Slugger Adam Wainwright provides ‘silver’ lining for Hypno-woes

Wainwright

New New York pitchers racked up 173 at-bats in 2017 as the team absorbed a 103-loss season, 37 more losses than in 2016.

That’s 173 at-bats more than Bushwood, Destin, Margaritaville, Satellite Beach and Springfield pitchers had combined. Those NNY pitchers hit just .133. But there’s reason for optimism in … wherever New New York is located.

Pitcher Adam Wainwright won a Silver Slugger award. Adam Wainwright is 36 years old. He had a 1.50 WHIP in 2017. He is two years past his expiration date. But will his bat (.262 average, .731 OPS) keep him with the Hypnotoads for 2018 as they ponder their retention list??? In a league that uses the DH?

Wainwright could be a valuable bat off the bench in a key at-bat-saving situation. He joins Jose Ramirez to form a pair of Silver Sluggers on the Hypnotoads, making New New York one of seven I-75 League clubs with two such honorees. The others are West Atlanta, Margaritaville, Destin, Bushwood, Savannah and South Grand Prairie.

Landing one Silver Slugger each was Applegate, Tatooine, Superior and Satellite Beach.

Four players — West Atlanta’s Eric Hosmer and Marcell Ozuna, South Grand Prairie’s Paul Goldschmidt and Savannah’s Nolan Arenado — have both Silver and Gold on their mantels, having won Gold Gloves in addition to their Silver Slugger.

Destin can brag that it made a deadline deal to land one of its Silver Sluggers in Justin Upton, stripping him from Boulder, which was blanked in the selections. Bismarck and Springfield also failed to rack up a Silver Slugger winner.

Pos. Player I-75 team Player I-75 team
1B Eric Hosmer WATL Paul Goldschmidt SGP
2B Jose Altuve SATB Daniel Murphy TAT
3B Jose Ramirez NNY Nolan Arenado SAV
SS Francisco Lindor MARG Corey Seager SUP
OF Aaron Judge APPL Marcell Ozuna WATL
OF Justin Upton DES Giancarlo Stanton SGP
OF George Springer BUSH Charlie Blackmon SAV
C Gary Sanchez MARG Buster Posey BUSH
DH, P Nelson Cruz DES Adam Wainwright NNY
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For the Love of Glove: Here’s who owns the finest fielders

The Rawlings Gold Glove awards were announced Nov. 7. Here’s a look at I-75ers who have players who brought home the hardware, making those players likely to earn a 1 rating at their Gold Glove position when ratings come out in December. Once again voters failed to recognize any designated hitter.

Springfield and West Atlanta snagged three Gold Glovers each, while Bismarck, South Grand Prairie and Savannah landed two players each.

One player, catcher Martin Maldonado, is a free agent available to the highest bidder in the 2018 I-75 League draft.

Pos. Player I-75 team Player I-75 team
1B Eric Hosmer WATL Paul Goldschmidt SGP
2B Brian Dozier BOUL D.J. Lemahieu SGP
3B Evan Longoria WATL Nolan Arenado SAV
SS Andrelton Simmons SUP Brandon Crawford SPR
LF Alex Gordon SPR Marcell Ozuna WATL
CF Byron Buxton APPL Ender Inciarte SPR
RF Mookie Betts MARG Jason Heyward BSK
C Martin Maldonado FA Tucker Barnhart DYER
P Marcus Stroman SAV Zack Greinke BSK

Obtuse playoff pairings set

The 2017 six-team playoff field is set after Tatooine defeated Destin 3-2 in 11 innings in a Game 161 tiebreaker tilt.

The oddity of a division champion with a losing record results in a playoff matchup in which the team with the better record does not have the homefield advantage. The matchups:

No. 6 Tatooine (86-75) vs. No. 3 South Grand Prairie (78-82)
Winner takes on No. 2 Boulder (91-69)

No. 5 Superior (88-72) vs. No. 4 Springfield (93-67)
Winner takes on No. 1 Margaritaville (106-54)

The other oddity is fourth-seed Springfield entering the playoffs with a better record than second-seed, bye-earning Boulder. Instead it must duel with Superior, the league’s hottest team and the team it lost to for the World Series last year.

