Archive for September 2013

Wednesday Wrap – September 25, 2013 Edition

We’re just past the two-thirds mark in the season and headed down the home stretch.  So I’ll make some of my usually poor predictions and look around the league at some high and low lights.

1. NL Playoff Prediction Toledo has taken over as the top team in the NL after going 21-4 in the last 2 games, but most people still believe Augusta is the team to beat.  Tampa Bay looks like the favorite to win the South, but they are trying hard to give away with a nine game losing streak.  In the always close and tumultuous NL West, Boise and LA have emerged as the two to fight it out this season and I’d put my money on Boise edging out that race (especially since LA’s owner hasn’t been around for almost 2 weeks).  Burlington has shaken off an early season rough patch and will easily win the first wild card and is only 3 games back of Augusta, so they are still a dark horse for that #1 seed in the playoffs.  The second wildcard is going to be a 4 team race between Washington, Richmond, LA, and the surprise Columbus squad.  Just by evaluating schedules, I like DC for the last wildcard.  Their next 23 games come against teams at or under .500.  In the next 12 games, LA and Columbus play 6 times so one of those 2 teams could really be pushed to the back of the pack in those games.  I like Richmond’s team alot and they have the lead right now, but they have the toughest remaining schedule by far, with 13 games left against Augusta, Burlington, and Toledo and then 10 more against division leaders Tampa Bay and Boise.

So my prediction for seeding is this order: Augusta, Toledo, Boise, Tampa, Burlington, and then Washington.  I’ll make my predictions for who emerges from that group below.

2. AL Playoff Prediction Well, Ottawa is still ridiculous.  They are 31 games up at with 50 to go.  That’s insane, even in a division with finnski.  But the other 3 AL divisions are up for grabs.  Portland has a comfortable lead at 5 games, but San Francisco and Las Vegas are both within striking distance.  Boston is 5 games up on Huntington in the East and is the only team above .500.  Kansas City and Nashville are tied in the South and El Paso is only a game back.  All those tight division races make the wild card race a mess with all the aformentioned teams in the hunt as well as Syracuse.  If you’re counting at home, that is 9 teams in the Wild card hunt.  That means only 6 teams are really not being considered and even a few of those could make their way into the race with a hot streak.  Since it’s impossible to handicap 9 teams, we’ll highlight some things to watch over the next week.  If San Fransisco is going to make a move in the West, this next 20 games could be it.  They play 3 of the 6 under .500 teams in the AL and play no current playoff teams.  Meanwhile, Vegas has 7 games against Ottawa and Portland has a series with Ottawa and Boston.  I think the next Wrap will see San Fransisco as the clear #1 wild card team with Portland still in control of the South and Vegas moving to the middle of the wildcard pack.  Kansas City starts out with Ottawa but then has 4 straight series against under .500 teams.  Their competition in the South, El Paso and Nashville, has only slightly tougher schedules and this 20 games should help boost all 3 of these teams in the wildcard race but will probably do nothing to help us figure out the South.

So my predictions for seedings in the AL will probably only get one right.  They are in order: Ottawa, Portland, Boston, Nashville, San Fransisco, El Paso.  That means I predict that Ottawa is the only good team in the AL, Kansas City will collapse and be overceom by both Nashville and El Paso, Nashville’s youth will emerge, and Boston has an easy ride from here.

3.  Early World Series Prediction Based on my predicted seedings, I see Burlington defeating Toledo in the NLCS and Ottawa defeating anyone and everyone else in the AL.  Seriously, anyone in the AL beating Ottawa this season would be the biggest playoff upset in BSA history.  Ottawa is that good and the rest of the AL is that mediocre.  Our long time owners may think Boston losing to KC in season 4 was up there, but go back and look at how good that KC team was and some of the other teams in the AL as well and we’ll see Ottawa is way, way better compared to the competition than Boston was then.  From my total guesswork of seedings in the AL, I’d predict San Fransisco to meet them in the ALCS.  If anyone upsets Ottawa, any team that makes it form the NL will be favored to win the series.  If Ottawa is playing Burlington, Augusta, or Toledo, they will be slight favorites but any of those match ups will produce a pretty epic Series.  Ottawa has to be the favorite to win at this point and is the easy prediction.

