Saturday, March 17, 2018

The 1940 Detroit Tigers (My GMABT V Selection)

As my readers will know, I recently missed my first Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament this year, something that I thought would never happen...

But there will be no missing next March's 5th edition of the tournament, as next year's theme will be any team in either league between 1940-1968 (pitchers will hit). Once I found out the theme, I glanced over the APBA teams that I own from that period, which is really not many for me, but probably more than other APBA owners.

Here is a list of those teams...
  • 1940 Detroit Tigers
  • 1940 Cincinnati Reds
  • 1942 St. Louis Cardinals
  • 1944 St. Louis Browns
  • 1946 Boston Red Sox
  • 1948 Cleveland Indians
  • 1948 Boston Braves
  • 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers
  • 1953 New York Yankees
  • 1954 Cleveland Indians
  • 1957 Milwaukee Braves
  • 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates
  • 1962 Los Angeles Dodgers
  • 1962 San Francisco Giants
  • 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers
I have created the following teams via Baseball for Windows, although legit card numbers & information on the cards, the teams at certain tournaments may or may not be accepted...
  • 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers
  • 1965 Minnesota Twins
  • 1966 Baltimore Orioles
When I first found out the theme, my first two thoughts were the 1946 Boston Red Sox (that I play really well with & were Runners-Up during my Tournament II / 64 teams) and the 1957 Milwaukee Braves... both were taken. I thought really hard about the 1948 Boston Braves, who were available at the time, but was undecided while trying to pick between them and the 1940 Detroit Tigers.

I eventually chose the Tigers, and quickly... because it is a Michigan tournament, and the guys (like myself) love the Tigers, so within 10 minutes of learning the theme, I messaged Rich, and the 1940 Tigers became my official selection.

The Detroit Tigers have a strong lineup led by Hank Greenberg, Charlie Gehringer, Rudy York & Barney McCosky. I believe the team's On-Base + Slugging [OPS] was .806, which is excellent. I decided I will take an APBA-ball approach by moving Dick Bartell out of the lead-off spot to 9th, with his low .665 OPS.

The lineup will be as follows...
  1. Barney McCosky - CF     (.340 BA, 4 HR, 57 RBI & 13 SB / .899 OPS)
  2. Charlie Gehringer - 2B     (.313 BA, 10 HR, 81 RBI & 10 SB / .875 OPS)
  3. Hank Greenberg - LF     (.340 BA, 41 HR, 150 RBI / 1.103 OPS)
  4. Rudy York - 1B     (.316 BA, 33 HR, 134 RBI / .993 OPS)
  5. Billy Sullivan - C     (.309 BA, 3 HR, 41 RBI / .849 OPS)
  6. Bruce Campbell - RF     (.283 BA, 8 HR, 44 RBI / .829 OPS)
  7. Pinky Higgins - 3B     (.271 BA, 13 HR, 76 RBI / .771 OPS)
  8. Dick Bartell - SS     (.233 BA, 7 HR, 53 RBI & 12 SB / .665 OPS)
  9. (Pitcher)
Schoolboy Rowe will bat 8th, when he pitches... He batted .269 with a HR & 18 RBI in 67 at-bats.

I decided to bat Billy Sullivan 5th over Bruce Campbell (although Campbell has more power), due to better batting average & the fact that Campbell hits into much more double plays. I also like the idea of guaranteeing Greenberg a 1st inning appearance.

McCosky is a triples machine (19), and that sets up Greenberg nicely, in case Gehringer strikes out or doesn't advance the runner... all Greenberg would have to roll is a 11, 22, 33, 44 & 66 to send it over the fence.

I have an excellent top 4 hitters up at the top, with 2 other players over .800 OPS, while at the same time my bottom three hitters drop off, so I have to make sure I continue to roll hot with the top 4-6 hitters. I will not be doing any pinch-hitting for the most part, because I will simply not want to go to my pen, which is awful for the most part. I will have to rely heavily on my 1-2-3 B-Rotation, roll hot, and stick with a consistent lineup.

