Monthly Archives: August 2017

Newsletter for games through 8-27-17

PLAYER’S WEEKEND: In the spirit of customized jerseys and strange, 1970s-Astros-looking socks, I’ve taken the liberty of personalizing some of the ASFBL team names (one week only).  If you have a personalized team name you’d like, zap me an email.

POLLS ARE CLOSED: The vote is overwhelmingly in favor of trading free waivers, pro-rating minor league stats until enough MLB time has been logged to be meaningful, and expanding rosters (all have 78% support or higher).  Vote is overwhelmingly against daily updates (100% opposed) and AAA keepers.  Other ideas that we’ll probably just do: post-deadline waiver trades that will go through unless someone claims a player within 24 hours, customized (or more specialized) bullpen roles, adding a “never bat” option for position players.  Thanks to all who voted, and a special thanks to those who sent us written comments.  Hope to make these a reality by next year!

COMMENTARY: Arizona and the Cubs had the big weeks at the top of the standings; Arizona got some space at the top of the NL West, and the Cubs gained ground on the Brewers in the central and the Dodgers in the wildcard race…Cub sweep was against the Phillies and the Reds, which is no small feat considering both are in the top 4 WOR…I just realized that Andy Somers has the same name as the guitar player for the Police…he is truly the king of (inflicting) pain with his 21 game lead….the Brewers were no slouches, either, and went 5-1….that included a sweep of the Dodgers, who are down 3 starting pitchers….on the upside, nobody is going to add a better pitcher than Clayton Kershaw going down the stretch…Braves were the class of the NL East at 4-2 last week…Cards matched that pace in the central…AL was a complete logjam with nobody going better than 4-2…Oakland was 4-2 and has quietly moved +2.5 in the WOR world…the ASFBL Rangers have agreed to swap home dates with Houston this coming week…the Boston Bernacchis had the best AL east record…they held Cleveland to 6 runs in 4 games, and then gave up 22 runs to Baltimore over the next 3…the actual Indians responded to another round of late-season pitching injuries by throwing lights-out baseball for 4 games in a row…Skrovan’s group held their opponents to 2 runs or fewer in 5 of 7 games…week finale was a shutout against the Royals…if you’ve got a chance, do visit the red cross website this week and see if there’s something you can do to help folks in Houston; in the words of AJ Hinch, the issues out there are bigger than baseball…

FEATS AND FAILURES:

Paul Goldschmidt of ARI robbed 3 hits against NYM on 8/21/2017
Chase Headley of NYY robbed 3 hits against DET on 8/22/2017
Aaron Hicks of NYY robbed 3 hits against DET on 8/22/2017
Stephen Strasburg of WAS had 12 strikeouts against HOU on 8/22/2017
Mike Zunino of SEA had 6 RBI against ATL on 8/23/2017
Rogelio Armenteros of HOU had 12 strikeouts against WAS on 8/23/2017
Josh Osich of SFG robbed 3 hits against MIL on 8/23/2017
David Hurlbut of ARI had 10 strikeouts against NYM on 8/24/2017
Jose Iglesias of DET struck out 4 times against NYY on 8/24/2017
Trey Mancini of BAL struck out 4 times against BOS on 8/25/2017
Welington Castillo of BAL had 5 hits against BOS on 8/25/2017
BAL and BOS played 13.5 innings on 8/25/2017
Didi Gregorius of NYY struck out 4 times against SEA on 8/25/2017
Evan Longoria of TBR robbed 3 hits against STL on 8/26/2017
Chris Taylor of LAD struck out 4 times against MIL on 8/26/2017
Sonny Gray of OAK had 12 strikeouts against TEX on 8/26/2017
J.A. Happ of TOR had 10 strikeouts against MIN on 8/26/2017
Stephen Strasburg of WAS had 11 strikeouts against NYM on 8/27/2017
Amed Rosario of NYM struck out 4 times against WAS on 8/27/2017
Jose Altuve of HOU robbed 3 hits against LAA on 8/27/2017
Joe Mantiply of NYY had 10 strikeouts against SEA on 8/27/2017
Alcides Escobar of SEA struck out 4 times against NYY on 8/27/2017
Gio Gonzalez of STL had 10 strikeouts against TBR on 8/27/2017

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Newsletter for games through 8/20/2017

SPEAK NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE:

Last call to submit the quick, 6-item survey.  Just let us know what you think about rules changes; more than half the owners have voted so far, but the more the better.  We’ll announce the results next week.

