There were NINETEENtrades in the ASFBL last week…Jim Casey and the Astros were involved in six of them…Josh Clark and the Cardinals made 4…that’s gotta be our most active week ever, and it probably means something that both teams had winning weeks…The first-ever ASFBL Purple Heart goes to the John Weerts’ Oakland club this week…MLB gifted them with two double-headers 4 days apart, so he couldn’t even use the same starters in both games…they played 9 games this week, which will surely stand as an all-time record…finishing 4-5 in that stretch counts as a win…and that’s in the fiercely competitive AL West, where you can be fighting for 4th place with Ben Brockreide’s +3 Rangers….by the way, at our annual department awards assembly on Sunday we gave out the “Brockreide” scholarship…named after Wayne…or be the Astros, go 4-2, and lose ground to the Angels who are scorching at 5-2…Check out the ASFBL AL East, where four teams are within a half-game of first place…big week for Mark Yee’s Yankees, who are heating up, and moved into first by a half game…Baltimore is in last but all of 2 games back, and closer to first than the Astros, Braves, or Cubs, who are all in second place…and the best WOR team in the division is Boston…kudos to the Royals who had the best record in the AL Central this week…the Tigers also had a full schedule and a double-header and played 8 games…the 4-4 finish got them a full game on the division-leading Twins, and moved them into the top WOR spot in their division…Steve Skrovan is poised in second place with a talented team and +2 WOR…Did I jinx Rick Wynne or give him karma by prognosticating about him last week? He went 5-2, moved into first place in the NL West and into positive-WOR territory against a hot actual Dodger club…Colorado is only 2.5 back and has the best WOR in the west…Cardinals and Cubs marched lockstep at 4-2 in the NL central…Cardinals hold first and the Cubs have the better WOR…best in the ASFBL, in fact…Miami had the best record in the NL this week and the Phillies were 5-2…feats and failures is shorter this week…and I kinda like that…thanks to all for handling our first-ever mid-season roster cut so well! You all managed to make the week more fun!
FEATS AND FAILURES
Chris Taylor (Los Angeles) struck out 4 times (on 5/10/2022 against Pittsburgh)
Austin Hays (Baltimore) struck out 4 times (on 5/10/2022 against St. Louis)
Aaron Judge (St. Louis) struck out 4 times (on 5/10/2022 against Baltimore)
Amed Rosario (Cleveland) had 5 hits (on 5/11/2022 against Chicago (CWS))
Yuli Gurriel (Houston) hit 6 RBI (on 5/11/2022 against Minnesota)
Aristides Aquino (Cincinnati) struck out 4 times (on 5/12/2022 against Pittsburgh)
Shane McClanahan (Tampa Bay) struck out 11 batters (on 5/13/2022 against Toronto)
Shohei Ohtani (Anaheim) struck out 12 batters (on 5/14/2022 against Oakland)
The league has moved from rosters of 28 to rosters of 26…and we’ll do that next week. If you don’t want to waive anyone, you might consider trading some of your mutual problems or burning the free waivers.
As I briefly announced on email, I posted the fantasy baseball newsletter of last week on the CSU Fullerton Academic Senate website. Five of our 30 players noticed that and let me know…not one member of the 80-person Senate body seemed to notice…or they just kept quiet to so they could get more posts like that one…in my heart I want to believe that they read the thing and were impressed with Josh Mitchell and Josh Clark…
Shout out to the Diamondbacks and Reds, two teams struggling with real teams that are on the rough side this year…they both went 5-1 (best in the NL) and postured to make WOR moves….you know the NL west is a bloodbath when Rick Wynne is in 4th place…and has a .653 winning percentage…here’s betting he doesn’t finish the year 2 games under the actual club…and kudos to the Giants and Rockies who are first and second in the division and both in plus-WOR territory…Padres round out that division with a quality team…Braves are in second and Nationals are at the bottom of the NL east, but they’re the only teams in the division that aren’t tugging around negative-WOR marks…Cardinals lead the central and are +1.5 WOR, but the Cubs are dangerous in 3rd place with the best WOR in the NL (5.5)….Brewers lurk at second place with a stacked club…A 6-1 week vaulted the Rays into first place in the AL East…Boston is +4 WOR…the Yankees are the most fun ASFBL team to watch…they are competing against a really good actual club in the WOR race and have almost complete roster turnover…this was a tough week but don’t count them out…the Twins are the class of the actual AL central and lead the ASFBL, but the Guardians are +1.5 WOR and are only 2 games back…saving the best for last, the Angels went a perfect 7-0, have the best overall ASFBL record, and are 2 games up on a red-hot actual Anaheim club…and that division is nuts, as the only ASFBL division where every team is even-or-positive in the wins over reality, and hot as the Angels are they have lost ground to the Mariners who are +3 WOR to improve on the Angels +2….Houston lurks at second…Texas had winning week, is in plus WOR territory, and only 2 games out of a wildcard spot…just to gush a bit, the league has stabilized so that we only have 2 or so new owners a year, just about everyone submits a lineup every week, and trade activity stays constant…8 more trades this week…Cubs moving Suzuki was a big move (his OPS is +143 and there’s a ton of buzz around him) and that was the second trade of the week…
