)
  • Total Points – 1st (8th)

Summary:

When I first saw these projections, I thought maybe I made a mistake.  How could a team that was among the worst in the league in pitching points last year be far and away the best pitching staff on paper heading into this season?  Well, there are actually a couple credible explanations for this.  First, Jacob deGrom is projected to throw 175 innings this season according to FanGraphs Depth Charts.  That would be 175 more innings than the Darkhorses got from him a year ago.  And on a per inning basis, there is no better starting pitcher in baseball than deGrom.  Of course, you could argue that 175 innings from him is pretty unrealistic since he hasn’t reached that number since 2019.  The other big change is the addition of Spencer Strider to the rotation.  Strider was far and away the best pitcher available in this year’s draft.  So with those two guys in the fold, it is close to a lock the Darkhorses will have a much improved staff.  47 pitching points may be a tad optimistic though.  Strider isn’t the only fireballer joining the rotation.  Hunter Greene was added to the mix as well.  Logan Webb is the key returning rotation piece.  The bullpen being projected to finish second in saves is a product of a lot of unsettled closer situations across the league.  The Darkhorses only have two sure things for saves themselves in Kenley Jansen and Felix Bautista.  Andres Munoz should be a positive contributor out of the pen regardless of how many save opportunities he gets.  Four of the Darkhorses first five draft picks were pitchers.  Combine that with the return of deGrom and the optimistic outlook for the pitching staff starts to make sense.  It is also interesting that a team expected to take a big step back in batting points would still come out on top of the projected standings, but here we are.  Part of that is because of Bryce Harper’s elbow injury recovery, which is baked into these numbers perhaps more pessimistically than recent news would suggest is warranted.  He could be back sooner than later.  And they could use him because no individual hitter has a Batting PAR projection over 4.  Believe it or not, Tommy Edman is the top guy on that list.  He along with Xander Bogaerts, Andres Gimenez and Brandon Lowe make up a solid middle infield.  The Darkhorses could use a return to old form from at least one of their third base pair of Alex Bregman and Matt Chapman.  J.T. Realmuto remains one of the best catchers in the game.  Christian Yelich is another guy from whom they could use a bounce back season.  George Springer is the most reliable producer in the outfield.  All in all, this is a very talented roster and a championship would not be terribly surprising.  I would not blame you if you question them being the preseason favorites though.

 

So there you have it.  We’ve previewed the 2023 season for all 10 teams.  Here are the full projected standings and team point totals for the ten categories:

 

With all the rule changes, it is hard to know exactly what to expect during this 2023 baseball season.  I do expect it to be a lot of fun though.  Good luck to all!

Back To Basics

Tuesday, March 28th, 2023

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After having written a grand total of just four blog posts in the past eight months, I am aiming to do four or five this week alone.  Most of them will make up our annual DTBL season preview series.  However, before I get to that, I want to do a quick review of the recently completed draft.  The 2022 draft was rather unusual with a majority of the first round picks being pitchers.  This year, things were back to normal.  The first round was comprised of mostly young hitters.  While the beginning of the 2023 DTBL draft was rather predictable, it was also quite interesting.

The draft kicked off with the Diamond Dogs making the first  pick for the second consecutive season.  Last year, they went a bit off the board in selecting pitcher Shane Baz, a move which backfired quickly as he hurt his elbow soon after the draft and eventually had Tommy John surgery.  This year, the Dogs played it more conventionally, selecting the clear best available player in the draft in outfielder Julio Rodriguez.  Not only was Rodriguez the consensus best available player in this draft, I’ve seen dynasty rankings that have him #1 among *all* MLB players heading into this season.  He broke into the big leagues with a 28 home run and 25 stolen base season, earning him AL Rookie of the Year honors.  It has been quite some time since a player had such a dominant rookie season in both of those categories.  He has true five category star potential and should be a cornerstone for the Diamond Dogs franchise for years to come.

Speaking of guys with elite power and speed talent, the Mavericks selected shortstop Bobby Witt Jr with the second pick.  Witt also joined the rookie 20/20 fraternity with 20 home runs and 30 steals.  The stolen base aspect of his game will give the Mavericks the only thing they were missing from their extremely potent offense.  Witt is of course the son of former MLB pitcher Bobby Witt, who had a one season stint in the DTBL with the Metros in 1997.

The first pitcher selected was Spencer Strider by the Darkhorses at #3.  Strider was an under the radar prospect who made his presence felt immediately at the big league level.  He struck out 202 hitters in just 131 innings pitched, while posting a 2.67 ERA and a sub 1.0 WHIP.  Like Rodriguez being the first hitter taken, there was little doubt that Strider would be the first pitcher off the board.

Strider’s Braves teammate, outfielder Michael Harris II was the fourth pick, taken by the Jackalope.  Harris is yet another huge power and speed contributor.  He hit 19 home runs with 20 steals while posting a .297 average.  In almost any other year, he would have been the best five category player available.  Perhaps playing in a loaded Braves lineup does give him the best immediate outlook among these top hitters though.

The first non-DTBL rookie selected was outfielder Bryan Reynolds.  The Cougars picked him up in the fifth slot.  Reynolds was a surprising drop by the Komodos this winter, but the Cougars were happy to add him to their roster.  He could be an especially nice addition if the Pirates were to trade him to a team that would offer more lineup protection.

It is almost hard to believe, but prior to this year there had not been a catcher selected in the first round of the draft since 2017 (Gary Sanchez and Willson Contreras).  The Choppers ended that drought by choosing Adley Rutschman at #6.  Rutschman had been the #1 prospect in baseball heading into last season according to many publications, and one of the most highly touted catching prospects in modern history.  He had a very good rookie campaign and should give the Choppers a leg up on most of the league at an extremely shallow position.

The second and final pitcher of the first round was Cristian Javier, selected by the Komodos with the seventh pick.  Javier had a decent stint with the Jackalope back in 2021, but fell off the league roster last year as the Astros kept shuffling him between the rotation and bullpen.  He established himself as an extremely valuable starter last season though, highlighted by his dominant performance in the Astros combined no-hitter in Game 4 of the World Series.

The next two picks are the consensus top two prospects in baseball heading into this season, as the others drafted ahead of them have already exhausted their MLB rookie eligibility.  The Demigods took speedy outfielder Corbin Carroll with the eighth pick.  Carroll stole 33 bases across three levels last season.  Oh, he also has pop.  He hit 28 home runs in his ’22 minor and major league season.

Third baseman Gunnar Henderson went to the Kings in the ninth slot.  Corner infield wasn’t exactly a position of need for the Kings going into the draft, but they are certainly happy to have Henderson now with Rhys Hoskins out for the year.  Henderson doesn’t have quite the same speed as the other hitters picked ahead of him, but he can run a bit and certainly has big league raw power.

Finally, the defending champion Moonshiners selected catcher MJ Melendez with the last pick of the first round.  Melendez filled in admirably behind the plate for the Royals when Salvador Perez got hurt last summer.  This year, he will likely spend most of his time in the outfield, but should catch often enough to maintain catcher eligibility.  His bat should make him an extremely valuable commodity as long as that remains the case.

To pull back the curtain a bit on my own draft process, this wound up being as predictable of a first round as I can recall.  Since I had the ninth pick, I had exactly nine guys who I had settled on as potential selections.  As it turns out, only Henderson remained from that list when my pick came up, which made my decision pretty easy.  While I didn’t map out exactly which team I expected to take which player, not one of the first round selections was even remotely surprising to me.

Now it is time to dive into the season preview.  I’m actually hoping to get the first part out later tonight, or tomorrow at the latest.  So be on the lookout for that!

2022 Season Preview: Part IV

Monday, April 11th, 2022

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We’ve reached the final edition of the 2022 DTBL season preview.  As I’ve been stating every step of the way, this year’s projections show a very tight race from top to bottom.  No team is loaded enough to feel confident about winning the league.  But conversely, every team should like their chances of being a contender.  These top two teams are separated by just a single point and the team slated to finish third (Kings) is just one point behind second.  The full projected standings can be found at the bottom of this post.

As it turns out, the top two projected teams are the same as last year, in the same order.  Obviously, that didn’t prove to mean much a year ago as neither team wound up being a serious title contender, for a variety of reasons.  However, it is a sign that these are two very talented rosters again this year.  One is expected to have a very good pitching staff with a mediocre offense while the other is pegged as the projected batting point leader, but near the bottom of the barrel in pitching.  Here are the pair of teams at the top of the 2022 DTBL projected standings.

