Every journey ends.
Every journey, dear reader, that begins with but a single step, ends with a final one. The final step for your intrepid correspondent was taken with a tripping, stumbling, decidedly un-Baryshnikovian gracelessness, as I bowed out of our towering competition in the bottom 15% or so, at the initial cutline.
For me, then, it is on to next year, with sights set high.
For the rest of you? Well, if you find yourself fortunate enough to be among those mentioned herein, perhaps glory still awaits. The cutline has come and gone, and we are in to the final rounds of the RazzSlam. Let us, together, gaze upon the leaderboard and see what separates those generals still marshaling their forces upon the field of battle and, well, me. Shall we?
Before we begin, let me say up front that the standings from which I will be taking my cues and upon which I will bequeath my astute analysis are as of the games of Sunday, 1st August.
First and foremost, I’d like to look at the Wild Card bracket. These are the plucky tryhards that, while they could not muster sufficient performance during the bulk of the tournament have, nonetheless, stayed relevant enough that, if they end up in this top three, will join the Championship Bracket for Round 2, which begins following this coming Sunday.
In first place in the Wild Card bracket, Adam Nichols leads the way on the backs of A’s teammates, hurlers Chris Bassitt and “The Throwin’ Samoan” Sean Manaea, plus bats the likes of Salvador Perez, Juan Soto, Max Muncy, and the recently-on-fire Austin Riley.
Also currently in a position to move up into the real tournament is BaseballHQ contributor Alain de Leonardis, whose offense has hinged on the bulging forearms of Rafael Devers and Bo Bichette, while relievers Liam Hendriks and Matt Barnes have led the way from the mound. Relievers, you say? Believe it, dear reader, for it is right there in black-and-white!
In the third and final position of bracket promotion is renowned supporter of the Washington Football Team, Nathan Coleman, whose team has not leaned on pitching so much as the fire-spewing lumber of Juan Soto, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, and Tim Anderson.
Fortunes and luck to the three aforementioned Wild Card competitors. May you hold on this last week and join the real game!
Now, let us take no further pause, and on to the true colossi of the RazzSlam. Here then, are the Top Ten in the Championship Bracket:
The current occupant of the zenith is not a name I have yet featured in my missives, but it is a name many of you will recognize nonetheless: Chris Clegg of Fantrax is your leader through Sunday’s games, due in no small part to the excellent seasons of hitters like Whit Merrifield, Jesse Winker, Juan Soto, and Marcus Semien, and hurlers like Corbin Burnes and Joe Musgrove.
Less than five points separates Clegg from second place, a position held by Baseball Prospectus writer Jesse Roche, whose squad has to date leaned heavily on the talents of Juan Soto (there’s that name again!), Javier Baez, and Justin Turner, along with relievers Jake McGee and Liam Hendriks, and Razzball favorite Robbie Ray.
Just a step behind Jesse in the third spot is Fangraphs’ own Paul Sporer, who it should surprise no one held the highest pitching score among this top group in Round 1, thanks largely to Frankie Montas, Brandon Woodruff, Joe Musgrove, and Kyle Hendricks. The bats for Paul’s team have not been asleep, for certain, and include stars like Bryce Harper, Jose Ramirez, and Yuli Gurriel.
Next, in fourth place and just five points behind Paul is the man who led our great contest for the lion’s share of the pre-Cutline scoring periods: Nick Mariano of RotoBaller. Nick’s team, chronicled here in detail in previous installments, is performing at a high level despite the current absence of Fernando Tatis, Jr. Can Cedric Mullins and J.D. Martinez pick up enough slack to get Nick back on top? We shall see, dear reader. We shall indeed see.
In fifth place is Britton Allen, whose skill in this competition is eclipsed only by the mystery surrounding him. A sparse Twitter presence and no claimed publication or podcast to mention, it would appear that Mr. Allen is a Joe among Pros, holding his own— quite well!— with the sharks atop this table. Many of the same names that adorn the other rosters mentioned herein are present, including Salvador Perez, Cedric Mullins, and Bo Bichette, but Britton’s rotation also includes the magnificent Freddy Peralta and Lucas Giolito.
Looking at the rest of the top ten in our Championship Bracket gives a list of mostly Pros, with just one more regular Joe:
Famed Real Fake Baseball co-host Walter McMichael of Friends With Fantasy Benefits occupies sixth position.
Jesse Roche’s colleague at Baseball Prospectus, Darius Austin, slots in just behind Walter in seventh place.
Eighth place is currently occupied by another of our pre-Cutline regulars to these updates, the co-host of Turn Two Podcast, Brian Seymour.
In Ninth, fan and “Regular Joe” Kevin Strutz is keeping pace with the 800 lb gorillas of the fantasy baseball world. I’ll be rooting for him and for Britton Allen, to be honest with all of you.
Finally for the top ten, in tenth place is the man with more name recognition than anyone else featured herein, The Athletic’s resident craft brew and sandwich expert— and he knows a little about baseball, too— Eno Sarris.
Will Strutz and Allen be able to wrestle the lead away from this critical mass of “industry” “experts”? Why did I use those quotes? What will all of this look like in another month?
Stay tuned, RazzSlammers. Stay tuned.
— Bob Allison Chains