Archive for October 2013

Division Championship Series Preview Season 28

My apologies on no Wednesday Wrap or preview for the Play In Series.  Just got to busy last week to even think about either.  I’ll offer some insight on the play in series as I preview the upcoming DCS.

AL #1 Ottawa Pride versus #5 Portland Razor Clams

Portland was not on anyone’s radar to start the season after a few down seasons and the move from Tacoma, but they took control of the West early on and have been part of the playoff picture all season.  San Fransisco pulled off an amazing end to the season to knock them from the top of the AL West, but Portland easily handled division champion Boston in a 3 game sweep to have the “privilege” of facing Ottawa.  It does not take a genius to see that Ottawa will be the favorite in every series they are in, so the question is how does Portland upset Ottawa? The only concievable path I see is some remarkable starting pitching performances – the great playoff equalizer.  On paper, Ottawa is better in every facet, but Portand is pretty solid defensive team and it’s top 2 starters, Miguel and Jimmie Hernandez are capable of doing something amazing.  If they c an take the first 2 games, Portland might be able to pull it off.  But with their pitching, I do not think a come from behind series victory is really likely.  My prediction is Ottawa in 4.

AL #2 San Fransisco versus #3 Nashville Redbirds

This is the series to watch in this round as these might be the hottest 2 teams in baseball.  Nashville won 11 in a row and has won 12 of 13 games, the only loss coming in game 3 of the Play in Series in 18 innings courtesy of a Marvin Piper walk off homer.  San Fran won 6 of 7 to end the season and take the West division title and the #2 seed from Portland.  Can Nashville stay this hot against a rested San Fransisco? In my opinion, Nashville has more talent but they don’t have veteran leadership like Ben Sherman.  San Fran has home field advantage which will be huge for them.  I think Nashville is the better team and the hotter team, so I want to pick them.  And if this series ends early, it will be Nashville winning it.  But I see this series going 5 games and with a game 5 in the Bay with Ben Sherman pitching, I’ll go with San Fran.  San Fransisco in 5.

NL #1 Toledo Black Sheep verse #5 Augusta Warriors

Augusta was in the driver’s seat for the number 1 seed in the NL for a bulk of the season, but fell behind to Burlington towards the end of the season and ended up being a wild card.  That’s bad news for Toledo. Being the #1 seed in the NL is never a good thing because that means you have to beat two of the better teams to make it to the Series since either Burlington or Augusta is the the top wild card.  Toledo actually had their best record ever this season and were 4 games better than last season, but on paper their offense was not as powerful as last year’s team.  Augusta has the better middle of the order with Juan Park and John Clark, but Toledo’s lineup 1 to 8 is overall more dangerous.  Toledo has a deeper starting rotation but neither team really has that shutdown top of the line starter.  Toledo might have the best bullpen in the BSA, but Augusta has the better 9th inning man in Walter Davanon.  This series could go any way, but Augusta had no problem scoring on Toledo this season so I see Augusta taking this in 4 games with a lot of runs.

NL #2 Burlington Ents versus #3 Boise Russets

If pitching wins in the playoffs, Burlington is always at an advantage because they have the best pitcher in the game in Rudy Tabaka.  Being in a pitcher’s park helps, but Tabaka is just that good.  In a short series, you basically have to try and figure out how to win the 3 games he isn’t pitching in.  Boise always seems to be a tough out in the playoffs and really gutted out the last 2 wins in the play in series win in 4 games over Washington D.C., but seeing them as a 3 seed to Burlington’s 2 seed makes this seem alot closer than it is.  Burlington is 21 games better than Boise, who would not have been in the playoffs had they not won their division.  Boise has some great young players and I see them winning the West for many seasons to come, but Burlington takes this series in a 3 game sweep.

 

I do not gamble at all, so I would make a horrible oddsmaker, but here are the odds for each team to win the World Series as I see them.

