Friday, June 9, 2017

Post All-Star Musings:  AL West

1.  Salmonbellies
Here we have the other true AL power, the Salmonbellies.  Despite their current .704 winning %, they're only on pace for their fourth straight winning season, & they didn't even make the playoffs last year!  Keep that in mind everyone!  So, how'd they go from an 83 win team to one that's already sitting at 76?  Well, offensively they average > 6 runs/game despite have 0 regulars with an OPS > .900.  25 year old Todd Pritchett   is close, sporting an OPS of .897.   Pitching is really good.  Staff WHIP of 1.26 & an ERA < 4 goes a long way towards success.  Rookie Harold Bristow 
is pitching like it's Fernando Mania all over again & closer Clint Wojciechowski  , who is just 24, is about as automatic as it gets.  There's a lot of young talent here, so I don't see them going away any time soon.

2.  Wildcats
 The long dominate Wildcats are still playing well and have a great shot at the playoffs, currently sitting as the #1 WC team, but they have taken a step back this season.  Now that was a drop from .679 ball to .578, so they're still pretty dang good, but the 8 time defending division champs have some work to do to make it 9 in a row.  They're scoring just over 5 runs/game & can thank Tripp Rasmus
& Jim Hartley for that.  Their pitching is still outstanding.  A sub 4 ERA & a team WHIP of just 1.24 shows that the Wildcats will be a force to be reckoned with, no matter how they get into the playoffs.  Vet Cesar Limon  & Ned Coleman form a nasty 1 2 punch.

3.  Lazerbeams
The Lazerbeams aren't out of the WC race yet, but if they're to make a run, it better happen soon. They don't score a whole lot of runs, placing lots of pressure onto their pitchers.   While solid, their pitchers do struggle with keeping runs off the board.  All this leads to their current sub .500 record.  Jeimer Cruz  is only 23 years old has been terrific, piling up 141 innings and sub 4 ERA.  24 year old Jiovanni Stokes  is that rare DITR that has been an excellent find.  Those two could be a couple of solid pitchers to build on for the Lazerbeams.

4.  Sun Dogs
Mikeyboy785 took on a tough task of rebuilding the franchise.  They had a great run in the not too distant past, but have struggled to find any traction since.  They're solid offensively and are being led by a trio of players.  In addition to vet Dock Timmons , younger bats Quilvio Johnson  & Everth Crespo   give the Sun Dogs some players to build around.   Their pitching is what's really holding them back.  Benji "I wear my sunglasses at night games" Torres  has been his usual stellar self on the mound , but he's about the only one giving them any shot at a win on a consistent basis. 

Now onto the NL...

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Post All-Star Musing, Part III

AL South:

1.  Monks

Donmossi has turned this franchise into a bunch of world beaters.  S32 saw them win 65 games...the 4th consecutive < 70 win season.  Since then?  95 wins is the worst they've done.  This season they're actually on pace to pull off 117 wins.  So how do they do it?  Well, they can hit.  A team OPS of .869 is nothing to sneeze at.  Didi Franco   leads the attack with 38 HR's & 102 RBI already.   Pitching?  Yep, they can do that too.  Team WHIP of 1.21 & ERA of 3.65.  The freakish Javier Villa
leads the way with a 16-2 record, a WHIP of .99, & an ERA of 2.93.  Did I mention he's only 26?

2.  Jack
They're playing pretty good ball, just a bit under .500.  Right now they're just 5 out of the 2cd wildcard, so they've got a big decision coming up.  Go for the playoffs or maybe bring some new talent in for next season.  They can hit, with a team BA of .288 & a team OPS just under .800.  They rely on balance for the offense as they remind me a bit of a collection of Mark Grace types with the bat.  The exception would be C Francis Jordan, who can mash, but due to his low durability rating, can only play part time.  Despite that, Jordan is having a career year.  Pitching is what's holding them back as their staff is middling at best at the moment. 

3.  Stunners
Austin is also hanging around with 49 wins right now.  The Stunners struggle a bit on offense, but power threat Angel Nunez  is having an outstanding season.  The catcher is closing in on 30 HR's & 100 RBI, while sporting an OPS of just under 1.000 so  far.  I think they've pitched better than the #'s indicate, but if their staff has one key issue it's this:  they give up a lot of HR's.  142 in 921.2 IP so far.  They're on pace to give up 221 as a team while hitting 137.  Despite that, they do boast some really nice pitchers, especially Louie Gandarilla and  young Wayne Wallace.  Wallace is really a great arm to build around. 

