Archive for March 2013

Wednesday Wrap – March 27 Edition

1. Division Play In Series Wrap up –  Well, I got 2 out of 4 playoff series right.  I thought Boston would be be led by veteran pitching to victory, but they just looked old as Kansas City swept the Bombers.  KC was just better down the stretch of the ball games.  Vegas again won the battle of the West over San Fran, this time in 4 games.  Their pitching came through on the road in the final 2 games, giving up only 2 earned runs.  Memphis was a game opponent and made the games tough, but Augusta just came through with more fire power to pull out the win in 4 games. Yonder Diaz hit .385 to lead the way, including a series clinching 2 run triple in the 10th inning of game 4.  But Boise was the story of the first round, upsetting defending World Series  champion in a 5 game series.  Boise got the series off on the right foot with a walk off 10th inning win in game 1, but Rudy Tabaka evened the series in game 2 with a a near complete game victory.  Back at home for 2 games, Burlington looked like they had the series locked down after another stunning pitching performance in game 3, this time from Patrick Lewis . But Boise brought some serious lumber out for games 4 and 5, scored a combined 23 runs and pulling the upset (in spite of being the higher seed). The MVP of the first round definitely was Boise’s A.J. Huson , who won all 3 of Boise’s victories out of the bullpen.

2.  AL Division Championship Series Preview – Huntington Catholics vs Las Vegas Spittin’ Vermin

I claimed Huntington was the favorite last week, and I’m sticking with that prediction.  To start with, you have a fresh and Juan Veras for 2 starts in a short series.  With Nation, Riedling, and Merloni to follow and Bono Larkin to close, this team will be tough to beat.  But Vegas is a scrappy club.  Looking at their first round win, they were not dominant statistically, but they found ways to win.  If Vegas starts off this series on the road like the ended the last one, we might be looking at a quick upset. Huntington in 4.

3. AL Division Championship Series Preview – Ottawa Pride vs Kansas City Monarchs

This is the series we’ve been looking forward to, and old school powerhouse battle of long time established winners in a short series.  This series is extraordinarily difficult to predict.  Kansas City looked like a force to be reckoned with in the first round, but Boston’s lineup doesn’t begin to compare to Ottawa’s offensive juggernaut.  Kansas City has pulled off improbable wins like this in the past, but Ottawa’s offense on paper just looks like too much for KC to overcome.  Ottawa in 3.

4. NL Division Championship Series Preview – Toledo Black Sheep vs. Boise Russets

On paper, this is an easy choice.  Toledo has a mix of young, prime, and veteran offense that has led this team to it’s best record ever.  On top of that, it has a deep rotation and bullpen that can pitch with anyone in the league.  But I’ve played this game long enough to know better.  Toledo has never won when it is a favorite.  It has never won anything with its best teams.  And Boise just upset the defending world series champions.  This is not some reverse jinx I am trying to pull, it’s what I expect.  Boise in 5.

5. NL Division Championship Series Preview – Tampa Bay Tritons vs Augusta Warriors

This is an interesting matchup in that it puts the best team in the NL over the past decade (8 straight playoff appearances, 7 100 win seasons, 2 WS titles) in Tampa Bay against an up and coming powerhouse in Augusta.  So who wins, youth or experience? Your answer: pitching.  And I’m going to give Augusta the pitching edge in this matchup.  If they pull off this win, Augusta might name part of the city after free agent pitching signee Craig Heffner.  As much as the Park – Clark combo powers this team, they would not be in the position they are in without Heffner.  Augusta in 5.

6. Back to Life – Sorry for the shortened Wrap this week, but I wanted to focus on the playoffs.  But I will still throw out one real life tid bit to remind us that this game isn’t real life (we just think it is).  Forbes just released it’s values for MLB franchises.  There were a couple of things that stood out to me.  One, remember when MLB sold the Montreal Expos? All the owners profited from that deal, selling the team for 450 million.  That was in 1998.  The owners put that money in a  hedge fund and it is now worth over 1 billion dollars.  That’s a little over 31 million per team.  Just sitting there, never to be spent, just making money for the owners.  I’m don’t begrudge them that money, but I would like to know how in the world they made that kind of return in this economy since 1998.  I need a new broker.  Then together they own MLB Advanced Media – the company that makes the MLB apps for your IPads.  That’s worth over 6 billion.  So add another 187 million in value to your team just from that.  And then there is the 12.4 billion in national TV revenue per year.  Another over 350 million in value.  That 568 million in assets right there per team – which makes it really sad that the Marlins are worth 520 million.  Which brings me back to our little HBD world – do we have a Montreal Expos we can sell?

