Saturday, December 29, 2018

Latest on Projects

Here is the latest on most (or all) my APBA, Out of the Park & DK Sports projects...

  • The APBA Tournament of Champions
The 64-team tournament, the opening rounds are set in a best-of-five series format, then becomes a best-of-seven from the Final Four onward. The tournament is not necessarily all World Championship teams, it's just the name of the tournament.

I am half-way through the first round, with 16 more opening round series to play. Once the first round is completed, I will post a tournament recap to catch things up for my readers.

  • UAL (Ultimate APBA League) / Traverse City Fighting Tigers
My Traverse City Tigers are currently at the All-Star Break, sitting at 52-28 (27-13 at home), we are currently in solid shape for the playoffs. Jose Altuve is my team leader, batting .369 with 11 HR, 59 RBI, 58 runs, 30 steals & .955 OPS for the season.

Earlier in the month, I put out a flyer for two new owners wanted for the league, I am happy to say that the league found two new owners to take over the franchises.
  • The Debut League
The Debut League is a project that I am conducting with the wonderful Out of the Park 19 game. The premise, what if every player stays on the team that they made their Major League debuts with? For example, Babe Ruth is a Red Sox player for life! I have so far finished two seasons, starting with 1920 (and then 1921). The seasons are simulated, otherwise it will take me forever to get to current time.

1922 Results to come soon...

  • 93' No Expansion League / 1996 MLB Playoffs Update
A couple years back through Out of the Park, I did the 1993 MLB Season with no expansion Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies, which also means no upcoming expansion teams in the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays.

The team that I have been running through this project are the Atlanta Braves, we are currently in the 1996 N.L. Championship Series (up 2-1) against Barry Bonds and the Montreal Expos... Yes, Barry Bonds signed a huge deal with the Expos, I know, right?!

  • The Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League (BoS)
My Traverse City Panthers fell short in the NLCS, losing 4-1 to the eventual World Champion Portland Microbrewers. For Portland, it's the 2nd World Championship for owner Brad Stark. Stark has also appeared in 4 World Series in 6 years.

Brad also did an amazing job as the new commissioner of the BoS, taking over for me.

The league prepares for the off-season, as we prepare for our 7th Season!

  • 1981 Detroit Tigers Season Replay
Currently at the half-way point for the Tigers, we won the first-half A.L. East Division title.

* * * More to come on all these projects * * *

Happy New Years to everyone from Boys of Summer, 
Many 66's for you and your families in 2019!


Friday, December 21, 2018

95' Tribe Crushes Dreams of 67' Red Sox (ATOC Update)

Over the past week in between work, the wife, and the holiday madness, I knocked out three series from my 'APBA Tournament of Champions' (ATOC) project.

  • 1967 Boston Red Sox vs 1995 Cleveland Indians
  • 1946 Boston Red Sox vs 1954 New York Giants
  • 1941 Brooklyn Dodgers vs 1999 Arizona Diamondbacks
First we will start with the 'Impossible Dream' Red Sox of 1967 facing the 1995 Indians.

In Game 1 (in Cleveland), Sandy Alomar Jr. smacks a three-run homer during the bottom of the 2nd, while three other Indians (Carlos Baerga, Kenny Lofton & Jim Thome) will later hit home runs. Red Sox starting pitcher Jim Lonborg had no control, as he walked 4, allowed 4 hits & 6 earned runs in only 4.1 innings of work. Cleveland wins 9-2.

Game 2 (also in Cleveland) - In a sense of somewhat deja vu, Sandy Alomar Jr strikes again during the bottom of the 2nd (again), this time with a grand slam. In both games, Sandy gave the Cleveland gang a 4-0 lead through 2 innings. This game would be closer, each time Boston cut the lead in half (trailing 4-2 or 6-3), Cleveland would add some insurance runs. Reggie Smith's two-run home run during the top of the 9th, to suddenly make it only a Cleveland 7-5 lead with one out, made the Indians call for closer Jose Mesa. Indians hold on to 7-5 victory.