COMMENTARY:

Photo finish in the NL East!  The Mets roared to a 5-2 mark to pull within half a game of being 20 games behind the Nationals! The race could be in the teens by next week with just about 6 weeks to go!  On a more serious note, there is a race going on in the NL West…Leo’s Rockies pulled to within 2 games of Rick Wynne’s mightly DBacks…Power rankings show the teams pretty even, with the Rockies leading the league in batting average (they’re hitting over .300), and the DBacks with notably better defense …Skrovan’s Indians lead the league in fielding…Reds went 4-3 and are threatening the Dodgers for the last NL playoff spot…Dodgers lead the league in ERA, and they are 2nd in most homers…while they were at it, Reds also held the top spot in WOR…Zewiske’s Brew Crew still holds the NL central lead…4 games isn’t insurmountable, but it’s getting to be the time of year when it’s worth counting the notches…Hugh Brown’s Blue Jays made the big noise in the AL East with an AL-best 6-1…Boston and Baltimore moved up by inches at the top of the standings…Tigers picked up an important 2 games in the AL Central…and owe a round of drinks to Josh Clark, who’s Royals took 2 of 3 from the Indians, including an 11-10, extra-innings win in the series finale…Seattle went 5-1 in the AL west and are now serious contenders for the last wildcard spot…Texas is due for the biggest ERA correction in a positive direction…Avasail Garcia of the Chisox is on a 13-game hitting streak, longest active one in the league…longest of the season was 32 by Rendon of the Tigers…

FEATS AND FAILURES:

Matt Olson of OAK hit 3 home runs against KCR on 8/14/2017
Matt Olson of OAK had 6 RBI against KCR on 8/14/2017
Luis Severino of NYY had 11 strikeouts against NYM on 8/14/2017
Nolan Arenado of SFG had 6 RBI against MIA on 8/15/2017
Eduardo Nunez of COL had 5 hits against ATL on 8/15/2017
Wilmer Font of LAD had 10 strikeouts against CWS on 8/16/2017
J.D. Martinez of DET had 6 RBI against TEX on 8/16/2017
Jorge Polanco of MIN had 7 RBI against CLE on 8/17/2017
Rogelio Armenteros of HOU had 12 strikeouts against OAK on 8/18/2017
Rhys Hoskins of PHI had 6 RBI against SFG on 8/18/2017
Danny Salazar of CLE had 12 strikeouts against KCR on 8/18/2017
Corey Kluber of COL had 15 strikeouts against MIL on 8/18/2017
Chris Sale of BOS had 13 strikeouts against NYY on 8/20/2017
Martin Maldonado of LAA struck out 4 times against BAL on 8/20/2017
LAA and BAL played 14.5 innings on 8/20/2017
Brent Honeywell of TBR had 10 strikeouts against SEA on 8/20/2017
Mike Zunino of SEA struck out 4 times against TBR on 8/20/2017

 

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Newsletter for games through 8-13-17

MISSING MR. BALLINGALL — Here is a quick excerpt from Damien High School, where he worked for over 30 years.  It’s not complete, but it captures an awful lot about the guy.

While he is justly proud of his many accomplishments, he notes that “I am most proud of the graduates I’ve had who have returned to the coaching community.”  As the announcer for many Damien High School sporting events, during 2007, “The Voice of Damien” earned the exciting opportunity to do some stadium P.A. work announcing games for both the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Clippers where he met legends Tommy Lasorda and Vin Scully.

For those interested in knowing more about Chuck, Damien’s full memorium effort can be found here.  There is also a more complete biography, letters from school officials, and a page to see and share remembrances.

