Man vs. THE BAT: Final, Week 20 (Slates 121-129)
Welcome to Man (that’s me) vs. THE BAT, Derek Carty’s projection system!
The basics of the blog series are pretty cut-and-dried: (1) A GPP lineup from yours truly, just your average micro-grinder, ranked #12,034 in the couch potato category; and (2) An optimized lineup from THE BAT (developed utilizing THE BAT projections and the RotoGrinders lineup builder).
For as many slates as I can muster, I’ll enter each lineup in the same FanDuel large-field GPP (usually $1 Sac Fly or $3 Squeeze with an occasional special $5 Rally thrown in for good measure). My process calls for me to enter the lineups late the night before or early in the morning, and then I run the optimal lineup for THE BAT as close to lock as I can muster given time constraints with work/kids/life.
Disclaimer: Please do not interpret this series as necessarily representative of either the success or failure of THE BAT. In correspondence with Derek about the idea for this series, he made it clear that he does not think the optimized lineup builder is the best way to use THE BAT. So, it is merely a fun series that I hope will both improve my GPP play (in being more reflective about the process) and give you a glimpse into what I believe is a really good projection system that Derek has developed. I’m pulling for both of us; I just keep it at my house (BTW, I’d wager I am a bigger “Friday” fan than Lebron, and I used this line in the blog before I ever heard him use it at the Espy’s).
Alright, kids, countrymen, lend me your…
…tired, your poor, your huddled…
…enormously large human beings!
It’s come time with the NFL season all up in our grill to call an “Omaha!” and bid adieu to this sometimes fine, sometimes not-so-fine MLB DFS season and series. Yes, I’ve decided to bring the series to a close. There’s just too much to do in starting back work and with the NFL season upon us.
For those who have been reading since April 10 when I first launched this thing, thanks a ton for doing so, and wow, we’ve been through a lot together!
April 10 to September 10 — a span of 5 months and 154 days.
During that span, we played and documented results for 129 slates/contests. That’s a lot of baseball!
I’ve shared a bit about my personal journey; one that has admittedly been a bit harrowing in being rushed to Stanford in May (yes, we had an ambulance lineup that was as bumpy as the ride), buying a house in July, and then surviving major open abdominal surgery in August.
The lesson there is that life can change fast. I went from being a relatively healthy father of 2 to a 43-year old questioning whether he was staring down his own mortality. While it wasn’t a false alarm, I was still looking at the prospect of having a tennis ball-sized aneurysm removed with a major 5-hour surgery and 7-10 days in the hospital. Scary crap! But, hey, it’s over now, and I am headed towards full health and hopefully a long life ahead of me.
OK, enough recap — but…speaking of scary crap, we entered this week off a string of unbelievable pitching gems from all too unlikely sources like Edwin “Action” Jackson and Ricky “Bobby” Nolasco, so things just HAD to regress back to the mean. Let’s see if they did in Week #20…
Slate 121 – Monday, September 5, 2016 (early afternoon 6-game slate):
Man 117.5 vs. THE BAT 87.4
Minimum cash line: 151.2
Not how I wanted to start this Labor Day!
You’d think that an average of 23 per scoring position would have been pretty dang good and scored a pretty decent cash, right?
Uh, yeah, not so fast…I said “scoring position” —> 5 guys scored and averaged 23 points, but the other 4 freaking guys? Ugh. Goose-eggs!
Who were those other 4 guys? Equal parts of my dual Rays/Phillies mini-stacks. Veteran GPP players know that low-owned stacks on small slates like these can equal big-time cash. Trouble for me is, I don’t seem to have the knack of hitting such stacks.
But, hey, I guess at least I started this final week off right by besting THE BAT’s strong-pitching, no-hitting squad.
Slate 122 – Monday, September 5, 2016 (main 7-game slate):
Man 91.1 vs. THE BAT 152.2
$3 Squeeze #3
Minimum cash line: 143.9
I underestimated how popular this main slate would be and in getting distracted by the kids and the holiday, I did not get entered into the main Squeeze and had to settle for the Squeeze #3 (1541 entries). I am rarely purposeful in entering one of these tourneys, but when I do, it seems like I have more success in them than the larger entry tourneys. For example, the very first slate we played in the series was a late afternoon mini-Squeeze where THE BAT led us to a $60+ cash (highest of series thus far).
