2018 Announcements 

Eyes on the Future, Part 1

2018 Spring Draft

The Spring Draft will return in 2018!Although it will likely occur during the winter technically, it is called the Spring Draft because it happens during Spring Training. NOW that I have cleared that up, I can announce that the date is TBD. Because who knows when ESPN will open the league up again for sure in 2018. The draft will be held on the first weekend following the league being re-activated. The date will be flexible so schedules will be accommodated. The draft will consist of 3 rounds. Draft order will be decided by reverse standings, with the BCS Cup winner and runner-up selecting 9th and 10th. In order to be eligible to draft, a team must have at least 1 open roster or rights spot. A team must have one open roster spot or rights spot for each draft pick they use in the draft. Teams with no empty roster spots or rights spot will not participate in the Spring draft. They are not permitted to trade for a pick once the draft has started. The draft will take place in a GroupMe chat, separate from the Backyard Radio feed.

2018 All Star Break Rights Selection Process

The Rights Selection Process returns for the 2018 season! The event will take place on the Thursday following the All Star Game. The process will have 3 rounds. A team must have 1 empty spot in their controlled rights pool for every pick they make during the process. Draft order will be decided by reverse standing, with the BCS Cup winner and runner-up selecting 9th and 10th. Any player not in the ESPN system is eligible to be selected. The draft will take place in a GroupMe chat, separate from the Backyard Radio feed.

The Backyard Baseball Hall of Fame

Introducing the Backyard Hall of Fame! Ballots on the first class of candidates will be sent out shortly. Voting will be 100% league owners. All stats over a players 162 game season will be considered. Only stats from the 14 categories in the Backyard scoring structure will be observed. Players must receive 70% or more of yes votes to be inducted. Players are only eligible for the ballot twice. Players will enter the HoF with the team that owned them for the most total time during their Backyard career. A petition may be filed if a team feels they have a claim to a HoF inductee. If deemed valid by the league office, a league vote will be held to decide which cap said entrant dons. A maximum of 5 players may enter in any given year. A minimum of 0 players may enter in any given year. A website will be opened to display the players in our HoF. Beginning in 2018, events such as cycles and no hitters will also be logged in the HoF. The Hall of Fame class will be released 1 by 1, beginning on the Monday of the BCS Cup and released daily until the full class has been announced. The induction ceremony will be held before the start of the Spring Draft.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for Part 2: Future Proposals. 

2018 Announcements 

Backyard Rules and Regulations Update



Backyard Rules and Regulations
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY…although I understand it’s very VERY late in the season. However most of these rules and protocols are known and just not put down in ink somewhere MUCH TO MIKEY T’S DISMAY. So without further adieu…..


Over 12 starts
Beginning in 2018, starting more than 12 pitchers will result in an automatic disqualification if you win or tie a matchup, as well as a roster lock for that day and the following day. Starting more than 12 pitchers in a losing matchup will result in a roster lock for that day and the following day as well as that opponent being allowed to pick one start for you to bench during your next matchup with them. Decision on who to bench must be decided by 5 minutes before roster lock on the Sunday of the matchup. Any owner that exceeds 12 starts in Week 18 or during the playoffs will be disqualified and will have their rosters locked from the moment of the violation until the following Opening Day. Current rule posted during 2017 still applies for 2017.


All Star Week Matchup Start Limit
The All Star Week Matchup start limit is 24. Owners are free to make an agreement with their opponent on a lowered start limit. Any disputes between owners over a start agreement will be handled by league offices.


Minor League Violations
To view the Minor League rules, click here. https://backyardviewsblog.com/2017/04/10/from-the-desk-of-the-commissioner-minor-league-regulations-and-requirements/

To view the Rights Process Protocol, click here https://backyardviewsblog.com/2017/06/19/draft-rights-the-next-step/


Additions to the policies in place
– Owners selecting a player to be benched by their opponent for violating the minor league policy must select their player 3 minutes before first pitch of said players game.

– All minor league strikes reset the day after the BCS Series concludes. Multi year violations totals can and will be held against you.

– Beginning Opening Day 2018, all 2 and 3 strike offenders of the minor league policy will lose their 1st round pick in the following Spring Draft.

– Any owner that accumulates 5 violations over any time period will not be allowed to participate in any Backyard draft for 1 calendar year, beginning on the day of the 5th violation.

– The intention to claim or pass on a rights player once they reach the ESPN system must be declared by the owner of their rights within 1 hour of roster lock on the day the player reaches the system. If the owner is unaware of the player reaching the system for more than 24 hours, the decision must be made within 1 hour of them finding out the player is in the system.
– The current legislation states: – All teams must maintain a total of 8 minor leaguers at all times barring a trade, DL move involving a minor league player, or the day a player exceeds minor league limits. In this instance, the team will have until the next First Pitch Roster Lock to become compliant. All teams MUST ALWAYS maintain at least 8 minor league players.

