Archive for the ‘Kings’ Category

2023 Season Preview: Part III

Saturday, April 1st, 2023

Embed from Getty Images
With a couple days in the books, we’re already seeing what a difference the new MLB rules are making on the game.  Most obvious is the shortening of the length of games due to the pitch clock.  From a fantasy perspective, the biggest change is probably the increase in stolen bases due to pickoff attempt limits and slightly shorter distances between bases caused by the increased base size.  It is probably still a bit too early to predict *exactly* what this means from a fantasy perspective though.  Will stolen bases simply increase across the board such that no particular type of roster benefits disproportionately?  It will probably cause some funky PAR numbers to pop up though since the threshold for being an above average stolen base contributor had been at a historic low prior to this season.  Anyway, that’s an analysis that can be done at another time when we have more data.

If you were wondering why I only covered a pair of teams in each of the first two preview sections, it is because I kind of had to plan the whole series around today’s trio of teams who are all projected to finish with the exact same number of points.  So it would not have made sense to split them up.  The 56 standings points each are projected to accumulate is pretty much where the similarities end among these teams though.  One is expected to have the best offense in the league, paired with the worst pitching staff.  Another is pegged to have one of the best pitching staffs, but with a near bottom offense.  And then there is the third team that is quite balanced in both parts of the game.  Here are the three teams projected to tie for fourth place.

 

Charlie’s Thunder Choppers

Category – Projected Rank (2022 Rank)

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

Summary:

Last year, the Choppers had far and away the best pitching staff in the league.  However, their offense really dragged them down and prevented them from giving the Moonshiners a serious threat down the stretch.  These projections paint a similar picture, although the Choppers did solidify their lineup with some very talented young players who could break out and smash these numbers.  It is a little hard to imagine a team with sluggers like Pete Alonso and Kyle Schwarber finishing dead last in home runs.  They are the only two on the team slated for more than 25 homers though.  The infield consists of a litany of young players with breakout potential:  Ke’Bryan Hayes, Alec Bohm, Vaughn Grissom, Triston Casas, Nico Hoerner and CJ Abrams.  First round draft pick Adley Rutschman joins Alejandro Kirk to give the Choppers one of the best catching tandems in the league.  The outfield is where they are a bit thin on impact players, besides defending NL home run champion Schwarber.  Steven Kwan and Lars Nootbaar are the newcomers to this group who will try to add a spark.  The pitching staff remains the strength and is mostly unchanged from last year’s pitching point leading group.  Reigning DTBL Rookie of the Year winner Dylan Cease, Brandon Woodruff and Shane Bieber all carry projections that would put them in the conversation for the Cy Young award this season.  Even though he’s been an elite pitcher for quite some time now, Bieber seems to fly under the radar in discussions about the top pitchers in baseball.  He actually has the highest PAR projection of this trio.  Blake Snell and Logan Gilbert round out the rotation and they added Nick Lodolo to give themselves a solid depth piece as well.  Snell’s return to elite form last season was quite a boon to the Choppers staff.  Gilbert being their fifth highest projected PAR starter is pretty envious.  The bullpen is very strong too.  With Edwin Diaz out for the season, Emmanual Clase is pretty much in a class by himself among relievers who can dominate not only in saves, but ERA, WHIP and strikeouts as well.  Jordan Romano is about as steady as they come too.  Trevor May has a shot at getting saves with the A’s.  Brusdar Graterol has the stuff to enter the closer conversation for the Dodgers at some point.  The last couple seasons, the Choppers have put themselves into title contention.  This year, they hope to finally end their near-quarter century title drought.