Finally back in Boston, the Red Sox have a chance to win one at home & hopefully put themselves in position to make this a series. The Indians' Charles Nagy didn't have his A-Game in Game 3, in fact he didn't even have his C-Y Game (Nagy is graded a C-Y)... allowing 4 earned runs (5 runs), 8 hits & a walk in only 3.2 innings. The Red Sox' Mike Andrews hit a two-run single during the bottom of the 4th, to give Boston a 5-1 early lead. 

The latest hit for Andrews gave him 5 hits in 10 at-bats, to go along with 3 RBI.

The Red Sox kept that comfy 5-1 lead entering the top of the 7th, as Kenny Lofton's RBI single kept Indians in striking distance, trailing 5-2. Boston's reliever Dan Osinski did an excellent job at getting Boston out of the 7th inning, but not-so-much in the 8th inning. Osinski walked lead-off hitter in Albert Belle, which was followed by a two-run homer by Jim Thome. Indians suddenly trailing only 5-4, with no outs, Manny Ramirez hits a triple. Tying run on 3rd, Paul Sorrento makes Osinski pay the price as Sorrento sends it into the stands to give the tribe a 6-5 lead. The collapse would continue in the 9th as Jim Thome hits a two-run double off of Sparky Lyle, as the Indians would end up sweeping the 67' Red Sox, 3-0, while crushing their dreams.

Carl Yastrzemski, by the way, had no hits in 8 at-bats, he reached base 5 times on three walks, a hit-by-pitch & 2nd on Error. Tony Conigliaro didn't do much better, he went 1-for-8 during the first two games, and appeared to finally show up with 2 hits during his first two at-bats, until he was ejected from the game in the 4th inning of Game 3, as he was called out stealing second.

Sandy Alomar Jr ended the series 5-for-8 (.625) with 2 HR, 8 RBI, 2B & 3 runs during 2 games of action. The Indians gave Alomar the day off in Game 3, while the team had a comfortable 2-0 series lead.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

UAL All-Star Break

My Traverse City Fighting Tigers are at the midway point in the Ultimate APBA League (UAL). We are very happy with where we are sitting with a 52-28 record (27-13 at home). We entered December tied in first with a 39-21 record, while another team sat only a game back. I am in good shape for the playoffs which accepts a very generous 6 teams from each league, I would prefer 4 teams from each league, but what can I say?

My team is lead by co-captains Buster Posey and Jose Altuve.

Jose Altuve is batting .369 for the season (.424 at home), while he entered December leading the entire UAL in that category. Altuve has reached base 43% of the time, while posting a .955 OPS, he also has already stolen 30 bases. His power numbers consist of 11 HR, 24 doubles & 58 RBI with .527 slugging. He also has 58 runs.

Buster Posey's home run numbers slowed down (7 HR during first half) towards his realistic pace, at one point I believe he was on pace for 24 homers. Posey has only hit 1 HR in the last 25 games, while Posey's batting average has decreased from .335 to .316 as well.

Domingo Santana's home run rate is starting to get up towards his 2017 MLB rate, hitting 7 HR during the last 25 games, as he leads the Tigers with 17 long balls. Domingo already has 4 walk-off hits for the team as well.

Justin Bour's numbers have went up slightly as he is batting .273, 12 HR & 35 RBI (.859 OPS) in 49 games this season. Like Bour, many of the guys have earned more rest in first half, and will get more playing time in the second half. Bour will start 59 games in the second-half, as his games limit sits at 108 games.

Jean Segura (pictured above) has sat a good portion of his games off in the first-half, and will be in the lineup a lot more during the remainder of the season, and at the right time... Segura has been heating up, and it's going to be wonderful having him bat in front of Altuve 74 of the next 80 games. Segura is batting .308 with 6 HR, 32 RBI & .825 OPS through 51 games.

Gerardo Parra continues to underachieve, batting .242 with .275 OBP & .639 OPS... I was thinking about plugging him and Marwin Gonzalez (who took a bad December dip) in different parts of the lineup, but am afraid of messing with the chemistry of the rest of the lineup. The Traverse City Fighting Tigers are batting .278 as a team with a .776 OPS, those are strong numbers considering it's a league of 24 teams, which means the starting pitching for each team would be better than say the MLB's 30 teams... tougher pitching usually (and most often) means lower numbers in team hitting.

