2018 MLB Week That Was: End Of Season Recap
Glenn Colton takes an in-depth look at the 2018 MLB season and how everything turned out for fantasy baseball owners.
Some SMART thoughts to file away for 2019 and the All-Schultz Team highlight the final 2018 Week That Was.
This was an incredibly successful fantasy baseball season for Fantasy Alarm, Team Colton and the Wolfman and the SMART system we preach and espouse here at Fantasy Alarm and in the Week That Was. Team CTW pulled off the triple-play, winning three of the most high-profile industry leagues – LABR AL, Tout Wars AL, and the mixed FSTA league. How? We stayed SMART and played by the Rules of Engagement. We also decided that rather than let drafts or auctions come to us, we were going to get a subset of the players we were most confident fit our system, our budget and our plan.
Most importantly, I appreciate your reading along each week. Thank you! I hope that we here at Fantasy Alarm and in the Week That Was managed to inform, entertain and help you win your league!
Now, before we transfer all our energies to fantasy football, here is one of my favorite parts of the end of the year – the All-Schultz Awards: Envelopes please . . .
Schultz says often and will say it once again that people love lists. Why would someone read an eloquently written article about the best and worst of the 2018 season when the entire synopsis can be done in list form? For better or for worse, Schultz heeds his own advice. Always aiming to please, The Week That Was proudly presents the 2018 ALL-SCHULTZ TEAMS (called the SCHULTZIES by absolutely no one).
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Beggars Banquet, this is the 2018 ALL-SCHULTZ “NO EXPECTATIONS” TEAM. Roto-owners had just that upon acquiring everyone on this team, likely planning to drop them in early April for better option on the waiver wire. Hopefully, no one took this team to the airport and put them on a plane.
C: Robinson Chirinos (TEX): Expectations are always low for catchers and most roto-owners adopt the Hippocratic oath for backstops and simply try to do no harm. Like water, catchers sought their own roto-level in 2018, a slight roto-anomaly. Those who settled and stayed with the unheralded Rangers, received a solid 18 HRs and 65 RBIs, for a fraction of the cost.
1B: Jesus Aguilar (MIL): Jettisoned by the Indians who concluded that their once-heralded prospect would never blossom, Aguilar forced his way into the Brew Crew’s lineup at the expense of Eric Thames . Aguilar’s .273, 34 HR, 105 RBI outburst ranks as one of the most surprising and unexpected events of 2018.
2B: Matt Carpenter (STL): As if the home runs weren’t enough, in most leagues he retained his second base eligibility. Anyone benefitting from the Mighty Matt resurgence had their faith rewarded as Carpenter’s .229 batting average with a measly 7 homers at the start of the summer did not foreshadow the power explosion to come.
SS: Trevor Story (COL): Most season’s Story’s story could be summed up as one great month that angers roto-owners when the other five come nowhere close. For 2018, Story had an epic campaign, threatening to break the 30-30 barrier before an elbow injury derailed the finish to the season. Nonetheless, a .290, 35 HR, 105 RBI, 86 R and 26 SB stat line shattered expectations (and will forever inflate his roto-value).
3B: Matt Chapman (OAK): Even the savviest roto-pundits look at the A’s roster each spring and scratch their heads. Moneyball may work in real life but it mainly offers roto-mediocrity. With 24 homers, you would expect more than 68 RBIs but the .279 average with 100 runs scored provided more value than expected.
OF: Nick Markakis (ATL): The Golden Greek has long been a point of contention between your humble narrator and his Overlord, who lost his William Green crowing privileges as result. His production tapered at the end of the season but no one in their right mind counted on the 34-year-old leading a remarkably young Braves team to the post-season with a .298, 14 HR, 93 RBI stat line.
OF: Mallex Smith (TB): Doing what Billy Hamilton never could – i.e. hit or get on base – the former Braves’ prospect truly thrived in his first real starting opportunity. Compared to the investment in Trea Turner . Dee Gordon (or even Hamilton), Smith’s 38 steals with the accompanying .296, 2 HR, 39 RBI came at an exponential discount.
OF: David Peralta (ARZ): Perennially a roto-afterthought due to his customary role as a platoon player, the 31-year-old DBack made himself a dark horse MVP candidate in 2018. Having never displayed much power or consistency at the plate, Peralta’s .293, 30 HR, 87 RBI, 75 R provided much more than conceivably believed for everyone that originally acquired him to be a stopgap or weekly filler.
SP: Miles Mikolas (STL): The collective eyes of the roto-universe focused so intently on Shohei Otani, that everyone ignored this year’s other Japanese import. Reverse racism? Nah. There was nothing in Mikolas’ pre-Japanese outings that predicted his 187 W, 2.83 ERA, 1.07 WHIP season. Whine about the strikeouts and you’re overlooking his remarkable season.