 

Kevin’s Kings

Category – Projected Rank (2022 Rank)

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

Summary:

On paper, the Kings look like one of the most balanced teams in the league.  They are one of only two to have batting and pitching point projections in the top half of the league.  They don’t have a glaring weakness.  The problem is, they also don’t appear to be particularly strong in any area.  The batting projections are actually a bit troubling for a squad that led the league in batting points a season ago.  Also troubling is the fact that these numbers were compiled before they lost Rhys Hoskins for the season with a torn ACL.  The good news is they do have capable corner infielders to attempt to fill that void with Matt Olson, Austin Riley and newcomer first round pick Gunnar Henderson.  Marcus Semien continues to be one of the most productive middle infielders in the game.  Carlos Correa had a wild offseason of free agent drama, but in the end he’s back in Minnesota and anchoring the shortstop position for the Kings as well.  Will Smith and Sean Murphy return to provide stability and solid production behind the dish for the Kings.  The outfield has a bunch of new additions in Andrew Benintendi, Miguel Vargas and Michael Conforto, but the main guys out there are the returning trio of Mookie Betts, Randy Arozarena and Tyler O’Neill.  Arozarena is someone who could be capable of carrying an offense if he is allowed to run wild this season.  Same goes for Betts, although his stolen base production has been tailing off in recent years.  The Kings almost completely rebuilt their pitching staff.  Max Scherzer and Zack Wheeler are the only healthy holdovers from last season’s rotation.  They remain the Kings co-aces.  They’ll need some help from a couple of the newcomers though.  The new additions include George Kirby, Nestor Cortes and Drew Rasmussen, none of whom were household names before last year.  The Kings bullpen could be decent, but it is hard to feel confident about that at the moment.  Camilo Doval appears to be the only sure thing closer in the group.  Paul Sewald and Pete Fairbanks could be in line for plenty of saves too though.  The Kings are strong enough in all areas to remain a title contender.  It’s just not clear if they have enough elite level talent to push them over the top.

 

Marc’s Mavericks

Category – Projected Rank (2022 Rank)

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

Summary:

For the first time in three years, the Mavericks are not the pre-season predicted champion.  Perhaps that is just as well as they have fallen short of expectations every season since winning the league in 2017.  Last year was an especially disappointing season as they had the worst finish in franchise history, falling all the way to ninth place.  Unless everything that can go wrong does again, we probably won’t see a repeat of that.  This is an absolutely loaded roster on the hitting side, which creates a pretty high floor, even though the pitching staff is full of question marks.  Pretty much the lone bright spot for the Mavericks last season was Aaron Judge who won the league MVP and broke the AL home run record with 62 bombs.  He’s back along with the rest of the league’s best outfield.  Mike Trout, Juan Soto, Eloy Jimenez and Nick Castellanos are all looking to bounce back from disappointing and/or injury plagued seasons.  Second overall draft pick Bobby Witt Jr gives the Mavericks infield a significant boost and immediately becomes their top stolen base threat.  Manny Machado continues to be the dependable anchor of the infield.  First baseman Nate Lowe had a nice breakout campaign in ’22.  He’s joined at first base by second round pick Vinnie Pasquantino.  In addition to the outfielders mentioned above, another guy looking to stay healthy and go back to being one of the premier players at his position is second baseman Ozzie Albies.  As long as they aren’t ravaged by injuries like they were a year ago, expect the Mavericks to have the best offense in the league.  The pitching staff is another matter though.  The Dodgers pair of Julio Urias and Clayton Kershaw are the only safe bets to provide great numbers from the rotation.  Pablo Lopez is a pretty solid #3 option though.  The rest of the starters fall into at least one of these two categories: returning from injury or looking to regain lost form.  This group includes Chris Sale, Jack Flaherty, Freddy Peralta, Tony Gonsolin and Michael Kopech.  So the good news is they have plenty of options.  It remains to be seen which of these guys will step up in 2023.  The bullpen is a complete wild card.  The Mavericks finished the draft with just one healthy reliever in Alexis Diaz.  They hope to add Liam Hendriks as a reliable closer at some point as he is currently battling back from cancer.  Hunter Brown is an intriguing bullpen piece as a decent bet to hold down a rotation spot for the Astros for parts of the season.  The Mavericks don’t have their typical rosy outlook heading into this season, but they are close to a lock to put last season behind them and be a competitive team this year.

