22
February

Weird Card Wednesday: 1985 Carlton Fisk

fisk1

Courtesy of Rich Selg, this 1985 Carlton Fisk card appears like your prototypical slugging catcher.  Until you look a little harder.

Season Totals
Split G GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1985 Totals 153 148 543 85 129 23 1 37 107 17 52 81 .238 .320 .488
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/22/2017.

 

Fisk, who had by 1985 had migrated to the Southside, is rated slow, and has plenty of power with numbers 1-1-0-0.  He doesn’t hit much else (he has a 25-9). 

But wait. What is a slow catcher who played 153 games doing with a 15-11?  Sure enough, Carlton Fisk stole a career high 17 stolen bases (he also stole 17 in 1982). 

Fisk has three 14s but can add a 61-42 HBP to the mix.  Fisk is due the 42 because of (yes) 17 hit-by-pitches. 

He also has a 14-30, a 21-30 and a 23-30 giving him three 30 result numbers in a range of six dice roll numbers on the card. 

thanks, Rich!

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21
February

Scott Fennessy: Arrietta shuts down Brewers

287px-ArrietaTonight’s game is the first in a three game set with the lowly Brewers. Former Cub Matt Garza faces Jake Arrieta in what looks like a lopsided matchup.

The Brewers, who have really struggled offensively get a two out rally in the first. Khris Davis slips a single to right that was perfectly placed between Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro. Adam Lind then pounds a 2-2 fastball into the right field corner for an RBI double and the Brewers draw first blood. Jonathan Lucroy pops up to end the inning, but the brew crew scores first and leads 1-0.

The Cubs come right back in the bottom of the inning when Dexter Fowler hits a 2-2 offering hard that bounces off of Ryan Gennett’s chest for an error. Starlin Castro draws a walk, yes that’s right folks Castro draws a walk. Oddly enough he has been so much better than expected in this department. Anyway Rizzo hits a single into right that scores Dexter and puts Castro on third. Garza does not hold the runner on and Rizzo steals second just ahead of Lucroy’s throw. After a quick trip to the mound by the pitching coach the inning is over quickly with the score tied at one each after an inning.

Both pitchers settle in and not much happens for either team until the bottom of the fifth inning. Arrieta hits a grounder that Elian Herrera boots for a leadoff error. Fowler moves the runner over to second and he is still there with two outs. Rizzo then hits one high and deep into the right field power alley. This one hits just under the basket and takes a funny bounce and by the time the ball is back in the infield Rizzo is on third with a triple!

Garza is clearly frustrated and grooves a fastball that Kris Bryant does not miss. This one is into the left field seats for a two run bomb! The crowd is really getting into this one now and even though the inning ends quickly afterwards the Cubs now have a 3-1 lead after five innings of play.

That was the score as we headed into the bottom of the seventh inning with Garza still in but starting to tire. The visitor’s bullpen in full work mode after Castro pulls a fastball down the left field line that just stays fair for a home run. Finally, Garza digs his own grave as he walks two straight batters with two outs and the manager has no other choice to remove his starter. Adrian Houser is brought in and he walks the next batter. With the bases loaded and two outs Austin Jackson gets a hanging curve ball and mashes this one hard to center field. Shane Peterson is going back, back…… and makes a great running catch at the ivy to end the inning, but the Cubs now lead 5-1.

And that would be the final score as neither team did anything else. For the Cubs, Jake Arrieta goes the distance, and picks up his fifth win of the year and is 5-1 with a 2.94 ERA. Kris Bryant hit his 5th homer of the year, and Starlin Castro hit his second.

For the Brewers, Matt Garza pitched well, but ran out of gas. He is now 2-2 with a 4.38 ERA.

Around the horn:

Melvin Upton of the Padres leads the league in OPS at 1.200
Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers is toasting the NL with a 12.99 strikeouts per 9 innings and has been in double digits in all four of his starts this year.
Jose Altuve of the Astros leads the majors with a .421 batting average

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20
February

1975 Reds and Joe Jackson top Prairieland Tournament selection draft!

joe jacksonWho will be playing in April’s Prairieland APBA Baseball Tournament?  Well, we know now!  The Prairieland Draft selection finished in less than three days thanks to draftmaster Eric Berg.  You can see the results here at Eric’s blog Red 11

The 1975 Reds were the very first choice made by Chris Strangeman.  The second pick made by Eric Berg, was Shoeless Joe Jackson.