SP: Kyle Freeland (COL): Just look at these numbers 17 W, 2.85 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 173 Ks. Now take in to account that they were posted by a Colorado Rockies pitcher. Let that sink in for more time than you surely have. The best season by a Mile High pitcher since Ubaldo Jiménez left town, if not ever. Along with German Marquez ’ last few outings, it may be time to rethink the kneejerk avoidance of Rockies’ hurlers.
SP: Charlie Morton (HOU): With two former Cy Young winners and Gerrit Cole joining the staff, Morton was rightfully an afterthought. Defeating the Livan Hernandez Post-Season Hero Jinx, the veteran lefty whiffed 197 in just 164 innings, won 15, posted a 3.18 ERA and 1.17 WHIP and may have changed the narrative in which he’ll be remembered.
RP: Edwin Díaz (SEA): A little more than a year ago, the undisputed “Closer of 2018” lost his job to Steve Cishek . The hangover from such an ignominy depressed Diaz’ value to nearly non-existent for 2018. Likely taken solely because he might get a save or two, he collected 57 while challenging K Rod’s single season save record.
While we’re honoring 50th anniversaries, The Week That Was proudly presents the 2018 ALL-SCHULTZ APPLE CORPS. TEAM. Like The Beatles’ misguided venture to revolutionize business, everyone on this team reflects a poor decision made with idealistically glowing optimism.
C: Willson Contreras (CHI): Since Gary Sánchez was injured, he sat on the roto-bench. As Contreras was healthy, he needed to be in the roto-lineup and thus did more damage. Once again, proving to be more hype than substance, the Cubs’ catcher’s .250, 9 HR, 52 RBIs could have been accumulated at a fraction of what it cost to acquire the most perennially disappointing Cub not named Schwarber.
1B: Joey Votto (CIN): According to Jerry Seinfeld and David Letterman, Votto may be the nicest human being in MLB, if not the world. Votto’s numbers are supposed to move the needle but, given the cost, his .285 with 12 HRs pushed it in the wrong direction. The nice guy didn’t exactly finish last here but the teams that counted him probably did.
2B: Brian Dozier (MIN/LA): Given the surprisingly feisty start to the Twins season, Dozier’s disappointing first half was puzzling. Always a strong second half player, roto-owners expected a customary resurgence when he joined the stacked Dodgers team. However, Dozier fizzled on the left coast, finding his name absent from the lineup as the season wound to its close. 20 HRs are nice but a .214 average with only 69 RBIs left much to be desired.
SS: Carlos Correa (HOU): Remember when Correa was the leader of the new wave of shortstops that were going to provide gaudy never-see-before numbers from the position? Well, shortstops are putting up some might impressive numbers but the pack caught up and pretty much lapped Correa in 2018. Hampered by injuries, Correa disappointed even when he was healthy with a .2398, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 3 SB line offering very little roto-support.
3B: Rafael Devers (BOS): Impressive rookie debut, check. Undisputed starting role, check. Monster lineup, check. With little pressure on Devers in his first full season, he crumbled anyway. Crow all you want about his 21 HRs – everyone expected (and paid for) more.
OF: Yoenis Céspedes (NYM): After a phenomenal second half that propelled the Mets to the 2015 World Series, the Mets ignored the fact that A’s, Red Sox and Tigers all wanted nothing to do with the Cuban sensation. Because they’re the Mets, they signed him to a long-term deal and Cespedes rewarded them with exponentially puzzling decisions concerning the condition of his feet. Let’s just pencil him in for this team again in 2019.
OF: Adam Duvall (CIN/ATL): Once a bright part of the Cincinnati youth movement, Duvall finished 2018 as a greybeard in Atlanta. While his .194 average would constitute a more-than-modest disappointment, his paltry 15 HRs meant that he yielded little to no return on investment.
OF: Byron Buxton (MIN): Schultz could have “no list of disappointments would be complete without Byron Buxton ” on autotype. Oozing potential, Buxton once again had roto-pundits salivating over the upcoming “breakout year” where the talented “5-category stud” would ascend “to the next level.” Schultz will always be all in on Buxton but an injury-marred 90 AB season with no home runs, 4 RBIs and a .156 batting average while finishing the season in the minors will try anyone’s patience.
SP: Madison Bumgarner (SF): Two words: dirt bike.
