September 1st. SEVERAL games into the First Round of the Backyard League Playoffs and the perfect time to throw up a Power Rankings that spits in the face of the playoff standings and such. This will be the last Power Rankings of the 2016 Backyard League season, as the next top spot will be decided once someone wins that coveted cup currently collecting dust in Lobman’s River City armoire thingie (feels more like you guys are in Manchester to me but the post office disagrees and who am I to pick a fight with them). Each Power Ranking ends with its own custom all caps sentence, since I tend to use all caps too much as is. Getting it all out of my system and such. ANYWAYS, yea the next Power Rankings will be the 2016 Champion as #1 and everyone else as #10. Nature of the beast. On to the rankings……
1- Point Loma X-Rayz (12-6-2)
A cinderella story if I have ever seen one, Odom’s much-derided-in-the-preseason storms all the way back to take the top spot in the final 2016 Power Rankings. Truly a heartwarming tale. As mentioned within other places within this blog, the X-Rayz ended up here by ripping off a 7-2-1 record over their final 10. Which would be the second best mark in the league over that stretch (I assume). What’s most impressive about Odom’s rise to the top is, as always, the embrace of an unconventional style: in terms of overall season numbers this team is DEAD LAST BY A LONGSHOT in HRs, RBIs, and OBP but manages to still end up 5th in the league in Runs. They then further negate some of those negatives with Doubles (3rd), Triples (1st), Steals (1st), Strikeouts (2nd), and Wins (4th). Intriguingly, they also manage to 5th in Quality Starts despite having the 3rd Worst Team ERA. Some of this points to some heavy revisions to the roster that righted the pitching staff a bit, but most of this TO ME just points to Odom’s ability to adapt to what is needed to win a matchup. This makes them a dangerous team despite sometimes appearing to be less than that on paper, and this is why they are the #1 seed both in the Playoffs and the Power Rankings. HOPE TO REUNITE IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP MY GOOD FRIEND.
2- Main Street MooniniteZ (12-7-1)
And the single best record over the 2nd half of the season goes to this particular franchise, I PRESUME. The MooniniteZ went 8-2 over their final 10 games, however those 2 losses came in their last 3 whereas the X-Rayz won their last 3 and BOOM that’s the difference and thats why the MooniniteZ are home right now…….AS THE SECOND BYE (instead of the first). You don’t win 8 in a row in this volatile league without solid overall season numbers backing you and the MooniniteZ certainly have some of those: Runs (2nd), Triples (3rd), HRs (2nd), RBIs (2nd), Steals (4th), OBP (4th), Strikeouts (1st), Wins (3rd), Saves (1st), Holds (4th), ERA (2nd). You also don’t win that many in a row without a bit of luck, which is why the MooniniteZ were lucky to survive a few matchups despite ONCE AGAIN really pacing the league in fewest Quality Starts (9th but very much started a lot more pitchers throughout the year than the 10th place Punchouts). If there’s one thing that concerns the MooniniteZ heading into the playoffs it has to be that QS stat, which can have a cascading effect on the rest of the starting pitching cats in a given week. That being said Sean (THAT’S ME) will be looking to make some noise in his first go-round of the playoffs post-dynasty, and one has to admit the team has seemingly demonstrated the ability to win TWO MEASLY GAMES IN A ROW in order to take the Cup home to Main Street. BEST OF LUCK TO THIS TEAM IN THEIR PLAYOFF ENDEAVORS.
3- Ocean Gate Trout Fishing Club (11-7-2)
The raw numbers for the OGTFC this year are impressive, so impressive in fact that one has to wonder why Heroy couldn’t stumble his way into anything higher than the #4 seed in the playoffs. Let’s have a look shall we: FIRST in Runs, Doubles, HRs, RBIs, OBP. So basically that’s like all of the offensive cats. THIRD in Saves and ERA. So basically that’s two of the pitching cats (1+1=2). And yet the OGTFC finished 4th overall and never put together a win streak as impressive as the MooniniteZ and HEY THAT MATTERS. Winning the championship does in fact require a win “streak” of at least two games, and because of the OGTFC’s early season hiccups it will require 3 games for them. Strikeouts (8th) and QS (7th) were two categories that the Fishing Club struggled with this year, but with the rest of the numbers being what they were these two cats should have been easily overcome and yet they were not. That being said this team is obviously quite dangerous, as equipped as anybody else to make a run and grab themselves a championship. SO LONG AS TEAM OWNER GREGORY HEROY CAN STAY OUT OF HIS OWN WAY FOR A FUCKIN’ CHANGE.