I was very interested to see how this draft would shape up.  I was pretty sure I was going to pick a fantasy deadball player in the first round but I was in the minority.  Only eight players out of 24 were chosen in the first round.  The others opted to choose their team and waited till the second round to pick their deadball player. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers were the most popular team from the 1970-2000 era chosen.  In order, the 1977, 1978, 1981, and 1985 LA teams were taken.  The New York Yankees were the next popular with three (1998, 1977, 2000). 

Among the fantasy deadball players, there was a mix of position players and pitchers taken.   In addition to Jackson, Walter Johnson was taken third overall followed by Napoleon Lajoie sixth overall.  It wasn’t until the 22nd and 23rd pick when deadball hotshots Wagner and Cobb were chosen.  Indeed, it shouldn’t be surprising there were plenty of deadball pitchers such as Brown, Bender, Joss, Young and Waddell to balance out some of the hitters. 

The most interesting pick?  Hurler Hod Eller was taken in the second round by none other than Bob Eller.  Any relation, Bob?

Many thanks to Eric Berg who managed the draft like a pro this weekend! We now have 24 participants! 

The Prairieland 2 APBA Baseball Tournament will take place in Champaign, Illinois on April 1.  If you are still interested, let me know by March 1 and we will fit you in! 

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18
February

Prairieland Draft Day!

It’s Prairieland’s Draft/Selection Day! 

Follow Eric Berg’s blog Red 11 for live results!!

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15
February

3 days till Prairieland selection draft!

IMG_2498-001Eric Berg is busily preparing for the Prairieland 2 tournament draft/selection process.  While the tournament itself isn’t until April 1, 23 tourney participants will begin selecting their teams and accompanying fantasy deadball players beginning this weekend in a snake-style draft.  Eric spells it all out here on his blog, Red 11.

Eric also posted a final list of participants.  If you signed up and somehow got left off, please let us know.  Once we’re set, the order will be randomized and we’ll begin this weekend.

The tourney will consist of teams from 1970-2000 but each one will have help from one fantasy deadball player which will also be chosen in the draft.  I’m curious about APBA Blog contributor Scott Fennessy’s take on this.  Scott is our deadball expert.

I assure you, he has not given me any inside info… yet (don’t hold out on me, buddy). 

Truth be told, I already have my A-list of teams and players picked out.  I generally don’t go into the team selection process with a real competitive attitude. I pick teams that are interesting to me (see last place ‘87 Cubs who I took a few tourneys back). 

Good luck in the draft process, guys!!

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14
February

Excel stats setup: Creating a dynamic team roster

I just uploaded another quick video on how I set up my stats for the Excel fans out there.  It’s a follow-up to the first one when I created player worksheets.  This video takes the data from those player worksheets from the first one and displays it all in a meaningful fashion in the form of a stats roster.

As always, watch in full-screen mode for best experience.  Those numbers are tiny!

 

 

Topics covered:

Bulk editing worksheets

You can “group” worksheets by holding Control and selecting each worksheet or hold Shift button and select the last worksheet in the range.  All edits will now affect every grouped worksheet.  Right-click and “Ungroup Sheets” when you are finished (don’t forget!)

The SUM function

Example:

=SUM(A1:A20)

will display the sum of all cells between A1 and A20

Paste Link

Rather than pasting the static text, Paste Link is dynamic and will display what is in the referenced cell even if it changes.

Here is the Excel file used in the video.

At this point in the setup, team files are ready and just need to be populated with players and stats.

The fun is just beginning.  We’ve now laid the groundwork.  Once we get some useable data, we can take it and create a league roster and get down and dirty with data.  We can then start playing with leaderboards, standings, total team stats, pretty much whatever you want.

Next time:  Putting together a League Register.

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13
February

Monster Card Monday: 1998 Juan Gonzalez

igor

Ryan Morrison recently suggested this 1998 Juan Gonzalez APBA card for Monster Monday.  Juan Gone was a big star in our Illowa APBA League.  My buddy Chuck Lucas even traded him to me but Chuck’s no dummy.  He waited just before his usefulness was about to expire.  I got one semi-decent year out of him (I remember that was the year my team had three players named Gonzalez, Juan, Luis and Alex).   

Chuck on the other hand, was able to enjoy this card.  Gonzalez played a full season in 1998, playing 154 and batting 606 times.  In that time, he blasted 45 dingers and drove home 157 runs.  Not only that, he amazingly led the league in doubles with 50. 

