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MLB SEASON COUNTER: 17.4%

Major League Baseball completed its first month of the season and through Sunday May 8th it has played about 17% of the season. Along with all of the 705 NFBC Main Event owners, I was sadly looking at the hitting difficulties on my fantasy teams, when to my surprise the phone rang and it was none other than Jackson Browne! I said “Wazzup Jackson!” and he replied:

My Runs Scored are running on empty

Running on – running blind

Running on – running into the sun

But I’m running behind (in this category)

So I told him not to worry – there is a lack of runs in major league baseball, and tried to carefully explain that there could be a problem with, the ball itself, the extra relievers in the bullpen, or perhaps the humidors. But before I could say “humidors” he cut me off with:

Looking out at the season rushing under my wheels

I don’t know how to tell you all just how crazy this lack of runs feels

Look around for the scoring that I used to turn to pull me through

Looking into the players’ eyes, I see them running too

 I started to get a bit annoyed and told him “Look, we used to be able to assemble a team with a batting average over .260 but those days are gone.” And then I tried to cheer him up by saying, “Don’t worry Jackson, I’ll write about runs scored in my next Main Event article and that will surely pick your spirits up!” Jackson responded by starting to sing a verse from his song “The Pretender” into the phone:

Out into the cool of the evening

Strolls the pretender

And I had to immediately hang up to attend to other matters – it wasn’t that I was upset or anything.

The MLB Environment: Lots of Zeros

Through Sunday 5/8, hitters have been scoring just 4.04 MLB runs per game, well below the 4.53 in 2021. In fact, this is lower than the 4.08 average one week ago so it is declining further. This has been built by two main factors (see chart below):

  • Batting average is at .232 (even lower than the .233 last week – and well down from .244 last year).
  • Home runs were at 0.89 per game two weeks ago but are now a holding at 0.91 (from 1.22 in 2021).
MLB HITTING STATS RUNS/GAME HOME RUNS BATTING AVERAGE
2022 YTD 4.04 0.91 0.232
2021 4.53 1.22 0.244
2020 4.65 1.28 0.245
2019 4.83 1.39 0.252
2018 4.65 1.15 0.248
2017 4.65 1.26 0.255

As mentioned last week, strikeouts are actually down a little at 8.42 and with walks holding steady, at least the ball is being put in play a bit more. Maybe things will improve as we get further into May – we shall track them and see…

MLB PITCHING STATS RUNS/GAME STRIKEOUTS RECORDED WALKS ALLOWED K:BB RATIO
2022 YTD 4.04 8.42 3.25 2.59
2021 4.53 8.68 3.25 2.67
2020 4.65 8.68 3.39 2.56
2019 4.83 8.81 3.27 2.69
2018 4.65 8.48 3.32 2.55
2017 4.65 8.25 3.26 2.53

Runs Scored: 80% Target

No matter how Jackson Browne reacts, there HAS been less scoring as you see in the chart above. So is the 80% target to hit in the Main Event significantly lower, or are these top fantasy owners able to accumulate talent to reach the same approximate level as 2021? In the Main Event, I’ve tracked the 80% level over the past few seasons, and in 2019 fantasy owners needed 1149 runs scored to get 80% of the overall points available in this category. In 2021 (skipping 2020 because of the shortened season), that number declined to 1083 (about 6% lower). Thus far in 2022, a Main Event team would need 169 runs to get 80% of the points available. So extrapolating that out to the full season, the Main Event target is now just 971, 10.4% lower than even 2021. Yikes.

Machado is the Betts

But who are the hitters that are providing the most runs scored even in this reduced environment? In the chart below you can see – through Saturday 5/7 – the 20 hitters most highly familiar with circling the bases. Manny Machado and Mookie Betts are the 5-week leaders in this category – with a sizeable lead over the others with 26 and 25 respectively. Both of these hitters had Main Event ADPs in the top 30 so of course they were not nearly the biggest bargains on this list. Those honors go to Taylor Ward and Owen Miller, who went undrafted in many leagues. Also noteworthy is Connor Joe, who was drafted in the mid-300’s in the Main Event. Additional hitters that were available after pick 100 were Willy Adames, Myles Straw and Josh Bell. These have been great adds to fantasy rosters thus far.