RP: Cody Allen (CLE): Relievers tend to have a short shelf-life and Allen may have reached his expiration date. Expected to be the 400-pound gorilla that follows the 800-pound gorilla known as Andrew Miller , Allen lost most of his save opportunities when Brad Hand came to town and a 4.70 ERA and 1.36 WHIP wasn’t going to cut it. 27 saves from the closer of a World Series’ contender simply falls short of expectations.
Schultz has a soft spot for The Big Bang Theory. If Sheldon Cooper liked sports, Schultz has no doubt he’d figure out a system to master the roto-version of baseball and lord it over everyone.
The 2018 ALL-SCHULTZ BAZINGA! TEAM consists of players that weren’t in the Major Leagues on Opening Day yet played a surprisingly large role in many roto-owners’ championship runs.
C: Francisco Mejia (SD)/Danny Jansen (TOR): No catcher that received an in-season promotion made any real difference in 2018. However, every team needs a catcher, so Schultz selects the two promotions that were the most fun. Jansen provided a little excitement to a moribund Toronto ball club and Mejia slugged a few home runs while the Padres tried to figure out if his future is behind the plate.
1B: Max Muncy (LA): Schultz could have probably named this team after Mr. Muncy. An afterthought of the entire A’s organization, Muncy put up an astounding and ridiculously improbable 33 home runs in 2018 (while also reaching 2B eligibility for most leagues). The other shoe should have dropped sometime around June but never did. Muncy was the sleeper that makes other sleepers look like they’re on crystal meth.
2B: Gleyber Torres (NYY): Seeing that Torres had accomplished everything that could be done in the minors, the Yankees promoted the centerpiece of the 2016 rent-a-Chapman trade and placed him right into the dogfight for the AL East. Up to the task, Torres even manned the Jeter hole when Didi Gregorius went down. The 21-year-old’s .274, 24 HR, 77 RBI and 6 SB will likely be his roto-floor while he makes the Bronx forget about that guy they let go to Seattle.
SS: Lourdes Gurriel (TOR): The other Gurriel brother failed to demonstrate consistency but after a surprise promotion in late April. A fair argument could be made that the Cuban import needed more seasoning but he more than held his own, showing a good eye and decent power.
3B: Miguel Andujar (NYY): In case Aaron Judge , Luis Severino and Gleyber Torres aren’t enough, the Yankees also have the potential usurper to the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year in Miguel Andujar . Solving a problem for which Brandon Drury was never the answer, Andujar quickly surpassed Rafael Devers as the AL’s shiniest new third baseman. His .297, 27 HR and 92 RBIs would be good for a veteran – even more so for the guy who wasn’t projected to be there.
OF: Ronald Acuna (ATL): In a world without a collective bargaining agreement, Acuna would have started the season in the major leagues. His pre-season numbers earning him the roster spot. Once the extra year of control kicked in, Acuna took control of the Braves, his .293, 26 HR, 63 RBI, 78 R, 16 SB season not only propelling him to the NL Rookie of The Year but carrying the Braves into the post-season.
OF: Juan Soto (WASH): The script for the Nats 2018 season called for an outfield prospect to too young to drink to be called up to the majors and never leave. Like a baseball version of All About Eve, it was the understudy that captivated the audience and stole the spotlight. Instead of Victor Robles having his day in the sun, the 19-year-old made the most of what was to be a brief promotion. His .294, 22 HR, 70 RBI effort only pales in comparison to Acuna.
OF: Franmil Reyes (SD): The Padres called up the young slugger in May but really didn’t give him an opportunity until late in the summer when the die on the season had been cast. Reyes responded by putting up 16 HRs with a solid .276 average while helping roto-owners alleviate troubling injury-related roto-lineup concerns.
SP: Walker Buehler (LA): Clayton who? While roto-pundits spent the last two years gushing, worrying and pontificating about Julio Urías ’ left arm, much was left unsaid about his right-handed counterpart. Coming from the minors to rescue an injury-depleted rotation, Buehler paced the Dodgers down the stretch with a 2.76 ERA, .98 WHIP and 148 Ks over 131 innings. Save the Ferris Buehler jokes – Walker deserves better.
RP: Jordan Hicks (STL): A smattering of youngsters that started the season in the minors made notable middle-inning contributions but none tantalized like Hicks. Eclipsing triple digits on the radar gun, the 22-year-old hurler leapfrogged most of the minors and had opportunities to take ownership of the beleaguered Cardinals’ closer slot that proved elusive to others.
2018 saw the introduction of the “opener” and the first two-way player anyone can remember since Babe Ruth (I assure you Rick Ankiel does not count). More than a century old, baseball still has the capacity for change, which is frightening to roto-players. Hall of Fame pundits like The Overlord of The Week That Was routinely advise against risk. In that vein, Schultz presents the team of the future, which can really only be called the 2018 ALL-SCHULTZ SHOHEI OTANI TEAM.
