April 18, 2005

Fantasy Island

We're now two weeks into the fantasy baseball season in The Andy Vogel Experience league, so it's time for an update. If you don't care, skip down and read my analysis of hybrid car ownership, but I'm putting this here since half the people who read this are in the fantasy league.

Standings after 2 weeks:
1 The Rally Monkeys 20-6-2 (Janet)
2 The $10 Bet 20-8-0 (Katie)
3 Mighty Smalls 15-12-1 (Amy)
4 Mystery Inc. 15-13-0 (Tim)
5 South Side Steroids 14-13-1 (Andy)
6 The Arbiters 11-17-0 (Ryan)
7 Man Eating Squirrel 9-18-1 (Captain Jimmy)
8 Stuckeybowl Sluggers 4-21-3 (Vikki)

After two weeks, the Rally Monkeys and $10 Bet have surged to the front. This rise to the top has been fueled by each team scoring big victories this week. The Monkeys beat up on the Stuckybowl Sluggers, whose weaknesses have been mentioned elsewhere. The $10 Bet has surged ahead on the strength of playing Man Eating Squirrel, whose manager has been asleep at the switch due to well-documented work obligations. The Monkeys get a lot of production out of the two Red Sox sluggers (and Yankee killers), but since the Red Sox and Yankees don't square off again for six weeks, it will be interesting to watch Ramirez and Big Papi going forward.

The next three teams are all bunched closely together. Mighty Smalls had the Week 1 lead, but lost it after a 9-5 loss in Week 2 to South Side Steroids. Mystery, Inc. bounced back from a Week 1 loss to capture the fourth place spot after week 2. Mighty Smalls and South Side Steroids are still dangerous teams whose hitters are finally starting to wake up, especially South Side, who was buoyed yesterday by Miguel Tejada's grand slam. The contrast in pitching styles between Mighty Smalls and South Side Steroids is stark in that South Side has many good starters, while Mighty Smalls has all but cornered the elite closer market, thus nearly guaranteeing to win the Saves category every week.

The bottom three teams are all very different in composition and reason for being at the bottom. Man Eating Squirrel has been discussed, and should be expected to bounce back once the Captain is back to regular hours. Stuckeybowl may win a week here or there, but should get used to the eight slot. The Arbiters have had a run of bad luck, at the very least. With Ordonez, Bonds, and Berkman on the DL, as well as J.D. Drew off to a slow start, there hasn't been a lot of outfield production. Additionally, Mariano Rivera's well-publicized problems with the Red Sox hasn't helped. This team has been the most active in dropping and adding players as he looks for the right combination. Most recently, dropping J.D. Drew for the streaking Jose Guillen may be genius or folly, but we'll know more in a month.

So far, the secret to staying on top is a combination of getting production from your players but also making sure you manage the lineup to get as many at bats as possible out of your roster. Of course, I wouldn't put too much stock in two weeks worth of results. Most likely, slumping players will break out of it and resume normal levels of production. Also, these standings could shift a lot by the playoffs, as there are 20 more weeks of competition left.

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