Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rookie class of 2015

2015 will be an interesting year for rookies.  In addition to the prospects drafted in recent APBA drafts, each team has a full farm system stocked with new OOTP talent.  OOTP recently published their top 100 prospect list, as well as top 20 lists for each team.  Earning the #1 spot is Miami third baseman Devan Arceneaux.

A 21 year old signed out of France, Devan has a short, sweet left handed swing and the ability to hit the ball into the seats.  He's worked hard to become an average defender at third base.  Miami GM Alvin Lewis took him with the 14th pick in the 2013 draft, and claims that Arceneaux has the fabled 'strum' technique of hitting.  This is a highly efficient swing used by left handed hitters such as hall of famers Shockwave and Lewis Solo Jr.  Devan has the 3rd base job all to himself after Brandon Cohen left as a free agent.

Byron Jones was also taken in that draft, by Chicago as the 4th overall pick.  Jones will take over in center field for the Winds.  Jones, 21, is a wiry strong 5 tool talent.  At present his most advanced tools are plus range in the field.  He shows an advanced feel for hitting.  His power will be the last to arrive, but as he matures should develop enough power to hit 20 homers per season.

Erick Reinfelder will join the defending champion Utes.  At 24, he has less room for development.  He was the 15th pick in the 2014 draft, has both power and speed, and is a tremendous defensive outfielder.  Along with Jones and Arceneaux, he is one of the early favorites for rookie of the year.

The game's top pitching prospect is Carlos ''Kit Kat" Hernandez of the Toronto Seagulls.  He maintains a mid 90s fastball into the late innings.  A native of Mexico, his screwball reminds some of a right handed Fernando Valenzejawa.  Carlos will start the season in single A Dunedin.

The New York Cobra have an aging ball club, but could soon add 24 year old second baseman Lee Thompson.  Only an average runner, his smooth actions make him a plus defender at second.  He's very difficult to strike out, and has enough pop in his swing to turn out 20 home runs.  Some see flashes of Robinson Cano or Joe Thomas in his game.  He'll start 2015 in AAA.

Larry Brooks will take over at first base for Detroit.  A powerful lefty hitter, Brooks was the 7th pick in the 2012 draft.  Hawaii will open with two rookies in the rotation, Greg Kosman and Michael Casteel.  Kosman has a low 90s fastball and average pitches in his change and slider, but his pitches play much better than average due to uncommon control.  His control is especially impressive considering he's not yet old enough to drink a beer.  Casteel also has good control, in addition to a forkball and cutter that produces ground balls.

Portland's Todd Barrow is a strong armed lefty with a very good curveball and change.  He can hit the mid 90s with his fastball.  The only question is if he will throw enough strikes.  Jeff Radebaugh in Las Vegas, Elijah Tebow in Alaska, and both David Lake and Ryan Hill in Toledo will also get chances to start.

Alaska will have both Noah Colvin and Addison Hill competing for jobs in the middle infield.  Both project as strong defenders with slightly above average offense.  Jaime Lannister, only 20, has an outfield job in Mars.  Louisville's Aaron Christian, a power hitting catcher, will be their #1 catcher.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Storm Morris out for 2015

It's been a rough transition from APBA to OOTP for some pitchers, but so far nobody has dealt worse than Storm Morris.  Morris signed with the World Champion Utah Utes for 7 million dollars in the off season, but he will not throw a pitch for the team.  Morris has been diagnosed with a torn labrum and placed on the 60 day DL.  Morris is 39 years old, and his age alone makes it questionable whether he will be able to resume his career.  If this is it for Morris, he has already done enough to merit a Hall of Fame induction, with a career record of 256-177 and an ERA of 3.69 in 3857 innings.  In 2001 he won a league record 28 games.

Let's all hope the best for Morris as he tries to recover from this brutal injury.

In other news, New York's Pedro Lewis has been placed on the 60 day DL with a sore shoulder.  The team is hoping he'll be back by the all star break.  Pedro, 35, is in the final year of his contract.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Dukes hire Bubba

The Green Day Dukes have announced that Bubba Lewis will manage the team for the 2015 season, after he agreed to a 3 year deal.  Slash Dixon's contract will not be renewed after 4 straight losing seasons.  Bubba will try to instill a winning atmosphere on a team that has been losing, and collecting top draft picks, for a long time.

