Friday, October 17, 2014

Season 32 Mid-Season Report

ML NL North (Season 32)
Team Owner W-L PCT GB L10 STRK Home Road Login
Salt Lake City Moguls irondawg 51-30 .630 - 6-4 W4 29-14 22-16 10/17
Milwaukee n/a's heinzkill * 47-34 .580 4.0 7-3 W3 26-16 21-18 10/17
Boise Mountain Hawks letchkins 45-36 .556 6.0 4-6 L1 23-16 22-20 10/17
Fargo Cats reggiedeal * 38-43 .469 13.0 6-4 L1 19-16 19-27 10/17

ML NL East (Season 32)
Team Owner W-L PCT GB L10 STRK Home Road Login
New Britain Bombadiers nwm11 51-30 .630 - 8-2 W3 25-14 26-16 10/17
Jacksonville Cubbies mark102857 41-40 .506 10.0 3-7 L3 19-23 22-17 10/17
Syracuse Marshals marsh_1 * 39-42 .481 12.0 5-5 L3 22-20 17-22 10/17
San Juan Pirata fletchkd 36-45 .444 15.0 4-6 L3 17-24 19-21 10/17

ML NL South (Season 32)
Team Owner W-L PCT GB L10 STRK Home Road Login
Austin Powers jclmnop 49-32 .605 - 6-4 W3 25-17 24-15 10/17
Durham Flying Hippos vector21 41-40 .506 8.0 4-6 W1 22-21 19-19 10/17
Memphis Mighty Mosquitos ccfought 36-45 .444 13.0 5-5 W1 17-26 19-19 10/17
Florida Flame Rattlers 30-51 .370 19.0 2-8 L5 16-22 14-29 10/17

ML NL West (Season 32)
Team Owner W-L PCT GB L10 STRK Home Road Login
Tacoma Method finnski 45-36 .556 - 7-3 W3 22-20 23-16 10/17
Las Vegas Hangovers impressionah 42-39 .519 3.0 5-5 W1 18-20 24-19 10/17
Honolulu Warriors gregor199 36-45 .444 9.0 4-6 L1 18-18 18-27 10/17
Sacramento Savages Free_Barry 30-51 .370 15.0 4-6 L3 15-28 15-23 10/17
ML AL North (Season 32)
Team Owner W-L PCT GB L10 STRK Home Road Login
Philadelphia Phillies skuff730 * 41-40 .506 - 5-5 L2 23-20 18-20 10/17
Helena Berserkers yggdrasil 36-45 .444 5.0 6-4 L1 13-22 23-23 10/16
Trenton Hazmats drichter 28-53 .346 13.0 4-6 L2 15-27 13-26 10/17
Sioux Falls Scalpers ronazbill 28-53 .346 13.0 7-3 W4 17-22 11-31 10/17

ML AL East (Season 32)
Team Owner W-L PCT GB L10 STRK Home Road Login
New York FlyingSquirrels ozzzball19 51-30 .630 - 7-3 W2 28-14 23-16 10/17
Tampa Bay Black Dogs 2_black_dogs 45-36 .556 6.0 2-8 L1 23-16 22-20 10/17
Cincinnati Stingers freshfish205 42-39 .519 9.0 4-6 W1 17-24 25-15 10/17
Boston Blumpkins pieo 36-45 .444 15.0 4-6 L3 17-25 19-20 10/17

ML AL South (Season 32)
Team Owner W-L PCT GB L10 STRK Home Road Login
Louisville Sluggers atrain_east 59-22 .728 - 10-0 W11 30-13 29-9 10/17
Kansas City Golden Spikes siberiansoul 46-35 .568 13.0 5-5 W1 19-19 27-16 10/16
Mexico City Borrochos mcrobbyj 43-38 .531 16.0 5-5 W3 21-21 22-17 10/17
St. Louis Rovers zinpa * 42-39 .519 17.0 2-8 W1 22-21 20-18 10/17