Igor was never much to take a pitch but in 1998 he did manage to walk 46 times a high for him up until that point. 

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1998 Totals 154 669 606 110 193 50 2 45 157 2 46 126 .318 .366 .630
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/13/2017.

 

APBA doled out only two 14s to Gonzalez but that’s probably because he had so many plate appearances.  Let’s face it, this card can hit! 

Not only does Juan have five power numbers with 1-1-5-6-6, he also has a 55-7 on top of that. 

Fun numbers:  33-5, 44-6, 55-7

It’s worth mentioning that Chuck did very well with this card in the Illowa APBA League.  Gonzalez hit 65 homeruns for him with 156 rbis.  Gonzalez’ 65 homers ranks sixth all-time and his 156 rbis ranks 12th all-time. 

Interestingly, Gonzalez did not lead the IAL in homers that year but that’s another story

thanks Ryan!!

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10
February

1966 NL replay: Making sense of two stat anomalies

main_1-Lou-Brock-1966-Topps-125-PristineAuction.com

Take some pitches, Lou

I noticed two things about my stats in my 1966 NL replay (Basic Game, actual lineups, rotations) recently that gave me a reason to pause but after investigating they were mostly vindicated.  As of now, I am just finishing up May with two more days left to play in the month. 

1)  Sandy Koufax’ arm must be falling off

Pitcher Team Innings 
Koufax, Sandy LA 96   
Veale, Bob Pit 87 1/3
Sutton, Don LA 87   
Cloninger, Tony Atl 85 1/3
Marichal, Juan SF 85   
Bunning, Jim Phi 81   
Gibson, Bob StL 81   
Osteen, Claude LA 79   
Short, Chris Phi 71 2/3
Bolin, Bobby SF 71 1/3

I was perusing my leaderboards and saw my list of pitchers with most Innings Pitched.  Yikes! Sandy Koufax already has 96 innings pitched in my replay as of May 29th.  Needless to say, he leads the league.  I thought that was inordinately high and maybe I was misusing him. Perhaps the bullpen was being ignored.

Well, I may be partially right but not as much as I thought.  Using Baseball Reference, I found out how many innings Koufax had pitched by May 29th.  It turns out he had pitched 82 1/3 innings by that point.  So while it may be time to dial it down if I want to be realistic, I am certainly not out of the ballpark. 

 

2) Do they teach bat discipline in St. Louis?

I’m almost rooting for the 1966 Cardinals in my replay.  They can’t buy a win at 11-28.  Looking over my team totals, I wonder if it’s because they can’t get on base.  In 39 games, Cardinal batters have walked only 64 times in my replay.  That’s 1.64 walks per game.  I honestly worried if I made a mistake in my stat keeping but it all checks out.  Leadoff man Lou Brock (with his one 14) is the worst offender.  Though he’s batting .320, he’s walked just once in 130 plate appearances! 

Again, checking Baseball Reference, I see that St. Louis had the least walks of any team in the NL in 1966 with 345 for the entire season.  That works out to 2.12 BB/G, a little higher than my average but not by much.  As for Brock, he walked 26 times in real life so he’ll need to learn to take some pitches to reach that mark. 

 

There are just a few more games before I hit June.  I’m planning on a big update. 

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9
February

Rod’s Replay Insider: Tracking pinch hitting

imageI’ve always wondered why MLB doesn’t focus more attention on the result of pinch hitters. These guys get paid big money to deliver in important situations, always the end of games, but they don’t get much ink or recognition.

I track pinch hitting results in my replays, simply out of curiosity. The results are always surprising. In every replay I have conducted, an obscure player emerges who consistently delivers in the clutch.

The tracking chart for tracking pinch hitters is very basic. All you have to do is make a copy for each team, pencil in the names of the hitters and pencil in each at bat, hit, etc. A little extra room is provided to accommodate those players who will be most likely to be called upon as pinch hitters.

Here is a link for a formatted pinch hitting chart that you can reproduce and incorporate into your next replay. It includes extra space to accommodate those batters who will likely be called upon to pinch hit most often.

Next: Tracking pitching winning and losing streaks

Read all of Rod’s Replay Insider articles!