4. MVP Predictions Do I even need to look at stats to predict the same old same old of Juan Park in the NL and Christopher Posey in the AL? I don’t, so let’s look at who will compete for second place. Garrett Thames is a perennial contender in the AL and is on pace to hit over .300, bang 40 plus homers, and swipe over 30 bases. Those are MVP caliber numbers in many seasons. Brian Kim has posted numbers worthy of being on the ballot, but his fielding numbers will keep him from being on the ballot just like they kept him from the all star game (because we all know writers often say “Yeah, I know him hit over .350 and hit over 35 homers with over 100 RBI, but he didn’t play right field all that well”. In the NL, Eugenio Sosa may not garner a ton of votes since he doesn’t have gaudy power numbers, but he is probably now the best all around player in the NL and the best leadoff type hitter in the BSA.

5. Cy Young Prediction Pitching awards are never as easy to predict as everyone values things a little differently.  Some value wins, others don’t look at wins at all and look at WHIP and ERA, and others factor in K.  I’ve said before I personally evaluate with this order of importance: WHIP, ERA, Wins, K.  How you compare relievers is a whole different conversation.  In the NL, I believe Rudy Tabaka is the clear winner, but I thought he was the clear winner two seasons ago as well. Tabaka set the single season WHIP mark last year at .86 and is shattering that mark so far at .76. The biggest question about Tabaka is how in the world he has lost 4 games this season. If he keeps his current pace, at the age of 25 in his first 3 seasons of ML play, he will have produced the best back to back and the best 3 consecutive season of any pitcher in BSA history with the only comparable and debatable numbers coming from Hall of Famer Rube Daniels in seasons 7-9. Other notable NL starters who would have a chance in season without Tabaka include Boomer Hoffman , Greg Johnstone , Kevin Higginson , and Ariel Calles. In the AL, I think Tony Tanaka is also a clear favorite. He is second in wins with a 17-1 record, leads the league in WHIP, and is second in ERA. Mitch Morehead is leading the league in ERA and is right behind Tanaka in WHIP, but with only an 8-5 record I see little chance he even competes with Tanaka. Other notable AL possibilities include Trace Woods , Victor Guerra , Ben Sherman, and Ottawa closer Ken Brantley.

6. Other award predictions Bono Snyder might become the oldest ROY winner in history at age 29. His biggest competition should be Chun-Lim Martin, who has had a solid rookie campaign as a starter with 8 wins and a 3.26 ERA. In the NL, Greg Johnstone is 13-2 with a 2.41 and a 1.09 WHIP. While Ewell Priest and Andrea Parker have had very good seasons to start their careers, Johnstone should walk away with this one.

7. Stat Watch Stolen bases are all but a forgotten stat in HBD, but Mikey McGuire has moved into 2nd place in the all time chart. He is still 130 behind all time leader Garret Vernon. Vernon was a model of consistency, posting 7 straight season of over 80 steals and then 2 more after that of over 70. Mcguire hasn’t had as many seasons as Vernon had, but he has posted 4 100 plus season and 2 more 90 plus seasons. He is sitting at 78 right now with 50 games to go, so if he keeps his current pace, he should top 100 again which would increase his record of single season with over 100 stolen bases to 5 and could put him within range to break the record next season

8.  The curious case of Willy Strauss  Willy Strauss has always looked like he would be at least a reliable power hitter with a good glove, but in his younger days looked to be an impact player who could play most anywhere on the field. I know because I once traded for Strauss as a young prospect during my rebuilding phase in exchange for Julio Nunez, a solid starting pitcher still in his prime. On paper, Strauss looked like he could hit in the middle of my order and play either CF or third base really well. But Wily Strauss is one of those cases in this game that is based on numbers where the numbers don’t make sense. Looking at his numbers now 10 season later, Strauss has never hit more than 27 homeruns in spite of having power in the mid 80s and splits in the 70s/80s. With an average contact and eye, he never looked like he would hit for high average, but he certainly looked like a reliable power hitter. But he certainly looked like better than a career .247 hitter. He has proved to be a reliable fielder, but never anything special. He’s now at 29, in his prime, and his line is .228/.286/.439 in an extrememly powerful lineup. When you just look at other 3B around the league, his numbers are just peculiar. Look at Arthur Stewart who already has more homers this season than Strauss ever has had in a season. Arthur Putnam has similar numbers in contact and eye but lower numbers in power and with lower splits particularly against righthanders and he hit .295 with 28 homers last season and is a career .277 hitter. Strauss has better numbers in every hitting category except that Putnam has 2 better in eye and Putnam is considerably better statistically. Willy Strauss will always be one of the oddest cases to me of a player whose numbers never matched his output. Who is your Willy Strauss?

