Welcome to the 2015 edition of the RCL Razzball Champion’s League. No matter how the season plays out and what the stats say, I will be claiming this is the best and toughest RCL. The 12 owners had 8 of the top-20 teams in 2014, and 17 of the top-50. The draft (April 1) was interesting as only 55 SPs were selected, compared to the RCL average of 81.6. 68 RPs were grabbed as well.

Here is the Team-By-Team breakdown, including the Vegas odds on winning the Champion’s League title…

(1) Odin’s Virulent Man Beard   (7:1)       Matthew Wright – Mauledbypandas

The target is clearly on Panda’s back, probably because he picked up a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the 3 toughest RCLs in 2014. Also, he is the 2013 RCL champion! And, everybody likes to hunt bear, right?

3B is so deep that Panda waited until round 24 to grab Lonnie Chisenhall. He took two top starters in Max Scherzer and Chris Sale, and then added Masahiro Tanaka in round 12 as the only other SP. Mookie Betts continued to be taken well ahead of Grey’s 12th round ranking as Panda selected him in round 6.

(2) Rube Waddell’s Shiny Objects (9:1) Matt Trussell – MattTruss

Vegas is undoubtedly impressed with his 2 titles in 2014, including the incredibly competitive ECFBL.

Having the number 1 pick, Matt added Troy Tulowitzki and Albert Pujols to Mike Trout for a solid start on offense. Matt Harvey was the next pick, followed by the first closer, Aroldis Chapman. Truss gambled on Joc Pederson in the 7th round and selected Jedd Gyorko in the 15th as his 2B. Taijuan Walker in round 17 and Billy Burns in round 23 could be key picks.

(3) Colicky Fuddruckers (12:1) NehYih Tseng – Nate T

Your 2014 overall champion should probably feel slighted as the 3rd favorite, especially considering he also had another top 10 team. But his 6th place finish in the Champion’s League is a flashing red light for the oddsmakers.

Nate drafted only 2 SPs, grabbing Jeff Samardzija in the 8th and Drew Smyly in round 18. He added 10 RPs, led by Craig Kimbrel, Drew Storen, Neftali Feliz, and Joe Nathan. His offense is anchored by Miguel Cabrera, Yasiel Puig, Adrian Beltre, and Jacoby Ellsbury, with Everth Cabrera and Kennys Vargas as later picks that could be big contributors.

(4) Razzball Mike (19:1) Mike B – Mike

Razzball’s most respected writer will be in tough as his time is split between playing and writing. His 2014 Razzball Writer’s League championship which qualified him for this league is not considered a major accomplishment on his resume, though it did place him 12th overall. Ever humble, Mike is “just pumped to be playing with this crew. It’s going to be a fun challenge.”

After taking Paul Goldschmidt and Stephen Strasburg, Mike went with 3 straight OFs ahead of their ADP – Starling Marte, Jason Heyward, and Jorge Soler. Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano, and James Paxton round out his starting staff.

(5) Manwich Men (60:1) Patrick McDonnell

He won a tough league to finish 13th overall, but probably doesn’t get the respect he deserves as it was a Tehol Beddict league.

Pat got good value on his pitching staff, nabbing Johnny Cueto, Adam Wainwright, Alex Cobb, Michael Wacha, and Phil Hughes after their ADP. Hughes actually went in round 17, over 100 picks after Grey’s ranking.

(6) Vin Risky (70:1) Vince Reid – Vin Reich – VinWins

Vin has been spouting off on his 4th overall finish and 5 top 50 teams, but the oddsmakers know that was against much weaker competition than he’s facing now. Since he knew he wouldn’t be able to outstream these guys, Vin drafted the 6 Sps he was sure would match Grey’s projections – Alex Wood, Mat Latos, Mike Fiers, Matt Shoemaker, Michael Pineda, and Lance Lynn. So, before the RPs are added in, that’s 77 wins and 1063 Ks with a 3.33 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Not bad. Waited until the 16th round for a 3B, and still got one of the best in Chase Headley.

(6) Kid A (70:1) Kid A

2 titles plus a 4th place in the super-tough Frequent Commenter League make the Kid a legit contender, but oddsmakers don’t think he has what it takes in this competition.

Adam Jones and Josh Donaldson at the turn set up offense, while 6th and 7th round picks Jordan Zimmermann and Jake Arrieta anchor the pitching staff. Kris Bryant in the 5th round is a gamble that could pay big dividends.