I’ve questioned THE BAT’s wisdom before in playing guys against the big ole Pale Sox Lefty, but on this slate I figured, “It’s Labor Day; what better to do but head to a Sale!” Day Game Miggy thought the same and got himself a 2 for 1. This one had me thinking we were going big, as headed into the late games, this LU by THE BAT was top-100.
But, it was not to be as the cold-as-ice Giants could not get warm in Kers. I should have realized that the tasty cold-filtered brew of La Balla de Plata might keep the G-Man on ice. Yes, SFG was shut out, and my two guys Panik and Crawford who could have carried me and THE BAT to a huge cash fell flat. Ugh.
Slate 123 – Tuesday, September 6, 2016 (main 15-game slate):
Man 51.2 vs. THE BAT 112
$1 Sac Fly
Minimum cash line: 137.2
FanDuel has to come up with something more creative (and in this case, accurate) than, “Good effort, but you didn’t win this time” after the scores post and the contest is over. Uh, no, it was not a good effort at all. I deserved something like “Did you think this was lowball? Come on, kid, get your head in the game and do better next time!” Or, maybe, “Putrid effort! Obviously you didn’t win, but better luck next time”? I recognize “Was this a dummy lineup? If not, maybe you should consider quitting DFS” would not be considered a good business practice, but I really like the smart aleck comments rather than the standardized one.
I mean, seriously, I needed a smart aleck comment after my performance on this slate. 15 games, 30 teams full of hitters from which to choose, and the best I could muster was 15.2 measly offensive points? Ugh.
In case you were wondering, yes, that is the lowest offensive output of the series (bested the previous low of 21.2 posted by THE BAT in Week 18). Keep reading. I’ll post all of the seasonal highs and lows, or you can check out the full spreadsheet yourself.
When I saw THE BAT’s optimal was Gio, I understood why, don’t get me wrong; but, I also hated the choice. See, what had happened was the lowly Bravos have not been particularly lowly in the second half of the season. Sure, pick and choose your spot, but I would not recommend playing mediocre pitchers like Gio versus ATL down the stretch.
Slate 124 – Wednesday, September 7, 2016 (early afternoon 4-game slate):
Man 68.6 vs. THE BAT 82.1
$1 Sac Fly
Minimum cash line: 141.6
Do I seriously have to talk about this slate and these lineups?
Geez, what a way to ruin a perfectly good Hump Day!
As I said, I was not a fan of THE BAT’s Gio choice yesterday, and I was in the same boat here with Smyly. Sure, the choices were slim, and sure, the ballpark is a pitcher’s park; but, I just did not see Drew shutting down the O’s. And, sure enough, he did not.
Of course, I cannot say anything; I was dumb myself on this slate in choosing young Alex Meyer who I should have realized would not be allowed to go very far at all. One of the things that has contributed negatively to my performance in this series in recent weeks is that I have taken to also developing another lineup for myself and entering the $1 Bunt Single Entry. Doing so sometimes puts me in a mode where I go “off-the-wall” in trying to be contrarian with my Man lineup and remember that there’s a fine line in DFS between stupid and contrarian.
Of course, Meyer’s Pitch-22 wasn’t what killed me. What killed me was once again missing on Offense. Ugh.
Thank goodness for split slates and another one to take my mind off this one.
Slate 125 – Wednesday, September 7, 2016 (main 11-game slate):
Man 165.7 vs. THE BAT 148.2
$1 Sac Fly
Minimum cash line: 129.3
On what turned out to be an overall really good night, it ultimately came down to nailing two pitchers and hitting enough big bats across the two lineups to sail to a minimum cash (THE BAT) and a 5x cash (Man). Of course, I was kicking myself slightly for not being in the Squeeze, but I did hit a couple of Quintuple Ups for both lineups as well as a couple of cash games. So, that, in addition to also winning the $5 Line Drive on Fantasy Draft, made up for what started off as a really crappy Hump Day.
Long live Hump Day! I am actually a big fan of ye ole Wednesday de Hump. In my mid-to-late 20s and 30s (actually, 27-34), I lived in Raleigh, NC and was lucky enough to be welcomed into a rather large friend group where I essentially came of age and was finally able to develop my identity. That may sound strange, but it’s actually not that strange at all. Developmental psychologists have postulated recently (i.e., 20 years ago or so now) that there is a new life stage called “emerging adulthood” (18-29 or so) where people continue down the path of identity development that started in adolescence.
