Kindergarten Cop with a K
Major League Baseball completed its first month of the season and through Sunday May 1st it has played 13.7% of the season. I’ve been writing about how the 705 NFBC Main Event owners are noticing the reduced power stats in major league baseball and on their fantasy teams. But my boss, Michael Simione, the demanding website owner and founder of spstreamer.com, was less than fully satisfied with that. Michael wrote me a pointed e-mail as follows: “Listen Todd, this is spstreamer.com, one of the top baseball websites on the internet. We have to talk about pitching. Don’t you know that I pick a streaming pitcher each day? Don’t you know that I have a podcast? Let’s talk about strikeouts! And while you’re at it, please relate this to a movie like you used to do – and make it funny, OK? Some of your recent work hasn’t quite been up to par. Thanks.”
So I thought back to my interview with Michael and realized that my conversation with Michael before he hired me as a writer was almost exactly the same as the scene in the movie Kindergarten Cop when Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character, big, tough Detective John Kimble shows up as the substitute teacher (one change in parentheses) the following exchange took place – the same as in our interview!
(Michael) Principal Schlowski: “I assume you have some teaching (writing) experience.”
(Todd) John Kimble: “They wouldn’t have sent me otherwise.”
So I figured that writing about strikeouts would be easy, and relating it to Kindergarten Cop would be no problem. For example, when Kimble has to substitute for his sick partner Phoebe O’Hara as a kindergarten teacher, he was ALSO highly confident and said:
John Kimble: “Get some rest and don’t worry. I’ve been working undercover for a long time. They’re six-year-olds. How much trouble can they be?
Phoebe O’Hara: “On second thought, take the gun.”
Michael has recently told me – like kindergartener Dominic Palmeiri said to John Kimble – that all of the other spstreamer.com are better writers than me.
Michael: “And by the way, Josh St. Marie (Weekly Hitter Projections) is a better writer than you – And Victor Akintola (Bullpen Breakdown) – And Rodrigo Motoyama (Streaming Speed) – And Mike Carter (Streaming Hitters) – And Matty Kiwoom (Combing for Catchers). This prompted the following exchange, which amazingly mirrored the scene in Kindergarten Cop:
(Todd) Detective John Kimble: “I really appreciate your honesty. You happen to know someone that is not better than me?”
(Michael) Dominic: “I don’t know that many people.”
Through Sunday 5/1, hitters have been doing a little better. MLB runs per game, which were 4.53 in 2021 reached a low of 4.02 last week but have now rebounded to 4.08. In addition:
- Batting average is up just slightly to .233 (from .232 last week – but still down from .244 last year).
- Home runs were at 0.89 per game but are now a little better at 0.91 (from 1.22 in 2021).
Maybe things are improving a little? We’ll track them and see…
|MLB HITTING STATS||RUNS/GAME||HOME RUNS||BATTING AVERAGE|
I’ve been focusing on the lack of hitting, but there is another side of the coin. Pitching stats are obviously a nice story. But has the improved ERA gone hand in hand with better strikeout totals? Interestingly, across MLB, strikeouts per game have actually declined from 8.68 in the last two seasons to 8.49 thus far in 2022 (a dip of 2.2%). Walks, on the other hand, are slightly higher. This produces an overall 2.59 K:BB ratio for MLB – down from 2.67 last year.
|MLB PITCHING STATS||RUNS/GAME||STRIKEOUTS RECORDED||WALKS ALLOWED||K:BB RATIO|
In the Main Event, I’ve tracked the 80% level over the past few seasons, and in 2019 fantasy owners needed 1476 strikeouts to get 80% of the overall points available in this category. In 2021 (skipping 2020 because of the shortened season), that number declined to 1389 (about 6% lower). Thus far in 2022, a Main Event team would need 186 strikeouts to get 80% of the points available. So extrapolating that out to the full season, at this rate both MLB and the Main Event target are down a couple of points in terms of strikeouts.
