If Alfonso Soriano was available in your league on the waiver wire after his trade back to the Yankees, I hope you went all-out to win him. I actually didn’t in my AL-only league, nervous about his low batting average, and I deeply regret that mistake, as I had enough FAAB to win him. Soriano had a monster week: .484, 5 HR, 9 R, 18 RBI, and 2 SB, worth an incredible $115.55 in the shallow 5×5 Mixed League, $73.62 in a deep 5×5 AL Only, and $79.75 in a similarly deep 4×4 AL Only. Nobody was remotely close to his value in any of these leagues, with only Addison Reed in the 4×4 AL league earning even half of Soriano’s value. Since he was traded to the Yankees, Soriano has hit .306 with 8 HR, 19 R, 26 RBI, and 2 SB. If the Yankees manage to squeak into the playoffs (which seems unlikely), the Soriano trade will be cited as a major turning point.
Yu Darvish was a distant runner-up to Soriano in the 5×5 Mixed League, earning $47.61 after a week of two strong starts, but just one win. Darvish struck out 22 batters in 15.33 IP, giving up just 8 hits, 5 walks, and 4 ER, for a WHIP of 0.848 and a 2.35 ERA. At $35.62, This was the best pitching week in th 5×5 AL, but in the 4×4 AL Darvish’s week was worth just $26.86, as the strikeouts don’t matter there.
Addison Reed was the AL’s top closer, and indeed top pitcher in the 4×4, as he tossed 5 scoreless innings with a 0.800 WHIP, 3 saves, and a relief win, earning $45.15 in the 4×4 AL and $32.84 in the 5×5 AL. Among AL pitchers Chris Sale had the second-best 4×4 week ($31.15), and 3rd best 5×5 week ($31.98) with 2 wins, a 2.81 ERA, a 1.188 WHIP, and 14 Ks in 16 IP, earnin. The best single-start pitcher on the week was Athletics rookie Sonny Gray, who held the Astros to just 4 hits, 1 walk, and 1 run to win on Thursday afternoon, earning $24.30 in the 5×5 and $26.39 in the 4×4 format. That stellar outing was against the lowly Astros, but Gray is a former first round pick and pitching well in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, so he’s worth a speculative add in most formats if he’s not owned.
Will Venable is the NL fantasy MVP for week 20 after hitting .406 with 2 HR, 7 R, 5 RBI, and 1 SB, earning $44.29 in the 5×5 NL Only, $41.85 int the 4×4 NL Only, and $47.24 in the 5×5 Mixed League. While he’s not a high average hitter, Venable’s power has improved (a career-best 17 HR so far) and he still runs effectively (14 SB).
While the MVP was clear, the other best players depend on format. Marlon Byrd edged out Khris Davis in the 4×4 NL Only, as Byrd hit .400, 2 HR, 3 R, 7 RBI to earn $38.55, and Davis hit .467, 3 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI to earn $38.21. Those low runs scored totals dropped Davis to 4th and Byrd to 6th best in the 5×5 NL Only. Hunter Pence was the 5×5 runner-up after hitting .296 with 1 HR, 6 R, 9 RBI, and 1 SB to earn $37.61, with Jason Heyward next (.385, 3 HR, 5 R, 4 RBI, $36.08).
The top NL pitcher also depended on format. In the 4×4 NL, Heath Bell notched a pair of relief wins to go along with a 0.375 WHIP and 0.00 ERA in 5.33 IP to earn $27.13, ahead of Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrell earned $24.02 for posting 3 wins, a 0.800 WHIP, and a 0.00 ERA in 5 IP, and was by far the league’s top closer.
Cole Hamels takes top honors in the 5×5 NL, as he posted a 1. 69 ERA, 0.875 WHIP, 17 Ks and a win in 16 IP to earn $29.94. Mat Latos had a 1.000 WHIP, 1.20 ERA, and 14 Ks in 15 IP, also with one win, to earn $26.79, and Adam Wainwright earned $25.24 on a 1.000 WHIP, 2.57 ERA, 17 Ks, and 1 win in 14 IP. Interestingly, no NL starter won twice, but three relievers did (Bell, Brad Ziegler, and Chad Qualls). Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was the most valuable pitcher to have just one start, as he beat the Phillies with 8 shutout innings, striking out 8 and yielding just 3 hits and a walk for a 0.500 WHIP.