The first month of the Shandler Game – a monthly, modified, 4x4 roto contest, is over. So who are the winners and who are the losers?
And more importantly for those of you who will try the September contest or play in Shandler’s monthly contests next year, how did people win their leagues?
First, a recap for those who didn’t play and likely don’t remember the parameters of the contest, you can read more here. But here are the categories and roster constricts.
Game format: Salary cap game
Roster construction: 30-man roster -- 23 actives and 7 reserves. Positions will be standard roto - 2 C, 1B, 3B, CI, 2B, SS, MI, 5 OF, UT, 9 pitchers, 7 reserves at any position.
Salary cap: $300 for all 30 players. The prices will be based on 2013 performance to date.
Stat categories: This will be a 4x4 league with the categories of HR, SB, OBP, (R+RBI-HR), W, Sv+HLD, K, ERA.
Free agents: There will be no free agent access. You'll play out the season with the 30 players you draft.
Roster management: Intra-roster moves (reserve-to-active and active-to-reserve) can be made twice weekly, Mondays and Fridays at noon ET. You'll be setting your active roster for each Major League series.
League sizes: Each league will have 30 teams, filled on a first-come, first-served basis. I won't run a league with fewer than 20 teams. (actually there was such a large turnout that there were 18 leagues with nearly 450 teams).
But let’s take a look at the roster of one of the winners – Tim McLeod, a friend of mine and a long time contributor at RotoRob.com. I asked Tim what his draft plan was and here are the most important components:
First, he said he read the rules and then re-read the rules, and I agree with Tim that understanding a new contest is really necessary in order to attack it. “The one thing that caught my attention immediately was that we were allowed to make lineup changes twice a week – Monday and then Friday", recounted Tim. "Very quickly, I determined that I was going pitching heavy with the plan being to search for bargains, add some big dollar stud type starters and have at least five closers."
“I wanted to rotate the SP and then fill in each period with the closers and setup guys”, Tim said. And he was spot on as the RP category was, as you see above, Sv+HLD. Having extra pitchers in a twice weekly lineup format is not to stream pitchers but rather to maximize the pitchers you have in your lineup for each four and three-day period, as I mentioned when suggesting back in July that having five pitchers among your seven reserves would be the optimum construction.
Here was Tim’s list with the best bargains (remember the prices in July were based on results to that point in the season, so as you can see those who had missed time or got off to a bad start were going to have low salaries).
David Price $1
Jered Weaver $1
Gerrit Cole $1
Jeremy Hellickson $1
Matt Garza $1
Matt Cain $2
Chris Perez $1
Steve Cishek $1
Aaron Hill $1
Hanley Ramirez $1
Jose Reyes $5
Yasiel Puig $6
Jason Heyward $3
Victor Martinez $2
As Tim said, “Let’s face it, every team would take advantage of Ramirez, Reyes and Price, but Cole, Weaver, Garza and Hellickson were far from the most popular choices.”
Tim said he was going to add stud pitchers after that and he did:
Yu Darvish $26
Max Scherzer $25
Madison Bumgarner $11
Craig Kimbrel $11
Kenley Jansen $10
Casey Janssen $4
He wanted a solid blend of power and speed in his lineup and added these hitters:
Paul Goldschmidt $39
Jason Kipnis $26
Ryan Zimmerman $14
Jay Bruce $18
Jacoby Ellsbury $37
Bryce Harper $18
Matt Wieters $6
Leonys Martin $10
Adam LaRoche $11
Miguel Montero $3
Tim was also thoughtful in choosing his two offensive reserves. “I thought it was imperative to fill my UT slot with an OF. In the event of injury, it gave me a very important option from a flex perspective.” He didn’t need it and I agree that in a monthly contest you pretty much have to get the hitters you think will be on the field.
So how did McLeod’s team fare in the eight categories? Remember that there were 23 teams in his league.
56 home runs – good for 17 points
36 stolen bases – 16.5 points
.3483 on-base % - 14 points
377 RBI+Runs-HR – 22 points
32 wins for all 23 points
2.25 ERA – 22 points
344 strikeouts – another 23 point sweep
32 Saves+Holds – 18.5 points
A total of 156 points, nine and a half ahead of the second place team (who had 81.5 pitching points, just five behind Tim). Shandler’s team finished 8th in this league with 101 points (in fact he did not win any of the eighteen leagues). One interesting point was that Shandler said he would not take Mike Trout on any of his teams (he had one in each league). Funny, Tim didn’t either and still won the league.
Tim really enjoyed the contest and as others have, thanked Ron for adding a new contest to the many fantasy baseball formats. He did say that “one of the keys was the underpriced players and I am sure that will be corrected in future contests.”
I think there will be an announcement soon at RonShandler.com about the next contest, so make sure you are on his e-mail list if you want to try and beat him – and Tim.