McClanahan Rode On
Who are the pitchers that are providing the most strikeouts in the early season? In the chart below you can see – through Saturday 4/30 – the pitchers with the most whiffs. Shane McClanahan and Carlos Rodon are the April leaders. McClanahan has 42 strikeouts and Rodon – who broke out last year, went unsigned by the White Sox, and signed with the Giants, has 38 Ks. Both of these pitchers had reasonable Main Event ADPs (92 and 74) but they were not nearly the biggest bargain in the top 20. That honor goes to Kyle Wright, who went undrafted in many leagues and had an overall ADP in the Main of 418. Also noteworthy are five additional pitchers that we are available after pick 200 – Eric Lauer, Nestor Cortes, Jesus Luzardo, Josiah Gray, and Tylor Megill. These have been great adds to fantasy staffs thus far.
I also show the K:BB ratios to date for these strikeout pitchers, and 9 pitchers have ratios at 6.0 or above (including Kevin Gausman who has yet to issue a walk!). This ratio does highlight some concern for Sean Manaea, Dylan Cease, and Josiah Gray, who have been handing out plenty of walks along with their high strikeout totals.
|STRIKEOUT RANK THRU 4/30||PITCHER||STRIKEOUTS 2022||K:BB RATIO 2022||MAIN EVENT ADP|
|3 tie||Aaron Nola||34||6.80||33|
|3 tie||Kyle Wright||34||5.67||418|
|3 tie||Eric Lauer||34||6.80||311|
|6 tie||Max Scherzer||33||4.13||15|
|6 tie||Corbin Burnes||33||5.50||6|
|8 tie||Kevin Gausman||31||zero walks||70|
|8 tie||Frankie Montas||31||3.88||82|
|10 tie||Shohei Ohtani||30||6.00||10|
|10 tie||Clayton Kershaw||30||15.00||114|
|10 tie||Sean Manaea||30||2.73||109|
|14 tie||Justin Verlander||28||7.00||53|
|14 tie||Dylan Cease||28||2.80||54|
|14 tie||Nestor Cortes||28||9.33||294|
|14 tie||Jesus Luzardo||28||3.11||210|
|14 tie||Josiah Gray||28||2.80||265|
|19 tie||Tylor Megill||27||4.50||229|
|19 tie||Gerrit Cole||27||2.70||4|
In the fifth FAAB period held on Sunday May 1st, ten players were picked up in 27 or more leagues (see below) with Travis Demeritte targeted in 42 of the 47 Main Event leagues as he has been playing regularly even after the return of Ronald Acuna. The question remains – will this continue? Right now Demeritte is producing, and showing that he has both speed and power – so he might just earn regular time in the outfield. Josh Winder threw an excellent game for the Twins and was added in 35 leagues – will they give him another start? Yadiel Hernandez just keeps hitting and visits Coors Field this week, helping his case as he was picked up in 33 leagues.
Others in the top ten widest pickups that also attracted at least one winning bid over $100 were Ian Kennedy – who has been closing in Mark Melancon’s absence for Arizona, Kyle Isbel, who was called up Thursday by the Royals, and Ryan Helsley, who earned a save for the Cardinals.
|ADDED IN MOST MAIN EVENT LEAGUES||Leagues Added||Reason||Highest Winning Bid||Lowest Winning Bid|
|Travis Demeritte||42||Getting PT in ATL||101||1|
|Josh Winder||35||In rotation or bullpen?||53||2|
|Yadiel Hernandez||33||Hitting well for WAS||112||1|
|Taylor Walls||32||Getting PT in TB||86||3|
|Ian Kennedy||31||Closing for AZ?||163||2|
|Kyle Isbel||30||Getting PT in KC||125||3|
|Victor Robles||30||Hitting well for WAS||71||1|
|Chad Kuhl||29||It’s Kuhl to be kind||60||1|
|Ross Stripling||29||In TOR rotation||56||1|
|Ryan Helsley||27||Earned save for STL||251||17|
The Wow Bid of the Week
One of our favorite features – the Main Event Wow Bid of the Week – is back and goes to the largest bid of each FAAB period. This week that honor goes to a $452 bid for White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez, who was available in just two Main Event leagues (he was won for $245 in the second league). The runner-up bids of $177 and $164 were solid – but not close to being successful. Notably, the player with the second-highest winning bid was Drew Rasmussen for $340. Normally I don’t highlight the second-highest player, but the winning bid was from notorious cheapskate Philippe Dussault, who is a big believer in Rasmussen this season. Rasmussen was available in two Main Event leagues, and while Phil won him handily ($340 to $142), the second league was much tighter, as the winning bidder got him for $234 compared to a runner-up amount of $232.
