Monday, January 27, 2014

And Pine Tar's Luckiest Owner is...

If you have ever viewed the "Advanced Standings", I'm sure you noticed a column titled Exp PCT (far right statistic) which is your team's expected winning percentage.  If you were like me, you probably wondered "How do they come up with that number?"  Well, I've finally figured it out!  In this blog I will explain how Exp PCT is calculated, explore this statistic using data from the 2013 MLB season and Pine Tar season 25, and identify the luckiest/unluckiest owners thus far in our current season.

How Exp PCT is calculated:
Exp PCT is a sabermetric statistic called "Pythagorean Expectation", which uses runs scored and runs allowed to estimate the number of games a team should have won.  It was originally invented by Bill James and then made more effective by a few other statisticians.  The formula is very similar to the Pythagorean Theorem.  Did you know that there are over 100 proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem, and one of those was first proved by former president James Garfield?

Original Formula: # of Wins = RS^2/(RS^2 + RA^2), which simplifies to 1/[1+(RA/RS)^2]
RA = Runs Allowed
RS = Runs Scored
^2 = raised to the second power

Statisticians upgraded the formula by coming up with a calculation for the exponent, so that it is not always a constant value of 2.  This adjusts the Pythagorean Expectation formula for teams that consistently compete in low-scoring or high-scoring games.

Exponent = [(RS + RA)/G]^0.287
G = Games Played

Example: Let's use our commish and calculate the Seattle Strikers' expected winning percentage during Season 25 (they finished the season with 72 actual wins).  Data: RS = 604, RA = 704.
-Step 1: calculate the exponent: [(604 + 704)/162]^0.287, which ends up being 1.82.
-Step 2: use the original formula with Seattle's exponent: 1/[1+(704/604)^1.82].
The results say that Seattle should have had a winning percentage of .431.  Multiply this exponent by 162 games and Seattle should have won about 70 games, so they actually finished the season with 2 more wins than expected!

2013 MLB Data
In terms of the 2013 MLB playoff qualifiers, there would have only been a few minor changes if teams won games according to the Pythagorean Expectation formula.

Actual AL Playoffs (wins):                                  Expected AL Playoffs (wins):
1. Boston (97)                                                   1. Boston (101)
2. Oakland (96)                                                 2. Detroit (99)
3. Detroit (93)                                                    3. Oakland (96)
WC1. Cleveland (92)                                          WC1. Texas (91)
WC2. Tampa Bay (92)                                       WC2. Cleveland (90)
(Tampa beat Texas in tie-break game)

In the American League, Detroit would have had homefield advantage for their series vs. Oakland, but that wouldn't have mattered as Detroit ended up winning game 5 on the road.  Tampa Bay would have been out of the playoffs, as their expected number of wins was only 87.  If you remember, Tampa defeated Texas in a tie-break game and then beat Cleveland in the one-game wildcard playoff.  With Tampa out, Cleveland would have traveled to Texas for the wildcard game (Cleveland was 5-1 against Texas in the regular season).  Had Texas won the wildcard game, they were 4-2 vs. Boston during the regular season, while Cleveland lost 6 out of 7 games to Boston.

Actual NL Playoffs (wins):                                  Expected NL Playoffs (wins):
1. St. Louis (97)                                                1. St. Louis (101)
2. Atlanta (96)                                                   2. Atlanta (97)
3. LA Dodgers (92)                                            3. LA Dodgers (89)
WC1. Pittsburgh (94)                                         WC1. Cincinnati (93)
WC2. Cincinnati (90)                                         WC2. Pittsburgh (88)

The only change in the National League would have been the venue for the wildcard playoff.  The Pittsburgh fans were pumped up for their first playoff game in 21 years, and that enthusiasm led to a 6-2 win over the Reds to advance.  Expected winning percentage says that Cincinnati should have hosted, and Cincy had a 49-31 record at home during the regular season.  Had Cincy won, they were only 8-11 vs. St. Louis during the regular season, so the NLCS probably would have remained the same.

Luckiest 2013 MLB Teams:                                Un-luckiest 2013 MLB Teams:
1. Philadelphia +7.1 wins above actual                1. Detroit -6.1 wins below actual
2. NY Yankees +6.4                                          2. Houston -5.7
3. Pittsburgh +6.2                                              3. Chi Cubs -5.1
4. Tampa Bay +5.0                                            4. Chi White Sox -4.1
5. San Diego +4.2                                              5. St. Louis -4.0

Two of the MLB's "luckiest" teams made the playoffs (Pittsburgh & Tampa Bay).  It's difficult to call Philadelphia lucky when they had a 73-win season.  Had Philly won their expected 66 games, they would have the 4th or 5th pick in the draft.  Of the "un-luckiest" teams, two had outstanding seasons.  St. Louis advanced to the World Series and Detroit lost to the eventual champs in the ALCS.  Fans of the other three teams would probably use more obscene words than unlucky to describe their 2013 seasons.  The entire city of Chicago had an unlucky season...even worse when you add in the Packers' 48-yard touchdown on 4th & 8 with 38 seconds left in Week 17 to clinch the NFC North over the least we have the Blackhawks!