ML AL West (Season 32)
Team Owner W-L PCT GB L10 STRK Home Road Login
San Francisco Begonias begonias 42-39 .519 - 7-3 W2 20-23 22-16 10/17
Wichita Shockers riverpirate 41-40 .506 1.0 4-6 L3 20-18 21-22 10/17
Seattle Pilots luvbuzzrdp 31-50 .383 11.0 6-4 L1 13-29 18-21 10/15
Anaheim Bacteria voteforlou 28-53 .346 14.0 2-8 L5 14-22 14-31 10/17

Sunday, October 5, 2014

 The Greatest of All-Time
Position Players

Let's just get this out of the way to be clear on one thing. Chin-Hui Lee was not a very good fielder no matter where you put him. A catcher by trade, he actually played a ton more over at first even though he was even less suited for that. Of course, it wasn't his glove that kept him in the lineup. I can sum up Lee's plate prowess with this single season stat line: .409 Avg, 62 HR, 163 RBI, .535 OBP, .873 Slg, which equates to an astounding OPS 1.408. That was in 135 games during Season 9. All but HR and RBI are Ichiro single season records. His best HR tally for a season? 84, tied for third most in a single season. He started his career off with 11 straight seasons of an OPS higher than 1.000, earning more than 100 walks in the latter 10 of those seasons and batting below .334 once. His decline would follow those seasons, but he had already left his mark. He wound up with the third highest BA for a career at .336, 5th most HR with 749, and still holds the record for highest career slugging percentage at .681 and his career 1.122 is also still a record.

How do you have the best ever list without the Home Run King and all-time hit leader? You don't. Ernest O'Connor made is presence be known very early on. Making his debut in the inaugural season of Ichiro as 21 year-old. Playing in an era of power hitting and offense, O'Connor was one of the best. He hit at least 50 home runs in 12 of his seasons, including 11 straight from seasons 2-12. It wasn't all or nothing for O'Connor either, hitting at least .300 in 13 of his seasons. And unlike Lee, he wasn't all bad with the glove either, winning a total of four Gold Glove Awards over at first base. It goes without saying it was his bat that got him on this list. His best season he hit .358, hit 85 home runs and knocked in a single season record 212 RBI. The HR King hit a whopping 941 dingers in his career, has the most hits with 3,448 and is second in career RBI with 2470, behind only Jaime Edmonds. When you speak of Ernest, it's hard not to bring up Edmonds. Both had very similar careers, but O'Connor gets the edge because he holds two of the most prestigious titles in baseball. 

In my mind, Alex Martinez is the greatest position player of all time. The only true 5-tool player to make my list, Alex could do anything on the baseball field. He is in the top 5 all-time in multiple categories. He is now 5th in hits (3,138), 3rd in HR's (851), 3rd in RBI (2,292) and is 1st in three major categories with 2,508 runs, 197 triples and 896 stolen bases. To me, there is no arguing versatility. He was great in the batters box, but you had to pitch to him because he was great on the basepaths. A versatile defender, he spent a lot of time at two important positions, 2B and CF. His single season that sticks out, season 6, when he recorded 219 hits for a .356 average. He had 35 doubles, 14 triples and 74 home runs. Good for a .818 slugging pct. He scored a single season record 193 runs and stole 45 bases while being caught only twice. When you think about a complete baseball player, those are the types of numbers you think of.


Any time a pitcher wins 6 Cy Young Awards, he should be a shoo-in for argument of best of all-time. That is exactly why Carmine Jacquez is in the discussion for now. This list could change a little in the next few seasons. Maybe what is most impressive about Jacquez is he did what he did in the era of the big bat. At some point it will probably be more difficult to have him in the discussion because he only had 230 career victories, but there is no denying he was one of the best, if not the best, of his era. In his prime he put on a great run of success. From Seasons 8-11, he never had an ERA above 2.51, a WHIP higher than 1.10, pitched fewer than 215.2 innings and strike out less than 204. He won 77 during that span as well, earning half of his CY Young's in those four seasons. He may not be at the top of many career leaders lists, but he was one of the great ones to play this game. 

Larry Coombs pitched 22 seasons in Ichiro and had perhaps the greatest run of success. He made all-star teams in three different decades, earning his first as a starter in Season 9 and his final one as a reliever in Season 27. All told, he went to 12 All-Star games and won 4 Cy Young Awards. He won 20 games in a season five times while striking out at least 200 8 times. His consistency can be summed up with the fact that 7 times he won at least 16 games, had an ERA 2.61 ERA or lower, a WHIP below 1.09 and struck out at least 190, all in the same season. He is the all-time leader with 3,806 strikeouts, second in wins with 318 and fifth in career ERA at 3.01. Coombs notched himself into the best pitcher ever discussion for a very, very long time.

