« This Week In Streaming Strategy: Sept. 24-30 | Main | Closer Updates: Nats, Padres, Dodgers, Reds »

Silver League Update: How'd It Go? (Part II)

This week, as the Silver League begins its final stretch, we'll continue our team review series. Last week, we looked at the bottom four teams in the league and focused mostly on the mistakes and misfortunes that brought them there. It was a bit of a down article. Next week, we'll take a look at the top four and bask in the glow of their successes. This time, though, we've got that space where most of us seem to end up residing: the middle. Our seasons weren't horrible, maybe they were even competitive, but at the end of the year we still aren't taking home any cash. Yeah, I say "we" because you'll be seeing my own team in here...

The Playmakers--58 points, 9th place

R   HR   RBI   SB   AVG  W  SV   K   ERA   WHIP
9      8       2       9        3       8   5     8      4           2

Savvy readers will be quick to notice that a ninth place team is not among the middle four--and that last week's article mentioned a completely different team in ninth! Yes, the Rally Beers moved up into eighth, ruining my neat little plan. Good for them.

Top 6 Draft Picks:
Jose Bautista, Justin Verlander, Tim Lincecum, Michael Bourn, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips 

What Went Well:
First of all, I can't help but notice how odd it is that this team has nine points in runs, eight in homers, but just two in RBIs. Aren't those supposed to be correlated? That definitely speaks to something going right, including good seasons from top of the order hitters like Bourn, Phillips, Austin Jackson, and Marco Scutaro. Seventh-round gem Adam Jones has helped all around, but more in runs than RBIs. Ditto for MVP candidate and ROY certainty Mike Trout. Adam LaRoche was a great waiver wire snag.

What Went Wrong:
Anyone who drafted Tim Lincecum early knows the Playmakers' pain.  His 2013 draft value will be an interesting question for the offseason, but he wasn't even the worst Giant pitcher to land on the Playmakers, as cool Beard-related promotions couldn't keep Brian Wilson off the DL all season. Having Heath Bell and Frank Francisco was like adding...injury...to injury. Speaking of injuries, the one that hit David Ortiz certainly hurt this team, but the one that ended Joey Bats' season didn't.

Major Moves:
The Playmakers made two trades this season, one which truly lived up to the name: Joey Bautista for Mike Trout in mid-July. I panned the trade at the time: Bautista was a known first-rounder who was swatting homers like flies. Trout was...so good he had to decline. Well, Trout didn't come back to earth and is enjoying one of the best rookie seasons ever. Way to go Playmakers, for making a gutsy trade that worked.

They also flipped Jay Bruce and Matt Moore to the Rally Beers for Austin Jackson. I liked that move last week for the  Beers, so I can't like it this week for the Playmakers. 

Analysis:
Though the Playmakers are stuck in the nine-spot right now, they aren't destined to remain here, even with just over a week to play, as the pack is tight from tenth to third. This team has hit some rough luck and I hat to think where they'd be without trading for Trout. Well, no I don't. If they don't make that trade, they'd have no chance of passing me....

King Fish 2.0--63.5 points, 7th place

R   HR   RBI   SB   AVG  W  SV   K   ERA   WHIP
5     10     10     1       10    5.5  1      5     7            9

Top 6 Draft Picks:
Albert Pujols, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Hunter Pence, Starlin Castro, Matt Wieters

What Went Right:
In a word: power. Look at that: ten points in homers, RBI, and batting average. Angels Pujols and 17th-round success Mark Trumbo both have 30 bombs. Rickie Weeks slipped a lot, but Aaron Hill bounced back in a big way--both have over 20 homers, as do Pence, Konerko, Wieters, David Freese, and Mark Reynolds. Gio Gonzalez was an 11th round ace, and Wade Miley was a surprise success story.

What Went Wrong:
Looking at those top three picks, it's easy to see how King Fish 2.0 has been working their way out of a big hole since the beginning of the year. Pujols has rebounded a lot, but bad stats in April keep counting all year; the same goes for Cliff Lee. Halladay's injury and the struggles of Weeks and Chris Young. Matt Capps and Jordan Walden were a last-place disaster as closers and Starlin Castro leads the team with just 25 steals.

Major Moves:
The only major trade the King Fish made was with me, and it couldn't have been more of a disaster. (Sorry, King Fish): they gave me Corey Hart for Emilio Bonifacio on May 17. Bonifacio would spend the next month and half on the DL, come back to steal nine bases, and land back on the DL toward the end of August. It was worth a try, but the baseball gods clearly didn't want this team stealing bases.