Pine Tar Season 25 Data:
*=team did not actually make S25 playoffs
Actual AL Playoffs (wins):                                  Expected AL Playoffs (wins):
1. Boston (101) - WS Champs                           1. Boston (105)
2. Dover (98)                                                     2. Los Angeles (95.4)*
3. St. Louis (89)                                                3. Dover (94.9)
4. Tampa Bay (87)                                             4. New Orleans (86.3)*
WC1. Durham (97)                                            WC1. Durham (101)
WC2. Vancouver (88)                                        WC2. Vancouver (91)

Actual NL Playoffs (wins):                                  Expected NL Playoffs (wins):
1. Houston (106)                                                1. Houston (105)
2. Colorado Springs (98) - NL Champs                 2. Colorado Springs (96)
3. Iowa City (94)                                                3. Fargo (93)
4. Jacksonville (85)                                            4. Jacksonville (92)
WC1. Fargo (87)                                               WC1. Iowa City (91)
WC2. Montreal (86)                                           WC2. Cincinnati (87)*

If the playoffs were formed according to the Exp Win statistic, three teams would have qualified who were actually left out.  The Los Angeles Regulators (S25's un-luckiest team...see below) would have earned a first round bye with the #2 seed, when in reality they fell one win short of capturing a playoff spot.  Also in the American League, the New Orleans Zephyrs would have won the AL South by edging out Tampa Bay (85.9 expected wins).  In the NL, the Fargo Wood Chippers (ranked the 3rd un-luckiest team) would win the North and switch playoff seeds with Iowa City.  Finally, the Cincinnati Firestorm would have snuck into the playoffs as the #6 seed instead of Montreal (82.8 expected wins).  I cannot analyze any further than this, as I was not around last season and could not find a way to look up season series results.  Below are the luckiest and un-luckiest teams from Season 25...although the owners of the luckiest teams would probably not call their teams lucky, as none made the playoffs and three of the five finished last in their respective division.

Luckiest S25 Teams:                                      Un-luckiest S25 Teams:
1. Kansas City +9 wins above actual               1. Los Angeles -8 wins below actual
2. Milwaukee +8                                            1. Jackson -8
3. Philadelphia +7                                          3. Fargo -6
4. Wichita +4                                                 4. Rochester -5
4. Nashville +4                                               4. Cincinnati -5
                                                                    4. Albuquerque -5

Season 26: And Pine Tar's Luckiest Owner is...
We are currently about one-third of the way through season 26, as we have played 56 games.

There is a tie for the "luckiest owner" between jbburner (Cincinnati) and italianajt (Kansas City), as they both have 5 wins over their expected win total.  Cincinnati has a record of 26-30.  The Exp PCT predicts a total of 21 wins, as they have been outscored by a 218-281 margin.  Kansas City has won 23 games instead of their expected total of 18, and have been outscored 225-334.  A significant reason would be that these teams have a combined record of 18-12 in one-run games.  The runner-ups for luckiest owner are tmfran (Dover), tk21775 (Iowa City), and erichanville (Texas), who all have 4 wins above the expected total.

Pine Tar's "un-luckiest owner" during the current season is arfy (Louisville), who currently has a record of 26-30.  With 298 runs scored and 249 runs allowed, the Exp PCT statistic says that Louisville should be 33-23, which would give them a 3-game lead in the NL South.  Louisville is an unfortunate 5-15 in one-run games.  Another factor increasing Louisville's Exp PCT is the fact that of their 26 wins, almost half (12) were won by 6 runs or more.  Additional "un-lucky" owners this season include jkenned of Salem (6 wins below the expected total) and bagwellbuff of Houston (-5 wins).

Below is the Season 26 Exp PCT data, which was calculated using an excel spreadsheet.  Underlining is used to separate divisions.

