The 2021 Fantasy Baseball UK game reached its conclusion on the night of 3 October and after the welcome return of a full six-month season of baseball, both the main and Limited Trade Game championship races went down to the final round of MLB games on Sunday, as did several of the divisional competitions.
For the second consecutive year the overall FBUK Champion came out of the North West division. Paul Butcher‘s BILKO took the next step from finishing second in the division last year (14th overall) and rose to the top in both the division and the combined main game standings. There was a running battle with Stuart Burnett‘s Flux Capacitors in the final couple of weeks of the season but despite scoring zero points on the final day – having reached the Games Played (GP) and Innings Pitched (IP) limits – BILKO had enough of a lead to hold on to first place by 57 points.
In the Limited Trade Game it was a case of sofa so good in the final month as Steve King‘s The Sofa Boys took over the prime spot in the combined standings heading into September and managed to see off a late rally by the team that had led for much of the season – Blythe Robertson‘s Masters of Merriment – to claim the championship by 100 points.
From a neutral point of view (my team was permanently stuck in 10th in my division for most of the season), I enjoyed it being close in both the overall games and a number of the regional divisions. The different strategies in managing the GP and IP limits in the main game (either on purpose or by accident) meant the top end of the standings changed quite radically over the last two months of the season.
For example, Davy Dodgers and Wake Field Padres (amongst others) laid down the challenge and were the pace setters in the overall standings by the middle of the season. They also enjoyed large leads in their respective divisions until hitting the IP limit in August, after which they gradually fell back to the rest of the chasing pack.
Here’s the winners of each of the competitions, their points tallies and (in red) the gap between them and the second-placed team in their competition:
Overall FBUK Champion: BILKO (Paul Butcher) – 12016 (+57)
North West: BILKO (Paul Butcher) – 12016 (+503)
South: wherehaveYugone (Michael Hurley) – 11402 (+56)
South East: Secret Agents (René Becker) – 11486 (+228)
South West: Cobra K (Mark Doody) – 11697 (+132)
East: Tube Monkey (David Blowes) – 11407 (+288)
West: Flux Capacitors (Stuart Burnett) – 11959 (+764)
Central: Boys of Late Summer (Jane Wallis) – 10983 (+64)
North: HAFC – FTW (Stewart Hunter) – 11702 (+62)
North East: The Baseball Furies (Paul Laycock) – 11126 (+15)
Limited Trade Game Champion: The Sofa Boys (Steve King) – 9745 (+100)
LT South: The Sofa Boys (Steve King) – 9745 (+972)
LT North: Masters of Merriment (Blythe Robertson) – 9645 (+238)
The final divisional and overall standings can be viewed in the Standings section of the website.
FBUK All-Star Team of the Season: 2021
Based on fantasy points accumulated over the whole regular season, here are the top performers at each position:
Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals) was head and shoulders above other catchers this year in terms of fantasy points return – he ended the season with 217 points more than the second-placed catcher, Will Smith of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In fact, the total points tally was unusually high at the catcher position, reflecting an excellent season for Perez in which he finished among the Top 20 batters (ranked by FBUK fantasy points), tied for the most home runs (48, tied with Vlad Guerrero Jr. of Toronto Blue Jays) and led the Majors with 121 runs batted in.
Perhaps underscoring the disappointment for Toronto Blue Jays fans that their team did not make the postseason despite winning 91 games and recording the third-best run differential in the American League (+183), Guerrero Jr is among three Blue Jays players included in the FBUK All-Star Team. Additionally, Teoscar Hernández finished just outside the top three outfield positions with 788 points in fourth place.
Although Fernando Tatis Jr. is known mainly as a shortstop, he did become eligible for the outfield in fantasy rosters, starting almost 20% of his games out there for the San Diego Padres in 2021.
In fantasy rosters, the DH (Designated Hitter) position is really a utility spot that any batter can be dropped into, but real-world DH Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) earned his FBUK All-Star Team place anyway as both the highest ranked DH and the highest scoring batter not already in one of the other All-Star positions (46 HR, 100 RBI, 26 SB). As fantasy heads know, two-way player Ohtani is also a very serviceable starting pitcher, scoring 455 pitching points over 23 starts in 2021 (3.18 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 156 K).
In the Relief Pitcher category there were several pitchers with more points than Liam Hendriks (Chicago White Sox) by virtue of them being starting pitchers who were also eligible at the reliever slot, and therefore racked up many more innings and points-scoring opportunities over the course of the season (i.e. a reliever who was promoted to a starter during the season, or a starter converted to a reliever). However, Hendriks takes the All-Star Team spot as the highest scoring of the recognised closers (2.54 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 38 saves).
Manager of the Month: September
On the back of two consecutive months as the league’s most improved team, Ambrose’s Rabbits bounded to top spot as the highest-scoring team in September, earning John McElwaine of the North division the Manager of the Month title. Also among the top five in September were Paul Butcher (BILKO), on the way to becoming overall FBUK Champion, and David Polgreen (Pumpsie Green) who placed among the top five managers for the second month in a row and finished runner-up in the South East division.
Also, here are the top five ‘most improved’ teams in September, measured as a percentage rise on their total points at the end of August:
John McElwaine – Ambrose’s Rabbits – 35%
Lars Gilry – Coliseum Catfish – 28%
Tom Gilry – Hey Mr Baseman – 26%
Chris Smyth – The Only Way is wOBA – 26%
Glen Marsland – Disposable Heroes – 25%
Fantasy League Standings (top): Final
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.
Thanks to everyone who played in the fantasy league this year, especially those of you getting to grips with the new format. FBUK will be back in 2022 and in the meantime the forums on the FBUK website will stay open during the off-season. Why not drop by, chat with other managers about how your season went, and join in the conversation on how the game is run?
Finally, if you enjoyed the game and would like to support it with a donation, just click the green banner below! Any funds raised go towards covering the cost of running the FBUK website.
Stay safe and hopefully see you next season!
Fantasy Baseball UK