We shall be altering that. Teams may be non-compliant on the day any player comes off of the DL up until roster lock. They no longer need to be minor leaguers only. The rule now applies to major leaguers as well.
Offseason Minor League Compliance
Owners that are eliminated from the postseason may allow their current minor league players to exceed the maximums up until 24 hours before the Spring Draft. These owners can not make any trades or adds until they make their roster compliant.


Gross Owner Negligence Clause aka The Unwritten Rule That Must Now Be Written Cuz Someone Went And Abused It
An owner may petition to the league office once (1) every 2 calendar years to have a player added back to their roster after having dropped them. Petition must be filed within 1 hour of the disputed transaction. Player must have been owned by team for over 1 calendar year to be eligible for petition.


I do believe that covers it (for now). The loopholes never stop, so please send any suggestions or comments towards the Commissioners Office.


Backyard Rules and Regulations Update

Wild Dog Mitch Russo’s Hot Takes

The Russo Report

The Wild Dog Mitch Russo with his picks in key Hot Stove categories, as well 5 trades he would like to see happen before the 7/29 trade deadline.


5 Guys Who Will Not Be Traded

X-Rayz RP Aroldis Chapman

10 saves, 3.42 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 35 Ks

Despite some hot headed outburst by management on a handful of Backyard Radio Broadcasts AND legitimate preliminary discussions involving Chapman at the time, I have no reason to believe the flamethrower will be headed out of Point Loma. While still maintaining impressive value despite his sub-par patch, management has opted to bolster the bullpen via trade at a heavy cost. They are banking on Chapman returning to form and galvanizing a new and improved back end down the playoff stretch.


Mooninitez SP Lance McCullers Jr.

19.1 IP, 22 K, 1 W, 6.05 ERA over last 30 days

One rough patch for this fireballing youngster and the buy low offers come in rolling into Moonz headquarters. GM Sean McLaughlin is known for not selling low on players, instead riding through rough times for the right amount of talent. Teams are kidding themselves if they think this 23 year old is leaving the gravitational pull of the Moonz rotation any time in the near future.


Titans 3B/RF Miguel Sano

22 HRs, 63 RBIs, .370 OBP

The light has finally flicked on for the long time highly touted prospect, and his monster 2017 home run showing Is drawing heavy interest from rival GMs. Unfortunately for them, the Titans A) cherish Sano as a powerful corner IF/OF and B) have a surplus of pitchers and a deficiency of talent in the lineup. Any deal for Sano would cost an equal or better bat, thus making a trade all but pointless at this juncture for all parties involved.


Isotopes 1B/LF Cody Bellinger

26 HRs, 62 RBIs, .356 OBP

The offers for the multipositional young playboy came rolling during and immediately following the HR Derby, and interest remains at a fever pitch. The Isotopes have refused to engage in talks for Bellinger, and it’s hard to argue with that stance. Teams are trying to catch Mikey T napping, and it plain ain’t gonna happen.


Renegades RF Nelson Cruz

6 HRs, 21 RBIs, .363 OBP over last 30 days

A few weeks ago, Nelly Cruz was shaping up to be a tremendous get for a playoff bound team. His stock was down slightly from years past due to a down year by his standards, and the Renegades were fading. Fast forward to today: the Renegades have gone 2-0-1 and Nelly has heated up in that stretch. With Rojo and the Force back in the hunt, the red hot Cruz suddenly plays a big part in their 2017 plans and has likely played himself out of bargain value bin.



5 Guys That Will Be Traded

Mooninitez SP Alex Reyes

#9 MLB.com, #9 Baseball Prospectus, #12 Baseball America Prospect

With the Moonz looking to lock in a second consecutive bye shortly, there is no reason to believe this team isn’t a favorite to win the BCS. GM Sean McLaughlin has always viewed prospects more as trade chips than building blocks, and despite being sidelined with TJ, Reyes could still garner a great haul. The roster lacks any serious holes, but the rotation and bullpen could use one more difference making arm to put Manchester’s Finest over the top in 2017. Reyes could be the guy to get them that arm.


Morning Wood SP Zack Grienke

131 Ks, 10 QS, 11 W, 1 CG, 2.86 ERA

Not many soon to be 34 year old pitchers carry the kind of 2018 upside that Grienke does, and his stellar 2017 only enhances his value. Zack is only 2 season removed from a 1.66 ERA over 222.2 IP, and carries a 2.98 ERA over his 7 years in National League play. With pitching being a true rollercoaster ride for GMs this season, the bidding for Grienke has already begun. An ace of his caliber should draw a great return for the rebuilding Morning Wood.


Isotopes 1B Wil Myers

17 HRs, 43 RBIs, 10 SBs, .332 OBP

In a shocking turn of events, the Isotopes suddenly have enough young depth to shop a 26 year old 2016 All Star. Last season’s 28/28 HR/SB has not been replicated thus far this year, but that does not mean it can’t happen again. If they attempt to add to what they have deemed to be a championship contender, the ‘Topes can basically shore up any issue they desire by trading Myers and sliding Bellinger or Reynolds into his spot in the lineup.


