Monday, June 18, 2018

Injuries Keep Rearing Its Ugly Head (1994 Braves)

Wohlers is the latest big injury for Braves.
Just a few days ago, I sent a post about my 1994 Atlanta Braves losing Tony Phillips for the season. The Braves decided not to make any trades at the deadline and pressed on with Ron Gant as the Braves' center fielder, then two days after Phillips' injury, Gant was placed on the 15-day disabled list for a sore elbow.

Matters continued to get worse for the Braves, as they lost John Smoltz for 5 weeks due to an oblique strain. The Braves will have to bump Steve Avery to the #3 slot, with Alan Benes bumped up to the #4 slot, while Pete Smith will come over from the pen & serve in the 5th slot. The Braves made a call to Triple-A Richmond, bringing up reliever John Kelly.

Then a few weeks later (Sept 6th) Ryan Klesko was placed on 15-day disabled list for a bruised collarbone. The Braves called up Tony Tarasco for outfield depth.

Then September 18th with Mark Wohlers lost for the season with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, he will be out 8-9 months. Roberto Hernandez will be moved back to closer role, with Mike Stanton & Mike Maddux as his setup men.

Then Deion Sanders on September 19th, fractured thumb out for 4

Every time the team starts to roll, the team hits a snag of injuries, we'll see how this plays into their chances at a World Championship. The team is currently 94-49, and are about to clinch their division with a 19-game lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Their potential playoff opponent is between the N.L. East-leading Montreal Expos (91-51) and the Pittsburgh Pirates, who trail Montreal by 3 games. The Expos are the defending champs, who defeated the Oakland Athletics in the 1993 World Series.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Panthers Keep Rolling (BoS Update)

The Traverse City Panthers keep on rolling in the Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League, they entered their series against the Buffalo Yankees, winners of 10 straight, while also winning 17 of their last 20 games prior to the series.

They kept it up, by sweeping Buffalo & winning 16 straight... Their 16 straight victories ties the BoS Record set by the Portland Microbrewers in 2014.

The Panthers currently have the best record in the entire league at 45-18 (.714).

Here is their game-by-game recaps that were sent to the league, via email.

Game 1

Traverse City winners of 10 straight & winners of 17 of their last 20 games, host the Buffalo Yankees (28-29). Corey Kluber after a two-week break, came back with a vengeance with a 5-hit (7-0) shutout that spawned 13 strikeouts... improving his record to 6-3 with a 1.74 ERA. Justin Turner hit his 7th HR, while Nicholas Castellanos hit his 10th, while collecting his 33rd RBI. 

Game 2

Home runs by Corey Seager (11), Nelson Cruz (11) & Yonder Alonso (7) helped Aaron Nola get his 5th win... Nola pitched 6.1 innings, allowing only 5 hits, 1 walk & 1 run, while striking out 6 batters. Panthers win 5-1, making it 12 straight victories.

Game 3 

Back-to-back HRs by Giancarlo Stanton (21) & Carlos Gomez (6) got the ball rolling for the Panthers. This game came down to a lot of pitching strategy for the Panthers, as they squeak out a 4-2 victory. Godley improves to 4-3 with a 3.31 ERA, while striking out 10 in 6 innings.

Game 4

Bullpen & Stanton saves the day! Down 4-1 (top 5th), The Panthers pull starter Reynaldo Lopez (4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER/4 R) in favor of Trevor Hildenberger. The bullpen would pitch 4.2 solid innings of relief, while not allowing another hit or run. Giancarlo Stanton's 3-run HR during bottom of 5th would give the Panthers a 5-4 edge, while it was Stanton's 2nd HR of the game (8th Inning) that would help David Robertson get his 3rd Save of the series, bringing his total to 12.

Game 5

It appeared the Panthers' day came, Daniel Norris gave Buffalo a 6-1 lead during the top of the 3rd, but the APBA gods keep coming through for Traverse City, as they score 5 runs during the bottom of the 4th, tying the game at 6-6. Once again, the bullpen (6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) saves the day, while Brian Dozier went 2-for-5, HR, 2B & 3 RBI. Giancarlo added 2 doubles, while going 3-for-3, with 2 runs & 3 ribbies. Mychal Givens pitches 2.1 inning save for his 1st save of the season. 

Game 6

Down 3-1, Panthers would score 3 runs with help by back-to-back HRs by Nelson Cruz & Nicholas Castellanos, giving them a 4-3 lead. Heading into the 7th, Panthers call on Mychal Givens who gives up back-to-back HRs to Brandon Moss & Jay Bruce, with Buffalo taking back the lead, 5-4. Corey Seager ties game up 5-5, with a two-out RBI double during bottom of the 7th. The game goes to extras, whiles Panthers are running out of relievers, with Blake Parker on mound (Might have to call on Kluber or Nova)... bottom of the 11th, Nelson Cruz delivers walk-off blast off Chris Devenski... PANTHERS WIN! 16 straight victories, while going 23-3 during last 26 games!

Not to toot my horn, but this team has a lot of swagger right now, they just seem to find ways left and right to pull out wins, I have had my back against the wall in what seemed to be non-winnable situations, and they keep coming up clutch on both sides of the ball. 

Owner of the T.C. Panthers

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Rounding the Bases

A few things from a few of my projects...

Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League

My Traverse City Panthers have been rolling of late, winners of 10 straight, while we also won 17 of our last 20 games. My Panthers currently own the league's best record at 39-18, while holding a 4-game N.L. East Division lead on the Holland Hitchhikers.

The Hitchhikers' Bryce Harper is having a monster season, leading the National League in hitting (.353), On-Base pct (.455), Runs Created, Runs Contributed & OPS (1.167) to go along with his 13 HR, 43 runs & 29 RBI.

Harper's teammate - Aaron Judge leads the entire league with 21 HR, while his Yankee teammate Giancarlo Stanton (Panthers) trails with 20 home runs.

The Panthers, who had a historic offense last season, is among the top offenses again, batting .260 (tops) with 92 HR (4th) & 5.4 runs per game (tied for 3rd). This year they have pitching now, as they top the league with a 3.33 ERA, while opponents are only batting .225 against -- plus only allowing 57 HR (21 HR less than the next best team).

The Hitchhikers' Stephen Strasburg has a perfect 9-0 record to go along with 2.51 ERA & 86 strikeouts in 79 innings of work.

By the way, I no longer the commissioner for this league (that I founded), as I handed the league off to Brad Stark, who is doing a marvelous job running it.

2018 MLB Projections Season

I am currently finishing up the last series of the April portion of the 2018 MLB Schedule, while accumulating all the stats from the first 370+ games, I am half-way done with those, with plenty to come. I hope to be off-and-running (in this case, rolling) in a couple weeks. Up until June 3rd, I have been averaging 33-34 games a week.

I also got new printer ink to do some updated cards & new debut cards as well.

1994 Atlanta Braves Season (Out of the Park 18)

Every time my Braves get rolling, injuries mount up... Our latest blow came with the loss of Tony Phillips for the season (including playoffs).

Since that last post, we have had more injuries rear its ugly head, more in-depth info to come out on that season in my next post. It appears we will be limping to the finish line.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

End of April Approaching

The 2018 MLB Projections Season is almost done with April, while I will attempt to catch up my stats & update cards during the next couple of weeks.

I have been really satisfied with the progress so far, the last group of series for everyone was a bit of a grind that took 10 days or so, but that also had a lot to do with my work schedule constantly changing of late, plus there was Mother's Day and my wife's birthday which was May 22nd.

With new cards in place, I will have a little more easy flow with the game progress and that should help me get rolling again. I am still averaging 33-34 games a week, and that's definitely something not to frown at. Every series is progress, you can't look at a long season as a job, you can't play every single day, that's not at all possible, I am really proud of the fact that I have been able to play at the rate that I have been playing at.

I have made some new updated cards for Justin Verlander and Mookie Betts, who are both having excellent seasons in 2018. I also had to take players down a notch that have been disappointing in the MLB so far.