FEATS AND FAILURES
Zac Gallen (Arizona) struck out 14 batters (on 5/2/2022 against Miami)
Jeimer Candelario (Detroit) struck out 4 times (on 5/3/2022 against Pittsburgh)
Derek Hill (Detroit) struck out 4 times (on 5/3/2022 against Pittsburgh)
Zach Logue (Oakland) struck out 11 batters (on 5/3/2022 against Tampa Bay)
Corey Kluber (Tampa Bay) struck out 11 batters (on 5/4/2022 against Oakland)
Corbin Burnes (Milwaukee) struck out 11 batters (on 5/4/2022 against Cincinnati)
Teoscar Hernandez (Toronto) struck out 4 times (on 5/5/2022 against Cleveland)
Kyle Schwarber (Philadelphia) hit 3 homers (on 5/5/2022 against New York (NYM))
Ha-Seong Kim (San Diego) struck out 4 times (on 5/5/2022 against Miami)
Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles) struck out 11 batters (on 5/6/2022 against Chicago (CC))
Sean Murphy (Oakland) struck out 4 times (on 5/7/2022 against Minnesota)
Omar Narvaez (Milwaukee) struck out 4 times (on 5/7/2022 against Atlanta)
Kyle Wright (Atlanta) struck out 11 batters (on 5/7/2022 against Milwaukee)
Eric Lauer (Milwaukee) struck out 14 batters (on 5/7/2022 against Atlanta)
Taylor Ward (Anaheim) struck out 4 times (on 5/8/2022 against Washington)
Josh Clark’s Cardinals continue their hot streak and hold first in the Central and hold the best record in the NL…Gordon Leckie’s Cubs are nipping at their heels with 4.5 wins over the actual team and lurk 2 games back…the NL west is a battle royale, with the Padres, Giants, Rockies, and Dodgers are all within 1 game of first place, and all have winning records…Josh Mitchell holds the best record in the NL and is a game and a half ahead of the Angels….Ben Brockreide’s Rangers have the beset WOR in the division…Hugh Brown’s Bosox have the best WOR in the American League and are all of a half game in front of the Yankees…Rays and Jays re within 2 games of first…Kevin Gausman of Toronto walked 14 batters in 13 and a third innings…Aaron Judge hit 5 homers last week…for the Cardinals…Mike Trout walked 8 times…for the Brewers…Kyle Schwarber scored 8 times and knocked in 7 last week…while striking out 10 times…but had zero fantasy ejections for freaking out over third strikes…Dermis Garcia of Oakland hit .333 with 5 runs…in only 18 at-bats…top hitter of the week was Eric Hosmer of the Padres who hit .520…just in front of Xander Bogaerts of the Bosox who hit .516….Nine trades pulled off this week, with the AL West with the Astros and Oakland leading the way…when the Fullerton Flyers of the now-defunct Golden League needed a gimmick, they bought the rights to an internet personality and then traded him for a case of beer…in the ASFBL this week, Baltimore traded Trey Mancini for beer…Seth of Arizona…28 lineups this week…on a day I needed everything to go smoothly you all really came through…thanks a ton!
FEATS AND FAILURES
Jose Azocar (San Diego) struck out 4 times (on 4/26/2022 against Cincinnati)
Nick Castellanos (Philadelphia) hit 6 RBI (on 4/26/2022 against Colorado)
Bryce Harper (Philadelphia) hit 6 RBI (on 4/26/2022 against Colorado)
Alfonso Rivas (Chicago (CC)) hit 6 RBI (on 4/26/2022 against Atlanta)
Joe Ryan (Minnesota) struck out 11 batters (on 4/26/2022 against Detroit)
Carlos Rodon (San Francisco) struck out 14 batters (on 4/26/2022 against Oakland)
Tomas Nido (New York (NYM)) struck out 4 times (on 4/27/2022 against St. Louis)
Aaron Judge (St. Louis) struck out 4 times (on 4/27/2022 against New York (NYM))
Byron Buxton (Minnesota) struck out 5 times (on 4/27/2022 against Detroit)
Aristides Aquino (Cincinnati) struck out 4 times (on 4/28/2022 against San Diego)
Chris Bassitt (New York (NYY)) struck out 11 batters (on 4/28/2022 against Baltimore)
Austin Meadows (Detroit) had 5 hits (on 4/28/2022 against Minnesota)
Bobby Dalbec (Boston) struck out 4 times (on 4/28/2022 against Toronto)
Jazz Chisholm (Miami) struck out 4 times (on 4/29/2022 against Seattle)
Logan Gilbert (Seattle) struck out 11 batters (on 4/29/2022 against Miami)
Justin Steele (Chicago (CC)) struck out 11 batters (on 4/29/2022 against Milwaukee)
Trent Grisham (San Diego) struck out 4 times (on 4/30/2022 against Pittsburgh)
Seiya Suzuki (Chicago (CC)) struck out 4 times (on 4/30/2022 against Milwaukee)
Kevin Kiermaier (Tampa Bay) struck out 4 times (on 5/1/2022 against Minnesota)
Joe Ryan (Minnesota) struck out 15 batters (on 5/1/2022 against Tampa Bay)
Chris Taylor (Los Angeles) struck out 4 times (on 5/1/2022 against Detroit)
Spencer Torkelson (Detroit) struck out 4 times (on 5/1/2022 against Los Angeles)
Travis Jankowski (New York (NYM)) had 5 hits (on 5/1/2022 against Philadelphia)
Waivers have been reset and everyone should have 2 free waivers. We’ll keep the 28-player roster as long as MLB does.