Back To Basics

Tuesday, March 28th, 2023

Embed from Getty Images
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 III

Saturday, April 9th, 2022

Embed from Getty Images
We’re two days into the 2022 season.  Not surprisingly, with most teams running their top pitchers out there for their first game or two, pitchers seem to have the upper hand so far.  In this next installment of the season preview series, we’ll take a look a three more teams that are projected to finish with nearly identical point totals.  What perhaps gives these teams a small leg up on the squads covered previously is that none of them are slated to finish near the bottom of the league in batting or pitching points.  That doesn’t mean they are without holes though.  No team can make that claim coming into this season.  Here we have a pair of strong hitting teams with reasonable expectations to have their best finish ever and a defending champion who hasn’t finished in the middle of the pack in almost a decade.  Here are the team’s projected to finish in the third through fifth positions of the final standings.

 

Kat’s Komodos

Category – Projected Rank (2021 Rank)

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

Summary:

Since joining the league in 2018, the Komodos have been looking to make their first run up the standings, having yet to finish higher than eighth place.  This could be the year they do it.  They have had a pretty strong offensive squad for a while now, but the pitching staff has been an anchor.  While these projections don’t show the pitching to be among the league’s best, it does show signs of improvement.  Let’s start with their strong batting lineup though.  In the past two drafts, the Komodos have been able to add a pair of the most dynamic young stars of the game in outfielder Luis Robert and shortstop Wander Franco.  Robert’s injury early last season set the Komodos back, but his return for the final two months launched the upward trajectory of this team.  If he can stay healthy for a full season this time around, he could be a MVP candidate.  Speaking of MVP candidates, Jose Ramirez has annually become one of those.  This year should be no exception.  He has probably become the most consistent producer of both home runs and stolen bases in the entire league.  Franco joins Corey Seager to give the Komodos an enviable shortstop duo.  The ageless Nelson Cruz moves over to first base for this first time in his DTBL career after playing in the field for the first time since 2018 for a single game last year.  That shouldn’t be a problem for the Komodos though, as they were a little thin at that position anyway.  Yordan Alvarez and Starling Marte are the other stars of the outfield besides Robert.  An important player for this team will be Cody Bellinger, who has struggled mightily for a couple years since finishing third in the MVP race in 2019.  Walker Buehler has been carrying the Komodos pitching staff for years.  He might have some help now.  Young lefty Shane McClanahan was a very nice second round pickup.  Veteran Nathan Eovaldi is a reliable contributor as well.  A pair of Astros pitchers, Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia, provide solid depth to the rotation.  The bullpen looks very good as well, and got a boost last week when Craig Kimbrel was traded to the Dodgers.  These projections don’t account for the fact that he should be a safe bet for a large save total.  Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon make it very likely the Komodos will finish near the top of the league in saves.  This is the highest the Komodos have been projected to finish since they joined the league.  And looking at the roster, that checks out.  This is their strongest squad yet.

 

Dom’s Demigods

Category – Projected Rank (2021 Rank)

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

Summary:

The Demigods were a better team last year than their sixth place finish might have indicated.  Unfortunately, one of the reasons why they fell short of expectations may be playing out again this year.  Their best player, Fernando Tatis Jr, missed time during two stretches with a shoulder injury, yet still managed to finish in the top five in Batting PAR.  This year, they will be without Tatis for a quite a while with him recovering from a broken wrist.  Wrist injuries have a history of sapping players of power even when they do return.  So that’s not great for the Demigods.  On a positive note though, this team has plenty of other great hitters.  Freddie Freeman moves to Los Angeles where he will be a key cog in the Dodgers juggernaut lineup, which also contains Demigods third baseman Justin Turner.  C.J. Cron, Jose Altuve, Francisco Lindor and Josh Donaldson join them to form what might be the league’s deepest infield.  If you include catchers in that, their standing is even stronger as Willson Contreras and Mitch Garver are among the best catching duos.  The outfield doesn’t have quite as much depth, but there is upside there.  People say this every year, but, if Byron Buxton can just stay healthy, he could be one of the best players in the game.  Ketel Marte, J.D. Martinez and Austin Meadows are all solid contributors.  While the Demigods may not be elite in the power categories, they are likely to finish near the top in batting average, runs and stolen bases.  On the pitching front, the rotation welcomes AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray who has the benefit of no longer pitching in the AL East, as he signed with the Mariners this winter.  Freddy Peralta jumps from the bullpen to a rotation spot.  Aaron Nola, Max Fried and Joe Musgrove return to give the Demigods a full rotation of five pitchers with PAR projections north of 4.  They are the only team in the league that can make that claim.  The past two years, the Demigods have completely punted the saves category, recording a grand total of 18 over two seasons.  That included two of the three lowest team save totals in league history.  This figures to change this year with Gregory Soto likely to be the Tigers closer, David Bednar in the mix for the Pirates and Diego Castillo and Ken Giles both among the Mariners committee approach.  The bullpen is still a weakness for the Demigods, but might actually earn them a couple points this year.  The Demigods have an excellent shot at finishing in the top half for the first time since 2018 and could even win the whole thing for the first time if things break their way.

