Today we will be wrapping up the journal and whipping up a batch of our special sauce one final time. The ASSN Journal will then go dormant until the season is over when we will close out with our final publication which will analyze the results of our predictions.
We truly hope we did not offend anyone along the way. Our staff was torn on this point but decided to publish our annual studies for the first time because we believed the good would outweigh the bad. There are 5 reasons why we decided to publish:
1) All teams have a chance: Since our league only has 10 teams this year, we believe that all rosters have enough strengths that they could compete for a playoff spot this year. At times owners old and new get frustrated and give up too early. We believe that the league will be stronger the longer all teams are battling it out in a season. As we all saw last season after a team went 7-33, it caused major problems with stats and getting the remaining games played. We do not believe there will be any teams out of it early this season. On the other hand we do not think any teams will dominate the season like the Lyme Bees and Eliminators did last year.
2) Asian Tsunami engagement: In the Tsunamis glory years we spent much more time in preparation and building the book on teams than we did actually playing the game. The past two years (due to 3 moves and other adjustments) we have not dedicated the time to scouting. By committing to publishing the data it forced us to actually put in the time and work.
3) New Owners: there are new faces on the scene whom I hope some of our work can benefit.
4) Setting Myths Straight: There are many myths owners have adopted made over the years. Most are excuses for not winning or false explanations for why a team won that season. We hope that by showing all the factors that go into building team, these myths will be thrown out. We believe dice rolling, luck and in-game management only play small roles in the final results for the season. While certainly a factor on any given day or series, over the length of the season the main factor of success is the team roster that was built prior to and on draft day. There are exceptions to this rule of course with in-season trades being a great example. But in the end, your success for the season will come from your building of the team.
5) Successful Predictions: like anyone, our group likes to get it right. At season’s end we will take pride in proving that we predicted the results before the season.
Before we start the rankings we will mention some possible realities:
1) There may be a top-ranked team that completely falls off the rails for whatever reason and may not even make the playoffs.
2) There may be a mid-level or lower-ranked team that performs better than expected and makes the playoffs.
3) One-two teams will greatly improve with trades and make the playoffs.
4) Unexpectedly, a team may pull the plug early.
Seeds 1-3: Teams which will earn the bye:
These teams are very different. All have very strong areas but also each has opportunity areas. They grade above the next group because of their strong areas as well as some common attributes among these three organizations. These include: 1) Significant games with C +3 arms or better. 2) Well above average power in at least their starting lineups if not entire roster. 3) Strong Bullpens. 4) Cards with power at 44 or 7+ at 55. Again though, we stress that it is entirely possible one of these teams seasons will fall apart and they will be sitting at home in December. The question is “Which One”?
1) Speakers: The Speakers earned the top spot among these three due to their top-graded starting rotation. They earned the spot in the top three from building top-graded Starting Pitching, Fielding and Speed along with strong power and tough bullpen. As we stated before, the only concerns we have are the hitting and OBP factors. The Speakers did a phenomenal job building a top-ranked team this year while still holding firm on their player loyalty and youth goals. It is actually a paradox that their great success at drafting so many top quality prospects has actually slightly handcuffed their 2016 season. This team has several future all-stars that (presently in MLB or the OOTL) are not significant contributors. These players could not be cut so it limited the moves that their GM could do for this season. Overall though we believe this team is simply too good in too many areas not to make the top three. Winning in the playoffs may be more challenging without trades and they will go through some scoring droughts, but at this time you are looking at the OOTL’s top seed.
2) Asian Tsunamis: Similar to the Speakers in that they have issues in key certain areas but also in that what they are good at they are very good at. Top-graded in all offensive segments but speed combined with a strong bullpen positions them at #2 just slightly ahead of the AB’s. This team will be an unstoppable run-scoring force so we find it hard to believe they won’t win 55% of their games and grab a top seed. The key factors which could cause a train wreck are the starting rotation and challenging schedule. Trades may be needed to get this team over the top in the playoffs.
3) AB’s: A slight 3rd below the first two but overall strength in virtually all categories puts them above the next group. The key watch outs here are starting rotation and position player depth. Like the Speakers the AB’s roster includes several roster spots of future stars who are not presently impact players. Their starting lineup is better than the Speakers and almost as strong as the Tsunamis, but there is a large drop off after the first 9. Again a trade may be needed but one could argue that this team may be able to grab the championship by improving more easily than the Speakers or Tsunamis.