9. Playoff Drought You’ll see in number 10 what made me look this up, but I wondered who in the BSA had been out of the playoffs for the longest time.  Scranton currently has the longest streak with 15 straight playoff-less seasons, all losing seasons.  Washington is in second with 11 straight.  Charlotte holds the record, going the first 19 seasons before having their first winning season and winning their division.  They have only made the playoffs twice in their history though they have had hard luck recently in missing the playoffs with 89, 87 and 85 win seasons

10. Back to Reality The Pittsburgh Pirates have made the playoffs.  Is life now some twisted episode of the twilight zone? The Yankees and their 200 million dollar payroll will be at home watching the Pirates in the playoffs.  That’s messed up.  Not as messed up as having 2 teams play one baseball game to decide who moves on in the playoffs,but it’s pretty messed up.  If I have to watch the Reds lose a one game playoff series and then the Cardinals go on to the World Series, I’m sending Bud Selig a ham for Christmas.

Wednesday Wrap – 9/18/13 A Real All Star Team edition

This week I’m going to change the pace a little bit sine we just finished All Star weekend.  I’m going to create my own all-star team using MLB guidelines.  32 man roster (as opposed to 30) and there must be one player from each team.  No injury replacements and I’m not looking at when pitchers started games.  I will choose starters since there is no fan voting, but I will pretend a little as if there was fan voting, considering history, team and popularity/stardom since that is a part of the real All-Star game.  That also means defense will barely be considered since it’s very rare that I hear someone say “So and So should have been on the all star team, have seen his fielding percentage?!?” Without looking at anything yet, these may end up very similar to the actual teams but I guess we’ll find out in the end.  Feel free to post your own teams!

American League

C Christopher Huff (Ott)

1B Gaylord Rasmussen (Nas)

2B Pat Mays (Hun)

3B Tomas Miro (Ott)

SS Glenn Brown (Van)

OF Christopher Posey (Ott)

OF Brian Kim (Sco)

OF Garrett Thames (KC)

DH Kaito Pan (Ott)

SP Tony Tanaka (Ott)

Reserves Gene Cain (Ott) Francisco Torres (Nas) Ron Quantrill (Roc) Arthur Ward (Bal) Shigetoshi Kwon (Bos) Chase Johnson (Char) Frank Winchester (Scr) Jayson Caruso (Syr) Marvin Piper (KC) Jose Romo (Ott)

Pitchers Trace Woods (Ott) Victor Guerra (Ott) Dan Pritchett (Ott) Sean Downs (Syr) Ben Sherman (SF) Michael Chang (LV) Diego Ramirez (KC) Roy Washington (Por) Carlos Rios (Nas) Edgar Matos (Nas) Bernie Allen (Roc) Chun-Lim Martin (Nas)

National League

C Ewell Priest (Was)

1B Juan Park (Aug)

2B Brian Canseco (Hon)

3B Tony Ellis (Was)

SS Yamil Pujols (Cin)

OF Eugenio Sosa (Bur)

OF Dennis Taylor (Was)

OF Andrea Parker (Sac)

SP Rudy Tabaka (Bur)

Reserves John Clark (Aug) Ken Victorino (Was) Polin Castilla (Was) Miguel Romano (Cin) Alexi Crespo (Boi) Ralph Johnson (Aus) Macbeth Masterson (Col) Henderson Stinnett (Mem) Ebenezer Robinson (Ric) Oswaldo Rivera (Tol) Benito Rodriguez (Tol)

Pitchers Boomer Hoffman (Tol) Lorenzo Sanchez (Aug) Cookie Mota (Tol) Cookie Beltre (Was) Greg Johnstone (Aug) Kevin Higginson (LA) Walter DaVanon (Aug) Ramiro Delgado (Far) Jair Bonilla (Bur) Brian Hurst (NO) Ariel Calles (TB) Sam Blank (Tol)