Back to Gonzalez, I have been batting Marwin 3rd in the lineup, and have been thinking about bring Domingo's bat up as high as 4th in the lineup, on some days Domingo is up to #4 and #5 when players like Yoenis Cespedes and Bour have off-days. Marwin had a strong 2017 MLB season, the best of his career, but after a bad December, he is batting .260 with 10 HR, 43 RBI & .731 OPS through the first half.

The pitching has overall underachieved which makes me more excited about the second-half, we can only get better right?! My starting pitchers seem to have got hurt with the long ball, Jimmy Nelson, who was supposed to be my ace has a 4.63 ERA & 13 HR allowed... yet, he somehow has won 9 games. Rich Hill, who is limited when it comes to games started and innings, has gotten no run support I believe in his outings, because he is only 3-1 (3.63 ERA) through 10 starts.

Jeff Samardzija has overall done well, he got a little beat-up in December after an excellent November, as his ERA rose back up to 4.03 from where it sat at 2.80 through 55 game-point in the season. Samardzija has a 10-4 record, while he is one of three starting pitchers on the team that's on pace for 200+ strikeouts. Yu Darvish leads the team with 108 K's, but was held to only one win in all of December, he has also given up the most home runs on the team (14), while his ERA could be better, as it sits at 4.55 for the season.

The bullpen is finally getting towards where it should be as most of the pitchers have respectable ERA's. Chris Rusin got roughed up in December, as he is the only reliever with an ERA over 4 (5.60 ERA through 24.1 innings) -- he has plenty of games and innings (61 usable innings left) to improve on these numbers.

Bryan Shaw (The 7th Inning Man) has improved over December, decreasing his ERA from 5.00 to 3.95 over the last 25 games. Andrew Miller (2.47 ERA) and Ken Giles (19 Saves, 3.28 ERA) have been more consistent of late, pitching good, while we just need to watch their innings limits the rest of the way. I plan to sit them more against weaker opponents.

Stay tuned to what should be an excellent second-half for the UAL.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Early Thoughts on Recent MLB Transactions

Seeing Red: The Cardinals land Paul Goldschmidt in a huge deal.
I really wish I had more time to do posts such as this one, posting about my thoughts on trades and making predictions for upcoming seasons. I have done great with predictions before, I stuck to my 2016 pick of the Chicago Cubs to the point in which I was rooting for them by season's end. I had a really good feeling when the Milwaukee Brewers added pieces in Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, and Jhouyls Chacin, but never posted my thoughts.

This year, I plan to be more on top of it.

So please bare with me as I try to do my best analysis on the recent MLB activity. MLB Baseball are currently having their MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas (which is always exciting), but don't expect anything to happen with the Bryce Harper and Manny Machado signings.

The St. Louis Cardinals made a huge off-season splash by acquiring Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Cardinals, in exchange for starting pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, IF Andy Young & a competitive balance round B pick.

It's going to be hard to imagine not seeing Goldschmidt suiting up for the D-Backs each day, he is easily the most accomplished homegrown position player the franchise has ever had. I think both teams did really well with this trade, I don't think the Diamondbacks would have found a better trade for a player who will be a free agent after the 2019 MLB Season.

Maybe the Cardinals find a way to extend his contract early on in the season, but I think even if they don't, they still have a good shot at resigning him. A lot of players love playing for St. Louis, their fan base is easily one of the most faithful fan bases, while the franchise is deep in tradition and history. I don't think this trade cost them too much, I think it was worth the risk, considering that they need to compete with the Chicago Cubs and now the Milwaukee Brewers.

For the Diamondbacks, this won't be the last big guy being traded from their franchise. Expect to see Zack Greinke traded no later than the All-Star Break, but I would not be shocked to see him traded before the season even starts.

