Archive for » March, 2018 «

And So It Begins… 2018 Starts With a BANG!!

Wow… wow… So we all know that the Marlins are bad. I mean Jeter cleaned house down there (Brewers fans rejoice!). He not only let go of all of his talent, he fired the Mascot, and he let the Marlins biggest fan, Marlins Man, go to Free Agency to find a new team.

But did we ever expect Ian Happ to open the season with a monster Home Run on the FIRST pitch of the season. Obviously, a lot of you think Ian Happ is going to do great things in the Home Run department this season at the top of the Cubs lineup (more on the group selections later). But no way, you all thought the first pitch of the season was going to go over the wall. That was the first time since like 1986 when Dwight Evans did it.

Opening days other major story line, which also ties to Miami, wasn’t a let down either. Stanton’s first AB as a Yankee also saw the ball leave the yard. And then he did it a 2nd time later in the game. He’s on pace for 324 HR this season. And he may be the only player that can actually maintain that pace.

However, Stanton’s two homer game wasn’t the most impressive display of Homers on Opening Day. The Chicago WhiteSox, yes that isn’t a typo, the Chicago WhiteSox had a home run derby of their own on opening day with 6 homers. 6! And those 6 were hit between only 3 guys. Matt Davidson hit 3 of those homers. No one chose Matt Davidson… and yes, I actually put him in Group D. So he was actually a choice I gave you…

Derby News:
Thank you for putting up with a couple hours without the standings on Opening Day. It’s like a holiday for me, so I was out watching all the games with a group of guys and didn’t want to risk breaking the standings until I was sitting behind a computer to debug the inevitable problems.

Surprisingly, after about 4hrs of execution (real robust validation over here…), the standings look to be fully functional and it only took me 2hrs of debugging this year (2hrs is a HUGE success in my mind). The standings should be updating roughly every 15 minutes. If stats don’t look correct, give it a few minutes and refresh. If they still look wrong, the stats should get corrected by noon the next day. Just a reminder that the official stats are kept offline and are triple verified for accuracy. The online stats are just for convenience and my sanity of not having to manually update them.

If you are new, here’s a reminder on how the standings page works and how you can use the standings to see a bunch of different information (yes, the capabilities of the standings is much, much more than just finding your name).

As for the entries, we have succeeded in having more entries again for the 8th straight season (pending a few payments) and I’ve only been doing this for 8 seasons. It still impresses me how much excellent feedback you guys give me on wanting me to continue do this competition. Even with a year off, we still managed to have 107 contestants (this ties 2016 entries but we had a few forfeit their teams in April due to missing payment deadlines). So kudos to you for spreading the word on our fun little contest. I’m still debating on how to award the prizes this season, but I will continue to payout prizes through the entire standings, similar to what we did in 2016, and not just rewarding the very top teams.

I thought this season was the easiest for me to group players in a long time. It seemed like there were obvious tiers of power hitters.
But apparently, you all tend to like the same player in a lot of the groups (I’m guilty too this season in gravitating to player names versus the statistics). And for the first time in 8 seasons of the contest, we finally have a duplicate team selection. And not just 1, we have at least 2 duplicate team selections. And there may even a few more that I haven’t noticed but will become apparent as more and more ABs are taking this season.

Stanton, Trout, Hoskins, Ozuna was a very popular combination this year. 4 teams had some form of this combination. That may not sound like a lot but with over 9million+ combinations, that’s probably the most similar picks in 4 groups we have ever had. And if you did have this combination, you duplicated a team. Yes, of those 4 teams, there were only 2 group E selections… Ian Happ and Yasiel Puig.

The most popular selections in each group were: Giancarlo Stanton (51 teams), Mike Trout (34), Freddie Freeman (20), Marcell Ozuna (27), and Ian Happ (19). Let’s take a look at the selection breakdown per group:

Group A
What happens when you are the most powerful swinger and you have a full, healthy season? You hit 59 homers and then get traded to a home run friendly ball park and hit 2 homers on Opening Day. You also get chosen by almost 50% of the HR Derby contestants. Yes, Stanton leads group A by a long shot. The second most is no surprise either, his own teammate, Aaron Judge. We could see almost 120 home runs just between these two guys this season. The Yankees are going to be fun to watch (Whoa, did I just actually say that…). Every player in Group A got some love this season with no player getting snubbed by all team selections.

  • Stanton – 51
  • Judge – 24
  • Arenado – 17
  • Encarnacion – 4
  • Bellinger – 3
  • K.Davis/Gallo/Martinez – 2
  • Cruz/Donaldson – 1

Group B
I finally caved and put Trout and Harper down in Group B. Just looking at their past statistics and performances, they didn’t deserve to be in the top tier with the true power swingers from last season and seasons past. In doing so, almost 50% of the teams chose one of those 2 players. 1 in 3 teams choosing Trout. Goldy got the 3rd most selections. Apparently, 10 of you aren’t worried about the humidor in Arizona this season (is baseball really going to mandate humidors in all stadiums next season?!). And, much to my surprise, the Cubs fans prefer Bryant over Rizzo… 9 to 7. Jay Bruce get 0 selections from Group B… no love for a guy who has hit over 30 homers in 5 seasons in his career.