FIRST WEEK PHENOM
Jose Ramirez (Houston) hit for the cycle! (on 4/23/2022 against Toronto)….great acquisition by Jim Casey in the first set of transactions of the year…
The big stories are Josh Clark’s Cardinals and Josh Mitchell’s Mariners (must be something about being named Josh) who are each 12-4 and tied for the best record in the ASFBL…Gordon Leckie’s Cubs and Steve Skrovan’s Guardians (I typed that right the first time) are holding the top 2 spots in the WOR categories…the AL East and AL Central each have ties atop the division, with the Rays and Jays each at 9-7 in the East and the Twins and Guardians each 10-6 in the middle of the country….14 trades happened before the first slate of games, and as usual Jim Casey shook everything up…there’s nobody left from the club for opposing digital fans to boo….Mark Yee’s Yankees traded 8 players off the actual roster in 2 of the first 3 trades of the season…Pavin Smith was part of two 1-for-1 trades on the same day…Skrovan matches the Astros pace with 3 trades, swapping out 8 actual Guardians…Two ASFBL pitchers have 4 wins already, McFarland of the Cardinals and Gilbert of the Mariners…which might account for the hot start of both teams…McFarland did it with an ERA of 4.12, and Logan has an ERA at .84….which is double his actual ERA of .4…Buston and Zac Collins each have 9 ASFBL homers…RIzzo leads MLB with 8 (3 of them last night)….Mike Trout is hitting .329…for Milwaukee…that sounds weird…Ji-Man Choi is hitting .375 for Alan Minsky’s Rays, and is a clear front-runner in the “major league player with a name that most sounds like a Power Ranger” sweepstakes…Hummel Cooper of the Diamondbacks has 7 homers, which would put him one behind Rizzo in the actual MLB standings and ties him for second with Aaron Judge (now of the Cardinals) in the ASFBL…he’s hitting .143 for Mark Druyos…he has 9 hits, and there are 7 homers and a double…he’s the Rob Deer of the ASFBL…I’ve been working all week to come up with a pun that involves Seth Beer (Arizona), but so far I’ve come up dry…the Leckie family gets better in late innings; the Cub (Gordie) bullpen has the best actual ERA at 1.37, and the Chisox (Leo) are 1.49…Houston is 1.45 (Jim really improved the bullpen) and Colorado (Ben Leckie) is 1.59…not one member of the Leckie family has a bullpen with an actual ERA above 2.00…and it seems strange to talk about the awesome Colorado bullpen…Awesome first week! Waiting to see how the covid DLs and travel restrictions play out with the compressed schedule…
FEATS AND FAILURES
Kyle Wright (Atlanta) struck out 12 batters (on 4/7/2022 against Cincinnati)
Hunter Renfroe (Milwaukee) struck out 4 times (on 4/8/2022 against Chicago (CC))
Jeremy Pena (Houston) struck out 4 times (on 4/8/2022 against Anaheim)
Yu Darvish (San Diego) struck out 11 batters (on 4/8/2022 against Arizona)
Maikel Franco (Washington) hit 6 RBI (on 4/9/2022 against New York (NYM))
Nathaniel Lowe (Texas) struck out 4 times (on 4/11/2022 against Colorado)
Robinson Cano (New York (NYM)) struck out 4 times (on 4/12/2022 against Philadelphia)
Chris Taylor (Los Angeles) struck out 4 times (on 4/12/2022 against Minnesota)
Jake McCarthy (Arizona) struck out 4 times (on 4/12/2022 against Houston)
Justin Verlander (Cleveland) struck out 14 batters (on 4/13/2022 against Cincinnati)
Santiago Espinal (Toronto) stole 3 bases (on 4/13/2022 against New York (NYY))
Miguel Cabrera (Detroit) struck out 4 times (on 4/14/2022 against Kansas City)
Pablo Lopez (Miami) struck out 13 batters (on 4/15/2022 against Philadelphia)
Nestor Cortes (New York (NYY)) struck out 13 batters (on 4/15/2022 against Baltimore)
Thairo Estrada (San Francisco) hit 6 RBI (on 4/15/2022 against Cleveland)
Jose Azocar (San Diego) struck out 4 times (on 4/15/2022 against Atlanta)
Adalberto Mondesi (Kansas City) stole 3 bases (on 4/16/2022 against Detroit)
Carlos Rodon (San Francisco) struck out 14 batters (on 4/16/2022 against Cleveland)
J.D. Martinez (Boston) struck out 4 times (on 4/17/2022 against Minnesota)
Thairo Estrada (San Francisco) stole 3 bases (on 4/17/2022 against Cleveland)
Kyle Wright (Atlanta) struck out 13 batters (on 4/17/2022 against San Diego)
Jacob Stallings (Miami) struck out 4 times (on 4/19/2022 against St. Louis)
Jared Walsh (Anaheim) hit 6 RBI (on 4/19/2022 against Houston)
Byron Buxton (Minnesota) struck out 4 times (on 4/19/2022 against Kansas City)
Max Fried (Atlanta) struck out 11 batters (on 4/19/2022 against Los Angeles)
Nestor Cortes (New York (NYY)) struck out 11 batters (on 4/21/2022 against Detroit)