I am also playing APBA-Ball (as some call it) where you go with the best hitters at top regardless of where they actually hit; Dick Bartell was the actual lead-off hitter for the 1940 Tigers, but I am going with Barney McCosky instead.

I won the 2nd Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament by sticking with a consistent lineup, all B-Rotation & strong pen. I did lousy my 1st GMABT with the 1917 Chicago White Sox by juggling the lineup too often.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

GMABT IV: Nice Guys Finish First (Spatz & Zawadzki)

Pastor Rich (left) with Rob Spatz.
Green Day may have got it all wrong with their song "Nice Guys Finish Last", because from where I stand the nice guys seem to be finishing first.

This past weekend was bittersweet for me, I unfortunately had to miss my very first Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament (cancelling a few months ago) due to financial reasons (saving up for my sister's wedding). The payoff would be reading the results & seeing pictures of my friend Rob Spatz winning the trophy.

I was also looking forward to congratulating another good friend, Rich Zawadzki in person, for his recent APBA championship, as he won the 2017 Chicagoland (Fall Edition) APBA Tournament. Pastor Rich, year-after-year (since 2015) has hosted the Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament, as he always puts on a top-notch tournament that is well-executed & well-organized. From what I gathered through the years, Rich may be the very best APBA tourney host out there... I mean, there is no holes in his swing.

It was fitting to see him win the tournament in Chicago (which is hosted by Rob Spatz), and then to watch Rob win the Greater Michigan (hosted by Rich).... Only in the APBA universe this can only happen... seriously, who writes this stuff?!

It was great to see all the pictures & videos of the event, those made me feel a tad bit better, but nothing beats seeing all these wonderful faces in person....

Knowing my luck, I would have been in the Hal McRae Division, with my 1997 Baltimore Orioles facing Ron Emch's 1982 Milwaukee Brewers... Why would I assume that? Well.. Each of my first three tournaments, I always had my friend Ron to face in my division.

Sorry, that I had to break our streak Ron.

I cringe at the thought that I will forever be guessing my chances with such a underrated gem in the 97' Orioles, wondering how they would have performed... I do plan to use this team in a future tournament somewhere, I owe the team that.

But the reality is that I was not there, I was not 1 of 17 attendees that made it to all four Greater Michigan Tournaments, there are 16 members to accomplish that feat. I will say, I do not plan to miss another Michigan tourney.

The scene at the Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament IV.
It is our love that keeps bringing us back to this wonderful tournament, and the friendships that we have made along the way.

The size of the tournament has been steadily increasing through the years...

  • 2015 (31 Managers)
  • 2016 (35 Managers)
  • 2017 (39 Managers)
  • 2018 (48 Managers)
Next March's tournament has already 48 managers signed up.

I think it was a good move decreasing the opening bracket games from 10 to 8, entering 2017's tournament. 10 games was a lot, which was the case in 2016, when my 1993 Atlanta Braves went 8-2 in the opening bracket, and then sweeping the 3 playoff games (11-2) to win the GMABT II.

Another thing that is quite noticeable is how much the family dynamic has increased since the first tournament, more families are involved, which is a great thing, passing this wonderful game down from generation to generation. 

Rich mentions the family dynamic in the following Thank-you Facebook post below...

Speaking of family, all of these wonderful people that we have become friends with due to all these tournaments has made us one complete APBA family. It is good to know that we can find healthy escapes like APBA, in which for a day or a couple days of the year, we can go manage a team, relive our childhood, in an attempt to lead our team to the championship.

*** More Results, News & Photos of the GMABT IV to come... ***

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

2017 BoS Record Breakers (Boys of Summer League)

The Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League is just under two weeks away from the league's 6th Annual Draft, which features free agents and rookies.

We take the time now to look back at the players & teams that re-records the BoS Record Book.