AL Notes: So I guess I pretty much could have said the NL versus Ottawa. 5 starters, 2 bench players, and 3 pitchers is absurd.  They could have had 1 or 2 more too.  They did have 3 starting roles that could have goned a different direction.  C Huff got the nod over Rochester’s Ron Quantrill based on history and not numbers.  If there was voting, Huff would be the starter so it was close enough I went with him.  The same rationale goes for 3B Tomas Miro, having the more well known name as part of Ottawa’s killer lineup.  Nashville’s Torres and Miro were pretty much tied when it came to numbers and Torres will probably be the AL’s starting 3B for a long, long time.  Tanaka at 14-1 was the pretty clear choice for starting pitcher, but Carlos Rios was closer than you might think.  The AL manager decided to only go with one shortstop after looking at his options.  In the end, 10 of the 13 pitchers were the same and of the 17 WIS chosen position all stars, 13 were the same.

NL notes: Washington’s lineup powers the NL team with 3 starters, 2 reserves, and 1 pitcher.  Toledo and Augusta also had 5, which means half of the NL team came from 3 clubs.  There weren’t really any close races for starting positions, but the tightest ones were at 3B between Wasington’s Tony Ellis and Cincy’s Miguel Romano and in the outfield between Sacramento’s Andre Parker and Boise’s Alexi Crespo.  The NL manager did opt for two shortstops, but only went with one catcher and decided that Washington’s Ken Victorino would be the backup ther even though he has predominately played first base this season.  When compared with the WIS version of the all stars, 11 of the 14 pitchers are the same and of the 16 position players, 11 were the same.

So in total, out of the 60 players WIS put on their all star team (I chose 64), we had 45 of the same players.  So I chose 75 percent of the players WIS did.  I don’t know if that makes this a futile effort or not, but it was interesting to see who I chose when I didn’t look at their all start team at all and just looked by team stats and league leaders.  Adding in the rule of having a player from each team didn’t have a huge impact either, partially because I added 4 players which helped with that aspect, but also because 11 teams had players represented on both of WIS’ chosen teams.  Taking out the 4 that were added, that meant only 6 players had to be different (10 percent).

Wednesday Wrap – September 11, 2013 Draft Review Edition

With the amateur draft happening in the last week, we’ll take some time to review some of the highlights from our new pool of prospects.

1. Best player in the draft The first player chosen isn’t always the best player, but in this case it is. Steve Laffey is the new cornerstone of El Paso’s rebuilding project and you can’t do much better than a top of the line starting pitcher.  Laffey really has no weakness.  He projects to be extremely durable and will be a workhorse who pitches a ton of innings, has the control and splits of a dominant starter, won’t be injury prone, and has the temperament to both progress well and stay in his prime for a long time.  If you had to pick out a weakness, it would be that he doesn’t have a dominant pitch, but none of his pitches are below 50 and 3 of his pitches project to be solid.  With this pick, Mike should prepare himself for trade offers from Glen for a long, long time.

2. Best pick of the draft With this being one of the BSA’s deeper drafts in a while, there are a number of candidates for this title.  With this title, we are looking for value particularly at positions that are either more valuable or harder to come by.  So a starting pitcher is more likely to gain this title than say a first baseman. With that in mind, my choice is Boise’s pick at 15 in Curtis Moehler . He is an everyday center fielder with gold glove caliber fielding ability and the kind of bat and speed that will make him probably the most proficient center fielder in the BSA. If his offense progresses, he will be an annual MVP candidate with the defensive numbers he will put up along side his base running numbers. The caveat is his age. By the time Moehler is ready to play, he’ll be 26. The trap in drafting college players is their development window is so narrow that they can easily fizzle long before they achieve their potential. When you look at his patience, temper, and makeup, there is a good chance he never develops properly and is just a high range player with an average bat at best who can steal a few bases. And injury is a strong possibility with his health rating and that would hurt his development immensely. None the less, I think the value of this position at this spot in the draft still makes it the best pick of the draft now, but there is a good chance that hindsight will show us that title belongs to someone else.

