The Major League Baseball season has hit the break for the All-Star Game on 13 July, marking roughly the mid-point of the season and of the Fantasy Baseball UK game too. This year, it may well be a game of two halves as a number of the fantasy teams at the top of the main game standings appear to have employed a strategy to front-load their use of pitching roster spots in the first half of the season. While this can maximise fantasy points scored from pitching and push those teams out in front in the standings, it also eats quicker into each team’s limit of 1400 innings pitched (IP). Once a team reaches that limit, it can score no more points from pitching for the rest of the season.
The first team to – in the words of the Eagles’ song – ‘Take It to the Limit’ is league leader, Davy Dodgers. The Dodgers maxed out their IP limit heading into July.
This is a trend in most of the teams in or around the top ten in the combined main game standings. Until a team actually hits the limit, Yahoo projects how far over or under the innings cap the team would be come the end of the season. Some are projecting to be over the limit by around 100 innings but in the case of teams in the top five positions they are projecting to be over the limit by several hundred which in practical terms means they are likely to hit the maximum quite soon, similar to Davy Dodgers. Cobra K, in eighth place, is projecting only slightly over by 16 innings, which could be controlled fairly easily.
It will make for an interesting second half of the season to see whether, as the current top teams each hit the limit and stop scoring pitching points, those chasing with more flexibility left in their IP limit can close the gap or overtake. Or will the former group keep their totals ticking over sufficiently through fantasy points from their batting lineups? As an example, at the end of June Cobra K was in tenth place and 1600 points behind the leader; about ten days later, that gap has closed to 1300 points. In that time, Davy Dodgers‘ lead of around 500 points over second-placed Wake Field Padres has virtually disappeared.
All managers are able to see the position limits in terms of games played (offense) and innings pitched in the Yahoo league settings, plus at the bottom of the roster page it indicates how much of each limit has been used so far and projects whether you are going to end up over (i.e. hit the cap early) or under.
Don’t forget that you can view the full standings for each division and combined in the main and Limited Trade games in the Standings section of the website.
Manager of the Month: June
If you check back to last month’s update you will see that the top five in the June Manager of the Month rankings is not dissimilar. Four of the five managers were also in the top five in May in terms of most points scored within the month. The newcomer was Neil Ramsden whose team Coffin Dodgers nailed June to rise to second in the North division and into the top ten overall in the main game.
For the second month running, Michael Davy scored the most points during the month. The tally of 3022 is a high one, placing Michael fourth all-time (or at least since Manager of the Month records began in 2016!) in terms of monthly points amassed:
Chris Stobart – Fyggyn’s Failures – 3105 (June 2017)
Ludo Basse – Stantonia – 3081 (August 2016)
René Becker – Secret Agents – 3059 (June 2017)
Michael Davy – Davy Dodgers – 3022 (June 2021)
Michael Hatch – Stealing It All – 3006 (August 2017)
It should be noted that points scoring system changed this season to be a little more challenging, particularly moving pitching scoring away from being weighted in favour of wins.
Fantasy League Standings (top): 11 July
In both the main and Limited Trade games (where there is a limit on the number of player transactions per team) fantasy teams are grouped into regional divisions but they are also combined to give overall standings across the two formats.
Given the note earlier about the innings pitched limit, it will also be curious how that might affect some of the divisional races in the second half of the season. Some of the teams in the top ten overall have very large leads in their respective regional divisions, but if they no longer score pitching points will the chasers be able to reduce those gaps by enough to topple them? For example, a month ago the Central division was very close whereas now beat gould&lengl has an 800+ point lead but is nearing its IP limit.
Some of the division pennant races remain relatively close where teams in first and second are within a couple of hundred points or less of each other – notably the South, South East, West and North West.
Limited Trade game
The lack of a bench and limited number of trades or free agent pick-ups means innings and position limits are not of much concern in the Limited Trade game because off days and injuries make it more common for the roster spots to go unused.
Manager Blythe Robertson continues to enjoy success in both formats. His team Merriment Masters is currently third overall in the main game and the Limited Trade equivalent Masters of Merriment has maintained a steady lead of 200-300 points at the top of both the Limited Trade North division and the combined standings over the past month.
Limited Trade South continues to be a somewhat closer division in that the top six teams are separated by less than 450 points, although The Sofa Boys are now sitting more comfortably in first place with a cushion of 200 points.
Touch base with FBUK
In the lead-up to the season we launched new forums on the FBUK website, which is where you can contribute to the conversation on how the game is run or ask technical questions.
Thanks for playing, stay safe, and good luck for the rest of the season!
Fantasy Baseball UK