The Backyard Fantasy Baseball League has become a year round spectacle, with all 10 GMs trapped in our lil GroupMe bubble (despite what Mikey T thinks, yes all 10) for 365 days of the year. With all that coverage comes intense scrutiny for every move, add/drop, or blockbuster trade you make. The GroupMe chat will usually pick a winner and loser of each trade, and then tear into the loser. The blog soon follows to kick the losing GM while they are down (DESERVEDLY SO). Much like modern day social media, however, the initial reaction can sometimes be uneducated and misguided. Each GM has their reasoning and rationale for their decisions, and it all fits into the big picture of their team. Having said that, there is no denying that we each covet our core players and most of our team overall. The loss of a beloved fan favorite, face of the farm, or super-role player is more painful than any comment that can come from a group chat. Today we rundown the departed players that each GM will secretly be keeping tabs on in team headquarters.
Mission Valley X-Rayz: 2B Daniel Murphy (traded to Q-Tip City in 2017 offseason)
What they miss: It seems like the champagne shower was still drying on the X-Rayz locker room floor when news broke that they had traded Daniel Murphy to Q-Tip City. GM Mike Odom is known for being aggressive with his moves and sold an aging piece for a bounty of young talent and picks. Management felt Murphy was at peak trade value, coming off an age 32 season that saw him start in the All Star Game. But as the X-Rayz head into 2018 expecting nothing less than a repeat, there is no denying the gaping hole left in the middle of the lineup with the departure of Murphy’s 23 HRs, 43 doubles, and .384 OBP.
X-Rayz biggest fear: Murphy makes it back for Opening Day and shows no signs of slowing down, continuing to show his great OBP while mashing 20+ dongs and 40+ doubles once again. This is actually what is expected from X-Rayz management out of Murphy in 2018, it’s 2019 and beyond they are worried about. Always trying to be one step ahead, Mike Odom may be kicking himself if a title defense falls short due to a lackluster offense while Murphy rakes in 2018.
Lacey BackdoorSliderz: Shohei Ohtani, P/OF (Passed on by BDS in 2017 ASB Draft at picks #1 & #3)
What they miss: Lacey never actually owned Ohtani. After making several pre-ASB Draft trades , they controlled the top of the board and had not one but two shots at the dual position international superstar. Fearing there would be issues with his US arrival, GM Sean Dochney passed on Ohtani at #1 and #3 overall for Hunter Greene and Juan Soto. Ohtani fell to the Renegades at #6, and is now going to be the first ever positional player/pitcher in ESPN’s system.
BackdoorSliderz biggest fear: Ohtani not only matches but exceeds the hype, becoming a legitimate positional player as well as legitimate pitcher. Watching Ohtani become the first player ever to register a stat in more than 7 categories in one season under the Backyard scoring format as a Renegade will be a tough piece of sushi for Dochney to swallow.
Astoria Isotopes: Rhys Hoskins 1B/OF (acquired via waivers then traded to Bellcrest)
What they miss: NOTHING because the man never suited up for Astoria. Following the X-Rayz BCS finals minor league violation debacle, Isotopes GM Mikey T’s patience was rewarded as he snatched up nuclear hot bat Rhys Hoskins. Deciding not to buy into the hype, T ended up flipping Rhys in a package with Cody Bellinger and Scott Kingery to acquire superstar 3B Nolan Arenado. Assuming they did their research, one must think Astoria views Hoskins as just as a guy and not a potential superstar in the making.
Isotopes biggest fear: We all know what Cody Bellinger can be (he has shown us) and Scott Kingery is still just a lottery ticket, but there is no denying the power potential Rhys Hoskins showed in his brief major league time during 2017. Everyone is aware of Arenado’s monster credentials (reigning Backyard MVP), elite ability (120 HRs in last 3 years), and dream home park (Coors, duhz), Astoria may have overpaid for their soon to be 27 year old 3B. If Hoskins continues to improve and becomes a 30/100 25 year old with IF/OF eligibility, it will pain Mikey T to watch a Phillies game for the foreseeable future.
Rojo’s Renegades: Kyle Schwarber, OF (traded to Ocean Gate before 2017 in-season deadline)
What they miss: Not much to miss here outside of one thing: massive upside. Schwarber has been a nightmare for GM Ryan “Rojo” Johnson since being acquired in a trade, suffering a brutal injury, losing his C eligibility, and having a miserable 2017 at the plate. With all that said, Rojo clearly had big hopes for Schwarbs, and the Cubs themselves did as well. After being fast tracked to the majors, the mega potential still looms beneath the ugly blemishes on his resumé.
Renegades biggest fear: Despite winning this trade in most people’s opinion, any slight regression by Madison Bumgarner combined with a monster and sustained power explosion by Schwarber could swing this trade back into OGTFC’s favor. Rojo invested a lot of time and assets into Schwarber, as well as other projects such as Joey Gallo and Julio Urias. Traditionally clutching his projects tight, watching Schwarber become a 30 HR guy with any sort of solid OBP will be devastating to Rojo’s trade morale for years to come.