The best pitcher all-time in my mind is still pitching in Boise. Andres Gomez has had a remarkable career. His Cy Young Award winning seasons are over, but he has earned a record nine of them while making the all-star team 13 times. During his 16 full years as a starter, he held opponents to an average below .200 six times and he never had an ERA above 3.18. His finest season came back in season 21 when he went 19-2 with an ERA of 1.77. His WHIP was 0.97 and he struck out 197 batters in 193 innings. Opponent were only able to muster a batting average of .191 against him. At the time of this posting, he has 288 career wins, a career ERA of 2.62, opp BA of .212 and a WHIP of 1.07. All except wins would be Ichiro World records. His wins total is good for third. Wow!!! There should be no argument on this one, Gomez is the best of all-time. Let's hope he finishes his career strong.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Season 32 Preview
NL North
Boise - Boise celebrated its first World Series Championship with a ticket tape parade down 8th Street. Former 1st round pick Mac Chang was not in attendance since the owner withheld his WS ring since he was on the 60-day DL.

Change came quickly this offseason, with 6 players filing for FA, trying to make a quick buck off of the team's success. The GM allowed 5 to leave, but tried to stay in the Cammack sweepstakes as he was a former Boise 1st round pick. "We really wish Carl the best, but just couldn't offer him a deal commiserate with his ability".

Instead, Boise went a different way and will turn over the majority of PA behind the dish to Polin Campos, a youngster with promise, but doesn't have as much pop as Cammack. To fill the void, some juggling is going on in the Mountain Hawk OF. Much coveted, LeCure and Romero will be wearing Boise Brown this season. "We tried to trade for these guys in the past and were stoked to see them on the FA list for next to nothing".

New additions to the pitching staff include 34 year old rookie Eric Shiell, Former Diamond in the Rough Deven Jose, and old hat Nerio Buchanan.

That left old Boise stalwarts, Rico Medrano, Melky Del Rosario, Felipe Martinez, Kid Standridge, Ned Corey, Jose Unamuno and Ron Jay looking for a new home.

Boise's offense again looks like the best of the NL. The defense will be upgraded with Pedro Renteria taking over for Standridge and Winn moving to 3B, but remains weak overall. The pitching staff looks held together with duct tape, but will likely keep the team in games enough for the heart of the lineup (Maduro, LeCure, and Romero) to slug them past anyone.

Prediction: 97-65 1st NL North 

Fargo - Fargo looks to get closer to contending status in season 32, as management and fans are tired of the recent stretch of sub .500 baseball that has played out in North Dakota. The once proud franchise that seemed to make winning move after winning move, fell on hard luck, missing out on top international free agents.

During the off season, the club made major changes to its roster and for the first time, young pitching is on site ready to perform and other prospects are in the minors that could contribute in a couple seasons or be used to obtain additional veteran starters.

The team will open with a 5-man rotation, manager Reggie Deal in the past has gone often with a 6-man alignment.

The rotation will feature highly thought of Cooper Green, who overcame an injury and a couple of rough seasons when the young prospect was the best pitcher in the entire organization as the opening day starter. He will be joined by another young prospect obtained in the mega 12 player trade with Louisville, Bucky Simmons in the #2 slot of the rotation. Veterans Michel Lopez and Eric Estes man the #3 and #5 slots, while another young pitcher Sam Karns will take the #4 position. The bullpen could be a strength of the club, as the core of Gerald Ishida, Tony Park, Correy Kinney and Felix Jones returns, Jones is this season installed as the official closer. Veteran Doc Glass joins the core of short relief pitching, while three others are in long roles, Alex Feliz, Kevin Evans who returns to Fargo after a prior stent, and long time veteran Vic Maradona.