BSA Season 26 Awards Ballot and Postseason Preview

I thought I’d give my awards ballot rankings 1-5 in each category and a little preview for the first round of the playoffs.  Go ahead and make a case for your favorite for any of the awards.  If anyone would like to rebut my ballots and offer their own, sitemail it to me and I’ll post your ballot on the blog.

Season 26 Awards Ballot

AL MVP

  1. Christopher Posey (OTT)
  2. Jose Romo (OTT)
  3. Tike Henson (SF)
  4. Davey Rosado(ROC)
  5. Dave Malone (TAC)

Posey is a clear favorite, and Romo’s high average distances him from Henson.  Seeing those 2 at the top of the MVP voting tell you why Ottawa has the most explosive lineup in the BSA headed into the playoffs.

NL MVP

  1. Juan Park (AUG)
  2. Jacob Schmidt (TOL)
  3. Benito Rodriguez (TOL)
  4. Eugenio Sosa (BUR)
  5. John Clark (AUG)

If you didn’t vote for Juan Park, you are either a homer or you badly failed math class.  He leads in every significant category.  Schmidt seems the clear number 2 and would probably win the award in most seasons, but he’s a distant 2nd to Park.  Sosa is always going to be an enigma in the voting.  If you factor in things like defense and OBP, it probably increases his value in your eyes.  It’s difficult for a leadoff hitter to win the award since he doesn’t have the power numbers, but I think 2 things knock Sosa back in my eyes.  One, batting average.  If you are going to make the case for an MVP as a leadoff hitter without the power numbers, you have to hit for a high average.  The OBP makes up for it, but when the power guys have better averages it knocks you back.  Two, games played.  Playing in only 130 games this year  derails his overall numbers.  Batting leadoff with his durability, this will always be an issue for him.  That’s no knock on Sosa, he can play CF for the Black Sheep whenever he wants!

AL Cy Young

  1. Esteban Cubillan (BOS)
  2. Juan Veras (HUN)
  3. Augie Nation (HUN)
  4. Jason Sierra (KC)
  5. Edgard Wilfredo (ROC)

Unlike the MVP races, the Cy Young awards are wide open.  This race is as close as it can get.  And while everyone will debate Cubillan and Veras, a case can be made for Nation as well.  He has the better WHIP and ERA, but he wasn’t a full time starter and doesn’t have the innings pitched so that will knock him down a peg in most books.  I personally value WHIP/OAV the highest, ERA second, and Wins third, and then I go to Ks if I need a tiebreaker.  With those criteria, I choose Cubillan by a hair.

NL Cy Young

  1. Rudy Tabaka (BUR)
  2. Harry Shirley (NO)
  3. Dennis Hiro (BUR)
  4. Travis Reese (MEM)
  5. Charles Ryu (TB)

Tabaka’s numbers are insane or else this would be a very interesting race.  I normally don’t vote for relievers, but Hiro had about as good a season as a closer can have.  But I love Harry Shirley’s season.  He pitched nearly 300 innings, setting a BSA record with 293 innings.  The fact that he had a 1.04 WHIP and a 2.67 ERA in that many innings is extraordinary.  If that feat made someone vote him in over Tabaka, I would understand – but Tabaka is better.

AL ROY

  1. Anthony Pierce (BOS)
  2. Tony Tanaka (OTT)
  3. Carlos Chavez (MAD)
  4. Victor Cedeno (LV)
  5. Alexei Santayana (SCO)

Pretty weak rookie class in the AL.  Pierce had the best numbers and the most impact so he is a pretty easy choice.

NL ROY

  1. Rudy Tabaka (BUR)
  2. Tex Burnett (MEM)
  3. Alex Barajas (TOL)
  4. Boots Schoenweis (COL)
  5. Evereth Estrella  (MEM)

A little better class than the AL that’s heavy on pitching.  Tabaka had one of the best rookie seasons ever in the BSA.  Burnett would win this award in most seasons and should get more credit for Memphis’ surprise season.