I also show the ratio of Runs Scored to At Bats, as this shows whether some of these players are being unusually productive (scoring on more than 20% of their At Bats) or achieving strong volume, which is also valuable for a variety of reasons. Those with an extremely strong productivity metric are Machado, Betts, Ward, Miller, and Byron Buxton.

RUNS SCORED RANK THRU 5/7 PLAYER RUNS SCORED RUNS SCORED TO AT BATS RATIO MAIN EVENT ADP
1 Manny Machado 26 0.247 22
2 Mookie Betts 25 0.266 15
3 tie Juan Soto 21 0.202 4
3 tie Willy Adames 21 0.198 127
3 tie Myles Straw 21 0.206 138
6 tie Josh Bell 20 0.200 130
6 tie Bryce Harper 20 0.226 9
8 tie Mike Trout 19 0.194 14
8 tie Christian Yelich 19 0.171 99
8 tie Shohei Ohtani 19 0.174 8
8 tie Taylor Ward 19 0.260 736
12 tie George Springer 18 0.175 57
12 tie J.T. Realmuto 18 0.202 48
12 tie Tommy Edman 18 0.198 92
12 tie Brandon Lowe 18 0.184 75
12 tie Owen Miller 18 0.265 747
17 tie Byron Buxton 17 0.236 47
17 tie Freddie Freeman 17 0.179 18
17 tie Aaron Judge 17 0.185 36
17 tie Connor Joe 17 0.168 351

Yep: Pez is Great

In the fifth FAAB period held on Sunday May 8th, ten players were picked up in 25 or more leagues (see below) with Juan Yepez targeted in all 47 Main Event leagues as has been playing regularly since his promotion despite the presence of Albert Pujols. The question remains – will this continue? Right now Yepez is producing, so he might just earn regular time. Two other rookies got the call in Minnesota, and they hold down the second and third-highest acquisition rate – as Royce Lewis was added in 44 leagues and Jose Miranda in 42. Ben Gamel is decidedly NOT a rookie, but he is batting leadoff for Pittsburgh and this helped him get added in 38 leagues..

Others in the top ten widest pickups that also attracted at least one winning bid over $100 were Edward Olivares – who has been playing regularly in Kansas City, and James Kaprielian, who produced a strong start in his last outing for the Athletics.

ADDED IN MOST MAIN EVENT LEAGUES Leagues Added Reason Highest Winning Bid Lowest Winning Bid
Juan Yepez 47 Rookie in STL 375 56
Royce Lewis 44 Rookie in MIN 308 21
Jose Miranda 42 Rookie in MIN 217 49
Ben Gamel 38 Batting leadoff for PIT 66 3
Edward Olivares 33 No more bus to Omaha 152 7
James Kaprielian 32 In OAK rotation 105 3
Brandon Drury 28 Regular PT for streaking Reds 97 11
Tyler Wells 26 O’s moved back fences 56 2
Bryson Stott 25 Back from AAA 78 1
Martin Perez 25 Pitching well for TEX 41 3

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 $424 bid for Rockies infielder Brendan Rodgers, who was available in just three Main Event leagues, and this easily beat the runner-up bid of $69 (he was won with bids of $217 and $187 in the other two leagues).

The Century Club Has 34 Members This Week

There were 34 players that attracted SUCCESSFUL bids over $100 during this FAAB run (up from 25 last week), and an impressive 11 of those players had at least one winning bid over $200 – (see chart below). Players attracting the most bids over $100 were the previously mentioned Yepez (39), Miranda (21), Spencer Strider in Atlanta (10), and Josh Winder in Minnesota (9). There was a whopping 137 successful bids over $100 (way up from 49) and 29 successful bids over $200 (up from 12 – see chart below):