Fargo has seven players who will get the bulk of the starts at their respective positions. Newly obtained 1B Julian Fontana will begin his first full season in the big leagues, joined on the infield by veterans Hector Bennett at 2b, Wilbur Mathews at short and Paul Hoffman who will start at 3b. Hoffman and Bennet could flip positions. Veteran CF Desmond Keller will join the star studded outfield of Keith Bold and Mac Lin in left and right respectibly. Kirt Canseco will platoon with Jesus Iztirus at catcher. Matt Carter will be the other key bench player who can play corner outfield and 1b, while Vic Vazquez and Talmadge Walters will both serve in utility rolls playing around the infield and outfield.

Given the current rankings of the club in various pitching and hitting categories, the forecast is for an 87-75 record, which will depend on pitching performing above expectations and offensively performing at or above expected performance. 

Milwaukee - Fans in Milwaukee have been waiting for a big overhaul and a turn towards the future. They will have to wait a little longer as the n/a's have once again retooled to compete for a playoff spot in season 32. 

The two key losses for Milwaukee this off-season were starting 2B Bucky Thompson and longtime n'a SP Scooter Sutton. They did not make an attempt to re-sign either player, but did trade top catching prospect Mark Ramirez for Ezdra Valentin to fill the spot left open from Sutton. To fill the 2B role, Milwaukee hopes Minor League standout Brandon Hudson will be ready at some point this season. CP Domingo Palmeiro was acquired via trade to help boost a bullpen that lost a couple arms in Pedro Vega and Orlando Avila.

It will take good seasons once again from SP's Paul Gregg, Tuck Haynes and Brian Ueno to contend for a title along with Keith Garcia playing at his career averages. The biggest boost could come from second year guys SP Benji Pineda and SS Branden Payton. Each of whom had solid first seasons. 

The season outlook looks quite the same for Milwaukee. Win between 85-90 games and hope for a Wild Card berth.

Salt Lake City - Last Season: 96-67, Wild Card

Key Additions: Victor Pujols

Key Losses: Paul Hoffman, Ross Sheffield, Art Biddle

Prediction: 93-69, wild card

Season Outlook:

More of the same this season for the Salt Lake City Moguls as not much has changed since last season. Top of the rotation starter Albert Maranon and Cameron Dobbs look to bounce back from late season injuries to anchor a solid, if unspectacular staff.

Gone are former face of the franchise Paul Hoffman and reliable long reliever Art Biddle. Fans were dissapointed with the decision to let Hoffman go, but management cited issues with contract length demands hung up negotiations. The Moguls do have potential offensive help stashed at AAA if slow starts happen.

This team is build around it's staff and the emphasis on defense up the middle. That formula has been successful the past few years, but we don't see it being enough to knock WS champ Boise off the division throne. However if the Moguls can avoid injuries to it's top starters and get enough offense out of it's position players then another wildcard run is likely.

NL East

New Britain - New Britain is coming off a surprisingly strong season 31 and is poised to ascend to another division title. Backed by a powerful lineup led by Allan McMichael and newly acquired Babe Towers runs should not be a problem in New Britain.

Success will come down to a maturing pitching staff with all 5 starters under 28 years old. If the starters pitch to their upside and the bullpen stays healthy then this team should win 90+ games.

Prediction: 92-70 and a one game win over Syracuse for the division title.

Syracuse - 80 to 90 wins depending on injuries 

NL South

Memphis - With the young talent of the franchise having speed, a change in ballparks was needed. This team will be built around speed, defense, and pitching. Some of our sluggers will not appreciate the new stadium, but the pitchers have out voted them. Looking for continued offensive production out of the young guns Brinkley and Thomas, and James will eventually move into the ace of the staff in pitching. Predicted winning percentage is .500 .

NL West

Las Vegas - The Hangovers have aspirations of returning to the playoffs after missing it for the first time in 15 seasons. Gone are vet 1b Moe Stratton and leadoff man Benny Crespo. 1b Hugh Alexander will finally earn a full time role in the offense and hope to add some pop along with perennial MVP candidate 3b Todd Magnuson and the consistent Julio Rosado. The pitching staff anchored by long time Hangover Cal Trammel entering his 19th season with the club and just 12 wins shy of 250, to go along with Marc Browne and the enigmatic Slick Kubenka can hopefully steer this team back to the playoffs. The bullpen, however, is a major question mark that will need to perform better than recent seasons suggest in order to avoid missing the playoffs for a 2nd straight season.