3. Best team draft One of the reasons that I won’t do a full draft evaluation is because my scouting numbers leave a lot of holes in what I can see in terms of drafted players, so that makes these kinds of assessments difficult. San Fransisco would be the easy choice here when it seems like they could field a full lineup of first round players, but I can’t see any of the players they haven’t signed and that leaves me with some questions. If they sign, San Fran will probably be the clear winner. But I personally like Columbus’ draft a lot. Jamie Cho has the potential to be an elite power hitter and a perennial all star. Later in the first round they landed RP Matt Marte , who has all the stuff to be a great closer with the lone mark of the question of his stamina. At the beginning of the compensation round, they chose Jake Moeller . While the club may not have ideally wanted another power hitting corner outfielder, thinking about Moeller hitting behind Cho might be exciting to the chicks in Columbus (they dig the long ball). Honorable mentions: Scranton (probably the pick if their top pick signs), Fargo (same as Scranton), and Burlington

4.  First round highlights Signability was the talk of the town after this draft. The first round was littered with question marks and we’ll spend the rest of the season waiting to see who really had the best draft.  It’s not just shocking that 10 picks still have not signed, but that 3 of the top 5 have yet to sign. Chad Fiore , Amp Knight , and Jamie Cho all had signability concerns but have decided to sign on with their respective teams.

5. Sandwich round highlights  Jimmie Feliz was taken by Fargo with the first pick in the compensation round and has the opportunity to be one of the best relievers coming out of this draft. I also like San Fransisco’s pickup of Hamish Crick . His RH split is a concern, but he has the tools to be a reliable starter at the back end of the rotation.

6.  Best picks after first round pick The top of the second round still had a lot of talent available (and more signability issues with 12 second round picks still unsigned). Fargo selected Luther Magnusson who could be a nice back end starter with 4 good pitches, solid velocity, and doesn’t give up the long ball. Baltimore found SS Glenn Laker , who could be a rare find as a legit defensive shortstop with a major league bat if his glove develops properly. Relievers can often be mined in the second and third rounds, and Newe Orleans found a gem in Dave Lester . And Syracuse landed DH Joey Barnes at pick 145 in the 4th round. Barnes isn’t a world beater, but to find a potentially major league caliber bat at pick 145 has to be applauded.

7.  Worst pick Augusta’s Zach Creek wins the dubious honor of the worst pick. Even at the end of the first round, you hope to land someone who can contribute on your major league team. Creek’s pitches look major league quality and his splits are good enough with those pitches, but his control is abysmal. And at 22, his developmental curve is not that great. We could debate whether some of the picks used on unsignable players were worse, but of the players actually chosen, Creek looks from my view point to be the worst use of a pick.

8. Around the NL Let’s not focus completely on prospects and draft picks and look and see what’s happened in the last week.  Augusta has staked its claim as the best team in the NL, already 11 games up in one of the most difficult divisions over the past few seasons.  Washington is still hanging around in the East, only a game behind Toledo.  The South not long ago was the pride of the NL but at almost the midway point no team is above .500.  After dropping to third place last season, Boise seems to have regained control of the West.   Columbus is another surprise team along with Washington, only a game back of Burlington in the wildcard race and a serious competitor for a playoff spot this year.  After a somewhat surprising season 27, Cincinnati sits at the bottom of the NL and is retooling.

9. Around the AL Ottawa is on one of the most ridiculous runs in BSA history, posting a whopping .816 winning percentage so far.  The AL East is up for grabs this year with every team under .500 and the top 3 teams within 4 games of first.  Kansas City has been on a solid run of their own in the South, but Nashville is still holding them off.  Those 2 teams should be in a dogfight down the stretch.  Portland is still leading the way in the AL West, already amassing a 7 game lead.  Las Vegas is spiraling after losing 7 straight and may be resigned already to the wild card race.

10. Back to Reality – Our weekly reminder that HBD isn’t real! NFL week one is always great here where I live.  I live near Cleveland, so week 1 is always their reality check that brings their hopes into perspective and makes them realize they’re still the Browns.  You may think it’s the same where you live with your bad franchise, but it isn’t.  Cleveland is the pit of hopelessness.  Cleveland has not had a major sports championship since 1964.  That’s almost 50 years.  It’s not like one team blows, they all do.  They’ve had their close calls with success, but they get just close enough to taste it but can’t hold on to it.  But the Browns are the crown jewel, far and away the team Cleveland cares about the most.  And they have now lost 9 straight opening day games.  9 straight.  It is the annual day of deflated hope in Northeast Ohio.  When do you lose hope in your team?

