Sunday, June 12, 2016

BoS American League Breakdown (through 2 Months)

Paul Goldschmidt is a MVP & Triple Crown contender for the Tigers this season.
We are two months through the season for the Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League, and this is my American League breakdown up to this point...

The standings are as follows:

The American League East should be (as always) fun to watch this summer as the competition heats up. There has already been some big name pitchers acquired in mid-season deals already...

The Corktown Tamales and South Side Spartans put the pressure on the bounce-back Micatin Destroyers (formerly known as the South Shore Fighting Imps) by acquiring some big arms; The Destroyers are on a quest to become World Champions like they did in the 2013 BoS Season as the Imps (same manager & owner - Bill Gillam) -- They have infused some youth around their big veteran leaders. 

The Spartans won the division last season, with the Swatara Eliminators finishing as the A.L. Wild Card; Spartans are currently in 4th place & traded Zack Greinke to division rival Spartans.

Meanwhile, the American League West division race is between the 2014 World Champion Fairgrove Tigers and last season's American League Champion Chicago Nine; The Nine has been heating up of late, but the Tigers have stayed hot, not allowing Chicago to gain much ground.

Now a team by team breakdown...


MICATIN DESTROYERS (29-22 / 1st Place)

The Micatin Destroyers last season as the Fighting Imps, suffered a wake-up call as their team got long in the tooth & collapsed into last place with a 68-94 record. They made several changes by drafting good youth over the past couple seasons to go along with their aging vets.

They traded one of their team leaders in Joe Mauer to the Seattle Rainiers prior to the season for slugger Prince Fielder, a move that was designed to help both clubs; Over the past few seasons they have drafted Kris Bryant, Devon Travis & Jorge Soler, while signing veteran players like Jason Hammel and Curtis Granderson

Currently Micatin have the top batting average among A.L. clubs, batting .252 (they rank 2nd in entire BoS to the N.L.'s Louisville Sluggers); Their key to success has been getting on-base (tops in BoS with .336 OBP) while scoring 4.5 runs a game... which is good considering they only have 49 home runs & 25 steals through 51 games.

Best Three Hitters:
  • A.J. Pollack (OF): .265 BA while leading Micatin with 8 HR, 43 RBI & 8 stolen bases.
  • Joey Votto (1B): .305 BA, 3 HR & 21 RBI, drawing 51 walks, 30 runs & a mean .909 OPS.
  • Ben Zobrist (2B): .254 BA, 7 HR & 21 RBI with 22 runs & 10 doubles.
Shin-Soo Choo and Kris Bryant each have 7 home runs, but their batting averages are hovering over the Mendoza line -- if they improve their batting average that will make Micatin more dangerous.

Best Three Pitchers:
  • John Lackey: Leads A.L. with 10 wins (10-3), ranks 5th in ERA (1.96) & 8th in K's (80).
  • Jason Hammel: 4-3, 3.38 ERA with 76 K's & 16 walks through 69.1 innings (1.082 WHIP).
  • Ryan Madson: 3-0, 0.39 ERA & 16 K's through 23.1 innings of relief (He was acquired as a Free Agent in the 2016 BoS Draft).
This team should be able to continue competing to the very end in this division race, they have the makings of a playoff team, then again so does two other teams in this division, and at most there can only be two teams from one division moving on.

CORKTOWN TAMALES (27-24 / 2nd Place - tied, 2 GB)

The Corktown Tamales enter their second season, with bigger expectations. They come back with Jose Abreu who won the A.L. MVP & Rookie-of-the-Year Award, while narrowly missing the league's first ever Triple Crown.

They also come back with the game's best pitcher in Jake Arrieta -- he didn't pitch well in the 2015 BoS Season (8-12, 4.62 ERA despite going 10-5 with 2.53 ERA in the Majors); This BoS Season he has been simply unstoppable with 6-1 record, 1.46 ERA, while holding down opponents to a .106 batting average! He has 85 K's with three shutouts (including a no-hitter). 

The team is not clobbering home runs at the rate they were last season, and both them and the Spartans' batting averages are near the bottom of their league.. while their team pitching appears to be the backbone of both ballclubs; Corktown would like to see better fielding (.980) as they rank last in the American League.