The Dukes have drafted Jek Lewis, Squirrel Nutkin Jr., Michael Rondon, Ezekiel Duke, GreatJon Umber, and Roger Blackwood since their last winning season.  The talent is there, it will be up to Bubba to bring it all together.

Bubba, 43, played for Green Day for 3 seasons out of his 21 year career.  He holds the alltime record for most homeruns by a Jawa, with 504.  He also holds the single season record for homeruns by a Jawa with 42, which Brett Solo tied in 2008.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

World Series Games 3-4-5

Utah jumped off to another early lead, scoring 7 run in the first 3 innings off Clint Meyers.  Alex Bronkey continued to Bumgarner the postseason, pitching 6 scoreless innings.  Utah took an 8-0 lead into the bottom 8th, and almost blew it.

They tried to get by saving their best relievers for later in the series.  Roberto Calazzo and Nate Rogers came on to throw batting practice.  Between them they allowed 6 hits and 6 runs while recording only one out.  Keith Langford came on with one out, bases loaded, and an 8-3 lead.  After getting Berroa, Renseller hit a 3 run double.  Mark Crawford came up representing the tying run, and lined out to second.  This changed Utah's plans, and Grimes, the saving Ute, came out for the 9th.  He pitched another perfect inning, and the Utes took a 2-1 lead in the series.

Game 4:

Ruben Ramirez came back on short rest, and pitched a gem.  Through 7 innings, he allowed only one run, as Kermit Crawford doubled home Dodson in the 4th.  Randy Watson was even better for Utah though.  He went the distance, pitching a 3 hit shutout.  Watson walked 3 while striking out 8.

Game 5:

Denver took an early lead off Jaret Benser.  Joey Renseller homered in the first.  In the second Vince Jones doubled, moved to third on a Berroa single, and scored on a Gaedel groundout.  Utah made it 2-1 in the 5th on a Jose Landry RBI triple.

Denver stretched the lead to 4-1 in the bottom 5th thanks to 2 out RBI from Hamilton and Renseller.  In the top of the 6th, Utah tied the game up.  Charlie Howard led off with a homer. Dodson doubled, Kermit Crawford singled, and that was it for Zack Owens.  Denver went to the bullpen for Troy Lewis, who got one out as Alberto Mitre flew out to right, too shallow to score the run.  Now it was time for pinch hitter Adama Dunn, and Dunn came through with a line drive over the head of center fielder Crawford, scoring 2 runs.

Earl Hickey pitched the 6th for Utah, and recorded a 1-2-3 inning.  With Troy Lewis on the mound, Utah sent up Frank Lewis.  Jawa vs. Jawa.  Big Troy reached back for everything he had, and after an epic 15 pitch battle, he struck Frank out.  Now out of gas, Willie Gomez came up next and hit one out of the park, giving Utah the lead.  Ryan Webb came on in relief and finished the inning.

Scott Klippenstein worked a 1-2-3 7th, Webb allowed no more runs to the Utes, and Keith Langford pitched a perfect 8th.  Just one more inning to go, Battletrap went back to Grimes, the Saving Ute.

Grimes struck out Stan Marsh.  Alex Maldonado popped up.  That brought up the pitcher's spot (after an earlier double switch), and pinch hitter Clyde Frogg.  Frogg refused to make the last out, lining one into the gap in left center.  Elvis Soto came on to run.  Denny Berroa hit one in the air, fairly deep, but never in doubt.  Kermit Crawford was there to make the catch.

Utah wins their 7th world championship, the 3rd under Battletrap, and the final one of the APBA era.

