Thursday, May 22, 2008

Who's In First?

While Abbott and Costello could never quite agree "who's ON first", the fantasy baseball gods governing HARL can't seem to decide "who's IN first". After 7 weeks of baseball, we have had five different teams sitting in 1st Place (Maygamers, Mudhens, Assassins, Gamblers, and Jokers). That's both amazing and refreshing. I can't recall any prior examples in our 22-year history where there's been so much flux atop the leaderboard during any part of the season.

It's even hard to tell which teams really suck this year. Just like the top of the standings, there have been 5 different teams in Last Place this season (Jokers, Lemmings, Rhinos, Brewskis, and Maygamers). In fact, after 7 weeks of play, the teams that started out in 1st and 11th place after one week have officially swapped places with each other. How weird is that?

Perhaps then, it's appropriate that Joker Jack is currently at the top of the class at the Week-7 mark. Trying to predict who is going to win HARL this season has become a mind-bending, head-scratcher. Who else but a court jester could even make sense of it all?

So it's time to put on the silly jester hat with the dangling bells, prance around and act goofy, and babble idiotic nonsense to everyone within earshot. It's Joker Time. So how, you may ask, did the Jokers move all the way from LAST PLACE after Week-1, into FIRST PLACE after Week-7? Good question. For me it boils down to these 3 things:
  • The best power hitting in HARL to-date. Last week the Jokers slugged a whopping 23 HR and drove in 60 runners. That was so damn good I had to doublecheck the stats and make sure that I didn't make a mistake in recording the transactions somewhere. It was not a mistake, it was just stellar offensive production. Alfonso Soriano smacked 7 HR with 14 RBI last week all by himself. Only 32 of 252 NL players to post stats this year (roughly 13%) have 7 or more HR for the entire season. Dan Uggla and Ryan Ludwick have also been red-hot of late in the power department. All of this has lead the Jokers to have the 2nd most hitting points in HARL this year.
  • This team has nice balance. The Jokers are currently 2nd in Hitting points and 4th in Pitching points, and in the middle in Fielding Ratio. You know that I always preach balance, balance, balance. Trust me, it keeps you in the hunt and can take you a long way in the playoffs.
  • Bang-for-the-buck. If you can get star-level statistical production out of your cheap guys, your team is destined for great things. Of the top dozen HARL players in terms of Profit (Actual YTD Dollar Value - Salary), the Jokers have 3 players in that list -- more than any other team in HARL. Ryan Ludwick ($1.50 profit), Dan Uggla ($1.40 profit), and Geovany Soto ($1.40 profit) have been top-notch producers for Joker Jack's club this season. And not a single one of them cost more than 60 cents.

Kudos to Jack for his fast start. I like to see new faces atop the HARL standings. With all the crazy movement going on in the standings, I can't really predict how things will shake out with any certainty. But I do think that the Jokers have pretty good team and aren't a fluke. Once Adam Laroche starts hitting and Jose Reyes starts playing up to his ability , their offense will get even better. That's a scary thought for the rest of us.


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