Eight teams within six games of final wild-card spot

With 60 games to play in our 36th season, some of our teams that are ‘playing for next year’ might be surprised to learn they are just a handful of games out of a playoff spot.

Currently Superior and Bismarck are tied for the third and final playoff spot, both with 50-50 records. But six teams with losing records range from 4-6 games behind that final playoff spot.

Only five teams in the league own winning records at the 100-game mark, with Chatfield, Savannah and Applegate leading their divisions.

Bushwood leads the wild-card race with a record that is better than two of the division leaders, and Springfield is a solid second with 56 wins.

The Isotopes are the team to watch in August, with a brutal schedule that includes all three of the division leaders: Home against Chatfield and Applegate, and on the road against division rival Savannah, which leads the Isotopes by two games.

CHATFIELD 68 32 .680
SAVANNAH 58 42 .580
APPLEGATE 55 45 .550
BUSHWOOD 62 38 .620
SPRINGFIELD 56 44 .560
SUP/BSK* 50 50 .500
MICHIGAN 46 54 .460 4
BOULDER 46 54 .460 4
S. GRAND PRAIRIE 46 54 .460 4
SATELLITE BEACH 45 55 .450 5
WISCONSIN 44 56 .440 6

* tied for last playoff spot

Richest prospect haul in years awaits in 2016 draft

The 2016 I-75 League Draft is shaping up to be the richest haul of top prospects that we’ve had since expanding to 15 teams.

One year after facing a dearth of top prospects, the league will have all kinds of elite entry-level talent available when we start choosing ’em up for our 37th season.

Even teams late in the draft order will be happy with the opportunity to land either a strong 2016 card or a top-flight young player.

Most of the top young players are position players, and available starting pitching in general looks thin compared to past years.

So whether you’re writing off 2015, or keeping one eye on the playoff race and the other on your crystal ball, you’ll be interested in our first look at the Not-A-Mock-Draft for 2016. Here we go:

1. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros, 20, bats R: There are so many good prospects that a lot will depend on the need of the team drafting No. 1. If that team needs a franchise corner infielder or a franchise outfielder, an easy case can be made for the players slotted at No. 2 or No. 3 on this list to go No. 1. But all things being equal, Correa merits the first overall pick, by a narrow margin. Only 20 years old, he boasts an .858 OPS at the moment, with 8 homers in 163 ABs. He was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 draft. His MLB.com scouting grades (scale of 20 to 80) shake out impressively as Hit: 60 | Power: 70 | Run: 50 | Arm: 70 | Field: 50 | Overall: 70.

2. Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs, 23, bats R: The most seasoned of the elite prospects (joined the Cubs in April), Bryant got off to a fast start but has faded each month, and is having a miserable July, but he still has 13 homers and an .803 OPS in 326 ABs. Was the overall No. 2 pick of the 2013 MLB Draft. Has the best mix of overall skills with an emphasis on power. MLB.com scouting grades evaluate him at Hit: 55 | Power: 75 | Run: 40 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 70. Continue reading

In our 36th season, our first perfect game: Applegate’s Tim Hudson whitewashes Hickory

Applegate’s Tim Hudson hurled what is believed to be the first perfect game in the 36-year history of the I-75 League, holding Hickory without a baserunner — or even a close call — in a 6-0 victory July 3.

Hudson struck out nine and retired all 27 hitters he faced, striking out pinch-hitter Javier Baez to close the contest. Tim_Hudson_14Hickory had three split roll chances at singles, all at 1-10 odds or less, and missed all three.

Hudson, a 4e15 pitcher, also fielded a Pitcher (X) roll cleanly with one out in the ninth. Hudson, who improved to 7-5 on the year with a 3.18 ERA, was making his first start since May, having been inactive in June.

“I wasn’t even really aware he had a no-hitter going until about the sixth inning,” said Paperclips manager Gary Kicinski. “We grabbed an early lead and got our defensive guys in there early, and I noticed in the sixth Hudson hadn’t allowed a hit, but I couldn’t really remember if he’d walked a guy or not.” Continue reading