I plan to do an League Leaders report at the end of April, which will be really cool to see who is doing what, there has been a few surprises and it will be very interesting to watch this season evolve.

More to come...

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

HR Leaders - Each Franchise (2018 MLB Projections Season)

Judge (left) and Gregorius (right) have done a lot of celebrating this season.
Here is a list of home run leaders for each franchise through 334 games of my 2018 MLB Projections Season, we are closing in on the end of April (April 22nd) with 2 more series for each franchise.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Jake Lamb - 7
Paul Goldschmidt - 4
David Peralta - 3
A.J. Pollock - 3

Atlanta Braves
Kurt Suzuki - 6
Freddie Freeman - 5
Ozzie Albies - 3

Baltimore Orioles
Chris Davis - 8
Tim Beckham - 4
Adam Jones - 4
Manny Machado - 4
Trey Mancini - 4

Boston Red Sox
J.D. Martinez - 9 
Mitch Moreland - 6
Rafael Devers - 5
Andrew Benintendi - 4
Mookie Betts - 4

Chicago Cubs
Anthony Rizzo - 8
Ian Happ - 7
Willson Contreras - 5
5 Cubs tied w/ 3

Chicago White Sox
Tim Anderson - 9
Welington Castillo - 7
Matt Davidson - 6
Nick Delmonico - 4

Cincinnati Reds
Scooter Gennett - 9
Joey Votto - 6
Scott Schebler - 4

Cleveland Indians
Edwin Encarnacion - 6
Jason Kipnis - 6
Jose Ramirez - 5
Yonder Alonso - 4
Bradley Zimmer - 4

Colorado Rockies
Charlie Blackmon - 6
Chris Iannetta - 6
Nolan Arenado - 5
Gerardo Parra - 4
Trevor Story - 4

Detroit Tigers
Mikie Mahtook - 6
Nicholas Castellanos - 4
John Hicks - 3
Leonys Martin - 3

Houston Astros
Carlos Correa - 9
Yuri Gurriel - 5
George Springer - 5

Kansas City Royals
Lucas Duda - 5
Drew Butera - 3
Jorge Soler - 3

Los Angeles Angels
Mike Trout - 10
Justin Upton - 7
Luis Valbuena - 5

Los Angeles Dodgers
Cody Bellinger - 9
Austin Barnes - 4
Joc Pederson - 4

Miami Marlins
Starlin Castro - 6
Lewis Brinson - 4
Justin Bour - 3

Milwaukee Brewers
Ryan Braun - 6
Domingo Santana - 5
Lorenzo Cain - 3
Hernan Perez - 3
Manny Pina - 3

Minnesota Twins
Eddie Rosario - 6
Miguel Sano - 5
Logan Morrison - 4

New York Mets
Jay Bruce - 5
Michael Conforto - 5
Asdrubal Cabrera - 3
Yoenis Cespedes - 3 
Wilmer Flores - 3
Todd Frazier - 3

New York Yankees
Didi Gregorius - 11
Aaron Judge - 9
Giancarlo Stanton - 6
Aaron Hicks - 5
Gary Sanchez - 5

Oakland Athletics
Matt Olson - 7
Khris Davis - 5
Matt Joyce - 5
Matt Chapman - 3
Dustin Fowler - 3

Philadelphia Phillies
Maikel Franco - 5
Jorge Alfaro - 4
Rhys Hoskins - 3

Pittsburgh Pirates
Gregory Polanco - 4
Josh Bell - 3
Corey Dickerson - 3
Starling Marte - 3

San Diego Padres
Christian Villanueva - 6
Jose Pirela - 4
Hunter Renfroe - 4
5 Padres tied w/3

San Francisco Giants
Brandon Crawford - 6
Andrew McCutchen - 6
Brandon Belt - 4
Evan Longoria - 3
Joe Panik - 3
Austin Slater - 3

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Phillips Lost for Season (1994 Braves)

Every time the Atlanta Braves start to roll over everyone or start looking like the team to beat, they always suffer some unfortunate snag in the plan... Once again, fate has turned towards its ugly side as Tony Phillips fractured his ankle during Atlanta's game against the New York Mets on July 22nd.

The Braves now have a decision to look for a replacement or rely on Ron Gant to take over for him. Gant is more than capable of filling in for Phillips, but doesn't bring the lead-off aspect that Phillips did.

Phillips hit at a .297 clip with 16 home runs, 48 RBI and 83 runs scored. Phillips was the Atlanta Braves' lead-off man, while the team will juggle the lineup to see who will play in that spot of the lineup.

Phillips had an unbelievable .449 on-base percentage & .938 OPS for the season, while he might have been one of the front-runners for this season's N.L. Most Valuable Player Award, along with teammate Dave Justice.

Gant has had limited play this season, starting the season on the disabled list, while losing his left field job due to the emergence of Ryan Klesko. Gant's numbers have improved mightily after a sluggish start, batting .281 with 9 HR, 29 RBI (.912 OPS) in 135 at-bats (50 games) this season.

The Atlanta Braves (63-28) currently lead the N.L. West by 16.5 games over the Houston Astros.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Game #300 (2 Months Later)

For everyone following the 2018 MLB Projection Season that I have been conducting, they would know that I started rolling for this project on March 12th. I rolled my first 100 games in two weeks, but have slowed down the last 6 weeks with 200 more under the belt.

Game #300 would take place on April 22nd of the schedule between the visiting San Francisco Giants (13-7) and the Los Angeles Angels (15-7), a good ol' California Interleague series. 

The game would be all one-sided as the Giants couldn't pull off the sweep in the 3rd game (of this 3-game series), as they got shutout 9-0 by the Angels' Parker Bridwell; Bridwell would allow only 4 hits, while walking 4 with 8 strikeouts. 

Mike Trout went 2-for-4, with a HR & double, BB, 3 RBI & 3 runs, while Ian Kinsler reached base safely four times (which included a RBI double, single & two walks) while scoring three times, and Justin Upton smacked two RBI doubles that combined for 3 RBI. For Trout it was his 10th HR of the season, and only trails the Yankees' Didi Gregorius (11 HR) in the A.L. & MLB home run race.

The Angels ended their 3-game losing streak, which was proceeded by a 11-game winning streak... the longest winning streak in my season, so far. The Giants, meanwhile, are still playing pretty good baseball, winning 5 of their last 7 games. 

Shohei Ohtani Series Update: 3-for-8, BB & 2 RBI (all singles) at the plate, while pitching lousy in Game 2 of the series (L, 3 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 K & 1 BB).

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Jordan Rules! Montgomery pitches No-no!

The Blue Jays had no answer for Montgomery.
I am closing in on 300 games in two months, with my latest series of my 2018 MLB Projections Season, between the visiting Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees.

The series opener would be a 4-1 victory with CC Sabathia getting a strong win on his return from the disabled list; Sabathia allowed only 2 hits & one run in 7 innings of work, with 5 K's... Sabathia's bid for a no-hitter was broken up by Devon Travis with one out during the top of the 6th.

Fast forward to the next night, the Toronto Blue Jays once again are having a difficult time putting the barrel on the ball. The Yankees scored quickly once again with a Aaron Judge two-run first-inning homer, the previous night he hit a solo home run in the opening frame of that game as well. Didi Gregorius would hit a solo HR in the 4th, while Giancarlo Stanton added a two-run double in the 8th.

Jordan Montgomery would go on to pitch a no-hitter, but would not come out with a shut-out, as he allowed a 4th inning run. Curtis Granderson led off the 4th by drawing a walk, he would advance to second on a wild pitch, while advancing to third on a ground out (for the 1st out) & then would score on a Teoscar Hernandez ground out to deep short.

Marcus Stroman (6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 K & 2 BB) would get the loss, as the Toronto Blue Jays fall to 6-15 for the season, while they are 0-6 against the Yankees this season. Two more games remain in the series, the Jays' bats better heat up as they only logged a total of 2 hits in 2 games. They were outscored in the opening series of the season by the score of 28-8, while being out-hit 39-19... which was also a four-game series.

