Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The 85 Club (beginning of season 6)

At the beginning of season 6, the current members of The 85 Club are:

95 Douglas Diaz, 2B, New York Mets
94 Cliff Simms, SP, New York Mets
92 Joe Linden, 2B, Atlanta Braves
92 Joe Warden, LF, New York Mets
91 David Russell, SP, Boston Red Sox
91 Greg Stewart, SP, Cleveland Indians
90 Brian Snyder, 2B, San Francisco Giants
90 Al Alvarez, C, San Francisco Giants
90 Jin-Che Wang, SP, San Francisco Giants
90 Theodore Haney, SS Kansas City Royals
90 Mark Moore, 3B, Atlanta Braves
89 Samuel Curtis, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
89 Todd Linebrink, SS, Oakland Athletics
89 Andres Mieses, 3B, Cincinnati Reds
89 Victor Palacios, SP, Oakland Athletics
89 Tom Dickerson, CF, Milwaukee Brewers
88 Chuck Hoover, 2B, Chicago Cubs
88 Everett Hernandez, RF, Tampa Bay Rays
88 Ralph Ryan, RP, New York Mets
87 Barry Clayton, SS, St. Louis Cardinals
87 Harry Wilfredo, SP, Seattle Mariners
87 Bud Benjamin, SP, Vancouver Mounties
87 Tony Yoshii, 2B, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
87 Matt Moore, SS, San Diego Padres
87 Nipsey Morris, C, New York Mets
87 Ted Hogan, SS, New York Mets
87 Wiki Pena, 3B, Florida Marlins
86 Clarence Cooke, SP, San Francisco Giants
86 Harry Fox, 3B, Houston Astros
86 Russ Bartee, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
86 Tom Cornelius, SP, Houston Astros
86 Ricardo Castro, SP, Atlanta Braves
85 Max Jimenez, C, Texas Rangers
85 Matt Kubenka, SS, Charlotte Dukes
85 Brady Hall, LF, Chicago Cubs
85 Roosevelt Kohlmeier, SS, Chicago White Sox
85 Domingo Sosa, SS, Houston Astros
85 Damaso Pulido, 2B, Toronto Blue Jays
85 Derek Coleman, SP, Atlanta Braves

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The $200,000,000 (+?) Kansas City Royals

This is the story of how $200,000,000 hasn't been enough for KC.

Late in S4, I was laying out my S5 plan. At the start of S1, I signed the two prime FAs to five-year deals, Artie Rizzo and Tony Hudler. Both had $20,000,000 deals for S5. I had some other significant chunks of money committed as well. I determined I'd need $91 mil to pay the guys I already had.

However, my rotation needed help. I was good with Hudler, McCartney, and Faulk starting, but nobody else. Vosberg won 21 games in S4 but with an ERA over 5, I knew it was just good fortune and a good offense behind him. I didn't want to go with him getting 30-35 starts this year. And with the fatigue change taking innings away from the other guys, I realized I need at least 1.5 more starters (a solid starter and a spot guy) or even 2 (2 solid starters in a 5MR). So I determined I could bump my salary to $101 or $103 mil in budgeting to make room for two guys at $5 mil to $6 mil each.

WiredTiger announced late in S4 that he was moving all vets and rebuilding in S5. I targeted two of his pitchers--Jake Payton and Eugene Parkinson. Payton, with a career ERA just over 3 and a WHIP under 1.20 would be a nice addition to the rotation. He is signed through S7, but I felt like S5 was a better chance for the Royals to win it all than S6 or S7 will be, so it was an acceptable hit to take. Parkinson is a good fit as a two-times-out-of-three through the rotation guy, but making $11.5 mil. His ratings didn't justify that money currently, but he is also in year five of a five-year deal. He wouldn't hurt me financially after this year since he was expiring. With a sub-4 ERA and a 17/65 dur/sta, I felt I could get 160 good innings out of him and pitch the other four guys 35 times each.

For me to make room for them, I needed to budget more than $91 mil, or get money in the deal. Since WT was rebuilding, he had some dollars he wasn't going to need:

(WT trade chat to me on 7/16) "I guess you can assume that in any trade I am looking for the best prospects and not necessarily cap space. Even with these guys on my roster I'm only going to be at about $75 million."

He'd rather have better prospects than money. Seems like a fair use of the $185 mil WIS gives us. WT and I kept the discussion going and I felt good that we were going to get a deal made that brought me an additional $17.5 mil in salary. I couldn't budget $108 mil, but he was willing to include money:

(My trade chat to WT on 7/20) "I talked myself into this. Check out the new projections if/when we ever get started. I'll budget $98 million, which will be perfect if we make the deal but won't kill me ($7 million too high) if you want to bail after seeing the projections."

So we worked it out. I needed $108 mil including those guys' salaries, so I budgeted $98 mil. The deals were certainly fair. In fact, I may have given up too much but I was able to keep Santayana (the heir apparent to Rizzo at 1B). Much of the rest of my ML lineup is young, so ML-ready prospects aren't that important to me right now.

I then did something stupid. Italked myself into a 3MT for the first 10 games. I thought Vosberg could help me and I could get Hudler, McCartney, and Payton on the hill more often. I wasn't happy with the results however and ditched it. I still didn't have the team playing as well as I thought they could, so I gave Bill Strickland more starts at catcher. Plus, Hudler went down for ~80 days, and the guys picking up the extra starts made a need for a better pitch-calling catcher. I have Strickland, a good pitch caller who can't hit; Mintz, who should hit better but doesn't; and Pulido, who is a bad pitch caller and a great hitter but no durability limits him to 200-250 ABs a year, better spent at DH.

With Strickland in place, I still wasn't happy. Then I found out Gerald Daly was available from Pittsburgh. Daly has a big bat and a decent PC rating of 57. We worked out a deal with me taking Daly and another expiring contract, a difference of about $8 mil. I couldn't afford that, so WT added another $5 mil. Another fair trade, IMHO.

Now the injury bug has set in further. All three of WT's poison players have suffered serious injuries. First, Daly went down for the year on 9/8. So I've gone back to Strickland with Mintz still in the doghouse. Next, on 9/12, Payton went down for ~70 days. Newly promoted Howard File was now slotted to get some spot starts. Finally, on 9/18, Parkinson got hurt and is out for 59 days. My rotation is now three-deep, so I put Vosberg in temporarily and will still have to spot start File. I need some money to sign or trade for somebody that can hold it down for the next 60 days in the middle of a tight pennant race, thus the call for $2 million more.

Now, after all that, hopefully all can see that nothing shady is going on. I understand that there are two types of trades that some have a problem with, philosophically: 1) money for players trades; and 2) players with salaries paid for prospects trades. The first three with the $5 mil included were type 2, and a new trade would be type 1.

I personally don't understand the concern in this world. In a world where owners come and go, it would be bad for the world to allow a team to make a lot of trades for money and build a super team, destroying the team for years to come. However, that clearly isn't the case here. I understand the sacrifices I'm making (and have determined that I can afford them based on the fact that much of my team is young and we should be back in contention in S8) to make one last run this year with Rizzo, Hudler, Brooks, Phillips, and Silva. I'm committed to this world long-term (I've already renewed for S6, more than can be said for those objecting) and it should be clear that there is no collusion. What is the harm that is done?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Decline of K rate in GAP

Look at the top 5 strikeout pitchers in GAP over their careers by K/9IP

Greg Stewart: Career - 8.05 K/9IP; Season 5 - 2.72
Jin-Che Wang: 7.11; 3.97
Cliff Simms: 7.01; 3.375
Bosco Jeffereson: 6.97; 4.2
Tony Hudler: 6.96; 5.85 (the smallest difference but only over 40 IP)

Obviously something has changed in the Sim engine. This is not a small sample size, since we are talking about 600+ IP for these 5 this season alone. Could they have changed which criteria is used to determine a good strikeout pitcher. Not sure. Wanted to show the observation.

