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Draft Strategy

The Greatest League: Week 6 Progress Report

by D.J. Short
Updated On: July 1, 2020, 6:59 pm ET

We just completed Week Six in “The Greatest League,” so it’s time for another progress report. For those just tuning in, the concept 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 Five. Three games are simmed per day for each team, so we're now 126 games into the season. That means we're just a week and a half away from determining a winner here. Hopefully we’ll see some actual baseball soon enough, but this sim has been a fun ride.

Week 6 Leaderboard:

Team

Hitting

Pitching

Total

Rudy Gamble

63.5

93.5

157

Brent Hershey

87

61.5

148.5

Dave Shovein

58

84.5

142.5

Andy Behrens

80.5

61.5

142

D.J. Short

71.5

66

137.5

Seth Trachtman

63.5

70.5

134

Matthew Pouliot

48.5

78

126.5

Jesse Roche

61

64

125

Brad Johnson

49.5

70

119.5

Alan Harrison

67.5

52

119.5

Scott Pianowski

72

39

111

Christopher Crawford

35.5

52

87.5

Chris Towers

30.5

55.5

86

Ryan Boyer

46.5

34.5

81

Nate Grimm

46

33

79

Nick Doran

45.5

29

74.5

Mike Gianella

30

36.5

66.5

Drew Silva

43

17

60

Tim McCullough

15.5

36

51.5

Patrick Daugherty

35

16

51

 

Risers: Our biggest riser is at the top of the board, as Rudy Gamble gained 15.5 points to climb from fourth place into first overall. He’s also blowing away the field in the actual standings of the 162-game simulation. Brent Hershey also made a notable move this week, gaining eight points to move from fifth to second. Matthew Pouliot continued his late-season climb by adding 5.5 points to slide into seventh place. Alan Harrison (Up nine points) and Scott Pianowski (Up 5.5 points) are on the fringes of the top-10.

Fallers: Lots of movement near the top of the standings. It's getting wild here at crunch time. Dave Shovein saw a 7.5-point dip to move into third place while Andy Behrens lost his grip on first place with an 11.5-point slide. My team moved from third to fifth with a 10-point drop. Beginning to think that my best days are behind me in this league. Brad Johnson’s team fell 13.5 points off his pace from last week and saw his team tumble all the way to ninth place. That could be a knockout blow this late in the season. Mike Gianella was the biggest faller of the week, losing 16 points to move into 17th place.

League Pitching Stats (teams sorted by ERA)

Team

W

SV

SO

WHIP

ERA

Rudy Gamble

84

41

1183

1.26

3.99

Dave Shovein

72

38

1183

1.36

4.42

Matthew Pouliot

73

43

1129

1.48

4.98

Brad Johnson

65

27

1220

1.41

5.03

Andy Behrens

74

35

1027

1.50

5.11

D.J. Short

72

36

1077

1.38

5.12

Jesse Roche

63

36

1207

1.52

5.26

Brent Hershey

72

29

1127

1.43

5.29

Seth Trachtman

72

39

1177

1.50

5.29

Chris Towers

56

33

1163

1.47

5.38

Christopher Crawford

63

38

1112

1.53

5.40

Alan Harrison

62

28

1214

1.51

5.59

Mike Gianella

60

29

1080

1.54

5.63

Scott Pianowski

64

20

1142

1.58

5.69

Nate Grimm

54

18

1105

1.47

5.82

Nick Doran

59

30

949

1.59

6.09

Tim McCullough

47

28

1223

1.66

6.26

Patrick Daugherty

52

18

1088

1.67

6.51

Ryan Boyer

52

28

1246

1.74

6.66

Drew Silva

44

22

1137

1.84

7.94

 

Rudy Gamble was already dominating the categories, but he actually gained even more ground in that area over the past week. He got there with a healthy jump in the strikeout department. Of note, 2000 Pedro Martinez spun a pair of double-digit strikeout games and 1986 Mike Scott had one of his own. Gamble is top-two or better in four of the five pitching categories and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Our group chat marveled at how Fernando Valenzuela could throw 200 pitches in the span of three games without any impact on his performance. Everything is coming up Rudy. If his team continues to hit to a respectable degree, he’s going to be very hard to beat down the stretch here.