The Yankees' Montgomery joins the Detroit Tigers' Francisco Liriano as the only pitchers to pitch no-hitters during the 2018 MLB Projection Season; Liriano no-hit the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 1st (3rd game of the series), he struck out 6 while walking 4 batters in his effort, as the Tigers won 2-0.

Friday, May 11, 2018

From Quick Game to Long Game

Marwin Gonzalez has been on-base machine against the White Sox.
So for everyone that has ever played the lovely game of APBA Baseball, and for those that have been playing it for a very long time, all know the 'joys' of quick games suddenly transforming into longer or long games.

When playing a massive season project, such as I am with the 2018 MLB Projections Season, we (the rollers) are usually rooting for a quick one, and there is nothing more frustrating than pitchers duels suddenly turning into "we never want to leave the park"baseball.

Case in point, it's April 21st on my MLB Schedule between the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox, the series is in Chicago. The Astros won Game 1 (the previous night) easily behind great pitching by (who else?) Justin Verlander (8 IP, 5 H, 1 R & 9 K). Game 2 (April 21st) featured a lop-sided pitching match-up between Houston's Dallas Keuchel (Grade B-Y) and  Chicago's Reynaldo Lopez (Grade D-Z).

Reynaldo would actually hold his own, going 5 scoreless innings (3 hits allowed), which is great for him because he can be promoted to a Grade C... the bad news is that he got injured on the last out of that inning covering first base & will now miss the next 8 games.

The first 6 innings there was no scoring by either team, the next three innings would be teeter-top madness, and you all know exactly what I mean, if you played this game long enough you will see the wackiest things unfold.

The Houston Astros struck first with an RBI double by Yuri Gurriel during the top of the 7th, the White Sox answered back with a two-run homer by rookie Daniel Palka, who by the end of the game, had one heck of a rookie debut.

Down 2-1, top of the 8th -- The White Sox relievers Juan Minaya and Gregory Infante would team-up to give up 5 runs, the capper being a Grand Slam by Carlos Correa (off of Infante)... So Game over, Astros' bullpen closes the game out, right? RIGHT?!?!


Brad Peacock came back in to pitch the 8th, after two quick outs in the 7th. He would walk two batters & leave men on 1st & 2nd for Welington Castillo. Castillo's card has a lot of pop, and I believe his HR rate for this Projections Season is even better than his 2017 rate at this point, so Houston calls on Will Harris (Grade B-XYZ, but bumped up to A-XYZ for 1st batter) to face him, hoping for a double-play... nope, three-run home run & the White Sox are now only down by a single run. The White Sox would follow that with back-to-back-to-back doubles by Matt Davidson, Daniel Palka & Tim Anderson (Palka and Anderson with ribbies) to take a 7-6 lead after 8 innings.

White Sox call on their closer Joakim Soria, but a two-base, one-out error by Daniel Palka in left opened up another scoring threat, with Jose Altuve capitalizing on the opportunity two batters later.

The 10th & 11th Innings would be silent, until the 12th.

Top of the 12th, Marwin Gonzalez and George Springer each hit two-run home runs (both off of Luis Avilan) to give the Astros a 11-7 lead...

Once again, the White Sox don't go away quietly, the Astros' closer in a non-save situation (4 runs up), would allow a lead-off HR to Avisail Garcia. Garcia's home run was followed by two quick outs in Jose Abreu (Fly-out) and Welington Castillo (pop-out). With one more out to get, Matt Davidson and Daniel Palka would hit back-to-back home runs, to make it once again, a one-run game. Houston calls on Hector Rondon & he closes the door on Tim Anderson & the White Sox.

Marwin Gonzalez has been an on-base machine against the White Sox, reaching base 10 times out of 11 plate appearances during the first two games of this series. He went 5-for-5, with a double & 3 RBI during the first game, while he drew 3 walks, 2 hits & 3 RBI (including his 12th Inning two-run HR).

White Sox' rookie Daniel Palka had an impressive MLB debut going 4-for-6, with 2 HR, 2B, 4 RBI & 3 runs.

The Houston Astros improve to 17-5, while the Chicago White Sox fall to 9-12.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

2018 MLB Projections Season Highlights (April 5th)

From time to time, I will post my season highlights so far, I am actually on the April 19th segment of the schedule, but here is some action from a few weeks back.

April 5th
  • The Colorado Rockies are getting the most out of their Grade C & Grade D starting pitchers, and Kyle Freeland (C) was one of those, pitching 5.1 innings, allowing only one earned run; Jonathan Gray pitched a 3-hit, 1 ER (6 inning) performance the day before. Colorado's goal is to get 5-6 strong innings from them, and then go to their stellar bullpen. Three-Run home runs by Nolan Arenado and David Dahl, along with Chris Iannetta's 3rd HR in 4 days certainly helped. Rockies defeat Padres, 8-2.
  • Young Dixon Machado hit lead-off for the Tigers for the first time, and got on base four times, going 3-4, all singles, 2 RBI with a BB. Victor Martinez & Nick Castellanos each homered to help the Tigers edge the White Sox, 7-5. 
  • A big late four-run inning in the 8th helped the Miami Marlins defeat the Phillies, 7-6... highlighted by Justin Bour's two-run HR.
  • Jacob deGrom pitches 7 strong innings for the New York Mets, allowing only 6 hits, 1 walk & two runs, while striking out 12 Nationals. Wilmer Flores & Micheal Conforto each went 2-for-4 with a HR & double, helping the Mets win 4-2.
  • Chris Davis's Grand Slam could not help the Baltimore Orioles topple the Yankees, as the edge the Orioles, 6-5. Aaron Hick's three-run triple, along with home runs by Gary Sanchez & Didi Gregorius. Aroldis Chapman closed the door with his 2nd Save of the season, as the Yankees improve to a undefeated 7-0.
  • A total collapse by the Tampa Bay bullpen (Dan Jennings, now with Milwaukee) in the 8th, allowed the Red Sox to defeat Tampa, 6-4; J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers each hit two-run homers in the 8th.
  • Holy Smoak, Batman! That's Justin Smoak of the Toronto Blue Jays, who went 3-for-6, with 2 three-run homers with a double (6 RBI day), to help Toronto defeat Texas, 10-3. Josh Donaldson also had a big day, going 3-for-5 (all doubles), 4 RBI, BB & 2 runs. 
  • The Chicago Cubs score 10 runs in the 4th inning alone, while the Brewers scored 6 runs earlier in the 2nd inning, as the Cubs outpace the Brew Crew, 11-7. Willson Contreras and Javier Baez each homered. Mike Montgomery pitches 4 innings of no earned runs, taking over for Yu Darvish who got knocked out of the game, allowing 6 ER in only 1.2 innings.
  • The Cincinnati Reds win a 15-9 shootout with the Pittsburgh Pirates, as both teams combined for 27 hits & 7 HR. Scott Schebler (2-for-5, Grand Slam), Eugenio Suarez (2-for-3, HR, SF, BB & 4 RBI), Scooter Gennett (2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI) & Joey Votto (solo HR) all homered for the Reds, while Josh Bell (2-for-5, HR, 3 RBI & 3 runs), David Freese (3-Run HR) & Elias Diaz (solo HR) all homered for the Buccos.
  • The Arizona Diamondbacks were powered by 4 HR in a 7-1 victory over the Cardinals, while Robbie Ray was excellent on the mound, allowing 6 hits & a run to go along with his 10 K in a 8-inning effort. Paul Goldschmidt (2-for-4, 2 HR & 4 RBI), Jake Lamb (2-Run HR) & Chris Owings (2-for-4, HR & 2B) each homered.

Monday, April 30, 2018

2018 Standings (APBA vs MLB) - April 15th

I finished my 5th series for each team now, while wrapping up the April 12th - April 15th segment of the MLB schedule.

This is how my standings at the end of April 15th compare to the MLB Standings on this date...