 

David’s Darkhorses

Category – Projected Rank (2021 Rank)

  • Batting Average – 9th (9th)
  • Home Runs – 2nd (6th)
  • Runs Batted In - 3rd (7th)
  • Runs Scored – 3rd (4th)
  • Stolen Bases - 9th (2nd)
  • Earned Run Average - 1st (6th)
  • WHIP Ratio - 2nd (3rd)
  • Wins - 7th (8th-T)
  • Saves – 4th (2nd)
  • Strike Outs - 8th (6th)
  • Total Batting Points – 6th (7th)
  • Total Pitching Points - 3rd (6th)
  • Total Points - 2nd (5th)

Summary:

Last year, the Darkhorses fell well short in their attempt to defend their 2020 championship.  They were unable to meet expectations with the bats or on the mound, in large part due to several of their best players missing significant time with injuries.  Offensively, not too much has changed with the roster construction as their first five draft picks were all used on pitchers.  There wasn’t much reason to shake things up in the infield.  Joey Votto, Brandon Lowe, Xander Bogaerts, Matt Chapman and Tommy Edman give them above average players at every spot.  J.T. Realmuto might be the best catcher in the league.  With better health and a bounceback from Christian Yelich, the outfield could be excellent as well.  Bryce Harper was easily their best hitter a year ago and probably will be this year too.  A full healthy season from George Springer would be a welcome change from 2021.  The Darkhorses aren’t going to steal as many bases as last season, but they should improve in most of the other offensive categories.  The pitching staff went through a major makeover, but one holdover is the most important piece.  Unfortunately though, Jacob deGrom is expected to miss the first two months of the season with an arm injury.  So he’s not a good bet to reach the 8.8 PAR projection that was from before his prognosis was fully known.  Jose Berrios will be asked to pick up the slack, along with three newcomers:  Logan Webb, Sonny Gray and Adam Wainwright.  The Darkhorses probably can’t afford any of those guys to not pan out.  The save projection of fourth makes sense, but it won’t come the way these projections read as Kenley Jansen was yet to sign with the Braves when these numbers were compiled.  Conversely, Blake Treinein looked likely to be the Dodgers closer when the Darkhorses drafted him, but that changed with the Dodgers trade for Craig Kimbrel.  Taylor Rogers was also traded last week, but possibly to a better situation in San Diego.  Meanwhile, the one reliever whose outlook hasn’t changed at all is Liam Hendriks who remains one of the best closers in the game.  All in all, it is a strong bullpen that should boost the pitching staff as a whole.  The Darkhorses should be a better team across the board in 2022.  Winning their second title in three years is a very reasonable expectation.

 

Marc’s Mavericks

Category – Projected Rank (2021 Rank)

  • Batting Average – 3rd (1st)
  • Home Runs - 1st (5th)
  • Runs Batted In - 1st (5th)
  • Runs Scored - 2nd (7th-T)
  • Stolen Bases – 8th (7th)
  • Earned Run Average – 6th (3rd)
  • WHIP Ratio – 7th (2nd)
  • Wins - 3rd (1st-T)
  • Saves – 10th (5th)
  • Strike Outs – 6th (9th)
  • Total Batting Points – 1st (4th)
  • Total Pitching Points – 8th (2nd)
  • Total Points - 1st (3rd)

Summary:

Like the Darkhorses, the Mavericks were unable to meet the lofty pre-season expectations a year ago, in large part due to significant injuries to key players.  None more crippling than losing Mike Trout for a majority of the season.  With Trout, Juan Soto and Aaron Judge, the Mavericks have an outfield that simply can’t be matched.  All three of those guys have PAR projections among the best in the league.  So the outfield is already elite, and that’s before even mentioning Eloy Jimenez, who was another player that missed a majority of the season last year, and Nick Castellanos.  The infield may not be quite as good, because how could it be?  That said, Ozzie Albies and Manny Machado are both among the best players in the league at their respective positions.  First round draft pick Jazz Chisholm should provide a boost as well.  They bought low on Yoan Moncada, Gleyber Torres and Miguel Sano, three infielders who have had elite fantasy seasons in the not too distant past.  Yasmani Grandal and Tyler Stephenson form a nice caching duo.  Where things get a little dicey is with the pitching staff, which is a little strange considering how reliable that crew has been for years.  The rotation is led by a pair of Dodger lefties, Clayton Kershaw and Juio Urias.  Jack Flaherty’s shoulder injury is a cause for concern.  Pablo Lopez and Tyler Mahle were unsung heroes a year ago and may need to be again.  Michael Kopech is now a full time starter from the beginning of the season for the first time in his big league career.  There is a lot of intrigue in this group, but also a lot of question marks.  The bullpen is not a strength as they do not currently have any pitchers who are safe bets to rack up a lot of saves.  Andrew Kittredge and Aaron Ashby could be useful contributors depending on how they are utilized by their MLB teams.  It is unlikely the Mavericks will finish far from the bottom in saves.  While it is hard to know what to expect from this pitching staff, it should be good enough to keep them in the mix.  It would be a major surprise if the offense isn’t among the league’s best.  Since winning the league in 2017, the Mavericks have finished between third and sixth each season.  That would seem to be the floor again this year, with the ceiling most definitely being another league title.

 

And with that, we have concluded the preview of the 2022 DTBL season.  Here are the full projected standings and team point totals for the ten categories:

 

Good luck to everyone on what should be one of the most competitive seasons we’ve ever seen.  May the best team win!

A Pitcher Takeover

Tuesday, March 29th, 2022

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We are in the midst of the 30th annual DTBL Draft.  With almost three decades of history to draw from, there is a pretty typical pattern in how the first round of the draft plays out.  Normally, a majority of those early picks are young players who made their MLB debut the previous season.  And among those players, the first round tends to skew towards hitters.  Young hitters are generally more projectable than pitchers.  TINSTAAPP (There is No Such Thing as a Pitching Prospect) is a common refrain in baseball for a reason.  Well, you can throw all of that out when analyzing the 2022 DTBL Draft.

For the first time since 2003, a majority of the first round picks were pitchers.  The six starting pitchers taken in the first round was a league record, blowing past the previous high of four.  While these pitchers did skew young, they are not all DTBL rookies and even fewer were MLB rookies last year.  This was truly a first round group of ten that did not resemble any previous year’s new crop.  Perhaps this is a product of the pandemic shortened 2020 season that saw some position players pushed to the majors due to not having minor league opportunities for development, while pitchers were kept on a more conservative path that led to guys who may have otherwise debuted in ’20 being pushed to ’21.  But with many of the pitchers drafted in this first round not actually being MLB rookies, who knows?  Probably just a one year oddity.

The draft started with the Diamond Dogs making their first ever selection after taking over the Beanballers roster.  They chose young right handed starting pitcher Shane Baz.  This was a bit of a surprise, but not because of Baz’s pedigree.  Most MLB prospect rankings that have been released this winter have Baz among the top 15 prospects in the game.  And in most cases, he is the top ranked prospect who has already made his MLB debut.  The Rays hurler, stolen from the Pirates as the third piece of the Chris Archer trade, made his debut in late September.  His three regular season starts were impressive enough to earn him a start in the ALDS as well.  The future is bright for Baz.  Unfortunately for the Diamond Dogs, Baz underwent elbow surgery just days after this selection.  The good news is it wasn’t a career altering elbow surgery like Tommy John, but rather a cleanup procedure that should just keep him out a few weeks.  He will begin his DTBL career on the injured list though.

With the second pick, the Komodos took the guy who most people probably expected to go #1, Baz’s Rays teammate Wander Franco.  The phenom shortstop had been the #1 ranked prospect for several years before making his much anticipated MLB debut in June.  He proceeded to have a very solid season, hitting .288 with seven home runs, earning him a third place finish in the AL Rookie of the Year vote.  While he only stole a couple bases in the big leagues last year, speed is certainly part of his game as well.  He has been touted as a true five tool player.  Having just turned 21 earlier this month, he figures to be a fixture in the Komodos infield for a very long time.

While Franco was the most highly touted hitter to debut last year, second baseman Jonathan India was the most productive.  The Jackalope selected him with the third pick.  The Reds infielder hit .269 with 21 homers, 69 RBI, 98 runs scored and 12 stolen bases, earning him the National League Rookie of the Year honor.  This marks the fourth straight year that the Jackalope have used a first round pick on an infielder.  This pick feels quite a bit safer than their last similar pick of second baseman Keston Hiura with the fourth pick in 2020.  India should be able to hold down that spot for the foreseeable future.

The Cougars followed with the breakout star of 2021, making outfielder Cedric Mullins the fourth overall pick.  Mullins still has DTBL rookie eligibility, however, this is not his first time on the league roster.  He was added in 2019, but went undrafted and then unsigned in a very forgettable season.  2021, on the other hand, was rather memorable for Mullins.  He became the latest addition to the 30/30 Club, slugging exactly 30 home runs and stealing exactly 30 bases.  The latter wasn’t a huge surprise, but the power seemingly came from nowhere.  He had seven career home runs before last season.  Even if he can’t repeat that feat, he still has enormous fantasy potential because of the power and speed combo that so few possess.

