When MLB shutdown on March 13th, we all assumed the season would start up again by April. It was just down for a few weeks, we figured. Baseball would continue, as it always would. Then we were boarded-up into our homes, and baseball wouldn’t return until…June, right? June would be fine, we thought. 100 games they could play, and we could all have some semblance of a season. A distraction during darker times. Then June 1st came and went and we were like, “They can still get 100 games in if they start on that magical day: July 4th.” Of course, we thought, Rob Manfraud is secretly a genius and the season would start back on our nation’s greatest holiday. The day that saw the birth of George Washington, Ben Franklin, Rob Thomas, literally every great American’s birthday. July dot dot dot Fourth. Fireworks and baseball, and everyone would stand, one hand over their mouth, one hand outstretched so no one was within six feet, and baseball would rise from the ashes like Joaquin Phoenix. Then that passed, and it became clear MLB would start with no fans just to get in the bare minimum of a season as a precursor for their real moneymaker, the playoffs. Finally, when games began, there was a DH in the NL; 7-inning games; runners starting innings on 2nd, and teams shutting down for a week with protocol breaches. Ah, yes, wonderful, terrific protocol breaches. Yet, through all that, we preserved through the craziest fantasy baseball season on record. And on wax, if you’re old school. If you made it to this point, you deserve congratulations. Doesn’t matter if you won your league or not. You deserve kudos for just getting through this season (two months). Also, because I’m in an especially touchy-feely mood, I don’t thank all of you enough. Without you, it would just be me making stupid baseball jokes, snorting and–Well, it is all of that, but with you it makes it feel like we’re all in this together. My over-the-internet friends. Be well and safe all offseason. I’ll be here, churning out offseason content and hoping for a slightly more normal 2021. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:
Jacob deGrom – 5 IP, 3 ER, 7 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 2.38. DeGrom led the NL in Ks, had an under-2.50 ERA, and it felt like a let down. This is an important lesson: don’t raise, but lower expectations.
Pete Alonso – 3-for-5, 3 RBIs and his 15th and 16th homer, hitting .231. Albombso-so! So, it wasn’t the sophomore season we (I) were (was) expecting, and I’ll be doing recaps of all the positions starting this week, but, and here’s where I make excuses, Albombso was on pace for 42 homers, and could’ve raised his average to .250 if he had a chance.
Seth Lugo – 1 1/3 IP, 6 ER, ERA at 5.15. After begging for years to get into the starting rotation, the Mets relented, and thrust Lugo into the rotation without any actual preparation in the middle of a pandemic season, because Mets will always Mets.
Juan Soto – 1-for-1, as he led the NL with a .351 average. If not for a false positive, Soto could’ve made a run at the Triple Crown. Actually, I believe it was more like one false positive surrounded by seventeen negatives.
Trea Turner – 2-for-5, 2 runs, 7 RBIs and his 12th homer, hitting .335. Four months ago, Treat Urner casually during quarantine, “Maybe I’ll do dumbbell curls.”
Kris Bryant – 1-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 4th homer, and his 2nd homer in as many games. Absolutely perfect since the only people who had Bryant in their fantasy lineup for the final weekend were A) People two crackers short of a Ritz sandwich. B) People who drafted Bryant and checked out in April during the shutdown. C) There’s no C.
Billy Hamilton – 2-for-4, 3 runs, and slam (1) and legs (5, 6), hitting .125, as he hit leadoff. This was the best performance of Hamilton since I walked through the living room while Cougs was watching it and I groaned.
Reynaldo Lopez – 1 1/3 IP, 6 ER, ERA at 6.49. I don’t have any money on the White Sox winning the World Series, but they should be ashamed they didn’t go out and get an arm at the deadline. Lopez got eaten alive by *that* Cubs’ lineup. They didn’t have one guy hitting above .250, and their top slugger was David Bote with .408. That’s worse than known slugger Orlando Arcia.
Justus Sheffield – 5 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 1 K, ERA at 3.58. Justus Sheffield sounds like he could be a sheriff in Mountcastle. Sheffield’s gonna be one of 50 or so pitchers who look great next year, who might not be able to throw 120+ innings, because of this funky-ass season. This is gonna be you next July, “Hey, Grey, handsome stuff on your face. Anyway, I just lost my fifth starter in three days to biceps tightness. Should I start researching fantasy football now?”
Deivi Garcia – 6 2/3 IP, 4 ER, 8 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 4.98. Not a great start, but also not bad for someone who’s four-eleven and 84 pounds.
Clarke Schmidt – 4 IP, 3 ER, ERA at 7.11. One thing I kinda like about this year, teams didn’t seem afraid of just promoting all their prospects. “What’s that?” Sorry, Adley Rutschman, wasn’t talking to you.
DJ LeMahieu – 2-for-3, hitting .364, as he won the AL batting title, which might be the MLB batting title now, because there wasn’t really a difference in leagues this year, was there? It wasn’t a MLB schedule this year as much as a, “How do we play 60 games without flying too many places?”
Adalberto Mondesi – 3-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 6th homer, hitting .256. Here’s the thing, guys and five ladies, when you don’t walk and swing at everything, you’re gonna go through huge slumps and equally insane hot streaks. If I had it my way, everyone who complained about Mondesi’s August wouldn’t get to enjoy his September, but I don’t make the rules. Luckily for you.
