I have a shot at winning my deep AL-only league this year, something I haven’t managed to do in 15 previous seasons. I’m currently tied for second place, 8 ½ points behind the first-place team. I’m going to take a look at what needs to happen for me to win.
It’s an auction-style keeper league, $260 budget at auction which increases to $350 once the season starts, 12 teams, 24-player active roster (2 C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, CI, MI, 5 OF, 10 P), minimum of 1,100 innings pitched, old-school 4×4 roto scoring (HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, ERA, WHIP).
So here’s what I need to happen:
• Corey Kluber has to continue his amazing run: I acquired Kluber earlier this season from my BP colleague Mike Gianella and he has been fantastic. In ERA, I am currently in ninth place with two points to potentially gain and two points to potentially lose. In WHIP, I am currently in seventh place with no points to gain but two points to potentially lose.
• Byron Buxton to continue his second-half surge: Before the All-Star break, Buxton hit .216/.288/.306 with five home runs and 16 steals in 255 at-bats. Since the break, he has hit .305/.344/.549 with four home runs and six steals in 82 at-bats. I am unlikely to gain or lose any points in average, but I could gain one point or lose up to three points in HR, and have one point to gain with none to lose in RBIs. The team that is tied with me in the overall standings is neck-and-neck with me in both HR and RBI. And of course, Buxton’s best roto category is stolen bases, which leads me to…
• Win the three-way race for second place in steals: I am currently in a three-way tie for second place in steals. I can’t win the category, but I need to finish ahead of the other two teams tied with me. My two big steals guys are Buxton and Delino DeShields. My ace in the hole might be Kevin Kiermaier, who just returned from a long stint on the DL.
• Win the saves category: I am currently in fourth place in saves with 47. Each of the three teams ahead of me has 49. My closers are Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colome. One of the teams ahead of me has Craig Kimbrel, Zach Britton and Bud Norris, one has Roberto Osuna and one has Ken Giles and Dellin Betances.
• Do well in the free-for-all in wins: I am currently tied for sixth place in wins with one point to potentially lose and as many as 5 1/2 to gain. The category is incredibly tightly packed. I had four or five starters for most of the season, but after a few deadline deals and a FAAB pickup or two, I now have seven starters. The extra starts and innings potentially dilute the impact of an ace like Kluber on my ERA and WHIP, but the potential for gains in wins make it worth the risk.
Wish me luck!