Morning Wood SP Ervin Santana

94 Ks, 13 QS, 11 Ws, 4 CGs 2.99 ERA

With all of the holes in Q-Tip City, there is simply no way they can carry a soon to be 35 year old starting pitcher having a career season through the trade deadline. While he screams regression and has many miles on his tires, his 4 complete games this year have established him as a legitimate threat to go the distance any time he takes the mound. His ERA is 1.34 runs below the league average, and a pitching starved contender may part with a solid trade piece come Deadline Day for The Artist Formerly Known as Johan Santana. My prediction is that he ends up in a package deal out of Q-Tip City.


Trout Fishing Club OF Eloy Jimenez

#8 MLB.com, #8 Baseball Prospectus, #5 Baseball America Prospect

The defending champion OGTFC are in the midst of a WEIRD TIED LADEN season. Injuries have ravaged an All-World lineup, and GM Heroy is finally being forced to show tactical skills. With long term talent in surplus, Ocean Gate has openly shopped the highly touted power OF in an attempt to bolster their 2017 roster. Any team’s considered sellers should be highly interested in the ChiTown bopper to be.



5 Players That Must Be Traded

Morning Wood SP Carlos Martinez

133 Ks, 13 QS,6 Ws, 1 CG, 3.36 ERA

One of the few (if any) trades the Morning Wood have won thus far resulted in them acquiring Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez. As a rebuilding team, you would think C-Mart should be a piece of the long term foundation. But allow me to play Devi’s Advocate: The soon to be 26 year old holds immense trade value that has only been increased by the volatile 2017 pitching market. He is more towards a 1a or 2 in a fantasy rotation, and that’s why I believe management should cash in on their arm while the iron is hot. They have already traded away their pair of 1s (Bumgarner and Thor), and need to add depth and pieces across the board. The collective haul from C-Mart/Grienke trades would bolster the team immensely if done right.


Titans SP Yu Darvish

131 Ks, 14 QS, 6 Ws, 3.45 ERA

In a RARE MOMENT OF WEAKNESS, TItans GM Ryan McLaughlin overplayed his hand on 5/22. He sent Rafael Denvers, Yasiel Puig, and George Springer out of town for Matt Kemp and Yu Darvish. Following in the footsteps of Odom (speed) and Rojo (holds), Ryan went overboard in the pitching category in a momentary fit of madness. Several weeks later and with the 2017 season slipping away, the Titans need to do their best to undo the damage created to their once vaunted lineup. The aforementioned pitching market is as in demand as ever, and a bidding war for Yu could reach All-Star caliber levels. Considering he would be the 5th best starter in TR come Opening Day 2018 and pitchers at peak value, this is an easy no brainer.


Banana Slugs SP Luis Severino

130 Ks, 11 QS, 5 Ws, 3.40 ERA

Another young arm, another case of a team perhaps cashing in on the hot pitcher trade market. Following the retirement of Big Papi, the BBS have seen a sharp decline in their power numbers in 2017. A playoff run is all but certain this year, and one more impact bat could be the final piece to a BCS puzzle. Considering the depth in the Slugs rotation (Max, Arrieta, Porcello, Nova, Gray) and a top prospect in Brent Honeywell paired with the harsh reality that long term aces in the AL East are few and far between, and all signs point to it being sell time in Barnegat on their Bronx Bomber.


Morning Wood SP Jacob Faria

41 Ks, 7 QS, 4 Ws, 2.00 ERA

It was possibly a foolish decision to trade for such an unknown as a team that was falling out of contention, and the Wood need to cash In while they can on this young upstart. His value is near an all time high considering his pedigree and insane start in 2017, and a pitching starved contender may pay a shiny penny in the prospect game to acquire Faria. His numbers this season don’t reflect his long term potential and Q-Tip City would be foolish to include him in their rebuilding plan. They need cornerstones, not contributors.


Morning Wood RP Felipe Rivero

60 Ks, 4 Ws, 8 SVs, 14 HDs

The 26 year old recently named closer in Pittsburgh is striking out batters at 10.7 per 9 clip, and ranks only behind Kenley Jansen in RP ESPN Player Rater score in 2017. His value to the rebuilding Morning Wood is minimal, where as a contender with a hole in the bullpen would love to add this potential Bucco beast. Rivero is by far the best reliever among the teams considered to be sellers before the deadline, and a bidding war combined with a hot July could end up in dollar signs for Q-Tip City.



5 Trades We Would Like To See Happen


Morning Wood trade SP Zack Grienke to OGTFC for C/1B Buster Posey

A bit old for the desires of GM Shane McCann, Posey still brings star power and name value to a decimated franchise. He would lock down the backstop position for years to come. Grienke would instantly slot into the top end of the Fishing Club’s rotation, and there is no reason to believe he won’t be very effective in 2018 as well. Gotta spend money to make money!