FINAL TIDBIT: The nerdiest among you might enjoy this, which is an invitation to the 1983 Glenbrook High School round robin debate tournament.  It is relevant to us for 3 reasons.  First, it shows yours truly from Brighton High School as a contestant (as a sign of how powerful we were, they mis-spelled both my name and that of my partner).  Second, it shows Chuck Ballingall coaching for Damien (no surprise).  Third, it was found by Josh Clark, longtime ASFBLer and owner of the Royals, who is now the coach at the prestigious Montgomery Bell Academy and found this last week in a storage closet in Tennessee, which is a long way from Utah, California, and Chicago.  Josh worked for Chuck for a couple of years; special thoughts going out to Josh this week.

FREAKISH WEDNESDAY.  Last week I ran the games and exchanged an email with Chuck Ballingall about the survey at 12:43.  John Weerts — who’s hand I have not yet had the pleasure of shaking but who I am digitially connected to — dropped by my office for an unexpected visit around 4pm because he was in town.  We just missed each other by 20 minutes.  By 5pm Chuck had passed away.

FANTASY VS. REALITY

AL EAST Reality: Boston has surged and taken control, but the Yankees aren’t out of it yet.  Fantasy: Baltimore has shoved themselves into first place with a +11 WOR and the Yankees are better than the actual team; this has bumped the Bosox back a notch.  The Rays, who have been scuffling, were 6-0 last week.

AL CENTRAL Reality: After some back-and-forth, Cleveland is acting like the defending champs and is 6 up on the Royals and Twins.  Fantasy: Detroit is +9.5 on the real club and nudged into first by a half game; the Chisox are roadkill in reality but +6.5 in the ASFBL.  The Tribe are hanging tough and still look like a team to beat.

AL WEST Reality: The Astros are running away with it but have been awful since the All-Star break.  Fantasy: The Astros are solidly in control and only Oakland (John Weerts) is in positive WOR territory.

AL WILDCARD  Reality: There are 6 teams within 5.5 games of each other and there’s a see-saw battle for the last playoff spot.  The Yankees are in the best spot but nobody feels comfortable with a 3-game lead.  Fantasy: The Yankees are also in the top spot, and whoever finishes second in the AL Central will have to battle with Boston for the second spot.  Seattle and Anaheim — and maybe the A’s — are within striking distance and one good run could make them contenders.

NL EAST Reality: Nobody is going to catch Washington and nobody else is going to make the playoffs.  Fantasy: Somehow, Andy Somers’ has the team more than 10 games better than the actual version despite the rest of the division being +15.5 WOR.  Was perfect this week and now leads the league in wins.  The Las Vegas Mets managed 2 wins this week but Philly (Johnny Mac) and Atlanta (Danny Wildes) are coming on strong and making WOR headway.

NL CENTRAL Reality: 3-dog race between the Cubs, Brewers, and Cards.  Fantasy: Cubs and Brewers and battling it out with the Brewers in front and the Cubs gaining a few inches this week.  The Reds (Raphael Malveaux) have vaulted into the top WOR spot in the league.

NL WEST Reality: The Dodgers are having a historic season and while Arizona and Colordao look tough they are a distant second.  Fantasy: Arizona and Colorado are +bigtime WOR and that’s pushed the Dodgers back a few spots.  Leo’s Rockies are within 5 games of first.

NL WILDCARD Reality: The Cards and Brewers aren’t out of it, but these spots seem to belong to the DBacks and Rockies.  Second place in the NL Central gets you an early vacation.  Fantasy: Colorado looks to have the top wildcard spot in hand, and the Dodgers have 68 wins; Cubs and Reds each have 62.  The loss column puts the Cubs a game closer than the Reds, and while making up 5 games in the last 6 weeks is daunting, it’s possible, and the Central runner-up has a better chance of catching a wildcard spot than the actual clubs.

QUICK REMINDER: If you haven’t taken the survey yet, please do so.  The link is in last week’s newsletter.  We have 12 responses so far, and we’d like to get more than 20.  If you have taken the survey, please don’t do so again.  The form is supposed to prevent it, but I’m sure that’s not perfect.  Best quip of the week came from Adam Symonds: “I assume you want me to vote up to 25 times a day on this one?”

