Renbargers monopolize 2016 playoff berths

Chew on this: Four out of five dentists surveyed recommend a particular sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum, but only three out of five Renbargers in the I-75 League made the playoffs this year.


Compare that to the performance of the non-Renbargers in the league. There’s 10 non-Renbargers in the league, and only three of them (30%) made the playoffs. Ray would be proud.

The postseason qualifiers are set, though the playoff pairings are not, as October play brings an end to the 37th regular season of play in the I-75 League. And when the dust settled, here’s what we were left with:

Mike Renbarger’s Superior Titans, who by most accounts underperformed for the first five months of the season before going 45-15 over the final three months, captured the Westbound Division crown, league’s best record (101-59) and top seed in the playoffs.

Jason Renbarger’s New New York Hypnotoads, in their inaugural season no less, posted the best intradivision record of any team in the league (43-17) to reign supreme in the Southbound Division at 94-66. Thirty-five of those wins came against Savannah, West Atlanta and Dyersville.

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Refer to this post next September/October: The 14 bonus unlimited players

Here are your 14 2016 players who failed to get 550 at-bats, but will still be unlimited in the 2017 I-75 League season because they managed 600 or more plate appearances:

Mike Trout of Boulder (549 ABs but 681 PAs). Precisely the kind of guy for whom this rule was implemented. Hit .315, OPS .991.

Chris Carter, free agent (549, 644). Tied for sixth in MLB with 41 homer, but guh, hit .222. Second in MLB with, guh, 206 Ks.

Hanley Ramirez of Boulder (549, 620). 30 homers and .286 average.

Brad Miller of Savannah (548, 601). A shortstop with 30 homers. Yes, Brad Miller hit 30 homers. Previous career high: 11.

Cesar Hernandez of Michigan (547, 622). Switch-hitting second baseman who hit .294. Eleven triples tied for the MLB lead. Continue reading

With 20 to go, what we know and what we don’t

With one month to play, here’s what we know and what we don’t about the I-75 League’s 37th season and the race for the postseason:

  • Superior has completed a season-long charge in the West and pulled into a tie with Boulder, setting up a mano-a-mano intradivisional photo finish. Both teams are tied for the league’s best record; whichever doesn’t win the division has a lock on one of the wild-card berths.
BTH/SUP 87 53 .621
SPRINGFIELD 83 57 .593
NEW NEW YORK 80 60 .571
BTH/SUP 87 53 .621 +11
DESTIN 77 63 .550 +1
S.GRAND PRAIRIE 76 64 .543
SATELLITE BEACH 75 65 .536 1
APPLEGATE 74 66 .529 2
  • Springfield is a lock to win the North, coasting into the final month with a 14-game lead.
  • New New York and rookie manager Jason Renbarger have a four-game lead to sweat out in the final month over South Grand Prairie.
  • Three games separate four teams in the battle royale for the final two playoff spots: Destin, which lost one game due to forfeit for Ryan Braun overuse, has 77 wins; South Grand Prairie 76, Satellite Beach 75 and Applegate 74.

An interesting twist to the playoff matchups would leave an easier path for a sixth seed (which would face the third seed, likely to be New New York or South Grand Prairie with a comparable record) than the fifth seed, which would face the loser of the West Division clash between Boulder and Superior.

West could claim 4 of 6 playoff spots

With 40 games to go, the very real possibility exists that all three wild-card playoff teams could come from the West Division.

Superior, on the heels of a 17-win month, has vaulted to the top of the wild-card pack and sliced two wins off of Boulder’s lead in the division. It looked like Superior might even knock more off that lead, but Boulder’s month-closing sweep of New New York allowed it to maintain a moderately comfortable lead.

Satellite Beach holds down the second wild-card spot, winning 13 games in August, and then comes a three-way tie for the third and final spot: Destin and Applegate from the West, and South Grand Prairie from the South — all at 65-55.