Monday, September 17, 2007

All-Star Trivia

1. Who is the only five-time All-Star?

2. Who is the only non-pitcher to be on at least four All-Star teams?

3. Who is the youngest player to be on at least three All-Star teams?

4. Name the three players tied for youngest All-Star, all making it at age 22.

5. Name the five players who have been on both the NL and AL All-Star teams.

6. Name the one guy who made it in the AL, then in the NL, and then in the AL again.

7. Who are the two 36-year-olds who made the All-Star team this year, the oldest players ever to make it?

8. Who are the two players to make it at both SS and CF?

9. Who is the only player to make four All-Star teams while aged 31 or older?

10. How many All-Star teams has Nick Alexander made?


Monday, August 27, 2007

50 Game Season 5 Observations

Players of Interest

Jesse House - Boston Red Sox
House has been on a tear to start Season 5, hitting safely in 47 of 50 games, with two hitting streaks reaching 22 and 25 (active) games respectively. He has reached base in 48 of 50 games, and would be a runaway early season MVP if not for teammate Raul Santana.

-1st in Hits (89)
-1st in RBI (69)
-1st in SLG (.741)
-1st in OPS (1.260)
-1st in RC (75.770! - next closest is 59.134)
-2nd in AVG (.443)
-2nd in OBP (.519)
-2nd in BB (34)
-Holds longest/longest active hitting streak at 25
-Started the season with a 22 game hit streak
-Has 29 multi-hit games
-Went 3 games without a hit between hit streaks, but other than that has hit safely in 47 of 50 games

Chris Burks - Milwaukee Brewers
Burks is one of the most interesting players I have ever seen in HBD, and being in my division for 5 seasons, I'm surprised I haven't noticed him before. Maybe it's the sub .200 AVG that makes him forgettable, but how many guys below the Mendoza Line can boast a projected 155+ runs scored?

-Batting .197
-SLG of .207
-OBP of .370
-51 BB & 48 R in 50 games
-10 more R (48) than hits (38)
-Projected to steal 75 bases, but collect only 123 hits

Cliff Simms - New York Mets
It is no surprise that Simms is dominating opponents, as his current ratings are the most impressive of any GAP starter. The surprise is that with new ownership, Simms is putting together by far his most impressive season to date. How could a pitcher improve upon a season where he not only won the Cy Young, but the World Series as well, you ask?

-1st in ERA (1.55)
-1st in CG (tie-5)
-1st in OAV (tie-.197) - its like facing Chris Burks every game...without the impressive walk totals.
-WHIP of 0.98

Pete Frascatore - Chicago Cubs
Frascatore's numbers look eerily similar to Simms', but there is one glaring difference: He is only 21. Ten years younger than the reigning Cy Young winner, "Petey" is leading the NL in Wins with 7, and despite a 68 MPH fastball, is 9th and Ks. With the struggles of rest of his rotation, Frascatore has held the Cubs together, and is the sole reason they are above .500, and only a couple games back from Milwaukee.

-1st in NL in Wins (7)
-1st in opp. OBP (.249)
-1st in OAV (tie-.197)
-2nd in WHIP (tie-0.94)
-9th in Ks (49)

Other Observations
-Three AL pitchers are tied for most GAP wins. David Russell, Hector Guerrero and Pascual Samuel are also all undefeated at 8-0.
-The Nationals are already nearly halfway to their Season 4 win total (57 wins) at 27-23, and are only sitting 1 game behind the defending champion Mets.
-The Mets are playing .750 ball at Shea, while the Marlins are 16-3 (.842) on the road. Both teams are playing below .500 at their respective opposite sites.
-The Red Sox don't care where they play, winning 18 games at Fenway, while sharing the love away from Beantown, and winning 18 games on the road.
-And the winner for best start to the Season 5 season is...The Cleveland Indians at 37-13. No longer the AL least in Cleveland (Baltimore is already 15 games back in 2nd...)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Application for Temporary Restraining Order

Plaintiffs Great American Pastime World (“GAP”), Bribar and Whiteslave hereby apply for a temporary restraining order restraining The_Stiffs, Defendant, and his agents and employees, from reviewing and commenting on WorldChat and any transactions in GAP or the GAP blog, and an order requiring defendant to show cause why a preliminary injunction should not issue to restrain Defendant and his agents and employees from doing the same while this action is pending. This application is based on the grounds that Defendant knowingly and willingly abandoned GAP while commissioner, and has entered and continues to enter WorldChat in GAP without permission despite written requests to cease and that great or irreparable or great and irreparable injury would result to Plaintiffs before the matter can be heard on notice via a Customer Support ticket, with the weekend being soon upon us.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The 85 Club, beginning of season 5

At the beginning of season 5, the current members of The 85 Club are:

95 Cliff Simms, SP, New York Mets
95 Douglas Diaz, CF, New York Mets
92 Greg Stewart, SP, Cleveland Indians
92 Joe Warden, LF, New York Mets
91 Brian Snyder, SS, San Francisco Giants
89 Theodore Haney, SS Kansas City Royals
88 Chuck Hoover, 2B, Chicago Cubs
88 Todd Linebrink, SS, Oakland Athletics
88 Andres Mieses, 3B, Cincinnati Reds
88 Ralph Ryan, RP, New York Mets
88 Joe Linden, 2B, Atlanta Braves
88 Mark Moore, 3B, FREE AGENT
87 Victor Palacios, SP, Oakland Athletics
87 Nipsey Morris, C, New York Mets
87 Ted Hogan, 3B, New York Mets
87 Barry Clayton, SS, St. Louis Cardinals
87 Harry Wilfredo, SP, Seattle Mariners
87 Al Alvarez, C, San Francisco Giants
86 Tom Dickerson, CF, Milwaukee Brewers
86 Victor Palacios, SP, Oakland Athletics
86 Wiki Pena, 3B, Florida Marlins
86 Samuel Curtis, SP, FREE AGENT
85 LaTroy Franco, LF, Cleveland Indians
85 Clarence Cooke, SP, San Francisco Giants
85 David Russell, SP, Boston Red Sox
85 Harry Fox, 3B, Houston Astros
85 Jin-Che Wang, SP, San Francisco Giants
85 Brian Snyder, SS, San Francisco Giants
85 Everett Hernandez, RF, Tampa Bay Rays
85 Max Jimenez, C, Texas Rangers

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The current members of The 85 Club are:

95 Cliff Simms, SP, New York Mets
93 Douglas Diaz, CF, New York Mets
92 Brian Snyder, SS, San Francisco Giants
91 Greg Stewart, SP, Cleveland Indians
90 Joe Warden, LF, New York Mets
89 Chuck Hoover, 2B, Chicago Cubs
89 Todd Linebrink, SS, Oakland Athletics
88 Theodore Haney, SS Kansas City Royals
88 Nipsey Morris, C, New York Mets
87 Andres Mieses, 3B, Cincinnati Reds
86 Clyde Valentin, RF, Oakland Athletics
86 Ted Hogan, 3B, New York Mets
86 Ralph Ryan, RP, New York Mets
86 LaTroy Franco, LF, Cleveland Indians
86 Mark Moore, 3B, Atlanta Braves
86 Joe Linden, 2B, Atlanta Braves
86 Wiki Pena, 3B, Florida Marlins
86 Barry Clayton, SS, St. Louis Cardinals
85 Clarence Cooke, SP, San Francisco Giants
85 Harry Wilfredo, SP, Seattle Mariners
85 Samuel Curtis, SP, St. Louis Cardinals

Thursday, June 28, 2007

S4 Odds & Ends

Notes from S4:

Anaheim went 36 straight innings without scoring a run. Oakland was responsible for most of it, shutting out the Angels in a three-game series with Butch Brede, Mitch Moreno, and Paul Christenson each picking up wins for the A's.