(8) Backdoor Sliders (75:1) Mitch Clearfield

His 29th overall finish came as a result of winning a tough league, Ones are Good, Right?

Anthony Rizzo, Hanley Ramirez, and Billy Hamilton provide a good start to the offense. Mitch drafted 4 starters in the first 11 rounds – David Price, Gerrit Cole, Hisashi Iwakuma, and Tyson Ross.

(9)Tennessee Achilles (80:1) Barry Pritchard

His 20th overall finish came in a weaker league, so the oddsmakers fear he will have little success here.

Jose Bautista, Bryce Harper, Evan Longoria, and Adrian Gonzalez should provide a good offensive start for Barry. He also drafted just 4 SPs – Zack Greinke, Sonny Gray, Chris Archer, and Aaron Sanchez.

(9) Happy Vegans (80:1) Terry Holland – Militant Vegans

Finished 21st overall, but faces the same critical analysis as Tennessee Achilles.

Started the draft with Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, and Corey Kluber, so could be a bit offense-challenged.

(11) Johnny Utahs (100:1) Matt Harshba

Had the 95th overall team in 2014, so definitely considered an underdog this season.

A nice start to the draft with Giancarlo Stanton, Nolan Arenado, Justin Upton, Madison Bumgarner, Yoenis Cespedes, Prince Fielder and Jason Kipnis. The bullpen could be a weak spot with Kenley Jansen and Koji Uehara starting on the DL.

(12) The Jem ‘Hadar (200:1) Mike Lester

Mike’s team finished 194th in 2014, and will look for Andrew McCutchen, Robinson Cano, Ryan Braun, Freddie Freeman, and Jon Lester to help The Jem ‘Hadar move up in 2015. Mike noted that power guys were going earlier than expected. ” It was an interesting draft. I say interesting as, how else do you explain my owning Ryan Howard for 20 homers with that .200 avg he’ll give me. UGH-ly!”

So, that’s a look at the Razzball Champion’s League. Sure to be a humbling experience. I just hope I don’t get discouraged and quit this league before

 
  1. A Hill O' Beans says:
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    Looks like a solid group this year guys. Gonna be hard to bet against MauledByPandas though. Sucks I missed out this year, but I guess we’ll see if you guys can top last years league. I’ll have to go about winning my RCL this year and then get back in next season I suppose.

    • mauledbypandas says:
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      @A Hill O’ Beans: Hey, let’s not forget Big Magoo won last year! I gave it my best shot but not having enough saves got me in the end. It was a tough fight

      • Big Magoo

        Big Magoo says:
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        @mauledbypandas: You almost caught me at the end though. It was a hell of a battle. Good luck this year (in this league – not the FCL or ECFBL, haha).

        • mauledbypandas says:
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          @Big Magoo: Yeah that was a great fight. I never truly believed I would win it, you had such an amazing lead built up for a while there. Should be good fights in the two leagues this year too

    • VinWins

      VinWins says:
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      @A Hill O’ Beans: Yeah, quit fooling around.

      Cmon, it would be easy to put $20 on Manwich Men for a chance to win $1200!

      • ManwichMan says:
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        @VinWins:

        speaking of which, where can I place that bet? does gambling in RCLs result in secret investigations like what happened to Jarred Cosart? Who would be on razzball’s high court of appeals and investigations?

  2. mauledbypandas says:
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    Thanks for the write-up Vin.

    It looks like we had a few people with similar strategery this year regarding SP. It most definitely had an effect on the draft causing people to adjust on the fly which probably lead to a few reaches. I know I feel like I reached a little on Betts and I am less than pleased for drafting Posey. I’ve also got quite a lot of injury issues to deal with at the start of the year. It will be very interesting to see how it plays out. RP were a commodity I invested in fairly heavily as did a few others. It’s rough playing with such good competition, nothing slips by the wayside. Just 12 sharks swimming around looking for fresh meat. I am excited!

    • mauledbypandas says:
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      @mauledbypandas: Oh, I probably won’t hang on to Chisenhall too long unless the Rendon injury is more serious that it looks. I actually had to grab a few bench bats because of injuries to Werth and Pence and the unknown situation of Tomas. This all contributed to me only taking 3 SP, but I think (hope) it will be worth it and I can stream SP to make up for it.

      • Kid A says:
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        @mauledbypandas:

        I’ll be right there next to you fighting for the streamers and two-shart pitchers every week.

