Target 5000: Welcome to the Strikeout Zone!

With apologies to Rod Serling, “You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead— your next stop, the Strikeout Zone!”

I don’t want to alarm any of you, but I checked with Mr. Serling, and that signpost up ahead? It’s Memorial Day! So as we travel into this wondrous land called 2021, we must determine the number of strikeouts that yields 500 points (achieving stats equal to 500 points out of 645 in all 10 categories is enough to lead 77.5% of all Main Event squads and produce 5000 total points - good enough for a top 20 overall position). So what is the Target 5000 for strikeouts?

MLB strikeouts totaled 42,823 in 2019 - which was up 14% from the 37,441 recorded just five years prior (2014). In 2021, there have been 13,392 (as of 5/30) strikeouts or 31.2% of the 2019 total in 30.6% of the season – so strikeouts are up even more over 2019!

So what total yields 500 points in the strikeout category? In the Main Event for the full season of 2019, 1467 strikeouts produced points at the 77.5% level. And since we’ve played 30.6% of the season you’d expect the 500-point plateau to require 449 strikeouts. In actuality, you need approximately 481 strikeouts to reach this level in 2021.

2019 Full Season: 77.5% level in Main Event = 1467 strikeouts

2021 thru May 30th: 77.5% (Target 5000) level = 481 strikeouts

Who are the biggest strikeout contributors and how high were they drafted in the Main Event? There are 12 pitchers with 76 or more steals as of May 30th. They are listed below - but these 12 players are likely supporting the fantasy rosters doing well in the strikeout category. Most of these players were drafted in the first few rounds, but there have been exceptions. Zack Wheeler (7th round ADP), Freddy Peralta (13th), Kevin Gausman (8th), Joe Musgrove (7th), and Trevor Rogers (16th) have all provided solid strikeouts to date.

Through Sunday, there have been 60 days of baseball since the Major League Baseball opened on April 1st - that’s about 32% of the season (there are 186 days of baseball in the regular season). Main Event fantasy owners are balancing the original $1000 of FAAB they were given while bearing in mind that only 37% of FAAB periods have been completed (10 of the 27 FAAB periods). Here are the Main Event FAAB totals across 645 teams including the winning bids from the May 30th FAAB run:

For all ten FAAB runs thus far, the average Main Event team has won 18.4 bids this season (roughly 2 per week) and spent $580. This is higher than $1000 FAAB dollars divided by 27 FAAB periods ($37 per week – so 10 FAAB periods times $37 indicates that $370 is the proper spending on a straight-line basis). Actual spending, however, leaves the average team with $420 of FAAB which drops their average weekly budget for the remaining 17 periods from $37 to just under $25.

Manoah Mania in the Main

In the tenth FAAB period of the season held on May 30th, 11 players were picked up in 24 or more leagues (see below) with Alek Manoah targeted in all 43 leagues as he is the hot new starting pitcher in Toronto. Greg Holland, who converted a save for KC on Sunday, was added in 32 leagues, and Rob Refsnyder, who might get regular playing time in MIN, was added in 31 leagues.

The Wow Bid of the Week

The Main Event Wow Bid of the Week – going to the largest bid of each FAAB period – is awarded to the largest bid ($538) for Alek Manoah, who was available in all 43 Main Event Leagues. This winning bid beat a runner-up amount of $429, which would have been successful in 36 of the 43 Main Event FAAB runs. In fact, Manoah commanded 4 bids over $500; 6 bids between $400-499; and 18 more between $300-399.

The Century Club has 15 Members This Week

There were 61 SUCCESSFUL bids over $100 of FAAB during this FAAB run – higher than last week (34) but when you subtract the 43 Manoah bids there were only 18 other winning bids over $100. There were just 3 $200+ free agents with 45 successful bids of over $200, but again, 42 of those were Manoah bids. It is still evident that most Main Event fantasy owners are ratcheting down their bids as they show concern for their remaining FAAB dollars.

Instead of showing the players dropped the most – you can see below some of the most INTERESTING drops. These are the players dropped who were most likely difficult decisions – either prompted by a run of injuries to a fantasy team or driven by a need for a replacement at a particular position. These players might draw bids next week from other league members, and many of these players were bid on aggressively a couple of weeks back (such as Logan Gilbert).