The Chicago White Sox had 29 scoreless innings in a row earlier this year at the hands of Tampa Bay.

108,202 runs have been scored in 4 seasons, or 5.22 per team per game. Oakland has been the top scoring team with 7.10 per game, with Washington at the bottom at 4.12. In runs against, the Mets are best at 3.82, while Vancouver is giving up 7.59.

None of the 12 playoff teams in S4 are in the postseason for the first time. In fact, only 21 of the GAPs 32 teams have been to the postseason. Of the teams who haven't made it, San Diego (89-73) appears to be the closest to breaking through, along with the Chicago Cubs (86-76) and Baltimore (81-81). Meanwhile Washington (105 losses), Philadelphia (105), Arizona (104), Vancouver (100), and Cincinnati (100) all appear to be on the outside for the near future.

The White Sox not only became the first team in GAP history to qualify for the playoffs with more runs allowed than scored, they did so with a 54 run difference (789 RS, 843 RA).

Tied for the AL North title: Chicago, with a 32-19 record in one-run games; and Boston, with a 17-27 record in them. Boston had the tiebreak, however.

Some crazy games:

Cincinnati 18, Washington DC 15 (13 innings)
Reds rally from 7 runs down in the 9th, scoring 8 in the top half, but the Sens force extras. Reds take a 2-run lead in the 12th but battle back again. Finally a 4-spot in the 13th holds up, despite Washington getting the winning run to the plate in the bottom half. 44 men played in the game--Cincinnati used 10 pitchers and 14 position players.

Anaheim 12, Baltimore 10 (15 innings)
Baltimore trailed 9-4 after 7 but scored 2 in the 8th and a three-run HR in the 9th from light-hitting 9-hole hitter SS Geraldo Cedeno (7 HR this year in 529 AB). RP Hal Dougherty kept shutting down the Angels, entering in the 5th inning and not allowing a run until he was pulled after the 13th. The Orioles finally pushed one across in the top half of the 15th, but closer Luis Lopez gave up a walk-off three-run jack to Eli Fernandez to lose the heartbreaker.

Baltimore 12, Anaheim 10
Just 9 games later, these teams met again and reversed the score this time. Anaheim fell behind 10-3 after 7 but put up 5 in the 8th and 2 in the 9th. That would've been enough to tie but they allowed two Oriole runs in the bottom half of the 8th including the 6th Baltimore HR of the game.

Chicago (AL) 12, Boston 11
Here's one that looms large now, with these two tied for the AL North title. On opening day, Boston blew an 11-7 lead after 7 innings to the White Sox. A ground-rule double in the 8th made the score 11-9. RP Gabe Duncan came in with one out in the bottom of the 9th, despite his 0% fatigue (on opening day!) and promptly gave up a single, followed by an Edwin Casey game-tying HR. Rex Andrews relieved Duncan but Andres Piedra crushed the second pitch from Andrews over the 375-foot mark in LCF for the walk-off win.

Oakland 10, Kansas City 9 (11 innings)

Kansas City 14, Houston 10

St. Louis 12, Florida 11

Chicago (NL) 13, Milwaukee 12

Cincinnati 12, San Diego 10 (10 innings)

Cincinnati 12, San Francisco 10

Cleveland 10, New York (AL) 9 (10 innings)

Playoff Picture

One game left, and the playoff picture is still blurry.


What we know:
-1- Oakland (116-45)
-2- Kansas City (100-61)
-5- Tampa Bay (94-67)

In the mix:
New York (83-78)
Cleveland (82-79)
Texas (82-79)
Chicago (81-80)
Boston (81-80)

Applicable tiebreakers held:
Cle over NYY (6-4)
Tex over NYY (6-4)
Cle over Tex (6-4)
Bos over CWS (7-3)
CWS over Cle (6-4)
Tex over CWS (5-5 but Tex wins on div record)

Last game vs:
NYY vs Min
Cle vs Bal
CWS vs Det
Bos vs Tor
Tex vs KC

Winner of AL East gets the -3- seed.
Winner of AL North gets the -4- seed.
Last WC gets the -6- seed.

NYY wins the AL East with a win OR a Cle loss.
Cle wins the AL East with a win AND a NYY loss, due to tiebreak advantage.
Cle clinches a playoff spot with a win which will be the -6- if NYY also wins.
NYY wins the -6- if they lose AND Cle wins AND Tex loses.
NYY is only eliminated if the lose AND Cle wins AND Tex wins.

Bos wins the AL North with a win OR a CWS loss, due to tiebreak advantage.
CWS wins the AL North with a win AND a Bos loss.
CWS can't get the WC due to tiebreak disadvantage vs Tex, so...
CWS is eliminated with a loss OR a Bos win.
Bos is eliminated with a loss AND a Cle win.

Tex wins the -6- with a win AND a Cle loss.
Tex also wins the -6- with a win AND a Cle win AND a NYY loss (Cle would win the AL East, Tex holds tiebreak advantage over NYY).
Tex is eliminated with a loss, due to tiebreak disadvantage vs Cle and overall record disadvantage vs NYY.


What we know:
-3- San Francisco (99-62)
-4- Milwaukee (88-73)
-5- Houston (97-64)

In the mix:
New York (103-58)
St. Louis (102-59)
Atlanta (91-70)
Florida (91-70)

Applicable tiebreakers held:
StL over NYM (6-4)
Fla over Atl (7-3)

Last game vs:
StL vs Cha
NYM vs Phi
Atl vs Was
Fla vs Hou

To determine who gets the -1- and -2- seeds:

NYM gets the -1- with a win OR a StL loss.
StL gets the -1- with a win AND a NYM loss, due to tiebreak advantage.
To determine who gets the -6- seed and who is on the outside looking in:

Fla gets the -6- with a win OR an Atl loss, due to tiebreak advantage.
Atl gets the -6- with a win AND an Fla loss.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

HR Leaders

As always, if you have or know of a player with 100+ career HR not on the list, let me know. Stats below are through 138 games of S4:

Monday, June 18, 2007

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Look Back: The Draft of S1

It has been almost three years since the first-ever Amateur Draft in the GAP. With the S4 draft coming up, this seems an appropriate time to review. Here are the first five picks:

#1 Matt Moore
Moore was selected by sergei back when his franchise was the Louisville Sluggers. He certainly looks worthy of being the first top pick of the GAP. Moore made the big show this year in San Diego and appears to be well on his way to an outstanding career. After his selection, Moore tore up the Rookie league with a 1280 OPS, including 17 HR, 99 RBI, and 94 runs scored in just 65 games of the short season. Texas (formerly Louisville) moved Moore to San Diego, and he started S2 in AA. A 1096 OPS in 96 games (37 HR and 127 RBI!) got him a quick promotion to AAA. He finished S2 there getting in 16 games and then starting S3 in AAA again at age 20. In a full year there, he posted a 1039 OPS with 35 HR, 128 RBI, and 128 runs scored. He finished his minor-league career with a ridiculous 370 RBI in 293 games!