Sacramento - The second year into a full rebuild, the Savages hope to see improvement after a horrible season 31. I predict a 72-90 season with 24-year vet Eric Hill filling in nicely to a new role at closer.

Tacoma -   With this team making the playoffs for the first time in 10 seasons, the hopes are high to repeat in Tacoma....but the way the first week of the season has gone, them hopes may be dashed if something doesn't turn them around.

The starting pitching, may be the weak link, but should be able to hold its own at home in the confines of Cheney Stadium. And the bull-pen, i would match up with any team in the league. But, if they don't have a lead to hold, it is futile, and leaves Hayes and Escuela, shaking their heads.

In the field, with Coleman coming in off the bench, Hogan, Scott and Sheffield, there should be some power to keep the Method in some games. What with being built around pitching control and defense, that puts a lot of pressure on the hitters to perform when needed...which is often. And management may be in need to rethink their motives behind the players put on the field.

Best case scenario, is the Method pick up some steam and run to the division title once again. Worst case scenario, is that they were a flash in the pan and pray for a .500 season. 

AL North
Helena - I am just hoping to make the transition period between new owners seamless and continue the winning ways.I locked up Bruce Ochoa and Hamlet McMillan with contract extensions. I have tried to find solid role players to fill out the rotation. On the offensive side I signed Carl Cammack to provide some firepower from behind the plate. We look good on paper.

Sioux Falls - Things are starting to look up in Sioux Falls, we continue to improve on our records each year, albeit baby steps. Young talent last year needed a year to develop and should see better outcomes this year. Young pitchers Vernon and Smart had their first full year in the majors last year and Simpson is an older rookie and should have a smooth transition into the majors. We arguably have the most athletic and complete outfield with Robinson, Smalley and Lopez. Robinson and Smalley may be MVP candidates when it is all said and done, although it is very hard to dethrone Shea for that title and Lopez is a GG winner. Lansing had a coming out party last year and hopefully he continues the same this year. Also on a personal level we are looking for Baez to get on or near the 3000k hit club, ending last year with exactly 2800. Looking for a 77-85 record this year.


AL East
Boston - Well, with the FA signings of SP's: Dave Romero , Wladimir Blasco , Art Biddle , Teddy Kinney , & RP Gary Allen , I feel the Blumpkins now have an above average Starting rotation, & a decent Bullpen, I feel we will increase ou W total by at least 25

Cincinnati - This young Stingers team is on the verge of being ready to contend this season.

Offensively 1B Miguel Barrios should lead the way after a 38 HR, 108 RBI season last year but will certainly struggle defensively making the transition from mostly DH to 1B. Former #1 pick Reginald Barney will take over full time at DH and his bat has future HOF'er written all over it. 3B Bob Hart and LF Spud Riggs return and will provide the veteran leadership. GG SS Neftali Alvarez also returns to give the Stingers solid defense on the left side with Hart. 2B Trinidad Merced is looking to take the next step after a solid rookie season as his future is looking brighter then ever. At catcher Juan Espinoza and Edgardo Johnson will provide a perfect combination of pitch calling and defense while not lacking in offense in the back of the order. The only question is center field. The hope is for prospect Torey Bradshaw to take charge in the spring. RF looks like newly acquired Arnold Rocker will platoon with Neifi Marrero.

The big question is the pitching. Last season was a disaster. The starting pitching was very young and mismanaged. The Stingers rotation retooled with the signings of Odalis Rodriguez and Watty Rossy. Donatello Turner has all the makings of a #1 starter and will be the opening day pitcher. Julio Henriquez and William Pong will need to make huge strides after sub par first full seasons as starters. The bullpen will once again be led by solid vets Anibal Pujols and Al Smith while the other 2 spots at short relief will be up for grabs in the spring. Long reliever Ernesto Santiago had another solid year after an all-star appearance while Ryan Smart had a horrible year and has much to prove in the 3rd year of a 5 year deal. On the bright side closer Trot Fredrick had a great rookie year making 32 saves on his way to an all-star appearance and contention in fireman of the year and ROY voting.