The pitching run began in earnest with the fifth pick that the Demigods used on lefty Robbie Ray.  Ray had a solid run with the Moonshiners from 2017-2019.  But a brutal 2020 knocked him completely out of the league last season.  All he did while away was win the AL Cy Young with a league leading 2.84 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 284 strikeouts.  Good call by me removing him from the league roster.  He’s back now and should provide an immediate boost to the Demigods pitching staff.

The Darkhorses selected the pitching breakout star of the year at #6.  Giants righty Logan Webb started his career with a couple mediocre seasons that did not provide much of a hint that he would become the staff ace of one of the best teams in baseball in 2021.  Webb won 11 games with a 3.03 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 148 innings pitched for the Giants last year before becoming a postseason horse with a pair of dominant starts against the Dodgers in the NLDS.  He will play a major role in the Darkhorses retooled rotation that only has two holdovers (Jacob deGrom and Jose Berrios).

The Moonshiners were just a respectable pitching staff away from being a serious championship contender last year.  They attempted to fix that glaring weakness by selecting young Blue Jays hurler Alek Manoah at pick number seven.  Another highly touted prospect, Manoah did not disappoint in his first big league season.  He had a very respectable 3.22 ERA and 1.05 WHIP along with nine wins and 127 strikeouts.  Given the Blue Jays offensive firepower, he figures to be a solid candidate to win double digit games along with strong numbers in the other three categories.

We got a brief break from all those pitchers with the Mavericks selecting second baseman Jazz Chisholm with the eighth pick.  Chisholm struggled in his 2020 debut, leaving questions about his ability to hit big league pitching.  Those questions were answered in 2021.  He hit 18 home runs while stealing 23 bases.  Again, that combination of power and speed makes him an exciting fantasy prospect.  Add to that the serious lack of depth at second base right now and you have a player who should be among the league’s best at his position.  The Mavericks had to have been thrilled to add a player like him this late in the first round.

Back to starting pitchers with pick number nine.  The Choppers reacquired a player they had picked up on a whim late in 2020, White Sox righty Dylan Cease.  Cease technically still has DTBL rookie status since he was never placed on the Choppers active roster in 2020.  He was subsequently dropped from the league last year due to his erratic performance in ’20.  He finally harnessed his stuff last year though, with an extremely impressive 226 strikeouts in 165 innings, along with a 3.91 ERA and 13 wins.  Still just 23 years old, Cease has the potential to be one of the league’s premier strikeout pitchers.

Rounding out the first round was yet another pitcher who had a great 2021 campaign.  Marlins southpaw Trevor Rogers was never a particularly highly touted prospect.  So his rookie campaign went largely under the radar.  He posted a 2.64 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP and 157 strikeouts in 133 innings.  That earned him a spot on the NL All-Star roster and a runner-up finish in the NL Rookie of the Year vote.  Rogers joins a Kings staff that led the league in pitching points last year, but was looking for another consistent presence behind Max Scherzer and Zack Wheeler.  They now have three of the NL East’s best pitchers.

The run on starting pitchers didn’t end in the first round.  Four more were selected in round two and exactly half of the first 22 picks were starting pitchers.  It seems unlikely we will see anything like this in the near future.

2021 Season Preview: Part III

Thursday, April 1st, 2021

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Today is Opening Day!  No, that isn’t an April Fools’ joke.  It is really happening.  Starting today, we will have meaningful baseball to watch nearly every day for the next seven months.  That is a welcome change from this time a year ago when we didn’t know when we would have that opportunity again.  While there is still a great deal of uncertainty heading into the season, at least we should expect this to resemble a normal season far more so than in 2020.

As for the DTBL, the teams that are projected to finish near the top of the standings are not a huge surprise.  Last year, many teams were in the hunt for a the championship for most of the short sprint.  But the two teams that broke away from the pack in the end are expected to be right there again this season.  The third favorite is probably the most star-studded team in the league that had several things go wrong a year ago to derail their championship hunt.  This year’s projected top three happens to be the same three that were tabbed as preseason favorites a year ago, but in the reverse order.  Here are the three projected championship favorites for the 2021 DTBL season.

 

Jay’s Jackalope

Category – Projected Rank (2020 Rank)

  • Batting Average – 9th (8th)
  • Home Runs – 8th (3rd-T)
  • Runs Batted In – 9th (7th)
  • Runs Scored - 5th (7th)
  • Stolen Bases – 1st (3rd-T)
  • Earned Run Average - 1st (1st)
  • WHIP Ratio - 2nd (1st)
  • Wins – 1st (1st)
  • Saves – 7th (7th)
  • Strike Outs - 1st (1st)
  • Total Batting Points – 8th (6th)
  • Total Pitching Points - 1st-T (1st)
  • Total Points – 3rd (2nd)

Summary:

The Jackalope came close to winning a title a year ago on the strength of the league’s best pitching staff.  But their offense just wasn’t quite good enough to close the deal.  These projections paint a very similar picture heading into 2021.  The starting rotation looks like the best in the league with the Jackalope expected to finish in the top two of every pitching category except for saves.  They have added exciting young fireballer Sixto Sanchez to a group that already contained several of the best pitchers in the game.  Gerrit Cole is a perennial Cy Young contender at this stage of his career.  Luis Castillo, Tyler Glasnow and Dinelson Lamet may not be spoken of in the same terms as Cole, but all are well established fantasy stars.  And Lance Lynn keeps getting better with age.  As intriguing as Sanchez is, he may have a tough time cracking this rotation if it is fully healthy.  The Jackalope bullpen is not quite as strong.  Raisel Iglesias is the only well established closer.  But the rest of the group could be in line for saves at some point, and will add impressive strikeout totals regardless.  That group includes Giovanny Gallegos, Drew Pomeranz and Jake Diekman.  The Jackalope will probably need to beat this eigth place batting points projection to win the title this year.  What was once the league’s best infield in the not so distant past, has fallen off a bit lately.  Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rendon and Adalberto Mondesi are back to lead the way.  They used their first round draft pick to bring in shortstop Dansby Swanson.  They will also look to last year’s first rounder, Keston Hiura, to be a bigger factor in 2021.  In the outfield, Ronald Acuna has the highest batting PAR projection in the league, which forecasts an impressive 42 home runs and 30 steals.  Giancarlo Stanton is the returning sidekick.  But the rest of the outfield is new, including Ramon Laureano and Leody Tavares.  With the pitching staff nearly certain to lock up a significant amount of points, the Jackalope will just need a few pleasant surprises on offense to win it all this year.

 

David’s Darkhorses

Category – Projected Rank (2020 Rank)

  • Batting Average – 5th (2nd)
  • Home Runs – 4th (2nd)
  • Runs Batted In – 6th (3rd)
  • Runs Scored - 2nd (1st)
  • Stolen Bases – 6th (3rd-T)
  • Earned Run Average - 2nd (7th)
  • WHIP Ratio - 1st (7th)
  • Wins - 2nd (5th-T)
  • Saves – 2nd (1st)
  • Strike Outs – 5th (5th)
  • Total Batting Points – 3rd-T (1st)
  • Total Pitching Points – 1st-T (4th-T)
  • Total Points - 2nd (1st)

Summary:

It is not surprising that the defending champions are one of the favorites again this year.  But this is still a very interesting forecast, which seems to indicate a significant change in the Darkhorses strengths and weaknesses.  Last year, they had far and away the best offense in the league with a good, but not great pitching staff.  These projections show them with an elite pitching staff, tied with the Jackalope for most pitching points, but with not quite as strong of an offense.  What makes this even more interesting is that they didn’t have a pitching focused draft at all.  Mike Soroka was the only pitcher selected by the Darkhorses in the first five rounds.  Perhaps it boils down to Jacob deGrom being the most dominant pitcher in the league, according to these numbers.  His 11.3 PAR projection is nearly two full points better than the next highest pitcher.  They could also benefit from better seasons out of Patrick Corbin, Jose Berrios and Chris Paddack.  The Darkhorses probably have the best bullpen in the league again this year, thanks to Liam Hendriks and Brad Hand.  Joakim Soria and Hector Neris were solid additions as well who should help boost the save total.  Perhaps the forecasted drop in batting points is a small point of concern, but the Darkhorses still feature an extremely deep lineup.  J.T. Realmuto is probably the best catcher in the league, giving them a huge leg up on most teams at that position.  Third basemen Alex Bregman and Matt Chapman look to bounce back from injury plagued seasons.  Brandon Lowe was one of the breakout stars of ’20.  Xander Bogaerts remains a steady presence at shortstop.  Dominic Smith joins the squad to provide some more power out of the first base position.  The outfield trio of Bryce Harper, George Springer and Christian Yelich is hard to top.  It is actually quite impressive that the Darkhorses were as good as they were last year despite getting so little from Yelich, who should be expected to return to form this year.  This is a very deep roster, top to bottom.  The batting projection seems rather pessimistic.  I would expect the Darkhorses to be one of the teams to beat again this year and a safe bet to finish in a top two spot for what would be an impressive fourth straight season.

