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rel-baseball-logo-new-2016-wsThe regular season in the first REL season has concluded!  In the AL, a strong second half finish from The Tribe vaulted the Indians into the World Series, winning the first AL pennant.  In the other corner, standing a combined 254 feet weighing 3,000 pounds (I dunno, that math might be WAY off!), the Washington Nationals pick up the NL pennant.  It really wasn’t a contest the whole season in the NL!

The inaugral World Series (final 2-week H2H playoff) has already begun, and it’s a razor close 6-3-1 lead thus far by the Nationals, with all categories neck-and-neck.  If you’d like to check out coolest and most prestigous final in all of fantasy baseball (no hyperbole there!), you can track the matchup on our 2016 World Series page.  Dope, right?!

For the other 28 franchises, this is our final post to reflect on the 2016 season that was…  We’re all prepping for the offseason with some hopeful Winter trades and praying our parent clubs make smart offseason decisions.  Here’s our regular season wrap-up of the Razzball Elite League:

NATIONAL LEAGUE – FINAL STANDINGS
REL Dynasty – NL
Nationals 139 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $71 n/a
Cubs 111.5 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $37 n/a
Pirates 99 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $1 Michael Reed Mil – OF $41, Trevor Williams Pit – SP (called up)
Suplex City Cards 98 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $79 n/a
J.T. Marlin 95 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $5 n/a
San Fran Giants 93.5 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $6 n/a
Knoche’s Rockies 84.5 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $31 Jordan Patterson Col – OF (called up)
NY Dodgers 80 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $94 n/a
Cincinnati Reds 75.5 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $5 n/a
Mookie Mets 73 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $89 n/a
Diamondbacks 66 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $66 n/a
Brewers 56 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $0 Mauricio Cabrera Atl – RP $16, Alec Asher Phi – SP $5, Carson Kelly StL – C $0
WHAT A FINISH!!!!  I don’t think I’ve ever been as proud about finishing 12th in a league…

If anyone has been following what the NL Commish has been doing to the Brewers, you know I’ve completely dismantled all the vets for prospects.  #TankingIsReal!  But with a payout for a 5-year period, I still wanted to stay semi-competitive.  At one point, I couldn’t even field half an offense.  At another point, I didn’t have a single starting pitcher currently in line for a start.  But over the final two months, a lot of my stashes got called up, unlikely sources kept it going, and I had a full rotation, making back 16 points from mid-July until the end.  On the final Sunday of the season, I hit .357 and got a 1.12 ERA and 0.81 WHIP in 16 innings, with a win and 2 saves.  That final line gave me a whopping 3.5 points up in the Roto table, and topping the Phillies – aherm, Sillies! – by a single point to get to 12th, the highest standing I’ve gotten to since early June.  What a way to go out!!!!

The active squad:

Offense – I’m in love with Ryan Schmipf.  What a lucky add.  Meh, actually not too much else is that interesting.  I’m loaded at OF, so NL teams out there – if you need some outfield depth, I’m going to be just like Slingin’ David Stearns and dealing like a madman!

Pitching – You know me, I’m the pitching guy, so scrapping the Brewers garbage rotation and putting something together here has been a conquest.  Getting Alex Reyes was monstrous, he looks unreal.  I am begging and pleading for the Dodgers to give Brock Stewart a rotation spot next year, but it might not happen.  I think Albert Suarez was a mad sneaky add right before he got back into the rotation, and might make the starting 5 next year.  Adam Morgan has looked serviceable as well.  And of course, my one Brewer Junior Guerra had an unbelievable rookie season.  If not for the amazing SS rooks, he could be in the NL ROY convo!  I was also happy to snag Alec Asher – I’m not really high on him, but he could enter 2017 in the Phils rotation as well.  And my bullpen actually looks decent as well; I think I snagged the 2017 Braves opening day closer in Cabrera on the final FAAB day.

The farm system:

On top of having the Brewers #1 ranked farm system (yes, I don’t have Lewis Brinson, but I own most of the other big players), I feel like I’ve assembled an awesome group of high-upside ‘spects.  Victor Robles and Eloy Jiminez are hopefully part of my OF of the future, and luckily I have a ton of OF for the 2-3 more years they have of seasoning anyway.  And I love me some Oscar De La Cruz as a hopeful future ace as the Cubs staff gets older.