Wednesday Wrap – September 4th It’s Been Way Too Long Edition

We’re back! Hopefully to stay! After having a newborn, starting a non-profit in my free time, and then having that newborn have major surgery, the blog has taken a back seat.  But the first surgery is behind us, the non-profit is up and running with my major contribution out of the way, and my work schedule is finally normalized.  Which means the Wednesday Wrap is back! If you are new to the league or just don’t remember, I try to give a look around the league each week with 10 different items.  They are often just ten random things that come t my mind or they are themed.  Since it’s been a while, we’ll go for just some random thoughts in my brain for today.

1. Rookie Evaluation – I don’t know about you, but at about this time of the season I like to look around the league and check out the rookies who are making an impact.  We’ve had enough time for the after 20 games call ups to play a little and see if anyone is making waves early on. From the mound, Chun-Lim Martin has started out hot for the resurgent Nashville Redbirds.  He has started out 6-0 and opponents are hitting only .209 against him.  Greg Johnstone of Augusta is not far behind him with a 5-0 record and a 2.97 ERA.  Rule 5 draftee Tomo Zhou is filling the closer role for Columbus, starting out 12/14 in saves with a 3.18 ERA. From the plate, Las Vegas DH Bono Snyder has been hot to start the season, hitting .327 with a .944 OPS. Andrea Parker is the center of attention in Sacramento, hitting .314 with a .966 OPS and grabbing the spotlight with a 17 game hitting streak earlier in the season. Nashville’s Gaylord Rasmussen is the leading power broker among rookies, amassing 17 home runs thus far to go with his .313/.370/.602/.977 numbers.

2. Surprise Teams – Every year we seem to have one or two teams surge to the top of the heap, some expected with the culmination of a rebuilding process and some out of no where.  This blog predicted Washington to be the surprise of last season, but they were just waiting a year.  August, Burlington, and Toledo have been the cream of the crop in the NL for a few season, but Washington has been giving Toledo a run for their money in the NL East and has fans excited with playoff possibilities.  Portland has been at the top of the always tough AL West this season.  For years while in Tacoma, this team was a perennial playoff contender but after a down season in their first summer in Portland, experts were expecting a long rebuilding process.  On the flip side, the past 2 World Series winners, Kansas City and Huntington, both have losing records so far and surely have management scratching their heads about what to do next.

3. Juan Park Update – Juan Park is still really good in case you haven’t checked.  He has failed to get a hit almost 62 percent of the time (which means he is batting .384).  And his current OPS wouldn’t even be the best season ever (only #2 on the all time single season OPS list).  At his current pace, he will have top 5 all time seasons in batting average, OPS, home runs, hits, and be close in RBI.  So he’s not that good…

4. What’s the opposite of the Sophomore Slump? Traditionally people talk about rookies who set the league on fire and then come crashing back down to earth in their second season after the league figures them out a little.  It appears Washington’s sophomore C  has figured out the rest of the league instead.  Coming into his rookie season labeled as a potential middle of the order hitter for Washington, Victorino looked completely out of place at the plate and behind it in his rookie season.  If you are a big slugger and manage to hit only .239 with a .419 slugging percentage and you’re not that great of a catcher on an NL team, management starts thinking about its options and fans burn your jerseys,  But Victorino has lived up to his hype this season, starting out the year with  .353/.441/.693/1.134 numbers.  A third of the way into the season, he is the clear cut leader for the NL Hitters Not Named Juan Park Award (otherwise known as the runner up to the NL MVP)

5. Time to Hang Them Up – If you hate watching some of the greats of the game hang around too long, you might want to make sure you avoid watching Baltimore’s Edwin Sauveur this season.  Sauveur was ranked #17 on last seasons list of the greatest pitchers in BSA history, which probably makes him a borderline Hall of Fame candidate and remembered for his great seasons in Tacoma.  But in 11 starts in Baltimore this season, he is 1-7 with a 8.76 ERA and a 1.93 WHIP.  You might be truly amazed that he actually won a game, but his team put up 10 runs in his 5 inning, 9 hit outing.  I don’t know if he is trying to catch Cubillan in a bottle, but we’re being reminded that 41 year olds don’t usually surge to the best years of their careers.