Greinke takes up about a third of Arizona's payroll. It does not make sense to keep him around when you are reshuffling the deck, plus Greinke can still bring in a huge haul of prospects. Maybe the team can trade Greinke, get another up-and-coming starting piece like Weaver -- Plug that new starter with Weaver, to go along with Taijuan Walker & Robbie Ray... That will give the team a competitive upside rotation, while they rebuild their starting lineup and look for other pieces.

Cleveland trading Kluber? Atlanta would be a very nice fit.
The Cleveland Indians recently have traded catcher Yan Gomes to the Washington Nationals, while they have made it known to other MLB teams that their ace Corey Kluber and pitchers such as Trevor Bauer, coming off what appears to (finally) be a break-out year.

At first thought, I was thinking why in the world would you trade Corey Kluber? Then I realized that they play in a weak division, and that a team's goal is to win the World Series, they can trade Kluber to get these pieces for the long run, the long con to win the World Series, while still putting themselves in position to win the weak division & have a yearly shot at postseason magic. They are locked up with Carlos Carrasco, while they would have Mike Clevinger & could still keep Bauer to give them a strong top three,

The Seattle Mariners have made the most noise this off-season, but not sure what to think of all the moves as a whole, if it's good music or just more noise? So I will try to break down their individual moves, piece by piece, to give you a better idea where I may stand with their moves. The Mariners have made many moves in the past, but that has not transformed to any success which is evident with their absence from the MLB postseason, which they have not been part of since 2001... Yes, it's been 17 years-and-counting people, can you believe it?

The Mariners traded catcher Mike Zunino, along with outfielder Guillermo Heredia and minor-league pitcher Michael Plassmeyer to the Tampa Bay Rays, in exchange for outfielder Mallex Smith and minor league prospect outfielder Jake Fraley.

Zunino's bat returned to earth in 2018, hovering around his career OPS of .682 (with .669 OPS in 2018). I was never a fan of Zunino, and feel that the Mariners are getting a much-better player dynamically in Mallex Smith. Smith batted .296 with 27 doubles & leading the league with 10 triples. Mallex also had a .367 on-base percentage, while stealing 40 bases, while posting a .773 OPS in his first real-full season (141 games).

The Mariners traded often-injured James Paxton, who is coming off career-high in innings pitched (160.1) & Games Started (28) -- which his previous high marks were 136 innings and 24 starts... which are all nothing to brag about. Paxton was traded to the New York Yankees in exchange for three prospects, Erik Swanson, Dom Thompson-Williams and the highlighted prospect of the package pitcher Justus Sheffield. I really like this move by the Mariners, they get rid of payroll, while trading a player that seems to be off-the-field more than he's on-the-field.

I like the addition of catcher Omar Narvaez, who has a career on-base percentage of .366, while he is coming off a season in which he batted .275 with 9 HR & 14 doubles (.794 OPS) in 97 games. The Mariners needed a catcher to fill the void of Zunino, and there was no plans to keep reliever Alex Colome (who Narvaez was dealt for). I do like this move by the White Sox as well, who needed plenty of help in the bullpen.

So with the top three trades, I would say Mariners won out on, but I'm not sure what they were thinking in trading away shortstop Jean Segura. Segura has got to be one of the most underrated players in all of Major League Baseball, while it is also amazing that he has now been traded three times inside a 3 calendar years.

Segura was traded with veteran southpaw reliever James Pazos & garbage stats reliever Juan Nicasio, in exchange for Carlos Santana (.229, 24 HR & 86 RBI) and J.P. Crawford, who was a top prospect with the Phillies, but has not been able to put it all together yet, as he has a career .214 batting average & .692 OPS in 72 games (over two seasons). Crawford should get a shot at playing everyday, which may help his stats.

I'm not sure if this move ever needed to be made, the only thing I can think of is that the M's must see something in Crawford that they really like, while maybe hoping that Carlos Santana has a better year (more punch in the lineup) -- giving them lightning-in-a-bottle. Also if Santana does not work out, he could be a trade chip that could be dealt off to a 2019 contender for some more prospects... but trading Segura? I don't like it.