4-5 Playoff Teams:
The top teams here slipped into this group because of their hitting ratings, lack of a C +3 (except one team) and at least one other significant opportunity area. There is very little difference in rating between teams ranked 4-7 and we believe any of them have a very realistic chance to earn a 4-5 seed. Although it seems like every year the Asians struggle to have a strong rotation, we value strong rotations above many other factors. Therefore our picks for 4 and 5 both have A graded rotations.
4) Shooting Stars II: Top-graded rotation, bullpen and starting lineup power as well as strong OBP will drive this team to a playoff seed. Run droughts from lack of 44-7’s and no strong catching arm should prevent this team from gaining a bye, but again trades are the equalizer.
5) Bees: The last of the three great rotations combined with the best bullpen, top ranked fielding and strong power make the Bees a playoff team. Lack of 44-7’s, special numbers (power at 44/7 at 55) and a +3 or above catcher should prevent a bye. However, the Lyme Bees are presently wearing the Championship belt. And as Rick Flair said “To be the man you gotta beat the man”. Our service would not be surprised at all to see this team in the top three by the end of the season.
6) Wahoos: Mike is the guy in the shower right behind Kevin and John and across the stream from Brian, Craig and Steve. If the soap causes a slip, this team should be right there to take the slot! The Wahoo’s do have a +3 C, strong OBP, Power, Fielding and Hitting. The only downsides are surprisingly their rotation, size not quality of bullpen, and possibly the fact that they don’t grade out as best of the best in any one category, They are simply a very good team who should consider making a couple of trades to bust through the slot!
7) The Plague: Our annual head scratcher on how to evaluate. We had them as high as 3 for a while but settled in with them at 7 though they are very close to #4. The Plague are loaded with top- ranked fielding, speed and .300 hitters. Their pitching is average or slightly above but they have no power (except pretty much Goldschmidt) and well under the average number of 7’s at 44. The most important factor may be Ed. He has done more with less before. He is not afraid of aggressively moving runners even against strong arms. The new rules should play right into his wheelhouse. We believe he will probably find a way to make the playoffs, but we had to rank him at 7 because The Plague simply did not grade out as well overall as the other teams. Beware though, The Plague’s rotation gets much better in the playoffs. You do not want to play these guys then.
Don’t count these guys out. They definitely have a shot!
At least one of these teams will be in the playoff hunt come October. Write that down today. Which one? Will they make it? We don’t know that and they grade out slightly lower than the above group but all three teams have a shot.
8) Lemonheads: The strongest rotation below the mighty three, good starting lineup power, and strong fielding should keep this team in it until the end. Our biggest concern is that Bob will pull the plug too early again this year. The Lemonheads graded out better than two playoff teams last year but started their fire sale way too early. If they hang in there this year and become a buyer they may be wrestling with Mike in the shower for that coveted slot.
9) Browns: We had them ranked higher until Tony talked us out of it with his concerns over being new. We hold firm that if you are not confident you can win then you probably won’t in the OOTL. This also goes for getting pissed or frustrated. That has been a major downfall of many OOTL contenders over the years though I do not envision that affecting the Browns. Their top ranked speed matches the rule changes and their bullpen is top quality though small. Their starting lineup is also powerful which came to fruition in a recent series. A fast learning curve and a couple trades could put these guys right in the final mix.
10) Eliminators: It is hard to believe that we would ever rank this historic powerhouse 10th but we had to as they grade out lower than the others. However, a powerful starting lineup, top-graded fielding and significant speed will keep them in the mix if like the Lemonheads they do not pull the plug early. Also a lefty-dominated rotation will cause regular season issues with many opponents and playoff nightmares. This team is better than you think. The question is after last year’s monumental effort coming up just short, will the Eliminators make the play this year or sit back and wait for 2017.
BOY favorites: Mike Trout, Prince Fielder, Buster Posey, Nolan Arenado, Dee Gordon.
POY favorities: Jaime Garcia, Gerrit Cole, Jake Arrieta, Zach Grienke, Clayton Kershaw.
Draft Robberies: Steven Matz at 9th pick 1st, Jaime Garcia at 10th pick 1st. Randall Grichuk at 15th overall.
Well it is now time to say goodbye until our end-of-year report. Good luck to all and don’t give up! If you want to win this year you can. It may cost you assets or next year’s picks but all 10 teams can win this year!!