Eight of the 10 teams in the West and North Divisions posted better records than the playoff-bound Warriors, including three who didn’t make the playoffs.

Everyone starts the playoffs with a 0-0 record though, so watch this space for the exciting outcomes!

Not enough at-bats, but plenty of PAs

It’s time for our annual list of players who fall short of the minimum 550 at-bat requirement to be considered unlimited in the I-75 League… but gain unlimited status for 2018 by virtue of the clause in which they earned 600 or more plate appearances. There’s 14 of them — exactly the same number as a year ago.

  1. Josh Bell, 1B, Applegate (549 AB, 620 plate appearances). Clips are hoping the switch-hitter continues to develop and improves enough defensively to play a position other than DH.
  2. Kris Bryant, 3B, Margaritaville (549, 665). Another studly year from one of baseball’s superstars.
  3. George Springer, OF, Bushwood (548, 629). World Series MVP elevates his national visibility.
  4. Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Bushwood (544, 636). Lefty swinger offers power vs. righties, on-base against lefties.
  5. Aaron Judge, OF, Applegate (542, 678). 52 homers and a Gold Glove finalist. As if he’ll beat out Mookie Betts.
  6. Corey Seager, SS, Superior (539, 613). Lefty hitter has reverse splits, but still has an .826 OPS vs. RHPs.
  7. Travis Shaw, 3B, free agent (538, 606). Breakout year for 27-year-old makes him attractive first-round pick.
  8. Jake Lamb, 3B, New New York (536, 635). A waste of unlimited status as he’s unplayable vs. LHPs (.144 / .269 / .288).
  9. Eugenio Suarez, 3B, Bismarck (534, 632). Solid performer brings a Fangraphs War of 4.1 to the Bombers for next year.
  10. Domingo Santana, RF, Savannah (525, 607). Breakout 30-homer, 15-steal season at age 25. Hit .278.
  11. Steven Souza Jr., RF, Springfield (523, 617). Breakout 30-homer, 16-steal season at age 28. But hit just .239.
  12. Logan Morrison, 1B, free agent (512, 601). Breakout 38-homer year that he’ll never, ever, ever replicate.
  13. Anthony Rendon, 3B, Satellite Beach (508, 605). Good luck finding another .300 / .400 / .500 guy in the majors. OK, Jose Altuve. Find another. OK, Justin Turner, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout. Still pretty special.
  14. Matt Carpenter, 1B, Boulder (497, 622). Gotta love an unlimited guy who doesn’t even get to 500 ABs. 109 walks will do that for you.

Is this what the card looks like for next year’s No.1 draft pick???

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge set the all-time American League home run record for rookies this year, with 52.

Did you know the National League record was also set this year, by the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger? The 22-year-old left-handed hitting outfielder with the lightning-quick uppercut clubbed 39 (second in the NL behind Giancarlo Stanton), in just 480 at-bats. That’s just one of the many reasons he’s our lead-pipe lock projection as our No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 I-75 League Draft.

Bellinger looks to be a 2e8 first baseman who can also play the outfield and not embarrass you. He can run a little bit (10 steals in 13 attempts) and he hits both lefties and righties (OPS marks of .903 and .948). No available player had more extra-base hits than Bellinger’s 69 (26-4-39). Yes, he whiffed a lot (146 times) but whiffing just doesn’t have the bad smell it used to. Just think how good he’ll be once he learns how to hit breaking balls, as we saw his struggles in the World Series. And did we mention he’s just 22, and won’t turn 23 til next year’s all-star break? Fangraphs War: 4.0. Previous rank: 1.