Out of the gate in S4, he has started 335 games as the Padres' SS, putting up a very nice 976 OPS. With 11 HR and 8 SB, he could be on his way to a 30/30 season and possibly the NL ROY.

However, Moore's path to San Diego and the ripples since then aren't so easy to follow. Moore was shipped to San Diego in S2, for Charles Shinjo and Kyle Milton, two decent pitchers. Milton is 21-15 with a 3.69 ERA in 83 games for Texas since then, while Shinjo was turned right around and sent to Arizona along with speedy CF Walt Wall in exchange for Gene Stevenson. Shinjo has a good ERA (4.19) and WHIP (1.39) but is just 24-35 in 103 starts for Arizona. Stevenson isn't a Ranger either, of course, as he was moved to San Francisco for SP Juan Brito and RF Enrique Roque. Stevenson is a decent ML CF, good defensively but nothing special at the plate. Roque has been a star MLer, with 117 HR and a 942 OPS in 3+ years, and now just 25 years old. Brito was released at the beginning of S3 and has bounced to Baltimore and now Seattle, where he toils as a 28 y/o SP in AA.

So what sergei ended up with in exchange for Moore is Milton, a serviceable SP/LR and Roque. It is certainly less than Moore, however, the move to get Milton and Roque in S2 helped propel the Rangers to a 96-66 mark and a surprising AL West title when they edged both Tampa Bay and Kansas City in the tiebreak. They may not have Moore anymore, but they have a division title flag to fly in Texas.

#2 Damion Scarsone
Scarsone, 21, is also not with the team who drafted him. Picked by the Mets, he was moved in a deal to St. Louis in S2. He went along with 100-HR Club member Jeff Cuyler and a throw-in for Chuck Hoover and two throw-ins. It looks to be a bad deal for New York in hindsight. Hoover and Cuyler have had simlar numbers at similar ages (Hoover a bit better and two years younger) but not too far apart. Hoover was just a rental, leaving for Minnesota via free agency after S2. It's not like cap space was cleared, as Cuyler was only locked up through S2 as well, also leaving his new team via FA after the season. The Mets did win the NL East and made it to the NLCS in S2, but they likely would've done so anyway without the trade.

Meanwhile, Scarsone is putting up some eye-popping numbers. In S1 he did even better than Moore's amazing numbers above. In just 66 games, Scarsone hit .393 with 16 HR, 109 RBI, and 113 runs scored. His OPS of 1334 (!) was sick. In S2, he had a 1033 OPS with 13 HR in 79 games in AAA for New York before the trade. St. Louis started him off back in Rookie ball for the last 12 games, then had him start S3 in AA. A 1037 OPS in 33 games got him bumped to AAA, where he wrapped up the year with a 956 OPS in 56 games. After one AAA game this year, he got the call and has gotten some action at both 2B and C. A great all-around defensive player, Scarsone has a PC of 30, just good enough to handle some spot duty behind the dish. In 21 games he has an 1125 with 5 HR in just 63 AB! No SB yet, but with his 98 speed rating that is sure to get to 100 before long, he could be another 30/30 guy as soon as he gets a starting spot.

#3 Miguel Paz
Straight out of high school and now just 21, Paz is on the Charlotte slow-track to the bigs. He split the end of S1 between Rookie (3-3/1.34/4.22) and Low A (5-0/1.34/2.72). Owner mdukes kept him in Low A for all of S2, and he posted a 12-4/2.26/1.19 mark in 25 starts. This wasn't enough to earn him a promotion, however, as he started S3 with the same club. After a 8-4/1.07/3.52 start, he finally got the nod to High A. There a 7-5/1.29/3.59 got him bumped to AA for one start at the end of the year, a nice 8-inning effort with only one unearned run allowed.

Paz is still in AA here in S4, with a 4-2/3.20/1.01 to show for his efforts so far this year. His ratings are climbing but slowly. His lack of control and too many fly balls will always be a problem for him. Could it be that his slow rise, which of course means lower-rated coaches at the lower levels, has stunted his progress?

#4 Charles Young
Young, a starting pitcher straight out of HS, is progressing nicely. About a year per level, he is now in AA. There have been some bumps along the way, however. In S1, Young went 2-10/1.75/7.83 mostly at Rookie but also a little Low A. He got settled in during S2, getting 29 starts in Low A while spending the whole season there, going 11-11/1.46/4.28. He started S3 in High A, and really shined, putting up a 10-1/1.20/2.56 in 18 starts. Then dmaxie made a strange move and promoted him to AA while moving him to the bullpen. He was 32 durability/74 stamina at the time, a really strange move. He finished S3 with 30 relief appearances in AA, going 2-3/2.46/10.40.

Management wisely moved him back into the rotation in S4, and Young is off to a 5-2/1.20/3.24 start. He is a workhorse (33/80 on his way to something like 35/90), averaging 7.3 innings in his 8 starts.

#5 Ernest Sellers
Sellers was the first non-high schooller selected. He was a 20-year-old college sophomore who was tabbed by Kansas City with their first pick. He just got the call to the bigs a couple weeks ago, and appears to be at the start of a solid, if not spectacular, career in the GAP. He has steadily put up good numbers, starting with a 4-1/1.50/3.46 in Low A at the end of S1. After a 3-0/0.89/2.08 dominating performance in 6 starts in Low A in S2, Sellers jumped to High A and stayed for just 4 starts. His 2-0/1.06/1.19 got him bumped quickly to AA. In AA for the rest of S2, he stumbled to a 3-5/1.69/5.09.

In S3, he looked ready to star in AA, and in 10 starts Sellers went 5-1/1.11/2.34 and moved on to the AAA club. He held his own there, at 6-8/1.46/4.30. A solid 2-1/0.95/1.89 start in AAA in S3, combined with an injury to Royals' ace Tony Hudler, gave Sellers the opportunity. He has started off well, going 2-1/1.15/4.15 in 6 starts.