  • Trout – 34
  • Harper – 14
  • Goldschmidt – 10
  • Bryant – 9
  • Rizzo – 7
  • Sano – 6
  • Schwarber – 5
  • Dozier/Machado/Votto – 3
  • Cespedes/Duda/Sanchez/Springer/Abreu – 2
  • C.Davis/Frazier/Upton – 1
  • Bruce – 0

Group C
Half of the teams chose one of the following 3 players: Blackmon (23), Freeman (20), Hoskins (18). Hoskins put on a display of power late last season and people took notice. But some of you may have forgotten of the even more impressive display of power late in 2017 by Matt Olson, as only 3 gambled on that youngster. Youth powers Group C choices as we see a lot of our aging stars not getting many selections (Granderson/Jones/Morales/Napoli/Pujols/HanRam/Seager/Trumbo).

  • Blackmon – 23
  • Freeman – 20
  • Hoskins – 18
  • Correa – 11
  • Lamb – 7
  • Morrison – 6
  • Jones/Olson/Smoak/Thames – 3
  • Dickerson/Myers – 2
  • Bour/Morales/Pujols/Ramirez/D.Santana/K.Seager – 1
  • Bautista/Conforto/Napoli/Trumbo – 0

Group D
As the groups keep expanding with more and more selections, the choices should start to distribute more and more. Group D isn’t an exception except there is a major distribution between only 3 guys before the field becomes much more selective. Ozuna got a whopping 27 picks in Group D. Did I screw up in his grouping? Am I biased because he plays for the Cardinals? Am I skeptical of his 37 homer season last year after never topping 23 previously? I don’t know, but after watching his ABs yesterday, he did not look very good… at all. Hopefully he and the 27 teams that chose him proves me wrong.

Moose coming back to KC, after failing at free agency, got 16 of you excited. And 7 of you like the odds of Mookie Betts repeating his success in Boston this season. We are all probably very lucky that we didn’t play in 2017, because most of us would have probably gotten burned on Trevor Story’s elite 2016. Only 5 managers were even willing to risk their selections on him in Group D this season.

  • Ozuna – 27
  • Moustakas – 16
  • Betts – 7
  • DeJong/Lindor/Shaw/Story – 5
  • Braun/McCutchen/Odor/Schoop/C.Seager – 4
  • Baez/Zimmerman – 3
  • Gattis/Grichuk – 2
  • Beltre/Cano/Cargo/Moreland/J.Ramirez/Souza – 1
  • Bell/Belt/Cabrera/Davidson/Franco/Kemp/McCann/Mesoraco/Pearce/Renfroe/Reynolds/C.Santana – 0

Group E
Ah, the write-in group. This is my favorite group. Why?! Because I really enjoy seeing the people who write-in a guy that I decided to not include on the list. It makes me have to research the guy and understand what you may see in that player that I didn’t see. We had a few people write-in Ohtani, which I would love to see the Japanese Babe Ruth succeed from both sides of the plate. But after a disastrous Spring Training, those few teams rightfully backed out of the selection.

We did have 16 teams go off script and choose players that weren’t originally listed: Acuna, T.Beckham, Bird, Broxton, Buxton, Carpenter, Chapman, Devers (2), Kipnis, Mazara, McMahon, Pham, Pollock, Soler, Yelich.

Otherwise, the Cubs fans really dominated by coming through with an alarming 20 picks for Ian Happ. I’ll be honest, I hope I’m the one that is right by putting him in Group E. But after yesterday and all the hype the media is giving him, I think I may have been wrong for including him this low. Jose Altuve was popular with 13 after he lit up the scoreboard last season. How does a guy that is so small have so much pop?! Castellanos (8), Sir Didi (8), and Puig were also popular picks in Group E when you could have chosen almost anyone in the MB player universe.

  • Happ – 20
  • Altuve – 13
  • Castellanos/Gregorious – 8
  • Puig – 7
  • Contreras/Rosario – 5
  • Rendon – 4
  • Longoria/Schebler – 3
  • Devers/Gyorko/Hosmer/Pham/Zunino – 2
  • Alonso/Calhoun/Choo/Grandal/Healy/Murphy/Suarez/J.Turner – 1

Write-in:
Acuna/T.Beckham/Bird/Broxton/Buxton/Carpenter/Chapman – 1
Kipnis/Mazara/McMahon/Pollock/Doler/Yelich – 1