Brady Singer – 7 IP, 1 ER, 3 baserunners, 5 Ks, ERA at 4.06. Here’s a story…of a pitcher who ended up being almost exactly what we can prolly expect from him next year. One of the only ones.
Charlie Blackmon – 0-for-3, hitting .303. Everyone in July, “Oh em gee, Blackmon’s gonna hit .500 in a 60-game season. Exclamation mark! He can’t even hit near-.300 unless he goes oh-for…I can’t even do the math right now I’m so excited!” Chazz Noir did the math for you.
Madison Bumgarner – 5 IP, 0 ER, 2 baserunners, 4 Ks, ERA at 6.48. So, on Friday, when the Mets were rained out, I decided for the first time all year to bench Pete Alonso in one of my NFBC leagues. I needed homers in that league, but what was the worst that could happen? A 1-for-12 with 11 Ks and one homer? Well, it turned out to be much worse than that. Alonso had his biggest weekend of the year, and I only had one chance to win this league, if Bumgarner threw a gem for frequent commenter, Dave D., because that would bump down current league leader, Smitty. That’s Bum, who has been ass (can also be read that as he’s a has-been ass). Welp, awful, has-been ass until Sunday, and I won the league. I don’t tell you this so you throw flowers at my feet — my feet smell terrific without them. I tell you that, because this year more than any year in memory was an absolute crapshoot. I’m just glad I was able to shoot my crap slightly better.
Carlos Correa – 2-for-2, and his 5th homer, and his 1st home run since September 6th. Astros with and without help from Cheaty-Cheaty Bang Bang was just a tiniest bit discernible. Talk about a way to amplify your critics: Go out and have terrible offensive seasons.
Rougned Odor – 2-for-3, 4 RBIs and two homers (9, 10). Fine, I’ll draft him again in 2021!
Wil Myers – 2-for-5, 2 RBIs and his 15th homer, hitting .288. It went from a joke about him being the NL MVP to a legit chance (to come in seventh or eighth). Where there’s a Wil, there’s a way!
Ke’Bryan Hayes – 2-for-4 and his 5th homer, hitting .376. The highest OPS in the 1st month of the MLB since 1901: Yasiel Puig, 1.180 in 2013; Albert Pujols, 1.171 in 2001; Rhys Hoskins, 1.149 in 2017; Ke’Bryan Hayes, 1.124. MLB, and us, all of us — each and everyone one of you — okay, you know the definition of us, but each of us made such a huge deal of Puig, Pujols and Hoskins. I went back and googled for the day after Puig completed his huge 1st month, and there were articles comparing him to Joe DiMaggio. Where’s the Hayes hype? All I hear is crickets and yinzers eating sandwiches with french fries in them.
Joe Musgrove – 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 3.86. Between his last few starts, and Mitch Keller not giving up a hit in, like, a month, I don’t want to get roped into drafting multiple Pirates in 2021. Please, someone help me. *sees Ke’Bryan Hayes again* Oh man, there’s no saving me.
Jose Osuna – 3-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, 4th homer and 2nd homer in two games. Hot schmo–Oh, that’s right.
A.J. Pollock – 3-for-3, 3 RBIs and his 15th and 16th homer, hitting .276. As I’ve said, I will go over all the positions during the year-end recaps, but Pollock on the Player Rater is a near-top 20 outfielder. Pollock would’ve told you that in July, but because he would’ve been reading the rankings upside down.
Aaron Nola – 3 2/3 IP, 3 ER, ERA at 3.28. Phils may want to avoid Hunger Games-type scenarios, because they suck in do or die games.
Brandon Woodruff – 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 3.05. Between Hader not allowing a hit in July and part of August, Devin Williams’s hitless season, and Woodruff’s ace year, Yelich had to be pretty bad for the Brewers not to make the playoffs. How bad? Roughly hitting .204 bad. See, Yelich hit .205, and the Brewers made it, because the Giants lost, which is honestly lame. You should have to win your do or die game. If you lose, it goes to the team with the next best record that won, even if that means you have to go all the way down to the Nats. How fun would that be if teams on the brink had to win the last day to make the playoffs? It’s as ridiculous as everything else this year. The Nats, finishing dead last, could’ve made it.
Dakota Hudson – Will have Tommy John surgery, and now Dakota is yelling Wyoming, and we don’t know the answer to why it’s you.
Tanner Houck – 6 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 0.53. As the French would say, Houck fin. But not a bad fin for him. An 0.53 ERA and a name like Tanner. Woo boy, I’m from New Jersey, don’t be teasing me with a good time.
J.D. Martinez – 1-for-5, 2 RBIs and his 7th homer, hitting .213. I can already tell you I’m going to point and laugh at people drafting Just Dong next year.
Marcell Ozuna – 2-for-4 and his 18th homer to lead the NL in homers, hitting .338. OZUNA very happy with timing of bounce back. OZUNA coincide season end with bounce landing, so OZUNA end year on feet.
Pablo Sandoval – 0-for-2 as he started at 3rd for the Braves. Prior to the game, the Braves explained to Pablo Sandoval in no uncertain terms that they have a pitcher named Max Fried, and it’s pronounced “freed.” His jersey only says Fried, but he is not a giant carnival treat to be nibbled on.