 

Kevin’s Kings

Category – Projected Rank (2021 Rank)

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

Summary:

Since I never got around to writing a championship article for the 2021 Kings, let me quickly sum it up here.  They were not a vintage championship squad.  They took advantage of competition that was weakened due to injuries and other unfortunate circumstances.  The Kings were by far the least affected team among the title contenders in those areas last season.  Will they be so lucky again this year?  Well, they are the only team in the entire league that is projected to finish in the top half of the league in both batting and pitching points.  So on solid balance alone, they ought to have a shot.  The Kings surprisingly led the league in the power categories a year ago.  Don’t expect a repeat of that.  The offense is pretty solid across the board though.  The infield is led by three guys who changed MLB uniforms this off-season:  Matt Olson, Marcus Semien and Carlos Correa.  The breakout of third baseman Austin Riley was a key to the Kings title run.  Josh Bell is the main addition here, in quest of holding onto the power category leads.  Will Smith is one of the best catchers in the game, and hasn’t slapped anyone recently, as far as I know.  Another major figure in the Kings ’21 breakthrough was outfielder Tyler O’Neil, who they picked up as an undrafted free agent early in the season.  He and Mookie Betts have the Kings highest batting PAR projections.  Randy Arozarena, A.J. Pollock and Dylan Carlson join them to make up a very good outfield.  The Kings easily led the league in pitching points last year.  That will be tough to duplicate.  However, they used their first round pick on Trevor Rogers to provide support to Max Scherzer, Zack Wheeler and Frankie Montas.  At some point, you have to figure Scherzer will slow down.  He has held a spot as one of baseball’s best pitchers for basically a decade straight now.  Wheeler appears ready to take the reigns as the staff ace if necessary though.  This is still a very strong rotation, but perhaps not as deep as a few other teams.  The bullpen is not great, as they have been scraping by without any elite closers for several years now.  Not one of their relievers is on firm ground as a closer.  Matt Barnes and Camilo Doval are the most likely to get saves.  Paul Sewald figures to give them a boost in other categories.  The past seven years, the roller coaster Kings have either finished in a bottom two spot or won the league every time.  So will this version be a bottom feeder or a champion?  There seems to be no other possibility.

A Pitcher Takeover

Tuesday, March 29th, 2022

Embed from Getty Images
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.

Scherzer Wins Third Cy Young

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

Embed from Getty Images
The Kings roller coaster ride of a past decade that continually fluctuates between championship and bottom feeder seasons peaked again in 2021 with them winning their ninth DTBL Championship.  While the Kings themselves have been anything but consistent over the years, one thing has not changed.  Max Scherzer has remained one of the best pitchers in baseball.  In 2021, there were a lot of great pitching performances, especially among those who played for National League teams.  In what wound up being almost the polar opposite of the NL Cy Young vote, Max Scherzer is the 2021 DTBL Cy Young award winner, earning the honor for the third time in his career.

While the final numbers were right where they usually are, it was not exactly a normal season for Scherzer.  As a free agent to be, he was traded from the struggling Nationals to the Dodgers and immediately became a critical piece for the defending World Series champions who lost Clayton Kershaw to injury and Trevor Bauer to administrative leave.  Scherzer wasn’t completely healthy himself this season, limiting him to 173 innings, far fewer than his usual workhorse load.  But he made those innings count with a career best 2.49 ERA and 0.86 WHIP.  That WHIP is the sixth lowest by a qualified pitcher in league history.  He won 14 games and struck out 231 batters, both of which put him fourth in the league this season.  His 11.92 pitching PAR led the league, barely edging out his Dodgers teammate Walker Buehler.

