Review: AL LABR 2016
I love going out to Arizona each year for LABR. I’m still looking for that first championship though after a 5th place finish in 2016.
A link to my Tout Wars Review.
Here is how the League of Alternative Baseball Reality (LABR) played out for this cat this season.
AL-only, 12 teams
$260 auction for 23 starters
14 hitters, nine pitchers, six bench spots (rostered by a snake draft)
All of that is pretty standard stuff. However, there's one significant difference with LABR.
You draft 23 starters. The only way to remove any of those players from your lineup is to do one of the following.
(1) Drop a player onto waivers.
(2) Put him on the DL if he is hurt.
(3) Put him on your reserve list if he is sent to the minors.
*NOTE: Free agents are eligible to be drafted, though if they sign in the other league you cannot keep them on your roster.
That's it. As you can see this setup could pose some issues. Do you hold on to a guy who is struggling early on or do you let him go knowing that, over the long run, he'll likely produce? Obviously this format is very restrictive and makes drafting a solid roster paramount (trades are allowed, but the league isn't exactly flush with a myriad of deals most of the time).
One other note about the reserve rounds. Players drafted as bench options can be freely moved in an out of the lineup with no penalty. Of course, you have to have an opening in the starting lineup - one of the three options listed above must be present - in order to activate the bench players.
* Number in parenthesis is the $ amount spent.
C: Curt Casali ($2), Chris Iannetta (2)
1B: Albert Pujols (19)
2B: Rob Refsnyder (3)
3B: Evan Longoria (21)
SS: Troy Tulowitzki (22)
MI: Tim Anderson (3)
CI: Carlos Santana (17)
OF: Adam Eaton (22), Hanley Ramirez (21), Leonys Martin (9), Brad Miller (12), Chris Coghlan (8)
UTIL: Billy Butler (2)
PITCHERS: Yordano Ventura (14), Danny Salazar (22), Jordan Zimmermann (13), Anibal Sanchez (7), Jose Berrios (7), David Robertson (14), Andrew Miller (7),Dellin Betances (7), Joakim Soria (2)
RESERVES: Austin Jackson, Alex Avila, David Freese, Tyler Saladino, Drew Stubbs, Miguel Gonzalez
WHAT WENT RIGHT
I didn’t really want Pujols, or Tulo, basically just jumped in as I thought the value was there. Pujols totally fulfilled expectations hitting .268-31-119. Tulo? More about him below.
Longoria was a star with 36 homers, 98 RBI, 81 runs scored and a .273 batting average. He couldn’t have been any better really.
Anderson was a fantastic $3 buy. He came up a bit earlier that I thought he would allowing him to produce nine homers, 30 RBI and 57 runs scored in 99 games. The 10 steals are nice, but I thought he would have at least doubled that mark if he appeared in that many games. He hit an impressive .283, but the 117 strikeouts and just 13 walks are a huge long-term concern.
Santana set career bests in homers (34), RBI (87), runs (89) and his .259 batting average was a three year best. His .865 was a career best as well.
Martin had 15 homers, 24 steals and 72 runs scored.
HanRam was huge in the end and the final numbers are sparkling: .286-30-111-81-9.
Eaton went .287-14-56-98-18 in 2015. He was exactly the same guy in 2016 (.284-14-59-91-14).
Miller went 30/6 with 81 RBI and 73 runs scored while playing two spots on the field (1B, SS). I’ll glad take that level of production, at that cost ($12), even if it comes with a .243 batting average.
Miguel Gonzalez ended the year on a nice run and in the end his 3.73 ERA and 1.24 WHIP over 135 innings are a help in an AL-only league.
Betances/Miller cost me 14 dollars. What a buy, and as you know they are the duo I targeted in all leagues. They won 13 games, saved 24 games and stuck out 249 batters with a 2.26 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. #Stupendous
WHAT WENT WRONG
Iannetta and Casali cost me $4 total. It was a terribly spent four dollars.
Refsnyder disappointed with a .637 OPS, no homers, and two steals over 175 plate appearances.
Though Tulo was horrible for a long while he did hit .254 with 24 homers and 79 RBI. That’s barely passable. Actually, it probably wasn’t since he only scored 54 runs and hit under .280 for the first time since 2008.
Coghlan was my OF/2B add for $8 after he went 15/10 in 2015. He went 6/2 for me in 2016.
Billy Butler had a solid .284/.336/.416 slash line but five homers, 35 RBI and 27 runs scored were pathetic numbers.
Austin Jackson signed with the White Sox and it was looking like I was in good shape. Not so much. He hurt his knee and was ultimately limited to a mere .254 average with no homers and two steals. Dreadful.
I’ll call Salazar a miss, but it was close to not being called so. He won 11 games with 161 punchouts in 137.1 innings but the 3.87 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and limitation of 25 starts makes him a net negative given the cost.
Ventura is a disaster. Ventura had the worst ERA of his career (4.45) and the worst WHIP as well (1.44). His walk rate was a career worst and after striking out eight guys per nine the last two years the number was just 6.97 this season.
Zimmermann had the worst season of his career. After 4-straight seasons of 195-innings pitched he limped to 105.1 frames and his 4.87 ERA was his first mark over 3.66 in six years. That 1.37 WHIP also ended a run of 6-straight seasons of 1.20 or better.
Sanchez couldn’t find “it” – again.
Berrios was an unmitigated disasters, an utter embarrassment. He made 14 starts with a 3-7 record, 8.02 ERA and a 1.87 WHIP. It was an unfathomably bad effort from the future star and a soul crusher in this league with such limited roster movement.
Trades rarely happen in this league, so it’s a bit surprising I pulled off four deals.
I dealt David Robertson to Larry Schechter right before the Trade Deadline in exchange for Darren O’Day and Salvador Perez. I had a stable position in saves in the standings and I needed to get something at my backstop spot that was flailing.
In August I pulled off the other deal. I sent Eno Sarris Danny Salazar and Hanley Ramirez for Khris Davis and Kevin Gausman. Salazar’s arm was barking and I need innings as all my injuries had me concerned I wouldn’t reach my innings limit (the league is set to 950 and I barely made it at 977.1).
One deal was a home run, two were was solid, and the fourth was just there cause of the standings.
Off waivers I added players, from earliest in the season to latest: Justin Wilson, Darwin Barney, Mychal Givens, Ricky Nolasco and Aaron Hill. Benintendi was my big FAAB purchase at the deadline, $54 of $100, and he performed admirable with a .295/.359/.476 line as he score in 14 and scored 16 times in 105 at-bats. Alas, he missed about three weeks with a knee issue after he was brought up to the big leagues.
I finished fifth out of 12 teams.
My club closed with a nice kick, but there just wasn’t enough production in the middle of the year. Injuries to Salazar/Zimmermann and the utter failure of Berrios left me chasing innings all season long. I liked the arms I had, but they just didn’t come through which was the opposite of my offense which was a pretty successful unit.
Though four years in LABR I believe I’ve finished 6th, 5th, 3rd and second. One of these years…