  • New York Yankees (12-4 APBA / 7-7 MLB): The Yankees streaked out of the gates in my APBA league, winning their first 8 games, and have played .500 since, while the MLB versions have yet to get rolling at this point. 
  • Boston Red Sox (11-5 APBA / 13-2 MLB): The Boston Red Sox are 1 game out in the APBA version, but have been on a roll since their 1-2 start against Tampa (10-3 since).
  • Tampa Bay Rays (7-8 APBA / 3-12 MLB): The Rays have had a little more luck in my project, but the injuries are starting to take its toll. 
  • Baltimore Orioles (7-10 APBA / 5-11 MLB): After sweeping the Blue Jays, the O's got pushed around by the Red Sox (1-3 series)
  • Toronto Blue Jays (4-12 APBA / 9-5 MLB): This team is streaky, they lost their first four against the Yankees, and another against the White Sox to start 0-5, then win 4 of their next 5 games, only to go on their current 6-game losing streak... Well, at least they have a three-game series at home against the 4-12 Royals coming up.
  • Cleveland Indians (13-3 APBA / 8-6 MLB): The Cleveland Indians look solid in my APBA league, as they prepare for a two-game series in Puerto Rico against the Twinkies. MLB team will only get better.
  • Detroit Tigers (10-6 APBA / 4-9 MLB): Their APBA versions took advantage of their 3 opening opponents in the Pirates, Royals & White Sox & then somehow split their series with Cleveland 2-2. The APBA laws of gravity should return to normal with the Tigers' record going towards the negative end of the spectrum.
  • Minnesota Twins (7-8 APBA / 7-4 MLB): Minnesota, Cleveland & Detroit along with other MLB teams have less games played with their MLB teams due to the long winter in the Midwest. Both versions have 7 wins through April 15th.
  • Chicago White Sox (7-9 APBA / 4-8 MLB): The White Sox find themselves 6 games out, they seem to be back-and-forth in the APBA world, while their MLB version looks lost altogether.
  • Kansas City Royals (4-12 APBA / 3-10 MLB): Things are just baaaaadddd in K.C!
  • Los Angeles Angels (13-4 APBA / 13-3 MLB): Spooky how similar these two versions are, the MLB version won 7 straight, while the APBA version has the longest winning streak yet during this project, a current 9-game winning streak. Shohei Ohtani has matched his MLB counterpart in the pitching department just fine, while in APBA he is lacking behind with the bat.
  • Houston Astros (12-4 APBA / 10-6 MLB): The World Champions trail the red-hot Angels by only a half-game in APBA, after a 7-1 start, they have slowed down to 5-3 during their last 8 games which matches their current MLB winning percentage.
  • Oakland Athletics (7-9 APBA / 6-10 MLB): The Athletics have been fun to play, but with youth comes inexperience... and with inexperience comes losing. 
  • Seattle Mariners (4-10 APBA / 8-5 MLB): The Mariners started off 0-6 in my project, playing .500 ball since, the team just feels flat early on.
  • Texas Rangers (4-13 APBA / 6-11 MLB): The team's pitching is playing much better in the Majors, while in APBA their pen is getting worked hard, this team's lineup also has no punch. I dread every time I have to play a series with the Rangers, because it means that the games will go longer than normal.

  • Atlanta Braves (9-7 APBA / 8-6 MLB): The Braves are a fun team to play with their youngsters in Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies & Ronald Acuna... while their bullpen is about match-ups & executing those pitching changes, otherwise they have to hope their starters go long.
  • Philadelphia Phillies (8-7 APBA / 9-5 MLB): Another young team, while competitive on both ends (hitting & pitching).
  • Washington Nationals (8-8 APBA / 7-9 MLB): Injuries have played a factor for both versions, but they seem to be playing out heavier on the MLB version, in the APBA realm this team lost a few other games that could have easily been won. 
  • New York Mets (6-9 APBA / 12-2 MLB): The APBA version is definitely not as good as the MLB version, bullpen is a major concern (lots of C's & W's)... they really could use Anthony Swarzak right now.
  • Miami Marlins (4-11 APBA / 4-11 MLB): Bad... I mean, no pitching is really hurting this team, their lineup has surprised me a little bit in the APBA world, while they played close series with the likes of the Chicago Cubs. 
  • Chicago Cubs (10-6 APBA / 7-7 MLB): This team can rack up tons of runs at any given notice, their rotation is not something to brag about, but their bullpen has the ability to bring them back into games, while closing games out.
  • Cincinnati Reds (8-8 APBA / 2-13 MLB): I am thinking that maybe the Reds should have hired me at this point, their APBA lineup has a lot of fight, which I believe is one of the differences with the record... their MLB bullpen is great (at least for now, until they get over-worked), too bad they don't have a bridge between the rotation & the pen to make it all work out for them.
  • Milwaukee Brewers (8-8 APBA / 8-8 MLB): The injuries certainly haven't helped, which is a reason that this preseason darling is happy to be at .500 at least.
  • St. Louis Cardinals (7-9 APBA / 9-7 MLB): This division is going to beat up on one-another, as evidence of these top four teams all separated by 3 games.
  • Pittsburgh Pirates (4-11 APBA / 11-4 MLB): Playing the polar-opposite of its MLB counterparts. Opened the season by getting swept by the Tigers, getting no-hit in one of those games, while scoring a total of 3 runs... while losing their recent series 2-1 to the Marlins of all teams. 

  • Colorado Rockies (11-6 APBA / 9-8 MLB): The Colorado Rockies' lineup has always been a fun one to roll with, but it is their starting pitching that is playing above-par, with their revamped bullpen that is executing. 
  • San Francisco Giants (10-6 APBA / 6-9 MLB): I started my project on March 12th, so Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija got some starts in, before their MLB-likes got hurt (hence the 10 wins); Austin Jackson, Andrew McCutchen & Evan Longoria are also playing a lot better in the APBA world vs MLB world.
  • Arizona Diamondbacks (9-6 APBA / 11-4 MLB): Zack Greinke has been truly amazing in the MLB Projections project, while Paul Goldschmidt has been quiet.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers (8-7 APBA / 5-9 MLB): The Dodgers have dealt with tons of injuries, including one of their leaders in Justin Turner.
  • San Diego Padres (5-12 APBA / 7-10 MLB): Same Padres... Same problems.

Friday, April 27, 2018

1994 Braves (61-27) Build on Huge Lead

The Atlanta Braves (61-27) have been on cruise control, and after suffering a couple speed bumps in May & June, the Braves have now won 16 of their last 18 games.

The Braves' upper management contemplated trading David Justice prior to the season and are certainly glad they had a change of heart. Justice is having a MVP season, batting .310 with 26 HR & 88 RBI with a 1.020 OPS through 86 games -- while on pace for 48 HR & 162 RBI this season.

Fred McGriff has always been a talented player, but he has been gold for the Braves. Last season, he batted .344 with 48 HR, while leading the National League with 224 hits & 142 RBI... this season, he is batting .308 with 28 HR & 73 RBI with a .992 OPS. His 6-year, $25.2 million deal ($4.2 m/per year) is proving to be a good one, he does have the option to opt out after the 1996 season.

Both Steve Avery and Roberto Hernandez have returned from the disabled list, as Avery continued where he left off, while Hernandez unfortunately lost his closing position to a red-hot Mark Wohlers; Hernandez continues to do solid relief as the 8th Inning setup man in the meantime.

Ryan Klesko (.307, 19 HR & 67 RBI) has arrived ahead of schedule, stealing time from Ron Gant, who started the season on the disabled list; Gant struggled with righties early that he now only starts against southpaws.

The Braves acquired starting pitcher Alan Benes from the Seattle Mariners to help fill in for the injured Avery & now serves as the 5th starter in the rotation; Benes is a combined 8-3 with a 4.67 ERA between the two ballclubs,

One of the other big Braves moves came prior to the season when they signed their leadoff man/CF- Tony Phillips to a 3 yr / $7.8 million deal ($2.6 m/per year). Phillips is currently batting .298 with 16 HR & 47 RBI, while he has 87 runs to go along with his .939 OPS.