Ottawa 2-1 (will be the favorite in every series they play no matter who they play)

Burlington 4 to 1 (Tabaka makes them a favorite in the NL, but the thought of having to beat Toledo/Augusta and then Ottawa is a tall order)

Nashville 5 to 1 (I know I picked against them, but they are the hottest team in baseball and have a lineup that could potentially score with Ottawa)

San Fransisco 6 to 1 (In spite of Ottawa standing in the way, the winner of the AL will probably be less beaten up than the winner of the NL.  Having future hall of famer Ben Sherman and former Cy Young winner Harry Feliz makes them look good in the playoffs too)

Toledo and Augusta 8 to 1 (they might have better teams than teams ahead of them, but they have to beat the other team in a short series, beat Burlington and Tabake in a 7 game series and then beat Ottawa in the Series.  If that’s their road to victory, it’s not a safe bet)

Portland 20 to 1 (If they beat Ottawa somehow, their odds will skyrocket)

Boise 25 to 1 (Boise would have to beat Burlington, Toledo/Augusta and Ottawa.  They’ve got their shot by being in the playoffs, but it’s a long, long shot)

Wednesday Wrap – October 2, 2013 Edition

Sorry everyone, I got this started yesterday but didn’t get it finished so my numbers are going to be a little different than what may be true right now since some of it was from yesterday morning and some of it is from this morning. Hope you still enjoy it!

1. NL Playoff Picture At just past the 130 game mark, there are really only 3 questions left in the NL playoff picture.  The first is the seeding.  Toledo still is in the first spot with Augusta in the second spot.  They could easily flip spots, but Burlington has the opportunity to overcome Augusta and move into one of those top two spots too.  The second question is the NL West.  LA and boise are still fighting it out and LA sits at 3 games back now.  With their owner back and engaged, LA has the chance to make things interesting down the stretch.  The final question is the last wild card spot.  Richmond and Washington DC are tied for the spot.  Their series starting on Monday could decide that spot.  Columbus and the loser of the West still are in the race, but Richmond and DC are the odds on favorites.

So my prediction isn’t changing for the NL: Augusta, Toledo, Boise, Tampa Bay, Burlington, Washington DC with Toledo and Burlington meeting in the championships series and Burlington going to the series.

2. AL Playoff Picture The AL still has a lot of questions to answer, but the picture is a little clearer.  Ottawa is still the one for sure, winning the North and being the #1 seed.  Huntington is trying to make the East interesting, but Boston still has a solid 4 game lead.  Portland is still leading the West, but San Francisco has gained on them and is only 3 games back.  Kansas City moved ahead in the South but El Paso and Nashville are still both within reach of the division title.  Portland and Kansas City are then fighting for that 2nd spot and the bye, but it’s close enough that Nashville, San Fransisco, or El Paso could make a move to that spot if someone falters or they have a hot week.  The Wild Card Race is really now between San Fransisco, Nashville, and El Paso, but Charlotte, Vegas, or Huntington are still within range.

So the AL really now looks like it will be 6 out of 7 teams and it is that last spot that is up for grabs.  So my prediction for what 6 teams make it are Ottawa, Portland, Kansas City, Boston, San Fransisco, and Nashville with El Paso being the one team left out.  My other prediction is that this will probably look different next week. 3. League Leaders Batting Average and OBP Brian Kim is still leading the way in the AL at .353 but Kaito Pan is right behind him at .339. Pan is also leading OBP at .420 but teammate Christopher Posey is just one point behind at .419. In the NL, Augusta teammates Juan Park (.333) and John Clark (.330) are competing for the batting title. OBP is safely led by Honolulu’s Brian Canseco at .418 with Ken Victorino (.412) and Antonio Feng (.410) trailing behind.

4. League Leaders Home Runs and RBI Huntington recently acquired the AL Home run leader in Frank Winchester . Three other sluggers are over 40 homers, including Huntington’s Tony Nicholas (41), Marvin Piper (40), and Angel Sanchez (43). KC’s Garrett Thames leads the way with 113 RBI followed by Posey at 111 and Christopher Huff 110. In the NL, Juan Park leads in both home runs at 55 and RBI at 136. Washington’s Polin Castilla is second in both categories with 47 homers and 111 runs driven in.

5. League Leaders Wins and Saves In the AL, Trace Woods has 21 wins and has pretty much secured the league lead in that area. Ottawa’s Tony Tanaka (18) and San Fran’s Ben Sherman (17) also have a shot at 20 wins. In the AL with saves, Ottawa’s Ken Brantley with 35 saves is being chased by Syracuse’s Pepe Granados with 34. In the Senior Circuit, Rudy Tabaka has 24 wins to lead all of baseball and the next closest total is Cookie Mota with 17. Augusta’s Walter DaVanon has 44 saves on the season to lead everyone with Jair Bonilla Yorman Canseco trailing far behind at 35.