 

Marc’s Mavericks

Category – Projected Rank (2020 Rank)

  • Batting Average – 1st (5th)
  • Home Runs - 1st (1st)
  • Runs Batted In - 1st (1st)
  • Runs Scored – 1st (5th)
  • Stolen Bases – 7th (10th)
  • Earned Run Average – 5th (3rd)
  • WHIP Ratio - 5th (3rd)
  • Wins - 3rd (9th)
  • Saves – 4th (5th-T)
  • Strike Outs - 4th (9th)
  • Total Batting Points – 1st (4th)
  • Total Pitching Points - 3rd (6th)
  • Total Points - 1st (5th)

Summary:

I hate to start by raining on a parade, but the Mavericks batting projections may be a tad inflated because of a flaw in my system.  They completed the draft with just one catcher on the roster, a very good one at that.  So their batting numbers are not dragged down by the typical below average output of a pair of catchers like every other team.  Also, they include a full season of Eloy Jimenez, who is now expected to miss most of the season with a pec injury.  So it might be fair to chop off a point here or there on the batting side of things.  That said, this is unquestionably an elite offensive team.  Their Opening Day lineup will likely consist of players with 2+ PAR projections in every slot but two.  Nobody can touch the Mavericks talent in the outfield, in particular, even without Jimenez.  Mike Trout and Juan Soto might be the two best baseball players on the planet.  Aaron Judge isn’t far behind when healthy.  Nick Castellanos is very good as well.  The Mavericks infield has plenty of star power too.  Manny Machado, Ozzie Albies and Javy Baez are all among the top players at their respective positions.  Eric Hosmer should give them more production at first base than they have had in recent years.  Didi Gregorious and Nick Madrigal are nice luxuries as depth middle infielders.  Finally, Yasmani Grandal is one of the top catchers in the league too.  There just aren’t any weaknesses with the Mavericks bats.  The pitching staff is a little less of a certainty, but also has high upside.  Stephen Strasburg missing almost all of 2020 was a major blow, but he should be good to go this year.  Jack Flaherty also had some health issues and was slightly disappointing a year ago.  Clayton Kershaw, on the other hand, had a bit of a career resurgence and once again appears to be a guy the Mavericks can count on to carry the rotation.  They also have a host of other starters with big potential.  The bullpen is a bit of an unknown in terms of save productivity, but could be a plus.  Kenley Jansen is the main guy, as usual.  James Karinchak has potential to be an elite closer.  Jordan Romero figures to be the beneficiary of the Kirby Yates injury for Toronto.  As usual, the Mavericks are one of the top contenders to win the championship.  This year, they are the pre-season favorites.  Can they end a three year streak of slightly disappointing mid-standings finishes?  Pretty good chance, I would say.

 

That wraps up our preview of the ten teams for the 2021 season.  Here are the full projected standings and team point totals for the ten categories:

 

Good luck to everyone this season.  Let’s hope it is a full, safe and healthy one for all.  Happy Opening Day!

Predictably Unpredictable

Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

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There is no blueprint for how to approach a fantasy baseball draft following a 60 game, pandemic affected season.  How much weight do you put in players’ performances in such a short sample size?  Is it safe to ignore the poor numbers of a veteran player with a long track record of success?  How do you judge a rookie who made his MLB debut after not being able to play in real minor league games for almost a full year?  Can the breakout stars of 2020 be trusted to repeat their performances over the long haul of a full season?  And finally, how do you judge the players who actually contracted and recovered from COVID-19?  Nobody knows the right answers to any of these questions.  And based on the results of the first round of the 2021 DTBL Draft, it would seem there were many different answers among the league’s members.

Going into this draft, I had absolutely no idea what to expect.  Unlike most years, there were hardly any sure-fire first round selections.  Partly because I was the owner of the second pick, I didn’t even bother trying to compile a top ten list like I normally do.  But if I had, I think I can safely say I would have been wrong on close to half of the names.  And outside of the first two picks, I’m not sure I would have correctly pegged any other players with the teams that selected them.  Besides the general unpredictability, the other abnormal theme of the first round was the number of non-DTBL rookies selected.  Four players were chosen who have previous experience on DTBL rosters.  I have complete draft records dating back to 2005.  In the previous 16 years, no more than three non-rookies were selected in any year.  While unusual, this was not terribly surprising since there just wasn’t a lot of time for newcomers to make their mark during the 2020 MLB season.

The one pick in this draft that was definitely not surprising was the first one.  The Komodos selected White Sox young star outfielder Luis Robert.  The five tool phenom hit the ground running with an incredible first month of his big league career, during which he wasn’t only one of the best rookies in the game, but one of the top players as well.  But even Robert comes with some question marks as he really struggled down the stretch, seeing his batting average fall to .233.  He was still just one steal away from a double/double HR/SB season, which would have been more like 25/25 stretched out to a full campaign.  With his power and speed, Robert is a legitimate 40/40 candidate down the road.  HR and SB were already two of the Komodos better categories, so he could help boost them among the top teams in the league in those areas.

The second pick is another player with well above average power and decent speed as well.  The Kings boosted their extremely disappointing offense from a year ago with the selection of outfielder Randy Arozarena.  Arozerana became a breakout star in October, almost singlehandedly leading the Rays offense on the way to the World Series.  While he did seemingly come out of nowhere, he actually started mashing soon after being activated from the COVID-19 list in late August.  He slugged seven homers in September before adding  an incredible 10 more in the Postseason.  Even though he made his MLB debut in 2019, Arozarena actually remains MLB rookie eligible this year since he missed so much time in 2020 recovering from the virus.  For the Kings sake, hopefully he kept up his now famous pushup regimen this offseason.  If so, he could help the Kings rebound from a shockingly disappointing 2020.

With the third pick in the draft, we had a quick throwback to last year’s draft that featured four sons of former DTBL players selected in the first 15 picks.  The Choppers selected third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, 28 years after his father Brian, also a third baseman, played for the Choppers in the inaugural season of the DTBL of 1993.  The elder Hayes played four seasons in this league.  Ke’Bryan figures to stick around much longer.  Known mostly for his slick fielding as a prospect, Hayes burst onto the scene with a .376 average and five home runs in 85 big league at bats.  He has an advanced bat and runs well too, so there is serious five category potential here.  This marks the fourth straight year that the Choppers have selected an infielder with their first pick.  Hayes will join last year’s pick of Pete Alonso to form a strong corner duo for years to come.

So after three picks, this first round didn’t look too dissimilar from previous years.  But things started to change at four.  The Demigods selected veteran outfielder J.D. Martinez, who they had just cut from their roster last month.  I suppose this could be chalked up as a case of seller’s remorse.  Martinez struggled badly a year ago, but this came on the heels of three straight seasons of hitting at least .300 with 35+ home runs and 100+ RBI.  While he’s no youngster at 33, it seems likely that his ’20 campaign was an outlier and a product of a weird season.  Had the Demigods not picked him, some other team surely would have done so relatively early.  The surprise here is that it was the team that just cut him that made the pick.  If you ignore that fact though, Martinez makes all the sense in the world for a Demigods squad that has more than enough talent to contend and could really use his proven bat in the lineup.

The Cougars followed by selecting another non-DTBL rookie.  But this one was more of a technicality as starting pitcher Corbin Burnes is at a completely different place now than he was when the Choppers took a late flier on him as a relief pitcher in 2019.  Burnes fell out of the league last year, but now returns as a starter with huge upside.  He started nine of the 12 games he appeared in last season and put up some impressive numbers.  He had a 2.11 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 88 strikeouts in 60 innings.  This is the second straight year the Cougars have used the fifth overall pick on a starting pitcher who had fallen off the league roster the previous year.  Worked out pretty well with Lucas Giolito.  Those two should help the Cougars improve upon a rotation which somewhat held them back from being contenders a year ago.

Jo Adell entered 2020 as one of the top prospects in baseball, but probably not quite ready for the majors.  The lack of a minor league season probably prevented him from that last bit of development time he could have used before making his debut.  Instead, he was thrown into the fire with the Angels for a bulk of the season.  It did not go well.  He hit just .161 and struck out in over 40% of his plate appearances.  He is flying under the radar this spring, in large part because he lost rookie eligibility and is thus not being discussed in prospect rankings.  But he is still very much a coveted prospect with great power and speed tools.  If he can improve the hit tool, he has a chance to be a star.  He will likely start this season in the minors though.  But that did not prevent the Mavericks from selecting him with the sixth pick.  This is a luxury the Mavericks could afford with their absolutely loaded roster, particularly in the outfield.  They don’t really need anything from Adell to be a contender this season.  But the enormous upside was too much to pass up.

