Sunday, September 18, 2016

Season 36 All-Star Blog

Midseason Classic
The Pine-Tar Season 36 All-Star Game took place last week, where the American League edged out a 5-4 victory over the National League.  Boise LF Willie Tarasco was awarded the Most Valuable Player after his 2-run double in the 8th inning put the AL ahead for good, giving 23 year-old P Richard Huang (Sultans of Swat) the win.  Durham closer Juan Guerrero struck-out two in the 9th inning to earn the save.  Jacksonville 3B Julian Santana (2-run double) and Cincinnati 2B Greg Borland (homerun) put forth a strong effort for the NL in their first career all-star appearance.  In other All-Star weekend festivities, Seattle's Keith Williamson defeated Wichita's Zach Wathan in the finals of the Home Run Derby, and Season 33's #2 draft pick Jamey Mullaney (Tampa Bay) was MVP of the Futures Game.

The All-Star pitching staffs for both leagues were filled with plenty of new faces, as 74% of all pitchers were making their 1st or 2nd career appearance.  Also, the number of All-Star selections per team and per division were not as spread out as in years past.  The NL East division generated the most All-Star selections with 11 (they had 15 last season).  Oklahoma City and Omaha were atop the list of individual teams with the most All-Star selections, even though neither has been to the playoffs in the past 4 seasons.  More information on this season's All-Star rosters is below:

Teams with the most All-Star selections:
Oklahoma City Prairie Dogs - 5
Omaha Oracles - 4
Atlanta Apaches - 4
Jacksonville Juice - 4
Kansas City Yardbirds - 3
New York Sultans of Swat - 3
Syracuse Orange - 3
Nashville Merchants - 3
Salem Volcanoes - 3

Teams with zero All-Star selections:
Dover Dinklebergs
New Orleans Jazz
Colorado Springs Iron Horses
Texas Galveston Wave
San Francisco Journey

All-Stars by Division
NL East - 11
AL East - 9
AL West - 9
NL North - 8
NL West - 8
AL North - 7
AL South - 5
NL South - 3

*Links are posted - click on an individual player's name to open their HBD profile
First Time All-Stars – American League

First Time All-Stars – National League

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Chicago Scandal Season 36 1st Edition

The Chicago Scandal Season 36 1st Edition.

Author’s Notes

Welcome back Pine Tar owners. Season 35 wrapped up with Salem Volcanoes defeating Atlanta Rattlers 4-3 to capture the World Series. Michael Chong from Milwaukee took home the AL MVP award with 63 HRs (4th best in a single season) and 148 RBIs. Willie Tarasco brought in 51 HRs and 126 RBIs to take home the NL MVP award. CY Young winners were Yoshinori Zhou (21-8) representing the AL and Ben Boyer (17-4) representing the NL. Congratulations to our Season 36 Hall of Fame inductees, Fred Inge, Alex Martis, Dusty Lindsey, and Sam Slotnick.      

Salem Volcanoes. Pine Tar’s Dynasty?

How do you define a dynasty? Would winning three World Series titles in five appearances during the last seven seasons make Salem a dynasty? How about we add seven 100 win seasons and eight divisional titles. Now, would you say that the Salem Volcanoes are a dynasty. I caught up Salem owner jkenned and we ask his opinion on his team’s status among the greats.

Do you consider Salem a dynasty?
Jkenned: Last season's championship solidified my dynasty status in my mind. This is a really competitive league and I have been fortunate to maintain a solid level of success but without that third championship the claim to a dynasty is tenuous kind of like the SF Giants claiming they are dynasty when they miss the playoffs in odd years.

How have you managed to stay on top this long?
Jkenned: This is the tougher question to answer but the best one I can give is that my core of drafted and international prospects all came up together and much like the Yankee's core four have stayed together for the past eight seasons. I have added some good value signings and swung some trades from my prospect depth (unfortunately virtually nonexistent at the moment) for top notch talent when {they} came available. The key to my success has been to scout well and keep the core together.

What team is your biggest threat in the Al or NL?
Jkenned: There has been some stiff competition here in the AL during my run of success. For the first couple seasons I was trying to catch kjmulli in Boston and horvie in Milwaukee has consistently been a tough matchup for me but the guy I loved to play the most was blapo21 in Nashville. He had the better offensive team for the majority of my run and was unlucky in a lot of ways to have me at my height because I think he would have won another a title or two and you would be interviewing him if I had not been in my prime. Right now holleybard in Kansas City is the biggest threat to my continued success in the AL.

Who is your best player?
Jkenned: If we are talking real life I could give a list of about five: Mickey Mantle, Yadier Molina, Stan Musial, Willie McGee and Bob Gibson. But if we are in the realm of the Salem Volcanoes it is harder. My favorite signing was Rubby Prieto (2B) but he has been somewhat of an underperformer at the ML level relative to his skills but Michel Pena (LF) has been my favorite player as he is an ideal #2 hitter and been the most consistent player over my run of success.