6. League Leaders WHIP and ERA In the AL, Ottawa’s Tanaka leads with a .96 WHIP and no one else is under 1. Sherman is the only one close at 1.01. Carlos Rios and Tanaka are tied in ERA at 2.72. As for the NL, Tabaka leads both WHIP (.79) and ERA (1.53). Ariel Calles is second in WHIP at .90 and Ed Moyer second in ERA at .244

7. NL Triple Crowns – If you put two and two together reading those league leaders, it means that Juan Park and Rudy Tabaka are both set to win their respective triple crowns. Park’s only competition is really in batting average with his teammmate John Clark as his leads in homers and RBI are secure. It would take an absolutely epic meltdown for Tabaka to have anyone come close to him in any category. To put those seasons in perspective, look at all time numbers. Tabaka is having perhaps the best pitching season ever. He will set the single season mark in WHIP by a pretty substantial margin, a top 5 season in ERA, and a top 5 season in wins (potentially the second best total ever, but he won’t get to Roy Hardy numbers, who had 30 wins in season 7). And by the way, Tabaka leads the league in ks (230) with 45 more than the next closest pitcher. Park’s season is no where near Tabaka’s historically and I honestly have no idea how many players have won triple crowns, but here are the guys I found who hit over .330 with over 50 homers and over 130 RBI: Ugueth Moya , Dan Thompson, Alfonso Cruz, and Rusty Laker. That’s pretty solid company to keep.

8. Record Breaker Watch Luther Aldred and Alfonso Cruz are the only 2 hitters in BSA history with over 3000 hits. Is there any current hitter who has the chance to join that club? Christopher Posey looks like he has a shot. Last season, he set the single season hits mark with 230 and the season before he had a top 5 all time season with 224. His total is down this season, but at 173 his pace should put him around the 205 to 210 range. If he does that, it will put him right over 2700 career hits. Entering next season at age 35, those last 300 hits come a lot harder than they seem. While Posey is declining, he is still the AL MVP favorite this season and doesn’t seem to be slowing that significantly statistically. The way things looks, Posey should become the all time hits leader during season 30 and put his career total to a place that might be out of reach for anyone else.

9. Hall of Fame Question We all love the Hall of Fame so I wanted to bring up a random player each week to debate whether they are Hall of Fame worthy or not.  It’s not a debate as to whether they will get the votes to get into the HOF, but whether they belong in our Hall.  Some of them may be more clear cut than others, but it’s fun to debate anyways.  Part of Ottawa’s incredible offense this season has been 38 year old veteran slugger Andruw Hartzell. This may very well be his last season in the majors, though he can still hit well enough that he may find his way onto a ML bench next season. He is a career .326 hitter, hitting over .300 in 16 of 17 ML seasons. He has 471 homers and over 1600 RBI, with 9 season of 30 plus homers and 7 seasons of 100 plus RBI. He won the AL MVP award in season 17, made 4 all teams, won 10 Silver Sluggers, and has two World Series rings with hopes for a third one this season. Oh, and he played 10 of his seasons in the worst park for hitters in HBD (Tacoma). I think he is a clear Hall of Famer, but my Hall of Fame would need constant expansion for all the guys I think deserve to be in it. What do you think? Is Hartzell a Hall of Famer?

10. Back to Reality I absolutely hate the new MLB wild card game.  While it carries with it the excitement of a game 7 and I understand the draw to let one more team in the playoffs, letting one game decide a playoff in baseball just seems ludicrous.  It’s not just because the Reds lost to Pittsburgh, but I also live near Cleveland and saw everything surrounding that game.  While all of Cleveland was excited for that game, they should have been preparing for a 5 game series against Boston.  They earned that spot over 162 games and to throw that away for TV ratings and one more night of ticket sales to me belittles the hard work and achievements of those players.  The Reds deserved to lose and Pittsburgh deserved to play a series so I’m not super upset by that, but I feel for Cleveland fans today who haven’t even realized yet that if it were last season, they’d get at least 2 more games for their season.

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