He's shown steady improvement, conquering each level in a year or less, but his ratings are not jaw-dropping. It remains to be seen if he can dominate ML hitters within a year like he has other levels. But at just 23 years of age, if he can perform, there could be a spot for him in the KC rotation for 10 or more years to come.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

GAP Breakdown: NL East Part 2 of 2

Philadelphia Phillies
These Phillies have the same unfortunate problem as their MLB counterpart, or shall I say, two problems. Philadelphia has a tall order, trying to pass not only one elite team, but two in the Braves and Mets, which might be near impossible, as both teams look stacked for the future. If anyone is up for the challenge, it's the ownership in Philly, and thanks to them, there looks to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Season 1 - 60-102 (.370)
Season 2 - 75-87 (.463)
Season 3 - 65-97 (.401)
Season 4 - 13-21 (.382)

4 Season MVP - Pedro Segui [.282 AVG - 113 HR - 358 RBI - 260 Runs - .904 OPS]
4 Season Cy Young - Earl Rhodes [26-27 - 3.93 ERA - 1.31 WHIP - .245 OAV]

Core of the Future
1B Tino Springer (19) High A
LF Artie Webster (25) ML
LF Jolbert Uribe (20) High A
SP Harry Maradona (19) Low A
SP Sam Bibby (19) Low A
SP Earl Rhodes (26) ML
RP Bartolo Vega (24) ML
RP Rolando Melendez (20) Low A
RP Greg Waters (24) ML

Washington D.C. Senators
A true reclamation project, the Senators are gradually growing into what should one day be a formidable foe for the rest of the NL East. Similar to the Indians in the movie Major League, the ownership in Season 1 looked to be destroying all hopes of winning in Washington...but after he was disposed of, the Senators are looking towards the future and have dreams of division titles dancing in their heads.

Season 1 - 55-107 (.340)
Season 2 - 57-105 (.352)
Season 3 - 47-115 (.290)
Season 4 - 8-26 (.235)

4 Season MVP - Tori Valentin [.249 AVG - 133 HR - 331 RBI - 253 Runs - .849 OPS]
4 Season Cy Young - Patrick Kirkland [22-38 - 4.18 ERA - 1.44 WHIP - .273 OAV]

Core of the Future
C Rafael Park (19) High A
SS Neil Moyer (25) ML
2B Edgardo Matos (19) Low A
2B Ryan Schmidt (26) ML
LF Rico Benitez (24) ML
1B Al Santiago (20) AA
1B Valerio Rivera (19) High A
RF Kelly Acosta (25) ML
SP Guillermo Cordero (21) High A
SP Jeff Butler (25) ML
SP Garry Valdes (21) ML
SP Stuart King (25) ML
SP Ryan Dixon (24) ML

Friday, May 11, 2007

GAP Breakdown: NL East Part 1 of 2

Atlanta Braves
After cruising to division win in Season 1, Atlanta has been an interesting team to watch, showing signs of that same dominant team, but also flashing signals of a slight talent drop off in recent seasons. The Braves look to have the kinks worked out through 27 games in Season 4, compiling an impressive 19-8 record and challenging division rival New York for the league-best team ERA.

Season 1 - 101-61 (.623)
Season 2 - 94-68 (.580)
Season 3 - 88-74 (.543)
Season 4 - 19-8 (.704)

4 Season MVP - Joe Linden [.305 AVG - 62 HR - 285 RBI - 312 Runs - .991 OPS]
4 Season Cy Young - Malachi Carson [48-22 - 3.10 ERA - 1.18 WHIP - .231 OAV]

Core of the Future
2B Joe Linden (29) ML
2B Jorel Collins (22) Low A
3B Mark Moore (27) ML
LF Freddie Grieve (24) ML
SP Tanyon Flanagan (22) ML
SP Ralph Duncan (26) AA

New York Mets
After squeezing into the playoffs with the 2nd wild card in Season 1, the Mets have been on a tear since. The pitching has been simply outstanding, but like most big budget teams, there is a lot of future being sacrificed to win now. But win now they have, and should least for a couple more seasons.

Season 1 - 87-75 (.537)
Season 2 - 101-61 (.623)
Season 3 - 102-60 (.630)
Season 4 - 19-9 (.679)

4 Season MVP - Ted Hogan [.294 AVG - 88 HR - 296 RBI - 284 Runs - .917 OPS]
4 Season Cy Young - Cliff Simms [59-27 - 3.34 ERA - 1.15 WHIP - .236 OAV]

Core of the Future
1B Turner Davis (24) ML
3B Ted Hogan (23) ML
SS Jim Young (25) ML
CF Earl Garcia (22) AA
RF Eugene Betemit (27) ML
SP Jason Ray (24) ML
SP Sal Floyd (27) ML
RP Julio Saenz (24) ML

Thursday, May 10, 2007

GAP Breakdown: NL North Part 2 of 2

Milwaukee Brewers
After taking the North the first two seasons, the Brewers have since struggled to stay above .500, going 74-88 in Season 2, and currently sitting 4 games under after 26 games. Carlos Campos and Jimmie Iglesias have been studs, but the rest of the team has struggled mightily since their consistent early success started to drop off.

Season 1 - 88-74
Season 2 - 90-72
Season 3 - 74-88
Season 4 - 11-15

4 Season MVP - C Carlos Campos [.317 AVG - 161 HR - 450 RBI - 351 Runs - 1.016 OPS]
4 Season Cy Young - SP Lorenzo Tabaka [52-29 - 4.00 ERA - 1.23 WHIP - .255 OAV]

Core of the Future
C Carlos Campos (29) ML
SS Marino Cordero (21) AAA
LF Ricardo Melendez (22) AAA
OF Omar Arroyo (23) AAA
SS Eric Scott (24) AAA
SP Hideki Koh (23) ML
RP Will Andrews (25) ML
SP Arthur Hayes (19) AA

Pittsburgh Pirates
The new class of the NL North, the Pirates have risen from obscurity to become the team to beat in one of the most competitive divisions in all of the GAP. The scary thing is, the ML team is pretty much all relatively young, and the farm system has a couple of very impressive prospects. The Pirates should be a force in the North for years to come.

Season 1 - 81-81 (.500)
Season 2 - 88-74 (.543)
Season 3 - 94-68 (.580)
Season 4 - 15-11 (.577)

4 Season MVP - Chris Baker [.290 AVG - 131 HR - 391 RBI - 324 Runs - .924 OPS]
4 Season Cy Young - Jake Payton [54-33 - 3.15 ERA - 1.17 WHIP - .242 OAV]

Core of the Future
3B Quinn Hundley (25) ML
SS Al Martinez (21) AA
CF Denny Greenwood (19) Low A
OF Sammy Ordonez (20) AA
RF Carlos Alvarez (20) High A
RF Troy Decker (22) High A
SP Scot Weston (23) AAA
SP Alex Sparks (25) AAA
RP Glen Wise (25) AAA

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

GAP Breakdown: NL North Part 1 of 2

The NL North has been very interesting and competitive to say the least over the first 3+ seasons of the GAP. In Season 1, the Brewers edged out the Cubs by a game to win the division, and the Cubs lost the wild card to the Mets in a tiebreaker. Season 2 belonged to the Brewers as well, but the division looked even closer, as every team was .500 or better, and the Pirates showed promise, finishing only 2 games behind the Brew Crew, and gave the North 2 playoff teams for the first time in the short history of the GAP. Season 3 was a dogfight most of the Season, as the Pirates and Cubs traded off turns in first for most of the season, until the Cubs fell apart in the 2nd half and the Pirates cruised to the North title in the last 2 weeks. Season 4 once again has the Cubs and Pirates in what looks to be an epic battle for the title.