The Story so far

The first 20+ games are in and so is the cliché, it’s going to be a long season. In the AL North, Kansas City has a 2-game lead over Dover and Milwaukee. This division is tight at this stage of the season so we'll watch and see how this one plays out. Over in the AL East, Durham Doormats lead the division with Syracuse and New York not that far behind. Boston would do best if they avoided the 1-run games as they are 0-8 in such contests. The AL South is top heavy with Tampa Bay (19-7) and Nashville (18-8), who hold the two best records in the AL respectively. It’s going to be exciting to see who takes control of this division or if we have a nail biter all the way to the end. Lastly, the AL West is led by the defending champions Salem Volcanoes.

Over in the NL North, new owner HCall11, has his Pawtucket Patriots (15-11) leading the division. The defending NL champion Atlanta Rattlers lead the NL East by 2 games and the OKC Prairie Dogs have a 1-game lead over the Seattle Strikers. The division to watch in the NL right now is the NL South. The Houston Heaters and the Texas Galveston Wave are currently tied at 15-11 for 1st place. Texas shootout anyone...

Hot Bat
Phillip Bruske - 2B (KC) has 16 HRs

Hot Pitching
Benito Velez - P (WIC) 5-0 with a 1.45 ERA

That's all for now...more updates to come.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

AL North Season 36 Preview

AL North
Kansas City Yardbirds(Owner holleybard-10th season)
Season 35/ 99-63(Division Champ, ALCS runner up)

Owners thoughts-My prediction is that I'll be fighting once again with Milwaukee for the AL North title. I think my team is better than last season's, although that doesn't necessarily mean 99 wins again. It's at least a 90 win squad though. We'll hit well. I traded for Boyer because I didn't have a dominant number one. I added 2 bullpen arms that should help too. My hope is that I can win the division again. After that, wow, it's going to take something special to stop jkenned. I ran the numbers and he's averaging 109 wins per in the last 8 seasons. He's won 4 of the last 6 pennants. So my goal is the same as any contender in the AL, try to wrestle the pennant away from him.

ghutton9's take-The Yardbirds feature an above average offense. They have some good hitters with good batting eyes and have some power. Eric Miller is a great 3 or 4 hitter to build a lineup around. They also have some speed, but I don't expect a lot of stealing to be going on with them. The defense is average and that's only because they lack a real shortstop. Louie Nieto can play the position but his lack of range will allow too many balls to get through that would otherwise be outs. Besides that, the defense is pretty solid at most positions on the field. The rotation is about average. Boyer is an ace type pitcher but his stamina isn't very good. The rest of the staff is made up of mid rotation type starters with a couple of guys pitching at the back end of the rotation that fit perfectly. Sean Shipley and Ricardo Johnson are the best pitchers in an otherwise below average bullpen. They'll bring this teams pen closer to average than they would be. I think this team is a contender for the division title, but I think the bullpen and lack of a shortstop with range will hurt them. I could see them around 90 wins and maybe upper 80's.

Milwaukee Magnitude(Owner horvie78-11th season)
Season 35/ 90-72(Wild Card)

Owners thoughts-We are going for it all this season. Yoshinori Zhou on a playoff rotation is enough to give us a decent chance. Also have some cap room to make a move mid season. I think we will win around 95 games. We improved the bullpen by adding Coleman and Blair. I'm hoping that our starting pitching stays strong. Three of them are above 35 years old, which worries me. Was hoping to add a stud bat in free agency, but was excited to settle for Gus Justice, who will be added to a lineup with Michael Chong, Vince Tollberg and Cookie Tapia. Our defense could struggle as SS Quintana is average at best and the corner outfielders lack range.

ghutton9's take-The Milwaukee offense is looking pretty strong this season. They have some really good hitters that can hit for average and draw some walks. They have some good power as well as some good speed. This is looking like a top 5 offense in the AL. The defense looks good to me. I think the shortstop position is average, but they have great to solid gloves at other positions. They definitely rank in the upper half of the league. The rotation looks pretty good as well. They have a couple pitchers that could be an ace on most teams. Then they have mid rotation guys filling out the other spots. The bullpen is looking above average. If anything the team might have some control issues, but the pitching staff is pretty good overall. I think Milwaukee looks like the favorite in this division and should win 95 to 100 games. I think they could challenge for the AL title this season.

Dover Dinklebergs(Owner tmfran-19th season)
Season 35/ 74-88

ghutton9's take-The Dover offense isn't looking very good this season. They won't hit for a good average and their batting eyes aren't very good either. The team has some power, but without guys on base it won't help much. They could rank near the bottom of the AL. The defense though is really good. They have multiple options at shortstop and they have good gloves to fill almost every position. This could be one of the best defenses in the AL this season. The rotation looks like they are going to struggle. They have serious control issues and the rotation is made up of back end type starters. The bullpen has the same issues. The defense could help out the pitching, but not enough to keep them from ranking near the bottom of the AL. I think Dover will drop down below 70 wins this season.

Chicago Black Sox(Owner skuff730-17th season)
Season 35/ 64-98

ghutton9's take-The offense in Chicago is looking about average. They have decent hitting and some solid contact and power. The batting eyes are a little low though and that could hurt. They have some really good gloves on defense though and even have a few options at shortstop. This could be one of the better defensive teams in the AL this season. The rotation is below average. They lack a top end starter. The staff is made up of middle tier starters and a couple back end guys. The bullpen is below average as well. The team will likely end up closer to average than it looks thanks to the defense. I think Chicago will move up in win total this season and I'd be surprised if they finished below 70 wins again.