4.  Sometimes
Well, it's shaping up like another tough season for the Sometimes, but they do continue to pile up talent.  They've got 10 players 25 or younger on their active roster, if I counted right.  They're kind of an average offense, just doing a bit of everything well, but nothing great.  Pitching is really struggling, with an ERA > 5 and a WHIP topping 1.5.  They also give up a lot of HR's.  Closer Pat Chong  really illustrates that.  He's got a WHIP of 1.22 and 20 saves, but he's given up 7 HR's in 24.2 IP to lead to a 6.20 ERA.  He's an All-Star closer when he keeps the ball in the yard. 

Coming soon...the AL West, then onto the NL. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

All-Star Musings, Part II

AL East:  Very tight race shaping up

1.  Knights
Continuing with our theme of teams playing about as expected, we have the Knights clinging to a one game lead.  Right now Boston is thriving in the division & that's what has them on top.  Earl Weaver would be proud as they're a classic, knock the tar out the ball, type team.  They've got 146 HR's already & are being led by the Gorman Thomas like Marco Stoppelman.  The rookie is really starting to come into his own.  Pitching is a bit of an adventure , but they do have some nice bullpen pieces & SP Clarence Clark is pitching pretty well.

2.  Hammer'd Leprechauns
Just a game out right now, they seem poised to be the Knights main competition.  They can hit.  They're led by two mashers, Gary Holland & all around hitter Von Byrdak .  Byrdak may actually pass last season's #'s, which saw him put up an OPS of 1.071 .  Pitching. like a lot of us, is a work in progress.  Gary Jacquez   leads the way for the SP's while closer  Richard Gordon is pretty close to automatic out of the pen. 

3.  Redtails
The Redtails are not out of it yet, but do need to get it going soon.  It's a bit of a struggle offensively for them as their team OPS is a fair amount lower then the two at the top of the division.  At just 22 years of age, Joseph Chang is leading the charge for the hitting.  The team pitching is also off to a slow start.  Unfortunately, no one really stands out on the mound, and when noticing that, it's apparent why the Redtails are in danger of falling further behind. 

4.  Daredevils
A better than .500 team last season, and just two years removed from a playoff season, this year's Daredevils are having a tough time living up to those expectations.  They're really struggling to hit the ball, with a team average of just .249.  RF BJ Pose has been a bright spot, sporting an OPS of .870 to go along with nice speed, 15 steals.  24 year old Dave Buford just may be the divisions top SP.  He's really having a nice season, but he has to get more help. 

Soon to come - AL South & AL West! 

All Star Break Musings

AL North:

1.  I've been pleasantly surprised by my Dogs so far.  They're playing at a .573 clip, which is just about what was expected.  I've got some legit HR hitters in the lineup & they're powering the way.  I signed Britt West as my big FA move & traded for Jimmie Suarez
Humberto Rosa  .  Those three have combined to hit 65 HR's, plus I've got a homegrown guy with 28.  My SP remains a collection of #3 guys, meaning they're solid, but not spectacular.  My pen is a work in progress and the clear weakness right now.

2.  Philadelphia Cream Cheese 
They're within striking distance and playing about as expected.  
Young Jimmie Mijares leads the way for their offense with several others chipping in as well.  They too seem to have a SP staff built on depth, but without a true ace.  They're bullpen is fantastic and clearly leading the way for a good all around pitching staff.  Closer Deivi Hernandez  is doing about as good as possible in the back end of that pen.  That staff should keep them in the race.

3.  Consuls
They too are playing about as expected, which is right around the .500 mark.  Dick Sadler continues to lead the way with his power, but a probable season ending injury to him leaves a giant hole in their lineup.  Can their others guys pick up his power #'s?  I like the depth of their guys as just about any of them are a threat to knock the ball out of the park.  Pitching is clearly their weakest point, but they do have Grant Malone , who is having a fantastic season so far. 

4.  Muskellunge
They're having a tough go of it right now, playing at a .360 clip.  They've also been a bit unlucky, as they're under performing by a fair amount.  Offense hasn't been a problem as they're hitting .281 as a team & are being led by masher hHarry Hiatt .  Pitching?  Well, they're clearly looking like the old Colorado Rockies prior to the humidor.  A staff ERA of 6.28 hides the great work of Alex Romero , who is having a breakout season as a SP.