Category Archives: 2016 Seasonings

Thank You’s

Just want to say a few thank you’s, but first a big congrats to Ed for getting his name on the trophy! Great season and great job for The Plague!!!!

My thank you’s…

Brandon – thanks for putting time and effort into things like this message and this league.
Craig – thanks for hanging in there the last few seasons. You are a big part of keeping this thing together and I appreciate your passion.
Brian – thanks for all your hard work on the website and the pitching grades.
Tim – thanks for wanting to come back. One of the questions Tim asked me is if the big traveling trophy was still around. Hey, John: take a look at it. Tim’s name is on there.

I just wanted to add one more thing. At the end of the day we play this game for our own various reasons. For me this is just one of my many interests in life but it’s also one that I no longer wanna go without. And it comes down to the relationships I have with each of you. So even though I don’t always like decisions, rules, or even outcomes of my own games, I will always strive to try to do what’s right by the league.

Again, if anyone has any questions or further suggestions, just send them.

I’m ready to start going over pitchers while I anxiously await the delivery of my cards!!!

Merry Christmas, everyone and Happy New Year!!!


A Good Craftsman – Shartlesville Browns 2nd Period Stats

A good craftsman never blames his tools, but after more woeful Browns offense in the 2nd period I just placed a big order with The Browns slashed .188/.258/.321 in the 2nd making the numbers from the first (.218/.268/.367) look like they’re from the steroid era. Despite trading Kershaw and Strasburg the pitching staff held steady, even slightly lowering their ERA by a hundredth from 3.28 to 3.27.

The Browns scored 1 or no runs in 7 of the 27 games in the second period and had 3 or fewer hits in 4 games. Amazingly those were both improvements over the first period when they had 0 or 1 runs 14 times and had 3 or fewer hits 6 times. The Sharts were 6-6 in 1 run games and 1-4 in extras in the 2nd…

… and somehow despite all of this epic sucking the Sharts managed to go 13-14 in the second and sit just 3 games below .500. We’re hoping the addition of Jose Abreu and Adam Jones will help.

Manager Tony

Speakers through 36

Two 1st Period sweeps make the difference as the Speakers finish 8 over .500. To continue in the playoff hunt, the Speakers will need to improve on their two series in which they went a flat 1-3.

Although (lack of) offense is still our Achilles, those stretches seem to be less frequent this season. Management is quite pleased with our .235 team average (2nd in the league) and .395 Slg%.

We’ve stung 40 homers while surrendering 30. It’s been a long time since the Speakers averaged over 4 runs per game, but that’s where we currently sit. Opponents have scored 3.16, but many of those were timely.

The Speakers went a crushing 5-8 in one-run games, including 3 consecutive one-run losses (2 to The Plague and 1 to the surging Browns). However, shutouts (long a cold-dice bane for this team) have tilted in the Speakers’ favor so far, 5-4. (Harvey should have one in Game 3 and Severino in Game 16. I’ve updated our stats since hastily sharing them before vacation.)

Offense: Buster Posey leads the way with 38 hits (15 more taken away) while leading the regulars with a respectable .281 average and .345 OB%. Manny Machado knocked in 23, but Anthony Rizzo and Yoenis Cespedes earned 22 RBIs (all in the current top 10).

Cespedes has also found gaps with 13 doubles (tied for first in OOTL). Surprisingly, Rizzo has legged out 3 triples while sharing the lead in long balls with Machado (7 each). Rizzo leads the league in runs scored (28).

Rizzo also wins the patience in the box award with 20 walks. Cespedes has trudged back to the dugout 45 times already after striking out.

Mookie Betts has swiped 4 bases while Kolten has taken off at all the Wong times (1 in 4 attempts). We expect our 62% SBA to improve.

Machado has grounded into 6 of the team’s 24 DPs. We still have too many 24s in our lineup, but this should go hand-in-hand with SBs, since we were conservative on the base paths.

As expected, Rizzo was plunked 5 times to lead the squad. Wong leaned into one 3 times.