Carlos Rodon (San Francisco) struck out 17 batters (on 4/21/2022 against New York (NYM))
Jake Marisnick (Pittsburgh) struck out 4 times (on 4/21/2022 against Chicago (CC))
Patrick Sandoval (Milwaukee) struck out 15 batters (on 4/22/2022 against Philadelphia)
Mike Zunino (Tampa Bay) struck out 4 times (on 4/22/2022 against Boston)
Garrett Cooper (Miami) struck out 5 times (on 4/22/2022 against Atlanta)
Kyle Wright (Atlanta) struck out 13 batters (on 4/22/2022 against Miami)
Chris Taylor (Los Angeles) struck out 4 times (on 4/22/2022 against San Diego)
Andrew Knizner (St. Louis) struck out 4 times (on 4/23/2022 against Cincinnati)
Jake McCarthy (Arizona) struck out 4 times (on 4/23/2022 against New York (NYM))
Eddy Alvarez (Los Angeles) struck out 4 times (on 4/23/2022 against San Diego)
Nick Solak (Texas) hit 6 RBI (on 4/24/2022 against Oakland)
Jeff McNeil (New York (NYM)) hit 6 RBI (on 4/24/2022 against Arizona)
Tyler Anderson (Los Angeles) struck out 11 batters (on 4/24/2022 against San Diego)
Kyle Gibson (Philadelphia) struck out 11 batters (on 4/24/2022 against Milwaukee)
This was a reply of last year’s series, and both owners asked me if that was an ASFBL first…the answer is that I’d have to comb over some old paper records, but it almost surely is…and a rematch isn’t a bad follow-up to a 60-game season…After scoring only a single run to lose game 1, the Braves won game two 6-5 to earn a split coming back to Atlanta. The road cooking didn’t bother the Chisox at all, who unleashed their bats to score 9 runs in game three and take a 2-1 advantage, which is larger than it feels like in a 7-game series. Inspired by the result, they went on to score 15 runs to take command, and after all that offense the final game was a 2-1 defensive duel…Rondon pitched 7 and 1/3rd scoreless innings before giving way to Liam Hendriks, and Jose Abreu provided all the offense with a 2-run homer in the second…after knocking in Ozzie Albies and advancing Jorge Soler to third the Braves had runners on second and third with one out…and Henriks struck out Contreras and Adrianza to seal the series…Chisox took the series in five, but three games were 2 runs or closer for a more competitive series than appeared in the final count.
Danny Wildes was our returning champion and has been in the league since 2006 and after three campaigns in San Diego, Four in Philadelphia, and two in Pittsburgh, he’s been the Atlanta showrunner since 2015. In that time he’s finished in the top-10 WOR spots or the playoffs in 6 of 7 seasons and in the playoffs for 4 straight years with the last two inthe world series…he’s won playoff spots with all four teams he’s managed and got to the LCS in only his second season with a middling San Diego club that he improved by 4 games….he had back-to-back 99 win seasons in 2018 and 2019 and then, of course, back-to-back World Series appearances the next two years…I’d say he has this game figured out…he shook the roster up with 10 trades this year with seven different teams, and it was his last trade on August 3rd that got him Jorge Soler from the Phillies, and it was Soler who managed to get to 3rd base in the 9th inning of the last game…great to have you around for these last 15 years, Danny, and here’s hoping you’re in a different division next year 🙂
Leo’s lifetime win percentage is a staggering 57%….out time knowing each other dates back to 1992 when we were both living in apartments in Salt Lake City…strange that we’ve both gravitated to the west coast…in 1994 he took over a sub-.500 Toronto club and was just learning about detailed baseball stats…but 1995 he was the league WOR champion and won his division in 1996 with the Padres…in 2003 he had a winning record but didn’t make the playoffs, and that was the last time he didn’t finish in the top-10 WOR or the make the playoffs…that’s a 22-year streak of finishing in the top of something…this is his second league championship with his firt coming in 2008 with the Blue Jays…he also finished with the best record in the league that year…his 103 wins this year are actually his second-best after the 106 he managed with Arizona in 2001…mostly, though, he’s the heart and soul of the ASFBL and does all the things I’m bad at, running drafts, recruiting owners, and keeping everything on track…for those of you who don’t know, Leo is also deeply committed to the wolf population in Yellowstone and has truly dedicated himself to preserving that part of our natural world…you’re a great guy to be around, Leo, and I can’t wait till we can find a way to catch our next game together.
