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Draft Strategy

The Greatest League: Week 4 Progress Report

by D.J. Short
Updated On: June 15, 2020, 1:42 pm ET

We’re now four weeks into “The Greatest League,” so it’s time for our latest update. Just to recap, 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 Three. Three games are simmed per day for each team, so we’re now more than halfway through the season. 84 games in, to be exact. All-Star rosters were just selected for each league, which you can see on Page Two, as well as the overall standings of the simulation.

This exercise continues to be a nice distraction from the acrimonious state of baseball. Opening up the latest box score has become a simple pleasure. It’s easy to get down right now, but I’m routinely reminded of why I love this sport in the first place.

Week 4 Leaderboard:

Team Hitting Pitching Total
Dave Shovein 80 85.5 165.5
Rudy Gamble 66 89 155
Andy Behrens 89.5 65 154.5
D.J. Short 78 71.5 149.5
Brad Johnson 66.5 77.5 144
Brent Hershey 73.5 50.5 124
Seth Trachtman 50.5 69.5 120
Matthew Pouliot 47.5 63 110.5
Jesse Roche 52 58 110
Alan Harrison 60 49.5 109.5
Christopher Crawford 45 52.5 97.5
Mike Gianella 34.5 55 89.5
Scott Pianowski 51 38.5 89.5
Nick Doran 40 42.5 82.5
Nate Grimm 42.5 37.5 80
Chris Towers 34 44 78
Ryan Boyer 45.5 29 74.5
Drew Silva 49.5 18.5 68
Tim McCullough 14.5 41 55.5
Patrick Daugherty 30 12.5 42.5

 

Risers: It’s been a topsy-turvy couple of weeks for Rotoworld’s own Christopher Crawford. After losing the most points in the league last week, Crawford was the league’s top gainer this week, adding 14 points to climb into 11th place. Moving further up the board, Matthew Pouliot added 12.5 points over the past seven days to slide into eighth place. Brad Johnson gained 11 points to hold his ground in fifth place. Rudy Gamble is now in second place after picking up seven points. Jesse Roche and Scott Pianowski saw some modest increases as they try to climb into the top 10.

Fallers: Mike Gianella moved into the top-10 last week, but he lost a league-high 20 points over the past seven days to slide into 12th place. Alan Harrison also fell out of the top-10 with an 18.5-point drop. There are more shakeups within the Top-10, as my team fell from second-place to fourth-place with an 8.5-point drop. Brent Hershey lost 6.5 points and Seth Trachtman lost 7.5 points, as a gap begins to develop among the top contenders in the league.

League Pitching Stats (teams sorted by ERA):

Team W SV SO WHIP ERA
Rudy Gamble 56 29 768 1.24 4.01
Dave Shovein 50 27 769 1.37 4.55
Brad Johnson 46 20 815 1.44 5.06
D.J. Short 47 22 724 1.38 5.14
Andy Behrens 50 22 688 1.47 5.16
Seth Trachtman 43 23 806 1.5 5.32
Mike Gianella 45 22 713 1.52 5.36
Jesse Roche 40 21 809 1.52 5.39
Matthew Pouliot 46 31 744 1.54 5.41
Christopher Crawford 43 25 727 1.54 5.54
Nick Doran 41 20 611 1.5 5.56
Brent Hershey 45 17 742 1.47 5.6
Chris Towers 37 19 790 1.52 5.61
Nate Grimm 38 13 724 1.43 5.64
Scott Pianowski 43 16 777 1.57 5.66
Alan Harrison 40 19 829 1.52 5.67
Tim McCullough 35 20 826 1.59 5.85
Patrick Daugherty 32 10 711 1.7 6.59
Ryan Boyer 32 17 814 1.75 6.99
Drew Silva 31 15 777 1.84 7.87

 

The league average ERA is 5.59, just a minor uptick from last week’s 5.58. In a league where offense is dominating, Rudy Gamble’s staff is truly a cut above the rest. It checks in with a 4.01 ERA, which might not sound great in a vacuum, but consider that the next-closest team is Dave Shovein, who boasts a 4.55 ERA. We’ve talked about 2000 Pedro Martinez before, but 1992 Dennis Martinez ranks seventh in the league with a 3.76 ERA and sixth with a 1.14 WHIP. None of Gamble’s starters have an ERA north of 4.40. Gamble was aggressive with pitching during our draft and it’s paying off in a big way. Barring something unexpected, he’s going to be in the thick of things until the very end here.