TEAM BIDS OVER $100 – MAIN EVENT Winning Bids over $100 Winning Bids over $200 Highest Winning Bid (FAAB $)
COL Brendan Rodgers 3 2 424
SEA George Kirby 1 1 410
CHW Eloy Jimenez 1 1 402
STL Juan Yepez 39 12 375
MIN Bailey Ober 1 1 369
MIN Jhoan Duran 3 3 326
MIN Royce Lewis 7 4 308
MIN Josh Winder 9 1 231
STL Jack Flaherty 1 1 229
MIN Jose Miranda 21 2 217
KC MJ Melendez 3 1 216
AZ Josh Rojas 7 0 181
TB Manuel Margot 3 0 156
BOS Jarren Duran 4 0 154
KC Edward Olivares 2 0 152
TEX Dane Dunning 1 0 152
WAS Yadiel Hernandez 2 0 150
AZ Alek Thomas 1 0 144
ATL Spencer Strider 10 0 142
BOS Nick Pivetta 3 0 131
TOR Yusei Kikuchi 1 0 128
SF LaMonte Wade Jr. 2 0 119
STL Jordan Hicks 1 0 115
SF Anthony DeSclafani 1 0 115
STL Ryan Helsley 1 0 115
OAK Sheldon Neuse 1 0 113
SF Jakob Junis 1 0 108
TB Brooks Raley 1 0 107
TOR Alejandro Kirk 1 0 106
OAK James Kaprielian 1 0 105
CLE Aaron Civale 1 0 105
TB Ryan Yarbrough 1 0 105
SEA Mitch Haniger 1 0 104
BAL Kyle Bradish 1 0 101
137 29

For the 5 FAAB runs thus far, the average Main Event team has won 9.9 bids this season (1.65 per week) and spent $315.53 per team. This is 18% lower than last year when $384.33 was spent per team in the first 6 FAAB runs. This means that in 2022, the average team still has $684 of FAAB left, so there are still resources available, but they are dwindling a bit. I expect a significant drop-off in spending over the next two-three 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
1 403 $7,962 $19.76 $11.29
2 1035 $36,124 $34.90 $51.24
3 1445 $46,026 $31.85 $65.29
4 1431 $44,112 $30.83 $62.57
5 1367 $37,945 $27.76 $53.82
6 1300 $50,280 $38.68 $71.32
TOTAL 6981 $222,449 $31.86 $315.53

Colosseum Stats: Four Players from Three Weeks Ago…Results: 2 Good Adds 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 third FAAB run this season – on 4/17 (stats are from 4/18 through 5/8):

  • Taylor Ward: 25-for-71 .352 AVG; 5 HR; 0 SB – WOW. Ward has been a great find for fantasy owners and easily earns a WIN in our Roman Colosseum.
  • Paul Blackburn: 14.0 IP; 13:2 K-BB; 2 WINS; 2.51 ERA; 0.98 WHIP Another Victory for our gladiators! – Blackburn has been great thus far with improved velocity and he might be able to keep this up all season. A fantastic add!
  • Owen Miller: 11-for-43 .256 AVG; 1 HR; 0 SB – his batting average is not overly impressive, but he does have 10 runs scored and 6 RBIs. I think he’s been fine, but he’s not a completely sure-fire win. We’ll give him a PUSH.
  • Santiago Espinal: 17-for-62 .274 AVG; 2 HR; 1 SB. Well, this is close to the result we got with Miller. He does have 8 runs and 8 RBI and is playing regularly – so in a 15-team league he definitely has value. He just hasn’t really bowled us over yet. Another PUSH.

2022 RECORD:

  • 5 thumbs up – 42% (full year 2021 24%)
  • 3 side thumbs – 25% (full year 2021 27%)
  • 4 thumbs down – 33% (full year 2021 49%)

It’s still early yet, but it’s the record looks a lot healthier thus far – but will this continue? We’ll look in on our gladiators again next week 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 May 9th.

Overall Rank: Thru 4/17 Fantasy Owner Overall Points Points Behind NFBC League Number #
1 Chris Read 5967.0 0.0 1332
2 Tyler Jung 5858.5 108.5 1265
3 Douglas Gruber 5671.0 296.0 1244
4 Philippe Dussault 5615.5 351.5 1320
5 Ned Donohue 5614.0 353.0 1034
6 Abdulaziz Madani 5552.5 414.5 1402
7 Douglas Gruber 5546.5 420.5 1318
8 Craig Clarke 5526.0 441.0 1365
9 Matthew McDonough 5475.5 491.5 1363
10 Eric Price 5449.0 518.0 1287
11 Anthony Botzo 5408.5 558.5 935
12 Robert DiPietro 5363.5 603.5 1331
13 Robert Mirshak 5355.0 612.0 1320
14 Steve Gregovich 5354.0 613.0 1292
15 Leonard Ringle 5287.0 680.0 1332
16 Zach Bettencourt 5285.0 682.0 1297
17 Jason Santeiu 5257.0 710.0 1371
18 Scott Waggener 5237.0 730.0 1365
19 Bob Catsiroumpas 5235.5 731.5 1331
20 Doug Moe 5224.5 742.5 934
Average Top 20 Overall Score 5464.1

Reader’s Digest

Congratulations to Chris Read for continuing to hold the Number One position for the third consecutive week! Not only that, but Chris has just two Main Event entries, and this one is working out beautifully! Congratulations also to last year’s star Tyler Jung, Douglas Gruber (who has 3rd and 7th place), Philippe Dussault (see below), and Ned Donohue who are all in the top five in the early season. All of the Top 20 have definitely posted a wonderful start.