Anyway, back to Hump Day, my friends in Raleigh started a tradition of Hump Day parties where we’d all get together. They could be gatherings for live music, potlucks at someone’s house, roller skating outings, whatever the hell we wanted them to be. It was awesome! When we were younger, they’d be every 2 weeks or so, but they eventually settled in to a frequency of once a month. Don’t get me wrong, we got together other times too, but these Hump Day parties really helped us to bond and develop even stronger friendships.
I miss those days, but I still love Hump days; and, this was a really fun one for MLB DFS.
I also snapped THE BAT’s 3-slate win streak.
Hopefully we can keep the double cash a’ coming…
Slate 126 – Thursday, September 8, 2016 (main 6-game slate):
Man 111.8 vs. THE BAT 77.3
Minimum cash line: 121.5
Uh, yeah, no momentum created whatsoever!
This slate for Man was what I like to call a “below-the-fold” crowd-pleaser. Much like a towering but routine fly ball often looks like a moonshot home run; if you look only at the top 5 players in the lineup, that 108 points is looking sharp…then, you scroll down “below-the-fold” to see the rest. Three measly points from the likes of Peraza, Cruz, Harper, and Mazara! Ugh.
“Yep, ‘bout over!”
“Didn’t you just say ‘Summer!’?”
Nope, said, ‘Somna’! …as in, short for SOB.’
“Oh, OK, I see.”
Slate 127 – Friday, September 9, 2016 (main 15-game slate):
Man 122.1 vs. THE BAT 108.9
$1 Sac Fly
Minimum cash line: 133.7
Pretty wild that I am sitting here finishing up this blog series, and guess who comes on Late Show with Stephen Colbert? The dude from Man vs. Food! I’ve never watched that show, as my inspiration for the name of this blog series was likely (i.e., it wasn’t conscious) my fandom a few years back for Man vs. Wild. I was a sucker for the accent and showmanship of Bear Grylls. But, anyway, kind of cool that the dude from Man vs. Food is on my idiot box right now; his name is Adam Richman, which is also rather ironic (since that’s what I was hoping I’d become with this blog series).
On to baseball…
I am really rather shocked that this is the first time that either of us have played CarMart. Although, when the game started and he was getting shelled, I did have a thought of, “I finally play him and look what happens!” So, it must have been in my subconscious, but since I have watched CarMart pitch and believe very much in his skills, I was still amazed that September 9 was the first time we’ve marched him to the bump.
Yeah, well, I guess it’s the first and last time in one fell swoop!
Look at that, our second 3-slate win streak of Week #20, and this time it’s Man riding one.
When you hit a 44-point 1% owned dude, dang it all to hell (felt like I should not string two curse words B2B), you expect to cash! For the record, I would be a better writer if this were Rolling Stones, for I have an adult version of a potty mouth. I have to check myself when I enter the classroom, although I like dropping an occasional curse bomb on “the kids” for effect.
Anyway, the fact that THE BAT hit Teixera and little else had me a bit tilted, and so whereas I was initially planning for this to be the last slate of the series, I could not go out like this with a full blown Big Tex tilt and two lineups making $0.
So, where do we stand with $$ heading to the last slate?
THE BAT +$78.19
Net for series (-$56.31)
Can we get to break-even on the final slate? We’re sure going to try!
Slate/Contest 128^ – Saturday, September 10, 2016 (main 11-game slate):
Man 127.2 vs. THE BAT 153.8
Minimum cash line: 147.1
^ I had to throw a wrench into things with this last slate, as I decided to get twice the bang for the buck and enter two separate large-field tourneys with separate lineups. So, technically, that threw off the whole “Slate count” for the series. I guess technically it’s now slate/contest count.
So, in deciding to do two separate contests for this last slate, I decided to take the optimal THE BAT lineup for the Grand Slam and the second alternate lineup with a different pitcher for the Squeeze.
Who can blame me for chasing a bit here?
I wanted a “quad” cash so bad, and this time, it had double meaning. A quad, as in, four figure payout, and a quad, as in, all four lineups cashing.
Alas, it was not meant to be thanks to a ridiculously dumb (in hindsight) call of Drew Hutchinson to toe the rubber for my Man lineup. I debated back and forth. Fried Rich or Hutch in Son? Hutch in Son or Fried Rich? Religion or Art? Get it? (Think of their first names) With Garrett Richard shutting down this same Rockies team just a few days prior, it being a revenge game, and Friedrich doing us a solid earlier in the year; it really was an easy call…but, goocher here blew it big time! Christian pitched 7 strong with 10 strikeouts en route to a 63-point GPP winning type effort. Ugh.