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9
February

Scott Fennessy: Pirates beat Cubs, move into first place

332px-IMG_6787_Neil_WalkerThe Cubs and Pirates meet again as the Pirates look to continue their winning ways after yesterday’s solid victory. Tonight’s game sees Jay Happ against Kyle Hendricks. The Pirates jump on young Kyle instantly. Gregory Polanco, who has feasted on Chicago pitching so far this year gets a single and scores on Andrew McCutchen’s RBI double via the hit and run. McCutchen has really punished pitching so far and could be an MVP candidate at this pace.

Hendricks gets the next two hitters and the inning is over. Happ gets a perfect first inning and neither team can get much going. The Cubs had a couple of rallies in the second and third that came up short and while Pittsburgh was able to pile up a pitch count on Hendricks, were not able to do anything else until the fifth inning.

Oddly enough, it’s the light hitting pitcher Jay Happ who gets things started. Hitting a weak grounder that somehow gets between Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. One out later he is on second base when Polanco strikes again with a single up the middle and Happ scores and Polanco holds as the ball is cut by Castro. Polanco steals second base as Miguel Montero’s throw was a bit high, but Hendricks gets the next two hitters to end the rally.

Happ finally gets a bit of a hot streak as he strikes out the side in the bottom of the fifth inning, giving him four in a row. The Pirates finally take control in the top of the sixth inning. Neil Walker, who has quietly become a bit of a catalyst for the team and on first with a single when a frustrated Kyle Hendricks gives in to Pedro Alvarez who crushes a towering two run homer into the family section of the left field seats for a two run jack. Hendricks gets out of the inning, but the Pirates now have a commanding 4-0 lead at the half way point.

The Cubs look like they are going to make a game of this in the bottom half when the now resurging Dexter Fowler hits a single to right with one out and moved to second with two down. Rizzo, who has been scuffling pretty badly of late gets his second hit of the night and Fowler gives the Cubs their first run of the game. Kris Bryant walks, but is stranded and the rally dies quickly. The Cubs do keep it a bit closer though, trailing 4-1 as we head to the seventh inning.

Jason Motte comes in and does not fare well at first. McCutchen gets his second double of the game and scores on Walker’s two out single. The inning ends with the Pirates on top by four runs now 5-1.

The visitors keep the pressure mounting as the bottom of the order gets a series of singles and Jody Mercer scores on Sterling Marte’s single and the lead is now 6-1 as the inning finally ends.

The Cubs give the offense another go in the bottom of the eighth inning with one out. Fowler rips a triple into the power alley in right, and the surprisingly dependable Starlin Castro singles sharply to center field for an RBI. Rizzo walks, but Bryant whiffs to stop the rally and the Cubs are now down by four. Tommy Hunter is summoned to make his first appearance of the year, and while he struggled a bit kept the Pirates off the board for the first time in five innings and they make their last chance to come back.

Happ has been a bit wild late in the game, but the manager wants to see if he can close this one out. Miguel Montero gets a leadoff walk and was on second with two outs when Addison Russell puts a charge into a 2-2 slider and this one is gone! Into the shrubbery (how dare you say that to a woman!) for a two run homer. The manager instantly pops out of the dugout and brings in Mark Melancon, who had been warming up after Montero’s walk and he strikes out pinch hitter Javier Baez to end the game and pick up a cheap save.

For the Pirates it was all good news at the plate. Walker’s return seems to have energized the lineup and four hitters had two hits each. For Happ who gets the win it was a bit of a struggle, walking four and allowing 6 scattered hits, including Russell’s blast, but he gave the bullpen a rest and the Pirates move into first place by percentage points over the Dodgers, who have not played today.

For the Cubs, another disappointing night for the bullpen, Motte looked terrible again, and while Hunter did not get scored on, he was saved by a crucial double play. But Fowler seems locked in, and if Rizzo and Bryant can get more consistent with their hitting they could really go on a tear.

Around the horn:

Mark Trumbo of the Mariners went 4-5 with a two run homer as Seattle gets a rare win over the Rangers, 7-5.

Pitching has been a bit dominant of late. Although the Tigers lost another game late, starter Anibal Sanchez ties the record for longest no hit bid by a D pitcher at 4.1 innings. He had a perfect game broken up by Torii Hunter’s single. Torii is limping into retirement at a .216 clip.

The Angels needed every bit of Garrett Richard’s terrific evening. Richard took a no hitter into the 6th inning and allowed just two hits overall as the Angels beat the A’s 2-0. Both hits were by Steve Vogt, who has been on fire after being injured on opening day. He is hitting .353 with a pair of homers since his return.

[photo credit]

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