Team Owner W/L RS RA Exponent Exp PCT Exp Wins W Difference
New York skuff730 * 36-20 362 273 2.01 0.638 36 0
Dover tmfran * 34-22 287 263 1.93 0.542 30 4
Kansas City italianajt 23-33 225 334 1.94 0.318 18 5
Milwaukee horvie78 * 22-34 227 279 1.88 0.404 23 -1
Rochester wylie715 35-21 311 211 1.90 0.676 38 -3
Boston kjmulli * 30-26 278 233 1.89 0.583 33 -3
Durham alogman1 29-27 311 293 1.98 0.529 30 -1
Indianapolis qtip32 17-39 236 320 1.93 0.357 20 -3
Tampa Bay rxw1 31-25 305 280 1.96 0.542 30 1
San Juan soxfan_9 27-29 246 291 1.91 0.420 24 3
New Orleans Fantasy Frea 27-29 322 322 2.02 0.500 28 -1
Nashville bnags * 21-35 283 378 2.03 0.357 20 1
St. Louis Flucie 32-24 286 252 1.91 0.560 31 1
Fresno bobswagger91 29-27 288 288 1.95 0.500 28 1
Vancouver skplayer07 29-27 283 268 1.93 0.526 29 0
Salem jkenned * 26-30 253 218 1.84 0.568 32 -6
Helena pinetaar 34-22 268 220 1.86 0.591 33 1
Iowa City tk21775 * 32-24 229 228 1.83 0.502 28 4
Scranton reggie988 30-26 279 248 1.90 0.556 31 -1
Fargo Starbuckdc 29-27 289 269 1.93 0.535 30 -1
Jacksonville greygoose123 * 36-20 305 252 1.93 0.591 33 3
Philadelphia Phillies26 31-25 255 253 1.88 0.504 28 3
Cincinnati jbburner * 26-30 218 281 1.87 0.383 21 5
Wichita jibe * 20-36 229 287 1.89 0.395 22 -2
Texas erichanville 30-26 232 253 1.86 0.460 26 4
Houston bagwellbuff 26-30 272 240 1.89 0.559 31 -5
Louisville Arfy * 26-30 298 249 1.92 0.586 33 -7
Jackson bobbyj7 25-31 229 252 1.85 0.456 26 -1
Colorado Springs toe64 * 39-17 361 251 1.99 0.673 38 1
Oklahoma City brentcnb * 22-34 208 266 1.85 0.388 22 0
Albuquerque csudak 21-35 285 355 2.01 0.391 22 -1
Seattle ghutton9 21-35 196 249 1.81 0.393 22 -1

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Look Back at Season 20 Draft

I've decided to do a look back at the season 20 draft for our league. Since it's season 26 now, the players from that draft should have reached their potential and have begun to make impacts in the majors by now. I think this will allow me to give official grades on the players taken.

Top 10 Draft Picks

1. New York Damage Controllers- Gus Justice/RF- A
    Justice has had a great impact for this franchise to open his career. In each of his first 3 seasons he's hit 20+ homers(29,38,45), 100 RBI, 100 Runs scored and stole 20+ bases. Last season he joined the 40/40 club with career highs of 45 homers and 46 steals. His batting average is a bit low and has declined in each season with .271, .264 and .244, but he still gets on base at a good clip. He certainly has Hall of Fame potential.

2. Vancouver Canucks- Malik Sele/SP- B-
    The B- grade for Sele is due to where he was picked. He's been a good player, but he's not putting up the numbers like he should be for where he was picked. He does have 3 winning seasons to open his career and also has put up 200 innings in 2 of his 3 seasons. What brings his grade down is that his ERA hasn't been very good. He started his career with a 3.18, but then followed that up with a 4.68 and 4.32. He is still a solid top to middle rotation type pitcher that should have a long career, but I'm not sure he'll ever achieve being a true shut down ace.

3. Helena Copper Kings- Jim Hawpe/2B- B+
    Hawpe already has 4 seasons logged in the majors after an early promotion for him. I really like what he's done to this point in his career. He's put up three 20+ homer seasons and has 40+ doubles in each of the past 3 seasons. He's also stolen 130 bases up to this point in his career and is a .279 hitter with a .350 obp. I'm not quite sure he can be a Hall of Famer, but he should make many all star games in his career.

4. Fargo Wood Chippers- Mike Franklin/RP- C
    Franklin signed for the highest bonus in this draft, but hasn't put up the numbers to earn it. After spending just half of a season in rookie ball, Franklin made his major league debut the following season. He's been on a major league roster longer than anyone in this draft. He also only spent two seasons with the team that drafted him before being sent to his current team in San Juan. While he's been putting up a lot of innings with 141.2 and 131.2 over the past 2 seasons, his ERA has been pretty high as well. A career 4.40 ERA isn't just the result of bad luck because his 1.43 WHIP isn't very good either. The only thing keeping his grade up is that he eats up innings and still has the potential to turn things around.