The next pick was another player with an uncertain role this season.  The Beanballers selected Dodgers pitcher Dustin May with the sixth pick.  May is also not a DTBL rookie.  He was picked in the sixth round by the Mavericks last year.  But not having a firm grasp on a rotation spot heading into the season made him expendable.  The Beanballers were willing to gamble on the talent.  Even if he isn’t able to crack the Dodgers rotation to start the season, it would be surprising if he didn’t get plenty of opportunities sooner than later.  May did start 10 games a year ago and had an excellent 2.57 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.  If he can improve on his strikeout rate, he has top of the rotation potential.  The Beanballers could definitely use a big season from him this year as they bide their time before Noah Syndergaard returns from Tommy John surgery.

With the eighth pick, the Moonshiners went a more traditional route, taking a rookie who made a strong impression in his debut.  Orioles outfielder Ryan Mountcastle put up numbers very similar to Hayes.  He hit .333 with five home runs in 140 plate appearances.  Mountcastle was a consistently strong hitter in the Orioles farm system for five full years before he finally got his opportunity in the big leagues last season.  He was the fifth outfielder selected in the first round.  Mountcastle should help shore up a Moonshiners offense that was below average a year ago and an outfield that should be much improved with Kyle Tucker quietly becoming a fantasy star and Shohei Ohtani returning to the offensive side of things this year.

Next, the Jackalope selected shortstop Dansby Swanson, who has had a very interesting four year DTBL career.  This is the fourth time he has been drafted, by four different teams.  He has never spent consecutive seasons on the same roster.  Originally a second round pick of the Naturals in 2017, this was his first time as a first rounder.  Swanson is coming off a career year in which he hit 10 homers with 35 RBI in a shortened season.  He was a solid contributor to the championship winning Darkhorses, but was squeezed out with their deep roster.  The Jackalope were happy to add him to their infield, which was mildly disappointing a year ago.  Their offense will feature six of their former first round picks this season.  Even a minor improvement to that offense should put them in strong contention for a title.

Finally, the defending champion Darkhorses closed out the first round by selecting another young slugger who made the most of the shortened season, but also enters 2021 with a somewhat unsettled role.  First baseman Dominic Smith was the final pick of the first round.  Smith made his MLB debut in 2017, but is still just 25 years old.  Last season, he hit .316 with 10 home runs and 42 RBI.  With Pete Alonso firmly entrenched at first base for the Mets and the designated hitter not being in play in the NL this year, Smith figures to see a bulk of his time in the outfield.  If he gets semi regular playing time, he could be a monster offensive force for a team that is already the best team in the league with the bats.  Immediately following the selection of Smith, eight of the Darkhorses ten hitters were players who hit double digit home runs a year ago.  And that doesn’t even include Alex Bregman, who is only a year removed from hitting 40.  This is a truly scary offense.

Half of the first round picks were outfielders and another could move there a year from now.  Meanwhile, only two pitchers were selected in the first ten picks.  This was despite much more league roster shuffling among hurlers than hitters.  It will be interesting to see which strategies pay off following a very unusual 2020.

Darkhorses Dash To Title

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020

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2020 was supposed to be the year of chaos and unpredictability in baseball and this league.  To some degree, the former was true with multiple MLB teams missing week’s worth of games due to COVID-19 positive tests and having September schedules filled with 7-inning double headers.  Season ending injuries and opt-outs were more prevalent than ever.  But unpredictability?  Nah, not in this league.  Our pre-season projections saw the Jackalope and Darkhorses as the clear favorites to win the title in an abbreviated 60-game season.  While other teams made some noise at times, ultimately it came down to those two teams in the season’s final days.  In the end, it was the Darkhorses exorcising recent demons of close second place finishes.  For the fifth time in franchise history and the first time in exactly a decade, David’s Darkhorses are the Dream Team Baseball League Champions.

As I wrote about in the mid-season article, one thing I was most definitely not expecting in 2020 was for one team to have a stranglehold on first place.  However, amazingly, the Darkhorses never fell below second place at any point of the season after the Opening Weekend.  And they were in first place following all but two days of the final five weeks.  But it did get a little scary for them as one of the days in which the Jackalope overtook them for the top spot was on the final weekend, with just two days remaining.  With extremely thin margins in almost all categories, the consistent excellence from the Darkhorses was truly remarkable.

The Darkhorses are a deep team with very few, if any, obvious weaknesses.  This type of roster is going to be a contender in almost any type of season.  But perhaps they were uniquely built for this particular season even more than one might have realized.  While they did not suffer the same injury and opt-out carnage of some other squads, their depth was certainly challenged.  James Paxton missed most of the season with an arm injury.  Lorenzo Cain opted out after the first week.  Matt Chapman hit the injured list in early September.  Alex Bregman had an injury riddled campaign as well.  What is really impressive is how they were able to overcome very little production from some of the guys who had been their most important players in recent years, most notably reigning MVP Christian Yelich who scuffled to the tune of a .205 average.

So who picked up the slack?  A whole bunch of guys.  The Darkhorses easily led the league in batting points for the third straight year.  Despite that, they did not have any player finish in the top 15 in Batting PAR.  It was a total team effort.  Bryce Harper led the way with 2.7 PAR, so yes, he finally gets his ring.  Dansby Swanson had the best season of his career so far.  Brandon Lowe may have been the steal of this year’s draft.  The third round pick should receive Rookie of the Year consideration.  Xander Bogaerts and J.T. Realmuto were their usual steady selves.  Mike Yastrzemski was a great early season free agent signing.  Despite the lack of any apparent MVP candidates, the Darkhorses unquestionably had the best offensive depth in the league, with positive contributions from all 14 batting spots.

The Darkhorses have had a great offense for quite some time now.  What had previously held them back a bit was their pitching staff.  Technically, they only improved by 1/2 pitching point from last year.  But relative to the rest of the league, that was enough to get the job done.  They tied for the fourth most pitching points.  As usual, Jacob deGrom carried the rotation.  Maybe even more so than usual, actually.  He was their only starting pitcher to earn more than 1.0 PAR (4.5).  Last year’s second choice starter Patrick Corbin was actually quite disappointing this year.  Jose Berrios was the only other starter besides deGrom who lived up to expectations.  This wasn’t really a championship caliber starting staff.  But boy did the bullpen make up for that.  Liam Hendriks, Brad Hand, Taylor Rogers and Mark Melancon made up what was by far the best bullpen in the league.  Hendriks and Hand were the Darkhorses next two most valuable pitchers after deGrom, and were first and second in the league in PAR among relievers.  Hand led the league in saves with 16.  Hendriks was second with 14.  The Darkhorses absolutely blew away the rest of the league in saves.  They had 48 of them.  The margin between them and the second best Moonshiners (23) was almost as large as the Moonshiners save total (25).  So yes, the Darkhorses had nearly twice as many saves as another other team.  These four relievers were paramount to the Darkhorses success in the other pitching categories as well.

This season culminates an impressive three year run for the Darkhorses in which they finished in the top two spots in the standings.  The last time a team had a similar run of excellence was the Naturals in 2010-12.  This is the Darkhorses first championship since 2010, which was the year they actually shared the title with the Naturals, and was the final season of the Darkhorses’ four-peat.  Their five titles is second only to the Kings.  If you were to split the DTBL history in half, the Darkhorses would probably earn the distinction of the league’s best franchise in the second half having won five of those 14 championships.

This has been a trying year for all of us.  But I am extremely grateful that MLB was able to successfully complete this season, and thus so were we.  Let’s hope we are able to return to some semblance of normalcy by the time the 2021 baseball season begins.  In the meantime, I intend to enjoy the Postseason, which will get started in a matter of hours.  Congrats to David on a well-deserved championship!  Thanks to everybody else for making this a very enjoyable and competitive season.

2020 Season Preview: Part IV

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020

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It’s Opening Day!  Nearly four months after the originally scheduled start of the 2020 season, we will finally be able to watch live baseball games that count, starting with the World Series Champion Nationals hosting Gerrit Cole and the Yankees.  While I’m disappointed I won’t be able to attend that game, I couldn’t be more excited to have baseball back.  Nobody knows what to expect out of this 60-game mad dash to October.  But I intend to enjoy every minute of it.  Or at least until the White Sox first excruciating loss.

This final 2020 DTBL preview article will cover the two teams projected to finish in the top two spots in the standings.  While I didn’t do extensive research to verify this, I believe these are the two teams that in recent years the annual projections tend to get the most wrong.  But in opposite directions.  The past two seasons, the Darkhorses were projected to finish in sixth and seventh places.  They actually finished in second both years.  Meanwhile, the Jackalope were picked to finish fourth and tied for first in ’18 and ’19, while ending up in tenth and seventh places those seasons.  So is it a good or bad sign for these teams to top the projections this year?  Time will tell.  The talent on both rosters should give them a leg up on most of the competition though.  Here are the teams projected to finish at the top of the standings.