Best Three Hitters: 
  • Jose Abreu (1B): .281, 10 HR & 27 RBI (.845 OPS) with 22 runs.
  • Justin Upton (OF): .244, 7 HR & 31 RBI (.747 OPS) with 20 runs & 9 steals.
  • David Peralta (OF): .278, 5 HR & 13 RBI with 35 hits & 5 steals.
Jose Bautista has 10 home runs & 22 RBI, but is struggling with .208 batting average right now.

Best Three Pitchers:
  • Jake Arrieta: 6-1, 1.46 ERA, 85 K & 17 BB (.606 WHIP) in 67.2 innings.
  • Max Scherzer: 1-2, 3.03 ERA, 36 K & 6 BB in 32.2 IP since joining Tamales.
  • Carlos Carrasco: 4-3, 3.61 ERA, 75 K & 12 BB in 67.1 innings.
The bullpen will need to solidify before the end of the season, they are hoping with the addition of a strong starter like Scherzer that their starters will take the load off the pen -- the pen could definitely do better.

SOUTH SIDE SPARTANS (27-24 / 2nd Place - tied, 2 GB)

The South Side Spartans won the A.L. East during Mark Hoeppner's managerial rookie season, they were built with the Corktown Tamales & Kingsley Brownbeards (now known as the Louisville Sluggers) off the remnants of three former franchises in the Bronx Bombers, Boston Bravos & the Hannibal Cavemen

The new blood with the new logos & faces created some fresh competition in the American League, especially in the American League East -- Bill Gillam (Manager & Owner) of the Micatin Destroyers is the lone original owner from that division. 

The Spartans headed into this season with greater expectations & want to build off their 2015 BoS Season success. Similar to Corktown of late, both depend more on their pitching, and both have landed big-name starters to the mix, while trading a package of players.

Best Three Hitters:
  • Mark Teixeira (1B): Spartans have enjoyed Texiera's bounce-back (or last hurrah) season that he provided the Yankees in 2015 -- batting .277 with 13 HR & 30 RBI (1.038 OPS).
  • Neil Walker (2B): Always seems to play well under the radar -- .283, 5 HR, 30 RBI & 16 doubles; He leads the team with 49 hits.
  • Andrelton Simmons (SS): The former Hitchhiker is batting .264, collecting 43 hits (12 doubles) with 21 runs scored.
Best Three Pitchers:
  • Zack Greinke: Continued his dominant pitching in new uniform (4-0, 1.13 ERA & 35 K's) through 40 innings.
  • Dan Haren: The newly-acquired Free Agent is giving the rotation good support in his final season (2-2, 2.29 ERA & 45 K's in 59 IP).
  • Joakim Soria: Has not allowed an earned run in a good season & a half  -- Over 48.1 Innings of work >>> 26 hits, 4 runs (no earned runs) allowed, while striking out 49 (15 walks) for a .848 WHIP.
Jon Lester could be better than his current record -- 4-5 with a 3.71 ERA & 72 K's with a unusual higher 1.400 WHIP (73 hits & 25 walks) in 70.1 innings of work.

Swatara trades Greinke to the Spartans.

SWATARA ELIMINATORS (22-29 / Last Place, 7 GB)

The franchise has come a long way and has fared a lot better under Brandon Jennings, compared to the Washington Filibusters days. This is now Brandon's third season, and are coming off back-to-back playoff appearances, so its safe to say that the Eliminators certainly wanted more this season.

After a slow start though, the Eliminators made a few changes, trading their much-sought-after ace Zack Greinke; Although they are still a competitive bunch this season, they definitely retooled for the future -- The future looks good in Swatara.

Best Three Hitters:
  • Justin Turner (IF): .327, 5 HR & 21 RBI (through 104 AB's & 32 games played).
  • Charlie Blackmon (OF): .270, 6 HR, 23 RBI, 26 runs & 18 stolen bases. 
  • Lorenzo Cain (OF): .253, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 25 runs & 16 steals.
Anthony Rizzo is leading the team with 12 HR, 26 RBI & 34 runs, but would love to lift his .229 batting average.

