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2014 Fantasy Baseball Recap From the Champ

Fantasy Baseball Champion MoneyThe 2014 We Talk Fantasy Sports Fantasy Baseball League featured extreme competitiveness amongst managers, as most WTFS Fantasy Leagues that I’ve been involved with usually do. What was strange in this particular league, was that there were ZERO trades completed. Two teams were at the forefront for the majority of the season, while the other 10 competed week in and week out for the remaining 6 playoffs spots. With absolutely no trade market, the draft and waiver wire results were critical. 

The draft… the 2014 WTFS Baseball league started like this: Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen, Clayton Kershaw, Ryan Braun, Bryce Harper, Hanley Ramirez, Joey Votto, Robinson Cano, Carlos Gonzalez and Chris Davis.

Some clear hits, some clear misses. 

Big hits in the drafts: Justin Morneau (252 overall) selected with the 21-12 pick and Todd Frazier (253) with the 22-1 pick (amazing sandwich value picks right there…), and earlier he selected Nelson Cruz (157) with the 14-1 pick and Jose Altuve (109) at 10-1.  Corey Kluber (203) went with the 17-11 pick, My eventual foe in the championship, Clayton, selected Dee Gordon with the 20-4 (232) pick.  My best value pick was likely Victor Martinez (163) at 14-7. 

Biggest surprises in this league for me were Keith not making the playoffs despite having Trout / Giancarlo Stanton and WeddingDrafters also not making the playoffs despite having arguably the best late-round draft with Cruz, Altuve, Frazier and Morneau.

This year’s 3rd place finisher was last years Champion (defeated me in the Championship!), the team of Price is Right managed by Paul G. Paul went with a spread out attack, with a top-heavy pitching staff anchored by David Price, Madison Bumgarner, Jon Lester and out-of-nowhere star SP Jake Arrieta.  Francisco Liriano and Annibal Sanchez were also key for him throughout the season, in making up one of the league’s top rotations. Offensively Paul had a solid attack based around a formidable infield featuring Cano, Aramis Ramirez and Jonathan Lucroy, with Hunter Pence and Matt Kemp leading the outfield. Paul’s team lacked depth outside the names above, but secured him the #4 seed in the playoffs. Price is Right defeated Hardball (#5) in the first round, before falling to #1 seed Votto Body Repair in the Semi-Finals. In the 3rd place matchup, Price is Right defeated #6 seed Vanilla Bryce by way of a tie-breaker, as the matchup ended 5-5. 

The two teams that met in the 2014 WTFS Championship were the #1 and #2 seeds, who swapped the top two rankings throughout the year. The #2 seed, creatively named @Jewish_Jeff, managed by myself, originally looked to be a pitching juggernaut with heavy hitters to contribute offensively. I drafted Felix Hernandez in the 3rd round as my ace, along with Gio Gonzalez, Jonny Cueto, Jordan Zimmerman, Jered Weaver and Yordano Ventura as I looked to dominate Wins, ratios and Ks. My bats were carried all year by the crew of Braun, Anthony Rizzo (102 overall), VMart, Ian Desmond, David Ortiz, Devin Mesoraco (early WW add over the drafted Jason Castro), Casey McGehee (semi-mistake on my part, with my worst move of the year.  I cut Seager 10 games into the year for McGehee, who stayed with me from there on out to be my regular 3B), Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian Dozier. My team finished 1st in RBI, Wins and Ks, while finishing 2nd in Total Bases and WHIP, and 3rd in ERA. It was certainly an odd offensive season for me, having Rizzo/Papi/VMart all as 1B eligible only players always in my starting lineup (with the 2 UTIL spots). I typically prefer having versatility in my offense, with guys that can play (and that I will play) in multiple positions based on matchups. Due to lack of players available (because of 0 trades in this league and max pickups at 4 per week) teams were absolutely hawking the wire in this 12-teamer, and the fact that Rizzo/Ortiz/VMart all were well above anyone on the WW, it happened to work out that I could and would start all 3 daily. My secondary players all performed well enough to warrant holding down their positions all season, with only minor tweaks needed throughout the season to my starting bats (Austin Jackson was one of my major swings and misses, and I ended up finally giving up on him after a week or so of him debuting for Seattle). 