Season 26 First Round Playoff Preview and Predictions

#3 Kansas City vs #6 Boston Bombers

KC blew the #2 seed in the last week and now must face a Boston team that had to slug it out for the last wild card spot.   Both of these teams are veteran laden and have the potential to make a deep playoff run.   These 2 teams have forgotten their rivalries of seasons past, but KC fans probably still quake a little seeing Boston in the playoffs.  It will be a close series and I think it will go 5 games, but I think Boston’s veteran pitching will flex its muscles for at least one round and overcome the better offense in KC.

#4 Las Vegas Spittin’ Vermin vs #5 San Fransisco Sea Lions

It appropriate that one of the better division battles in years would lead to an opening round playoff series.  These 2 teams have watched Tacoma and Scottsdale have epic battles out west for seasons, so it’s appropriate that these 2 carry on that Western legacy.  Joaquin Guerrero is the key and should lead that Vermin to another victory over San Fran.

#3 Augusta Warriors vs #6 Memphis Marauders

Memphis has had a surprising and improbable season and their ownership deserves a ton of credit.  But the thrill is gone when they enter Augusta.  With an offense powered by Juan Park and John Clark and starters like Javier Arroyo and Craig Heffner, Augusta will be a force to reckoned with in the NL.

#4 Boise Russets vs #5 Burlington Ents

Burlington is about as good of a #5 seed as you can get, which is unfortunate for Boise.  Boise won a tough race in the West and has some playoff experience, but the Ents have everything they need to overcome some disappointment in their regular season and win yet another World Series.

Wednesday Wrap – The Late Edition March 22, 2013

1. The NL Playoff Picture – This is about as uneventful and unexciting as it can get.  The NL West is the only race left and Boise has an uncomfortable 2 game lead.  Both Boise and LA have the same easy schedule so Boise has to be the favorite with the 2 game lead.

2.  The AL Playoff Puzzle – The AL race is a completely different story.  One game stands between San Fransisco and Vegas in the West.  Vegas hold the first wild card spot but 5 teams are still in the race for those 2 spots.  San Fran and Vegas are all but locks for 2 of the 3 open spots, it’s just a matter of which seed they will hold.  They’re basically playing for who gets home field advantage against the other in the first round.  Boston, Rochester, Charlotte, and Tacoma battle for the final spot.  It could go a number of ways, but if Rochester can take 2 of 3 from Boston in their next series, it’s their spot to lose.

3. The Early Favorites – In no way is this a prediction, that’ll come when the spots are all set.  But the favorites for the World Series are Tampa Bay and Huntington.  Tampa seems like an easy choice with their annual playoff success, but our last blog predicted a Huntington collapse and a playoff miss.  This is not a way to suck up to them, it’s just looking sat the odds.  If Huntington can beat out Kansas City for the top seed, they are in the driver’s seat.  If Ottawa defeats the last wildcard team, they will be in for a battle with Kansas City.  Huntington will have the winner of the wild west, and I think their pitching is a lock in a short series.  So it will come down to Huntington against a battle weary KC or Ottawa.  I just think Huntington has the best starters and will be the best rested.

4. MVP – In the future, we may refer to this as the Juan Park award so he’s the favorite in the NL.  And while others think they may deserve the AL award, Christopher Posey should be a clear winner and looking a whole lot more like a future Hall of Famer.

5. Cy Young – If Rudy Tabaka stays on the ballot, he should be an easy favorite to win the NL award.  Juan Veras and Estevban Cubillan should be an interesting battle in the AL.  Veras is probably better statistically, but a case can be made for Cubillan and he may have the sentimental vote.

6. Rookie of the Year – Again, Tabaka is a lock in the NL  unless we’re all idiots.  The AL is not so clear cut, but Boston’s Anthony Pierce might have the best numbers and has had the biggest impact for his team.

7. Under the Radar – If his teammate Christopher Posey didn’t exist, Ottawa LF Jose Romo might be the favorite for AL MVP.  He is leading the world in batting average at .353.  He has hit over .300 in all 4 of his ML seasons, but he has taken a step forward and coem into his prime this season.   At only 25, he is a name that we’re going to keep seeing at the top of the leaderboards.