Philippe Dussault in 4th Place but an Unnamed Participant has asked for him to be Disqualified

Breaking news – Philippe Dussault is in 4th place but a steward’s inquiry (inspired by Saturday’s Kentucky Derby) has been lodged after an unnamed owner has claimed Dussault impeded the other owners at his draft table in Las Vegas. Yes, I know that this is not the Kentucky Derby, but you can’t go around bumping people when they are about to make a draft pick – even in Vegas. No, I DON’T know who made this claim, but all I CAN say is Greg Ambrosius, Tom Kessenich and Darik Buchar promised me – er, I mean the unnamed participant – that they would look into it. More news will be forthcoming but for now we’ll place an asterisk by his overall position of 4th place. I feel – I mean the unnamed owner feels – relatively confident that the protest will be upheld. Apparently the tape of the draft is being reviewed in Iola, Wisconsin and that will be relayed back to um, the unnamed participant.

Where are our 2022 Previous Overall Leaders?

Tim Lilly (4/11): Tim is in 28th 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 reading Gulliver’s Travels – which he says is his favorite book because of the section about the Island of Lilliput.

Scott Fleming (4/18): Right in the thick of the race in 21st overall, Scott is angry at me for making light of his Flemish heritage. He wants everyone to know that Flanders is the Dutch-speaking northern portion of Belgium and the official capital of Flanders is the City of Brussels. Despite not being the biggest part of Belgium by area, Flanders is the area with 68% of the population. Thanks Scott!

 