5. Colorado Springs Night Watchmen- Keith Williamson/3B- A
    Williamson is in just his third season in the majors, but his first two have been great. He won rookie of the year in season 24 with 42 homers, 110 RBI, 93 runs while hitting a .280 with a .328 obp. He followed that up with 36 homers, 104 RBI, 98 runs and a .271 average and .331 obp. At pick 5 Williamson was a steal. I could see him having a great career that could possibly get him into the Hall of Fame. At worst he'll be a multiple time all star and make a run at a few MVP awards.

6. Fresno Regulators- Ramiro Contreras/3B- B
    Contreras never played a game in the majors for the team that drafted him, but he has three full seasons with the team he was traded to, Jacksonville Juice. In his 3 seasons, he's really only had one real succesful season and that was season 24, in which he won the All Star game MVP. He has shown marginal power with 14, 17 and 12. He does score runs with 73, 117 and 92. In season 24 he hit 50 doubles but his next best is just 25. His biggest threat is his feet. He has 124 steals and just 37 times caught. He's also a .267 hitter with a .330 obp. Both are solid numbers that are brought down by his rookie season totals. I really like Contreras and think he'll be around for a while although he's not a dominant player and should only see a few all star games.

7. New Orleans Zephyrs- Howie Osborne/CF- C+
    Osborne is only in his second season in the majors right now. In his rookie season he hit 32 homers, 86 RBI, 96 runs, stole 19 bases but hit just a .236 with a .317 obp. He does have some good power and speed, but he'll never hit for a good average. He should have a solid career, but I don't see him as an all star although he may make a couple all star games. Depending on the rest of the first round, this may have been a reach at this pick.

8. Albuquerque Komodo Dragons- Ross Merritt/SP- D
    Either the draft has taken a big dropoff at this point or this was just a bad pick. Merritt is a control pitcher that can eat up some innings, but he's had no success at this point in his career. Last season was his third in the league and he went 3-20 with a 6.02 ERA. He struggles with right handers and unfortunately for him, that is a big percentage of the hitters in the league. He's young enough that he could still have a solid career, but at this point it's tough to see that happening for him.

9. Oklahoma City Prairie Dogs- Milt Leary/ RP- C
    Leary has been in the league for a couple of seasons and he's been an adequate reliever for the team. He's pitched just 63 games over 2 seasons though and just 117.1 innings. He did have a 2.88 ERA as a rookie, but it dropped to 4.11 last season. He's a solid pitcher, but at pick 9 you'd like to get more impact than what he's given them.

10. Houston Roughnecks- Louie Dorsey/ SP- B+
    I'll admit, I gave Dorsey a grade bump due to the picks in front of him. He's on his third team and second in the majors. In his rookie season he was a reliever for Fargo and pitched 39 games with a 3.95 ERA. Then he was traded to Rochester and he's pitched 2 seasons as a really good starter for them. He went 12-6 in season 24 with a 2.86 ERA. He followed that up with a 16-8 record and 215.2 innings pitched with a 3.55 ERA. Dorsey has had a pretty good career so far and if he continues to pitch like this he should see a few all star games in his career.

Other 1st Round Standouts
14. Boston Pilgrims- Hades Phillips/RP- A
      Phillips wasted no time making an impact in the majors. In season 22 he cracked the big league roster and went on to save 43 games with a 3.23 ERA. In season 24 he had a 1.53 ERA in 45 games while saving 25 games. In season 25 he was an all star and saved 37 games with a 2.33 ERA. He has been a dominant reliever since entering the majors and should continue to be for quite a while. He was a steal with this pick.

15. San Juan Pollos Hermanos- John Davidson/LF- B+
     San Juan wasted no time making Davidson a regular on this team. In season 23 he became a full time player for them and had a really nice rookie campaign. He hit 32 homers, 33 doubles, 83 RBI, 92 runs, 22 steals with a .269 average and .335 obp. He followed that up with an even better season 24. He hit 36 homers, 33 doubles, 97 RBI, 116 runs, 25 steals and a .279 average and .358 obp. Davidson is going to be a star in this league for quite some time and should earn a few trips to the All star game.

16. Cincinnati Firestorm- Nolan Bourn/SS- B
      It's rare to find a player that has the hitting abilities that Bourn has to go with the fielding abilities to play shortstop. Fortunately for Vancouver they were able to land Bourn in a trade in season 21. In his first 2 seasons Bourn has put up some pretty impressive numbers. His rookie season he hit 32 homers, 86 RBI, 67 runs and a .272 average with a .331 obp. Last season he hit 42 homers, 103 RBI, 88 runs while hitting a .249 and .300 obp. The on base numbers were down, but the power numbers were really good. He should be a regular all star.