Overall, it’s really interesting how much my first REL season mirrored the Brewers.  I dismantled the vets to build an elite farm system, yet stayed more competitive than I assumed, not being a doormat of the league.  I’m REALLY excited what kind of season I can have next year.  I hope everyone is pumped for the 2017 REL season, it’ll be here sooner than you think!

Philadelphia 55 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $45 n/a
Braves 45.5 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $84 n/a
Padres 28.5 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $100 n/a
AMERICAN LEAGUE – FINAL STANDINGS
REL Dynasty – AL
The Tribe 131 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $0 Brad Peacock Hou – SP,RP $37, Ubaldo Jiménez Bal – SP $10, Brandon Guyer Cle – OF $7
Welcome to the Land, Home of Champions.

Well we did it.  We came back from 10-14 points back to win the AL.  I sold a bunch of prospects and in many cases I think I overpaid.  But in a league where your team is so tied to a major league club and your club is the Cleveland Indians I think you have to go for when you have the chance.

When I compared my team to the NL champs I can easily see we are the underdog.  He out scored me in every single category during the regular season.  I would have thought that my pitching would have the edge but with Salazar, Carrasco, and Bedrosian all done for the year we will have to get lucky with some less than optimal pitchers.  Kluber, Tomlin, and Bauer should be getting the starts no matter what.  I felt I had to pick up a couple starters to play the match ups so the best I could find is Peacock who has/had nice match ups with Oak and LAA.  He pitched fine against Oak so far so good.  I also pick up Ubaldo because he has been pitching well.  His first start was against the Boston so I sat him last night.  He pitched very well 5 innings of shut out ball with 8 strikeouts.  I could have used those numbers but it was too much of a risk.  I also have Fiers who has been very up and down.  One of his down nights could really do some damage to my chances of winning but I will most likely roll the dice.  Just like I’m hoping with the real Tribe, anything can happen in the playoffs injuries or not.

What went right this year:
My hitting.  If you would have told me that Michael Brantley would be basically a zero for the year I would not have guessed that I would have won the AL.  A lot of career or close to career years happened this season with Santana, Kipnis, Napoli, and Ramirez so can’t ask for much more than that.
Aggressive trading/buying.  I’m not saying I won a lot of trades this year but I was able to pick up stats in areas of weakness and turn them into an AL win and I’ll always over pay to win.  I was dead last in S/H category a good way into the season and climbed all the way to 3rd.  I also was a middle of the pack in home runs and was able to add Pujols and Gattis which lead to a 3rd place finish in that category as well.  I targeted certain needs, got players, and they actually produced in those areas.  Sounds simple enough but it doesn’t always work.

What went wrong this year:
Aggressive trading/selling of pitching prospects – I didn’t mean to trade all of my pitching prospects.  McKenzie will most likely prove to be my biggest regret.  My logic was that I was in win now mode and I had starting pitching.  Kluber, Carrasco, Salazar, Bauer, Tomlin are under contract with the Indians for the next few years so trade the starting pitching prospects and hope that the Indians draft some more in the coming years.  Now with Salazar’s elbow issues and Tomlin’s home run issues I wish I would have kept one or two.  This is not something that can’t be overcame and I still like my starters for next year.  Even though I sold many prospects I still have Mejia, Bradley, Benson, Jones, Chang and Allen as decent hitting prospects going forward.

It’s been a fun year and I now need a little luck.

Go Tribe!

Blue Jays 120 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $35 n/a
Lets get this out of the way before I get into my pity party. Congrats to The Tribe. A season well played sir, you deserve it. I hope you represent the AL well and knock off those coasters in the NL.

Now onto me.

Frankly I don’t want to even talk or look at fantasy baseball right now. Baseball in general really. My parent team basically destroyed my season in the last month. They went from a top 3 AL team over 4+ months, to playing like one of the 3 worst teams in the whole league for the final 3 weeks of the REL season. I think you could pick almost any stat and they would be at the very bottom of it over those 3 weeks. Wins, OPS, AVG, Runs, RBIs, Ks, you name it. At one point I looked and I had one bat inside the top 175 in the prior 14 days. One. And he was around 85 in that period. My best player had an 0-23 stretch there, followed by some missed games to injury.