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 116.0 John Pausma 110.5 Jason Anthony 99.5
#935 Anthony Botzo 121.0 Mark Srebro 109.5 Scott Waggener 106.0
#943 Joe Gelsomino 103.0 Andrew Kopicz 98.0 Eric Heberlig 97.0
#1026 John Pausma 105.0 Scott Davis 101.5 Chris Hill 96.0
#1027 Jason Gill 107.5 Michael Govier 105.5 Herb Eroh 93.0
#1028 Jacob Halusker 111.5 Zachary Waxman 98.5 Nick Cassavetes 89.0
#1029 Donald Warner 109.5 Mark Northan 108.0 Ken Magner 99.0
#1030 Rob Silver 102.5 Rick Davis 99.5 Zach Bettencourt 97.5
#1031 Daniel Prepas 112.0 Tim Lilly 110.5 Matthew Anderson 104.0
#1032 Mark Bendar 102.0 Keith Tonsager 100.5 Ronny Mor 93.0
#1034 Ned Donohue 129.5 Ken O’Brien 103.5 Eric Heberlig 91.0
#1132 Eric Heberlig 117.0 Danny Bronski 101.0 Scott Masel 95.0
#1143 Greg Lathrop 108.0 Mark Srebro 103.5 Markus Sultan 98.5
#1192 Robert Cramutola 104.0 Marc Fleisher 103.0 Christopher Vaccaro 100.5
#1221 Mike Duggan 110.0 Eric Albright 101.5 Marc Fleisher 101.0
#1226 Michael Garcia 112.5 Patrick Longood 99.5 Ken Magner 95.5
#1228 Charles Sommer 107.5 Jeffrey Bryl 103.0 John Pausma 102.5
#1233 Steve Heisman 103.5 Jon Stadtmueller 100.0 Scott Fleming 91.5
#1236 Clark Olson 111.0 Joe McHugh 103.5 Michael O’Brien 101.5
#1244 Douglas Gruber 123.5 Scott Zeidman 102.5 Michael O’Brien 100.0
#1260 Kelly Uganski 113.0 Jeff Erickson 101.0 TIE: Vince Clemente & Kyle Pantalone 92.5
#1263 Eric Heberlig 115.0 Stephen Jupinka 100.5 Chris Uram 99.0
#1264 Ryan Rufe 111.5 Vlad Sedler 108.0 Brian Edwards 97.5
#1265 Tyler Jung 127.0 Bob Mazur 100.0 Ray Murphy 95.0
#1287 Aaron Lawson 115.0 Eric Price 114.5 Jason Perkins 105.0
#1292 Steve Gregovich 117.0 Chris Fessler 102.0 Griffin Benger 100.5
#1294 Dominic Rello 108.0 Stephen Fiore 101.5 TIE: Toby Guevin & Bryan Fitzgerald 93.5
#1297 Zach Bettencourt 113.0 Richard Briskin 108.0 Douglas Gruber 96.0
#1304 Jeff Campbell 104.0 David Redgrave 98.0 Abdulaziz Madani 97.0
#1306 Brian Slack 107.5 David Miller 102.5 Scott Waggener 100.0
#1318 Douglas Gruber 122.0 JimJ Ferrari 104.0 Stephen Marshall 98.0
#1319 Leonard Ringle 104.5 Scott Feschuk 102.0 Jeremy La Tour 97.5
#1320 Philippe Dussault 126.5 Robert Mirshak 112.0 Michael Fuchs 101.5
#1321 Andrew Sullivan 112.5 Bradley Beckman 103.5 Mike Rothe 96.0
#1322 Kellen Arneson 119.0 Vlad Sedler 108.5 Jeff Mitseff 106.5
#1331 Robert DiPietro 114.0 Bob Catsiroumpas 108.5 Dan Kenyon 102.0
#1332 Chris Read 129.5 Leonard Ringle 115.0 Ben Tidd 103.5
#1363 Matthew McDonough 117.0 Scott Davis 106.0 Matthew King 97.0
#1364 Geoffrey Stein 104.0 Al Williams 98.0 Brad Pinkstaff 96.5
#1365 Craig Clarke 121.0 Scott Waggener 117.5 Todd Hoppe 103.5
#1366 Jeff Mitseff 103.0 Isaac Cockburn 99.0 David Bone 92.5
#1371 Jason Santeiu 115.0 Hunter Dorbandt 113.0 Brian Slack 108.0
#1402 Abdulaziz Madani 123.5 Ray Butler 116.0 Shawn Childs 105.5
#1405 Michael Lins 104.5 William McAleer 99.0 Michael Secor 98.5
#1408 Eric Heberlig 112.5 Les Travis 111.0 Ronny Mor 99.0
#1511 Scott Fleming 115.5 Ian Hubbard 107.5 Beau Reid 106.0
#1524 Mark Srebro 107.5 Zachary Viglianco 95.0 TIE: Scott Waggener & Kareem Yostos 92.0
Average 1st Place Score 112.7 Average 2nd Place Score 104.6 Average 3rd Place Score 98.5

 

There are multiple NFBC players who are in the top three places in more than one Main Event league. Even at this early stage, that is impressive. Shout-outs:

  • My podcast partner Robert DiPietro, 1st in his league place and in the hearts and minds of his listeners, and 12th overall
  • Crowd favorite Brian Slack with a 1st and 3rd place
  • Rotowire Closer Expert Ryan Rufe 1st in his league and 32nd overall
  • Basketball coaching legend Doug Moe (20th overall)
  • Fantasy Baseball/Football expert Mark Srebro – one 1st & two 2nd
  • Newly-inducted Hall-of-Famer (and 2018 Main Event Champ) John Pausma – a 1st, a 2nd, and a 3rd
  • 2016 Main Event Champ Rob Silver – 1st in his league and promising to be not as shy and retiring on the next episode of the Launch Angle podcast…
  • Eric Heberlig – three 1st and two 3rd
  • Baseball writer and podcaster Vlad Sedler (two 2nd)
  • 2019 Main Event Champ Abdulaziz Madani (one 1st and one 3rd)
  • Scott Waggner (one 2nd and three 3rd)
  • Leonard Ringle (one 1st and one 2nd)
  • Jeff Mitseff (one 1st and one 3rd)

Great job by all!

Good luck as we head into the 2nd month of the MLB season, and remember to carefully screen your phone calls – as I’ve learned that not all of your callers want to hear about humidors (even this one at Coors Field)!

 

Todd Whitestone

Todd Whitestone

Writer for SPstreamer.com focusing on the NFBC Main Event

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