17. Salem Volcanoes- Rafael Vincente/RF- B
     Vincente has wasted no time making himself the centerpiece of the Volcanoes offense. With 3 straight 30 homer seasons(35,36, 33) he has established himself as a great middle of the order hitter. He's also driven in 90 runs, 101 runs and 97 while scoring 94, 83 and 111. In his rookie season he hit .295 with a .349 obp and he's had trouble matching that but is still a career .275 hitter with a .330 obp. Vincente should make plenty of all star games in his career.

39. St. Louis Arch Angels- Sam Goulet/DH-B-
     Goulet was acquired by Rochester in season 22 in a trade with St Louis. He's been a really good hitter ever since. In half a season in season 23 he hit 8 homers while hitting a .367 with a .425 obp. He followed that up with a full season while hitting 21 homers, 82 RBI, 98 runs, 19 steals and a .292 average with a .363 obp. In season 25 he hit 18 homers, 64 RBI, 99 runs, 13 steals, .290 average and .367 obp. Goulet may not be an all star, but he's already proven himself to be a well rounded hitter that can get on base a lot.

2nd Round Steals
79. Rochester Retards- Phil Shibata/RF- B+
      Shibata has found himself as a key piece in the offense for Dover. After being traded to Tampa Shibata found a role in the starting lineup. In season 23 he hit 34 homers and drove in 100 runs with a .301 average and .360 obp. He's followed that up with 25 and 28 homers and 75 and 96 RBI. He's been a .279 career hitter with a .344 obp. Not bad considering 78 other players were taken before him.

99. Jackson Juggernauts- Vic Romero/1B- C+
    As a part time starter, Romero has been putting up some impressive numbers. In two seasons he has hit 16 homers and 26 homers in just 255 at bats and 280 at bats. He's also hit for a career .291 average with a .364 obp. If he was more than a part time player, he could have a much higher grade.

Round 3-10 Surprises
256. Durham Doormats- Teddy Warden/RP- C
       At pick 256, Warden has far surpassed expectations. After being taken in the rule V draft by Texas last season, he went on to pitch in 78 games with a 1.07 WHIP and 3.20 ERA. He may not be an all star, but he's a more than average player especially for the 7th round of the draft.

400. Rochester Retards- Albert Goldber/C- B
    I'm shocked that this guy fell this far in the draft. In season 24 he was selected by Scranton in the Rule V draft and instantly became an impact bat for them. He hit 24 homers, drove in 60 runs and scored 60 while hitting a .299 with a .393 obp. He followed that up with 29 homers, 72 RBI, 60 runs and .267 average and .332 obp. Goldberg has the bat to make a few all star games. It was a nice find by Rochester this late, but too bad they let him go to Scranton.

This is my round up of the season 20 draft. There was a nice run in the middle of the first round that outshines some of the top 10 picks by quite a bit. There were even a few really nice surprises after the first round in this draft. Throw in a couple players that could be future Hall of Famers and this was a pretty good draft for Pine Tar as a whole.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Arfy's Ramblings

AL vs. NL

In 1973, the AL introduced Major League Baseball Rule 6.10.  The Designated Hitter.  The designated hitter idea first originated  in 1906 by Philadelphia Athletics manager, Connie Mack.  And the rule has been argued back and forth by baseball fans ever since.    Here are some points of view from our fellow Pinetar coaches:

Bagwellbluff(Houston Roughnecks): Hard to believe that the DH rule is over 30 years old now, but my feelings have remained constant: it dumbs down the game. A NL manager has to actually manage, make decisions and weigh risks  when to pinch hit for a pitcher? More is required of a NL manager as far as strategy and roster decisions. This is true in both RL and HBD. No reflection on those AL managers; I own an AL club. I'm just stating that with this particular rule,  HBD does a great job of reflecting real life. Just plug in some neanderthal who can't play the field any more but can still hit with power, then never worry about pinch-hitting for your pitcher. AL baseball is baseball-lite.

Horvie78(Milwaukee Magnitude):  This is my first HBD season in the AL. I think that I'm going to like it for the following reasons: 1) I can put a sub-par defensive player in the lineup and not worry about him making costly def plays.  2) With more players in the lineup, it will be easier to find hitters who are on a "hot streak" 3) While reading the play-by-play, I will no longer get frustrated when I get the bases loaded and my pitcher just happens to be up next....OR when my opponent's .100 hitting-pitcher just happens to get a hit against me in a critical situation.