FEATS AND FAILURES:

Corey Kluber of COL had 11 strikeouts against CLE on 8/8/2017
Yoenis Cespedes of NYM robbed 3 hits against TEX on 8/8/2017
Carlos Rodon of CWS had 10 strikeouts against HOU on 8/8/2017
Justin Verlander of DET had 10 strikeouts against PIT on 8/8/2017
Miguel Sano of MIN struck out 4 times against MIL on 8/8/2017
Tyler Skaggs of LAA had 15 strikeouts against BAL on 8/8/2017
Daniel Descalso of LAA struck out 4 times against BAL on 8/8/2017
Chris Archer of TBR had 11 strikeouts against BOS on 8/8/2017
Chris Sale of BOS had 17 strikeouts against TBR on 8/9/2017
Max Scherzer of WAS had 10 strikeouts against MIA on 8/9/2017
Delino DeShields of TEX had 5 hits against NYM on 8/9/2017
Ryan Zimmerman of WAS had 6 RBI against MIA on 8/10/2017
Corey Seager of LAD robbed 3 hits against ARI on 8/10/2017
Chris Taylor of LAD struck out 4 times against ARI on 8/10/2017
Mike Zunino of SEA struck out 5 times against LAA on 8/10/2017
LAA and SEA played 13.5 innings on 8/10/2017
Tanner Roark of BAL had 10 strikeouts against OAK on 8/11/2017
Kyle Finnegan of OAK had 11 strikeouts against BAL on 8/12/2017
Drew Pomeranz of BOS had 10 strikeouts against NYY on 8/12/2017
Rogelio Armenteros of HOU had 11 strikeouts against TEX on 8/13/2017

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Newsletter for games through 8-6-2017

MORE RARE THAN A NO-HITTER!  Michael Brantley of CLE hit for the cycle against BOS on 7/31/2017.  Really not that rare at all: Amed Rosario of NYM struck out 4 times against LAD on 8/4/2017

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FUTURE:

My hope is to do a major site overhaul.  Not that we aren’t all nostalgic for what websites looked like in 2003 and all, but there are new things modern sites do that would make ours better.  My hope is that this will happen by next year; the actual deploy date may be a little longer than that depending on how thoroughly I can avoid other and more professional responsibilities.

That makes this an ideal time to review some possible rule changes; please let us know your opinions by taking this 5-question, yes/no survey.  Send comments to Leo or I directly, and if you have other suggestions email is also the way to go.  We’ll run all the possible changes past everyone one more time before we do anything drastic next year.

Here are the issues:

#1: Include free waivers in trades?  This is for situations like: “I’ll trade you Hansel Robles and 2 free waivers for a AAA outfielder hitting better than .150.”  Can’t trade free waivers now, the rule change would allow you to include them.  (Obvious response, by the way, is “I’ll trade you for the 2 free waivers but you have to keep Robles.”)

#2: Can you keep one AAA player you acquire in trade?  Right now there are no keepers in the league…the rule change would allow a team to keep ONE (1) AAA player they acquired in trade for the subsequent year.  This would allow teams that are out of it to pick up an asset they could use in the future without doing too much damage to the starting rosters of the subsequent year.  Downside is that if an owner leaves the league the new owner would inherit a roster that might not include a key player.

#3: Merge AAA stats with MLB stats for callups with low appearance totals.  Say I guy has 350 at-bats in AAA and is hitting .327, gets called up and goes 0-4, and gets sent down.  Under our current rules you have a .000 hitter with 4 at-bats.  An alternative is a formula that continues to count AAA stats up to, say, 30 MLB AB or 10 MLB IP.  It would make the quick call-up less of a kiss of death, and we would still count the player against the 3-AAA player limit.

#4: MLB expands the rosters to 40 players; we could do the same thing.  It would help you reduce over-use by having larger bullpens and more players to platoon with, but would more or less render free waivers irrelevant after a while and mean nobody would get waived.

