Since 1991, I've owned the Louisville Sluggers in the Original Bitnet Fantasy Baseball League (OBFLB), a 24 team online league that plays two seasons during each major league season. The second (half) season begins after the all star break and typically features 9 weeks of head-to-head competition by teams in three 8 team divisions. Everyone plays a round robin schedule, plus teams from the other divisions that are determined largely by first half performance with an eye toward equality. As it happens, one of the two teams I played during this out-of-division week was another divisional champion The Ballplayers in Arlington. My team lost that week.
Indeed, the Sluggers were certainly lucky to be in the playoffs. As measured by CBS's statistical Breakdown (universal head-to-head results), the Sluggers were the 7th best team in the league (only 8th prior to the playoffs). I tip my hat to Men of LA and Snoqualmie Spazmatics for having really good teams that failed to survive the short second half regular season.
The winners of the divisions and a single wild card team play against each other in the playoffs during the next to last week of the regular major league baseball season. Then, the winners of those head-to-head matchups play each other in the final week of the regular season to determine the World Series champion. The wild card team Theocracy (owned by a Cub fan, I believe) came from my division, so the Sluggers ended up beating all 3 of the playoff teams, including Theocracy in the final week of the regular season and a revenge rematch against TBiA in the first round of the playoffs.
In 2016B, the Louisville Sluggers ultimately won the championship against the Valley Dudes, a team managed by my friend Barry. I recruited him into the league long ago, but don't get the idea that this league is local. Generally, the owners are from across the US, though one team is operated from western Australia. I've only met a few of the owners face-to-face, but have known many of the owners online for 20+ years.
This was the Sluggers 8th World Series championship in a bit more than 50 (half) seasons of competition. No other team has more than 7 (Men of LA).
In this league, teams submit lineup cards to prioritize 9 hitters (at 8 defensive positions, plus DH), 5 starting pitchers (minimum 4), and 3 relief pitchers (minimum 2). Through the week, the teams compete in 10 categories, including batting average, home runs, stolen bases, plate appearances, runs produced average ((R+RBI-HR)/ABs), pitching wins, saves, innings pitched, ERA and WHIP. We award 2 points per victory, with each team receiving 1 point for a tie.
The Sluggers won the Series 12-6-2 (so 13-7). Here's the line score from CBS, our stats service:
The 2016B World Series was closer than the final 13-7 score looked. In the middle of the afternoon on Sunday, Adam Wainwright was working on a shutout and had put the Valley Dudes narrowly in front in ERA. Had the pitcher been able to hold that ERA lead and attain a pitching victory (the Cardinals easily won this game 10-4), the final World Series score would have been 10-10 and Dudes would have won because of the Breakdown tiebreaker. Valley Dudes were a better team through the season.
However, the Pirates lucked into a couple of baserunners with 2 outs and then Andrew McCutcheon got a huge RBI hit that cemented the ERA category for the Sluggers. Wainwright left the game before the Cards built a big lead and that sealed the deal.
Incidentally, Wainwright was not listed as a starter last week by the Dudes manager, but was forced into action when Tiger starting pitcher Matt Boyd was skipped in the rotation thanks to a rainout against Cleveland.
The World Series heroes for the Sluggers played mostly on offense. Joey Votto batted .419 in the Series and slugged 3 HRs. Rookie Byron Buxton hit 2 HRs with a .571 RP, completing his strong final Sept/Oct (9 HRs, .287 BA, with 1 SB. and .327 RP in 113 PA). Four other Sluggers hit a homer, including star 3B Nolan Arenado.
On the pitching side, youngsters Mike Foltynewicz and Blake Snell (in a start shortened by rain) combined with the bullpen to throw nearly half the team's innings for the week, allowing only 1 ER and a 0.77 WHIP. Chris Archer also had a good start and earned a much-needed victory.
Below, you can find my lineup card. I'm putting my mid-season retained players ("keepers") in bold red text and noting draft round or free agent acquisitions status for all other players. the draft is 28 rounds, but begins with round 8 as all teams ahve to keep at least 7 teams. I kept 10 players, so my draft started round 11.
C: Zunino SEA (round 22)
Navarro TOR (round 24)
1B: Votto CIN
Marte LAA (round 25)
Gosselin ARI (round 27)
2B: Kipnis CLE
3B: Arenado COL
SS: Russell CHC
OF: Schebler CIN (free agent)
OF: Buxton MIN
OF: Santana MIL (round 23; released, reacquired as free agent)
Benintendi BOS (round 11)
Kim BAL (round 15)
Guyer CLE (round 19)
DH: Tulowitzki TOR
SP: Archer TB
SP: Smyly TB
SP: Snell TB (round 13)
SP: De Leon LAD (round 12)
SP: Foltynewicz ATL (round 18)
SP: Conley MIA (round 14)
SP: Dickey TOR (round 16)
SP: Andriese TB (round 20)
SP: Skaggs LAA (round 21)
RP: F Rodriguez MIL
Feliz HOU (round 26)
my SP, in order listed above
I released these draft picks during the season:
OF Rasmus HOU (round 17)
OF Taylor WAS (round 28)
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