This was the sixth time in the past nine years that Scherzer accumulated a double digit PAR.  He is now just 3 PAR behind his former Kings teammate Justin Verlander for second place on the DTBL career pitching PAR list (caveat:  only includes 2005-present).  It is hard to say where this Scherzer season stacks up compared to the best of his career.  Probably behind his other two DTBL Cy Young campaigns though.  He struck out 300 while winning the award in 2018 and won 20 games in 2016.  The Kings have now won the title in all three of his Cy Young seasons.  In fact, in the Kings five championship seasons in the past decade (2013, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021), Scherzer has finished first or second in the Cy Young vote in all but one.  And in that one exception (2019), his Kings teammate Verlander won the award instead.  With Verlander no longer around, Scherzer is the only player to have been on all five of those championship squads.  It is safe to say they would not have won many, if any, of them without him.

There were four standout pitchers in the DTBL this season.  As it turns out, all four played for National League teams.  So it is interesting to compare how the voting results played out for the DTBL and NL Cy Young awards.  The order in which those four finished was almost exactly the opposite in the two races.  In the NL, the award was won by Corbin Burnes with Zack Wheeler finishing second, Scherzer third and Walker Buehler fourth.  Here’s how the DTBL vote shook out.  Scherzer received seven of the nine first place votes and a pair of seconds to finish with 84 points.  The runner-up was Komodos’ ace Buehler.  The Dodgers righty was just barely edged out by Scherzer in PAR, WHIP and strike outs, but Buehler had the slight edge in ERA and wins.  He received the other two first place votes, five seconds and two thirds for 65 points.  While it was the Scherzer/Verlander duo leading the way in recent championship seasons for the Kings, this year it was Wheeler replacing Verlander.  Wheeler had a career year, leading the league with 247 strikeouts.  He received one second and six third place votes for 43 points, joining Scherzer and Buehler as the trio who appeared on every ballot.  Finishing fourth was the NL Cy Young award winner Burnes.  The Cougars first round draft pick this year had a sparkling 2.43 ERA and 0.94 WHIP.  One of the talking points post NL Cy Young announcement was that Burnes threw 45 fewer innings than Wheeler.  As for this league’s vote, he threw just six fewer innings than Scherzer.  A majority of the votes he received were for the fourth slot and he totaled 27 points.  There was a huge dropoff after those four.  Finishing fifth was the Cougars’ Kevin Gausman with four points.  Interestingly, eight out of the top nine finishers played for NL teams.  The only exception was a relief pitcher, Liam Hendriks.  The top finishing AL starting pitcher was Gerrit Cole, who came in tenth.  Of course, AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray wasn’t even on the league roster this year.

Click here to view the full voting results.

One more award to come.  It’s the big one.  Who will be named the 2021 DTBL Most Valuable Player?  Come back tomorrow to find out!

2021 Season Preview: Part II

Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

Embed from Getty Images
I’m not going to post the full projected standings until all ten teams have been revealed, but here is a spoiler alert:  there is a pretty wide point gap between the top and bottom half of the standings.  Usually, I like to bucket the teams with similar point projections into the same preview article.  But the three way tie for seventh place made that a little tough to do.  The first team that will be covered in this piece is only one point ahead of those teams.  Meanwhile, this article will cover yet another projected tie, with a pair of teams picked to finish in fourth place.  Those teams are a full 16 points clear of sixth place.  The three teams covered here feature a little more roster balance than those slated to finish below them.  However, they are not fully loaded teams on paper.  One of these squads had a very disappointing 2020 season, another had promise but faded to the bottom half, while the third would like to build on the momentum built in the shortened campaign.  Here are the teams projected to finish in fourth through sixth places.