The Braves currently have a 16-game lead over the 2nd Place Houston Astros, and are looking to avenge their previous playoff woes.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

2018 MLB Projection Season Highlights (Mar 30th - April 4th)

I haven't posted in awhile, but been meaning to post the 2018 MLB Projection Season highlights so far, so here they are in chronological order by date...

By the way, I play with real-life injuries & trade acquisitions while I play with custom-made cards for players like Shohei Ohtani (Angels), Gleyber Torres (Yankees) & many others...

March 29th (Opening Day)
  • The Philadelphia Phillies launch 4 solo home runs in a 4-0 victory over Atlanta; Two of those HR were by Maikel Franco.
  • The Detroit Tigers' Mikie Mahtook hits 2 HR (including a lead-off HR in the 1st) on opening day (both off of Ivan Nova) against the Pirates, as Tigers win 6-1. 
  • The Milwaukee Brewers launch 13 runs & 17 hits against the San Diego Padres, including an excellent 4-for-5 performance by right fielder Domingo Santana with 2 HR, 2B & 7 RBI. Ryan Braun, playing first base, went 2-for-5, HR, 2B & 4 RBI.
  • The New York Yankees score 5 runs in the first, including a solo HR by Aaron Judge & a three-run HR by Greg Bird; Yankees win 6-2 on 10 K's by Luis Severino.
  • Welington Castillo in his new White Sox digs, hits 2 home runs against Kansas City, leading the White Sox to a 9-6 victory.
  • The Cardinals' Carlos E. Martinez pitches five-hit complete-game shutout with 9 K's against the New York Mets, winning 5-0.
  • The Miami Marlins actually came out to play against the Cubbies, but lose a close one, 7-5. Lewis Brinson goes 2-for-2, HR, 2 RBI & 2 walks while Starlin Castro goes 3-for-5, HR, 3B & 2 RBI in their Marlins debuts.
  • Justin Turner joins a handful of other MLB players with 2 HR on opening day, helping the Dodgers defeat the Giants, 8-4. 
March 30th
  • Rafael Devers leads the charge with a 2-for-4 day that including a two-run HR, while Christian Vazquez went 3-for-4, solo HR & 2 runs, along with solo HR by Mookie Betts. Red Sox win against the Rays (7-2) on 8 K's by David Price (2 ER / 6.1 IP).
  • Shohei Ohtani allows only 3 hits & one earned run in 7.2 innings, defeating Oakland, 4-2 (Mike Trout - 2-Run HR). 
  • Bryce Harper hits two 2-Run home runs, as Washington defeats Cincinnati, 8-7; The Nationals' pen almost blown the game, allowing 4 runs (including a three-run pinch-hit HR by Patrick Kivelahan); Stephen Strasburg (WAS): 7 IP, 4 H , 2 ER, 8 K & BB.
  • Two 2-Run HRs by Todd Frazier of the Mets, as Mets win 5-1 over St. Louis.
  • The Miami Marlins blow a 6-2 lead (after 4 innings), as the Chicago Cubs rake in 7 runs during the 6th-8th innings, including 2 HRs by Kyle Schwarber & a three-run HR by Anthony Rizzo during the 7th.
  • Brandon Crawford brings his HR total to 3 (through 2 games) with 2 HR against the Los Angeles Dodgers, as the Giants win 7-1.
  • The Colorado Rockies' Kyle Freeland pitches a two-hit shutout with 7 K & 3 walks against the Arizona Diamondbacks; Charlie Blackmon: 2-Run HR. 
March 31st
  • Down 3-1 against the Minnesota Twins, the Baltimore Orioles win with Chris Davis' walk-off three-run HR off of Fernando Rodney
    • Tampa Bay wins big, 12-5 over Boston, led by Carlos Gomez (3-for-3, HR, 2B, HBP, SF, 2 runs & 3 RBI) and Mallex Smith (3-for-3, 3B, RBI, 2 runs & 2 stolen bases). 
    • Both Kyle Hendricks (Chicago Cubs) and Adam Conley (Miami Marlins) each pitches 9 innings, while collecting 10 strikeouts -- both left with 0-0 tie through 9 innings; Jason Heyward's two-run single during the top of the 15th (against the Marlins' Jarlin Garcia) leads Cubs to 2-0 victory.
    • Newly-acquired Wade Davis (Colorado Rockies) blows save & loses game as Arizona's David Peralta hits a walk-off two-run HR. 
    • The Los Angeles Dodgers' Alex Wood pitches a four-hit shutout (including 5 K & 2 walks) against the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers' three runs came off Yasiel Puig's three-run HR in the 1st Inning.

    April 1st
    • The Detroit Tigers' Francisco Liriano pitches a no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he struck out 6, while walking 4 batters; The Tigers' Mikie Mahtook hits his 3rd HR of the season (He only had 12 HR in 348 at-bats during 2017), while Tigers complete 3-game sweep of Pittsburgh.
    • The New York Yankees' CC Sabathia was brilliant with two-hit, 1 ER, complete-game victory (9-1) over the Toronto Blue Jays, completing a 4-game sweep. Didi Gregorius hits his 2nd HR of season, following a 3-for-5, HR, 2 2B & 3-RBI performance the day before, while Aaron Judge hits his 3rd HR of the season. The Yankees hit 12 HR that series.
    • The Angels' Shohei Ohtani stole 3rd base on Jonathan Lucroy of Oakland.
    • Michael Conforto (Mets) goes 3-for-3, HR, 2B, single with a BB & 3 RBI, leading the Mets to a 6-4 victory over the Cardinals.
    • The Chicago Cubs complete a hard-fought 4-game sweep of the Miami Marlins, every game was decided by 3-runs or less.

    April 2nd 
    • The Yankees' Aaron Judge hits his 4th HR of the season, while Aaron Hicks adds a two-run HR of his own, to help the Yankees win 4-2 over Tampa Bay. 
    • New San Francisco Giants veteran additions - Andrew McCutchen (2-Run HR) and Evan Longoria (3-for-4, HR, RBI) lead the Giants to a 5-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners; The Giants' Ty Blach (Grade D-RZ) pitched 6 strong innings, while allowing only 2 hits & one earned run, while striking out 5 M's. 
    • With the Boston Red Sox having numerous starting pitchers hurt, I had to turn to Brandon Workman (who has started in the past for Boston) to start against the Marlins; Workman pitches 6 innings of two-hit ball, while allowing no runs or walks, with 8 K's... winning 1-0 on a 8th Inning RBI double by Rafael Devers. The Marlins lose yet another close game, as they fall to 0-5 (all games decided by 3 runs or less).
    • Charlie Morton of the Houston Astros pitches 6 strong innings, allowing only two hits & one earned run, while striking out 7 batters. Carlos Correa's solo HR in the 3rd inning was the difference maker.
    • The Chicago Cubs outpaced the Cincinnati Reds in their series opener, 9-5. Ian Happ's 6th Inning Grand Slam capped off a 6-run inning, while the Reds' Scooter Gennett goes 4-for-5, with 3 home runs, 2B, 4 runs & 4 RBI for the day. 
    • The Washington Nationals (improving to 3-1) win in extras, due to Micheal A Taylor's two-run 11th inning homer off of Atlanta's Luke Jackson; Ryan Zimmerman went 3-for-5, HR, 2B & 3 RBI for the night.
    • The St. Louis Cardinals' Luke Weaver pitches the Cardinals' 2nd shutout already in this young season, with 4-hit performance that included 10 K & 3 BB, defeating Milwaukee 3-0.
    • The Chicago White Sox defeat the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-1 on timely hitting and a strong pitching performance from Miguel Gonzalez (8.1 IP, 4 H, ER, 7 K & 2 BB). Jose Abreu (3-for-4, HR, 2B & 3 RBI), Welington Castillo (3rd HR of the season), Tim Anderson (2-Run HR) & Nicky Delmonico (solo HR) all lead the charge at the plate -- handing the Blue Jays their 5th straight loss to start the season. 
    • The Cleveland Indians (4-0) defeat the Los Angeles Angels, 10-3. Micheal Brantley's 3-Run HR (in the 5th) & Jose Ramirez's 3-hit, 3-RBI day were the huge highlights for the tribe, while the Angels' Ian Kinsler fell a triple short of the cycle, while collecting 3 of the 4 Angels' hits.
    • The Colorado Rockies win (8-6) on back-to-back solo home runs during the top of the 10th, by catcher Chris Iannetta & pinch-hitter Gerardo ParraWade Davis collects his 1st save; 25 total hits by both teams combined. 