Best Three Pitchers:
  • Jose Quintana: 5-5, 3.47 ERA with 55 K (1.123 WHIP) in 72.2 innings this season.
  • Brad Ziegler: 2-2, 2.84 with 8 Saves, 16 K's in 19 IP.
  • Joaquin Benoit: 1-1, 1.86 ERA & 21 K's in 19.1 innings of relief.
Kevin Gausman has looked good in three starts for the Eliminators (1-0, 3.21 ERA & 11 K's); Plenty of more future pieces will get looks now with stars like Greinke and Brandon Phillips were sent packing.


FAIRGROVE TIGERS (35-16 / 1st Place)

Manager Robert Mosher has had some pretty solid success in the Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League, his team has reached the playoffs two of the three seasons, and has never suffered a losing season; He & his Fairgrove Tigers won the 2014 BoS World Series (over Portland) & has won the the A.L. West Division title twice -- He is shooting for #3 this season, as his Tigers own the best record in the entire league.

The team has had a big month of May, and shot up to the top of the latest Power Rankings, while the team ranks #1 all across the BoS in most major statistical categories.

Best Three Hitters: 
  • Paul Goldschmidt (1B): Possibly the A.L. favorite for MVP while in the Triple Crown hunt -- Currently batting .318 with 15 HR & 40 RBI (1.038 OPS), plus 35 runs & 11 steals.
  • Salvador Perez (C): Batting .278 with 10 HR & 21 RBI through 39 games.
  • Chris Davis (DH): The average may be low (.230), but there is no denying his power with 13 HR & 33 RBI, with 14 doubles, 22 runs & .845 OPS this year.
The team has got plenty from the bench, most notably Mr. Mikie Mahtook (.342, 5 HR & 8 RBI with 1.148 OPS through 38 at-bats).

Best Three Pitchers:
  • Madison Bumgarner: The Tigers' ace is putting together another fantastic season -- 5-3, 2.63 ERA with 93 K's (1.075 WHIP) through 75.1 innings of work.
  • J.P. Howell: 2-0, 0.42 ERA & 10 Saves, plus 17 K's & 0.415 WHIP through 21.2 innings.
  • Ken Giles: 2-0, 0.83 ERA & 7 Saves, plus 26 K's & .600 WHIP through 21.2 innings.
Everything is currently rolling for the Tigers, they appear to be the team to beat.

CHICAGO NINE (30-21 / 2nd Place, 5 GB)

The Chicago Nine after reaching the World Series & making big off-season splashes was dubbed the favorite to win the BoS entering this 2016 Season -- It has been far from perfect, after a struggling April, but appear to be one of the most improved teams in May.

The rotation & lineup has not done as great as they would have liked, but both have the potential to get stronger -- while their bullpen is one to be feared headed by newly acquired Wade Davis.

Although the BoS has not been good to Andrew McCutchen's career batting average as one would like (then again a league dominated with small amount of teams with strong pitching, would do just that)... He really has become the team's best all-around player & leader, leading the team with 35 RBI, 31 runs & a .397 on-base percentage -- all while sporting a .842 OPS. 

Best Three Hitters:
  • Dee Gordon (2B): Currently leading the American League in batting (.320) while ranking 2nd with 22 steals (behind teammate Billy Hamilton's 26); Also tied for league lead with 66 hits.
  • Nolan Arenado (3B): Sporting a .264 BA with 11 HR & 31 RBI, plus 25 runs & 12 doubles.
  • Andrew McCutchen (OF): .251, 6 HR & 35 RBI with 13 doubles, 44 walks & 5 steals.
Both David Ortiz (11) and Dexter Fowler (10) have big HR numbers, but low batting averages -- Ortiz (just like his team) has been coming around of late, so watch out!

Best Three Pitchers:
  • Matt Harvey: The former Panther is 6-1 with a 3.29 ERA, plus 70 K's, with a WHIP just below one. 
  • Wade Davis: 3-1 with a 1.15 ERA, plus 22 K's (.587 WHIP) in only 15.1 innings; Davis currently has 6 Saves.
  • Felix Hernandez: 4-2, 3.62 ERA with 77 K's in (1.142 WHIP) 79.2 innings -- his ERA is a little higher than his usual, but his WHIP indicates that the ERA will get lower before too long.
Tony Sipp (2.96 ERA) and Blaine Boyer (2.57 ERA) also have played big roles in the Chicago bullpen this season.