Chicago Cubs
The Cubs have been consistently inconsistent, streaking to large division leads at time, then falling hard and needing to rebound to get back to .500. This is still a very young team, and has the talent to be dominant in the future years (as long as the young core stays intact)

Season 1 - 87-75
Season 2 - 81-81
Season 3 - 81-81
Season 4 - 15-7

4 Season MVP - RF Victor Parra [.294 AVG - 121 HR - 375 RBI - 353 Runs - .906 OPS]
4 Season Cy Young - SP Richard Hyun [34-19 - 3.77 ERA - 1.25 WHIP - .255 OAV]

Core of the Future
SP Johnny Buck (23) ML
SP Willie Ordonez (21) ML
SP Rich Allen (23) ML
SP Pete Frascatore (20) AAA
SP Carlos Gutierrez (18) Low A
RF Victor Parra (27) ML
1B Joey Norman (23) AAA
3B Kevin Watson (24) AAA
3B Stan Harper (21) AA
SS Jose Campos (19) High A

Cincinnati Reds
The Reds looked to be going places after a promising 82-80 end to Season 2, but things suddenly turned sour in Cincy, and the Reds ended up with a 49-113 record in Season 3, only 2 games better than the obviously rebuilding D.C. Senators. The team has some serious young talent, but it's starting to look like it's still gonna be a couple more years before they have a chance to reach .500 again.

Season 1 - 66-96 (.407)
Season 2 - 82-80 (.506)
Season 3 - 49-113 (.302)
Season 4 - 9-13 (.409)

4 Season MVP - Andres Mieses [.272 AVG - 105 HR - 310 RBI - 286 Runs - .858 OPS]
4 Season Cy Young - Nolan Schmidt [26-31 - 4.63 ERA - 1.48 WHIP .271 OAV]

Core of the Future
SP Thomas Davis (22) AAA
SP Bey Wainhouse (21) AA
SP Enrique Guillen (24) AAA
SP Alejandro Guerrero (22) High A
3B Andres Mieses (22) ML
SS Grover Lyon (23) High A
OF Horace Ross (24) AAA
1B Pinky Glavine (24) AAA

[Brewers/Pirates next]

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Welcoming Mr. Warden


The preseason blockbuster has become an annual event in Queens.

Before the start of Season 1, the Mets worked out a sign and trade with Seattle. The Mariners received 29 year old Harry Wilfredo (24-17, 3.26 in 70 career starts) and his 5 year deal worth $42.5M in exchange for 20 year old Ted Hogan (80 HR, 279 RBI, .296 AVG) making the ML minimum.

Season 2 saw the Mets orchestrate a salary cap saver with Pittsburgh. The Pirates got 35 year old Tomas Aguilera (15-14, 40/47 SV, 3.68 in 176 career appearances) who was making $9.5M at the time, 19 year old Al Martinez (110 HR, 389 RBI, .299 AVG in 3 years of MILB service), and 29 year old Jake Payton (51-31, 3.08 in 111 career starts) making $7.0M. Pittsburgh sent the Mets 28 year old Cliff Simms (54-25, 3.31 in 104 career starts) making $10.0M.

The Red Sox and the Mets swapped players before the start of Season 3. This time the Mets moved the NL's reigning Cy Young winner, 33 year old Bosco Jefferson (44-20, 3.06 in 81 career starts) making $6.5M in the final year of his contract along with AAA shortstop, 22 year old Mark Sugawara who is known more for his glove than his bat. In return the Mets took on a couple of "project" pitchers, Sal Flyod and Julio Saenz. In their first seasons in Shea Stadium, Floyd worked 185.1 innings over 34 starts while posting a 14-7 record working to a 3.11 ERA. Saenz worked 96.1 innings over 68 appearances, posting a 6-3 record, converting 6 of 7 save opportunites and compiling a 3.74 ERA to compliment his 1.05 WHIP.

And just the other day the Mets added another MVP canidate to their lineup. In terms agreed upon during the playoffs last season, New York acquires 29 year old left fielder, Joe Warden from Detroit in exchange for 3 highly touted yet unproven prospects (Grant Leary, Karim Rodriguez and Charlie Simas). Warden figures to bat 3rd in a scary Mets lineup featuring 4 members of the exclusive "85 Club".

The big decision for the Mets caoching staff will be: what to do with their extra outfielder? Joe Warden will play left field. That much is certain. And Eugene Betemit will most likely play right field. But that leaves Billy Brown and two-time Gold Glover Courtney Kennedy vying for time in center field.

Kennedy is in the final year of his 3 year contract and so his $6.0M salary makes him an attractive rental for a team looking for defensive help in center field. Brown is still making the ML minimum and will not arbitrate until Season 6. That's about as much value as you could hope for from a guy who played all 162 games last year while batting .304 before errupting in the post-season to the tune of a .417 BA while driving in 11 runs in 8 games. Defensively, Brown would be a downgrade if the Mets were to move Kennedy especially considering that Warden is not the defensive left fielder Brown is but the added offense provided by Brown's left-handed bat in the 7th hole might be enough to sway New York to move in that direction.

The other option would be for the Mets to find a new home for Betemit and let Brown patrol right field. Betemit has one more year of arbitration but his $4.1M raise this season has the Mets wondering if they'll be able to afford his .290/20/80 at the price he'll be seeking next year. Of course, Betemit has won a Gold Glove himself and he is a fan favorite in Shea where he ranks second in career plate appearances, at bats, home runs, runs batted in, hits and walks in a Mets uniform. So management seems a bit more hesitant to move him.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Hudler & Rizzo -- 3 Years Later

As we start into S4 of the GAP, it is time for all of us to analyze our franchises, sign, release, promote, and demote. It is also time to look back on how we got to this point, and how to move forward.

GAP was the first elite HBD world, with a dedicated group of owners who boasted proven track records. Out of the gate, all of us wanted to make a splash. I spotted two stud FAs that I decided would fill my gaps perfectly--Tony Hudler and Artie Rizzo. They were certainly the two prized FAs that all owners coveted, whether they could afford them or not.

Hudler was the most interesting one. At 33, he was a big risk. Would he be able to maintain his ratings for several years? This was the key, because with all the bidders, he was certainly going to get a five-year deal. And with the price being driven up and up, owners had to ask themselves if he would be worth eight figures at age 37.

His ratings were sexy, however. 32/81 meant he could go every fourth game, 6 or 7 innings per game. Add in the 81/94 splits, 91 control, and 93 GB numbers, and there was a lot to like. But one ugly number--52 health. The bidding went higher and higher. When the smoke cleared, it took $90,000,000 across five years to get him. The one failsafe I built in was a team option for S5. If he broke down early, at least I'd be able to cut my losses by the tidy sum of $15,000,000 at the end.

Meanwhile, Rizzo was the best bat available. I liked my franchise's ML-ready options, but the missing cog was a slugging 1B, so Rizzo was a perfect fit. His health was an issue as well (62), but a risk worth taking for 93/93/73/79/90. Especially for the Royals, who were weak against RHP. Rizzo ended up cashing in for $75,500,000 while scoring a player option for S5. At 31, it seemed more likely he'd have something left by then, and what player is turning down a max contract to go to the market? That was the thought process anyway.

I was hoping to get both guys, as I budgeted the money I thought it would take to pull it off. I had to drive up my offers, and had to do it by back-loading the deals as much as I could. The end result is that by S3, I would be paying a combined $38,250,000 to two players.

When the smoke cleared, I had them both. The message board lit up with a wide variety of opinions from astonishment for the bold strategy or admonishment for the stupid strategy. I was convinced I had a two-year window, maybe three, to get a title with these guys.

The question now--Was it worth it? From a postseason-success standpoint, maybe no. Everyone has heard my whining about missing the postseason two straight years on tiebreakers. But 92 and 96 wins is nothing to sneeze at. Finally in S3, I pulled away down the stretch and almost grabbed a first-round bye. After dispatching the Yankees in the opening round, my Royals got swept by the Red Sox in Round 2. Then it was an agonizing week or two watching two teams with fewer regular season wins than my Royals advance to the WS.