That’s a season wrap, the 29th consecutive ASFBL season, which is older than both my kids if you add their ages together. Thanks to all of you for joining in my brain games and making this league happen. Enjoy the actual playoffs, and we’ll see you in spring training!
The Atlanta pitching was absolutely phenomenal and kept the Brewer bats from ever really getting it going…the Braves used 7 pitchers to throw 18 scoreless innings over the final two games to get the shutout…Chris Zewiske has a lifetime winning record in the ASFBL in a career that spans 20 seasons…after a single year with the Padres in 2001 he has been an NL Central mainstay with the Brewers for balance of the time…and by all accounts he’s getting better, having made the playoffs 4 of the past 5 years, and this is his second LCS appearance since 2018…he finished 15 games ahead of the actual Brewers in 2015, which put him in the top-5 WOR finishers league-wide, something he’s accomplished three times, including his second season all the way back in 2002…what I find amazing is that Chris entered law school in 2000 and joined ASFBL in 2001, so if my math is correct he was eyeballs-deep in the second year of law school when he joined, and no accolade I can heap on him here will exceed his designation as “Super Lawyer” that he received in 2020…this year he pulled off 4 different trades with 4 different teams, and the players included Phil Bickford (my wife’s former student) and Brandon Workman (the brother of my former student)….what are the odds of that?….it’s been a great couple of decades, Chris, and I hope some day you’ll be able to slide into the giant beer stein in the suit of Bernie Brewer!
Chisox in 4
Jim Casey had the absolutely best line of the post-season, pointing out that Ryan Tepera would not accuse the ASFBL Astros of sign stealing…since Jim had traded for Tepera back on July 31…”Trader Jim” pulled off 10 trades this year with 7 different teams involving 30 different players, or at least one complete major league roster, and he worked with long-timers Adam Symonds and Rick Wynne as well as newcomers in their first few seasons and even divisional rivals…Jim had an 8-year run with the Cubs from 1995-2002, took a sabbatical until 2007, and after some filler years with the Jays and Indians settled into a tour with the Giants 2009-2014 and has been with the Astros ever since…ever since he settled in with the Giants he’s made the playoffs 10 of 13 seasons and finished in the top-6 WOR spots four times…he made it to the World Series in 2010 and was the league champ in 2011, and had three consecutive 100-win seasons between 2009 and 2011…this is his third LCS appearance in the last six years…Jim joined in 1995 which looks like it was the last year of his MBA, which both means that he found time for baseball fandom in the midst of some serious coursework and that his time in the league spans to the last century…Jim’s been around fo4 26 years, and I”m already planning my writeup for your entry in the 2047 ASFBL World Series, Jim, which will be 26 years from now…
We’ll have some World Series results as soon as Leo and Danny get their lineups in…good luck to both of our World Series contenders!
Quick series recaps: The Braves overtook the upstart Cubs in 5 games…although were outscored 7-5 over the span the Bravos took 2 of the last 3 in a series that was closer than the final game count appeared…the Chisox took down the Rays 4-3, scoring 5, 6, 8 and 9 in the victories….the Rays actually had a 2-1 series lead before the White Sox bats took off…After falling behind 2 games to 1 the Brewers held the mighty Dodgers to 4 runs in 3 games to win a 4-2, come-from-behind series…in the only series to go all 7 games, the Astros outlasted the Jays…the decisive game was a 4-3 affair with the Jays scoring last but Blake Treinen pitching 2 scoreless innings to seal the series…Jays had 4 on base over the last 2 innings.
Alan Minsky adds: “we did have a four run lead in the bottom of the eighth of game six, with two outs and nobody on… in other words, we should’ve knocked out the Sox – and given how thoroughly they crushed the ‘Stros and Braves, me and my beloved ASFBL Rays are going to spend the off-season haunted by what could’ve, and should’ve, been.”
