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Draft Strategy

The Greatest League: Week 5 Progress Report

by D.J. Short
Updated On: June 24, 2020, 6:02 pm ET

We just completed Week Five in “The Greatest League,” so it’s time for another progress report. For those just tuning in, the idea with this league is to take some the best individual fantasy seasons of the rotisserie era (1980-present) to come up with the ultimate fantasy baseball simulation. The league consists of 20 teams with 25-man rosters and the universal designated hitter. The 162-game season is being simmed out on WhatIfSports.com and a winner will be determined by the 5x5 fantasy stats produced in those games.

For reference, here are the results from Week Four. Three games are simmed per day for each team, so we’re now 105 games into the season. We’re getting close to that stretch run. I swear I didn’t plan it this way, but this simulation should be completed just about a week before the proposed start of the real-life 2020 season. If there’s no season, I’m going to consider just living in this sim.

Week 5 Leaderboard:

Team

Hitting

Pitching

Total

Andy Behrens

86

67.5

153.5

Dave Shovein

60.5

89.5

150

D.J. Short

79.5

68

147.5

Rudy Gamble

50.5

91

141.5

Brent Hershey

84.5

56

140.5

Brad Johnson

60.5

72.5

133

Jesse Roche

73.5

58.5

132

Seth Trachtman

56.5

75.5

132

Matthew Pouliot

50

71

121

Alan Harrison

62

48.5

110.5

Scott Pianowski

69.5

36

105.5

Christopher Crawford

39.5

51.5

91

Mike Gianella

31.5

51

82.5

Ryan Boyer

49.5

29

78.5

Chris Towers

30

48

78

Nate Grimm

41.5

35.5

77

Nick Doran

36.5

26.5

63

Drew Silva

44

17

61

Tim McCullough

15

41.5

56.5

 

Risers: Jesse Roche is the biggest riser, gaining 22 points in the standings over the past week to climb into seventh place. He’s been hanging around the top-10 for the bulk of the season, but this is his high-water mark so far. Brent Hershey has also been roaring back into the mix, picking up 16.5 points to move into fifth place. Seth Trachtman, Matthew Pouliot, and Scott Pianowski are among the other clubs picking up steam around the top-10.  

Fallers: We’re starting to see some bunching at the top of the standings and recent tumbles from Dave Shovein and Rudy Gamble have a lot to do with that. The former lost 15.5 points over the last seven days while the latter saw 13.5 points come off the board. Andy Behrens is sitting pretty at the top right now, but this promises to be a fun fight to the finish. Among the other notable fallers, Brad Johnson fell one spot to sixth place after losing 11 points. Nick Doran was the biggest faller over the past week, as he saw a 19.5-point drop to slide all the way to 17th place. He’s just a couple of weeks removed from threatening a push into the top-10.

League Pitching Stats (teams sorted by ERA):

Team

W

SV

SO

WHIP

ERA

Rudy Gamble

68

34

959

1.25

3.99

Dave Shovein

60

33

992

1.36

4.43

Andy Behrens

66

31

868

1.48

5.01

Brad Johnson

57

23

1032

1.42

5.08

Seth Trachtman

58

32

984

1.47

5.15

Matthew Pouliot

59

37

948

1.50

5.21

D.J. Short

60

31

882

1.41

5.22

Mike Gianella

54

28

902

1.50

5.27

Christopher Crawford

53

30

931

1.52

5.40

Jesse Roche

54

29

988

1.52

5.42

Brent Hershey

58

25

923

1.45

5.43

Chris Towers

45

25

967

1.50

5.52

Alan Harrison

51

25

1008

1.54

5.68

Nate Grimm

45

15

910

1.44

5.72

Scott Pianowski

54

18

952

1.57

5.73

Nick Doran

49

23

799

1.53

5.74

Tim McCullough

42

25

1034

1.61

6.01

Patrick Daugherty

41

14

913

1.68

6.52

Ryan Boyer

40

21

1018

1.75

6.83

Drew Silva

36

17

953

1.83

7.86

 

Rudy Gamble still rules the roost in the pitching categories. The gap has narrowed somewhat in terms of ERA, but he still has a ton of breathing room there. Gamble actually has the top spot in three out of the five pitching categories. Still, he’s lagging a bit in strikeouts, so Dave Shovein might actually have the best all-around pitching staff. Or at least the one with the best chance of giving Gamble a run for his money.

There’s been some minor jockeying for position in the pitching categories, but Matthew Pouliot’s team stands out the most in the matter of improvement. He’s moved up a few notches with his WHIP and still holds the top spot in saves. It helps that 1995 Greg Maddux is being, well, 1995 Greg Maddux. The Hall of Famer holds a 1.80 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, and 59/5 K/BB ratio in 80 innings over his last 10 starts. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last two starts.