        My biggest point of pride this year will be the fact that I was the only one in an RCL (the world?) to draft El’Hajj Muhammad.

        • mauledbypandas says:
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          @Kid A: I think you just had your NSA file updated for that.

      • VinWins

        VinWins says:
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        @mauledbypandas: Forget about Rendon. Offer me something for Headley.

    • VinWins

      VinWins says:
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      @mauledbypandas: You’re welcome. Looking forward to helping you to a top 10 finish.

  3. ManwichMan says:
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    Thanks again Vin. It should be an incredible challenge this year.

    Heading into the draft, I knew that I would need to get good closers early, because of the premium elite RCL owners put on them. I also knew that I would have to be ruthless with any young, upside hitters. Even with aggressive rankings heading into the draft, it’s hard to pull the trigger when guys are going 100 spots higher than they do in most other leagues (120 vs 220 for Khris Davis, 210 vs undrafted for cron).

    The upside of that pursuit of relievers and young , upside hitters are the values that don’t develop in any other league. It was surreal seeing wainwright fall to the tenth round, pineda, shields, cobb, wacha, Hughes, and many others on the board in the 15th round. And, after Posey, gattis, mesoraco, and lucroy, watching all the other catchers fall to the last five rounds.

    As for my own team, I am very happy with the way it went. The offense is incredibly well balanced, and is capable of finishing in the top of any category. And it’s always nice to have 4 third base eligible players. With the pitching, I ended up with more SP (I also took kennedy and c-mart) than I would in any roto league, let alone a RCL, but the values were too good to pass up. Having Allen and cishek should be excellent for saves and my ratios. You know your draft went well when your biggest weakness is a lack of middle relievers.

    Ultimately, the key to any tough RCL will be the 6 month war on the waiver wire. I’m expecting the number of transactions in this league to get close to the total of every league I’ve ever done combined (and I’ve played in ~5 a year since I started in 2007.) Now it’s time to enjoy the calm before the storm.

    • Kid A says:
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      @ManwichMan:

      I went with quintuple coverage for my MI/3B/CI because I really like to be really redundant.

      You place ahead of me again this year and I’m sending the goon-squad over to waterboard you.

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Kid A: I just restocked my duct tape

    • VinWins

      VinWins says:
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      @ManwichMan: No problem. It was totally a different experience, but there was value to be had. The real difference will be in the day-to-day operation versus the sharks.

  4. Kid A says:
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    Nicely done Vin.

    I played this draft a little more fast and loose than others and favored some riskier picks. Krush in the 3rd? GITTYUP! Bryant in the 5th? SURE – WHY THE HELL NOT! Always interesting drafting with so many similar thinkers – the hive-mind was getting me sniped so hard, my queue alarm sounded like one of Wake Up’s underground rave DJ gigs.

    If I can place mid-pack in this league I’ll love myself 50% more than if I finish in last place but half as much as I would if I finished first.

    Thanks for all the effort you put into your work, Vin, you shiny marble.

    • Mike L says:
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      @Kid A: You ain’t kidding about the queue alarm. It was like a constant doorbell! Damn kids, Get off my Lawn, and quit leaving burning bags on my doorstep!

    • VinWins

      VinWins says:
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      @Kid A: Thank you. After you took Bryant there, I made sure to get him in a couple of drafts yesterday.

  5. Does Wayne Brady Have to Choke a Mitch? says:
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    75:1?!?! C’mon, Vin — give me some credit! I would put my odds at 75:1 *not* to win! Well, maybe…
    But on the fo’really tip:
    – I thought there were definitely some big reaches in the draft. Besides Betts, off the top of my head I’d put Soler at 53 and Pederson at 73 in that category.
    – I too was surprised at how many SPs fell so far, and how few ended up getting drafted at all. I really wonder what it will be like with all 12 owners trying to stream, to some extent. So I was actually really happy to end up with Ross as a 4th SP, which I wasn’t originally planning — it will let me be a bit more selective later.
    – On the other hand, I really wanted a closer when I drafted Ross instead. So in hindsight, if I could change one thing it would be to draft a closer in the previous round (Papelbon, Britton, Perkins, and Storen all went shortly after) in place of Gardner. Since I already had Billy Hamilton, I didn’t need more speed then.
    – My main other worry is power. I’ll need Rizzo Hanley, and Frazier to live up to their full potential, and/or I’ll need some of the borderline guys to have big years (Alex Gordon, etc.), and/or I’ll need to get lucky on batty calls.
    It should be a great league!