There is still four months left of the season, and Chicago's season should only get better.

BUFFALO YANKEES (22-29 / 3rd Place, 13 GB)

The Buffalo Yankees have made plenty of improvements over the years, but still find themselves as the odd men out; Luck has simply not been on their side. 

The offense and pitching are on the lower side of the spectrum with two players standing out for them in veteran Ian Kinsler and their ace Chris Archer. There is upside on the horizon in players such as Noah Syndergaard and Eugenio Suarez... but it appears that early draft picks in each round are in this season's forecast for the Yankees.

This is not a bad time to look towards the future, while the division is currently being dominated by two powerhouse teams in Fairgrove & Chicago -- and forget wildcard hopes when the American League East has some tough playoff caliber teams as well. Good drafts for the next couple years will spell success for Buffalo.

Best Three Hitters:
  • Ian Kinsler (2B): .281, 1 HR, 15 RBI, 24 runs & 10 doubles -- he is the team's leading hitter, leading the team in BA & hits (56).
  • Starlin Castro (SS): .258, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 13 doubles & 20 runs.
  • Gregor Blanco (OF): In limited play, he is batting .276 with 3 HR & 5 RBI (.771 OPS) in 58 at-bats (27 games).
Adrian Gonzalez has dramatically declined from the Inagural 2013 BoS Season -- batting only .233 with 4 HR, while still leading the team with 23 RBI; Brandon Moss also has similar numbers -- .231 batting average, with 5 HR & 13 RBI.

Best Three Pitchers: 
  • Chris Archer: 4-4, 2.81 ERA with 93 K's (.987 WHIP) in 77 innings, with 2 complete games.
  • Noah Syndergaard: 4-3, 3.70 ERA with 67 K's in 58.1 innings -- just needs to eliminate the long ball (11 HRs allowed).
  • Jordan Zimmermann: 3-3, 3.82 ERA, 68 K's (1.272 WHIP) through 63.2 innings.

To put the the lineup in perspective, all regulars have an OPS lower than .700 right now.

BROOKLYN METS (18-32 / Last Place, 16.5 GB)

The Brooklyn Mets have a lot to be excited in future seasons with young studs like Carlos Correa, Maikel Franco, Jackie Bradley, Jr, Adam Conley, Matt Wisler & Jacob deGrom --- Unfortunately, there just has not been too much excitement in the victory column for 2016.

The good news is that they should have some more good draft picks coming their way, and if all adds up, should be a team to reckon with in the future. Currently though, when you have the combination of one of the worst lineups (.225) and one of the worst pitching staffs (4.57 ERA), that unfortunately equals not many wins.

Best Three Hitters:

  • Dustin Pedroia: The old vet is still getting it done, batting .282 with 6 HR, 16 RBI, while ranking 3rd on the team with 42 hits.
  • Maikel Franco: .269 BA, 3 HR & 14 RBI (.769 OPS) through 108 at-bats.
  • Billy Burns: Batting .241 with HR & 11 RBI, but leads team with 44 hits & ranks 2nd on team with 23 runs.
Carlos Correa (.905 OPS) has played excellent through 64 at-bats -- Also has 4 HR & 10 RBI.

The team's pitching (4.57 ERA) is among one of the worst in the Boys of Summer, and the bullpen has been not-so-great.

Best Three Pitchers:
  • Edinson Volquez: 6-3, 3.06 ERA with 54 K's (1.106 WHIP) through 79.1 innings.
  • Kevin Jepsen: His numbers are nothing to write home about, but has logged 9 Saves, while his ERA (3.86) and WHIP (1.653) could definitely be lower.
  • Justin Verlander: In a league with superior pitching, and Verlander not having the best grade -- he seems to be doing alright, his ERA has been bumped up lately (4.40) while sporting a 3-3 record with 52 K's in 57 innings.
The Mets need to embrace the fact that this will be another long season, and the only way from here is up.

*** This concludes the BoS breakdown of the American League ***

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