6. Other Award winners – Since I gave my usual Juan Park update so that he knows how big my man crush is on him and demands a trade to Toledo , what about the rest of last years big successes? The AL MVP Christopher Posey from the past two seasons is actually a little behind his pace of the last 2 seasons, but he is still performing well.  He has started off the year .321/.394/.553 with 10 home runs and 21 stolen bases.  Those stolen bases have moved him into second all time on that list.  It is possible he could catch all time leader Garret Vernon, but it is not likely at the age of 34 and his speed diminishing.  From the mound, Burlington’s Rudy Tabaka is still the best pitcher in the BSA, posting a 10-2 record with an astonishing 1.31 ERA and .76 WHIP. The opposite is true of AL Cy Young winner Harry Feliz who is struggling in San Francisco this season, going 4-5 with a 4.68 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP.

7.  Interesting facts – In the past 8 season (since season 20) only 3 players have won the AL MVP award: Christopher Posey (seasons 20, 26, 27), Garrett Thames (seasons 23,25), and Von Baker (seasons 21, 22, 24).  On the NL side, Juan Park has won 3 in a row and would become the first player to ever win 4 in a row if he repeats this season. Dan Thompson has also won 3 in a row (seasons 5,6,7) and holds the career record with 6 MVPs.

8. Best Free Agent Signing – I don’t usually do much evaluation of offseason moves anymore because people used to get a little upset if I talked down on a player or a move, but I thought I could highlight the best of the best at this point in the season. There were some big names in the free agency pool and some teams like Ottawa made a big splash and teams like San Fransisco got hit hard. But I like a good value on the free agent market to go along with a good fit, and I think the player who fits that bill the best is Nashville’s signing of Carlos Rios.  While Rios is 35 and on the down side of his career, the Nashville front office knew they need some veteran starting pitching to make the move in the standings they thought they could make this season.  Rios cost them only 5.78 million per year for two seasons and provides them a veteran front of the line starter who has started the year at 6-3 with a 3.08 ERA .  Honorable mention goes to Ottawa’s signing of Gene Cain , who was not a bargain at 92 million over 5 years at 30 years old.  But Cain is a plus fielder at multiple positions and a  career .298 hitter with decent speed.  He has started out hitting .298 with a .944 OPS for Ottawa.

9. Best Trade – There are a few candidates here but I’ll highlight one that I think helped both clubs and also hows the resourcefulness of both owners.  Las Vegas traded slugger Kaito Pan to Ottawa, a move that seemingly favored Ottawa greatly.  And it has been great for Ottawa as Pan has hit .341 with a 1.002 OPS as a part of the BSA’s best offensive team.  So great move for Ottawa.  But Vegas had tried to move Pan for a while because he didn’t fit there speed and defense mentality.  So they got in return DH Bono Snyder , a cheaper DH who is hitting .325 with a .929 OPS, and defensive specialist Enos Kydd who leads the BSA in plus plays and has managed to hit .262 to go along with his great glove.  They also received SS prospect Juan Martinez , whose glove needs a lot of development but if it comes along he will be the perfect defensive/speed complement that Vegas loves.  Both teams gave up something of little value to them and got value in return.  Great trade for both teams.

10.  Back to Reality – I like to end the Wrap with mentioning something from real life to remind us that HBD isn’t actually real.  But what I am about to point out may not seem real – or may be all to real for you Pac-12 lovers (do they still exist?)  An actual Big Sky football team has upset a top 25 Division opponent in week 1 of the college football season.  My fake rivals Eastern Washington upset #25 Oregon State 49-46.  Eastern Washington’s QB, Vernon Adams, threw for 411 yards and 4 TDs and then ran for another 106 yards and 2 TDs.  The Pac-12 needs to stop worrying about tv channels and conference expansion (aka teams wanting to leave) and needs to adopt rules that allow their teams to recruit defensive players.  And if any defenders want to say the Pac 12 just has really good offenses, then maybe they should add Eastern Washington to their next conference expansion talks because apparently so do they.

10b.  Back to Reality part 2 – The Reds have beat the Cardinals in 2 straight games.  That’s just for you shooter!

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