Matthew Pouliot is now quietly top-three or better in three out of the five pitching categories. I mentioned Greg Maddux’s dominance in last week’s column. That’s still a thing. He’s really carrying this staff on his back. No other pitcher in Pouliot’s rotation has an ERA south of 4.34 or a WHIP south of 1.37. 2014 Clayton Kershaw holds a 5.51 ERA for the year and that’s even with a string of recent solid starts. Sometimes I think the ambitious nature of this league broke the sim altogether. If Kershaw can be more like Kershaw to close out the season, Pouliot could continue to move up the board.

Dave Shovein has been the closest thing to a rival for Gamble in the pitching categories, but he lost some ground this week in terms of counting stats. This is where the actual standings of the simulation come into play, as there’s several teams bunched together competing for the second-best record in the 162-game sim. One thing that stands out in this exercise is that pitcher strikeouts don’t necessarily correlate to success in the standings. Ryan Boyer (14th in 5x5 standings) has the most strikeouts in the league and Tim McCullough (19th in 5x5 standings) ranks second.

Individual pitching category leaders:

ERA: Greg Maddux (1995) - 2.86
WHIP: Greg Maddux (1995) - 0.94
Strikeouts: Justin Verlander (2019) - 251
Saves: Billy Wagner (1999) - 28
Wins: Two-way tie - Mike Scott (1986) and Fernando Valenzuela (1981) - 16

League Hitting Stats (teams sorted by batting average)

Team

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

Brent Hershey

853

197

833

90

0.290

Andy Behrens

794

165

775

220

0.288

Patrick Daugherty

707

161

691

55

0.286

Alan Harrison

786

165

770

110

0.284

Scott Pianowski

800

187

780

57

0.281

Dave Shovein

713

171

700

153

0.279

Drew Silva

703

147

692

138

0.279

Matthew Pouliot

741

173

727

47

0.277

Ryan Boyer

729

161

708

118

0.276

D.J. Short

760

192

742

138

0.272

Nick Doran

733

169

725

75

0.272

Seth Trachtman

769

212

758

55

0.271

Christopher Crawford

667

179

658

88

0.269

Jesse Roche

736

202

717

126

0.268

Rudy Gamble

758

175

742

143

0.266

Brad Johnson

744

166

727

111

0.261

Nate Grimm

713

179

698

133

0.257

Tim McCullough

611

148

592

89

0.254

Mike Gianella

661

197

646

65

0.250

Chris Towers

640

197

627

89

0.248

 

I wrote above that Rudy Gamble is going to be really difficult to beat if he continues to produce at a respectable clip offensively. Well, his team added 13 points in the hitting categories over the past week. He gained 4.5 points in the home run category alone, with 2010 Troy Tulowitzki among the players who enjoyed nice weeks for him. 1996 Brady Anderson leads his club with 31 homers. He also presumably leads the team in sideburns.

Andy Behrens had a nice run as the best offensive team in the league, but he dropped off this week while Brent Hershey took advantage. Hershey’s squad leads the league in runs scored, RBI, and batting average. Behrens wasn’t alone among teams who experienced a disappointing week on offense. My team lost eight points in the hitting categories while Jesse Roche fell 12.5 points and Brad Johnson dropped 11 points.

Seth Trachtman gained seven points in the hitting categories over the past week, though that was mostly balanced out by a drop in his pitching stats. Trachtman’s team actually leads the league with 212 homers. 2001 Sammy Sosa has slugged 34 round-trippers while 1996 Gary Sheffield has 28 of them and 2003 Javy Lopez has 27 homers to his name.

Individual offensive category leaders:

Batting average: Todd Helton (2000) - .350
Home runs: Barry Bonds (2001) - 40
RBI: Two-way tie - Albert Belle (1994) and Luis Gonzalez (2001) - 124
Runs scored: Bryce Harper (2015) - 117
Stolen bases: Two-way tie - Kenny Lofton (1994) and Tim Raines (1986) - 60

Hitting Line of the Week:

1981 Mike Schmidt - 3-for-5, two homers (one grand slam), one walk, nine RBI, two runs scored vs. Christopher Crawford on 6/25

Pitching Line of the Week:

1989 Bret Saberhagen - 8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 12 K, WIN vs. Mike Gianella on 6/27

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 28 Greatest League standings