The Emperor’s New Groove: Four Players from Three Weeks Ago…

We’ll keep tabs on the 4 most added players from 3 weeks ago to see how some of the biggest free-agent acquisitions have been doing for their fantasy owners. These are the players acquired in the most leagues on 5/2:

· William Contreras – .220 average with 4 HR and 9 RBI – in the context of the catcher landscape I think this is decent

· Trevor Larnach – .245 with 3 HR and 7 RBI – OK not great

· Pete Fairbanks – 6.0 IP; 1 ER; 7 K; 1 Win; 1 Save

· Seth Brown – .157 average with 3 HR and 9 RBI

So we’ll say no thumbs up for this week; Contreras and Larnach get the Gladiator side thumb and two thumbs down are awarded to Fairbanks and Brown. The latter two haven’t been terrible, but fantasy managers were likely hoping for a lot more with the widespread bidding that was taking place. This makes it 5 gladiators that get to live; 8 that die as the lion comes out of the side door; and 7 times that the Emperor wasn’t sure and gave them the side thumb…

Kotch Me If You Can

Congratulations to Scott Kotchek, as he is leading the 2021 Main Event with one of his two Main Event entries – with a healthy margin of 197.0 by earning 5595.5 points. His Contest-Leading roster was built from the #3 draft position as he selected Fernando Tatis Jr. in the 1st round. He followed that by picking up a couple of aces with Brandon Woodruff and Tyler Glasnow, some power with J.T. Realmuto and Eugenio Suarez, and then got two really undervalued players (based on their production thus far) with Marcus Semien and Kevin Gausman in the next two rounds. Other fine picks were J.D. Martinez in the 9th; Rich Rodriguez in the 14th (his first closer!); Emmanuel Clase in the 20th; and Alex Reyes in the 22nd. When responding to my question of why he knew he could wait on closers, he replied “Listen, this thing is over. The difference between me and the average Main Event owner is that they can only see what is in front of them and I can see around corners.” OK…thanks Scott…confidence is running rather high I see…

Let’s check in on our previous leaders – are they still in the top 20?

· Brian Slack (4/5): 21st place (legal team successfully received injunction)

· Tyler Jung (4/12): 9th (complaining to league office that there should be an automatic strike zone)

· John Pausma (4/19): 4th (gave up asking for $1150 of FAAB and reduced that request to $1125)

· Two-time leader Chris Uram (4/26 & 5/3): is 3rd (has tweeted out that this article is one of the worst he has read)

· Abdul Madani (5/10): 11th (has cleared off a larger part of his living room for his expected trophy after determining that his mantle is too small)

· Samuel Horton (5/17): 13th (refuses to eat green eggs and ham in a house or with a mouse)

· Douglas Roth (5/24): 6th (is researching the differences between a Roth IRA and a 403b Plan)

Congratulations also to this week’s second and fifth place holders – Gregg Martin and Phillippe Dussault!

In addition, we’re following the individual league races this season. It is no small feat to win a league championship in the Main Event regardless of a fantasy owner’s overall place, and the top three in each league earn a cash prize and deserve recognition. You can see the 43 leagues listed in the chart below (with those in the top 20 positions highlighted in blue) – you can find your assigned league number for the purposes of this article number by referring to the chart at the end of my first article of the season (use this link https://www.spstreamer.com/post/and-they-re-off) – which displays the league draft location, draft date and time, and Official NFBC League Number.

Out of the 43 Main Event leagues – 12 had new leaders this week compared to last week (the previous week 10 changed hands but the two before that had 14 each). There’s plenty of time to move up of course, but 31 fantasy owners held the lead from one week to the next, showing that they have solid teams that will be difficult to catch.

Twelve Main Event Stars

There are multiple NFBC players who are in the top three places of two or more Main Event Leagues, which is extremely impressive. The most notable players as of May 30th are listed below (only included are those with at least one Main Event league-leading team) – these 12 fantasy players occupy 18 of the first place positions; 7 of the second place positions; and 7 of the third-place spots, or 32 of the 129 top three placements.

Good luck to everyone in the week of May 31st!


2. TWO 1st & TWO 2nd – Matthew Davis

3. TWO 1st & ONE 2nd – Phillippe Dussault; Clark Olson

4. TWO 1st – Jeremy Brader

5. ONE 1st; ONE 2nd; ONE 3rd - Samuel Horton

6. ONE 1st & ONE 2nd – Brian Slack; Jeff Mitseff

7. ONE 1st & THREE 3rd – Eric Heberlig

8. ONE 1st; ONE 3rd - Chris Fessler; Michael O’Brien; Tag Team of Jeff Erickson & Tim Schuler