Kansas City

Monday, August 15, 2016

AL South Season 36 Preview

AL South
Nashville Merchants(Owner editor21-2nd season)
Season 35/ 99-63(Division Champ)

Owners thoughts-The Merchants have been the league's top offense for the past 4 years. During that span the Merchants have averaged 108 wins per season. That offense has generated an average of more than 6 runs a game which covers the 4 runs a game the pitching staff allows. They had 11 players put up double digit homeruns last season led by Wendell Worths 41. All of those players return so the lineup should continue to lead the way. This team went with a 6 man rotation in season 35. That took pressure off the aces and reduced the innings needed from the bullpen. The key to success this season could well be the performance of the bullpen. AAA stars Danny Smolinski and Kraig Webster could fill two of the vacancies in the pen. The team likely needs to add another reliever or two to hope to equal last seasons 99 wins. Prediction:If the offense doesn't sputter the Merchants should be able to churn out 90 plus wins and be in contention for their 8th straight AL South division title. The questionable status of the bullpen could be the dampener that keeps the team from winning over 100 games.

ghutton9's take-I can't say this is the best offense I've ever seen, but it surely is a good offense. The have some good hitters and guys that have good batting eyes. They also have a little speed. This team may hit a lot of homers, but they don't have that one guy that can hit enough to be a true threat. Werth is pretty close though and he's a guy that really makes this offense great. The defense is below average. Mainly because they lack a true shortstop or centerfielder. They do have solid gloves at other positions and that's what keeps them from being at the bottom of the league. The rotation is decent. They don't really have a true ace on the staff, but they have plenty of mid rotation type starters. The bullpen looks solid with Alex James as the best arm. He's one of the better relievers in the league. This team is looking like a contender again this season. They should be tough to knock out of the top spot of the division, but even then they should still get a wild card spot. This is a 90+ win team

Tampa Bay Thunder(Owner rxw1-36th season)
Season 35/ 84-78

Owners thoughts-The young Thunder team continues to grow. Despite missing the playoffs, they still won 84 games behind a starting rotation that includes #1 pick Bert Jordan. Ownership will view anything short of 90+ wins and a playoff berth as a disappointment. The off season was fairly quiet as this roster only has 6 players over 30. The key will be whether the bullpen can hold the lead. The talent is there- the lack of execution was the main reason they missed the playoffs.

ghutton9's take-The Thunder offense is looking pretty good this season. The have a lineup that should hit for a good average and get on base a lot. They have decent power up and down the lineup. I think they could be a top 5 offense this season. The defense is average. Jesus Esposito is a solid shortstop, but they don't have anyone else that can play it decently enough. Max Liriano is a great centerfielder. The problem they have is depth and good gloves at other positions. I think they are average but they could be above average depending on the rest of the AL. This team has a really good rotation. It ranks among the best in the league as there is no real weak spot. The bullpen might be even better. I think this may be the best pitching staff in the AL. I'm really thinking Tampa Bay might be ready to take back the top spot in this division for the first time in nine seasons. They may even challenge for the AL title.

El Paso Walkers(Owner sudburry1111-3rd season)
Season 35/ 74-88

Owners thoughts-As the Walkers continue to turn over their pitching staff there are no indications that there will be a significant change from last year's above average hitting team with below average pitching and fielding. Hopefully the addition of Vasquez to Rios and Fletcher in the infield combined with the promotion of a couple of pitching upgrades to the big league squad will net a few more wins. My prediction is 78 wins.

ghutton9's take-This team has an average offense and maybe a little below average. They have some solid hitters, but they lack good power and guys that can get on base through walks. They do have some solid speed. On defense I like shortstop Dustan Fletchers range and arm, but his glove is a bit below average. The team has quite a few solid gloves at other spots, but they lack a true centerfielder. I think they are average. The rotation is not looking very good. They have filled it with mid to back end type starters. The bullpen looks better as it is built around Mitch Mota, a great reliever, and Louis Post who is pretty good as well. I think the pitching staff is just below average. This team is very average at best. I think they will end up close to last seasons win total.

New Orleans Jazz(Owner adlpest-3rd season)
Season 35/ 47-115

ghutton9's take-This has by far been the worst team in the league the past 2 seasons. That needs to change this season. The offense still doesn't look very good. They have a couple decent bats but for the most part the aren't close to average. The defense looks good though. Sam Bryant is a really good shortstop with a great glove and arm, but his range isn't the best. They also have some solid gloves at other positions. I think they are above average. The rotation is made up of minor league talent. This is by far the worst staff in the league. I can find better pitchers in free agency right now. A team that is on probation due to not reach the league win minimum should've been spending in free agency for some better pitching. I understand a rebuild, but I've put together 70 win teams with cheap free agents. Please try to fix this team so I don't have to kick you out after this season.

1. Tampa Bay
2. Nashville
3. El Paso

4. New Orleans