Tuesday, February 23, 2016

S34 Mid-Season Blog

Midseason Classic

Season 34 Pine Tar All-Star Game: American League defeats the National League 7-2
HR Derby Winner: Neifi Gil (Roughnecks)
All-Star Game MVP: Phillip Bruske (Yardbirds)
Winning Pitcher: Lonny Gonzalez (Volcanoes)
Homeruns: Bruske, Santo Herrera (Black Sox), Neal Hartzell (Komodo Dragons)

Teams with the most All-Star selections:
Houston Roughnecks (bagwellbuff) - 6
Salem Volcanoes (jkenned) - 5
Nashville Merchants (blapo21) - 5
Kansas City Yardbirds (holleybard) - 4
Scranton Red Barons (reggie988) - 4
Jacksonville Juice (greygoose123) - 4
Syracuse Orange (joekendall) - 3
San Juan Marichals (sermonauthor) - 3

Teams with zero All-Star selections:
Boise Coursers
Colorado Springs Iron Horseman
Philadelphia Moneymakers

All-Stars by Division
**This is much closer than the past few years
AL North - 9
NL South - 9
AL South - 8
NL North - 8
NL East - 8
AL East - 7
AL West - 6
NL West - 5

*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

All-Stars Making Their 5th Appearance or Greater
P - Sticky Farquhar (Juice): 11th Appearance
P - Geronimo Estrada (Marichals): 7th Appearance
LF - Gus Justice (Juice): 7th Appearance
P - Alex James (Merchants): 6th Appearance
RF - Roger Byrne (Sultans of Swat): 6th Appearance
P - Wilt Sizemore (Roughnecks): 6th Appearance
2B - Eugenio Canseco (Red Barons): 6th Appearance
3B - Jim Hawpe (Wildcats): 6th Appearance
P - Yoshinori Zhou (Volcanoes): 5th Appearance
P - Lonny Gonzalez (Volcanoes): 5th Appearance
SS - Wendell Werth (Merchants): 5th Appearance
SS - Bartolo Ortiz (Marichals): 5th Appearance

Playoff Tidbits

-Nine Pine Tar clubs are looking to end playoff droughts as they are within striking distance of a postseason berth at the midway point:
Chicago: 16 seasons
Kansas City: 11 seasons
Jackson: 10 seasons
St. Louis: 8 seasons
Tampa Bay: 6 seasons
Wichita: 6 seasons
Dover: 5 seasons
Iowa City: 4 seasons
Cincinnati: 3 seasons

-Five division leaders are looking to extend their current streak of consecutive division titles:
Salem: 6 consecutive AL West titles
Scranton: 6 consecutive NL North titles
Nashville: 5 consecutive AL South titles
Milwaukee: 5 consecutive AL North titles
San Juan: 3 consecutive NL East titles

-Seattle has a 6-game lead in the NL West with a surprisingly low payroll of $48 million.  Of the remaining seven division leaders, Scranton's payroll is $71 million, while everybody else is greater than $90 million.  On the other side, Boston is 6 games below .500 with a payroll of $116 million and Texas is 8 games below on a $101 million player budget.

-The AL North is looking for their first playoff wildcard berth since Season 22.  You heard that correctly...11 seasons of only sending 1 team to the postseason.  Kansas City is currently in the second wildcard position, while Chicago is 3 games behind.

-Some of the American League teams feel comfortable in seeing that league powerhouse Salem is ONLY on pace to win 106 games this season, while Nashville is on pace to win less than 100.  These two teams have put up win totals of 110 or greater SIX times in recent Pine Tar seasons.  Although nobody really knows what to expect come playoff-time after an 83-win Boise team advanced to the World Series last season.

Early Trade-Deadline Moves
-Seattle added power to its lineup by trading for 1B Willie Tarasco, who has already hit 12 homeruns in 39 games with the Strikers.  Seattle leads the NL West by 6 games.
-Cincinnati, who are currently sitting 1 game out of the NL East lead, strengthened its bullpen by acquiring Hades Phillips (5 time all-star, 414 career saves).
-Wichita ranks 15th in the NL in runs scored, but made a move to improve its offense by adding all-star 3B Jim Hawpe, who has a .383 on-base percentage and 55 RBIs this season.  The Tornadoes are below .500, but only 6 games behind division-leading Scranton.
-St. Louis looks to be dealing as the trade deadline draws closer.  They have sent SS Jhonny Castro to Nashville and RP Andy Ganzel to New York in the hopes of building for the future.  St. Louis is 5 games out of first place in the NL North.

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