Hail to the playoff owners
In any year I type this about Rick Wynne I always feel guilty since it seems like if he didn’t win it all there’s probably something wrong with my code and not his choices…leads ASFBL all time in wins…a staggering 2,860…Leo is second, and if he had two seasons where he went 162-0 and Rick went 0-162 Leo still wouldn’t have caught up…best all-time winning percentage for any owner with more than 1 season…he has more ASFBL wins than Tony LaRussa has MLB wins…the only actual MLB owner ever with more wins was Connie Mack…Rick has a better winning percentage than Connie…the best all-time MLB win percentage is Joe MCarthy at .615 (and a paltry 2,125 career wins)…Rick sits at .625…this is his 7th straight playoff appearance…he can still say he has never had a negative WOR, and this year it took more than 106 wins to do that…not a lot of guys could take a historically good team and rise to the challenge of making them better, but Rick did…it seems like if playoffs weren’t played in 7-game chunks he’d win every year…and above all, he is a truly, truly wonderful man and the most scrupulous trade partner you will ever deal with…you make the league better by being you, Rick, and I really appreciate all you contribute.
Gordon Leckie has a lifetime win percentage about .540, and he started his ASFBL career in 1994 with a 61-101 mark….and won the league the very next year…this is his 3rd straight year in the playoffs and — get this — his 16th winning season, dating back to 2006…all of those were with Detroit and the Cubbies, so he didn’t always have much to work with…the +19 WOR this season was a personal best, and the 7th positive-WOR finish of the last 10…he’s got a fastidious attention to detail, and we’ve had conversations about the disabled list that involved what time on Monday someone got placed on the DL…he’s always quick to say something when he sees something and always quick to see when his first impression wasn’t right, which doesn’t happen nearly as often as when his first impression is spot on…it’s been a great 27 years, my friend, and I hope we have many more.
Alan Minsky is a baby in ASFBL terms, but he’s got a lifetime .562 win percentage and has made the playoffs in every non-strike shortened year…he’s eclipsed 90 wins in three years and bested the actual Rays in two of four tries…which is something, since even the Yankees couldn’t do that and they have a much larger budget…no matter how busy you think you are Alan has a little more on his plate than you do, what with a democracy to save and all…and my enduring image of Alan was sitting next to him at an Angels game as he was zooming in to a high-powered political meeting going on in Arizona…and did the thing where you video and audio mute so it looks like you’re paying attention but nobody can really tell what you’re doing…he wasn’t going to let a little thing like a political power shift interfere with a good baseball game…I hope I’m remembering this story right, but I also think that Alan once got into Fenway on an off day and took some phantom swings at home plate, standing on the same spot Babe Ruth had once swung an actual bat…Alan has a great baseball mind and is an accomplished author, thinker, and activist, and one of the guys I truly value this league for because it lets me spend more time with him.
Ok, if your email handle is “jmaclives4sports” you know where priorities lie for John MacDonald, or “Johnny Mac” in ASFBL parlance…his first season was 1999 with the Phillies, and he’s logged a total of 17 ASFBL season with the occasional break…I can only imagine what his fantasy seasons are like, but I’m glad he keeps returning, and we’ve had him in the ASFBL fold every year since 2017…he’s take the Jays to the playoffs both times he’s had them and was a back-to-back league champ in 2001…and again in 2006…eight of his last 10 seasons have had finishes in positive WOR territory, including two top-eight finishes in 2014 and 2017…this year’s win total of 98 is a personal best, higher than the 93 from 2006 when he won it all with the Rockies while finishing +17 WOR, and I think you’d have to say this has been his best season since then…so, congrats on your best season in a decade-and-a-half, enjoy the rest of the playoff games I know you’ll be watching, and let’s see you again next year!
How they match up to reality
I thought it might be fun to compare how the playoff teams did against the actual teams, so here’s the chart. The results are impressive…four ASFBL owners did better than the actual team although the season is now over…two ASFBL owners have ASFBL and MLB teams that are both still alive…one finished dead even (and maybe two, depending on the Dodger series outcome)…and two ASFBLers have already improved on the actual club and are still alive.
The Padre won the first game in a tight 2-1 battle, and that woke up the Milwaukee bats and they scored 18 runs in 3 games while never allowing more than 3…in the decisive game the Padres got the Brewer middle relief to tie the game at 3 before the Brewers scored a run and turned the game over to Josh Hader who pitched a scoreless inning for his second save of the series…Al Benedek has been in the league since the 2000 season and has a record notable for two gaps, both of which he’s come back from…the Padres are actually the 9th team he’s managed in that time…this is his second straight year in the playoffs and the fourth straight year he’s finished in the top-10 or WOR or in the playoffs…all of those were with the Padres…his +10 is his third-highest ever, behind the 16 games two years ago and +13 in 2010 with Washington…his 89 wins this year are his most since 2002….Al pulled off 4 trades this year, adding Grienke and Gurriel at the trade deadline…I can honestly say that although he’s been in the league for 21 years on and off I’ve never heard him send a negative message of pass a cross word…another great year from a really great guy, and we look forward to seeing you next year!
After dropping game one 12-4, Oakland bucked up and took a 3-2 win to even the series…the Ray bats just became overwhelming and they scored an identical 12 runs in the last two games to advance to the DCS…John Weerts is a lifetime 76 games over .500 and has been at it continuously since 2010, marking more than a decade of participation…he’s been skippering the A’s the entire time, and cleared the 90-win mark twice…he finished in the top-10 WOR every year between 2015-2017…he made me the best trade offer I had all year and I turned it down, so he’s smarter than I am…and one of my deepest regrets is that when he dropped by my office while on a business trip I missed him by 15 minutes…great having you in the league, John, and your loyalty to Oakland is recognized!