The Century Club Has 25 Members This Week
There were 25 players that attracted SUCCESSFUL bids over $100 during this FAAB run (down from 28 last week), and 5 of those players had at least one winning bid over $200 – Eloy Jimenez, Drew Rasmussen, Anthony Bender, Ryan Helsley, and Trent Grisham. Players attracting the most bids over $100 were Ryan Helsley with 14 and Anthony Bender with 9. There were 49 successful bids over $100 (down from 82) and 12 successful bids over $200 (up from 7 – see chart below):
|TEAM||BIDS OVER $100 – MAIN EVENT||Winning Bids over $100||Winning Bids over $200||Highest Winning Bid (FAAB $)|
|CIN||LaMont Wade Jr.||1||0||117|
For the 5 FAAB runs thus far, the average Main Event team has won 8.1 bids this season (roughly 1.6 per week) and spent $244.21 per team. This is lower than last year when about $318 was spent per team in the first 5 FAAB runs. This means that in 2022, the average team still has $756 of FAAB left, so bidding should continue to remain relatively strong over the next few weeks.
|2022||TOTAL NUMBER OF MAIN EVENT WINNING BIDS||TOTAL FAAB DOLLARS SPENT MAIN EVENT||AVERAGE WINNING BID MAIN EVENT||AVERAGE AMOUNTS SPENT PER ME TEAM|
Colosseum Stats: Four Players from Three Weeks Ago…Results: 1 Good Add out of 4:
Again this season we’ll be keeping tabs on the 4 most added players from 3 weeks ago to see how some of the biggest free agent acquisitions have been doing for their fantasy owners. These are the players acquired in the most leagues on the second FAAB run this season – on 4/10 just after the season started (stats are from 4/11 through 5/1):
- Daniel Bard: 7.0 IP; 8:0 K-BB; 1 WINS; 2.57 ERA; 0.71 WHIP and 5 SAVES – WOW. Bard has been a great find for fantasy owners and certainly earns a WIN in our Roman Colosseum.
- Kyle Wright: 18.0 IP; 28:5 K-BB; 2 WINS; 1.50 ERA; 0.94 WHIP Double WOW! – Wright has been incredible thus far and has certainly earned the WIN! A fantastic add!
- Josh Lowe: 10-for-55 .182 AVG; 1 HR; 1 SB – his batting average wasn’t great, but he might not have fully deserved to be sent down to the minors on Sunday. Nevertheless, this didn’t turn out well for owners that bought in – so we sadly score this as a LOSS.
- Tyler Duffey: 7.0 IP; 6:1 K-BB; 1 WINS; 3.86 ERA; 1.43 WHIP but 0 SAVES. Well, this didn’t work out – it seemed like he would be in the mix to close, but we’ll have to say this was a LOSS.
- 3 thumbs up – 37% (full year 2021 24%)
- 1 side thumbs – 12% (full year 2021 27%)
- 4 thumbs down – 50% (full year 2021 49%)
It’s still early yet, but it’s nice to see a surge in winning pickups – will this continue? Stay tuned to find out!