Prediction: 82-80 Just over .500 but falling short of the playoffs

New York - Seriously doubt New York will come close to last seasons record but still hope to be a contender in the division. A couple of new faces will be in the starting lineup but 3B Franco, LF Cook and 1B Ordaz will still anchor the offense. Starting pitchers Grace, Gonzales and Wan hope to lead the pitching staff along with a couple of newcomers to the rotation. Overall New York should be an above .500 team this season.

AL South

AL West

San Francisco - For several years, we hoped for a .500 record with a promising future beyond that. Last year, we finally reached .500 exactly. It happened that .500 was enough to win our division, and we surprisingly managed to win two playoff series before falling in the LCS.

From that team, we lost a catcher who led the team in HR (and was easily replaced) and a SP, who we replaced with a strong FA starter, Pedro Santiago. We added a couple of minor parts, but mostly we're hoping our batch of younger players keep improving. We also re-signed 5-time Gold Glove CF Ron Powell for three more years.

There was a lot of luck involved last season, yet we still won the division by ten games. I think this team is better than last season's, so a second consecutive playoff spot is on the agenda.


Paul's Picks
NL North
Boise                 94-68     
Salt Lake           86-76
Milwaukee         85-77
Fargo                 75-87

NL East

New Britain        92-70
Syracuse            90-72
San Juan             77-85
Jacksonville        76-86

NL South

Austin                  93-69
Memphis              78-84
Durham                73-89
Florida                 70-92

NL West

Las Vegas             87-75
Tacoma                 80-82
Honolulu               75-87
Sacramento           65-97

AL North

Helena                   88-74
Philadelphia           86-76
Trenton                  78-84
Sioux Falls             74-88

AL East

New York               94-68
Tampa Bay             92-70
Cincinnati               78-84
Boston                     66-96

AL South

Louisville                 94-68
Mexico City              84-78
St. Louis                   83-79
Kansas City              80-82

AL West

San Francisco          85-77
Wichita                     76-86
Anaheim                   70-92
Seattle                      68-94
NL Champions - Boise
AL Champions - Louisville

Season 32 World Champions - Louisville

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Season 31 World Series

The final two have emerged in Ichiro. AL South champs Louisville had some trudging to do in the playoffs to get to this point. It took two decisive game 5 victories over Philly and Chicago to set up a series with this season's Cinderella story, San Francisco. They fell behind 2-1 in the 7 game series and the trepidation was palpable in the gateway to the south. That is when they strung together three straight victories to secure the franchises first World Series appearance. Boise, the NL North champs had a first round bye and survived a scare by the depleted Salt Lake City Moguls in the DCS. Against Syracuse in the LCS, they split the first two games at home, but took control of the series by winning the first two in Syracuse and won the series in 6. This is Boise's second World Series in the last 3 seasons. They are hoping for better luck this time around.

This series could be a slugfest. We have two of the top offensive teams in their respective leagues facing off against each other. Each lineup showcases a MVP candidate complemented by other more than capable hitters. For the Sluggers, it's their star 2B Flash Shea that paces their offense. Shea topped his fantastic rookie campaign, in which he won ROY and MVP, with an even better sophomore season. Batting .353 with 38 HR and 132 RBI, he also stole 49 bases. What's most impressive is his plate discipline. He walked a whopping 144 times compared to only 39 strikeouts.  Augie Cosby and Daryl Bollea hit 44 and 39 HR respectively and the rest of their lineup is no cake walk either. Boise starters can expect to be throwing a lot of pitches and not making it too deep into ballgames. For the Louisville rotation, Tim Ojeda and Jimmy Erdos will be looked up to contain Boise bats enough and give their bullpen a chance to hang on for victories. 

Trenidad Maduro is already a star and one of Ichiro's best hitters. The HR and RBI King hit 54 HR this year to go along with 154 RBI. His .301 average is not too shabby either. When Carl Cammack is your second best hitter, you know you're doing something right. Much like the Sluggers lineup, Boise is full of guys who can do damage. Each team's catchers will have their arms tested with aggressive baserunning. Louisville stole 212 bases, good for 3rd in the AL, while Boise stole 187, good for 4th in the NL. It will be interesting to see how Boise sets up their rotation for the series. Ron Goldschmidt is the ace of the staff and put together another solid season in Boise. Their bullpen may have the edge over Louisville with Horacio Chavez  as the closer. I get the feeling that could be important in this series.  