Brewers at LAD
Atlanta at Cubs
Tampa Bay at Chisox
Houston at Toronto
Owners…please get us your lineups by MONDAY NIGHT…schedule should be set and ready to go…
For reference I’ve put our rules below…basically the same as MLB except the series are longer…Braves win the NL East…Washington had an outside shot if they could have run the table while the Braves went winless, but with deference to Vin Scully the impossible did not happen…still a great year for Andy Somers and his +17 WOR is proof of that…Colorado played spoiler by taking 2 of 3 from the Nats, sealing the division for the Braves…the BIG NEWS for the league is that the impossilbe did happen in the NL central where Gordon Leckie had a 6-0 week, the Brewers stumbled, and the Cubs won the central! This would have been completely impossible had not the Pirates and the Cardinals swept the division leaders, and a real hats-off to those teams who didn’t have a lot of other things to play for, but made sure their lineups were competitive and made a difference in the division…the Dodgers finished first in the NL West…his 112 wins ties Rick Wynne for 4th all-time in the ASFBL, put him 1 short of his own personal best in 2019, and that is probably second overall in the “modern” ASFBL era of post-2001, when all the spots were filled every year and all expansion was done…and the best all-time (and probably never to be broken) is 124 wins by the Yankees in 1998…thus, the NL wildcard series goes to the Brewers and the Padres…both come in off of rough patches, but in the ASFBL that keeps your players adjusting the right direction in the playoffs…congrats to Chris Zewiske and Al Benedek for terrific seasons…there are 36 ASFBL seasons between those guys…shout out to Jeremy Moore and the Giants, who were going to have a hard time matching the real team, as the most unkind cut is always the last team out…Toronto and the Chisox each finished as division leaders in cruise control and took their divisions…Leo Leckie lead the AL in wins at 103 and was the only non-Dodger team to finish with triple-digit win totals…John Weerts made a game push in the AL west, finishing 5-1 and picking up 3 games on Houston…but needed 3 more to catch Jim Casey and the Astros, who had just enough to hold of Oakland…but if you don’t win the division, it’s always good to catch a wildcard spot, which John did…and joins Alan Minsky of the Rays in the wildcard round…Alan needed a strong-ish finish to seal the spot which he had with a 4-2 week…Anaheim, the Yankees, and Kansas City were all dark horses but none could crack .500…last-out award goes to Greg Achten of the Angels, and the +8 WOR feat was an accomplishment, especially considering that the starting outfield over the last month included two guys who weren’t even in the AAA outfield at the start of the year…and Gordie really distinguished himself in the WOR standings…as the actual Cubs went from possible contenders to rebuilders he kept the team competitive and finished tied with Hugh Brown of the Dbacks and Ben Brockreide of the Rangers at 19 wins…Washington had 7, followed by Mark Chen and the Orioles at +16 and Steve Clemmons at +13…all other double-digit leaders made the playoffs…also worthy of mention are the Royals (Mike Mendoza), Twins (Tim Walsh), and Rockies (Hugh Brown) who inherited middling teams and made them considerably better…
Brewers and Padres tie on record and the first tiebreaker is head-to-head, which goes to the Padres who won the season series 5-2…which might not matter a lot, considering they haven’t played since May 27. Here are the final WCS/DCS matchups:
Wildcard winner (MIL/SD) at LAD
Atlanta at Cubs
Wildcard winner (Oakland at Tampa Bay) at Chisox
Houston at Toronto
Lineup note: Please submit your playoff lineups by Friday Night and we’ll run the games Saturday morning. Give me until tomorrow mid-day to get the games set up.
Real-life playoff stats do not count.
ASFBL statistics will continue to accumulate through the playoffs. There will be a 2-day break between the last game of the regular season and the start of the playoffs.
There will be 2 wildcard spots in each league. The wildcard round will be 5 games and follow a 2-2-1 format with off days in between. All other rounds are 7 games following a 2-2-1-1-1 format with off days in between.
Regular season statistics will NOT be cleared and will continue to accumulate, with the exception of the over-use factors, which will be frozen at their final regular season figures. For example, a pitcher over-used at 145% on the last day of the regular season will have an over-use factor of 145% for all of the playoff games, but all other statistics will continue to accumulate.
A three man rotation may be used in the playoffs. There will be a fatigue adjustment for playing on three days’ rest.
For the World Series (and Interleague Play), the real life home and away designated hitter rule will apply. Owners whose teams are in the World Series will have two lineups: one with and one without a designated hitter.