Fantasy Frea(New Orleans Zephrs): I am a NL guy but I don't hate the DH. They should just change the rules where all teams have a DH, but also have the pitchers have to hit. Everybody wins, except for maybe the pitchers.You get offense, players might stay on the same teams longer, people that still like the old school way will still get to see the pitchers hit and all managers would have to deal with double switches and that kind of thing.

Arfy(Louisville Arf Arf Arf Arfs): I am NL, all the way.  The strategy of the game is why I love the game.    It is a weakness in the middle of the lineup that you must work around.  Do I let the pitcher hit?  Do I use one of my pitch hitters?  Is it too early to be going to the bullpen?  I could always do a double switch.  There are just so many more strategy factors to the NL  And that is why I love it!

Brentcnb(Oklahoma City Prariedogs):  I have mixed feelings like I suppose most people do. Baseball is one of the few sports that has such a long history that makes it really fun to compare today's players to say those who played in the 1920s,   and for it to continue you can't change the game much, and I appreciate that. On the other hand my favorite ML team is in the AL and I really enjoy seeing a DH hit rather than a P. I guess I like both leagues but for different reasons.

Ghutton9(Seattle Strikers):  I'm a fan of the DH. I don't see any reason a pitcher should have to bat. It's boring to watch a guy bat that has no clue and is usually an automatic out. While it takes some strategy out of the game, I personally would rather see a pitcher not get removed from a game just because he's coming up to bat. 

Thanks guys for pitching in.  So how have the AL and NL matchup up in Pine Tar?  Well let's take a look.

World Series Victories: 
AL 13
NL 12

But the NL has won 5 of the last 8  titles.

Now does the DH make the game more exciting?  My first thought was....perhaps.  What would a stat be that we could look back upon and determine  if games were more exciting?  One of my first thoughts was, "how about 1 run games?".  So I started there, I'll look back at the last 10 seasons.  How many teams have won at least 30 games by 1 run?  With the American League the answer was 2.  Dover in Season 20 being the highest with a 31-15 record in 1 run games.  When I looked at the NL I came up with 16 teams winning at least 30+ by one run or more.   The highest being  Iowa City in Season 21 going 39-23 in 1 run games.  So then I thought...maybe it's just because the NL teams have been winning more.  So I decided to go back all the way back and look at season 1-15.    National League: 16 teams win 30+ 1 run wins and American League: 5.   It seems to me at least from a numbers stand point that the NL would win the Statistical battle.  What do you think?

Single Season records to aim for:(X means coach is no longer in Pine Tar and therefore is dead to me)

Home Runs- Jim Blair 69 in Season 3 for Tampa Bay Thunder
At Bats- Del Broome 747 in Season 23 for Fresno Regulators
Hitting Streak- 38 by 3 different players
RBI's- Bob Wood  203 in Season 6 for X
Stolen Bases- 166 in Season 5 for X

Complete Games- 15 by Wilt Sizemore in Season 25 for Fresno Regulators(17-13 record that season)
ERA 1.79(Min 162 inn) by John Rucker in Season 20 for Seattle Strikers
Saves- 54 by 2 different Players
Strikeouts- 273 in Season 10 by X
Wins- 25 in Season 1 by X

Runners caught stealing- 103 in season 25 by X(This one shocked me!)
Good Play by a SS- 38 in Season 17 by X

25th Anniversary of Pine Tar-  One thing that sucked about not doing Ary's Ramblings at all last season is that I had plans to do some recognition to all of the original Pine Tar owners.  So I will be doing this all season long with most every  episode of AR, even though we are currently in our 26th season..

A special thanks to all  6 of our original Pine Tar owners.


Starbuckdc Fargo Wood Chippers  2 WS wins
Greygoose123-Jacksonville Juice  1 WS win
Jbburner- Cincinnati Firestorm   3 Div titles
Phillies26- Philadelphia Moneymakers 4 Div titles
Toe64- Colorado Springs Night Watchmen 1 WS win
Nw1- Tampa Bay Thunder 2 WS wins

  And one last shoutout to Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux for being elected into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame today.  I grew up a Braves fan in the 80's and remember Tom Glavine's first season in the Major's in which he lost 17 games.  I didn't think he was ever going to get his shit straight.  And then throughout his career we always knew that if he could get out of the first inning, he would be okay.

  And for Maddux, how many  2 hour games did he pitch?  I never saw anyone work so fast as he did.  Strike strike strike, let's go home.  Stats say that he pitched 6 complete games in his career in which he threw less than 90 pitches, including a 78 pitch performance in 1997.  And what about that season that he nearly had as many  wins as walks in a season? 19 wins and 20 walks in 1997.   That's crazy!  Congrats to Frank Thomas as well, even though I never really followed the AL teams.