4- Barnegat Banana Slugs (12-8)
Such a ranking no doubt chaps the ass of the Banana Slugs (if slugs even have asses), but life is a series of small sleights and I don’t even consider this to be one of those. The Banana Slugs had a shot at a bye down to the very last week of the regular season, but they needed a bit of help (an X-Rayz loss) and clearly they didn’t get it and so here they are. In spite of that, Barnegat should already consider this season a bit of a success of sorts as they have LIFTED the The Runner Up Curse ™ and ended the year tied for the most wins with 12. Knowing Brian he won’t be content with this, making his way to the championship game last season and coming up short means he wants to make it there again that much more. And he’s got a chance! Which is something no other previous year runner up could ever really say! And the numbers back it up! Runs (3rd), Doubles (4th), Triples (2nd), OBP (2nd), QS (3rd), and Wins (2nd) are all categories where the Slugs have shown they can hang with pretty much anyone and the Cuban Missiles will be wise not to take the Slugs lightly in Round 1. Not that they ever do, because it’s a blood feud and all. IT’S JUST A SHAME ABOUT TREVOR STORY’S THUMB AND ABOUT WHATEVER THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH RICH HILL’S PHALANGES.
5- Rojo’s Resurgence (11-8-1)
Ohhhh Rojo. Rojo you and your Resurgence. After jumping out into first place and delighting Backyard League fans with their feel-good story, the Resurgence started to collectively feel bad and also hit bad and pitch bad or SOMETHING. And it has been a slow crawl back to the middle ever since then. The Resurgence opened the year 8-2, only to end the season on a 3-6-1 run. So sort of a REVERSE MOONINITEZ if you will, and it’s far better for your fantasy team’s performance to peak later rather than earlier. Lil somethin’ I learned in the midst of winning back-to-back-t0-back championships from 2011-2013. Good times. Good……times. Uhh anyways, lost my place here but ALL HOPE IS NOT LOST for the Resurgence. They still have enough skills to make some noise in the playoffs, in spite of their dumb saves punting strategy (if you are gonna punt something punt holds man). Some positive looking season ranks for the Resurgence: Runs (4th), RBIs (4th), Strikeouts (4th), QS (2nd), CG (1st with an IMPRESSIVE 12), Wins (1st), Holds (1st WHOOP DE FUCKING DOO). And now a look at some negative numbers that might help explain the 2nd half record regression: Doubles (8th), Triples (8th or 9th depending on how I’m supposed to view Lobman/T being tied in 10th), OBP (9th), and also Saves LAST because duh. On the positive side, the Resurgence was third in Moves this year (Odom and Lobman in 1st and 2nd respectively) which shows a willingness to shake things up if needed. This may come in handy in the Backyard League Playoffs, when shakeups are quite often needed. I STILL BELIEVE IN THE RESURGENCE AND WISH THEM THE BEST OF LUCK IN ANY MATCHUPS THAT DON’T INVOLVE ME.
6- River City Cuban Missiles (9-8-3)
Livan Hernandez. I mean Lobman. For some reason I had the 1998 Marlins on the mind and that is just the strangest thing. But anyways and in fairness, the Cuban Missiles have put to bed the ’98 Marlins talk by ALMOST RELUCTANTLY deciding to join the rest of us in the 2016 Backyard League Playoffs. This TECHNICALLY gives the Missiles the chance to defend their crown and become only the second franchise ever to win back-to-back championships, which would be a far greater accomplishment than creating life. Just about everyone can do that shit. Regular season numbers in Mike’s favor as he attempts to retain the cup: HRs (3rd), RBIs (3rd), Strikeouts (3rd, now seems like a good time to mention Mike and I may have skewed our numbers a bit here by starting a LOT of starters that one week BUT HEY I WAS IN FIRST ALL YEAR), QS (4th), Holds (3rd, but Edwin Diaz ain’t walking back through that door). Numbers that would seemingly oppose Lobman repeating as champion: Doubles (10th), Triples (t-10th), Steals (8th), OBP (8th), Saves (9th only because it would be impossible to be worse than Rojo), ERA (9th). So MY POINT HERE IS, the Cuban Missiles are a bit unpredictable. They had a few things going right for them in the regular season, and they are the defending champeens and all, but they also had PLENTY of things going plenty wrong all year. Lobman knows how to work a roster in the playoffs so I can’t put a repeat past them, but I also can’t promise they don’t just end up losing to the Banana Slugs in Round 1. THIS WAS MY BEST #ANALYSIS BLURB THUS FAR BUT ALSO IT WON’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS FOR THE LAST THREE TEAMS SO YEAH THIS WILL BE MY BEST SAD ISN’T IT.