 

Kevin’s Kings

Category – Projected Rank (2020 Rank)

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

Summary:

Last year’s Kings title defense was one of the worst this league has ever seen, perhaps only challenged by the 2017 Kings who also finished in ninth place the year after winning the title.  But in 2020, the Kings were a two-time defending champ that stumbled to its fewest standings points since 2009 and second worst total since the league expanded to six teams.  The total collapse of the offense was especially shocking.  But these projections show some major improvements there, particularly in the power department.  First round pick Randy Arozarena will try to give Mookie Betts some help in a depleted outfield.  Betts has been carrying this offense for years and remains one of the best players in the league.  Besides Betts and Arozarena though, the only other hitter with a 4+ PAR projection is first baseman Matt Olson, who can’t possibly hit below the Mendoza line again, can he?  The Kings could really use more from infielders Carlos Correa, Rhys Hoskins and Mike Moustakas as well.  A bunch of old friends are back in the fold for the Kings as they used draft picks to reacquire outfielder A.J. Pollock, second baseman Ryan McMahon and pitcher Marcus Stroman.  Late bloomer Mike Yastrzemski and bright newcomer Dylan Carlson were also nice additions to the outfield.  The pitching staff looks nothing like the group that helped win three of the past five titles.  The reliable veteran duo of Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander is now just Scherzer.  Frankie Montas, Lance McCullers, Zack Wheeler and Ian Anderson all have intriguing upside, but also very large shoes to fill.  One of those four will need to ascend to elite status for the Kings pitching staff to return to respectability.  Stroman is another steady veteran presence for the rotation, but he hasn’t pitched in a real game since 2019.  The bullpen is almost entirely new, but lacking certainty in closer roles.  Richard Rodriguez, Matt Barnes and Amir Garrett all offer potential in that category though.  The Kings will have a lot to overcome to prove that last season was a fluke.  But their recent track record of yo-yoing between the top and bottom of the standings could bode well for them.

 

Dom’s Demigods

Category – Projected Rank (2020 Rank)

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

Summary:

The Demigods were much better than their seventh place finish might have indicated a year ago.  They were an above average team in almost all facets and finished with a point total that would have put them in the top half of the standings virtually any other season.  So 2020 was definitely a step in the right direction after a dreadful 2019.  And these numbers show a glimmer of hope for further improvement.  Most notably, their third place projection in home runs would be welcomed after finishing dead last in ’20.  It is not really any new additions that are causing that though, but rather an anticipated return to form for players like J.D. Martinez, who they cut in February and then redrafted this month.  Six hitters are projected for at least 30 home runs:  Martinez, reigning co-MVP Fernando Tatis Jr., Freddie Freeman, Francisco Lindor, Byron Buxton and C.J. Cron.  Tatis is clearly the headliner and a likely MVP candidate again this season.  Josh Bell, Jose Altuve and Austin Meadows are bounceback candidates.  Wil Myers quietly returned to solid contributor status last season.  The Demigods probably have one of the best catching tandems with Travis d’Arnaud joining Willson Contreras.  This is a very strong group of hitters, from top to bottom.  The second place batting projection makes sense.  Where they will need to exceed expectations is on the pitching side.  Aaron Nola remains the staff ace and a safe bet to put up very strong numbers again this season.  Zac Gallen’s health is an immediate concern, although the worst case scenario seems to have been avoided for now.  If healthy, he has star potential as well.  A return to health for Corey Kluber would be a major blessing for the Demigods who haven’t been the same without him for most of the past couple seasons.  Veteran Kenta Maeda was a legit Cy Young contender a year ago.  Max Fried is the one youngster in the rotation with untapped potential.  It appears the Demigods will once again punt the saves category.  Last year, they recorded just six of them all season.  Some combination of Rafael Montero, Chris Martin and Matt Wisler should put them ahead of that mark this year, but still likely to finish at or near the bottom.  Freddy Peralta starting the season in the Brewers rotation gives them a potential wild card though.  This is a very solid Demigods squad.  It would not be surprising to see them contend this season.