In addition, we’ll be following the Main Event chase all season in this space, and showing the overall leader board as it shifts throughout the season. First, here are the top 20 in the overall standings after the on the morning of April 12th.
|Overall Rank: Thru 4/17||Fantasy Owner||Overall Points||Points Behind||NFBC League Number #|
|Average Top 20 Overall Score||5458.0|
Read it Twice
Congratulations to Chris Read for continuing to hold the Number One position! Not only that, but Chris has just two Main Event entries, and apparently that’s enough! Kudos also go out to Abdulaziz Madani (the 2019 overall champ), Douglas Gruber, Jason Senteiu, and Bob Catsiroumpas for their top five early-season positions. Certainly, none of the top 20 can feel secure about their position after 1 month, but it is also true that it’s much more preferable to get off to a fast start than to stumble out of the gate. All of these 20 can feel good about posting a nice solid beginning.
Philippe Dussault in 10th Place!
Philippe is back in the top 10 now! Noooooo! This cannot be happening! The robot is apparently in full gear!
Where are our 2022 Previous Overall Leaders?
Tim Lilly (4/11): Tim is in 31st place, which is not too shabby, and says that he is just giving others a chance to shine until he surges back to the top. He’s just hanging out in his pond among the lilly pads.
Scott Fleming (4/18): Right in the thick of the race at the number 15 overall position, Scott is still in Belgium with his Flemish family, which is strange, because they appear not to know who he is. He plans to be back soon according to Flemish TV though.
League of Legends
In addition, we’ll follow the individual league races this season. It is no small feat to win a league championship in the Main Event regardless of a fantasy owner’s overall place, and the top three in each league earn a cash prize and deserve recognition. You can see the 47 leagues listed in the chart below – along with the top three in the standings as of Monday morning.
|NFBC League Number||LEADER||League Points||2nd PLACE||League Points||3rd PLACE||League Points|
|#934||Doug Moe||120.0||Jason Anthony||110.5||Matthew Shepherd||102.0|
|#935||Anthony Botzo||120.5||Mark Srebro||108.0||Scott Waggener||94.0|
|#943||Daniel DaSilva||105.5||Andrew Kopicz||105.0||Joe Gelsomino||102.0|
|#1026||John Pausma||111.0||Scott Davis||110.0||Jody Ryan||98.0|
|#1027||Michael Govier||114.5||Jason Gill||106.5||Scott Jenstad||104.0|
|#1028||Jacob Halusker||105.0||Ryan Atkins||96.5||James Milkowski||93.0|
|#1029||Ken Magner||114.0||Mark Northan||102.0||Donald Warner||98.5|
|#1030||Zach Bettencourt||118.5||Daniel DaSilva||106.5||Douglas Roth||99.5|
|#1031||Dustin Wagner||114.0||Daniel Prepas||107.5||Tim Lilly||107.0|
|#1032||Keith Tonsager||111.5||Shawn Childs||93.5||Tony DiVincenzo & Dave McDonald||91.5|
|#1034||Joe Green||106.0||Ned Donohue||99.5||Michael Lins||98.5|
|#1132||Eric Heberlig||125.0||Jin Chun||89.0||Jon Engstrom||87.5|
|#1143||Markus Sultan||108.0||Greg Lathrop||103.0||Curtis Jones||97.0|
|#1192||Christopher Vaccaro||106.5||Robert Cramutola||101.5||Marc Fleisher||98.5|
|#1221||Marc Fleisher||117.5||Eric Heberlig||100.5||Mike Duggan||100.0|
|#1226||Michael Garcia||115.0||Patrick Longood||110.5||Glenn Schroter||91.0|
|#1228||Jordan Epping||104.5||John Pausma||101.0||Charles Sommer||98.0|