2014 World Series Games 1-2

Utah took a 6-1 lead after two innings as they ran the bases loaded offense to perfection.  Denver ace Ruben Ramirez was knocked out after only 2 2/3 innings, Frank Lewis reached base 5 times on a hit plus 4 walks, and Kermit Crawford had 4 hits.  Denver came roaring back though, scoring 2 in the 5th and 2 more in the 7th off Jaret Benser.  In the 8th Keith Langford came on holding a 7-6 lead, 2 runners on, and Stan Marsh at the plate.  Marsh hit a 3 run homer to put Denver on top. Troy Lewis pitched a scoreless 8th for the win, and Ryan Webb picked up the save.

In game 2, Bartolo Fatone and Lucas Velasquez pitched out of jams for 7 innings.  In the second inning, Alex Hamilton led off with a triple, but after a line drive back to the pitcher and a popup, was stranded at third.  Next inning they had bases loaded with 1 out for Alex Maldonado, but Velasquez was able to strike him out and get Hamilton on a long fly.  In the 7th, a one out single by Mark Crawford put runners at the corners with one out.  Reliever Earl Hickey came in to strike out Stan Marsh and get Maldonado on a grounder to short.

Utah finally scored in the 8th as Jose Landry was hit by a pitch and stole second, Charlie Howard walked, and Frank Lewis singled in a run. Adama Dunn added a sacrifice fly.  Scott Klippenstein finished the 8th for the win, and Chris Grimes pitched a perfect 9th for the save, striking out Crawford to end the game.

Florida vs Denver, games 6-7

Game 6:  Zack Owens went 6 2/3 innings allowing only 1 hit.  Mark Crawford and Alex Maldonado homered, and Joey Renseller had 3 hits as the Rabbits win 6-2 to tie up the series.

Game 7: Doug Guzman and Clint Meyers started, and pitched scoreless baseball into the 4th.  Penguins struck in the top of the 4th as Gromit Peveto hit a 2 run homer, his 5th of the playoffs.  Guzman drew a 2 out walk and came around to score on a Joey Howell double.

The Rabbits came back in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases for Vince Jones, whose sac fly got them on the board.  Ozzie Gaedel singled in the second run, and Big Cheese lifted Meyers for a pinch hitter to try and take the lead.  It didn't work as Jason Blaylock struck out with runners on the corners.

Bartolo Fatone came on in relief, and kept close for 2 innings.  In the 7th, Kurt Kawasaki hits a 2 out, 2 run homer to make it 5-2.  Rabbits came back in the bottom of the inning, as Denny Berroa drew a walk, Joey Renseller doubled, and Mark Crawford plated 2 with a broken bat single. 

Bryan Brooks held the Rabbits scoreless in the 8th, getting a DP grounder after a leadoff walk.  Florida failed to score in the 9th, and went to Grant Hansen to try and close out the series.  Ozzie Gaedel led off with a single and advanced to second on a bunt by Elvis Soto.  After Denny Berroa struck out, the Penguins almost ended the game with a pickoff play at second, but Gaedel was able to sneak in.  That brought up the dangerous Joey Renseller, who singled up the middle.  Gaedel came around to score the tying run, and Renseller moved up to second.  After an intentional walk to Crawford, Maldonado struck out.  Into extra innings.

Ryan Webb worked a scoreless 10th.  The Penguins threatened when Melvin Ortiz singled and stole second, but pinch hitter Otto Tingley grounded out.  Travis Howard came on to pitch the bottom of the 10th.  Clyde Frogg singled to start the inning.  After Alex Hamilton popped out, Big Cheese elected to stay with Webb, who put down a 2 strike sacrifice bunt to move Frogg up.  With 2 outs, Ozzie Gaedel was intentionally walked to get to weak hitting backup shortstop Elvis Soto, as Denver had few options left on the bench.  Wally Calhoun was about to step out of the dugout to bring in a relief pitcher when Howard delivered the pitch to Soto, who shocked everyone by lining a laser over the head of the shortstop.  Gromit charged, tried to throw Frogg out at the plate, but airmailed it to the backstop. 

The Rabbits won the Pennant! Go Crazy folks.