Moonz trade SP Alex Reyes, OF Ronald Acuna, OF Steven Souza, OF Lewis Brinson to Morning Wood for SP Carlos Martinez, RP Felipe Rivero

QUITE the hefty price we are asking of the Moonz here, all but gutting their farm system in this deal. But by placing an electric starter like C-Mart into that rotation and letting Rivero step in and close and the #1 seed becomes that much more deadly, as a 2017 BCS Title is very much in reach. Souza is a 28 year old OF that will likely hit 30 bombs this year, Acuna and Brinson are 2 premiere outfield prospects, and Reyes has the potential to be even better than Martinez in the coming years. This is a blockbuster win/win in our opinion.


Rojo’s Renegades trade SP Julio Urias to Morning Wood for SP Gio Gonzalez

2 birds with 1 stone for the Renegades here, as they can add to their injury depleted rotation for a playoff push as well as open up a precious Major League roster spot. Gio is having a stellar season that is even more impressive considering the league’s pitching issues, and going on age 32 still has some tread perhaps. The Morning Wood have roster space to spare and would be wise to roll the dice on a player that has been compared to Sandy Koufax, regardless of injury concerns.


Astoria Isotopes trade 1B Wil Myers to Barnegat Banana Slugs for SP Luis Severino and LF Brett Gardner

The Slugs can add a long term 5 tool bat to their lineup, while the Isotopes finally cave in and admit they could use another starting arm. The Pinstripe Power of Severino and Gardner pluck at the heartstrings of GM Mikey T, giving Astoria a pair of 23 year olds in the rotation (Severio and Berrios) to match the deadly duo of Bellinger and Judge. Myers goes a long way towards replacing Big Papi’s production in 2017 and in the future, while the Slugs staff can withstand the loss of Severino.

Toms River Titans trade SP Noah Syndergaard, 3B Yoan Moncada, and RP Brad Hand to Lacey BackdoorSliderz for 1B Freddie Freeman and SP Jose De Leon

This one is 100% wild speculation unfounded in any truth, but boy would it be fun. BDSliderz GM Sean Dochney turns into Homer Simpson and trades pairs Thor with deGrom for the long term future. Freeman’s loss would be a huge hit to the 2017 playoff push, but Moncada brings long term value that offsets that. Brad Hand could be a deadly bullpen weapon if traded to a contender and his peaked his value this season. Freddie would go a long way towards stabilizing a weakened lineup for the Titans, perhaps becoming their best hitter upon arrival. De Leon would be a throw in that still holds great upside from the mound.



Signing off,

Mitch Russo


Editors Note: Between the writing and publishing of this report, Ervin Santana was traded to the River City Bad Dudes.

Wild Dog Mitch Russo’s Hot Takes

First Annual ESPN Player Rater Backyard All Star Teams

Welcome to the unveiling of the first ever American and National Division All Stars, based off of ESPN’s Player Rater scoring system. The scoring system is based off of our scoring format, and I went right off of that. I simply selected the highest score for each division by position, so file any complaints with those clowns in Bristol. If someone does complain to Bristol, be sure to mention they value complete games too much. CUZ THEY SO DO. Also, 3 players had scores that would have made them All Stars, but they did not make the squad. Mike Trout and Trea Turner are DL’d and THUS forfeit their spots, and poor Josh Reddick isn’t even OWNED as of press time. So he naturally was snubbed. Stats as of 7/5. Without further adieu, your Backyard All Stars.


The Backyard All Stars


C: JT Realmuto, MIA, TRT

36 R, 14 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 32 RBI, 4 SB, .353 OBP, 5.48 PR

FOR THOSE OF YOU KEEPING SCORE, JBJ has a 5.68. Higher than JT, but the 47th ranked OF. Excellent all around first half for the man that keeps it real, especially those potent 3 triples from the slow footed position.

1B: Paul Goldschmidt, ARI, RRF

72 R, 20 2B, 2 3B, 19 HR, 66 RBI, 13 SB, .433 OBP, 16.85 PR

Goldy is indeed worth his weight in gold when you look at his numbers. Utter dominance across the board, and another 30 HR/20 SB/+.400 OBP is very much in sight. One of many ESPN PR All Star appearances to come for this man.

2B: Daniel Murphy, WAS, XYZ

55 R, 26 2B, 2 3B, 14 HR, 60 RBI, 1 SB, .395 OBP, 11.19 PR

Ohhh it just keeps getting better with this guy. Seemingly improving on career highs annually, Murphy has been a steady source of pop and production for the X-Rayz and Nats. The doubles really stick out in our format.

SS: Elvis Andrus, TEX, XYZ

51 R, 20 2B, 2 3B, 11 HR, 50 RBI, 20 SB, .347 OBP, 11.68 PR

And to think this guy was just SITTING there when I finally got on the clock in the 8th round of the 2016 draft. Maybe 9th, WHO EVEN KNOWS. But I digress, as Elvis has exceeded even my wildest dreams. The double digit homers before the break is very sexy from a shortstop that has also already reached 20 steals.

