This year DraftKings decided to handout a whole bunch of fantasy baseball end of the year awards, announcing their winners yesterday. I thought I’d take a gander through the announced winners and see who was deserving and who lucked their way into a trophy. (Spoiler alert: it’s hard to luck your way into a trophy when those trophies are all stats based. It’s a lot easier to sneak your way to a win when there’s a little more subjectivity going on.)
Anyways, here’s a look at a few of the categories and their respective winners.
Offense was again at an all-time high in 2018, and so were fantasy points. Introducing the @MLB All-Fantasy Team. #DKAwards pic.twitter.com/UsCYGav9s0— DraftKings (@DraftKings) October 22, 2018
While fantasy is a fickle beast and you’re never sure what’s going to happen, this squad is not all that surprising. Most of the players that made this list were top 5 to 10 options at their positions based on beginning of the 2017 season ADPs. Maybe you didn’t expect Javier Baez or Jose Ramirez to be as good as they were, but it wasn’t like they came out of nowhere to become fantasy studs.
The biggest surprises come in the outfield this year as none of Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton or Bryce Harper made the list. I bet if you’d asked people at the start of this past season which outfield would produce two fantasy all-stars: the Red Sox or the Yankees, people would’ve probably guessed the Yankees. Bummer. Just another thing the Yankees have lost to the Sox in. You hate to see that.
Now that DraftKings has started handing out these awards, who do you think has the best chance at repeating as a fantasy all-star at their position? My money is on Mookie Betts. All that guy does is get better.
Best Single-Game Pitcher: Gerrit Cole
Cole won the award for his May 4th game against the Diamondbacks where he gave up one hit, one walk and pitched a complete, shutout game with 16 strikeouts. Six-freaking-teen. All that amounted to a mind boggling 60.05 fantasy points.
I have to think Sean Manaea’s no-hitter against the Red Sox in April would’ve been close on the list as he walked two and struck out 10. I would’ve also thrown in Justin Verlander’s May 1st game against the Yankees where he pitched eight scoreless innings, gave up three hits and threw 14 strikeouts as a possible candidate, though he didn’t get the win there.
Ultimately, neither performance compared to Cole’s epic display which rightfully won him this award.
Best Single-Game Hitter: Matt Carpenter
This is a no-brainer. No one was going to beat Carpenter’s game against the Cubs where he went 5-for-5 knocking two doubles, three homers and seven RBIs giving him a total of 62 fantasy points that game. That’s just an absurd stat line and a clear winner for the award. Maybe Mark Reynolds’ game against the Marlins where he went 5-for-5 with one double, two homers and 10 RBIs would come close but it’s hard to beat a three homer game.
A clear win here.
Best Value Play: Christian Villanueva
If you had Villanueva’s game against the Rockies in your DK lineup this year, well, good for you. That was the game he went 3-for-3 with all his hits being dingers and knocking 5 RBIs. Not a bad outing for someone who cost you only $2,500 to start that week.
Top Arm: Max Scherzer
Strikeouts still reign supreme and no one was better at throwing them this year than Scherzer. His league leading 300 strikeouts—18 games of 10 or more Ks—netted him a whopping 923.15 fantasy points this year. Hard to argue against a man who averaged 28 fantasy points across his starts. I’ll take that kind of production any day.
Part of me did want to see Jacob deGrom win the award just so we can keep heaping trophies onto him since the Mets couldn’t give him any wins. But alas, I don’t hand out the awards, I’m just writing about them.
Fantasy Baseball MVP: Jose Ramirez
Debate all you want, but I’m agreeing with this pick. Ramirez not only posted the stats to be fantasy’s MVP this year, he also boasts the swag and charisma to be the most valuable player in all the fantasy realm.
Ramirez is one of the most unique players in baseball as he can kill you in every possible way. He led all hitters in total fantasy points and he scored those all over the stat sheet, finishing top 10 in runs (110) and RBIs (106), top 5 in stolen bases (34) and dingers (39), and only striking out 80 times.
Dude. Is. A. Beast.
Gracias, @DraftKings! Proud to be the 2018 Fantasy Baseball MVP. Much love to all those who supported me throughout this season. Follow the #DKAwards all day. pic.twitter.com/PK2jH8lbRm— Jose Ramirez (@MrLapara) October 22, 2018