Hudler and Rizzo have been very successful, however. They are two of only five GAPpers to make all three all-star squads. Hudler is 53-25 with a 3.57 ERA. Meanwhile, Rizzo won the S3 MVP, three silver sluggers and a gold glove while hitting 132 HRs while putting up a 1078 OPS.

There is a twist at this point in the story, however. The window might not be closed yet for KC. Tony Hudler got better. Yep, at age 35, Hudler improved from an 83 overall to an 85. His DUR and STA both inched up a point, while his CTRL, vLH, and P2 each went up 2 points or more. Rizzo is dropping but doing so fairly slowly, so he appears to remain a top-notch starting 1B for the remainder of his contract as well.

At the same time, I've been able to bring some young players along (with those big contracts, did I have any other choice?) who are moving into their prime. Theo Haney, now 22, led the MVP race until the final two weeks when he rested. He did lead the GAP in runs scored with 151. He made another big jump in S3, and is now an 87 overall, up from 64 when the world began. 24 y/o 3B Pedro Jose won the AL ROY while hitting 44 homers. SP JR Vosberg was in the ROY race as well, winning 19 games for KC.

The other key piece to the puzzle is the unique talent that is Gabe Brooks. With a 32/48 dur/sta back in S1, Brooks seemed like a tweener. I bounced him around to several different roles in S1 That 91/83 split, 98 control, and 80s and 90s throughout his pitching ratings made him appealing, but I couldn't figure out how to maximize him. Finally in S2, I decided to make him a closer. That's the spot for him although he struggled in S2. He settled in during S3, saving 38 games, winning 10 more, and putting up a 2.53 ERA while winning the AL Fireman award. The beauty in Brooks is that he often pitches two innings, or can go two or three days in a row with no trouble. 63 appearances and 89 innings is a nice combo to have at the back end of games. Brooks, now 35, is another guy who is getting better in his old age. His 91/84 split is now 94/88, with other numbers on the rise as well.

S4 shapes up to be at least one additional season in contention for Kansas City. I feel like a man living on borrowed time, and maybe, just maybe, this is karma evening out the score for the bad luck dealt to me in S1 and S2!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Philadelphia Season 4 Preview

AP (Philadelphia) -- In a press conference held today, Phillies ownership stated they need to rebuild. Big shocker. The owners went on to say that the first three seasons in the GAP have been a disappointment and pledge to tighten the reins and make better decisions with personnel. A person close to the situation who talked based on anonymity stated that no job was safe and all areas of the team from the coaches to the “jock strap” holders (as he put it) would be reviewed and improved.

The ML team has 4 players; yes 4 players under contract for the upcoming season with only 18.025 million allocated in salary next year. Here is a breakdown of what players they have. (If you can call them that.)

Mario Smith 28 SP 7.0 Million

This overpaid player was brought over from the A’s in a season one deal. This has to be a top 10 worst trades in the history of the franchise. A combined 18-44 in 95 career starts with a 5.37 ERA.

Dion Perez 33 3B/1B 6.25 Million

A veteran, who has been with the team since day 1, Dion signed a two-year extension last off-season. He’s a .290 hitter that looks to be moved from 3B to 1B next season.

Giomar Colon 32 OF/IF 3.8 Million

A FA pick up. He is a slick fielding player who played at 6 different positions last year. With the roster up in the air he may look to crack the starting lineup (god help us)

Wilfredo Tavarez 30 IF/OF 1.2 Million

A FA pick up, Willie is another player with great defense skills. He will be used as a back-up/spot start player. His lack of hitting is keeping him from playing more. A career .151 hitter in 98 ML games.

The Phillies have a bunch of young guys who are arbitration eligible or have less then 3 years of service. The club has not stated whom they plan to bring back. Here is a look at the list.

Arbitration Eligibility

Artie Webster 24 CF .266 last year with 53 SB in 55 attempts
Cecil McGowan 28 C .252 last year
Sean Darwin 28 SP 12-11 3.65 ERA
Jimmie Cruz 28 RP 1-5 6.70 ERA
Billy Forrest 28 SP 7-17 6.23 ERA
Vic Alcantara 27 RP 2-5 5.16 ERA
Chili Carver 27 RP 0-0 9.19 ERA
Zephyr Starr 26 RP 1-2 4.64 ERA
Earl Rhodes 25 SP 9-10 4.34 ERA

Less then 3 Yrs ML

Andre Black 26 CF .275 last yr
Benny Bennett 25 C 22 games
Ryan Slocumb 26 SP/RP 6-4 4.40 ERA
Bartolo Vega 23 Closer 15 of 16 Saves 3.66 ERA
Greg Waters 23 RP 46 Games 6-4 4.57 ERA
Ernest Mattingly 22 RP 51 Games 1-5 5.81
Dustin Hill 24 SP 17 Starts 6-9 3.80 ERA


More stats. This time, a list of players who made at least two all-star teams. Just five guys have made all three.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

486 Games

Up next in my stat roll, a list of all the guys who have played in all 486 games so far. One interesting note about a guy not on the list: Detroit superstar Joe Warden played in 162 games this year, but that wasn't his best. In Season 2, thanks to a well-timed trade, Joe played in 163. Put that on his GAP HOF plaque in about 15 years!

Monday, April 2, 2007

500 Hit Club

Apologies to Vancouver's Denny Moore. In the Mounties' turn-around season, he piled up 166 hits to boost his career total to 499. Thought it'd be nice for Vancouver to get a little ink!

Historical Division WL

The NL South, with its strong Season 3, has taken over as the best division in GAP History:

Franchise W-L and RS-RA


100 HR Club (updated)

If you have or know of any players with 95+ career HR not listed below, please let me know.

Monday, March 26, 2007

GAP Playoff Picture

With just 16 games left, the playoff picture is coming into focus. While it appears the Royals are on track for their first playoff appearance, I'm not counting it yet. Anyway, here is the glance:

North - Boston (86) leads Chicago by 8 games.
East - Minnesota (82) leads New York by 5 games and Cleveland by 8 games.
South - Kansas City (85) leads Tampa Bay by 8 games.
West - Oakland (97) has clinched.

WC - Six teams fighting for two spots:
Seattle 80
Chicago 78
Tampa Bay 77
New York 77
Cleveland 74
Texas 72

Oakland will get the #1 seed. Boston and KC battle for the second bye, with Minnesota a longshot. Those four are in the drivers' seats for the division titles, with the WC race still wide open.

If the playoffs started today:
(1) Oak vs winner of (4) Min vs (5) Sea
(2) Bos vs winner of (3) KC vs (6) Chi

North - Pittsburgh (83) leads Chicago by 8 games.
East - New York (82) leads Atlanta by 11 games.
South - Houston (89) leads Florida by 1 game and Charlotte by 4 games.
West - San Francisco (95) has clinched.

WC - Two teams in control:
Florida 88
Charlotte 85

San Francisco will likely get the #1 seed, but if either Houston or Florida gets hot, they could make it interesting. The byes will go to SF and the South winner. Charlotte has 7 games on Atlanta and 10 or more on the rest of the field for the last WC spot.