David’s Darkhorses

Category – Projected Rank (2019 Rank)

  • Batting Average – 3rd (1st)
  • Home Runs – 7th (1st)
  • Runs Batted In – 5th (1st)
  • Runs Scored – 1st (1st)
  • Stolen Bases – 6th (3rd)
  • Earned Run Average – 4th (5th)
  • WHIP Ratio – 3rd (7th)
  • Wins – 5th (4th)
  • Saves – 2nd (5th)
  • Strike Outs – 4th (5th)
  • Total Batting Points – 3rd-T (1st)
  • Total Pitching Points - 3rd (5th)
  • Total Points - 2nd (2nd)

Summary:

This is the 10 year anniversary of the last of the Darkhorses 4-peat championships.  While the franchise fell off a bit at the beginning of last decade, they have been a consistent title contender in recent years.  Last year, they had the best offense in the league, by a wide margin.  But a middle of the pack pitching staff prevented them from being able to keep up with the Kings.  Interestingly, these projections show their hitters taking a step back, but major improvement from the pitchers.  That league best offense from ’19 remains almost entirely intact.  There are several MVP candidates on this roster, including outfielders Christian Yelich and Bryce Harper, third baseman Alex Bregman, and if you consider positional value, catcher J.T. Realmuto should be on that list as well.  The Astros duo of George Springer and Michael Brantly round out a very solid outfield.  Xander Bogaerts, Josh Bell, Matt Chapman and newcomer Brandon Lowe complete an infield this is also well above average.  Really, there is no noticeable hole on the batting side of this roster.  The pitching staff received most of the attention in the draft, and could be a much improved group in 2020.  First round pick Chris Paddack joins a rotation that already has arguably the best pitcher in baseball in Jacob deGrom.  Jose Berrios and Patrick Corbin are solid mid-rotation pieces as well.  One player who should really benefit from the late start to the season is James Paxton, who would not have been healthy enough to pitch back in April, but should be good for a full season starting now.  The same could be said for reliever Corey Knebel, although his upside is limited in terms of saves.  Liam Hendriks, Brad Hand and Taylor Rogers form a very strong trio of closers that should put the Darkhorses near the top of the saves category.  If you think these projections might be a little light on the Darkhorses power potential, they probably should be viewed as the favorites to win it all this season.  No team enters the season with a more complete, and currently healthy roster.

Jay’s Jackalope

Category – Projected Rank (2019 Rank)

  • Batting Average – 6th (10th)
  • Home Runs - 1st (5th)
  • Runs Batted In - 1st (3rd)
  • Runs Scored - 5th (8th)
  • Stolen Bases – 5th (4th)
  • Earned Run Average - 1st (7th)
  • WHIP Ratio - 2nd (5th)
  • Wins - 3rd (5th-T)
  • Saves – 8th (9th)
  • Strike Outs - 1st (7th)
  • Total Batting Points – 2nd (6th)
  • Total Pitching Points - 1st (7th)
  • Total Points - 1st (7th)

Summary:

These projections are a little shocking, especially on the pitching side of things.  As mentioned up top, the Jackalope have a recent history of not meeting expectations, at least those established by using this projection system.  So maybe being picked as the favorite for the second consecutive year isn’t a great thing.  The batting projections make some sense because this roster is loaded with good hitters.  Reigning Rookie of the Year and MVP runner-up Ronald Acuna leads the way.  His five category prowess gives the Jackalope a solid base on which to build.  If healthy, Giancarlo Stanton is a nice second piece in the outfield.  Ryan Braun could be one of the top beneficiaries to the full time DH in the National League.  The Jackalope infield is solid all around, led by veterans Anthony Rendon, Josh Donaldson and Paul Goldschmidt.  First round pick Keston Hiura has exciting potential as well.  He could be the best pure hitter taken in the draft this year, despite not having as much acclaim as the players taken ahead of him.  Gary Sanchez remains one of the best offensive catchers in baseball.  There is a lot to like about the Jackalope’s offensive potential.  Where I think they may have a hard time reaching these projections is on the mound.  The methodology used to create these numbers may be inflating the pitching numbers a bit because of the lack of depth in the rotation.  With Luis Severino out for the year, the Jackalope only have five healthy starting pitchers entering the season.  So the gaudy numbers of Gerrit Cole aren’t weighed down by any depth pieces.  If the rotation stays completely healthy, they should be in good shape.  If not… well, things could get ugly.  Luis Castillo and Tyler Glasnow will be Cole’s sidekicks.  Dinelson Lamet was a nice addition to the rotation.  The bullpen is a concern.  Raisel Iglesias is the only closer with pretty good job security.  Sean Doolittle should get the bulk of the save opportunities early on though.  Clearly, the Jackalope have the talent needed to win the title despite four straight seasons in the bottom half of the league.  But I’m not sure I would anoint them as the favorites, as these projections do.

 

Now that we’ve taken a glance at all ten teams, it is time to post the full projected standings.  First, here are the numbers my spreadsheets spit out for this 60-game schedule:

And here is what my original 162-game projections looked like when I compiled them after the draft in late March. Keep in mind that these were computed using projections for some players who have since gotten hurt or opted out of the season:

Baseball is back! I hope you enjoy the start of the season.

A Family Affair

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

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Trivia time!  What do Fernando Tatis, Vladimir Guerrero, Dante Bichette and Craig Biggio all have in common?  If you guessed that they all hit at least .290 with 15+ home runs for their respective DTBL teams in 1999, you are correct!  Oh, and they also all have sons who were selected in the first 15 picks of the 2020 DTBL Draft.  This league has been around long enough that we had already seen a few sons of former DTBL players become second generation league members.  But in the previous instances, the fathers only had a cup of coffee in this league at the tail end of their careers.  This four-some is different.  All four compiled multiple strong seasons in the league and all but Tatis were among the league’s best players in its first 10-15 years.

Interestingly, it is the least accomplished father of those four whose son enters the league with the highest acclaim.  The Demigods selected the do-it-all shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. with the first pick in the draft.  Tatis hit .317 with 22 homers and 16 stolen bases in a MLB rookie campaign that was cut short by injury.  Provided he has a full year of solid health in 2020, it isn’t unreasonable to think he could be the second straight #1 draft pick to post a 30/30 season in his DTBL rookie year.  The Demigods will turn to Tatis to help put their miserable 2019 behind them.  Keep in mind that prior to last year, this is a team that finished in the top half of the standings in five straight seasons.  Tatis has the talent to lift them back up to their recent historic norms.

While Tatis was spectacular last year, he probably wouldn’t have won the NL Rookie of the Year award even if he had stayed healthy.  Not with Pete Alonso breaking the MLB all-time rookie record for home runs.  Alonso slugged 53 homers, which would have led the DTBL by four had he been in the league a year ago.  His 120 RBIs would have been fourth best in the league.  He was worthy of the second overall pick in the draft on his own merit, but he also happens to be an ideal fit for the Choppers who finished next to last in home runs and RBIs and dead last in total batting points a year ago.  This is the third straight year the Choppers have used their first pick on an infielder.  Alonso figures to have the biggest impact of them all.

The Komodos made it consecutive 2019 MLB Rookie of the Year winners when they selected Astros outfielder/DH Yordan Alvarez with the third pick.  Alvarez crashed the AL rookie party that was supposed to be all about a couple guys that will be covered below.  He hit .317 with 27 home runs and 78 RBIs despite not making his debut until June.  Had he been in the majors from the jump like Alonso, perhaps he too could have challenged the rookie home run record.  Alvarez is currently sidelined with a knee issue.  But assuming that doesn’t keep him out of action too long, he figures to be one of the league’s top sluggers.  He will join Cody Bellinger, Joey Gallo, Nelson Cruz and Jose Ramirez to form what could be a sneaky great Komodos offense.

Sneaky great is also an appropriate way of describing Keston Hiura’s young MLB career.  The Jackalope tabbed the Brewers second baseman with the fourth pick.  In 84 games, Hiura managed to hit .303 with 19 homers and nine stolen bases.  Extrapolate those numbers out to a full season and you could have the makings of a stud at a very weak offensive position.  The Jackalope have had one of the league’s best infields for a while now, but Hiura injects it with a needed shot of youth.  The spring is not off to a great start from a health perspective for the Jackalope.  Hiura could help cure much of what ails them, however.

Only one player selected in the first round won’t be making his DTBL debut this season.  Lucas Giolito was signed as a free agent by the Mavericks late in the 2017 season and was subsequently released prior to 2018, when the Mavericks picked him up again in the seventh round of the draft.  But he was released again by the Mavericks that May and had such a poor season that he got dropped from the league last year.  2019 Giolito was basically a brand new pitcher, making the All-Star team and compiling a Cy Young campaign resume.  The pitcher the Cougars drafted with the fifth pick this year really doesn’t resemble the one who pitched for the Mavericks.  In ’19, Giolito posted a 3.41 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, won 14 games and struck out an impressive 228 batters in 177 innings.  The Cougars pitching staff prevented them from being serious contenders a year ago.  Giolito could help change that.