Here’s the rest of our updated non-mock draft: Continue reading

Game 161 to settle final playoff participant

Winning their last three consecutive do-or-die games in their season finale with Boulder, the Destin Beach Bums climbed to the 85-win mark, tying Tatooine for the sixth and final playoff spot, necessitating a Game 161 to determine who advances and who is done for the year.

Tatooine will host the game by virtue of its 8-2 season edge over Destin in head-to-head play. If Tatooine gets in, the Rebels will have earned a playoff berth in their first year in the league.

The other five participants are locked in:

No. 1 seed Margaritaville, winner of the Northbound Division with 106 wins. It’s Margaritaville’s first playoff appearance since 2014. The Volcanoes get a first-round bye.

No. 2 seed Boulder, winner of the Westbound Division with 91 wins. It’s Boulder’s first division championship and second straight playoff appearance. The Tree Huggers get a first-round bye.

No. 3 seed South Grand Prairie, winner of the Southbound Division with a 78-82 mark. It’s the second straight playoff appearance for SGP. The Warriors will play the winner of the Destin-Tatooine play-in game; the winner of that series takes on No. 2 seed Boulder.

No. 4 seed Springfield, which had the league’s second-best record at 93-67. It’s the third straight playoff appearance for Springfield. The Isotopes host No. 5 seed Superior in a rematch of the 2016 World Series participants, with the winner advancing to face No. 1 seed Margaritaville.

No. 5 seed Superior, defending World Series champs, who went 27-13 in the final two months to finish at 88-72. The Titans play Springfield, with the winner taking on the Volcanoes.

Falling short in the playoff pursuit was Applegate, which went 5-15 in October and stumbled home with 82 wins, and Bushwood, which went 9-11 in October and generally failed to capitalize on several player moves at the trade deadline, finishing with 83 wins.

SGP’s title marks the first time since the league went to divisional play that a team has won a division with a sub-.500 record.

Clip Files for October

By finishing 82-78, the Clips posted their sixth straight season with a winning record, the longest such active stretch in the league. Applegate’s catastrophic October knocked it from a position in which it was tied for the fifth playoff spot with 20 games left, to a finish 3 1/2 games behind the sixth-place seed. “You can’t expect to make the playoffs when you go 5-15 twice in the same year,” said Manager Gary Kicinski, referencing the matching disaster from July. The Clips had to resort to using long-reliever Jhoulys Chacin as their fifth starter in October, but after getting bombed in his first outing, Chacin came back to allow three earned runs or less in five innings or more in his other three starts, going 2-1 with a 4.66 ERA on the month. No, the problem was normally reliable Kyle Hendricks (0-3, 5.32), Johnny Cueto (0-4, 7.14) and Drew Pomeranz (0-2, 5.33) who gagged big time in October. … Josh Donaldson also was nowhere to be found when the team needed him most, hitting .160 on the month, which included an 0-for-Destin series (17 ABs). … The Clips got saves from eight different players this year. … Applegated ‘maxed out’ its IP limits on nine pitchers — Ryan Buchter, Tyler Chatwood, Johnny Cueto, Tyler Glasnow, Kyle Hendricks, George Kontos, Andrew Miller, Drew Pomeranz and Stephen Strasburg. It also wrung every AB out of Willson Contreras, Greg Garcia, Hunter Pence and Neil Walker. … Kole Calhoun had the most disappointing year among the position players, starting all 160 games but hitting just .229 (.271 in real life) with six homers (18 in real life). … Applegate’s fourth-best league ERA of 3.89 was not enough to offset an offense that progressively weakened over the year, finishing with a 13th-best .249 batting average and 13th-best home run total of 160. … Only three teams drew more walks than the Clips’ 582 though. … Billy Hamilton lead the league in stolen bases at 51 and finished tied for the league lead in sacrifice hits with Bismarck’s Alcides Escobar at 56. … In their final game of the year, with two outs in the ninth, the Clips sent Aaron Judge to the plate for his only AB of 2017, a symbolic gesture the fans recognized as a nod toward future possibilities. Judge, of course, struck out.