Miguel Cabrera

  • Becomes the 2nd player in BoS history to win multiple Most Valuable Player Awards (the first being Fairgrove's Paul Goldschmidt: 2014 & 2016) & the first player to win the MVP Award in each league; Miguel won the 2013 A.L. MVP with the Buffalo Yankees, while winning the 2017 N.L. MVP Award with the Traverse City Panthers.
  • Breaks the BoS & N.L. Records with 145 RBI (breaking Chris Davis' mark of 143, set in 2014 with the San Diego Heroes).
  • Breaks BoS & N.L. Records with .640 Slugging Percentage (breaking Chris Davis' mark of .627, set in 2014 with San Diego).
  • Breaks N.L. Record with .422 On-Base Percentage (breaking Mike Trout's mark of .406, set in 2014 with the Portland Microbrewers). 
  • Breaks BoS & N.L. Records with 1.062 On-Base + Slugging [OPS] (breaking Bryce Harper's mark of 1.010, set in 2016 with the Holland Hitchhikers); Cabrera still owns the A.L. OPS record of .993, set with the Buffalo back in 2013).
  • Breaks BoS & N.L. Records with 393 Total Bases (breaking another Chris Davis mark of 373, set in 2014 with San Diego); Cabrera still owns the A.L. Total Bases record of 370, set with Buffalo in 2013).
  • Breaks BoS & N.L. Records with 68 Multi-Hit Games (breaking Adrian Beltre's mark of 64, set in 2013 with the Urbana Locomotives).
  • Breaks BoS & N.L. Records with 161 Runs Created -- breaking the BoS mark of 149.6 set by Paul Goldschmidt & the N.L. mark of 143.3, which was held by Adrian Beltre (2013) & Mike Trout (2014).
  • Breaks BoS & N.L. Records with 82.5 Runs Contributed -- breaking the BoS mark of 76.4 set by Paul Goldschmidt & the N.L. mark of 64.1, held by Mike Trout.
  • Ties N.L. Record of 2 Grand Slams in a season, along with the King Road Kings' Eduardo Nunez; Both players tied numerous N.L. players that also have this record. Carlos Beltran owns the BoS & A.L. Record with 3 Grand Slams in a single-season -- which is fitting for Beltran who won the 2013 All-Star Game MVP by smacking a Grand Slam.

Other Single-Season Player (Hitting) Records
  • David Ortiz (of the Watersmeet Nimrods) ties the BoS & A.L. Record of 64 doubles (tying the marks set by Adrian Gonzalez set with the Buffalo Yankees in 2013); Ortiz accomplished this feat in his final BoS Season.
  • Manny Machado (of the Vancouver Storm) breaks the A.L. Record with 129 RBI (breaking the mark of 125, set by the Chicago Nine's Nolan Arenado).
  • Jose Altuve (of the Seattle Rainiers) breaks the N.L. Record with 733 Plate Appearances (breaking Mike Trout's mark of 715, set in 2014 with Portland); Altuve also tied the BoS Record with 661 At-Bats (breaking Elvis Andrus' record, set with the Fairgrove Tigers in 2013), while breaking the At-Bats N.L. record, which was held by Robinson Cano (set with the Louisville Sluggers in 2016).
  • Nelson Cruz (of the Seattle Rainiers) breaks the N.L. Record with 9 Sacrifice Flies (breaking the mark of 8, set by Adrian Beltre in 2015 with Urbana).

Single-Season Pitching Records
  • Zach Britton (of the Urbana Locomotives) breaks the BoS & N.L. records with 100% Saves Conversion Percentage (first player to go 100%) - 35 for 35; breaking BoS mark of 97.2% set by Joaquin Benoit (of the Swatara Eliminators) set in 2015 -- while breaking the N.L. mark of 94% set by Greg Holland (of the Holland Hitchhikers) set in 2015. The records only pertain to those that put in 30+ opportunities.
  • Zach Britton (of the Urbana Locomotives) breaks the BoS & N.L. Record with 12.4 Strikeouts Per 9 Innings [Relief] -- breaking the BoS mark of 12.3 set by Fernando Rodney in 2013 with the South Shore Fighting Imps, while breaking the N.L. mark of 11.9 set by Vinnie Pestano in 2013 with the Sacramento 66'ers.
  • Chris Archer (of the Buffalo Yankees) breaks the A.L. record with 11.3 Strikeouts Per 9 Innings [Starting] (breaking mark of 10.9 set by Jacob deGrom in 2016 with the Brooklyn Mets).
  • Rick Porcello (of the South Side Spartans) breaks the A.L. record with 7.7 Strikeouts to Walk Ratio (breaking the mark of 6.9 set by Max Scherzer in 2016 with the Corktown Tamales).
  • Dellin Betances (of the Spring Branch Duffers) breaks the N.L. record with 73 Game Appearances (breaking the mark that was shared by Traverse City's Kelvin Herrera & Portland's Glen Perkins); Betances already owns the BoS & A.L. mark of 76, set with the Chicago Nine in 2015).