    April 3rd
    • The combination of Giancarlo Stanton (5th Inning Grand Slam) & Aaron Judge's 2 home runs was too much for the Rays to overcome, as the Yankees win 10-5. Judge now has 6 HR for the season in as many games, while Aaron Hicks and Adam Lind each added solo shots. 
    • The San Francisco Giants' Austin Slater (after good pinch-hitting performances) gets his first start of the season in right & takes full advantage of it -- going 4-for-5, with 2 HR, 2 doubles, 2 RBI, while scoring 4 runs. Teammate Joe Panik also collects 4 hits, to go along with 3 RBI; Giants defeat Seattle, 11-5 (on 17 hits).
    • Boston's Chris Sale pitches a spectacular one-hit shutout that included 15 strikeouts, while the Red Sox defeat the Marlins, 4-0 with help from Andrew Benintendi (2 doubles, 2 RBI) & Sandy Leon (solo HR).
    • The Toronto Blue Jays finally win in a big way, trailing 5-1 after 6 innings, the Jays rally back with 5 runs during the final three innings, capped off with Russell Martin's walk-off two-run homer in the Rogers Centre off of the Chicago White Sox' reliever Juan Minaya; Martin had 2 home runs for the day (which included 4 hits & 3 runs).
    • Justin Verlander (Houston) improves to 2-0 with 7 strong innings, allowing 3 hits, 1 run & 1 walk while striking out 10 Orioles; Houston improves to 5-1. 
    • The Chicago Cubs (5-1) lose their 1st game, losing 6-5 to the Reds. Scott Schebler of Cincy, goes 3-for-4 with HR, 2 doubles & 3 RBI. Although the Cubs lost, they did make a highlight of their own by hitting back-to-back-to-back home runs in the 2nd inning with Ian Happ, pitcher Jon Lester & Ben Zobrist
    • Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona) goes 3-for-4, with 2 HR & 6 RBI for the day, as the D-Backs edge the Dodgers, 8-5.
    • Youngster Amed Rosario went 4-for-5, HR, 3B, RBI & 2 runs in a losing cause for the New York Mets, as they lose to Philadelphia, 7-5. 
    • Jason Kipnis' 2nd HR of the day proves to be a big one, a 2-run go-ahead homer in the 10th (off of Cam Bedrosian), to give the Indians a 4-3 win; The Angels' Luis Valbuena hits solo HR during bottom of 10th with 2 outs, but the team could not tie it up. 
    • The Oakland Athletics' Kendall Graveman pitches a one-hit, 12 K shutout performance against the Texas Rangers (no-no was broken up during top of the 6th, by Robinson Chirinos with no outs); Jed Lowrie (2 doubles, 4 RBI) & Dustin Fowler (2-Run HR) helped Graveman to victory.

    April 4th
    • The Arizona Diamondbacks' Zack Greinke made a strong bid for 20 strikeouts in a game... but fell short with 17, pitching a two-hit shutout, allowing only 2 walks. Greinke had 10 K's after 5 innings & 16 K's after 7 innings at certain points. The D-Backs' Ketel Marte (0-for-17) broke out of his slump by going 4-for-5, with a HR, double & 6 RBI; Arizona wins 12-0 over the Dodgers. 
    • Mike Trout's two home runs (3 RBI) was literally the difference in a 3-0 victory of the Cleveland Indians, while Shohei Ohtani again shines with two-hit, shutout with 5 strikouts; Corey Kluber was no slouch in a losing cause, allowing only 2 hits, 1 run (but 3 walks) in 7.1 innings, that included 10 strikeouts.
    • The Tigers' Mikie Mahtook continues to surprise while hitting his 4th HR of the season (6 games in), while John Hicks has a huge day at DH, going 3-for-4, HR, 2B & 2 RBI, as the Tigers win 7-1, improving to 5-1 for the season. 
    • Michael Conforto of the New York Mets goes 3-for-4 with 2 HR, a double & 3 RBI, while Yoenis Cespedes (2-for-3, 3B, 3 RBI, BB) also provided help as the Mets defeat Philadelphia, 7-1; The Mets' starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard improved to 1-1, allowing only 4 hits & one run in 7.1 innings of work, striking out 11 batters. 
    • The Toronto Blue Jays win their series against the White Sox, 2-1, as the Jays improve to 2-5 thanks to Curtis Granderson's 6th inning Grand Slam which capped off a 6-run inning.
    • The Colorado Rockies win on a go-ahead RBI single during the top of the 10th by Nolan Arenado, defeating San Diego, 4-3; Charlie Blackmon goes 3-for-5, HR, two doubles, RBI & 3 runs. 

    Thursday, April 12, 2018

    Been Busy of Late

    Hey guys, sorry that it has been awhile. Lots of things happening in my personal life, the wife and I have both switched jobs. With the time that I have had to myself, I have been doing my 2018 MLB Projections League.

    2018 MLB Projections League

    Like I was saying, I have been doing my 2018 MLB Projections League, which is using the 2017 APBA Baseball Card Season, merged with custom-made cards on 2018 projections.... not all players have projection cards. I have made cards for prospects and rookies such as the Angels' phenom Shohei Ohtani, while making cards for guys who are projected to do significantly better or worse this season as well.

    I have made about 160 projection cards so far.

    The season itself is in series #4 with everyone, around the dates of April 9th-12th, basically Major League Baseball has caught up with me. I update players & transfer players according to real-life transactions, while I also keep players out do to real-life injuries. In-game board-game injuries, I do what's on the playing boards (not Injury index), while adding those games to the J-0, J-1, J-2, J-3 or J-4 ratings...

    For example, Runner on First and Second - Play result #38 vs Fielding 2, runner injured sliding into second -- Out for 3 games, and then add that to (let's say) J-3 rating and the player is injured for 6 games.

    I will update more on the actual season, all on the powerhouses, the early disappointments, and early surprises, and not-so-surprises. There are some guys like Mikie Mahtook and Brandon Crawford, who seem to be hitting home runs at a greater rate than their real-life HR rates, while there is some guys who are suffering huge slumps.

    More to come on the Projections league....

    1981 Detroit Tigers Replay

    On another project, I was playing the 1981 Detroit Tigers, strike will be included in which we will do the playoffs in the same way that the 1981 MLB Season was conducted. The Tigers won the A.L. East first-half season, I am on my opposite computer, so I can't dig up the exact record right now. I do know that Steve Kemp is an on-base machine for Detroit, while Lance Parrish has already exceeded his real-life 1981 HR totals.... plus Dan Petry has 10+ wins already for me, and at his current rate is making a bid for 20 wins in a strike-shortened season.

    I was also playing the Cincinnati Reds in the other league, I am only half-way through April with them & definitely trailing the Tigers' pace of play. The Reds are pretty bland at best, I picked them because they were similar to the Tigers' 1981 situation, where both teams had good competitive records, while falling short on both halves' division races. I am on the fence if I actually want to continue even playing them, I wanted to see if I can get different results on the N.L side, just like with the Tigers, the Reds' opponents records can change and create new races all together. The results would be the same with games not depending Tigers or Reds, but my Tigers actually took it to the Yankees, which created a better chance for the Tigers, but the opposite divisions' races can be effected as well, for example if the Royals beat up on my Tigers more than they actually did in real-life, it could effect their division races... so if K.C. is up +4 wins on us, that's 4 more wins than their real-life outcome.