This series could come down to managerial decisions and how lineups and staffs are used. I also think the defensive edge the Sluggers have at Catcher could prove to be important. Its a toss up here as far as predicting it. Toughest one I have had to make in the playoffs and I can't quite gauge what each owner will do. Each team plays as well on the road as they do at home, so even though Boise has home field advantage, I am not sure it is much of one. Being a NL owner I am pulling for Boise, but my money is on Louisville in 7.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Season 31 League Championship Series
Back in season 26, the Syracuse Marshals made an unbelievable run to the NLCS. They won a weak division with only 81 wins and upset a couple of favorites before finally falling to Florida in the Championship Series. Five seasons later, it is happening again. This time in the AL with the Begonias, who defeated offensive juggernaut Tampa Bay in the Play In Series and then knocked out the team with the best regular season record in all of baseball, the New York Flying Squirrels. Regardless of how you think it has happened, it is quite impressive. Now they face off against the Sluggers. Louisville has gone on a heck of a ride so far in the playoffs. A first round win that feature them and Philly going five and Louisville prevailing by winning games 1, 3 & 5. The Division series saw them fall behind 2-1, but win the final to against Chicago. It has been some much needed playoff experience for the young Sluggers, and they look primed to move on. Louisville in 6.
Boise has snuck by Salt Lake City twice now. First for the division title, and now to move to the NLCS. When the Mountain Hawk offense is going, they can beat anybody. They face a tough challenge ahead in the Syracuse Marshals. The Marshals have made it look easy to this point. A three game sweep of division rival New Britain, followed by another three game sweep of Austin. My early favorite in the playoffs was Syracuse and I am going to continue riding them. Syracuse in 6.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Season 31 Division Championship Series Preview

With their shocking upset of Tampa Bay in the Division Play In Series, San Francisco has set themselves up for a date with Ichiro's best Regular Season team. New York won 14 more games than anybody else this season, and it is no surprise why. With a young, but already top tier offense (897 Runs, 3rd AL) and the AL's best pitching staff (4.01 ERA), their run differential was +204. One less than Austin for best in the majors. The scariest thing about them is that they are for the most part young and have every chance to improve upon this season. Two of their offensive stalwarts, Dale Franco and AL MVP candidate Dwight Cook are only 23 years old. Ace Henry Grace is in the midst of his prime and won a whopping 26 games this season. As is number two man Jermaine Gonzales who would be an ace on most staffs. The pitching will make the difference in this series. I have a hard time seeing San Fran pull a rabbit out of the hat again, and will struggle to score runs. I have to give them one game though and  predict New York in 4.

This series promises to be more exciting than the other AL matchup. One team is the superior pitching team, while the other the superior offensive team. Generally, rule of thumb is to take the pitching, which Chicago has. SP Bruce Ochoa  is one of the the best in Ichiro. Alfredo Wilfredo is nearly a lock for AL Fireman of the Year, and leads are almost guaranteed late in games for Chicago. The difference in this series is that the Sluggers' offense is by far more superior than the Cubs offense and the Sluggers pitching may have under-performed a little in the regular season, making it a little closer in that department. Louisville in 4.

Division rivals face off in this series. Boise outlasted the Moguls to win the division, but just barely. You could argue that the only reason that happened was because of a rash of injuries suffered by Salt Lake towards the end of the season. The most devastating part of the injuries, is that it hit the pitching staff the hardest. If healthy, I believe the Moguls pitching could compete with the prolific offense of the Mountain Hawks. The reality is, they are not, and the likes of Trenidad Maduro should power past the depleted Salt Lake City staff. Boise in 4. 

Is this the year Austin makes it to the World Series? After a slow start to begin the season, the Powers ended up in usual form by the time it was all said and done. Ray Boesch is once again a favorite for NL CY Young and the offense is paced by All-Stars Trevor Parker and Kevin Redmond. Syracuse looked solid in their first round sweep of a formidable foe in New Britain. On paper I go with with Austin, but my gut instinct goes with Syracuse in 5.