Ray's Ramblings - Game 163 & Dynasty Dealing
There are four teams playing Game 163 on Monday. Those games should all count in your fantasy league. Ray Flowers explains. Ray also answers a dynasty league question involving Harper/Mondesi for Machado/Mazara. Finally, he touches on Mauer, Khris Davis, Blackmon, Salvador Perez and Altuve.
THE EXTRA GAME
Game 163 is today for the Dodger/Rockies and Brewers/Cubs. All of those teams will play a 163rd game. There was a bit of back and forth on twitter about this last night, so let me be clear about a few things.
This is an official regular season game.
This game counts toward regular season statistics.
Your league should count all the performances that happen Monday.
I know, from looking at my own leagues, that not all providers are allowing the stats from today to count. They are in error. They are wrong. They are not providing the service you deserve. Game 163 counts, and the stats should count in your fantasy league. Period.
Some folks said that it’s not fair. They are right, but it doesn’t matter. It’s a regulation game, and it should count.
I was amazed to find so many folks had never heard of a team playing 163 games. This happens on occasion. What also happens is that teams play 161 games as well, usually the result of a rainout that isn’t made up. So yes, your players could have the opportunity to appear in less than 162 games or more. There are a bunch of players that have appeared in more than 162 games. In fact, there have been 33 such seasons.
The bottom line is that Game 163, for the four teams playing Monday, should count in your fantasy league. Period.
I asked, after I was asked, about a dynasty league trade (no salaries, no limitations, a real dynasty league where you keep all your players). Here is the question, and the results.
This is one hell of a question.
Let’s look at the four players.
Bryce Harper is still 25 years old, 26 later this month, and is about to get a bazillion dollars in free agency. He is coming off an impressive fantasy season, his first going 30-100-100. At the same time his batting average was .249, which happens to be .070 points below last season and the 5th time in seven years that he’s failed to hit .275. His .393 OBP was just above his .388 career mark, and his .496 SLG was .099 points lower than 2017 and .016 points below his career mark. So, he was successful, but really, he wasn’t anything other than he has been. Is he a superstar? Many think he is. I’m not sure.
Adalberto Mondesi appeared in only 75 games for the Royals, but in that time, he was one of the five most valuable hitters in baseball. He stole 32 bags, was only caught seven times, leading to an obvious pace of 60+ over a full season. He also displayed a power bat hitting 14 homers. Yes, he was on just about a 30/60 pace over the course of a full season which is, flat out, remarkable. Now he only walked 11 times, and his BB/k was hideous at 0.14, and that approach is going to lead to long periods of struggle (ask Tim Anderson). In fact, Anderson isn’t a bad comp, though Mondesi clearly has more to give in the stolen base department. Mondesi is a very intriguing player because of the wheels, but 30 homers and another .276 batting average, seems like a great stretch to expect in 2018.
Manny Machado is just three months older than Harper, and he’s much more valuable defensively in the fantasy game as he will qualify at third base in some leagues (16 games played) and shortstop in all (146 games) next season. Machado hit .298 with 37 homers, 107 RBI and 84 runs scored while stealing 15 bases. That means he was two hits, one run and one steal from a .300-35-100-85-15 season, as a shortstop. He bettered Harper by .049 points in average, hit three more homers, drove in seven more runs and stole one more base. Machado has also appeared in 156 games each of the past four seasons, and five times in six years. Harper has appeared in that many games just a single time in his seven-year career.
Nomar Mazara is a player everyone seems to love. Even after the season, people continue to talk about his mythical upside. Let me ask – where are any of you seeing that upside? Is it because he doesn’t turn 24 until next April? Is it because, laughably, that Bill James suggested he could win the MVP award in 2018, or, is it because he suggested that he could develop into a Triple Crown threat? He’s young. He has three solid seasons. So, what? That doesn’t mean there is upside here. It just doesn’t. In three years, he’s hit 20, 20 and 20 homers. In three years, he’s hit .266/.253/.258. In three years his OBP has been .320/.323/.317. In three years his SLG has been .419/.422/.436. In three years, his BB/K ratio has been 0.35/0.43/0.34. His BABIP has been .299/.293/.298. There has been zero growth in his three seasons. None. It hasn’t happened. He might be the most consistent hitter in the game the last three years, but I don’t know how you take the leap to that meaning there is some immense upside with Mazara.
So, the people, you, chose the Machado side. I totally get it. In fact, I think it’s the safer side. You get two guys who should play 290+ games with 60 homers, and that’s pretty darn good.
The more exciting side is that of Harper/Mondesi. It’s also the riskier side, with the fact that the floor on Mondesi is much lower than many think and that Harper misses a lot of games and is never a good bet to help anyone in batting average (neither is Mondesi for that matter).
In a 5x5 league I would go with the Machado side.
If it was OBP or larger, 6x6 etc., I would probably take the shot on the Harper side.
THIS AND THAT
I spoke about some of the surprise performers of the 2018 season in the final Fantasy Baseball Elite Podcast.
Jose Altuve was limited to 137 games due to injury, the first time in seven years that he failed to appear in 147 games. He hit .316, one point below his career mark, but he only stole 17 bases, his first season in six years that he failed to reach 30. He likely won’t be a first round pick next season, but second round here he comes.
Charlie Blackmon hit for the cycle in Game 162, the first time that has never happened. While he has Game 163 to pad his stats, he’s not going to get to the level that was expected. Still, he’s had a pretty darn good season with a .289-29-70-119-12 line. If we could all be that good when we weren’t great.
Khris Davis became the first qualifying hitter in baseball history to hit the exact same mark in batting average in 4-straight seasons. He’s hit .247 in each of the four campaigns and, frankly, that’s impossible to do.
Joe Mauer may have played his last game. The former MVP and six time All-Star, hit .282 with a .351 OBP this season, but with only six homers and a .379 SLG. It’s likely time for him to hang them up. If he does, and he’s gonna take some time to decide, he will retire with a .306 batting average, a .388 OBP and a 49.2 WAR. Since the 2004 season, when he began his career, amongst players with at least 4,000 plate appearances, he had nearly double at 7,960, here is how those numbers rank: 7th in batting average, 8th in OBP and 11th in WAR. He’s not a HOFamer, but he belongs in the Hall of Tremendous Good.
Salvador Perez will have surgery to correct the ligament issue on his left thumb. He should be fine well before the start of next season, and this isn’t expected to be a long-term issue. After going 17-64 or better each of the last four seasons, Perez hit 27 homers with 80 RBI in 129 games this year, a season after going 27-80 in 129 games. Must have been a nod to Khris Davis.
You can hear Ray, Monday through Friday, on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). Ray is on The Fantasy Drive 8-10 PM EST Monday-Friday, and he’s also on the Guru Elite Show Thursday from 2-4 PM EST. You can follow Ray on Twitter at @baseballguys.