In September the Jays put together a 5-11 record, managed to score more than 5 runs twice and got outscored by a total of 31 runs! A minus 31 in the month of September! From a playoff team!?! This directly ties my team going from a 9 point lead to like a 9 point deficit since everything was so close in the standings. As for my bats, they gave me things like 4 guys with AVGs over .240, 1 guy with more than 10 RBI, nobody with more than 10 runs, nobody with more than 4 HR, one guy with more than one steal (2 whole steals), and 8 guys who struck out in at least 1/3 of their at bats. Pitching wise I got a whole 5 wins from my entire pitching staff, as well as some truly horrendous ratios from a handful of guys (I’m looking at you Grilli, Sanchez, Estrada).

As for my REL deadline deal acquisitions. Wow, where to begin. I did make deals to try to improve. I swear I did. This is how they turned out. Jordan Zimmermann. Oh Jordan Zimmermann. In a month and a half he managed to give me 2.2 IP / 0 W / 0 K / 10 Hits / 5 BB / 12 ER. Thanks soooo much! Jeremy Jeffress. Well, he was better than Jordan Zimmermann I guess, so that’s….something, right? A solid 5 IP / 0 W / 2 HD / 2 Hits / 5 BB / 2 ER. Of course, he then proceeded to get busted for a DUI and go to rehab less than 2 weeks after I traded for him. So I got nothing out of him at all for the last month of the REL season. I also dealt for Erasmo Ramirez who managed to pitch decently for me (19 IP/4 HD/9 K/2.37 ERA/1.26 WHIP), and Brad Miller who was pretty good (.227/20/10/31/0).

At this point the MLB Jays have almost played themselves completely out of the playoffs, though they’ll probably hold on to the last wild card spot. Which is more than I can say for my REL team. Pretty sad since they were in first place by like 3 games going into September. This league was supposed to allow me to root for my home town team through my fantasy team, strengthen the bonds and all that. It did for a while, but after what my team just did to me I don’t even want to watch them and barely care if they make the playoffs (I’m sure I care but, I’m just not feeling it right now). Stupid Blue Jays

Here’s hoping next year is better, but since I have what I believe was the oldest team in baseball with some of their top players as free agents, that may be a tall order.

Orange Birds 113 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $7 Tanner Scheppers Tex – RP $45, A.J. Griffin Tex – SP $1, Alexei Ramírez TB – SS $0, James Hoyt Hou – RP $1
This was my first time ever playing in a dynasty league and I just have to say it has been very fun owning this team and being a part of this league! Most of the owners have been very active and each one has had their own strategy on how to manage their team. Some competed for this year while others looked to next year and future seasons. Either way, the ability use the current season to plan for the next one is a really cool functionality I’ve never really had before. Dealing this much with prospects has been a new experience that has opened my eyes to a new way to play fantasy baseball. I’m pretty sure I will be trying to get my friends to start a dynasty league with me in the off season.

Quite a few things went right for me as I was in 1st most of the season and stayed near the top in the end. I think I did well with my key acquisitions in the draft (Porcello and Saunders), kept the more productive Orioles (besides maybe Hardy), and managed to get a steals guy in Kiermaier via trade (although too late). However, enough things went wrong as I ended the season in 3rd place.

My quick takeaways from playing in a dynasty league and how to improve for next season:
1. Balance is key so make sure to address your weak areas early on.
2. It is okay to sell the farm if you can win now as you may not get the chance again. (The Tribe are a good example of that, props to them)
3. Do not be afraid to trade more since player values changes all the time, but only make trades you are comfortable with. It is your team after all.
4. Be more patient with assets who have playing time. (Dropping Nunez still stings…)
5. Do more research on the unowned players and prospects in the league as there may be some value to be had.

On another note, Trey Mancini came up Tuesday and hit a home run in his first game.

Looking to the off season, here are some of my initial trade thoughts:
I will be looking to acquire a short stop or third baseman. I’d be willing to move Trumbo and/or Saunders (if both stay in the AL), some current farm pieces, and starter depth, but I’m open to any discussions.

Red Sox 107.5 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $22 n/a
Astros 100 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $0 n/a
Tigers 97.5 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $13 n/a
Well although I didn’t finish atop the AL leaderboard, it was an extremely productive season.