If the playoffs started today:
(1) SF vs winner of (4) NY vs (5) Fla
(2) Hou vs winner of (3) Pit vs (6) Cha

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

MVP Candidates - NL

So now it is time for the NL candidates to step forward. The NL is a bit tougher in that many of the better teams lack a true MVP type candidate (Houston, Charlotte, Pittsburg, Florida) - especially since I am not considering pitchers (though I think they should be considered).

1a) Alvarez (SF) - (.381/.455/.682 34/102) Is part of the offensive duo that powers the Giants as what many will argue to be the best team in GAP. Leads the league in OPS, average, OBP, slugging, and RC/27 (second to Santana in GAP) and plays catcher. His problem in winning the MVP this year will be...

1b) Belcher (SF) - (.347/.414/.659 44/134) May well beat his teammate for the MVP, but without Alvarez, Belchers RBI production goes way down. Belcher ranks in the top 3 in the NL in every major offensive category, but plays the easier 1b instead of C. I give a slight edge to Alvarez, but that could change.

3) Iglesias (Mil) - (.305/.378/.654 54/136) Plays on a below .500 team, but is putting up huge numbers again. Leads the league in HRs and RBI, and is 3rd in slugging. Where would Milwaukee be without him and Campos?

4) Hogan (NYM) - (.286/.370/.553 30/96) Is a steady player for the Mets and plays a strong 3b as well. Probably would not be considered a leading candidate if the Mets did not have such a good record. Might be the second best offensive player on the team with the acquisition of Diaz.

5) Charlton (CHC) - (.356/.403/.544 19/93) Is playing great ball this year for the Cubs as they fight to stay in the wild card race. Charlton also gets credit for playing C as well as being second in the leaging in hitting. Would not have a problem putting him ahead of Hogan on a ballot.

Honorable Mentions: Campos (Mil), Mieses (Cin), Hall (CHC)

MVP Candidates - AL

Well, it is that time of year again. Time to rollout my favorites for MVP with less than 30 games to play. I decided since HBD has given their list it was time for mine.

1a) Raul Santana (BOS) - (.339 ave/.490 obp/.650 slg 29 HR/109 RBI) Has been a force for the Redsox offensively creating 12.8 runs per 27 outs, easily leading the league. He also leads the league in OPS with 1.140. The weakness in his candidacy is that he is a DH and that he has played about 30 games les than his competition.

1b) Artie Rizzo (KC) - (.341/.445/.642 37/106) Is part of the offense that has carried the Royals (and their struggling pitching) to first place in the AL South. Is second in the league in OPS, 2nd in average, 2nd in OBP, 2nd in slugging, 2nd in RC/27, 3rd in Runs scored, 5th in get the picture. He is an well rounded offensive player, and I would have no problem voting for him over Santana.

3) Chuck Hoover (Min) - (.301/.378/.534 27/110) Is an intregal part of the rise of the Twins to the top of the AL East. Although his numbers do not stack up to Santana's or Rizzo's, his defense make him very valuable as he is playing a gold glove caliber CF (compare his numbers to gold glove leading Rowand, and they are very similar).

4) Joe Warden (Det) - (.304/.434/.579 34/117) I usually am not fond of including players from bottom dwelling teams, but Joe is putting up monster numbers and deserves recognition. Was lost in the shuffle last year as he was traded mid season from the NL to the AL, but has adapted to the AL just fine this year.

5) CC Hutton (Oak) - (.279/.387/.567 38/134) The straw that stirs the Athletics offense, Hutton has been called on to play a bigger role this year with the many injuries to the A's team. The career RBI leader shows again why he is the best with 134 RBI in only 129 games played. Even though his other offensive numbers are down for him, the best player on the best team deserves consideration.

Honorable mention: Mota (KC), Everett (Bos),

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The .900 club shrinks

Already since I posted the .900 club, we have lost 4 members and 4 are on the verge of leaving. Ellis, Yoshii, Torrealba, and Daly have all dropped out, while Charlton (.901), Hogan (.903), Ford (.901), and Parra (.909) theaten to leave. We might drop below 30 by the end of the year. Within a few years, the .900 club might be a fairly exclusive club.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

The .900 OPS Club - Large and Shrinking

I put together what I believe is a comprehensive list of the players that are members of the .900 OPS club. Although not exact, I tried to use about ~1200 PA as a cut off(which eliminated Carrera (CLE) with 1100+ PA). My guess is that in a few weeks we will go from about 38 members to around 35 as our league moves away from the blotted offensive numbers of season 1. Several players have dropped below .900 already this year, including Cleveland Indian 3b Selby - although Charlton (CHC) is one person that joined the club his year with a torrid start. The 1.000 club includes 12 players. Next time I do this, I might switch to a .950 club (22 current members), but I was not about to ditch my work. Top Teams - OAK (4 - 3 in 1.000 club) and KC (4 - Ellis might drop out).

Nunnally OAK 0.352 0.478 0.695 1.173 98 290
Hutton OAK 0.317 0.405 0.663 1.068 134 442
Rizzo KC 0.324 0.438 0.628 1.066 105 312
Alvarez SF 0.349 0.428 0.634 1.062 86 301
Santana BOS 0.329 0.466 0.583 1.049 71 271
Warden DET 0.328 0.429 0.618 1.047 100 351
Belcher SF 0.327 0.401 0.643 1.044 117 345
Campos MIL 0.325 0.396 0.641 1.037 126 364
Hamilton OAK 0.299 0.385 0.645 1.030 113 342
Hunter TEX 0.299 0.359 0.662 1.021 150 368
Franco CLE 0.285 0.374 0.644 1.018 135 389
Reboulet TEX 0.325 0.408 0.604 1.012 94 286
Wirth ANA 0.293 0.376 0.630 1.006 122 320
Zappata HOU 0.297 0.359 0.642 1.001 81 268
Valentin OAK 0.298 0.369 0.623 0.992 94 316
Casey CHW 0.309 0.388 0.596 0.984 110 346
Jimenez TEX 0.291 0.369 0.602 0.971 120 311
Riggs NYY 0.300 0.399 0.557 0.956 72 258
Linden ATL 0.311 0.412 0.544 0.956 47 226
Fox HOU 0.304 0.366 0.588 0.954 100 311
House BOS 0.339 0.410 0.544 0.954 47 228
Mota KC 0.291 0.366 0.585 0.951 103 361
Swann PIT 0.304 0.393 0.554 0.947 71 252
Iglesias MIL 0.282 0.356 0.583 0.939 123 313
Clifton KC 0.298 0.366 0.570 0.936 86 325
Smart MIL 0.294 0.370 0.566 0.936 80 269
Goldman FLA 0.293 0.361 0.570 0.931 65 223
Para CHC 0.298 0.360 0.564 0.924 99 307
Segui PHI 0.285 0.349 0.575 0.924 98 300
Diaz CIN 0.282 0.351 0.573 0.924 110 281
Lopez FLA 0.300 0.376 0.547 0.923 63 203
Ford TOR 0.314 0.393 0.526 0.919 59 227
Hogan NYM 0.290 0.369 0.543 0.912 67 222
Charlton CHC 0.317 0.379 0.526 0.905 66 251
Daly PIT 0.284 0.400 0.503 0.903 68 205
Torrealba SEA 0.282 0.373 0.528 0.901 78 247
Yoshii TB 0.295 0.369 0.531 0.900 58 311
Ellis KC 0.325 0.404 0.496 0.900 44 211