Analysis:
This team really is in the middle of things. They could move up into the top half, or slide into the lower half in the next week without surprising me. Some of the best news for King Fish 2.0 is that most of their bad luck hit early in the season and their team is better now than it has been for much of the year. Which is bad news for me....

Inch'on Wyverns--64 points, 6th place

R   HR   RBI   SB   AVG  W  SV   K   ERA   WHIP
 1      3       4      11      6       12   2    12     6            7

Top 6 Picks:
Jacoby Ellsbury, Prince Fielder, Dan Haren, David Price, B.J. Upton, Michael Morse

What Went Right:
Looking up at those top picks, part of me wants to say, "Just David Price." But Fielder has hit the ball, and Upton and Morse have been very strong since returning from early injury. Jason Kipnis was a great pickup in the 14th (recent slide notwithstanding). I've plugged Marco Estrada more than a few times, and I'll do it again: he's been great for this team, especially since the Brewers decided to win again. Emilio Bonifacio's 20 steals in the first month and a half are still a big part of my rank in that category.

What Went Wrong:
Ellsbury as a first round pick was a huge bust, as were all the closers I drafted: Carlos Marmol, Greg Holland, and Grant Balfour. It didn't help that I let go of all three of them before they regained their jobs. Alexei Ramirez was supposed to be a power hitter, I thought, but I guess not. Early in the season, my top four OF were injured and Torii Hunter was the best one standing. Of course, I can't forget the horror of Mark Reynolds....

Major Moves:
I made the trade above with the Playmakers and one trade with McRuder early in the season; both are a big part of my Wyverns not being last in the league. I sent Haren (before he could disappoint anyone), Holland, Ricky Nolasco, and Yonder Alonso away to get Jason Heyward, Mike Minor, Max Scherzer, and Sean Marshall. The trade hurt me a lot early on, with how badly Minor and Scherzer pitched, but then Scherzer turned into an ace. Marshall might have lost his job, but he got me enough saves to keep me in second-to-last-place. 

Analysis:
At sixth place, I'm sitting right in the middle of the standings, but I've used almost all of my pitching innings. That's a big part of why I'm at the top of wins and K's, but it also gives everyone else a chance to catch up on me a lot, as I've dropped nearly all my starters for relievers to keep my IP down. What will happen? I don't know, but I'll be very excited if I move up to fifth. Shocked if I move ahead of that. I think this really is an average team.

McRuder--67.5 points, 5th place

R   HR   RBI   SB   AVG  W  SV   K   ERA   WHIP
6      5       1      7        9    10.5  12  11      2           4

Top 6 Draft Picks:
Joey Votto, Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Lawrie, Ryan Zimmerman, Desmond Jennings, Madison Bumgarner

What Went Right:
Trades are what went right with this team, because the draft and the season's first couple months did not. Even nearly halfway through the season, I really thought McRuder was dead in the water and out of the competition. Their meteoric rise was fast and surprising enough I gave it a whole article; a lot had to do with trading for the innings-limited Stephen Strasburg and Chris Sale when news of their limitation first intensified.  Saves off the waiver wire have gone great for them too: Addison Reed, Rafael Soriano, and Tom Wilhelmsen are not the closers you'd expect to see on the league leader in saves. Coming away from early season trades I discussed last week with both Joey Votto and Robinson Cano didn't hurt.

What Went Wrong:
McRuder admitted to us that his plan is to send out as many trade offers as possible early in the season, which is good because that's what this team had to do. Draft choices like Zimmerman and Lawrie were painful, as was the John Axford closer experience. The back half of the draft really didn't produce much, which is the sort of good luck a good team usually needs.

Major Moves:
McRuder made ten trades and nearly 200 waiver wire moves, so their final team really didn't resemble the drafted team much. McRuder's strategy was a simple one, but a tough one: make a million trades and win by a little almost every time. The trades had their ups and downs, but the net effect was huge, bringing in Cano, Strasburg, Sale, Matt Cain, Dan Haren, Soriano, Bryce Harper, and Willin Rosario, among others.

Analysis:
There was a point this season when McRuder was as far from 11th as the 11th place team was from first, or at least that's how it seemed. After the Strasburg and Sale trades things have been uphill ever since and they've charged into fifth. They're 6.5 points from fourth place, but I could still see them breaking into the top. I'd root for them, but I'm the one trying to give chase.

Every year some teams make better predictions, better trades, and get better luck than others. Those teams are coming up next week.

 


Full Story |  Comments (0) | Categories:


Site Map     Contact     About     Advertise     Privacy Policy     MLB Trade Rumors     Rss Feed