C: J.T. Realmuto (MIA): The rigors of catching have become a little bit easier since MLB banned running backstops over like the uninitiated in a hardcore mosh pit. Nonetheless, it hasn’t resulted in a resurgence of hitting catchers and there doesn’t seem to be another Mike Piazza on the horizon. Forget about the back injury that delayed the start of Realmuto’s season, he will be the most dependable source of catching roto-production in the years to come.
1B: Freddie Freeman (ATL): Paul Goldschmidt is still the gold standard when it comes to first basemen. However, there may be a new sheriff in town now that Goldy no longer runs. Freeman has been too solid for too long to continue to ignore. This season’s .310, 23 HR, 98 RBI, 94 R and 10 SBs are just what Freeman does year in and year out.
2B: Javier Báez (CHI): With all the hype surrounding Addison Russel, Jorge Soler , Kyle Schwarber and Javier Báez , it stands to reason that one of them would eventually emerge as a dependable roto-stud. It took a couple years but Baez’ .289, 34 HR, 111 RBI, 98 R, 21 SB stat line is no fluke. With José Ramírez now at third and José Altuve somewhat off his roto-game, Baez sits atop the 2B rankings.
SS: Tim Anderson (CHW): There wasn’t a lot to take note of on the South Side of Chicago this past year. That’s why you won’t be faulted for missing Tim Anderson ’s 20 HR, 26 SB season. He hasn’t been as quick to develop as Francisco Lindor or Carlos Correa , but Anderson has the same coveted combination of power and speed.
3B: José Ramírez (CLE): With lip-service paid to Eugenio Suárez , Ramirez emerged as the first non-Troutian 40-40 threat in years . . . and he’s only 26-years-old. In the group of no-brainer, top-of-the-draft picks, there are now three Our Troutian-Lord & Saviour, Mookie Betts and José Ramírez .
OF: Rhys Hoskins (PHI): Fortunately, roto-baseball isn’t like roto-football and it doesn’t matter if a player picks up his roto-stats in roto-bunches. When Hoskins is hot, he’s Stantonish in putting up power number. When he’s not, he’s like a Deer in the batter’s box. Over the course of a season, it’s now safe to pencil him in for no less than 30 HR and 100 RBIs a year.
OF: Christian Yelich (MIL): Poor Marlins fans. But for the two World Series that were bought for them, people would have to listen to them whine and moan about the Stanton-Yelich-Ozuna outfield they no longer have. Of the three, Yelich may be the one they miss the most. Only 26, his .320, 32 HR, 93 RBI, 106 R, 21 SB breakout may just be the tip of the iceberg. He’s Schultz’ 2018 NL MVP.
OF: Khris Davis (OAK): From this point forward, baseball’s new undisputed home run king no longer needs to be called “the other Chris Davis .” The A’s slugger led the west coast underdogs to the post-season, blasting 48 homers and driving in 123. Three straight years clearing the 40 HR, 100 RBI mark (with the numbers increasing each year) is a trend unlikely to slow down soon.
SP: Blake Snell (TB): On a staff full of openers, the Rays have one bona fide starter. The discussion of elite starting pitchers now has a new talking point as Snell now rivals Corey Kluber , Justin Verlander and Chris Sale as the best in the AL. His 21 wins, 221 Ks, 1.89 ERA and .97 WHIP is exactly the clarion call it seems to be. Aaron Nola and Jack Flaherty deserve mention too but Schultz has already said quite a lot.
RP: Josh Hader (MIL): If Hader remains in the bullpen, he will be next in the line of elite closers that spend a decade working exclusively in the 9th inning, joining the likes of Mariano and Kimbrel. However, the Brewers eye him as a starter, depriving MLB of its next monster closer.
U: Jose Martinez (STL): Next year, after the Cardinals trade the fielding-challenged Martinez to American League so he can take his rightful role as the designated hitter, he will become one of the most dependable utility players, sliding nicely into the Nelson Cruz role.
With 2018 coming to a close, Schultz will retreat into hibernation until the Spring with dreams of hearing Tom Hamilton call an Indians’ World Series triumph. My thanks and gratitude to all of you who read The Week That Was to its end and to The Overlord Glenn Colton for letting me say (mostly) what’s on my mind.
See you all in 2019.
Response: Well, I cannot root for the Indians while my Yankees are still competing but other than that, I have to compliment Schultz for great work again in 2018! Bravo sir. Oh, and congrats to your Browns. They should be on the rise.