This article is a follow-up to our earlier one on the Bleacher Report Writers fantasy baseball league. Three writers are locked into a tight battle. The indications are that the league will stay very close and be decided during the last week of the season.
Rob Knapel, Eric Matula and Professor Bush lead the league and have been swapping first place on a daily basis.
Knapel leads the league in three batting stats (runs, HR and RBI) and three pitching stats (ERA, WHIP and wins). Typically this would have a manager running away with the league. But since his draft was a little light on relief pitchers, he is low in both saves and holds. He is so far back in these stats that it would be difficult to make a substantial improvement. Josh Hamilton, Miquel Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion anchor his offense while David Price is the leader among his pitchers.
Matula has spent the most days in first place. He is in second place or higher in eight of the 12 stat categories. His weak spot is AVG and OBP. With a little roster work, he could probably pick up a few fantasy points in each of those categories, and then win the league in the last few weeks. His offensive leaders are Ryan Braun and Adam Jones. A key issue for Matula is whether and how soon the Nats will shut down Stephen Strasburg due to his innings limit.
Bush is vulnerable in the RBI category. He can and has dropped three points there on one day. The first pitcher he drafted, Tim Lincecum, is killing his ERA and WHIP. Since the Reds keep winning without Joey Votto, they are not in a big hurry to bring him back off the DL. His substitute in Bush's lineup, Nick Swisher was also out of action for a while. Power will continue to be an issue for this team.
So my prediction is that if Matula can do a little roster tidying to improve his AVG and OBP, he could win the league by four to five points. If he can't succeed there, then this might come down to the last week of the season. In that case the final outcome could be determined by the close holds battle that continues between Bush and Matula. That would certainly be an unique way to determine a league winner.
So we will plan to check back in around Labor Day to give another update on the league standings.