3B: Jose Ramirez, CLE, XYZ

59 R, 27 2B, 5 3B, 15 HR, 42 RBI, 9 SB, .379 OBP, 14.62 PR

Fun fact: Jose technically is the best 2B, 3B, and LF eligible in not only the American Division but allllll of The Backyard. I settled on his current 2017 position and plugged him in here at 3rd. This stat stuffing son of a gun has been the spark-plug for another X-Rayz June run of dominance, and is becoming one of the best players in our coveted fantasy format.

LF: Eric Thames, MIL, XYZ

55 R, 14 2B, 1 3B, 23 HR, 43 RBI, 2 SB, .375 OBP, 8.45 PR

And to think, this guy was just SITTING there when I finally got on the clock with the 20th pick in the 2017 Player Selection Process. While he has fallen off hard from his early season explosion, it’s pretty obvious Thames has returned to America a much different player. He was the pace car in April for ding dongs and has shown streaky pop.

CF: Charlie Blackmon, COL, T

67 R, 17 2B, 10 3B, 18 HR, 59 RBI, 6 SB, .365 OBP, 18.35 PR

Your top rated hitter folks. 10 triples will do that for ya in The Backyard, and the other 6 categories ain’t too shabby eitha. Nevermind the massive fall off in steals, Chuck Nazty is an bonafide slugger mashing away in Coors with no reason to slow down anytime soon.

RF: Aaron Judge, NYY, T

74 R, 13 2B, 3 3B, 29 HR, 65 RBI, 6 SB, .449 OBP, 17.25 PR

And your top rated rookie (second rated hitter overall) folks. The Topes lineup has been downright lethal this season, as the judge has dropped the gavel on many a victim in 2017. The face of Astoria for years to come.

2B/SS: Dee Gordon, MIA, XYZ

47 R, 13 2B, 4 3B, 18 RBI, 29 SB, .335 OBP, 10.17 PR

Meet your only ESPNPR All Star without a long ball. Ideally he never hits another one again after that Jose one. Moving on, hey speed kills still apparently. Dee’s 4 triples and 29 steals are enough to move the needle most weeks, and the OBP and runs are nothing to cough at either. Who neeeeeeeds PEDs?

1B/3B: Jake Lamb, ARI, BBS

52 R, 18 2B, 3 3B, 18 HR, 65 RBI, 4 SB, .376 OBP, 11.69 PR

A Silver Slug turned into a Golden Goose, Lamb (too many creatures to keep up here) has hit his stride in 2017. RBIs have flowed from this man, as well as the XBHs. He should be considered locked into the Dbacks and Slugs lineup for the foreseeable future.

OF: George Springer, HOU, RRF

70 R, 19 2B, 25 HR, 55 RBI, 2 SB, .374 OBP, 10.32 PR

After making his money as a Titan, Springer became a Renegade in season and the Force is now reaping the benefits. A superb slugger from the right field spot, he is one of many valuable Astros in The Backyard and is a steadying bat in the lineup for Rojo.

UTIL: Billy Hamilton, CIN, XYZ

51 R, 9 2B, 5 3B, 2 HR, 22 RBI, 34 SB, .295 OBP, 10.89 PR

Outside of the usual lack of homers (he hasn’t been shutout at least) and weak OBP, Billy has been a decent to spectacular producer in the other 5 categories. His lead off numbers especially (51 runs, 5 triples, 34 steals) are week altering stats.

UTIL: Carlos Correa, HOU, TRT

57 R, 17 2B, 1 3B, 17 HR, 58 RBI, .397 OBP, 9.31 PR

Correa continues to do his thing in Houston, and the arrow is still pointing up. Being in the heart of that Astros lineup is another juicy feature of this young stud.

RP: Greg Holland, COL, T

43 K, 1 W, 28 SV, 1.39 ERA, 6.78 PR

Another year, another reclamation project in the bullpen for Mikey T. This one paid off tremendously, as Holland has been basically lights out in the high altitude. His strikeouts have returned as well, making Holland a very valuable 2017 asset.

RP: Chris Devenski, HOU, RRF

72 K, 3 SV, 11 HD, 6 W, 2.09, 6.08 PR

WOW. Was stunned when I saw this, and after seeing he was a Renegade since Opening Day, there is no doubt the man earned his spot. DON’T FORGET Devenski is SP eligible with those glistening numbers. Decisions in all shapes and forms combined with that sexy 12.54 K per 9 and tidy 2.09 ERA make this Astro a SURE FIRE All Star in our format.

SP: Max Scherzer, WAS, BBS

163 K, 15 QS, 10 W, 2 CG, 1.94 ERA, 18.48 PR

Yeah Max is the man. Hard to stop, hard to top, Max has elite K levels, can go 9 any time he takes the mound, and plays in a weak division behind a strong lineup. What is there not to love?THE FACT THAT THE WEIRDO HAS 2 DIFFERENT COLORED EYES…the eyes are the window to the soul. Rememba that people.