Yep, that would have been enough for place #884 and $10. And, in a bit of foreshadowing, it would also cost us an overall net profit in the series. Ugh.
Slate/Contest 129 – Saturday, September 10, 2016 (main 11-game slate):
Man 192.2 vs. THE BAT 137.7
$25 Grand Slam
Minimum cash line: 150.3
My first ever Slam!
I know some of you are like, “WTH, how long have you been playing, yo?”
Yes, I know; it may sound crazy, but some of us are more risk-adverse and do not feel like it’s wise to risk a ton of money on this fun game we enjoy playing. I’ve been playing for 2+ years, but like I say in the opening lines of this series, I am a low stakes grinder. My daily play is in the range of $10-50 spread over 1-5 sites. On “big” days like the opening weekend of NFL, I’ll “swell” to the $50-100 range.
Don’t get me wrong; I’d be a higher stakes grinder had my narrative been similar to someone like STLCards who took like $250 and turned it into GPP win after GPP win after GPP win (and now can afford to play high stakes), but that has not happened to this goocher.
So, my first Grand Slam! I was pretty damn excited, and at times, it looked like it could be a big night. It wasn’t, but it was still the biggest cash for Man of the series.
Whereas THE BAT had its biggest cash of $61.33 in the very first slate/contest on April 10, I was able to manipulate (i.e., enter the Slam) and muster Man’s biggest cash in this the final slate/contest on September 10. Admittedly, and as you might guess from past tendencies, I still was a bit tilted over the ultimate final outcome. I got as high as the second page at one point (i.e., top 20), and I was pretty excited about the prospect of ending that strong. But, alas, we could not close and slipped back to #67 (not bad, top 2.4% out of 2774 entries).
THE BAT was cashing for a good portion of the night (which I knew we likely needed in order to finish in the black), but the double-cash wasn’t meant to be. We came up just a bit short in net profit for the overall series, so I will say one last time…
Before wrapping this thing up for good, let’s look at the details of the overall series.
Overall Scorecard (through 129 slates/contests):
H2H Record: 56-73
Weekly Record: 6-10-4
Avg Score: 122
Slates under 10 games: 121
Slates with 10 or more games: 124
Cash rate: 21%
Net Profit/Loss: (-$62.50)
H2H Record: 73-56
Weekly Record: 10-6-4
Avg. Score: 133
Slates under 10 games: 133
Slates with 10 or more games: 132
Cash rate: 34%
Net Profit/Loss: +$57.69
TOTAL NET: (-$4.81)
Highs/Lows of Series
Best Man Score: 204.8 (May 4, 7-game slate)
Best THE BAT Score: 213.8 (August 7, 9-game slate)
Worst Man Score: 49.9 (June 9, 7-game slate)
Worst THE BAT Score: 50.3 (May 3, 14-game slate)
Combined Highest Total: 377.2 (May 31, 12-game slate)
Combined Lowest Total: 112.8 (June 9, 7-game slate)
Best Man Pitching: Velasquez 87 (April 14)
Best THE BAT Pitching: Kershaw 81 (May 1)
Worst Man Pitching: Matz -13 (April 11)
Worst THE BAT Pitching: Harvey -4 (May 19)
Most Used Man Pitcher: Harvey 6
Most Used THE BAT Pitcher: Scherzer 10
Best Man Offense: 156 (July 5)
Best THE BAT Offense: 172.6 (June 27)
Worst Man Offense: 15.2 (September 6)
Worst THE BAT Offense: 21.2 (August 24)
Here’s the link to the full spreadsheet again for your reference.
I really appreciate all of the comments and great feedback that this series has generated during the season, and I really appreciate the support from all of the readers, Rotogrinders, RG blog editor Hesh Hambazaza, and also Fantasy Aces (the sponsor of the blog program).
Finally, I’d like to give a special thanks to Derek Carty who has been great all year in answering questions, posting comments here on the blog, interacting on Twitter, etc. I applaud Derek and Rotogrinders for being willing to put THE BAT out there in this fashion and not shut this crazy idea down. No interference, nothing but support (including RG developing the blog logo, which was much appreciated). When you look at the overall breakdown here, a 34% cash rate for large-field GPPs is quite impressive. No, we did not hit a big cash that would have made the ROI much better, but I was extremely impressed with THE BAT’s overall performance as a projection system.
Thanks again, Derek, and Rotogrinders!
Cheers, all, see you on the forums!