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|
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|
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|
|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 $)|
|SF||LaMonte Wade Jr.||2||0||119|
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|
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.
- 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 #|
|Average Top 20 Overall Score||5464.1|
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)!