SP: Chris Sale, BOS, TRT

166 K, 15 QS, 11 W, 1 CG, 2.61 ERA, 15.05 PR

Downright filth from Sale thus far in Boston. That K total is enough to slant any week in the Titans favor, and is usually overkill with their stellar rotation. Will his elbow ever explode?

SP: Corey Kluber, CLE, RRF

115 K, 10 QS, 7 W, 2 CG, 2.85 ERA, 12.98 PR

The KluBot continues to dominate batters, and rounds out a sensational set of aces in the American Division. 2 CGs offset the middling 7 win total, and don’t forget the filthy Ks he has racked up.

SP: Clayton Kershaw, LAD, TRT

146 K, 15 QS, 13 W, 2.19 ERA, 12.88 PR

No CGs yet from Kershaw in 2017, but everything else is falling right in line. Insane K rate to go with plenty of wins and a razor thin ERA. Same ole Clayton.

SP: Ivan Nova, PIT, BBS

65 K, 12 QS, 8 W, 2 CG, 3.24 ERA, 12.10 PR

Former Pinstripe Pharmhand turned Bucco Ball Buster Ivan Nova has enjoyed quite the career in Pittsburgh. The Slugs have owned him since 4/17, and for good reason. He’s been quality for most of the time and has mixed in 2 ever so clutch CGs, and that’s apparently enough to get him on this list.

P: Brandon Kintzler, MIN, T

24 K, 2 W, 22 SV, 2.41 ERA, 4.75 PR

ONLY FITTING the league’s biggest Twins fan owns the Twins closer. In a weak-ish American Division bullpen, Kintzler makes his way onto the squad not for his putrid K rate, but for his excellent work in the other closer categories. Also because the Player Rater rated him as the 3rd best reliever in the American Division so THERE.

P: Jason Vargas, KC, XYZ

78 K, 12 QS, 12 W, 1 CG, 2.62 ERA, 11.81 PR

WELP. Jason Vargas has indeed maintained his early season success. Outside of a slacking strikeout total, his other numbers are ace level. The lovely synchronization involved with his 12 wins and 12 quality starts is fascinating, and we are all happy for this TJ renaissance story.


National All Stars

C: Buster Posey, SF, JF16

35 R, 17 2B, 10 HR, 35 RBI, 1 SB, .413 OBP, 5.25 PR

Another year, another quality season for Buster. Despite the Giants falling off a cliff in 2017, Posey has maintained his usual top Catcher pace thus far.

1B: Joey Votto, CIN, MOONZ

63 R, 19 2B, 1 3B, 24 HR, 61 RBI, 3 SB, .426, 13.27 PR

The Big Red Machine in Cincy is pretty big and red and machine-like so far in 2017, and the machine-like Votto is the catalyst. Another all around spectacular performance from The Walking Red.

2B: Jose Altuve, HOU, LTBS

57 R, 25 2B, 2 3B, 12 HR, 45 RBI, 17 SB, .405 OBP, 14.20 PR

New ownership in Lacey wisely identified Altuve as the face of the franchise, and Altuve continued on his torrid tear through major league pitching. A 5 tool stud with 7 category contributions, this should be one of many ESPNPR All Star selections for Lacey’s finest.

SS: Xander Bogaerts, BOS, RCBD

50 R, 20 2B, 4 3B, 6 HR, 41 RBI, 9 SB, .361 OBP, 9.97 PR

X Gon Give It To Ya, and he has been in fact doing that for much of the 2017 season. Despite the low HR total, his impressive 41 RBIs rounds out a very productive 6 category season thus far.

3B: Nolan Arenado, COL, MOONZ

52 R, 27 2B, 5 3B, 15 HR, 63 RBI, 2 SB, .349 OBP, 12.71 PR

Nolan being Nolan out there in Manchester. That XBH dinner spread has been feeding many a Moonz win so far in 2017, and there’s noooo reason to see this trend stopping any decade soon.

LF: Corey Dickerson, TB, WOOD

60 R, 22 2B, 3 3B, 17 HR, 41 RBI, 2 SB, .363 OBP, 10.29 PR

The official face of the rebuilding Morning Wood (his nickname is C-Dick for the love of christ), Dickerson has shown he wasn’t simply a Coors Baby and is flourishing in his second year under the Trop Big Top. The power and OBP are both back to quality levels.

CF: Andrew McCutchen, PIT, MOONZ

50 R, 16 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 49 RBI, 6 SB, .369 OBP, 9.34 PR

While he has clearly begin to erode already from his peak (and dreadheaded might I add) years, McCutch aka McMoonz has done his fair share in 2017. MVP he is not, but ESPN PR All Star he indeed is. LOOK AT THAT 7 CATEGORY DIVERSITY.

RF: Bryce Harper, WAS, RCBD

66 R, 20 2B, 20 HR, 64 RBI, 2 SB, .431 OBP, 11.99 PR

More Bryce being Bryce for the Bad Dudes in 2017. 40 XBHs to go along with that pristine .431 on base percentage is just another day at the office for the best Show hair in the majors.

