10 Teams in 10 Days: #5 Barnegat Banana Slugs

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KNOW YOUR OWNER!:  B SMITH THA REALEST!  Brian enjoys fashion and a good midlife crisis. B Smith first joined this storied (pun not intended) league in 2013, I think, and in just 2 short years he had taken his rag tag band of Banana Slugs to the championship round. And now I am realizing the 6th seed has appeared in/lost the last two championship matchups, with the 5th seed losing in 2014. WEIRD. Anyways, Brian approaches fantasy with the soul of a poet, and it is that unique style that both aids his process and occasionally infuriates potential trade partners.  Ever the educator, I have no doubts that he will spend 2017 seeking to optimize his roster while occasionally lecturing other owners on why they are being stupid for not letting him optimize the Banana Slugs roster with their players. And for that and for other reasons I love this fuckin’ guy. BEST OF LUCK TO THIS FUCKIN’ GUY IN THE UPCOMING SEASON!

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KEY ADDITIONS!:  SP Jon Gray, SS Dansby Swanson, RP Cody Allen, RP AJ Ramos, RP Koda Glover (maybe), just a bunch of RPs really

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KEY SUBTRACTIONS!:  DH David Ortiz, RP Edwin Diaz, CF Odubel Herrera

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Image result for josh donaldson

THE HITTERS!:  Look the Slugs can hit a bit. Nobody is saying the Slugs can’t hit, they can hit a bit. BUT JUST A BIT. Josh Donaldson remains the cream of the crop here, SURE he likely isn’t as good as Nolan Arenado and definitely isn’t as young but he remains really really good, top 10 or 15 or so in fantasy however you slice it. Trevor Story was insanely good in his big league debut in 2016 and should remain really really good, even with the dreaded R word headed his way (IT IS REGRESSION, THE R WORD IS REGRESSION). Adam Eaton is an underrated fantasy asset for his triples alone, and could be pretty great if the Nationals cut out the cute shit and bat him in the top 2 in the lineup. Jose Bautista probably has another year in him, but maybe not. The OVERALL TONE here though, I must say, upon viewing, to me, is Donaldson Story and a whole bunch of meh. Dansby Swanson ‘s ceiling is like Brandon Crawford, people.

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THE PITCHERS!:  Look the Slugs can pitcha bit. Nobody is saying the Slugs can’t pitch, they can pitch a bit. BUT JUST A BIT. And a large part of that is owned to a one Max Scherzer, for my money the second best pitcher in fantasy (and real) baseball. Mad Max is extremely good and should remain so, wimpy spring training finger issues aside. And there’s other good stuff here as well, Jake Arrieta supposedly had a “down year” last year but that’s only because his 2015 was so ridiculously good. He was still really really good in 2016 (3.10 ERA, 190 Ks in 197.1 IP, 17 QS, 18 Ws) so people are silly. Rich Hill can be every bit as great as some of these top guys on a per inning basis, it is just a matter of how many inning you’ll get him for. Jon Gray is the first Rox pitcher SINCE UBALDO that I would actually like to own (and have owned), and Robert Gsellman has excellent hair and if given the chance to amass some innings for the Amazins he could be pretty special. AND THEN, there is Rick Porcello. Porcello is terribly overrated (undeserved Cy Young awards will do that to you) and I expect his 2017 fall back to Earth to be a long one. Let’s move on.

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Image result for matt strahm

THE BULLPEN!:  Look the Slugs can ‘pen a bit. Nobody is saying the Slugs can’t ‘pen, they can ‘pen a bit. BUT JUST A BIT. And actually this is the aspect of the Slugs that has impressed your previewer the most; the Banana Slugs have quietly put together a very strong bullpen. Zach Britton is the game’s best closer once you get past the Kenleys and Aroldii of the world and I expect that to continue in 2017, and Cody Allen is his own team’s second best reliever but also the second best reliever on the Banana Slugs of Barnegat here. He too shall remain a good source of saves and a great source of Ks in 2017. AJ Ramos may have a dubious leash but when he’s on and avoiding the walks he flashes dominance, a nice high K closer in a fantasy world that rewards such closers. But the REAL GEM is Matt Strahm, SP-eligible and high minors-eligible young stud for the Royals that has a real shot at grabbing a setup role alongside Joakim Soria. Strahm could be an absolute beast in the bullpen for both the Royals and the Slugs, and I badly want him and am sad to not own him. So this is depressing so let’s keep going. There’s a bunch of other options here and not all of them will be staying but whichever one pans out (or is chosen) will likely be a good one. Cam Bedrosian looks like the closer for the Angels and can be a good one, Koda Glover MIGHT get the shot in Washington if not on Opening Day then a few months down the line, and Addison Reed will close while Familia serves his suspension time for being an ABUSER. Oh and there’s Brad Brach, excellent holds guy and a strikeout artist in his own right. So no matter where Brian goes here he is in good shape, and by the time this posts I will probably have to come back and cross out the guys that are gone. My money says he keeps Brach and Glover (he’s high minors) but the rest go away. TIME SHALL TELL.

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THE OUTLOOK!:  Look the Slugs can win a bit. Nobody is saying the Slugs can’t win, they can win a bit. BUT JUST A BIT. SURE a lot of this format was just for trolling purposes but also it is what I BELIEVE in my HEART. The Banana Slugs can seemingly do everything well without doing anything great, and when you bake in some regression for guys like Trevor Story, Jake Lamb, BRAD MILLER, et al. you have a recipe for a team that will be less effective than its 2016 counterpart, WHICH HAPPENS. Perhaps there’s some positive regression in other areas to offset (I just love talking about regression with Brian’s team) with guys like Jose Bautista, but I refuse to say that because age-ism. He will be hurt and shit. And the Banana Slugs will likely be good enough to make a run at the final one or two playoff spots, and shit.

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SEAN’S PREDICTION!:  10-8, 6th place.

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10 Teams in 10 Days: #5 Barnegat Banana Slugs

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