Bellcrest Babadooks: Ronald Acuña, OF (traded to Lacey in 2017 offseason)
What they miss: Acuña never stepped foot on a Backyard major league level field for the Babadooks, so the team isn’t missing much. After being mined from the waiver wire depths early on in the season by GM Sean McLaughlin, the Braves OF skyrocketed up prospect boards and is sitting atop most currently. Forever the prospect pessimist, Sean opted to do what Mikey T also did when he found something valuable on the side of the road: post it on Backyard’s version of eBay. The Babadooks got a young stud arm in Aaron Nola, a top prospect in his own right in Fernando Tatis Jr., and wild card Jonathan Villar in exchange for the top prospect in baseball. And as they say in the Simpsons:
Babadooks biggest fear: Nowhere is it published that Nola will become Kershaw-esque and Tatis Jr. is highly touted but isn’t breaking any scouting grading systems currently. If Acuña matches or exceeds the massive hype he’s receiving, oh boy. The BackdoorSliderz will have a superstar to build around for a decade to come, while Bellcrest faithful will look longingly at Acuña from afar. Daydreams of a Bellinger/Acuña combo dancing in their head as they watch Villar sit for the 4th day in a row.
Barnegat Banana Slugs: Jake Arrieta, SP (Traded to River City in 2017 offseason)
What to miss: A LOT. There was a lot GM Brian Smith likes about Jake the Snake. Here is a short list
- His beard
- His intensity
- His fastball
- His eyes
- His muscles
- The fact that he didn’t need PEDs to succeed
- His monster 2015 season
So while you could argue Starling Marte could make this spot, I could argue he BROKE BRIAN’S HEART with that suspension. So Arrieta it is here.
Banana Slugs biggest fear: Jake finally gets signed, has a chip on his shoulder, and replicates his 2015 performance while wearing a Bad Dudes uniform.
Ocean Gate Trout Fishing Club: Brendan Rodgers, SS (traded to Lacey before 2017 trade deadline)
What they miss: Ocean Gate still boasts a stocked farm system even after this trade, so Rodgers isn’t necessarily a huge loss CURRENTLY. The fact that he was traded along with Justin Turner for Brian Dozier in a dynasty league leaves the door open on this deal. Did the OGTFC overpay? Will they regret moving Rodgers?
Ocean Gate’s biggest fear: Heroy is going to claim he fears nothing, and hell with his deep farm he can overcome this scenario. But you can’t question it will sting if Rodgers becomes a premiere 2B and or SS with 20+/80+ a season while Dozier fizzles out by 2020. The Coors factor is the icing on the cake in this scenario.
Toms River Titans: Rafael Devers, 3B (traded to Renegades during 2017 season)
What they miss: The Titans already miss the scintillating potential, as well as the 10 HRs and 30 RBIs hit by Devers in the majors last year. For a GM that is renowned for his shrewd moves, Ryan McLaughlin sure took a bath when he sent BOTH George Springer and Rafael Devers outta town to acquire Yu Darvish (other garnish was involved). Springer is a superstar and we won’t even go into that, but Devers becoming a star in his own right would be the ultimate slap in the face to Ryan.
Titans biggest fear: Devers emerges as an elite power hitter out of the 3B position for a decade or so, while Springer continues to be a dominant bat. Yu Darvish fades away into the sunset with lackluster seasons after 2020, leaving the Titans to watch the duo they traded away combine for 60+/200+ for years to come.
Q-Tip City Morning Wood: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B (traded to Banana Slugs in 2017 offseason)
What they miss: Oh not much only the first 80 grade ever given out for a prospect’s hit tool. 😮 After coming in dead last for the 2017 season, the Morning Wood traded both their top draft picks and their top prospect. An interesting decision for a team trying to mold for the future, and all the pressure in the world (well, I guess only Q-Tip City) is on Starling Marte. While many have criticized GM Shane McCann’s moves, there is no denying the additions of Marte and Murphy make for a better 2018 product on field.
Morning Wood biggest fear: Vlad Jr. becomes the second coming of Vlad but with a better batter’s eye. Guerrero dominates and becomes a top 1-5 player in baseball, giving the Banana Slugs a superduperstar to build around until roughly the time Shane’s kid’s have graduated college.
River City Bad Dudes: Gleyber Torres, SS(traded to Isotopes before 2017 season)
What they miss: Nothing, considering he was acquired only so he could be flipped again for Craig Kimbrel. But what if Mikey T held up rival GM Mike Lobman for more loot, and left Torres stranded in anti-Yankees country River City? The backlash against T at the time would have been extreme, and Lobman would have been livid when Torres tore his UCL. But fast forward to today, and Bad Dudes 2B Rougie Odor had a miserable 2017, leading to questions about his future with the team. And the anti-Yankees stigma died the instant Giancarlo Stanton donned the pinstripes. So, after failing to win the title with Kimbrel’s elite 2017, we now turn our attention to Torres in an attempt to give this trade a final grade.
Bad Dudes biggest fear: It isn’t a fear as much as a “woulda shoulda coulda”, considering Lobman never intended to keep Torres but he would likely be very happy to have him today. If Torres goes on to become a superstar and bats in front of Stanton while Kimbrel slowly erodes, this trade will be an easy evaluation.