1B/3B: Travis Shaw, MIL, LTBS

46 R, 21 2B, 1 3B, 18 HR, 61 RBI, 7 SB, .362 OBP, 9.85 PR

After a sensational first third of the season last year, Shaw came crashing down to earth in a bloody heap for Boston. He’s hit his stride as a member of the Brew Crew, and Dochney wisely scooped the man up during his first week of ownership. A very productive and diverse first half for the corner infielder.

2B/SS: Corey Seager, LAD, JF16

57 R, 22 2B, 13 HR, 42 RBI, 3 SB, .397 OBP, 8.27 PR

The younger Seager has been the most reliable member of the Fishing Club infield thus far in 2017. Plenty of XBHs and runs from this budding superstar, who is grabbing one of what should be many appearances on this list in years to come.

OF: Mookie Betts, BOS, JF16

58 R, 28 2B, 15 HR, 51 RBI, 15 SB, .357 OBP, 11.50 PR

Mookie has PLUMMETED down the rankings this year, winning the crown in 2016 only to fall to 20th in 2017. Having said that, Mookie is still an all around superb Backyard player that should dominate for years to come.

UTIL:  Anthony Rizzo, CHI, JF16

51 R, 16 2B, 1 3B, 19 HR, 54 RBI, 5 SB, .394 OBP, 10.16 PR

Nice little utility slot for Rizzo this season, who continues to slug while in Chicago. The steals are always an added caveat for a 1B that has 40 home run power.

UTIL: Kris Bryant, CHI, JF16

53 R, 17 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 33 RBI, 6 SB, .394 OBP, 9.69 PR

After last year’s MVP season, 2017 has been considered a disappointment for the ALL STAR-less Bryant. LOOK AT THAT RBI TOTAL. With that in mind, his 3B/LF eligibility and all around talent still makes him one of the better players in the National Division. APPARENTLY.

RP: Kenley Jansen, LAD, MOONZ

4 W, 20 SV, 1 HD, 56 K, 1.01 ERA, 6.86 PR

YES Kenley managed to snake a hold in this magical season of his. I do believe they trotted him out in a tight spot in the 8th and ran his pitch count up. But enough about that, LOOK AT THAT 56:2 ratio. Which reached an eye popping and lovely 50:0 at one point.

RP: Corey Knebel, MIL, LTBS

71 K, 13 SV, 11 HD, 1.11 ERA, 6.60 PR

FILTHY. Downright filthy. Knebel was an effective setup guy early in the season for Milwaukee (and nobody in The Backyard). Knebel was then scooped up in the infamous 4/20 Columbine Shooting OH I mean player add/drop in Lacey, that netted 2 ESPNPR All Stars. As a BDSlide, Knebel has 13 saves and 7 holds to go with 61 Ks in 33.1 IP.

SP: Ervin Santana, MIN, WOOD

91 K, 12 QS, 10 W, 4 CG, 2.99 ERA, 19.97 PR

The ESPN Player Rater LOVES triples and complete games. Which is why Ervin surpassed Max Scherzer on 7/5 to lead the league in PR score following his CG L. While his ERA slowly continues to rise, there is no denying his value in The Backyard scoring format. Too bad he’s playing for a 2-10-1 team.

SP: Marcus Stroman, TOR, RCBD

87 K, 11 QS, 8 W, 2 CG, 3.42 ERA, 12.29 PR

Who saw this coming?Likely Lobman, who has been high on Stroman for quite some time. While a touch below his usual K rate, the ERA is down and he entered the season with 1 career CG, only to see him drop 2 thus far in 2017.

SP: Zack Grienke, ARI, WOOD

124 K, 9 QS, 10 W, 1 CG, 3.05 ERA, 11.16 PR

The Dbacks get a nice return on their investment (I guess?), seeing Grienke return back to a K thrower with a near sub-3 ERA. His arrow is as hard to project as any other player in baseball at this point, but there is no denying his 2017 filth so far.

SP: Carlos Martinez, STL, WOOD

124 K, 12 QS, 6 W, 1 CG, 3.15 ERA, 10.39 PR

The crown jewel of a once ace laden rotation in Q-Tip City, C-Mart has filthy stuff (evidenced by his 124 Ks in 111.1 IP). But a limited 2017 Cardinals squad and his own inconsistencies have hurt his win total.

SP: Jacob deGrom, NYM, LTBS

125 K, 11 QS, 8 W, 1 CG, 3.55 ERA, 10.30 PR

The official hair of the Lackey Backdoorz, deGrom is back to dominance after a brief hiccup. The ERA is up a bit from his previous years, but the Ks have spiked as well. With his Mets tie-in, Jake has to be one of the more coveted players by Lacey ownership.