So a quick recap... Out of the 4 Mariners deals, I like 3 of them, except for the last one.

The Philadelphia Phillies are making interesting, good moves. Of course, there was Jean Segura (mentioned above in trade with Seattle). They just signed OF Andrew McCutchen to a 3-year deal worth $50 million, while they acquired  reliever Jose Alvarez from the Angels in exchange for reliever Luis Garcia. Most critics are nit-picking the McCutchen contract, but I like it, yes it's a little high, but you bring in a much-needed leader in a clubhouse of a young, up-and-coming team... plus he can still produce. I like the small deal addition of Alvarez, he has been pretty good the last two years for the Angels, and it didn't cost them. Rhys Hoskins is returning back to his natural first base position (over left field), which will help him feel more comfortable, concentrating more on the plate, which we should see better numbers.

All of these combined things above, along with an aggressive Philadelphia front office, may all be setting up a landing spot for Bryce Harper... We'll have to see, I am hoping he lands there, I think its a perfect fit. Plus Harper's numbers in Citizens Bank Park, can you imagine that?!

The Minnesota Twins signed 2B Jonathan Schoop to a one-year deal worth $7.5 million. I love this deal for both the ballclub and for Schoop. The Twins get him without breaking the bank, while Schoop can reestablish himself and one of the best young second basemen in the game, having a big year, so he can go get a bigger deal come next winter. The Twins also signed Ronald Torreyes, a jack-of-all-trades player (playing multiple positions), which he will find quality playing time, and could duplicate his 2017 outing. The Yankees had no room for Torreyes with the emergence of Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres.

The defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox resigned Nathan Eovaldi. I think it was important to bring him back, but not sure about the money that was shelled out. $17 million-a-year for a middle rotation starter is not unheard of (it's around the going-rate), but for a pitcher who has had injury concerns, this one could blow up in Boston's face. Eovaldi does have a better overall track record than the Yankees' new acquisition of Paxton, Eovaldi's career high in innings pitched for a season eclipses Paxton by almost 30 innings.... but he has only pitched a total of 235 innings over the last 3 years (missing all of 2017). Boston's upper management believes Eovaldi can repeat his 2018 2nd-half (plus postseason), while most skeptics would like to point out that Eovaldi had a 4.26 ERA with Tampa Bay (before the trade), which reflects his 4.16 career ERA. Another question that has come up, will he be used in the rotation, or be used as a starter-reliever hybrid much in the same way he was used at times late in the season. One thing is for sure, his arm will be watched closely.

The Washington Nationals signed Patrick Corbin to a 6-year deal worth $140 million (while most of the money is backloaded). My first impression right off the bat was Really?! I just didn't expect it to be such a lengthy contract, while the money is also a tad high... I was expecting a 3 to 4-year deal worth around $20 million-a-year. Corbin has stayed healthy for a good three years now, while averaging 195 innings & 32 starts over the last two seasons. Corbin easily had his best season of his career last season, going 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA, 247 strikeouts & 1.050 WHIP in 200 innings. With his 2017 season in the books, you can see why a Nationals fan is excited about Corbin joining Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. I do want to point out that his 1.050 WHIP is quite a leap from his pre-2017 career 1.348 WHIP, a repeat of that 2017 WHIP would be excellent for Nats fans, but I would expect it to be more around 1.200 at least.

I will say this, I don't think the Nationals' Corbin deal was a bad signing, it was definitely a good one, better see him land in Washington than say division rival Philadelphia or the World Series contending Yankees. The big-market L.A. Angels were also talking to Corbin prior to the signing.

Washington will have a tough top 3 in Scherzer, Strasburg & Corbin.
There is early reports (not 100% confirmed by the Tampa Bay Rays) that Charlie Morton agreed to a 2-year deal worth $30 million. I was really happy to see a small-market team like the Rays landing what I feel is a huge deal. The Rays payroll entering this off-season hovered around $32 million. The team also plans to land a middle-of-the-batting order bat, to help the team get to the next level. The team made an incredible leap by winning 90 games last season.