  • Zach Britton sets the BoS & N.L. records of 35 Consecutive Saves Conversions -- breaking the BoS mark of 34, set by Fernando Rodney in 2013 with South Shore, while breaking the N.L. mark of 31, set by Greg Holland in 2015 with Holland.
  • Nolan Arenado (of the Watersmeet Nimrods) breaks the BoS & A.L. Records with 4 straight games with a triple (breaking the marks of 3, both held by Swatara's Ben Revere).
Team Effort
  • The Traverse City Panthers' lineup set numerous single-season records: Home Runs (253), Total Bases (2,708), On-Base + Slugging [OPS] (.800), Extra-Base Hits (645), Doubles (359), Runs Created (879.1), Runs Contributed (215.8) & At-Bats (5,716). Most of the previous records were held by the 2013 offensive juggernaut known as the Urbana Locomotives.
  • The Corktown Tamales set two strikeout records; A.L. Strikeouts (1,467 K) & 9.0 Strikeouts Per 9 Innings.
Bad Stuff
  • Josh Tomlin (of the Portland Microbrewers) set two new records. The first one is the N.L. record of 123 Earned Runs Allowed (tying Bud Norris of the 2013 Traverse City Panthers), while the other one is breaking the BoS & N.L. record with 43 HR allowed (breaking BoS mark of 41, set by the Bronx Bombers' Mark Buehrle in 2013 & breaking the N.L. mark of 39 set by Urbana's Cole Hamels in 2016).
  • Jose Bautista (of the Corktown Tamales) set a BoS & A.L. record of 22 consecutive games without a hit (breaking the mark of 19 straight games, set by Cesar Izturis of the Boston Bravos in 2014).
  • Gerrit Cole (of the San Diego Heroes) breaks BoS & N.L. records with 20 Consecutive Games without a Win (breaking Rubby de la Rosa's record of 17, set with the King Road Kings in 2016). 
  • The San Diego Heroes as a team struck out a BoS Record of 1,499 times -- while the Buffalo Yankees broke their own A.L. record with 1,482 K's at the plate. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

We Did Not Forget (Updates to Come)

Updates to come out on several of my projects...
  • 1981 Detroit Tigers (First Half) conclusion.
  • Tournament III - Sweet Sixteen Results.
  • 1994 Atlanta Braves (Alternate 1994 - Out of the Park 18.

March Posts:
  • Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament Results (Jackson, MI).
  • MLB Preview
  • League Update on the Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League.
  • My latest Custom-made APBA Cards projects.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Refueling (Charlotte Aviators Update)

Image result for Charlotte Aviators

My readers may remember that I am also a fan of Out of the Park Baseball, which I own the 2018 Edition (By the way, 2019 OOTP is out March 22nd). You may also remember that for one of my projects, I added two expansion teams, starting in the 2018 MLB Season in the Charlotte Aviators and the Oklahoma City Barons.

I have been running the Charlotte Aviators, and it has been a struggle for the most part. The game deals with everything like payrolls, budgets, scouting, drafting, etc etc... I have been finding out that running a 'small market team' is simply not easy. We avoided 100 losses during our 2018 expansion season (losing 98), and we were projected to improve by 13 games I believe... instead we went the opposite direction and lost 117 games!

Lucky for me, my team got a new owner and I wasn't fired (oh yeah, you can get fired in this game as well)... so it's onto Year 3 (2020) with new owner in hand. The new owner set new goals, play close to .500 ball by 2020, increase attendance to 46,200 per game by 2023 & build up the team to reach the playoffs by 2025. All are lofty goals, but i'm not one to give up.