 

Mike’s Moonshiners

Category – Projected Rank (2020 Rank)

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

Summary:

Besides the champion Darkhorses, perhaps no team had a more positive 2020 season than the Moonshiners who posted their highest finish since 2011.  That was mostly accomplished on the strength of their pitching staff.  While the pitchers are probably still ahead of the hitters, this does appear to be a more balanced squad this season.  I doubt many people would be able to correctly guess who is the Moonshiners projected batting PAR leader for this season.  If you guessed outfielder Kyle Tucker, congratulations!  Tucker is a very strong candidate for breakout star of 2021.  He has immense power and speed projectability.  Most of the other stars of the Moonshiners offense are hulking sluggers, like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Miguel Sano, Max Muncy and Rafael Devers.  But Tucker isn’t the only strong hitter and runner.  Shortstop Tim Anderson can also contribute in all five categories.  Michael Conforto shouldn’t be overlooked either.  Newcomer Ryan Mountcastle should give a boost to the Moonshiners outfield, as should Shohei Ohtani who is returning to the offensive side of things after a disappointing and injury riddled 2020 on the mound.  Part of the reason why the Moonshiners were able to shift Ohtani back to the outfield is because of the extensive depth of their starting rotation.  Yu Darvish returned to form as one of the best pitchers in baseball last year and figures to continue that form in San Diego this year.  Veterans Zack Greinke, Charlie Morton and Kyle Hendricks aren’t overwhelming at this stage of their careers, but they are still very productive and reliable pitchers.  The potential breakout star on the pitching side for the Moonshiners is Jesus Luzardo.  The first place saves projection is perhaps a tad optimistic as it includes a full season’s worth of saves out of Kirby Yates who won’t pitch this year.  But they still ought to be in decent shape with Edwin Diaz, Trevor Rosenthal and Jake McGee as either certain or very likely closers.  While the fourth place projection in pitching points isn’t particularly impressive, I’m not sure any other team can match the Moonshiners pitching depth, so there is upside here.  Combine that with what appears to be an improved offense and you should have the makings of a contending ballclub.

 

Predictably Unpredictable

Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

Embed from Getty Images
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.

2020 Season Preview: Part III

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

Embed from Getty Images
None of the remaining five teams, projected to finish in the top half of the standings, are huge surprises.  The three teams that will be covered in this installment of the 2020 DTBL season preview all finished in the top half of the standings last year as well.  Perhaps you will be a little surprised to see a couple of the teams below today rather than in tomorrow’s article covering the projected top two teams.  Regardless, we are now getting to teams that are a little more balanced than those covered previously, and might have more margin for error if they lose some players for extended periods of time this season.  The projected gap between these three teams is just four points in the standings, so the order in which they appear isn’t particularly meaningful.  These are teams that should have championship aspirations.  Here are the teams projected to finish third through fifth this season.

Mike’s Moonshiners

Category – Projected Rank (2019 Rank)

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

Summary:

No team’s 2019 results and 2020 projections are a closer match than the Moonshiners.  Their pitching staff flew somewhat under the radar a year ago as a very solid group and could be even better this year.  Meanwhile, their offense still appears to be below average, but should be a little more powerful than the 2019 edition.  That power surge could come in the form of first round pick Vladimir Guerroro Jr, for whom these projections point towards a big second MLB season.  He joins an infield full of mashers, whose lack of defensive prowess is obviously a non-factor for the Moonshiners:  Miguel Sano, Rafael Devers, Max Muncy and Tim Anderson.  Devers could be a legitimate MVP candidate in a shortened season.  He and Guerrero give the Moonshiners elite potential that they have been lacking offensively in recent years.  The outfield is not so deep though.  Michael Conforto and Khris Davis lead that group.  The Moonshiners pitching staff is full of veterans with surprisingly high upside considering their age and experience.  Charlie Morton has been one of the most underrated pitchers in the league for several years now.  Yu Darvish seemed to return to his old, dominating self down the stretch last year.  Zack Greinke and Kyle Hendricks are steady and reliable as well.  But the huge wild card for the Moonshiners in 2020 is Shohei Ohtani, who will return to the mound for the first time since 2018 and the first time ever in this league.  The fact that he will only pitch once a week shouldn’t hurt his value too much as he figures to start just a couple fewer games than other starters who pitch all season.  It is hard to predict what the Moonshiners will get from their bullpen.  Edwin Diaz was brutal a year ago, but was the best reliever in baseball before that.  Roberto Osuna might not be ready to go on Opening Day, but figures to return soon after.  Jesus Luzardo is returning from COVID-19 and is an exciting possibility should he be part of the A’s rotation, as expected.  The Moonshiners are still looking for their first DTBL title and haven’t really been involved in a pennant race since 2012.  That could definitely change this year.