The Speakers lost 8 HRs, but were gifted 3. Opponents lost 13 with no gifts. Prevented walks were nearly even as the Speakers lost 19 to opponents’ 20. We lost 129 singles to 116 that we prevented.

Defense: 25 errors seems like a lot when we’re normally running 45 points onto the diamond. However, average defenders Roughned Odor and Kike Hernandez each have 3 while pitchers account for 5. OF3 Cespedes and Chris Young each have a pair of miscues.

Posey has gunned 31% of potential base stealers (18-8) while Stephen Vogt nailed Christian Yelich, the only attempt against him in limited duty.

Pitching: This will definitely black cat him, but Carlos Martinez is 5-0 while coughing up a hit per inning with a robust 4.30 ERA. Meanwhile, Chris Archer (3-1) has surrendered 55 hits and prevented 24 more. Archer also started 9 times and has finished 3 to lead the team with 67 IP.

Harvey has watched 11 pitches disappear, yet has only given up 18 total ER. He and David Price enjoy ERAs just under 3.00. Price has prevented 5 HRs while Harvey has turned back 9 potential walks.

Although the starter and pen ERAs are similar, the pen seems to leak at just the wrong times. Jeurys Familia (0-3, 4 S) has allowed a hit per inning, as have Brett Cecil, Roberto Osuna and Trevor Rosenthal.

The pen has lost nearly half of our games (3-6) with 9 saves while starters are an impressive 19-8. Leading the league in ERA was a pre-season goal that we’ve achieved through the 1st period.

Overall, we’re pleased with our current standing and look forward to starting the 2nd period soon.


ASSN Journal: The Final Anal-ysis

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.
The Rankings:
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.
Other Notes:
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!!

Relief Pitching

In this report we wind down the category analysis with Relief Pitching. Our group took a similar approach to the one used on Starting Pitching and subjectively broke all pitchers with relief innings into 4 groups based on the 5 factors of pitching. For starters with relief appearances and split grade starters we assigned a reasonable amount of potential innings.
Our ranking is then based on the chart we created. We opted against creating an index as not every team has the same number of innings available. This worked for SP’s because each team would have exactly 90 starts. Total innings was also a final factor for ranking for several teams which had either way above or below the average number of innings.
Best Bullpens:
1) Lyme Bees: earned the top spot with a solid 53 “A” innings and 177 A & B rated innings, which was the highest in those groups of any team.
2) AB’s: close behind the Bees but coming in 2nd with only 128 A&B innings.
3) Browns: definitely one of the best bullpens with the most “A” graded innings of 113. The only reason they are 3 instead of 1 is a lack of innings with only 240 overall. This represents 30 innings below average and not enough for our league unless a team had a strong A+ graded rotation.
4) Shooting Stars: the largest bullpen helped drive the “A” rating but also 107 A&B innings and no D innings helped distinguish this group from the Tsunamis and Speakers,
Solid Bullpens:
5) Tsunamis: a strong bullpen but too heavily dragged down with 55 D innings. 53-22 A innings and 13 additional overall innings gave them the nod over the Speakers
6) Speakers: 144 A&B innings made for a strong bullpen. The Speakers in hindsight were one cheater reliever from having possibly the best bullpen.
The Rest:
7) The Plague: Fell to this group with only 58 A&B innings.
8) Eliminators: Only 37 A&B innings drove this rating.
9) Lemonheads : A strong 95 A&B innings but not nearly enough innings with only 209. A strong rotation may mitigate this some, but we have to wonder what could have been for this team’s bullpen and even overall ranking if they hadn’t used so many roster spots on unusable players.
10) Wahoos: A respectable 75 A&B innings but again put in this group due to not having enough innings. 225 is not enough even in a 90-day season unless you have an A+ rotation.
Never fear though as RP trades can be the great equalizer. We have to assume that this is the planned strategy for the teams short on innings if they remain in the pennant race.
In the next edition we close out the journal with Part 10: The Final Rankings!