Seth Trachtman also made some healthy gains in the pitching department over the past week. He’s relied on a three-man rotation for nearly the entire season, with 2008 CC Sabathia leading the way. The southpaw holds a 2.90 ERA over his last 10 starts. 2001 Arthur Rhodes has been an unsung hero in this sim, putting up a 1.93 ERA and 1.04 WHIP over 36 appearances. Only 2012 Craig Kimbrel, 2003 Eric Gagne, and 1990 Dennis Eckersley have posted lower ERAs. Pretty amazing company there.

I noted previously that Nick Doran fell the furthest in the standings this week. Pitching was the big reason why. Doran has been at the bottom in strikeouts for a while, but this week he lost ground in all the other pitching categories as well.

Individual pitching category leaders:

ERA - Greg Maddux (1995) - 3.03
WHIP - Pedro Martinez (2000) - 0.90
Strikeouts - Curt Schilling (2002) - 211
Saves - Billy Wagner (1999) - 27
Wins - Mike Scott (1986) - 14

League Hitting Stats (teams sorted by batting average):

Team

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

Andy Behrens

673

141

657

193

0.288

Brent Hershey

681

155

665

78

0.288

Alan Harrison

628

134

618

96

0.283

Scott Pianowski

659

154

644

48

0.281

Patrick Daugherty

566

132

554

39

0.281

Drew Silva

570

121

561

116

0.279

Matthew Pouliot

622

145

609

41

0.278

Dave Shovein

598

154

587

130

0.276

D.J. Short

655

165

640

122

0.276

Ryan Boyer

613

134

592

107

0.276

Jesse Roche

640

169

623

113

0.272

Christopher Crawford

565

154

558

71

0.272

Nick Doran

596

138

590

58

0.271

Seth Trachtman

625

180

618

42

0.269

Brad Johnson

655

149

639

90

0.267

Rudy Gamble

618

138

604

117

0.264

Nate Grimm

598

140

584

109

0.259

Mike Gianella

557

166

543

56

0.249

Tim McCullough

497

126

480

78

0.248

Chris Towers

541

166

531

69

0.248

 

Andy Behrens remains the best hitting team in the league, ranking in the top-two overall in four of out of the five hitting categories. He’s had just enough pitching to vault into the top overall spot in the league. However, Brent Hershey has emerged as a serious threat.

Hershey’s team launched 43 homers this week to move seven spots in the category. This explosion was led by the likes of 1998 Mark McGwire, who has crushed six homers in his last 10 games. 2007 David Ortiz has smashed four homers over his last six games. 1980 Willie Wilson isn’t providing any power, but he’s been a standout anyway, hitting .331 with an insane 46-for-50 success rate on stolen bases. He’s legged out 55 infield hits, including 12 bunt hits. Nobody else has more than 27 infield hits or eight bunt hits. We’ll see if Hershey can stay full speed ahead this week.

Dave Shovein’s dramatic fall this week was driven exclusively by his offense. While he still sits in second place in the overall standings, he lost 19.5 points in the hitting categories, which has completely opened up the leaderboard. Shovein was previously ranked in the top-six or higher in all hitting categories. He still has the second-most steals in the league, but he’s not in the top seven in any other hitting categories. Rudy Gamble also experienced a sharp drop in the hitting categories, losing 15.5 points, resulting in a drop from second to fourth in the overall standings. Pitching can only carry his team so far, so he’s going to need a big finish to win this thing.  

Jesse Roche’s resurgent week was accomplished on the backs of his offense, as he picked up an impressive 21.5 points in the hitting categories. Of note, he’s now second in homers and sixth in runs scored, RBI, and stolen bases. 2014 Jose Abreu has been on the quite the power surge of late, slugging six homers in his last nine games. With a nice week on the pitching side, Roche could find himself near the top of the overall leaderboard. Scott Pianowski also made a healthy jump in the hitting categories over the last week, but he has some work to do on the pitching side.

Individual offensive category leaders:

Batting average: Todd Helton (2000) - .360
Home runs: Two-way tie - Barry Bonds (2001) and Carlos Pena (2007) - 34
RBI: Luis Gonzalez (2001) - 106
Runs scored: Bryce Harper (2015) - 97
Stolen bases: Tim Raines (1986) - 56

Hitting Line of the Week:

Frank Thomas (1994) - 3-for-3, three homers, one walk, seven RBI vs. Chris Towers (6/16)

Pitching Line of the Week:

Curt Schilling (2002) - 9 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 13 strikeouts, WIN vs. Mike Gianella (6/17)

And while the primary objective is to win the league in 5x5 fantasy stats, here’s the current standings of the 162-game season simulation:

June 21 GL Standings