So Year 3...

I decided to start with the big elephant in the room in my star Japanese player Koson Yamauchi, who has been doing his part by producing, but for a small market team ranging from $55-$62 million a year, a $20.47 million-a-year player is just not going to cut it.

Yamauchi batted .282 with 32 HR & 88 RBI (.933 OPS) for the Aviators in 2018, while struggling with injuries in 2019 (.284, 17 HR, 59 RBI & .865 OPS in 92 games). So I knocked on the door of a team that is well-known for not taking on some more payroll, the New York Yankees (who else?!). To put it in perspective, how good the Yankees have it, their payroll is currently at $155,752,857 & they are still shopping with $36.5 million to spare.

I traded them Yamauchi, along with RP-Matt Purke & P-Burch Smith in exchange for OF-Scott Schebler, and prospects in P-Chance Adams & OF-Brandon Boissiere.

By the way, those Yankees now have SS-Gleyber Torres batting 2nd, 3B-Manny Machado batting 3rd, Yamauchi batting 4th, with Aaron Judge batting 5th & Gary Sanchez batting 6th!

That helped shed some payroll, so I can try to make a splash at an ace in either Gerrit Cole or Sonny Gray, but both will be pricey. So I went for a backup option, by trading for Robbie Erlin, who by no means is an ace, but if you see the rest of my pitching staff you would understand. There was plenty to like in Erlin's latest ratings in the game, he's coming off a short & effective season for the Cardinals in which he went 4-1, 3.70 ERA with a 1.050 WHIP in 65.2 innings. It was a modest trade that I don't think hurts either team, I traded the Cards one of my favorite pieces in Yonny Chirinos, while unloading cuban rightfielder Gabrio Trujillo & former Red Sox prospect Michael Chavis.

Chavis was really frustrating for me, although only 24, he has only batted .224 with 4 HR & 22 RBI in 59 games (over two seasons)... he only cost me in roster space (2018 season), being a Rule 5 pick.

I traded two of our starting pitchers away in Cody Anderson & Jason Hammel. Anderson was sent over to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for two prospects in OF-Steven Kwan & SS-Joerlin De Los Santos, while Hammel was sent over to the Cubs for two prospects in P-Hector A. Garcia & SP-Mike Baumann.

During these trades, I was in persuit of Pittsburgh's Cole, but he was too expensive, I withdrew my offer and went for Sonny Gray, but failed there as Gray would sign on with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

I decided to sign smaller contracts to role players such as RP-Liam Hendriks, 1B-Conor Gillaspie, 2B/Utility-Marwin Gonzalez & vet catcher Stephen Vogt. We also added Rule 5 LF/2B/1B-Arismedy Alcantara, a former Cubs prospect.

I still wanted to shed some payroll, while also making room for Gonzalez at second, by trading DJ LeMahieu who overall disappointed at $6.0 million/per year. The Seattle Mariners needed a second baseman while Robinson Cano's game has declined. We traded DJ along with two prospects (Baumann & De Los Santos) we got in other deals & got two bigger prospects in 3B-Jhonkensy Noel & OF-Luis Veloz.

We traded our 2018 All-Star Renato Nunez, along with prospects C-Jan Mercado & OF-Hunter Bishop to the Atlanta Braves for prospect OF-Braxton Davidson.

I was almost done, and we noticed on the scrap heap Yu Darvish... yes that Yu Darvish, by 2020, he's had some arm issues, starting with the Dodgers in 2017, while he struggled with the San Francisco Giants in 2018 (5.35 ERA & 1.56 WHIP) & 2019 (4.12 ERA & 1.39 WHIP). He was asking for a one-year deal worth $1.5 million, we decided for lightning-in-a-bottle at $2.5 million total over two seasons, with a vesting option on the third year.

Since Darvish has ace experience, we decided he will start opening day, with Robbie Erlin in the second slot, Nick Tropeano (2018 All-Star for Angels) in 3rd slot, with prospect Chance Adams & Christian Binford in the 5th slot.

We will probably be bad, but I feel the team's situation isn't hopeless, and we still have close to $15 million to spend or save towards next season.
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