I was a little surprised that the Houston Astros wasn't able to sign him back to the team, considering the price.

Morton joins a rotation that's headed by 2017 A.L. Cy Young winner Blake Snell, who went 21-5, with a 1.89 ERA, 221 strikeouts & 219 ERA+ in 180.2 innings. The Rays' 3rd slot of the rotation appears to be Tyler Glasnow's to lose... Glasnow looked comfortable in a Rays' uniform as he sported a 1.096 WHIP as he cut down his walk rate (3.1 per 9 innings compared to Pirates' 5.5 rate). For now, the Rays plan to use their 'Opener Strategy' in the last two rotation slots. The team also have plenty of youth coming up in Brent Honeywell, Jose De Leon & Yonny Chirinos that could plug those spots down the road.

Those are my thoughts on the latest subjects for now, we'll see where the other pieces land which should be an exciting off-season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

UAL Looking for League Owners

The Ultimate APBA League is looking for two manager replacements. The league is a mail-in league with 24 teams -- playing with 2017 Basic APBA Game. Keeper league, yearly drafts & salary system (using real salaries with salary caps).

We are currently in our 3rd month of the December, approaching All-Star Break. Two managers abruptly left the league, need seasoned players who are looking to get into a cards league.

Game limits on position players, Innings and Games Starts limits on pitching.

Please contact commissioner Larry Wilson at

This is my first season, having a blast, Larry can answer and explain the league better than I can.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Latest on the Fighting Tigers

The UAL (Ultimate APBA League) is two months through its season, with 4 more left to go.

Of all the reported series (only missing one 5-game series), my Traverse City Fighting Tigers are 37-18 (.673 winning pct). We are waiting on one road series, while we have learned that we went 9-1 in the other two road series, which is remarkable. 

We were in a three-way tie at 19-11 entering November, and are 18-7 in the reported series for the month of November.

This is how my team's individual stars doing through 55 games.
  • Jose Altuve - .362 AVG, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 35 R, 14 2B & 17 SB (.909 OPS) with 78 hits.
  • Buster Posey - .335 AVG, 6 HR, 33 RBI, 24 R & 14 2B (.924 OPS).
  • Domingo Santana - .277, 10 HR, 33 RBI, 30 R & 19 BB (.818 OPS).
  • Justin Bour - .265 AVG, 8 HR, 29 RBI & 9 2B (.820 OPS).
  • Marwin Gonzalez - .278 AVG, 6 HR, 27 RBI & 30 R (.753 OPS)
  • Caleb Joseph - .286 AVG, 5 HR, 13 RBI & 12 R (.838 OPS) in 84 AB's.
  • Jeff Samardzija - 7-2, 2.80 ERA, 3 CG, 2 SHO, 76 K & 1.26 WHIP in 80.3 IP.
  • Yu Darvish - 7-3, 3.58 ERA, 2 CG, 2 SHO, 78 K & 1.14 WHIP in 70.3 IP.
  • Ken Giles - 1-0, 13 SV, 3.24 ERA, 19 K & 2 BB (0.54 WHIP) in 16.7 IP.
  • Andrew Miller - 0-1, 2.25 ERA, 18 K & 2 BB (1.00 WHIP) in 16 IP.
Players like Caleb Joseph, Jeff Samardzija (Grade C-XZ) & Yu Darvish (Grade C-X) are playing above-and-beyond, while Jimmy Nelson (Grade B-XZ) and reliever Bryan Shaw (Grade B-XZ) are pitching below standards. 
  • Jimmy Nelson - 6-3, 5.03 ERA, 67 K & 23 BB (1.23 WHIP) / 8 HR allowed in 62.7 IP.
  • Bryan Shaw - 3-2, 5.00 ERA, 21 K & 2 BB (1.06 WHIP) in 18 IP
  • Gerardo Parra - .252 AVG, 5 HR, 13 RBI & 15 R (.278 OBP / .676 OPS). 
We patiently wait to hear about the last remaining series, even if we get swept 5-0, we would still have a .617 winning percentage...  That's how good we have been playing.
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