Kevin’s Kings

Category – Projected Rank (2019 Rank)

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

Summary:

Perhaps it is a bit surprising to see the two-time defending champions projected to drop down to fourth place.  But there are a number of reasons to expect a decline from the Kings this year, some of which aren’t even totally reflected in these numbers.  The Kings have won those recent titles despite not having a very deep roster.  The triumvirate of Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Mookie Betts have been largely responsible for the Kings recent success.  Scherzer and Verlander aren’t getting any younger and it is fair to wonder if their performance might start dropping off soon.  If so, it remains to be seen if they have others capable of picking up the slack.  Besides Betts, Marcus Semien was their next most important hitter a year ago.  He will be out to prove that wasn’t a fluke.  Matt Olson, Mike Moustakas, Rhys Hoskins and Jonathan Villar give the Kings a steady, if not exciting infield.  One player who the Kings could really use a big season from is Carlos Correa who has been nagged by injuries for a couple years now.  The outfield also contains some solid players with somewhat limited upside in David Dahl, Max Kepler and Oscar Mercado.  The catching duo of Will Smith and Sean Murphy is inexperienced, but quite interesting.  As usual, the Kings ability to remain a championship contender will depend on their veteran superstar pitchers.  They will hope Frankie Montas steps up to be the heir apparent to either Scherzer or Verlander.  Reacquiring Lance McCullers, who missed last season due to Tommy John surgery, could pay off as well.  And Zack Wheeler is still around, but there are questions regarding his availability this season with his wife due any day now.  The bullpen got quite a makeover despite leading the league in saves last year.  Hector Neris and Archie Bradley are the incumbents, and also the only safe bets to keep their closer jobs.  The Kings have enough pieces here to remain one of the better pitching teams in the league.  Expecting them to repeat last year’s 49 pitching point performance is probably unrealistic though.  And they might not have the bats needed to pick up the slack.  Defending a championship is never easy and the Kings will have an especially hard time doing so this year.

Marc’s Mavericks

Category – Projected Rank (2019 Rank)

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

Summary:

Even though the Mavericks are projected to finish a spot higher than they did a year ago, this still feels like a fairly pessimistic outlook.  It is hard to imagine a pitching staff that features Jack Flaherty, Stephen Strasburg and Clayton Kershaw finishing in the bottom half of the league in pitching points.  The batting projections should be worrisome to the rest of the league.  An offense that was already loaded with talent might be even better now.  It seems like most of the teams I have covered to this point have had pretty mediocre, or worse, outfield situations.  That could be because the Mavericks have been hoarding all of the superstar outfielders.  No team can match the Mavericks’ top three outfielders of Mike Trout, Juan Soto and Aaron Judge.  Nick Castellanos is pretty good too.  And now they are joined by first round pick Eloy Jimenez.  This truly feels like an embarrassment of riches.  The infield isn’t too shabby either with Manny Machado, Ozzie Albies and Javy Baez.  Perhaps the only concern the Mavericks have at the moment is a hole at catcher with Buster Posey opting out of the season.  But that should be pretty easy to fill.  As mentioned, their starting pitching is elite.  Flaherty was probably the best pitcher in baseball in the second half of 2019.  Strasburg was untouchable in October.  Kershaw still seems to have plenty in the tank too.  Then there are promising youngsters Mike Soroka and Dustin May, along with Julio Urias who should get a full season’s worth of starts for the first time in his career.  Their rotation depth did take a bit of a hit with Michael Kopech opting out.  The Mavericks don’t appear to have a great bullpen.  Kenley Jansen and Jose Leclerc are solid though.  And A.J. Puk could be a weapon, if his recent shoulder injury doesn’t wind up being too serious.  After a couple slightly disappointing seasons for the Mavericks, it would not be surprising to see these perennial contenders atop the standings again.

A Family Affair

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

Embed from Getty Images
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

Embed from Getty Images
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!