Arfy out!

Season 26 Preview-AL North

Season 26-AL North Preview

AL North
The North has been led by Dover for a while now. Most of the division has or are rebuilding and should start challenging them soon. Dover played in the ALCS last season, but missed out on the franchises 2nd World Series trip. It was the 5th time that they've been in the ALCS and 2nd time in 3 seasons. Milwaukee took a huge step forward last season. They fell just short of the post season and have now run the streak of missing the post season to 7 seasons. New York continued to show improvement as they should be coming out of their rebuild really soon. They've now gone 8 seasons without a playoff appearance, but I'd imagine they'll be challenging for one soon enough. Kansas City has just started their rebuild recently, but ownership doesn't want it to last too long and are hoping to make the moves up the ladder starting this season. They've only missed the post season in 3 straight seasons, but this is a franchise with 3 World Series titles.

Dover Dinklebergs
owner- tmfran
Season 25 record- 98-64(AL North Champ)
Last 5 seasons- 494-316

Dover has been the team to beat in this division. They took step back last season as they missed 100 wins for the first time in 4 seasons. They are also riding an 8 season streak of making the post season. I would imagine the goal for this team is to make it back to the World Series for the first time since season 19. They made the ALCS in 2 of the past 3 seasons, but ultimately fell short of the AL championship. 

In season 25, Dovers offense slacked off a bit from the previous season. The team average fell 13 points to a .270, but that was still good for fourth best in the AL and all of Pine Tar. They also scored 108 less runs and finished with 822. The loss of Armando Mota in the off season isn't going to help that any. The addition of Raymond Petrov does add a different type of bat to the lineup though. He's a contact hitter with good speed. I can see this offense taking another step back this season. They lack good power and will struggle a bit with right handed pitchers. They do have some good speed to off set the power, but they look like an average offense. 

I don't think anyone can question this teams defense. They finished third in the AL last season and they should finish near the top again. They have great gloves and even some good depth a key positions. The addition of Petrov adds to that. Defense is a real strength for Dover. 

The team finished second in ERA last season and they are returning the top of their rotation. Aubrey Simmons and Lou Offerman were the top 2 guys last season and they'll be expected to be again. The early season trade for George Eaton added a great closer to the bullpen and gave them some much needed depth. The pitching staff is above average, but I think the defense really brings them to another level. 

Milwaukee Magnitude
owner- horvie78
Season 25 record- 86-76
Last 5 seasons- 385-425

The franchise in Milwaukee made huge improvements last season. Once again though, they find themselves under new ownership. It's really tough for a team to have continued success with new ownership as often as they have. The new owner has come in with high expectations though, and has stated that the goal is to end the franchises 7 season playoff drought. Ownership recognizes that they have a group of above average players without any true stars though. When asked to predict how this team will do, the answer I got was that this team will finish 2nd in the division and grab a wild card. They feel like they need some breaks to contend for the division title. With one word to describe the team, the answer was BULLPEN?

The offense in Milwaukee had a slight decline from season 24. They finished with a .253 average and scored 709 runs, which were both a bit less than the previous season. The addition of Colby Rogers will add some solid hitting to the lineup. Ivan Uribe is also an upgrade that should boost the teams overall offensive numbers. Vinny Hill is a great hitter and this lineup will go as he goes. I think this offense is about average. They have some solid contact guys with good eyes that will bring them slightly above average though. They won't really show a lot of power numbers and they aren't blazers on the base paths. I do think they'll finish better than last season when they were near the bottom of the league.

Defense does not appear to be a strength for this squad. They finished in the bottom half of the league last season and it looks like they are heading there again. They lack a real good shortstop glove. When that happens, a lot of players end up playing positions they aren't really suited to excel at. I like Ernie Borders in centerfield with his range, but he's also the teams best option for a shortstop. This team will likely struggle defensively again.

Milwaukee finished in the top 5 in ERA last season with a 4.09 and OAV with a .259. Al Rosario leads the rotation and Bucky Simpson also turned in a good season for the team. The free agent addition Chris Kirk will be asked to pitch near the top of the rotation with those guys. All 3 of them had a good season 24, but all over achieved. Vladimir Galarraga, had a great season closing out games, but he also had a career year. I like the addition of Alan Denham and Jimmy Griffiths to the bullpen though. They add some much needed solid depth. The thing this team does have is good control and pitchers that can throw some good pitches, which is often over looked. They aren't a great or maybe even good pitching staff, but they do have the ability to put together a solid season. With a few breaks, they could have a real good season, which is what happened in season 25. Let's see if they can do it again.