Miami vs Utah Game 6

Doug Dodson hit 3 solo homers off Tommy Vercetti to give Alex Bronkey a 3-1 lead through 6.  Frank Lewis added a 2 run shot off Kevin Davidson, and Bronkey went the distance to defeat the Stars.  Bronkey allowed only 6 hits, walking 2 and striking out 6 in a complete game, 6-1 victory.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Denver at Florida, game 5

Game 5 turned out to be the most exciting game of the postseason so far.  It started out as a strong pitchers duel between Chris Reyes and Denver ace Ruben Ramirez.

Mark Crawford doubled with 2 out in the first, then scored on an Alex Maldonado double.  The score stayed at 1-0 until the 5th, when Gromit Peveto hit a 3 run homer.  In the 6th, Mark Crawford walked, moved to second on a balk, and scored on a Clyde Frogg single.

In the 8th it was Crawford again, leading off with a double against lefty David Tejada.  Florida brought in Darrell Tibbs to face Maldonado, and got him to strike out on a foul tip.  At this point Big Cheese broke out the running game.  Crawford stole 3rd, the first Denver stolen base in the entire playoffs.  Penguins played the infield in, and Joey Renseller was able to sneak a ground ball through to tie the game.  Renseller took off, Mitch Oakenshield made a diving stab off a line drive and threw to first for a double play.  Troy Lewis held the

To the top 9th.  Vince Jones reached on an error to lead off, and then stole second.  Ozzie Gaedel grounded out, moving Jones to third.  As pinch hitter Jason Polanco squared to try a suicide squeeze bunt, Grant Hansen threw inside and nailed him.  The Penguins intentionally walked Alex Hamilton to loaded the bases.  With the infield drawn in, Denny Berroa struck out.  Only drawback to this was Mark Crawford waited on deck.  Crawford lined a single, brought home two runs.  He had a hand in all 5 Denver runs for the day.  Maldonado was retired, and the Penguins would have one more chance.

Denver brought in the closer, Ryan Webb.  Webb retired Crom before surrendering back to back singles to Kawasaki and Oakenshield.  Kurt Scherman and Alphonso Soprano came in to run for them.  Gromit was looking for a game winning 3 run homer, but his swing came up empty.

Florida was down to their last batter.  Otto Tingley hit for Melvin Ortiz.  Tingley drove a fastball the other way, past the glove of Maldonado.  Scherman scored.  Soprano raced around third.  Tingley never stopped at second.  Throw to the plate... SAFE!  Tie game.

Pitcher's spot up next, Chad Macha came in to hit.  Chad grounds one into the hole between 3rd and short.  Ozzie Gaedel made a desperate dive, stopped the ball deep in the hole.  He made a desperate throw to the plate, too late.

Penguins win 6-5, take a 3-2 series lead.  Game 6 will send the series back to Denver.

Denver at Florida game 4

Penguins struck first behind Mitch Oakenshield's first inning triple.  Conn homered, and C.J. Crom scored twice after being hit by pitch.

Bryan Brooks went 6 innings, allowing one unearned run, and the Penguins tied the series up with a 5-1 win.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Miami vs Utah game 5

Utah wins 7-3 to take a 3-2 lead in the series.  Willie Gomez went 4-4 with 2 homers and 4 RBI.  Jaret Benser went the distance, allowing only 4 hits and 3 unearned runs.  Utah went deep 3 times off Miami ace Jered DeMario.

Miami vs Utah, games 3-4

Game 3:  Lucas Velasquez allows 2 runs over 7 innings,  Utes get to Tim Sullivan for 5 in 5 innings.  Miami gets a pair off the Utah bullpen, but Utes hold on for a 5-4 win.  Joe Young hits his 5th homer of the playoffs.

Game 4:  Miami chases Randy Watson in the 3rd inning and cruises to a 7-4 win behind Odis Robinson.  Brandon Cohen homers and drives in 4.

Florida vs Denver, games 1 to 3

Game 1:  Florida takes a 1-0 lead on a Joey Howell triple and Gerald White Jr. Sac fly.  Tight pitcher's duel through 7 between Chris Reyes and Ruben Ramirez.  Stan Marsh's 2 run homer in the 7th puts Denver on top, and Troy Lewis pitches a scoreless 9th for the save.