7- Springfield Isotopes (8-9-3)
THE HOTTEST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE, however I still can’t justify putting a non-playoff team over a playoff team in the September Power Rankings. Would feel dirty. If I COULD however, who knows the Springfield Isotopes might have shot all the way to 2nd. The ‘Topes went from having an embarrassing 4-9-3 record to ripping off 4 straight wins, putting a scare in the #6 seed Cuban Missiles and defeating the then-number-one-seed MooniniteZ in Week 20. These wins weren’t cheapies either, as the ‘Topes offense looked legitimately improved over the last month or so of the season. A few of the overall numbers still point to a team that struggled for much of the year, however: Runs (7th), Triples (t-10th), HRs (9th), Steals (10th), Wins (9th), ERA (10th). 2nd in saves and holds though! And yes I am cherry-picking data a bit throughout all of these but in my defense I DON’T WANNA FUCKING LIST THEM ALL OUT. Check em for yourselves people, and let it be said that none of this cherry-picked data can take away from the fact that the Isotopes put together an exciting run at the end of 2017 and nearly forced the league into some dystopian 5th tiebreaker for the #6 seed scenarios. No doubt Mikey T will randomly bring this up a few times during this his saddest fantasy baseball winter, when he confronts missing the playoffs for the first time and being ousted as commissioner all at once. PRAYERS UP FOR MIKEY T.
8- Pine Lake Punchouts (7-13)
Record schmecord, despite having the 9th worst record in the league in 2016 I can put Ryan’s Punchouts no lower than eighth. FOR I AM THE KING OF CONTROVERSY. The other more legitimate reason here is that Ryan absolutely conceded the final two weeks of the season, and accidentally conceded the week before by failing to start 12 against the Resurgence and then being punished for his insolence by narrowly losing the strikeouts cat. The other even more legitimate reason is track record: simply put Ryan has one and the others below him do not. There’s a well-documented history of Ryan’s team either performing horribly and missing the playoffs or winning the championship (like a more sporadic San Francisco Giants), and with so much bad luck involved with his pitching staff I wouldn’t bet against Ryan being right back in the thick of the championship hunt in 2017. In spite of the pitching woes,the Punchouts finished 2nd in CGs with a slightly less impressive than Rojo’s total but still impressive 9 CGs on the season. They also finished 2nd in doubles, but the rest of the numbers paint a less rosy picture for Ryan’s 2016 team: Runs (8th), HRs (9th), RBIs (8th), *Strikeouts (9th), *QS (10th), *Wins (8th), Holds (9th). BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PICK A FEW OUTFIELDERS AND MOVE ON FROM THE REST.
*(would be remiss if I didn’t mention that a refusal to start very many pitchers over the final 2 weeks likely played into this. Particularly QS, the MooniniteZ are still the kings of the bad QS numbers and don’t you people forget it.)
9- Bad Drake Puns (7-11-2)
The Bad Drake Puns continued on a two year path of ineptitude following their SURPRISE rookie season run to the championship game, a run that sadly ended the Backyard League’s first and only dynasty SEE ARTICLE BELOW FOR A FOND LOOK BACK 🙂 . Anyways, and although not quite as bad as their name sake, the BDP never really threatened as a legit playoff contender despite keeping themselves closed in the race until about Week 18. Those looking for the WHY that don’t just stop at blaming Connor’s face can look no further than the season standings sorted by Runs, in which the BDP come in 9th ahead of Cliff’s Bulldogs and Cliff’s Bulldogs alone. Similar struggles in Doubles (9th), HRs (8th), and RBIs (9th) paint the picture of a team that just wasn’t quite built strongly enough to compete over the painstakingly fucking long fantasy baseball season. It wasn’t all bad news for the BDP, as the team lead the league in QS and ERA and trailed only the X-Rayz in steals (by A LOT). Going forward one has to wonder what the future of this team is in this league, and if they dare return with the same team name. AND STOP RUNNING SOME SHITTY OTHER LEAGUE CONNOR THAT’S FORBIDDEN IT’S SOMEWHERE IN THE LEAGUE BYLAWS BSMITTY FELL IN LINE SO YOU FUCKING FALL IN LINE.
10- Whitestone Bulldogs (4-16)
Last time I did these rankings I shit you not Cliff was coming off a victory. Since those last rankings Cliff lost 4 straight matchups through various degrees of don’t-give-a-shit and now he will absolutely be replaced heading into 2017. So at least FOR ONE GLORIOUS SEASON Mikey T gets his wish to have the worst team kicked out of the league each year. A fitting farewell present for a highly decorated but also disgraced commissioner. BUT ANYWAYS YEA THANK YOU FOR NOTHING CLIFFORD.
And that, my friends, is the finale installment of the 2016 Power Rankings. I thank my loyal reader for following along with us all season long, and that loyal reader is me. THANK YOU TO ME.