Two months of the MLB season is in the books and I thought it would be a good time to look at the standings of the NFBC "Beat Ryan Rufe League". As a reminder, this is a 12-team mixed league, standard 5x5 scoring, no trades allowed, as part of the $100k grand prize RotoWire Online Championship.
As you can see, my squad "Stealing Signals" is sitting in third place out of 12 teams (standings as of June 1, 2016). I'm 16 points out of first place and 10 points from cashing. I'm four points ahead of Eric Heberlig, who sits in fourth place in my self-proclaimed "Beat Ryan Rufe League." However, the 2013 overall contest winner is performing exceptionally well in his other Online Championship leagues. Can you believe Heberlig has FIVE of the top 15 teams overall? It will be interesting to see if he can sustain that success over the next four months.
I currently sit in 241st place out of 1,644 teams overall.
Let's start with the positives.
I'm second in the league with 48 pitching points thanks to my anchors Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg, who I selected with my first and third round draft picks, respectively. Carlos Martinez has contributed five wins. Kenta Maeda and Joe Ross have performed well, while Jerad Eickhoff has been a lot better than I expected him to be. I was lacking in the Saves category at first - I believe I was 10th in the category at one point - but Wade Davis has been spectacular and Cody Allen has righted the ship after struggling in April. I also added Kevin Jepsen and Sam Dyson via FAAB, which you'll see below.
I lead the league in ERA (2.942) and WHIP (1.063), I'm fourth in wins with 35 and I rank fifth in strikeouts (462) and saves (32). Fortunately, I see room for improvement in the pitching categories I'm trailing in and could potentially make up 11 points just between wins, saves and strikeouts.
Here's a summary of what my pitchers have contributed to Stealing Signals thus far:
And the negatives.
I expected to be light on stolen bases early in the season and I currently rank 10th in the league with 31. Here's hoping the Nationals promote Trea Turner soon to give me a boost in the category. I sit middle-of-the-pack in the other hitting categories - sixth in batting average (.2647), eighth in runs (340), sixth in RBI (331) - except home runs, where I'm tied for fourth with 95. I just lost Mike Moustakas for the year, so that will likely hurt me in that department. I was dead-last in Batting Average not too long ago but ascended the standings in the category thanks to a couple of hot-hitting weeks. There's room for improvement in the hitting categories as well and I'm optimistic about my chances.
Here's a summary of what my hitters have contributed to Stealing Signals thus far:
Now let's take a look at my FAAB activity through nine weeks:
Week 1 - I sat this week out. Socrates Brito (93) was a thing, but the real highlight was Gray Matter Technolgies coming away with two serviceable players on the cheap in Chris Tillman (11) and Jake Lamb (1).
Week 2 - I sat on the sidelines again, but plenty of FAAB dollars were spent, as Tyler White (331, 301 runner-up), Joey Rickard (189), Jeanmar Gomez (155), Steven Souza (155) and Brock Holt (101) all received triple-digit bids. Heberlig was the lucky one who nabbed Gomez. Chris Carter (70) and Hector Santiago (47) were picked up as well.
Week 3 - Nomar Mazara was the star attraction and my good friend Chris Olesen spent $601 FAAB dollars to get him. And I thought I way over-bid for $458. That wasn't even the runner-up bid (488)!
Since I failed to draft a third closer, I quickly realized I should have bid on Jeanmar Gomez the week prior. So what did I do? Threw a bunch of money – $334 FAAB dollars to be exact – at Kevin Jepsen, who replaced the injured Glen Perkins as the closer in Minnesota. He's been awful, but I'll take the handful of saves as I desperately needed a boost in the category. Kyle Gibson was my corresponding drop for the Jepsen add. The runner-up bid was $201.
James McCann went on the DL for 4-to-6 weeks, so I dropped him for AJ Pierzynski (3). I also dropped Jose Peraza for Rajai Davis (13), who sat on my bench for a few weeks.
Week 4 - My third week of FAAB inactivity. Some notable additions by others in the league were Rick Porcello (175), Carlos Beltran (78), Melky Cabrera (78), Adam Duvall (33) and Steven Wright (11).
Week 5 - One minor move this week, which could have just as easily been chalked up as an inactive week. AJ Pierzysni wasn't cutting it as my second catcher, so I dropped him for Dioner Navarro (5), who had a decent week hitting prior. Joe Smith (287) and Collin McHugh (126) were the big-bids by others, but Jackie Bradley Jr. (41, 33 runner-up) was the biggest steal of the week. Nate Karns (36) was scooped up as well.
Week 6 - Heberlig spent a big chunk of his FAAB budget on Marcell Ozuna (388, 176 runner-up) and Scott Kazmir (77). Mallex Smith (41) and Sean Manaea (1) were guys I considered bidding on, but ultimately I couldn't choose anyone on my roster worth dropping and sat on the FAAB sidelines... AGAIN.
Week 7 - Rajai Davis had been terrible up to this point, so I dropped him for Evan Gattis. It only cost me $76 FAAB dollars, which could be a bargain if he gains catcher eligibility at some point this season. He has four appearances at the position through May 31. Of course, Davis went BONKERS the week after I dropped him, but at least no one else got to reap the rewards. Leonys Martin (26) was available at a bargain, but I opted for the Astros' slugger instead. That may be a decision that comes back to bite me in the end. Jose Reyes (49) and Devon Travis (11) also went to other teams as possible missed opportunities.
Kris Medlen went on the DL, so I had a roster spot to play with. Went back and forth on throwing a bid at Alex Wood, who ended up going for $44. Instead, I went $22 on a speculative bid for Sam Dyson since Shawn Tolleson had been pitching like garbage. I was fortunate to land him (runner-up bid was $10) and a few days later he was named closer in Texas. At least I made one well-timed decision!
Week 8 - Cameron Maybin (301, 151 runner-up) could have helped my team in the stolen base department, but I overlooked the fact that he was available. I wouldn't have landed him anyway. Instead I swapped my No. 2 catcher, replacing Navarro with the hot-hitting Chris Herrmann (23, 15 runner-up).
Week 9 - I needed a replacement for Mike Moustakas, whose season ended due to a torn ACL. There weren't many corner-infielders I coveted, so I decided to play small-ball and landed Jose Ramirez for $12 FAAB dollars ($11 runner-up). My first choice was Derek Dietrich, but I was the runner-up bidder ($12) after Heberlig got him for $91. Heberlig also picked up Hyun-soo Kim for $22, who has gotten a lot more playing time as of late for Baltimore.
Any thoughts or feedback on my squad's performance thus far? Want to bash or praise me for the FAAB bids I made or did not make? Hit me up on Twitter.