|#1233||Steve Heisman||108.5||Joe Anthony||105.0||Jon Stadtmueller||89.0|
|#1236||Dalton Del Don||111.5||Joe McHugh||107.0||Clark Olson||100.0|
|#1244||Douglas Gruber||132.0||Scott Zeidman||106.5||Scott Sakiyama||92.5|
|#1260||Kelly Uganski||114.0||Jason Aberli||102.5||Douglas Roth||99.5|
|#1263||TIE: Stephen Jupinka||105.5||TIE: Chris Uram||105.5||Eric Heberlig||96.5|
|#1264||Ryan Rufe||112.5||Bill Macey||107.0||Brian Edwards||105.0|
|#1265||Tyler Jung||120.5||Bob Mazur||95.5||Joe Morrison||92.5|
|#1287||Aaron Lawson||107.0||Eric Price||104.5||Jason Perkins||99.5|
|#1292||Steve Gregovich||122.5||Chris Fessler||105.5||Jeremy Brader||90.0|
|#1294||Dominic Rello||105.0||Bryan Fitzgerald||101.5||Matthew Anderson||100.5|
|#1297||Zach Bettencourt||116.0||Douglas Gruber||105.5||Richard Briskin||100.5|
|#1304||Jeff Campbell||108.0||Bryan Fitzgerald||104.0||TIE: David Redgrave & Abdulaziz Madani||98.0|
|#1306||David Miller||101.0||Brian Slack||98.0||Dave Petroziello||96.0|
|#1318||Douglas Gruber||121.0||Dan Kenyon||97.5||JimJ Ferrari||96.0|
|#1319||Bob Casale||106.5||Leonard Ringle||100.5||Jon Stadtmueller||92.5|
|#1320||Philippe Dussault||114.0||Robert Mirshak||106.5||Michael Fuchs||104.5|
|#1321||Bradley Beckman||113.5||Gary Allen||110.5||Andrew Sullivan||100.0|
|#1322||Kellen Arneson||117.0||Mike Cameron||100.5||Jeff Mitseff||94.5|
|#1331||Bob Catsiroumpas||117.5||Robert DiPietro||105.0||Bradley Libros||103.0|
|#1332||Chris Read||136.5||Leonard Ringle||116.5||Ben Tidd||90.0|
|#1363||Matthew McDonough||124.0||Scott Davis||104.5||Paul Hong||102.5|
|#1364||Geoffrey Stein||107.5||Al Williams||101.5||Stephen Jupinka||93.5|
|#1365||Scott Waggener||114.0||Raymond Ventura||105.5||Craig Clarke||103.0|
|#1366||KC Cha||98.0||Isaac Cockburn||96.5||Jeff Mitseff||95.5|
|#1371||Jason Santeiu||118.0||Brian Slack||111.5||Hunter Dorbandt||102.0|
|#1402||Abdulaziz Madani||123.5||Ray Butler||108.0||Shawn Childs||97.5|
|#1405||William McAleer||106.0||Michael Lins||100.0||Zachary Waxman||97.5|
|#1408||Les Travis||111.0||Ronny Mor||100.5||TIE: Eric Heberlig & Pat Tremaglio||100.0|
|#1511||Scott Fleming||117.5||Beau Reid||112.5||Mike Ballscmiede||110.0|
|#1524||Zachary Viglianco||104.5||Marc Perlmutter||97.5||Brett Wemer||93.5|
|Average 1st Place Score||113.4||Average 2nd Place Score||103.7||Average 3rd Place Score||97.8|
There are multiple NFBC players who are in the top three of not only one league, but two or more. Even at this early stage, that is impressive. A special shout-out goes to my podcast partner Robert DiPietro, who is in 2nd place in his league and 36th place overall! Also notable names (at least to me) are – crowd favorites Brian Slack, Tyler Jung, Michael Govier, 2017 Main Event Champ Chris Fessler, Stephen Jupinka (who recently had an encounter with a bear – see his Twitter timeline), my pal Christopher Vaccaro, Jordan Epping, Dalton Del Don, Zach Bettencourt, Ryan Rufe (in his first ever Main Event contest!), Doug Moe, Greg Lathrop, Jon Stadtmueller, Mark Srebro and newly-inducted Hall-of-Famer (and 2018 Main Event Champ) John Pausma! Great job by all!
As we head into the 2nd month of the MLB season, remember to get as much feedback as possible from your boss at work. And be sure to ask him or her if they know someone who is NOT as good as you – maybe you’ll get a more positive answer than I did!