In my opinion my original farm team was extremely weak so although it was possible to contend it got to a point where I wanted to focus on improving the minor leaguers and some skill position in the majors.

I’ve managed to acquire some minor league 1B help which should come in handy when VMart or Miguel either retire or need time off. While my OF’s were good going into the season I felt the need to bring more “depth” to the position due to Maybin getting injured every 3-4 days.

I’m looking forward to next year, hopefully the real Tigers make some solid moves in free agency and can help me with my pitching. Rodon has showed his skill set is real so that’s exciting and although Skaggs was lit up occasionally hopefully next year he will be back to full health and ready to contribute.

It’s been an exciting year, when does next year start???

Mariners 89.5 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $15 n/a
White Sox 80 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $63 n/a
Tampa Bay Rays 67.5 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $1 n/a
The mighty Rays have finished 2nd from the bottom in the AL… Fortunately, with a few smooth moves, my fantasy squad was able to finish a more respectable 11th overall, while being 10th best in the league for the 10 year pool!  A much better result than I could’ve hoped for!   Next year, my squad will start with significantly improved hitting.  The acquisition of Khris Davis is a huge part of that. The sad thing is, he likely outslugged the rest of the squad in the time after dealing for him… At any rate, there is cause for optimism! But every other team will say that, so should there be optimism?  Likely not… Oh well, at least it was an enjoyable run for half the year!

Rays out!

Power Rangers 66.5 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $12 n/a
Yankees 64.5 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $59 n/a
Royals 51.5 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $34 Erik González Cle – SS $0, Richie Shaffer TB – 1B $0
First of all, a virtual tip of the hat to Michael and the Tribe for an outstanding season! As a wise football coach once said: “You plaaaaay to win the gaaame” and “they are who we thought they were” (or maybe that was somebody else). Regardless, Indians played to win the game and they played it well, exploiting what I see as a market inefficiency this season. Most of the teams (myself included) seemed to over-value “many years of might be great” prospects, for a couple of years of “great right now” proven players. Tribe took advantage, built a great team to win now, and I’ll be pulling for them in our World Series. Coincidentally, my office in Cleveland actually overlooks Progressive’s right field so I’m hoping to get a first-hand view of the real-life Indians’ World Series Championship as well!

Thanks also to JB and Slim who both did an outstanding job of managing through any of the inevitable first-year issues that came up. This league was a great experience and the first of what I’m certain will be many fun and competitive years. Only negative from my perspective was the relatively small amount of teams in contention (3 or 4) most of this season. Positives were everything else, engaged and responsive owners, really interesting format, and I can’t wait for Spring Training 2017!

With regard to the Royals, I’m fine with a 12th place finish and feel like I successfully achieved my primary goals for this season: 1) improving my farm system and 2) getting younger (my team that is, not me personally). I expect to be middle of the pack next year and hopefully a title contender by 2018. My main strategic takeaway is to better manage my FAAB budget next year. Ended up bidding my remaining $34 the last day on the relatively uninspiring Brad Peacock (who I had actually picked up for $2 earlier in the season-yikes!) and still came up $3 short to the Tribe. Not going to lose too much sleep over that one, but who knows in this crazy game? With my luck, wouldn’t surprise me if Peacock becomes an “out of nowhere” Cy Young candidate next year who ends up leading the Tribe to a second REL World Series appearance next year!

Halos 48.5 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $31 n/a
Athletics 42 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $4 n/a
Minnesota Twins 21 Waiver Adds and Prospect Callups Past Week:
FAAB Remaining: $70 n/a

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  1. A Hill O' Beans says:
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    On the plus side, the MLB Jays have tanked so bad lately that since I only dropped one spot in the REL standings I’m still leading the 5-year pool…..

    Thanks JB/Slim. Great job this year guys!

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @A Hill O’ Beans: Hah, yeah I’m cheering for the Brewers to lose for the 5-yr pool and better draft pick! Haha. Appreciate it man, glad this league came together as we envisioned when talking the rules over last year!

  2. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    Congrats to the Indians and Nats..Best of luck to both in the championship!

    Thanks JB for letting us all follow along with your solid weekly coverage of the Elite League!

    • JB Gilpin

      JB Gilpin says:
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      @Malicious Phenoms: Really appreciate that man, thanks for following along with us! Means a lot, hopefully this will start a trend as a format! haha

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