    Tournament III Results

    The results are on my other computer, which is currently having battery issues, I do know that the 1909 Detroit Tigers won the entire thing, I can't recall off the top of my head against who... but I will have more information on those results when the time comes.

    I do know that the 1909 Detroit Tigers join the 1927 New York Yankees & 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates as champions of my prior 64-game tournaments.

    I will have more on other projects in good time.

    Sunday, April 1, 2018

    My Quick A.L. West Preview

    Star Struck: Astros' young stars orbit around the championship trophy.

    A.L. WEST

    The 'R' word is one that gets tossed around every year when a team wins the world series, so true to form, it's the Houston Astros' turn to throw around the word... 'repeat'. We used it for the Kansas City Royals after 2015, the Chicago Cubs after 2016, and now the Astros.

    The difference is, the Astros may actually be able to pull off what's become a rare feat these days. Sure, no American League team has repeated since the 1998-2000 Yankees days, before that it was the 1992-1993 Blue Jays, and before that it was the 1972-1974 Athletics... now add in the extra wild card, extra games, and the chances of one team repeating seems like a tough climb.

    But this is no ordinary team, last year's 2017 Astros may actually one of the best single-season teams to have ever taken the field. I'm finding this out more and more with the APBA cards alone, before even trying to dig out facts to support my opinion. Every single player played a pivotal role in their quest for their first championship, now most (almost all) of them return in 2018.

    The team will have to go through the likely contenders in Cleveland and the New York, or should I say they will have to go through Houston? The Astros acquired Gerrit Cole to help solidify their rotation, while adding relief help in Jose Smith and Hector Rondon.

    Many of these young studs (Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa & George Springer) may actually have bigger years coming in 2018, plus add a full-season to my A.L. Cy Young favorite in Justin Verlander to the equation and you got yourself one hell of an encore.

    Back in February, Chris "The Mad Dog" Russo made remarks that the Yankees were the team to beat, Verlander quickly tweeted a response to the Mad Dog with "I can think of a reason", which sparked a little back-and-forth, check the video out below it's enjoyable....

    Below is MLB Network's reaction to the addition of Cole to the rotation.

    So it's safe to say that I sit very comfortable picking Astros to win the West.

    The Los Angeles Angels are most likely the 2nd place team in this division, are they a playoff a team is a tough question. It's easy to assume that they will definitely be better than last season, when you improve your roster with the likes of Ian Kinsler, Zack Cozart and Japanese import Shohei Ohtani... but are they really better? Most successful ballclubs have dependable pitching, the Angels don't have dependable pitching... you can't expect any of their pitchers to roll out of bed these days, without injuring their arm. If the majority of these pitchers were to stay healthy than we can start talking, that's why I think Minnesota will win the second A.L. wildcard slot, I think they have a better shot at improving this season. 

    The Angels are not dependable, simple as that... which is a damn shame considering they have the best player in all of Baseball in Mike Trout

    The Seattle Mariners will be swimming around somewhere in the middle of this division, all depending if they can maintain healthy arms as well. It's a shame that James Paxton's arm is not willing to give him a full season, as he has pitched 422 innings over a five-year stretch... good when he's out there (3.28 career ERA), but that's the catch... On top of that King Felix Hernandez has hit the wall, coming off his career worst. If Mariners' rotation can find a way to stay healthy, this they can then hand over a lead to a very interesting bullpen that has many different skill types, which can be a manager's dream; Plenty of good arms, but hopefully they don't get overworked due to bad starting pitching. 

    If the Mariners are in the thick of the post-season race come later July, don't be surprised to see GM Jerry Dipoto to wheel-and-deal for some starting pitching.

    The Oakland Athletics may be on the verge of surprising once-again, it usually turns on like a light-switch, no one saw the 2012 Athletics happening until it was actually happening. Over the past couple seasons, Billy Beane has been working at it again... tell me if you have heard this one before, a young rotation (led by Sean Manaea & Kendall Graveman) with strong bullpen arms led by a handful of prospects (Matt Chapman, Matt Olson & Dustin Fowler), led by a couple veteran mainstays (Jed Lowrie & Matt Joyce). They need some more seasoning, but don't be completely shocked if they are sniffing the wild card picture come August.... chances are they are still a year-or-two away.

    Khris Davis, one of the leaders on Oakland's roster.

    The Texas Rangers will definitely be in last place this season, they have players like Nomar Mazara, Willie Calhoun & Joey Gallo on the rise... but their rotation is anchored by Cole Hamels (past his peak), leading a rag tag of once-talented arms or recently-healed arms in Doug Fister, Matt Moore, Mike Minor & Bartolo Colon.

    The team's farm system has no immediate help, while the Rangers appear to be in transition. They may be preparing for the 2019 Free Agency market.

    A.L. WEST
    1. Houston
    2. Los Angeles (A)
    3. Seattle
    4. Oakland
    5. Texas

    Friday, March 30, 2018

    My Quick A.L. Central Preview


    The Cleveland Indians' amazing run came to an end when they ran into the Baby Bombers in the American League Division Series last season. They will have to clean the slate, while they make another strong attempt at a world championship.

    For the most part, much of their roster is returning, they did lose a few bullpen arms, but still should be among the league's best in that department... while the team said goodbye to team staple Carlos Santana (who signed with the Phillies). The Indians would sign 1B-Yonder Alonso to take the place of Santana.

    Cleveland needs Trevor Bauer to step up (it's a make-or-break season for him), while they need Danny Salazar to stay healthy. With the emergence of Mike Clevinger last season, I would put Clevinger in the rotation, and take advantage of Salazar's power arm in the bullpen... that would be a nasty weapon coming out of the pen to go along with Cody Allen, Andrew Miller, Dan Otero, Zack McAllister, Nick Goody & Tyler Olson.

    Jason Kipnis had an excellent spring, if he can play closer to his All-Star years rather than last year, it will make Cleveland's situation as a championship contender so much better... So for now, he stays at second while Jose Ramirez remains at third. Ramirez stepped up to another level last year, as he fell short in the A.L. MVP race.... he is personally one of my favorite players to watch.

    I am not sure about their outfield situation overall, you have Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall, who both have a difficult time staying healthy, while rising star Bradley Zimmer will be solid in center. I question if they should have added or found a healthy, outfielder with power.... we'll have to wait and see if this will be a area that they will upgrade once the trade deadline comes.

    The Tribe really have no overall holes, but I feel that overall they are not as solid as the Yankees.

    The Minnesota Twins plan to take that next step this season, they made the moves to make this progression & should have no problem making the post-season. True, they won't catch anyone by surprise this season, but they have a strong young core of players led by a few veterans to make them competitive enough to play with the big boys this fall.

    Ervin Santana may have a hard time duplicating last season, but should still have a strong season... Jose Berrios is developing nicely, and is getting closer to being ace material.  Adding Lance Lynn was a nice touch, giving the rotation more stability with adding another veteran... but don't expect him to be as good as he was during his peak in St. Louis. The team also acquired starter Jake Odorizzi from Tampa Bay.

    The bullpen added vets in Fernando Rodney and Addison Reed, to go along with youngsters Taylor Rogers and Trevor Hildenberger.

    The team has solid depth on the bench, while also having their best pitching staff in quite some time.

    The Chicago White Sox may not look like much right now, but with the army of prospects and rising stars, this team is a quiet storm a brewing. Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Carlos RodonMichael Kopech, Carson Fulmer, Dylan Cease, Reynaldo LopezEloy Jimenez among others, are going to change the losing atmosphere in Chicago, but will have to take their lumps for now.

    They did add veteran catcher Welington Castillo to help anchor the young rotation.

    The bullpen could definitely use some arms, I would say this is their obvious weakness, while other areas are starting shed some light & hope. One things for sure, plenty of players will get plenty of opportunities.