Matthew Pouliot made his gains this week on the strength of his pitching. 1995 Greg Maddux has been on quite the run of late, allowing two earned runs or fewer in four out of his last five starts while going at least seven innings in all of them. Pouliot’s team leads the league with 31 saves, 15 of them from 2014 Wade Davis. Interestingly, seven different pitchers have logged saves for his squad.

By contrast, pitching led to Mike Gianella’s tumble in the standings over the past seven days. 1987 Frank Viola and 1981 Nolan Ryan have been hit particularly hard of late. Gianella’s team ERA has jumped from 5.08 to 5.36 during this time. Seth Trachtman saw his team ERA jump from 4.94 to 5.32, with 2001 Mike Mussina and 1982 Mario Soto having some rough recent starts.

Zooming out, it’s clear that Andy Behrens is one of the better teams in this league. His offense has been a powerhouse from the start, as you’ll notice when we talking about the hitting categories, but it’s fair to wonder about the upside of his pitching staff. He currently sits in 19th place in strikeouts, which could be a deciding factor in this league.

Individual pitching category leaders:

ERA - Jacob deGrom (2018) - 2.91
WHIP - Pedro Martinez (2000 - 0.93
Strikeouts - Curt Schilling (2002) - 169
Saves - Billy Wagner (1999) - 21
Wins - Two-way tie - Justin Verlander (2019) and Fernando Valenzuela (1981) - 11

League Hitting Stats (teams sorted by batting average):

Team R HR RBI SB AVG
Andy Behrens 553 113 539 169 0.289
Brent Hershey 536 112 523 61 0.288
Dave Shovein 509 128 502 102 0.284
Drew Silva 468 96 461 91 0.284
Patrick Daugherty 452 105 446 36 0.284
Alan Harrison 506 110 501 75 0.283
Scott Pianowski 502 113 494 42 0.278
Ryan Boyer 479 103 460 89 0.277
Matthew Pouliot 500 115 494 35 0.275
D.J. Short 516 132 504 98 0.274
Christopher Crawford 465 132 459 61 0.273
Rudy Gamble 518 111 505 96 0.270
Nick Doran 482 111 477 47 0.270
Brad Johnson 527 121 513 74 0.266
Seth Trachtman 503 132 497 32 0.266
Jesse Roche 488 130 474 84 0.263
Nate Grimm 467 116 460 86 0.257
Chris Towers 447 142 438 51 0.256
Mike Gianella 465 140 456 45 0.251
Tim McCullough 388 96 377 62 0.246

 

As noted above, Andy Behrens’ team continues to set the bar for the hitting categories. He actually gained a bit of ground this past week while widening the gap between himself and Dave Shovein. Behrens’ team leads the league in batting average, stolen bases, RBI, and runs scored. 1987 Eric Davis has compiled 20 homers and 23 stolen bases, putting him on pace for a potential 40-40 season.

My team led the league in homers for a couple of weeks, but I’m currently in a three-way tie for third place, with Mike Gianella and Chris Towers jumping ahead. Both of those teams are doing a good job of spreading the wealth with their sluggers. Towers’ team has seven players with double-digit homers, led by 29 bombs from 2017 Giancarlo Stanton. Gianella’s team has eight players with at least 10 homers, including 27 of them from 1989 Kevin Mitchell.

Christopher Crawford and Scott Pianowski both made nice jumps in the hitting department this week. Of note, Crawford’s team batting average hopped from .258 all the way to .273. Edgar Martinez was a big part of that, recently going on 20-for-35 (.571) tear. Nick Doran was the biggest faller in the hitting categories over the past week, suffering an across-the-board slump.  

Individual offensive category leaders:

Batting average: Moises Alou (2000) - .368
Home runs: Carlos Pena (2007) - 32
RBI: Albert Belle (1994) - 83
Runs scored: Craig Biggio (1997) - 77
Stolen bases: Tim Raines (1986) - 45