A year ago, it seemed like a near certainty that I would be writing about Vladimir Guerrero Jr. being the first player taken in the 2020 draft.  Not that some of these other guys weren’t highly touted prospects, but Guerrero was at a different level.  His MLB debut became a must-see event, unlike any player I can recall since Bryce Harper.  That incredible, and probably unfair, level of hype made his 2019 season seem a little underwhelming.  He hit .272 with “only” 15 homers.  Here’s another number that is equally relevant though:  21.  That’s the age Guerrero will turn next week.  What Ronald Acuna and Juan Soto have done in their teens/very early 20s just isn’t normal.  Struggling to get your footing in the big leagues like Guerrero did *is* normal.  I have it on good authority that the Moonshiners were shocked and thrilled to grab him with the sixth pick in this draft.  If Vladito does in fact reach his potential, we’ll all look back on this pick and wonder how it came to be.

The Mavericks were also probably quite surprised about the availability of their first round pick.  They selected slugging outfielder Eloy Jimenez with the seventh pick.  Much of what I wrote about Guerrero applies to Jimenez as well, although he is a little older and did wind up posting pretty solid numbers thanks to a strong finish to the 2019 season.  31 home runs and 79 RBIs are impressive totals for a rookie and could be viewed as the floor of what to expect from here on out.  He seems a good bet to improve on the .267 average too.  Assuming good health, the Mavericks outfield is absolutely ridiculous.  Mike Trout, Juan Soto, Aaron Judge, Nick Castellanos and now Jimenez.  The rest of the roster ain’t too shabby either.

The Beanballers first official selection as a member of the DTBL was another flashy young shortstop who is the son of a former DTBL player, Bo Bichette.  Bichette has the fewest big league games under his belt of this first round group, but he made his short stint in the big leagues count.  In just 46 games, he hit .311 with 11 homers.  While not directly fantasy relevant, he also had 18 doubles.  So the extra base power appears to be legit.  With a new league member, it is hard to predict what the draft strategy might be.  In this case, it looks like the Beanballers went with the best young talent available, because shortstop was not a position of need with Trea Turner and Amed Rosario already on the roster.  You can’t go wrong with a middle infielder with huge upside though.  Bichette joins a roster with plenty of talent, so it will be interesting to see how the Beanballers do on their maiden voyage.

Seven of the first eight selections were hitters.  We finally saw a rookie pitcher go off the board when the Darkhorses selected Chris Paddack at #9.  While still at the very beginning of his career, Paddack already has an advanced repertoire, which he used to compile some gaudy numbers in 2019.  His sub 1.00 WHIP and 3.33 ERA were pretty incredible for a first season in the majors.  This selection made all the sense in the world for the Darkhorses, who have fallen a little short of the champion Kings the past two seasons because they didn’t have quite enough pitching.  Paddack will join Jacob deGrom, Patrick Corbin and Jose Berrios in a rotation that seems quite capable of closing that gap and claiming their first DTBL title in 10 years.

The Kings probably would have drafted any of the nine players selected ahead of them if they had fallen to the last slot in the first round.  Instead, they settled for a pitcher with very intriguing stuff, but also one who missed half of the 2019 campaign with a PED suspension.  Athletics hurler Frankie Montas was the final pick of the first round of the 2020 DTBL Draft.  Before the suspension, Montas was electric.  He struck out more than a batter per inning with a 2.63 ERA and 1.12 WHIP.  While starting pitching has been the Kings strength in their recent championship runs, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer aren’t getting any younger.  So they will turn to Montas as a potential ace in waiting.  In the meantime, he will join those guys in a rather formidable rotation.

A quick note on one second round selection referenced up top:  the Cougars selected second baseman Cavan Biggio with the 15th overall pick.  This connection is intriguing since Cavan’s father Craig was also a second baseman on the first two Cougars championship squads and was an all-time great for both the Cougars and Choppers.

After a bit of a slow start, we’ve hit our stride the past few days and are now on a great pace.  We should have plenty of time between the conclusion of the draft and Opening Day.  Keep up the good work!

DTBL Best of the Decade

Tuesday, December 31st, 2019

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The 2010s marked a decisive change from the first decade of this millennium in the DTBL.  The previous decade saw two teams dominate the landscape with the Kings opening it up with four straight titles from 2000-2003 and the Darkhorses doing the same from 2007-2010.  This decade, half of the franchises won at least one championship and only the 2019 Kings were able to successfully defend a title.  The 2010s started with arguably the craziest season in league history as the Darkhorses and Naturals became the first co-champions.  Two years later, the Naturals were involved in another epic finish as they just barely edged out three other teams to win another title.  The second half of the decade belonged to the Kings, as they have now won three of the past four championships.

As we enter a new decade, it is time to take a look back at the past 10 years in the DTBL.  Here are some of the best teams and players of the 2010s.

Franchise of the Decade:  Kevin’s Kings

It was a bit of a roller coaster ride for the Kings in the 2010s.  In 2013, they were able to put an end to their ten year title drought, barely edging out the Mavericks for the fifth championship in franchise history.  The remainder of the decade was pretty crazy for them.  Three times, they finished in the bottom half of the standings, including a dreadful last place finish in 2015 and a ninth place finish in 2017.  But they somehow managed to turn each of those poor years into a championship run the following year.  All told, they won four championships in the decade, the most of any franchise.  They weren’t the most consistent franchise, but titles are what matter most and nobody had more of them than the Kings.  The clear second choice for this honor would be the Naturals who won three titles, all coming in the same years the Giants won the World Series (2010, 2012, 2014).

Team of the Decade:  2015 Jay’s Jackalope

The Jackalope made their championships count.  Both of their title winning seasons were among the most impressive this league has ever seen.  It is difficult to compare teams from different seasons since so much of fantasy success is relative to the competition.  So simply going with the team with the most standings points doesn’t necessarily make them better than title winning teams from other years.  What sets apart the 2015 Jackalope, and their 2011 squad too for that matter, was the manner in which they dominated the rest of the league.  They won the league by a record breaking 19 points over the Mavericks.  The Jackalope offense was led by MVP winner Josh Donaldson and runner-up Paul Goldschmidt.  Meanwhile, Jake Arrieta led the pitching staff and won both the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards, giving the Jackalope a clean sweep of the three major awards.  The year started with the Jackalope making some major March trades, dealing away franchise icons Albert Pujols, Felix Hernandez and Zack Greinke.  But in return, they acquired Josh Donaldson, Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon, all of whom continue to reap benefits for them today.  It was one of the most impressive roster shake-ups we’ve ever seen.  Honorable mention in this category could go to a bunch of different teams.  Certainly the 2011 Jackalope who also won the league by double digits, the 2014 Naturals who set the record for most total points (89), the 2019 Kings who successfully defended their title with a much stronger season in the follow-up, and the 2017 Mavericks who finally cashed in a championship to go along with their historically dominant pitching staff for much of the decade.

Player of the Decade:  Mike Trout, Mavericks (2012-2019)

This was about as easy of a decision as you will find.  Mike Trout has been in the DTBL for eight seasons now.  In all eight seasons he has made the All-Star team and received MVP votes.  Shockingly, he only has one MVP award to his name so far.  But he has finished in the top five of that vote six times, including each of his first five seasons.  He also won the Rookie of the Year award in 2012.  In the 2010s, he led all DTBL players in PAR (71.0) by more than 20 points.  His decade ranks in the five offensive categories:  .308 average (5th), 280 home runs (3rd), 736 runs batted in (14th), 882 runs scored (1st), 195 stolen bases (7th).  Keep in mind that many players had a two year head start over him in the counting categories.  In 2015, his worst season according to PAR, he hit .299 with 41 home runs.  A second round pick by the Mavericks in 2012, Trout holds the franchise career record in homers, runs and stolen bases and is second in RBI.  Nobody else really garnered any consideration for this honor, but let’s just say Paul Goldschmidt was the runner-up.

Pitcher of the Decade:  Clayton Kershaw, Mavericks (2010-2019)

This was a pretty easy choice too, and yes, it is another Maverick.  In the 2010s, Clayton Kershaw won a pair of Cy Young awards, finished in the top four for that award seven straight years and made seven DTBL All-Star teams.  His numbers during the four year stretch of 2013-2016 were downright silly, posting ERAs below 2.00 in three of those years.  He won the Cy Young in 2013 and 2014 with ERAs of 1.83 and 1.77.  He posted a double digit PAR for seven straight seasons (2011-2017).  For the decade, his 2.30 ERA and 0.961 WHIP were easily the best among qualified starting pitchers.  His 154 wins ranked third as did his 2,131 strikeouts.  Somehow, the Mavericks nabbed him in the sixth round of the 2009 draft.  He is the franchise leader among starting pitchers in every relevant category.  Two other pitchers had similarly great decades:  the Kings veteran duo of Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.  But unlike those two, Kershaw was an elite performer for the entire decade.  Scherzer didn’t really reach that level until 2013 and Verlander had some down years in the middle of the decade.