    The Detroit Tigers traded away fan favorites Justin Verlander, J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton, Alex Avila and Justin Wilson last season, for the most part, those deals brought plenty of prospects back in return. One of those prospects was Jeimer Candelario who is already winning many Tiger fans' hearts, he will be fun to watch growing.

    Good news, we still have Miguel Cabrera, he should bounce back a bit, but his dominant days may be over.

    Their off-season additions however are nothing to rave about. Spending $1.5 million on Leonys Martin was a head-scratcher, when he could have easily landed with us, under a minor league contract / non-roster invitee deal. Adding Mike Fiers was nothing more than adding a veteran arm to the rotation, it'll be extra insurance in case Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd falter again... both showed some hope in late 2017, so there is reason to be optimistic.

    Detroit needs help everywhere, but most notably the bullpen, there is Shane Greene, Joe Jimenez and practically nothing else.

    I wrote a past article a few months ago, that the Tigers would be "historically bad", but I forgot to calculate the wins they would get against Kansas City & Chicago... Those three teams will beat up on each other. For now, players like Mikie Mahtook, John Hicks, Niko Goodrum & Victor Reyes all get to place house for a bit.

    The Kansas City Royals are back in the cellar after an amazing short run, they said goodbye to Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain, while a bizarre, slow market helped the team luck out by resigning Mike Moustakas. Adding Lucas Duda and Jon Jay are productive moves, while they can hope for the good, old Alex Gordon makes a return of sorts.

    They also seem to be having bad luck with Jorge Bonifacio popped for 80-game suspension (drug use), while Salvador Perez fell down his stairs at home.

    Jorge Soler will get his at-bats this season, so it's time for this underachieving talent to finally perform or shut up.

    1. Cleveland
    2. Minnesota*
    3. Chicago (A)
    4/5 - Detroit or Kansas City
    All three teams can really be interchangeable when you think about it.

    *-Wild Card

    Thursday, March 29, 2018

    My Quick A.L. East Preview

    With a lot of time going to other projects such as my own 2017 APBA Season, and projects for the Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League, I have limited time dedicated for anything else...

    So here is my quick A.L. Preview

    A.L. EAST

    The New York Yankees made an impressive splash in 2017, their quest to once again dominate Major League Baseball came a bit early last year... or was it? Their Pythagorean record had them closer to 99 wins than the 91 wins that they generated... now add Giancarlo Stanton to the equation, plus two more later March pickups in Brandon Drury and Neil Walker, and the team is now ready to go.

    The team's lineup is an opposing nightmare to all pitchers, while their bullpen is absolutely tops, with really no weakness. Their rotation is more formidable than it has been in years, with Luis Severino emerging as an ace, while Sonny Gray will be more comfortable in the Bronx, now that he has had a chance to settle in.

    This team also has prospects coming in Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres, while you can expect them to possibly land someone like Manny Machado during next off-season. For Yankee haters, you better buckle up, it's going to be a long ride.

    The Boston Red Sox seem to be an enigma each off-season, which direction are they heading, up or down? It really all comes down to health with them, and all those answers rely on players like Dustin Pedroia, David Price, Drew Pomeranz, Chris Sale & J.D. Martinez.

    Pedroia in many ways is still the team captain, but its hard to do anything with that role, if you are never on the field. Boston would love to get Price back to his Cy Young-caliber seasons, while hoping that Sale doesn't tired down as he did last year. J.D. seem destined to land with Boston the moment he hit the free agent market, was there really any doubt? The new question is will his contract payoff? The talent is there for sure, but he has only played a full healthy season in 2015, while he averages 130 games & 482 at-bats per season since his first full season with the Tigers back in 2014.

    You gotta love the trio of outfielders of Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr & Andrew Benintendi, plus the rising star at third in Rafael Devers. Mookie had a bit of a down year, and should bounce back into the A.L. MVP talks, while Boston needs Benintendi not to be so streaky, he's capable of being more consistent & is capable of winning a future batting title.

    They should still make it as a wild card, all depending on how serious the L.A. Angels actually are.

    The Toronto Blue Jays, I believe is heading the opposite direction, they don't look better than a third place team to me. I think adding Randall Grichuk is good move, but their rotation has always been a question mark, they seem to underachieve each season, while Marcus Stroman would look dominate one day and then so-so his next outing, you expect more from an ace. If Josh Donaldson can shake off the D.L. bug, I believe he could have another legit MVP season. A lot also depends on the health of starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez.

    Buck Showalter always seems to get the best out of his Baltimore Orioles, much of their success happened without having a legit rotation, while depending strongly on their bullpen. The bullpen will start season with some hiccups with Zach Britton on the disabled list until June... They will have to depend on Brad Brach to be their closer for now.

    Adding Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner were good signings, Cobb has always been a consistent, solid control pitcher with low ERA and good WHIP, his problem has always been his health. Cashner had a good bounce-back year in lonesome Texas, and although asking for a repeat performance may be much, it's still better than what the O's have been plugging in there (the lower parts of the rotation).

    I do question the move of Manny Machado to short, with Tim Beckham moving over to third. This move seemed to have been made, due to Beckham's defense. While playing APBA for my 2017 season with 2018 acquisitions updated, through Optional Fielding, and with Machado over at short, and Beckham at third, I have already noticed that their defense is shedding runs for the opposition. 

    Seven games in, and there has already been plenty of times, that Machado would have made that double play (runners on 1st & 2nd) on dice roll 16-28... or getting that force (runners on first) at second, rather than settling on a 5-3 ground out, putting a runner at second... those situations add up to plenty of runs for the opposition. 

    I get that putting Jonathan Schoop and Machado together makes a stronger middle infield, but with more balls naturally hit to the left side and at third, you have a weaker defender at the hot corner... I think it was better the way it was, plus the pitchers need all the help they can get on defense.

    The Tampa Bay Rays made plenty of moves this off-season...for the better? Now that's the real question, I don't knock them trading Evan Longoria, but I do have to question them basically giving away Corey Dickerson for free to Pittsburgh. The move made plenty in the clubhouse, Kevin Kiermaier most noticeably, question their upper management. Trading Jake Odorizzi seemed to be good payroll-shedding trade, but then some of their depth in Jose DeLeon and Brent Honeywell fell victim to Tommy John, while Nathan Eovaldi (victim of two Tommy John injuries) will have surgery and won't be part of the rotation for at least 8 weeks from what I am reading. Their four-man rotation at the moment appears to be Chris Archer, Jake Faria, Blake Snell and Austin Pruitt; They did acquire Anthony Banda in the three-team trade that sent Steven Souza packing his bags for Arizona... so Banda could be an option.

    This team is going nowhere in 2018, but have plenty to be excited about with prospects like Willy Adames and Jake Bauers.

    A.L. EAST 
    1. New York (A)
    2. Boston*
    3. Toronto
    4. Baltimore
    5. Tampa Bay

    *-Wild Card

    Saturday, March 24, 2018

    100 Games in 2 Weeks

    So I just purchased the 2017 APBA Baseball Set, and merged it with some of my 2018 Projections cards (that I created), which features predicted projections from bounce-back guys and prospects. For example, I created cards for pitcher Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) and outfielder Ronald Acuna (Atlanta Braves). I also updated all the major trades, while using real-life injuries effecting the rosters as well.

    I started playing the season, March 10th (Saturday), two weeks ago...
    I have played 100 games since.

    Yes, you have read that correctly.

    To also put this accomplishment into stronger perspective, the following things have also happened during the last two weeks...

    • I still slept, eat, and used the restroom facilities. 
    • I went to work 5 days a week.

    • I participated in an online draft for our Boys of Summer APBA Baseball (Computer) League Draft, which took somewhere between 5 & 6 hours, with 12 rounds.
    • I went to my folks' house to celebrate my father's 61st birthday.
    • Watched about 8 hours of 'Elementary' with the wife. 
    • The wife and I, had a celebration dinner another night.
    • Plus we were intimate 5 times as well.

    So yes.... I did have time for other things as well, plus a two blog pieces.

    I will tell you more about the project in another post to come.

    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.

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