As I write this, the actual Mariners are a half game out of the last AL wildcard spot…and I’m confused, because to win you need to score more runs than your opponent. in all of MLB, they rank 23rd in runs scores (and have famously been no-hit like three times this year), and their pitching is better but its 17th in MLB, below the league average, and 8th in the AL…when only the top 5 teams make the playoffs, being in the bottom half of both runs scored and runs allowed is a bad place to be…on average, they score 4.3 runs a game and allow 4.6…but they’ve gotten hot and won 9 of their last 10…according to their Pythagorean win-loss, they should be 74-84 and they’re actually 88-70….the baseball-reference.com website calls that 14 games of “luck”…no matter what you call it, they are winning by small amounts and losing by large amounts…the next-closest team is the Yankees at +6 over what our friend Pythagoras would predict they’d have…they are 33-18 in one-run games which is, let me check, 15 games…they are either really lucky or really clutch, but either way it’s fun to watch…and frankly, nobody is that lucky…but what’s really not fair is that ASFBL newcomer Josh Mitchell inherited a statistically impossible team…no real way to keep up with the real bunch given this weird statistical anomaly…
WOR of the Worlds
Leo’s sharp eyes noticed there was an amazing race going on here that I had been missing…Texas is all of one game up on Cubbies, who’s actual club basically called the season in July…Arizona, Baltimore, and Washington are all within 3 games of the top spot…and since this race depends both on how you do and the actual club does, every surprise win the Orioles put up as spoilers in the AL East race is a blow to Mark Chen’s chances…every loss the Diamondbacks take to the actual Giants helps Ben Leckie…and I’m not saying that its genetic, but 3 of the top 7 WOR spots go to people named “Leckie”…
Rest of the Races
Houston went up by 6 games with one week left, despite a 5-2 record by the Angels, more or less claiming the AL West title and joining Toronto and the Chisox as divisional champs…Tampa Bay looks pretty good with the top wildcard spot, but the Yankees, Angels, and A’s are in a dead tie for the last wildcard spot…Kansas City is only 2 games back and very much in the running…the Angels took 2 of 3 from those Mariners this week…Houston swept Oakland, which basically gave them the division but the Athletics are a long way from out of it…the Yankees beat Boston this week, but not with the sweep they got in real life, and Texas became everyone’s favorite spoiler by taking 2 of 3 from the Yanks while moving themselves into first place in WOR…in the NL, the Dodgers have clinched the west and the best ASFBL record, and the only question is how high on the all-time win list Rick will be able to place his club…the Nationals put together a 5-2 week but with 6 games left the best they can do is tie the Braves, making their magic number 1…the Brewers only lead the division by 4, but it would take a collapse on their part and a perfect week by the Cubbies to tie that division, which again makes the wildcard race the thing…and what a race!…the Padres lead the pack by 2 games, but the Cubs and Giants are only a game back…the Nationals have an outside shot but would need Mariner-like luck…Tatis is making a strong push for ASFBL MVP with 56 homers and 129 RBI…there is some drama over whether he could get to 60…
Feats and Failures
Austin Hays (Texas) struck out 4 times (on 9/20/2021 against New York (NYY))
Max Stassi (Anaheim) struck out 4 times (on 9/20/2021 against Houston)
Franmil Reyes (Cleveland) struck out 4 times (on 9/21/2021 against Kansas City)
Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati) struck out 4 times (on 9/21/2021 against Pittsburgh)
Gerrit Cole (Philadelphia) struck out 14 batters (on 9/21/2021 against Baltimore)
Bryan Holaday (Arizona) struck out 4 times (on 9/21/2021 against Atlanta)
Taylor Trammell (Seattle) struck out 4 times (on 9/21/2021 against Oakland)
Steven Duggar (San Francisco) struck out 4 times (on 9/21/2021 against San Diego)
Jesse Chavez (Arizona) struck out 11 batters (on 9/22/2021 against Atlanta)
Jesse Chavez (Arizona) threw a no-hitter! (on 9/22/2021 against Atlanta)
Taylor Trammell (Seattle) struck out 4 times (on 9/22/2021 against Oakland)
Chad Pinder (Oakland) struck out 4 times (on 9/23/2021 against Seattle)
Austin Hedges (Cleveland) struck out 4 times (on 9/23/2021 against Chicago (CWS))
Riley Greene (Detroit) struck out 4 times (on 9/24/2021 against Kansas City)
Chris Bassitt (Oakland) struck out 12 batters (on 9/25/2021 against Houston)
Jose Ramirez (Cleveland) struck out 4 times (on 9/25/2021 against Chicago (CWS))
Teoscar Hernandez (Toronto) struck out 4 times (on 9/25/2021 against Minnesota)
Jazz Chisholm (Miami) struck out 4 times (on 9/26/2021 against Tampa Bay)
Shane Baz (Tampa Bay) struck out 13 batters (on 9/26/2021 against Miami)
Patrick Kivlehan (Minnesota) struck out 4 times (on 9/26/2021 against Toronto)
Taylor Trammell (Seattle) struck out 4 times (on 9/26/2021 against Anaheim)