New York Damage Controllers
owner- skuff730
Season 25 record- 76-86
Last 5 seasons- 329-481

New York took some steps forward last season and closed in on the .500 mark with 76 victories. They've been rebuilding for quite some time now and should be getting close. Ownership has set the goal for this season as finishing above .500. They feel like the offense is there, but think that the defense and pitching is going to be their downfall. His prediction is 80-82 and 3rd in the division, which would be another improvement for them. Which brings me to the one word skuff730 used to describe his team and that is (Improving). 

Offensively, this team took steps back last season. They dropped the team average from season 24(.268) to season 25(.257). They also scored less runs 890 to 803. The homerun totals dipped from 864 to 208, which was just league average. I really like the trades they made for Greg Parrott and Rafael Hernandez, which should really boost this offense. Bringing in free agent Rich Pierce should also provide them with more offense. Bringing in those guys to surround Gus Justice in this lineup will make them quite possibly the best offense in the division. They have power, good hitting, good batting eyes, and speed. This is a well rounded offense and should finish near the top of the league.

The defense finished in the middle of the league last season, but they aren't that good. This team really lacks solid gloves for all key positions. Defense is going to really be tough for this team and could knock them out of a post season chance. They really sacrificed defense for the offense.

New York finished near the bottom of the league in ERA last season, but they still improved quite a bit from the previous season. They lowered the team ERA nearly a full run to finish at 4.78 last season. The rotation was led by Doug Jodie who had a career year and likely will struggle to repeat it. Clyde Meusel is a solid young pitcher that I think can be a good arm near the back of most rotations. Ignacio Torres was really good coming out of the bullpen, but I think he could be the teams best starter. Timo Lee has under achieved for most of his career, but he pitched great in relief last season. He is another player that could be servicable in the rotation. This pitching staff is loaded with pitchers that have good stamina and could pitch in the rotation, but most of them aren't very good. This team has a below average pitching staff and could really use an ace to lead the rotation.

Kansas City Hotsteppers
owners- italianajt
Season 25 record- 57-105
Last 5 seasons- 374-436

The Hotsteppers took some steps backwards last season. They are obviously a rebuilding team that is now 3 full seasons in to it. After taking over this franchise, italinajt had to deal with some age and contract issues that caused a slow start to the rebuild. Heading into this season, ownership has their hopes up and are shooting for an above .500 season. They still don't feel like they have the team in place to make it out of the basement of this division though. The one word used to describe this team is Hopeful.

Last season the offense for this team went backwards, but that seems to have been a trend. They finished in the middle of the AL, 20 points lower than their season 24 with a .263 average. The also dropped in runs scored to 678, which ranked near the bottom of the league. The addition of Don Aoki brings some help. Neil Roberts is another solid addition for this franchise. This offense is below average. They have some solid bats, but not enough and they also lack a real star.

The defense finished near the bottom of the league last season. They do have a gold glove caliber shortstop in Eduardo Ortiz. Juan Tarasco was signed to play centerfield and he gives them great range for that position. Gold glove thirdbaseman Willis Foster holds down the hot corner. After those guys, this team sees a drop off in fielding a bit. I do think that they are above average defensively though. It may be only slightly above average, but I don't see how they can rank near the bottom of the league again.

The pitching in KC was awful last season. They finished with a 6.10 ERA and .302 OAV. The ERA was actually an improvement for them. The team decided enough of that and went out a replaced a lot of the staff. Harry Munson is likely the top starter in the rotation right now and he's better than what they had. Omar Blanco returns, but he's better than the numbers he put up last season. Most of this rotation is solid, but they are better mid to back end rotation guys. I like what they have in the bullpen. The addition of Javy Mendoza gives them a reliable arm to go to in close games. Corey Moran has under performed his abilities up to this point in his career and I think he's due to take a step forward for this team. Overall though, this pitching staff is still below average. The really lack an ace and could use another top end starter besides that. 

I'm not really blown away by any team in this division. Dover is the reigning champ and they are still a strong team, but I don't feel like they can really challenge for the AL title this season. They could win this division and end up winning only 90 games. Milwaukee is a solid team, but nothing really sticks out to me that sets them apart. They are a team that with some good breaks could end up stealing the division, but with some bad breaks could finish at the bottom. New York is moving up, but they still aren't a team that looks like they'll contend. They have too many holes that need filled and are still a season or two away. Kansas City has actually made some big improvements to the team in order to finish better than last season. I personally would have liked to see them continue on the rebuilding and make some of these moves in a season or two when they have better players to compliment them. As of now the moves just bring them closer to average.

1. Dover
2. Milwaukee
3. New York
4. Kansas City