8. Top trades – 2 veterans stand out as the best midseason acquisitions this season.  Toledo brought in LF Don Hunter to provide an extra bat in a 3 man platoon between LF and RF, but he has made it very difficult for the coaches to ever take him out of the lineup.  Since arriving in Toledo, Hunter is hitting .412 with 1.197 OPS.  Oh, and he might be a free agent next season.  But Boston also amde a huge move in acquiring Terrell Hoffman for their rotation.  In Boston, Hoffman is 8-2 with 5 complete games, a 1.59 ERA, and  .82 WHIP.

9. March Madness – So I haven’t done a bracket in years, but I broke down and entered WIS group with the lure of WIS credits.  So I picked Georgetown as one of my final 4.  Back to not doing brackets again for me.

10.  What do you expect from your MLB team this season? For a dose of reality, I thought I’d invite everyone to make a prediction for their favorite MLB club.  I expect my Cincinnati Reds to win their division again and screw up in the playoffs, but at lest they’ll be better than the Cardinals!

Wednesday Wrap – March 6, 2013 Edition

As I try to revitalize the blog with my new schedule, I thought the next step would be bringing back this old standby.  If you’re new to the league, this is basically just a league highlight where I choose 10 different items to write about.  Some times they are themed, particularly at the beginning or end of the season, sometimes they are just the random stuff that jumps out at me.  Please comment on the articles as some of the discussion that ensues is the funnest part of blogging for the league.

1.  The Return of the Blog – I know I just wrote about it a little, but I thought I’d also mention that I hope to change some things up too.  Initially, I set this page up to add a lot of additional content other than just blog posts.  When kids came into the picture, I just had no time for that.  So I am still brainstorming  as to what exactly should be on the page, so I am opening it up to your input.  Any pages or content that you’d like to see added? I am going to do a site redesign too and I will officially announce now that the team who wins the World Series in this season will have the site redesigned in their teams colors.  You’ll have some blog bragging rights at least until I get tired of the new design and want to change it again.  Please comment on what you’d like to see on the blog/webpage and I’ll do what I can to accomodate.

2. Juan Park is a freak – So if you don’t really pay any attention to other teams or just look at what comes up on the front page from time to time, you might be missing the next great player in BSA history.  With the first wave of greats nearly gone from us as Neruda’s career winds down, the next generation of players didn’t really bring us one of those era defining players.  I’m not looking too closely at the 28 to 32 year olds to find out, but off the top of my head I don’t know that any of them are breaking records.  But Juan Park is leading a new generation of young superstars. In only his second full season, he is posting his second OPS over 1.0 and it would rank in the top 10 all time right now. His power probably isn’t going to topple guys like Cruz and Thompson, but he will have a legitimate shot at that if he stays healthy is nearly a lock for 600 homeruns.

3.  23 is the magic number – Like Juan Park is 23, is seems to be a magic number for talented prospects right now.  I don’t ever remember a time before when there were this many good young players coming through the league at the same time.  Just look at some of the players who are 23 (or younger) and already in the majors this season: Rudy Tabaka , Donnie Richard , Sam Blank, Edgar Matos , Tony Tanaka , Antonio Feng , John Clark , Alex Barajas , Eugenio Sosa , Alexi Crespo , Oswaldo Rivera , Deivi Estrella , Trot Harmon . That’s just the tip of the iceberg in what seems to be a youth movement in the BSA.

4.  Screw those young whippersnappers – Since the training glitch in early years the allowed players to continue to improve long after they should have, we have not seen many players have success into their 40s. Esteban Cubillan is aging quickly and this may be his last season as a ML starter, but he is anchoring the Boston Bombers rise this year with a 16-4 record. In case you were wondering, 16 wins leads both leagues and after going 20-2 and winning the CY Young last season, he is the odds on favorite down the stretch to win his second straight Cy Young. Cubillan is also only 9 wins shy of 300, a plateau that only 2 other pitchers have reached in the BSA.  Take that youth movement.

5.  The Forgotten Statistic – Quick, without looking, what statistic is Garret Vernon the all time single season and career leader in? He is the Stolen Base King of the BSA, posting 2 straight 100 + stolen base seasons to start his career, 7 straight 80 + seasons, and 9 straight 70 + seasons.  He set a standard that no one has come close to matching, save for the career longevity of Max Mairena.  But a threat to his throne is looming in Mikey McGuire . I would dare to say that he has already claimed the mantle of the second best stolen base artist in BSA history in just 4 season, raking up 4 consecituve 90 + campaigns. With his fatest days behind him, it appears that Vernon’s single season record is probably safe, but whether or not he has the career longevity to pass Vernon remains to be seen. None the less, players like Vernon and Mcguire should get more noteriety for doing what so few players have been able to accomplish in this world. Perhaps if individual base settings do come into play like mentioned by the higher ups we can see more players taking a run at Vernon (pun intended).