#5: Mostly a pipe dream, but update the stats daily and run the games daily.  Would obviously mean that you need to stay more involved, but would also mean that the DL would be more accurate, you’d only need to name the starter for the day, etc.  We’d probably need to automate roster moves and pitching rotations a little more so that inactive owners wouldn’t skew the results or let injured players build up on the roster.  The viability of this will depend on how well I can automate the stat updating and game running stuff.  I’m sure good programmers can do it; the question is whether I can.

The survey is here.  Please take a moment and share your thoughts!

QUICK THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS WEEK:

The top of the NL West is just frightening…and that’s not just because my tussles with the Dodgers and Rockies left me 0-6…Rob Perkins is capitalizing on the complete collapse of the actual White Sox and vaulting up the WOR standings….gotta be impressed with what Danny Wildes is doing with Atlanta…ditto Malveaux and Zewiske with very average actual clubs…don’t know about you, but I start each ASFBL results week by looking at the standings in the central divisions…Skrovan’s Indians inched forward by a game…Twins were the only team to run the table this week…Texas and San Diego had the misfortune of hitting them while they were hot…AL East is a dead tie between the Yankees and the Orioles, and Boston is a long way from out of it…they went 5-2 last week…Houston continues to pull away in the AL West and had another great week…Somers’ Nationals stayed tied with Wynne’s DBacks for most wins in the league this week…

FEATS AND FAILURES:

D.J. Baxendale of MIN had 10 strikeouts against SDP on 8/1/2017
Edwin Encarnacion of CLE had 6 RBI against BOS on 8/1/2017
Madison Bumgarner of COL had 11 strikeouts against NYM on 8/1/2017
Jimmy Nelson of MIL had 10 strikeouts against STL on 8/1/2017
Sonny Gray of OAK had 10 strikeouts against SFG on 8/1/2017
Drew Pomeranz of BOS had 10 strikeouts against CLE on 8/2/2017
Eduardo Nunez of COL had 5 hits against NYM on 8/2/2017
Willson Contreras of CHC had 5 hits against ARI on 8/2/2017
DET and NYY played 15.5 innings on 8/2/2017
Heiker Meneses of BOS struck out 4 times against CWS on 8/3/2017
CWS and BOS played 16.5 innings on 8/3/2017
ARI and CHC played 13.5 innings on 8/3/2017
Corey Kluber of COL had 15 strikeouts against NYM on 8/3/2017
Ervin Santana of MIN had 10 strikeouts against TEX on 8/3/2017
Michael Wacha of STL had 11 strikeouts against CIN on 8/4/2017
Ryan Goins of TOR struck out 4 times against HOU on 8/4/2017
Chris Sale of BOS had 10 strikeouts against CWS on 8/4/2017
Jacob Faria of TBR had 10 strikeouts against MIL on 8/4/2017
Jalen Beeks of BOS had 13 strikeouts against CWS on 8/5/2017
Todd Frazier of CWS struck out 4 times against BOS on 8/5/2017
Zack Godley of ARI had 10 strikeouts against SFG on 8/5/2017
Jimmy Nelson of MIL had 10 strikeouts against TBR on 8/6/2017
Wilmer Font of LAD had 13 strikeouts against NYM on 8/6/2017

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Newsletter for games through 7-30-17

TRADE CHAOS: 20 trades Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, the last entered at 11:41PM.  It would have been 21 with the last trade coming in at 11:59 but Andy and I each literally fell asleep at our computers.  Especially noteworthy was the work of Josh Clark, who made 4 trades involving 14 players.  Rick Wynne avoided the unlucky 13th trade curse by making a 14th trade before the deadline.  I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t at least offer Asdrubal Cabrera for Odubel Herrera just so I could keep repeating the offer out loud.

GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS: It’s kinda awesome when the rookie shortstop you are now counting on a lot (Rosario) makes his MLB debut, and you really need him to hit, and it’s a road game in Colorado.  It’s less awesome when your starting pitcher that same night is also a rookie with only 3 IP under his belt (Flexen) and he also gets to play in Colorado.  Oh well, I guess it ought to be a wash…

COMMENTARY:  The Dodgers stood pat — why not? — and had the best record in the NL West, amidst the player tornado created by the Rockie and Diamondback trade activity…all 3 teams had winning records…the highly active Cubs had the best NL record at 6-1 and pushed to within 2 games of Milwaukee, and had the only winning week in the division…Reds and Phillies continue to hold their spots at the top of the WOR standings…the Met strategy of irrational player acquisition unrelated to team need or player quality unexepectedly paid off with a winning week, although it was the Nats who moved into a tie with Rick’s DBax for most wins in the league…Yankees, Cleveland, and Seattle were all 5-1…those records gave the Yanks a crucial game on the Orioles and pushed the Indians a game ahead of the Tigers…Detroit and Baltimore were each 4-2…Seattle has the misfortune of playing in Houston’s division, but the week kept them relevant in the wildcard race…San Diego scored, in order, 4, 3, 2, and 1 run against the Mets..I love the symmetry…Baltimore took 2 of 3 games from a hot Texas team that had just finished a sweep of the Marlins…3 of the top 7 run scorers in the league play for Washington…that’s not really the on-base and speed category it once was, although Altuve is 3rd…if you saw Justin Turner and Jose Altuve walking next to each other on the street, would you think “there go 2 of the best athletes in the game?”…neither one is 6 feet tall…Antonio Senzatela of the Indians ranks 14th in the league in best control (allowing .2 walks per 9 innings), and I can honestly say I’d never even heard of him before finding that stat…which is a little weird because every other pitcher in the top 20 is very recognizable…

FEATS AND FAILURES:

James Paxton of SEA had 10 strikeouts against BOS on 7/24/2017
Hyun-Jin Ryu of BAL had 12 strikeouts against TBR on 7/24/2017
Brad Miller of TBR struck out 4 times against BAL on 7/24/2017
Danny Duffy of TOR had 11 strikeouts against OAK on 7/24/2017
Dallas Keuchel of HOU had 10 strikeouts against PHI on 7/24/2017
Matt Davidson of CWS struck out 4 times against CHC on 7/24/2017
Jedd Gyorko of STL robbed 3 hits against COL on 7/24/2017
Chris Sale of BOS had 11 strikeouts against SEA on 7/25/2017
Jacob deGrom of SEA had 11 strikeouts against BOS on 7/25/2017
Jacob Faria of TBR had 10 strikeouts against BAL on 7/25/2017
Max Scherzer of WAS had 13 strikeouts against MIL on 7/25/2017
Bryce Harper of WAS had 6 RBI against MIL on 7/25/2017
Luis Severino of NYY had 12 strikeouts against CIN on 7/25/2017
Jose Peraza of CIN struck out 4 times against NYY on 7/25/2017
Justin Smoak of TOR had 7 RBI against OAK on 7/26/2017
Carlos Martinez of WAS had 10 strikeouts against MIL on 7/26/2017
Masahiro Tanaka of SEA had 10 strikeouts against NYM on 7/28/2017
Jose Martinez of STL had 6 RBI against ARI on 7/28/2017
Caleb Joseph of BAL struck out 5 times against TEX on 7/28/2017
Shin-Soo Choo of TEX had 6 RBI against BAL on 7/28/2017
BAL and TEX played 14.5 innings on 7/28/2017
Jon Lester of CHC had 10 strikeouts against MIL on 7/28/2017
Jon Jay of CHC struck out 4 times against MIL on 7/28/2017
CHC and MIL played 15.5 innings on 7/28/2017
Tommy Pham of STL struck out 4 times against ARI on 7/29/2017
Corey Kluber of COL had 14 strikeouts against WAS on 7/29/2017
Rafael Lopez of TOR had 6 RBI against LAA on 7/29/2017
Francisco Lindor of CLE had 6 RBI against CWS on 7/30/2017
Chris Sale of BOS had 12 strikeouts against KCR on 7/30/2017
Manny Machado of BAL hit 3 home runs against TEX on 7/30/2017
Manny Machado of BAL had 7 RBI against TEX on 7/30/2017

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