P: Andrew Miller, CLE, JF16

65 K, 3 W, 2 SV, 17 HD, 1.49 ERA, 6.03 PR

JF16 paid a pretty penny for this hybrid bullpen arm, and while one can wonder if there were cheaper guys available, no one can deny the man’s dominance. The elite K total and ERA means the mix and match style of his usage isn’ttttt really an issue.

P: Alex Wood, LAD, MOONZ

97 K, 7 QS, 10 W, 1 HD, 1.67 ERA, 8.22 PR

Another season, another tantalizing performance by Alex Wood. HOWEVER, this one hasn’t been decimated by injuries yet. And look at those numbas, that ERA is downright sexy. Not to mention that 10.82 K per 9, the Moonz calling card.

First Annual ESPN Player Rater Backyard All Star Teams

From The Desk Of The Commissioner: Minor League Regulations and Requirements

Know The Rules


Minor League Regulations and Requirements


– All teams must maintain a total of 8 minor leaguers at all times barring a trade, DL move involving a minor league player, or the day a player exceeds minor league limits. In this instance, the team will have until the next First Pitch Roster Lock to become compliant. All teams MUST ALWAYS maintain at least 8 minor league players.


– Low minors are 4 players with 0 MLB IP and 0 MLB ABs.This is mandatory. High minors allows for up to 4 players under 50 MLB IP and 130 MLB ABs. There is no mandatory requirement to own 4 high minor leaguers.



1st offense: Empty minors roster slot: Warning.

1st offense: Rostering ineligible player at roster lock: Opponent is allowed to select one player that you must sit the following day.

1st offense: Starting ineligible player at roster lock: Opponent is allowed to select one player you must sit the following 2 days.


2nd offense: Empty minors roster slot: Warning.

2nd offense: Rostering ineligible player at roster lock: Opponent is allowed to select one player that you must sit the following day, can not add or drop for the following day as well.

2nd offense: Starting ineligible player at roster lock: Opponent is allowed to select one player you must sit the following 2 days, lose highest % owned (according to ESPN) low minor player to waiver wire.


3rd offense: Empty minors roster slot: Lose top 2 highest % owned minor league players.

3rd offense: Rostering ineligible player at roster lock: Opponent is allowed to select one player you must sit the following day, lose all minor league players to waiver wire.

3rd offense: Starting ineligible player at roster lock: Opponent is allowed to select one player that you must sit the remainder of the week, lose all minor league players, must maintain 8 empty slots for one calendar year.


Violations on Sundays/Week 18/Playoffs

– Regular season Sunday violations will result in your opponent being able to select one player to be sat all week during your next matchup with said opponent.


– Week 18 (last week of the regular season) violations will carry a mandatory drop of your highest % owned minor league player.


– Playoff violations will result in an instant drop of your top 4 highest % owned minor leaguers as well as your roster being locked the remainder of the postseason.



– If an ineligible player is found in an active lineup, they can and will be removed from the lineup immediately by league officials.




Other Rules and Regulations

– Any owner that exceeds 12 starts in a week will have their roster locked for the remainder of the week, and they will only be allowed 10 starts in their following matchup with said opponent.

– Any owner that exceeds 12 starts in Week 18 or during the playoffs will have their rosters locked from the moment of the violation until the following Opening Day.


From The Desk Of The Commissioner: Minor League Regulations and Requirements

A Message From The Desk of The Commissioner – The Expansion Draft

Look at the important commissioner papers in the corner there

Point Loma —  As we begin our first official dynasty season, with a new commissioner in charge which is me, we should first give thanks to our former commissioner for his many years of service.  Just kidding SUCK IT MIKEY T, back to bizness.  It is time to move on and it is time to Make This League Great Again.  Also would like to wish a special Happy Birthday to BRUCE GRADKOWSKI.  After a great career at Toledo, Bruce went on to play QB for 6 NFL teams. He threw 21 touchdowns.  Happy Birthday Bruce!  Okay back to bizness.

The bizness at hand is the first of hopefully many “expansion drafts” to take place before the start of each new season, allowing teams to fill roster spots or swap out players for new players that are added to ESPN’s player pool.  The rules shall be as follows:

1. Draft date to be announced but will be after rosters unlock, for obvious reasons.

2. Draft will consist of 3 Rounds.

3. Draft order will be a reverse of the regular season standings, this year’s first pick will go to Shane and proceed up the standings from there.

4. You can draft UP TO 3 full rounds, but only 3 picks will be given.  You may also sit out the draft entirely if you want, if that’s the case let me know so you can be skipped during drafting.

5. You must have a compliant roster by 12 AM (east coast time you losers) on Opening Day, but a uhhh non-compliant roster is allowed prior to that.  So you can draft whoever you want without worrying about minor league spots and major league spots.

6.  Draft will take place in a separate GroupMe Backyard Expansion Draft chat, sucks to suck Connor.

Expect more discussion on this subject in the next couple of weeks, as well as an announcement on the rosters unlock date, as well as other things.  For now this is all you get.


The Commissioner

A Message From The Desk of The Commissioner – The Expansion Draft