Game 2:  Denver grabs a 3-1 lead off Peter Buchanon, but he settles down to go 7 2/3 innings, the Penguin bats come alive, and Florida wins it 7-5

Game 3:  Rabbits rough up Doug Guzman for 7 runs on 11 hits.  Clint Meyers pitches 7 strong innings for the win.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Superior league championship series

Game 1:  Miami rolled to an 8-1 victory over Utah.  Prince Ferreira and Brian Kaat had 3 hits each, Jered DeMario went 6 strong innings, and Miami ran wild (4 steals) on Utah's Willie Gomez.

Would Utah respond by replacing Gomez?  He's not a strong thrower, but batting cleanup between Frank Lewis and Adama Dunn, he had 41 RBI in 35 games to end the season.  Battletrap choose to stick with him, as the best way to stop the running game is to make it irrelevant while running the bases loaded offense.

Game 2:  and run the bases loaded offense they did, to a 10-4 victory.  Jose Landry homered and drove in 5.  Frank Lewis reached base 3 times.  The Utes knocked Tommy Vercetti out with a 5 run second inning.  Alex Bronkey went 6 innings, allowing 2 for the win.  Miami managed only one steal attempt, and Gomez threw Brian Kaat out.

Penguins finish Cobra

After taking a surprising 2-0 lead in the series, beating former Cy Young award winners Pedro Lewis and Buddy Dervish on the road, the Penguins came home to wrap up the series.  Bryan Brooks took the ball for Florida, with rookie Silvanos Tonka going for New York.

New York took a 1-0 lead in the second inning.  Brett Solo led off with a walk, stole second, and advanced to 3rd on a balk.  Manfred Mueller brought him home with a deep fly to right.  The lead didn't last long as Mitch Oakenshield tied things up with long homer to left.  Florida took the lead in the 3rd as Gerald White Jr. singled, Conn Barbarian walked, and C.J. CROM! blooped an RBI single to left.

New York failed to capitalize on a few chances to score, and Brooks left after 5 innings with only one run allowed despite 4 hits, 5 walks, and no strikeouts.  In the 7th, New York got to Florida's bullpen.  Hal Glover doubled with one out, and advanced to 3rd on a long fly by Gehrig Bear.  With 2 out and right handed batters due up, Florida relieved David Tejada, going to Ernesto Lopez.  Chad White doubled, Brett Solo singled, and just like that it was 3-2 New York.  Lopez finally got David Jackson to pop up and end the inning.

New York stuck with Tonka in the 7th.  Melvin Ortiz singled.  Alfonzo Soprano, in after a double switch, doubled in Ortiz.  Joey Howell walked.  Gerald Jr.  moved the runners up with a bunt, and Conn was intentionally walked.  All was according to manager Calhoun's plan, as the meant Crom had the bases loaded.

C.J. Crom grounded out to 3rd.  Mueller got the force play at the hot corner, but Crom was able to get down the line in time to avoid the double play and bring home the go ahead run.  David Kison pitched a scoreless 8th.

Instead of going straight to his closer, Calhoun brought in lefty Travis Howard to face 2 lefty hitters.  Hal Glover popped up.  Bear grounded to short.  Melvin Ortiz bobbled the ball and allowed Bear to reach.  With the righties up, Calhoun now brought in his closer Grant Hansen.  Chad White grounded to first.  Chad Macha, in as a defensive replacement for Crom, picked it up, threw to second for one, and back to first for 2.

The Penguins are on their way to the championship series, and changes may be in store for New York.

Florida Penguins Sweep Cobra...Changes Looming?

The Penguins took care of business, producing a late rally to beat the New York Cobra in Game 3 of the Division Series to complete the sweep.  More coverage on that series later.

For now, rumors are swirling that highly regarded New York Manager Juan Alou may be on the hot seat.  Despite a regular season record of 316-170 (win totals of 116, 97, & 103), Alou has won only one playoff series in 3 years and has not advanced to the World Series.

When pressed for comment, New York Fuhrer, Brad of this Nation, stated, "I am very disappointed in my team's showing in the Playoffs.  We will evaluate all positions from the starting lineup to the coaching staff from A to Z."