    • VinWins

      VinWins says:
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      @Does Wayne Brady Have to Choke a Mitch?: Well, now you have extra incentive to beat me, anyways.

      Yeah, some of these guys figured it was a good league to gamble on upside since it was going to be tough to win.

  6. Mike

    Mike says:
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    Thanks for doing this Vin!

    • Kid A says:
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      @Mike: Ramble on!

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        no time for chatter…I need to light a candle for Giles

        • mauledbypandas says:
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          @Mike: I can help you complete the prayer circle if you like. Just airhorn me if needed

          • Mike

            Mike says:
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            thanks! airhorns at the ready…

    • VinWins

      VinWins says:
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      @Mike: You’re welcome, Mike. See you in a half hour as I begin my championship defense in CharlieHustlers. I see I have the 7th pick, which I do not like.

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        looking forward to it! 7th? Tell Gareth to trade you his #1 slot haha

        • VinWins

          VinWins says:
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          @Mike: I rather trade Trout for Donaldson and Bautista than the other way around.

        • VinWins

          VinWins says:
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          @Mike: Hmm, seems we’re in a few leagues together. I’ll be sure to mention any that I happen to finish ahead of you at the end of the year.

          • Mike

            Mike says:
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            ouch! ya cut me deep Vin

            • VinWins

              VinWins says:
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              @Mike: Ha! Of course, most people say if you get the best player, you win the trade.

              • Mike

                Mike says:
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                who? Cron?

                I better shut up before the draft starts

  7. J-FOH says:
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    Great work Vin I was going to cover this league in the next week or two.

    • VinWins

      VinWins says:
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      @J-FOH: Thank you JFOH. I figured I better control the media on this story.

      • J-FOH says:
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        @VinWins: I would of spent the whole post criticizing Kid A

        • Kid A says:
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          @J-FOH: would of, should of, could of.

  8. MattH says:
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    Nice write up, Vin. Thanks for the mention. Honored to be part of the league.

    I never expected to own Madison Bumgarner in any league this year. So the draft threw me off to say the least. Good luck with your leagues and the writing.

    • VinWins

      VinWins says:
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      @MattH: Thank you Matt. Good luck to you.

  9. Tony says:
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    Good luck to Mitch, them back door sliders are nasty! Rep the Ones! Even tho we disappeared this yr we’ll be back…….

    • Mitch says:
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      @Tony: Thanks, Tony! I’m going to do my best to keep up with these guys and make the old league proud…

  10. MattTruss

    MattTruss says:
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    I’m impressed Panda has his own player page…baller.

    I was pretty giddy to land Tulo at the end of the 2nd. I have an unnatural infatuation with that guy and he routinely had been going end of first or mid second in my other drafts. I took a little flak in the draft room for grabbing Pujols in the 3rd and after getting him at 45 in ECFBL I probably could’ve waited. On the turn I usually draft a guy that falls followed by a little bit of a reach pick and I felt I needed a corner man ASAP.

    My big draft day blunder was drafting Rajai/Burns back to back. One of those should’ve been a catcher and I would’ve liked my team a bit more. The ESPN draft software and I don’t get along well which leads to about one of these draft snafoos per draft. Anyone need some speed? Trade wins are blowing!

    Appreciate the love from Vegas but this is going to be one heck of a rumble. Happy to be a part of it.

    • VinWins

      VinWins says:
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      @MattTruss: I wouldn`t have let Pujols fall past 40, even though I already had EE, so if you wanted him, you were wise to grab him.

  11. Happy Vegans says:
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    Thanks for the write up, Vin. Actually, my draft went as planned. However, I have another plan too. It involves reaching between my legs and pulling a roll of $1000 bills out of my A$$. So far, that plan hasn’t come to fruition.

    Maybe I need to re-think my plans.

  12. goodfold2 says:
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    hey Vin, do you have any contacts with anybody that used to play in those Razzball leagues from two years ago and longer? i want to set up one and am finding it hard to find people. i have a few now, but need more. I’m not asking for help with anything other than contacts, i’ll comish and set up everything. thanks.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: i don’t mean RCL’s, but those inverse pts leagues with the worst players being worth the most.

  13. VinWins

    VinWins says:
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    Sorry, I cleaned out a lot of stuff when I thought I was done with fantasy baseball.

    Good luck!

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @VinWins: i’m guessing this replied to me. yeah, i don’t keep emails often either if so. thanks anyway though.

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