6. The AL Dog Fight – In the NL, 2 division titles are practically already wrapped up, a third is a tight battle where the other will surely get a wild card, and the fourth could be won with a losing record.  Toledo has gone 1-9 in their last 10 and holds a 24 game lead.  The NL is boring this year.  But the AL is a whole other story.  7 teams already have 60 wins (compared to 4 in the NL).  While Ottawa is pulling way in the North and KC has a comfortable lead in the south, both are just a rough week away from a tight race again.  In the East, Rochester, Boston, and Huntington are starting a rivalry that may be so brutal that none of them end up with a wild card.  Vegas and San Fran are battling back and forth in the West and Tacoma somehow or another is keeping their name in the game.  At the trade deadline, there are only 5 teams that cold say they have no shot at the playoffs in the AL.  It going to be a crazy last third of the season.

7. Trade Activity – There has been an increase in trade activity this season even before the trade deadline and waive trades go through.  SO far, there have been 29 deals this season, more than any season since 32 were made in season 20.  Where does it rank all time? Not even close to the top.  Check out the first 7 seasons of trade activity in the BSA : 1 – 71 trades, 2 – 47 trades, 3 – 70 trades, 4 – 63 trades, 5 – 73 trades, 6 – 50 trades, 7 – 51 trades.  We’d have to double our trades this season just to make the top list!

8. Deadline Candidates – There is not a lot of noise at the deadline this year, but a few names from rebuilding teams that could be dealt at or after the deadline are Roscoe Kraemer , Tony Ellis , Tony Ibanez , Eliezer Torres , Willie Franco , Robin Drew , David Lee , and Joseph Ryu .

9. Bold Prediction – I’ll put myself out there and make one bold prediction per week, even if I have to just make something up.  So here it goes: After starting the season out as the top 2 teams in the AL, both Huntington and San Fransisco will miss the playoffs.  That means out of the mess of the AL, I am predicting the division winners as Ottawa, Rochester, Kansas City, and Las Vegas, with Boston and Charlotte as the wildcards.

10.  A Slice of Real Life – I always like to finish this off by reminding us that HBD isn’t actually the real world by talking about one thing from the real world, usually from baseball.  Check this out: http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/9023097/matt-kemp-cole-hamels-agree-big-league-chew-images-adorned-shredded-gum-pouches What the hell is wrong with you Big League Chew? Do we have to ruin every single memory from my childhood? Hollywood has already destroyed cartoons for me with Transformers and GI Joe (they better keep their filthy mitts off of M.A.S.K.), but now we have to reach into baseball? And you couldn’t even hire a GD cartoonist to at least make it a cartoon rendering of Kemp or Hamels? For some reason, I just keep having flashes of Kenny Powers giving out foam middle fingers to his nephews out of the back of his truck.  Might as well just go all out and start letting Ryan Braun advertise his steroid attorneys on his jersey, put Jim Leyland’s mug on a pack of Marlboros,  and sell the naming rights of Fenway Park to Green Giant.

All Time Leaders

Hits
1. Luther Aldred 3031
2. Alfonzo Cruz 3004
3. Ugueth Moya 2830
4. Orlando Lee 2736
5. Alan Vickers 2643

Home Runs
1. Alfonzo Cruz 811
2. Dan Thompson 749
3. Ugueth Moya 686
4. Jerome Duran 633
5. Ivan Mantalban 602

OPS
1. Rusty Laker 1.021
2. Dan Thompson 1.020
3. Ugueth Moya .989
4. Matty Bennet .984
5. Emil Wilkinson .975

Wins
1. Fernando Neruda 352
2. Geronimo Flores 310
3. Esteban Cubillan 275
4. Frank Dehart 263
5. Shawn Radlosky 257

Strikeouts
1. Fernando Neruda 5038
2. Geronimo Flores 3866
3. Frank Dehart 3356
4. Esteban Cubillan 2955
5. Shawn Radlosky 2871

Saves
1. Jesus Torrealba 694
2. Hal Wagner 636
3. Charles Hall 575
4. Cole Alexander 488
5. Augie Martin 478