 

Now let’s move onto the All-Decade players.  I’ve selected 46 players and split them into first and second teams.  Unlike the honors I’ve bestowed above, these selections were mostly objective.  I went with the players who accumulated the highest PAR in the decade, with exceptions at two positions:  catcher and relief pitcher.  Because even some above average performers at those positions have trouble accumulating positive PAR, I didn’t want to ding players for longevity in which some negative PAR years may have dragged their total down.  Also, I didn’t want to reward a few closers who have had just a couple great years, enough to put them near the top of the PAR leaderboard.  So I looked at the full set of numbers to make my decisions at those two positions.  For players who changed positions throughout the course of the decade, they were classified at whichever position they appeared in the most seasons.  Without further ado, here are 46 of the best players from the 2010s.

 

First Team All-Decade

C – Victor Martinez (Naturals ’10-’15, Mavericks ’16, Kings ’17):  .301 AVG, 115 HR, 504 RBI, 389 R, 5 SB, 10.8 PAR

C – Buster Posey (Demigods ’11-’19):  .302 AVG, 118 HR, 590 RBI, 521 R, 23 SB, 4.8 PAR

1B – Paul Goldschmidt (Jackalope ’12-’19):  .294 AVG, 235 HR, 781 RBI, 778 R, 123 SB, 51.0 PAR

2B – Jose Altuve (Demigods ’12-’19):  .316 AVG, 125 HR, 514 RBI, 693 R, 240 SB, 43.0 PAR

3B – Nolan Arenado (Naturals ’14-’19):  .298 AVG, 215 HR, 677 RBI, 574 R, 13 SB, 42.2 PAR

SS – Francisco Lindor (Demigods ’16-’19):  .284 AVG, 115 HR, 327 RBI, 423 R, 81 SB, 28.3 PAR

1B/3B – Miguel Cabrera (Naturals ’10-’18, Mavericks ’19):  .317 AVG, 265 HR, 928 RBI, 783 R, 14 SB, 43.2 PAR

2B/SS – Robinson Cano (Kings ’10-’19):  .302 AVG, 227 HR, 851 RBI, 791 R, 34 SB, 38.4 PAR

OF – Mike Trout (Mavericks ’12-’19):  .308 AVG, 280 HR, 736 RBI, 882 R, 195 SB, 71.0 PAR

OF – Nelson Cruz (Mavericks ’10-’11, Gators ’12-’17, Komodos ’18-’19):  .283 AVG, 338 HR, 941 RBI, 761 R, 49 SB, 47.6 PAR

OF – Mookie Betts (Kings ’15-’19):  .302 AVG, 134 HR, 447 RBI, 575 R, 116 SB, 41.3 PAR

OF – Andrew McCutchen (Naturals ’10-’17, Choppers ’18-’19):  .286 AVG, 219 HR, 763 RBI, 864 R, 165 SB, 40.7 PAR

OF – Ryan Braun (Jackalope ’10-’19):  .295 AVG, 236 HR, 796 RBI, 753 R, 164 SB, 40.3 PAR

DH – Edwin Encarnacion (Jackalope ’10, Naturals ’11, Mavericks ’12-’14, Darkhorses ’15-’19):  .265 AVG, 307 HR, 883 RBI, 752 R, 39 SB, 42.3 PAR

SP – Clayton Kershaw (Mavericks ’10-’19):  2.30 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 154 W, 0 SV, 2,131 K, 112.6 PAR

SP – Max Scherzer (Jackalope ’10, Kings ’10-’19):  3.07 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 155 W, 0 SV, 2,348 K, 98.3 PAR

SP – Justin Verlander (Kings ’10-’19):  3.10 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 159 W, 0 SV, 2,210 K, 95.5 PAR

SP – Zack Greinke (Jackalope ’10, Naturals ’11-’14, Moonshiners ’15-’19):  3.21 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 152 W, 0 SV, 1,852 K, 75.1 PAR

SP – Chris Sale (Naturals ’11, Choppers ’12-’19):  3.05 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 102 W, 6 SV, 1,907 K, 68.9 PAR

RP – Craig Kimbrel (Choppers ’11-’19):  2.14 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 27 W, 344 SV, 855 K, 34.6 PAR

RP – Kenley Jansen (Mavericks ’11-’19):  2.35 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 29 W, 295 SV, 827 K, 32.1 PAR

RP – Aroldis Chapman (Mavericks ’11, ’15-’17, Jackalope ’12-’14, Komodos ’18-’19):  2.28 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 27 W, 271 SV, 796 K, 27.2 PAR

RP – Jonathan Papelbon (Kings ’10-’15, Jackalope ’15-’16):  2.86 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 27 W, 217 SV, 462 K, 8.8 PAR

 

Second Team All-Decade

C – Yadier Molina (Choppers ’10-’16, Cougars ’17-’19):  .289 AVG, 120 HR, 645 RBI, 500 R, 53 SB, -0.1 PAR

C – J.T. Realmuto (Darkhorses ’16-’19):  .282 AVG, 73 HR, 266 RBI, 290 R, 32 SB, 5.6 PAR

1B – Joey Votto (Naturals ’10-’19):  .306 AVG, 229 HR, 745 RBI, 825 R, 66 SB, 38.2 PAR

2B – Ian Kinsler (Moonshiners ’10-’16, Jackalope ’17-’18):  .268 AVG, 163 HR, 609 RBI, 835 R, 148 SB, 28.5 PAR

3B – Adrian Beltre (Choppers ’10-’18):  .307 AVG, 226 HR, 781 RBI, 691 R, 10 SB, 34.9 PAR

SS – Trea Turner (Naturals ’16-’19):  .292 AVG, 60 HR, 199 RBI, 306 R, 145 SB, 28.1 PAR

1B/3B – Freddie Freeman (Demigods ’12-’19):  .296 AVG, 199 HR, 698 RBI, 699 R, 39 SB, 36.2 PAR

2B/SS – Brian Dozier (Moonshiners ’14-’19):  .245 AVG, 157 HR, 437 RBI, 521 R, 77 SB, 22.2 PAR

OF – Charlie Blackmon (Cougars ’15-’19):  .309 AVG, 142 HR, 389 RBI, 561 R, 87 SB, 37.3 PAR

OF – Bryce Harper (Darkhorses ’13-’19):  .278 AVG, 197 HR, 576 RBI, 607 R, 70 SB, 35.1 PAR

OF – Christian Yelich (Darkhorses ’14-’19):  .304 AVG, 134 HR, 481 RBI, 550 R, 111 SB, 34.8 PAR

OF – Giancarlo Stanton (Jackalope ’11-’19):  .268 AVG, 278 HR, 701 RBI, 627 R, 36 SB, 34.4 PAR

OF – Carlos Gonzalez (Kings ’10-’17):  .293 AVG, 197 HR, 648 RBI, 638 R, 97 SB, 33.7 PAR

DH – Albert Pujols (Jackalope ’10-’14, Mavericks ’15, ’18, Choppers ’16-’17, Darkhorses ’18):  .272 AVG, 250 HR, 813 RBI, 630 R, 49 SB, 34.6 PAR

SP – David Price (Naturals ’10-’18, Komodos ’19):  3.29 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 134 W, 0 SV, 1,804 K, 62.4 PAR

SP – Madison Bumgarner (Cougars ’11-’19):  3.16 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 111 W, 0 SV, 1,664 K, 59.9 PAR

SP – Felix Hernandez (Jackalope ’10-’14, ’18, Moonshiners ’15-’17):  3.20 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 104 W, 0 SV, 1,595 K, 52.1 PAR

SP – Jon Lester (Naturals ’10-’12, Choppers ’13-’19):  3.56 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 144 W, 0 SV, 1,773 K, 51.0 PAR

SP – Corey Kluber (Demigods ’14-’19):  2.94 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 83 W, 0 SV, 1,238 K, 50.9 PAR

RP – Francisco Rodriguez (Moonshiners ’10-’11, Mavericks ’12, Naturals ’14, Kings ’15-’17):  3.22 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 23 W, 181 SV, 407 K, 7.0 PAR

RP – Greg Holland (Gators ’12-’13, Naturals ’13-’17, Komodos ’18, Mavericks ’19):  3.06 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 14 W, 198 SV, 428 K, 4.5 PAR

RP – David Robertson (Cougars ’12-’19):  2.93 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 31 W, 127 SV, 515 K, 8.1 PAR

RP – Roberto Osuna (Moonshiners ’16-’19):  2.80 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 13 W, 134 SV, 270 K, 13.8 PAR

 

I thought about writing a short blurb for each player above, but decided that would take far too much time.  Here are a couple links to leaderboards for the decade, for your perusal:

Batters

Pitchers

Feel free to chime in below if you feel some player(s) were snubbed.  What an amazing decade it was in the DTBL.  Here’s to the 2020s being just as great.  Happy New Year!