In the 1st round of the playoffs as the #2 seed I defeated a League Owned team as the #7 seed (karma for not paying his league dues!... although I only won 6-4). Round 2 brought me #6 seeded Vanilla Bryce, who was slayed 8-2 at the hands of monster weeks from Rizzo/VMart/Dozier and late addition Luis Valbuena. Felix chipped in with a dominant 11-K performance, while a double start pickup of Ryan Vogelsong ended up panning out thanks to his 10 combined Ks in the 2 starts. Then I was off to the championship…

The #1 seed for the playoffs was team Votto Body Repair, managed by Clayton (@RotoClayton). Clayton hogged most of the real RPs all year, with Addison Reed, Aroldis Chapman, Greg Holland, Joakim Soria and even Neftali Feliz down the stretch, providing huge boosts in his ratios and Ks while dominating the Saves category. Clayton’s rotation was anchored by Chris Sale and Scott Kazmir, while he plugged-and-played all year with savvy pickups of Josh Beckett, Brandon McCarthy, Phil Hughes, Jason Hammel, Dallas Keuchel, Jose Quintana, Mike Fiers and Michael Shoemaker, each making between 5-12 starts for him throughout the year. Votto Body Repair’s team may have been named after Joey, but his true team leader and starting 1B was his 9th round selection from the White Sox, Jose Abreu

Clayton surrounded Abreu with the real Joey of the MLB (Jose Bautista), a solid catcher in Carlos Santana, and 20th round steal (get it) Dee Gordon. Where Clayton solidified his team though was the WW, as he poached batting-champion-to-be Justin Morneau, his Rockie teammate Corey Dickerson and NL All-Star Josh Harrison. Votto Body Repair led the league in Runs, SBs, Total Bases and Saves, while finishing 2nd in OBP and Ks, and 3rd in RBI. 

In the 1st round of the playoffs, Votto Body Repair easily defeated #8 seeded Beisbol del Equipo 8-1-1, who was last season’s third place winner and anchored this year by Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Gomez and Freddie Freeman. In the 2nd round, Votto Body Repair rather easily defeated Paul G’s #4 seed Price is Right thanks to hit-show from his Rockies Morneau & Dickerson who totaled 34 total bases. In his debut season, Clayton S was off to the championship to meet last season’s second place finisher, this years #2 seed. 

#1 seed Votto Body Repair faced #2 seed @Jewish_Jeff, in a classic battle of Batting vs. Pitching. @Jewish_Jeff’s pitching was setup to win from the start, with double starts from Felix/Cueto/Ventura/ Wily Peralta, as all 4 secured double digit Ks. On top of the 4 double start SPs, @Jewish_Jeff had Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez and Aaron Harang contribute, while Jordan Zimmermann capped off the week with his No-Hitter of the Miami Marlins. Sale and Kazmir came through for Votto Body Repair as they had all season long, while spot starters Henderson Alvarez and Derek Holland also proved to be smart pickups for Clayton. More notably for Votto Body Repair, his elite RPs secured 9 saves (to Jeff’s 4) while posting 17 Ks and a combined 0.00 ERA to help keep the ratios close. The difference in the matchup came on offense, where Votto Body Repair dominated all year. 

With Jacoby Ellsbury ending his season to end the semi-finals, @Jewish_Jeff recruited KC Royal Lorenzo Cain, who ended up being one of the best bats in the finals putting up 12 total bases with a .333 OBP, 4 runs and 2 SB. With Ellsbury going down and Ortiz/Braun really slacking in the finals, VMart and Dozier put up very big weeks to keep @Jewish_Jeff afloat. On the other side, Votto Body Repair was clinging to championship hopes with the same bats that got them to the championship while Joey Bats, Josh Harrison and Justin Morneau combined for 30 TB and 13 Runs. Bautista had a .390 OBP and Morneau had a .412 OBP. The major difference on offense came from the battered Anthony Rizzo for @Jewish_Jeff. Despite allegedly only being available for every other game, Rizzo went HAM putting up 17 TBs with 4 RBIs and a Finals-MVP earning .556 OBP, leading @Jewish_Jeff to the We Talk Fantasy Sports 2014 Baseball Championship, with an 8-2 victory.

Awesome season for all teams. Congrats to @RotoClayton on an especially great year. Hope to see you back in the finals next season, where I plan on repeating. Special thanks to Keith for putting together a great group of managers to make a competitive baseball league. 

Find me on twitter @Jewish_Jeff and be on the lookout for some NBA/Fantasy Basketball posts from me!