Lava Flow for September

September play saw the Volcanoes post their highest total for victories in a month with 16.  Roster rotation continued, with Ervin Santana and Colby Lewis returning from their August furlough, and Aroldis Chapman taking a September furlough.  … Jon Lester has pitched well since his trade deadline pick-up (49 IP, 45 hits, 13 bb’s, 47 K’s, 3.49 ERA), but a lack of run support (5.75 runs per start, but most of those coming in the 20-2 romp over Bismarck) has lead to a disappointing 2 wins and 4 losses in Lester’s 8 starts. … Matt Moore has pitched well also since his trade deadline pick-up (49 IP, 51 hits, 21 bb’s, 49 K’s, 4.38 ERA), but phenomenal run support (9.00 runs per start) has lead to 6 wins and 1 loss.  … Pitching was the key to the Volcanoes’ September surge, with the team posting a 2.60 ERA across its 20 games.  Lester went 1-3 in September (with a 2.70 era), while the rest of the team went 15-1. … Ervin Santana was almost unhittable in September, pitching 25.1 innings while yielding only 4 hits, 2 walks and 21 strikeouts (and 0 runs!).  The pitching surge helped compensate for a lackluster month from David Ortiz, who was held to a .237 average and 3 HRs. … Picking up the offensive slack for Ortiz, Wilson Ramos batted .357 in September with 5 HRs and 14 RBIs, raising his season totals to a .329 average with 29 HRs and 85 RBIs.  While Ramos’ totals are impressive, adding in Gary Sanchez’s 16 HRs and 49 RBIs, and the Volcanoes have gotten 45 HRs and 134 RBIs out of their catcher slot. … Looking towards possible October playoff matchups, the Volcanoes have a winning season record against every team – except the West Atlanta Crush (4 wins and 6 losses).  Margaritaville will keep an eye on the Southbound race – rooting for an SGP, Dyersville or Savannah win!


37th season kicks off with best convention ever

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A record managerial turnout for our annual retention draft in Kissimmee, Fla., launched the 37th season for the I-75 Strat League, with three new managers at the helm.

With 11 of the 15 managers drafting in person at Draft Central and four more participating remotely, the exciting first round stacked with big-time prospects had both predictability and surprises.

But logistically everything went smooth as silk, with the 14-round draft being completed in less than five hours, including a 30-minute break for some excellent pizza from Flippers.

The rest of the convention featured the usual traditions: ballgames in Kissimmee (last year for the Astros here), Lakeland, Melbourne and more. Dinners at Joe’s and Sonny’s. Steve Hart brought his own folding table. But surprisingly, Steve Bizek did not draft from a standing position in the kitchen.

With a slew of highly regarded prospects available, the first round was rich with young talent. Destin and Margaritaville started the proceedings by selecting Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and Kris Bryant (the last two to the Volcanoes) with the top three picks.

Superior had sandwich selections at 4 and 6, taking Mets phenom Noah Syndergaard and Dodgers infielder Cory Seager around South Grand Prairie’s choice of Cubs phenom Addison Russell.

Boulder went for pitching at 7 with the Astros’ young star Lance McCullers, followed by Dyersville rookie manager Ryan Renbarger’s selection of the first of many prospects in Kyle Schwarber. West Atlanta manager Jeff Richards marked his debut with the selection of Yankees pitcher Luis Severino, the first mild surprise of the round based on mock drafts.

At 10, Satellite Beach opted for Twins young slugger Miguel Sano. Finally, at 11, a veteran was selected when Bismarck grabbed Curtis Granderson for his high on-base count vs. righties and unlimited availability. Continue reading

2016 divisional alignments selected

Per the league constitution, our divisions were redrawn on March 6, prior to the start of our 36th season. The alignment takes effect for the 2016 season. Teams were randomly pulled from a hat. The results are:

North Division

South Division
South Grand Prairie

West Division
Satellite Beach
Boulder* (formerly known as Iowa)

Iowa has decided to rename its club the Boulder Tree-huggers, effective immediately.

Expansion teams chase hitters in first round

Expansion teams largely eschewed pitching talent and went for offense Tuesday night in the first round of the I-75 League Expansion Draft.

Beginning with Iowa’s selection of first baseman Mark Teixeira of Springfield, the expansion teams showed a clear preference for offense over pitching… or, looking at some of the batting averages involved, maybe it was defense over pitching. Only two pitchers, Jair Jurrjens and Sergio Romo, were taken among the 12 picks.

Here are the picks in the order they were taken:

1. Iowa: Mark Teixeira, 1B, from Springfield, age 31, hit .248.
2. English: Nick Markakis, RF, from Savannah, 27, hit .284.
3. Michigan: Chris Young, CF, from Detroit, 28, hit .236.
4. Satellite Beach: Danny Espinosa, 2B, from Applegate, 24, hit .236.
5. Satellite Beach: Cameron Maybin, CF, from Chatfield, 24, hit .264.
6. Michigan: Jair Jurrjens, SP, from Superior, 25, 1.22 WHIP.
7. English: Emilio Bonifacio, UT, from Bushwood, 26, hit .296.
8. Iowa: Alexei Ramirez, SS, from Wisconsin, 30, hit  .269.
9. Iowa: Colby Rasmus, OF, from Margaritaville, 25, hit .225.
10. English: John Jay, CF, from Bismarck, 26, hit .297.
11. Michigan: Stephen Drew, SS, from South Grand Prairie, 28, hit .252.
12. Satellite Beach: Sergio Romo, RP, from Hickory, 28, 0.71 WHIP.

The next step in the expansion process is for existing team managers to declare the two additional players they’d like to protect; they must do so by 8 p.m. ET Wednesday. The draft resumes Thursday at 8 p.m. ET with Round Two.  Managers can e-mail their selections or enter them in on the appropriate lines on the Draft Board.

Who, when, where and what’s missing

Time for a little photo trivia! In the comments section below, see if you can A) identify all of the people in the photos, B) tell me when and where the photo was taken, and C) identify what’s different about the two shots.

Group photo from a past convention

Look closely! Where’s Waldo?

Group photo from a past convention. Name those managers!

New feature added: Rule proposal tracker

Not sure what prompted Steve Hart’s all-caps rule proposal delivered by e-mail, but this is one thing that a Web site can do quite handily: Track ongoing discussion over a long period of time and tally up a count of opinions.

Thus, our 2011 Rule Proposal tracker is born. Whether you weigh in via e-mail, or by commenting on that page or this blog post, we’ll tally up the straw votes as they occur.

And if you’ve got a rule proposal for 2011, let us know too.

Hey, who remembers when we’re supposed to realign divisions?