Springfield has opened up a comfortable nine-game lead in the North Division, and New New York continues to hang on to a precarious three-game lead over the Warriors. The Hypnotoads have several key players running on fumes — relief pitchers Felipe Rivero and Joaquin Benoit have 3 and 7 innings left respectively; slugger Chris Colabello is down to 25 ABs.

BOULDER 76 44 .633
NEW NEW YORK 68 52 .567
SPRINGFIELD 68 52 .567
SUPERIOR 73 47 .608 +8
SATELLITE BEACH 69 51 .575 +4
DESTIN 65 55 .542
S.GRAND PRAIRIE 65 55 .542
APPLEGATE 65 55 .542

Only one of the teams tied for the third playoff spot will make the playoffs. Current head-to-head records:

Applegate-Destin are 5-5 with a series to play in October.
Applegate-South Grand Prairie are 5-5.
Destin leads South Grand Prairie 3-2 with a series to play in September.

Five teams bunched within two games of three wild-card spots with 60 games to play

Start spreading the news. 

They’re leaving today.

They want to be a part of it.

New, New York, New New York. 

They want to wake up. In a pennant race. That never sleeps. 

And find they’re A No. 1. Top of the South. A No. 1. 

The expansion New New York Hypnotoads, on the strength of a league-best 14-6 July, have surged into first place in the South Division and are threatening to make the playoffs in their first year. At 58-42 overall, NNY has the league’s second-best record, thanks in part to an 18-7 record in its own division (5-0 vs. Dyersville, 4-1 vs. West Atlanta, 6-4 vs. South Grand Prairie and 3-2 vs. Savannah).

The Hypnotoads join Boulder and Springfield as the division leaders at the 100-game mark, but just behind them in the wild-card race are five teams bunched just two games apart. With the trade deadline looming, any deals made have the chance to impact that race even more than in a typical year. Here’s the wild-card standings with 60 games to go:

BOULDER 61 39 .610
NEW NEW YORK 58 42 .580
SPRINGFIELD 57 43 .570
DESTIN 56 44 .560
SUPERIOR 56 44 .560
S.GRAND PRAIRIE 55 45 .550 1
APPLEGATE 54 46 .540 2
SAVANNAH 47 53 .450 9
BUSHWOOD 47 53 .470 9

2017: The draft that’s nearly impossible to mock

How do you mock a draft when you have a draft with so much uncertainty?

Last year’s mock draft was filled with just-on-the-scene phenoms, top-10 prodigies who were no-brainers for the first round.

This year… practically a total crapshoot.

But we’re trying anyway.

But first, this public service announcement. Remember that in February, we voted in a new rule pertaining to how the first round of the draft is conducted; that rule takes effect next season:

The first three picks of the first round will be determined by a random draw among the nine non-playoff teams.  Picks 4 through 9 will be assigned to the six remaining non-playoff teams based on most wins from the prior season.

So as you finish your July games and ponder your trade deadline posture, remember that there is nothing to be gained in the first round by dealing away present talent for future potential. Every non-playoff team has the same shot at earning the No. 1 overall pick. And if you fail to get one of the first three picks, the more wins you get, the earlier you pick in the first round.

Now, on to the mocking. One important factor here is that there are several players — Lucas Giolito, Josh Bell, Tyler Glasnow, to name a few — who do not yet have enough appearances to earn a card, but they quite possibly will by the end of the season. Thus they are not included in this version of the mock draft, but could very well appear in an end-of-season revision.

In past years, there have been clear-cut superstars who were indisputably worthy of being drafted No. 1, if not a lock. This year… let’s just say there’s plenty more room for debate.

For drama purposes, we’ll count them down backward…

15. Ryan Dull, RP, Oakland (Bats R/Throws R, age 27 on March 1, 2017) – Setup reliever already has 47 innings to his credit and foes are hitting .144 off him. Has averages of .144 (BAA) / 1.94 (OBA) / .287 (SLG) — .482 (OPS), fanning 48 batters, giving up 24 hits (five of them homers) and 10 walks. WHIP of 0.72. Particularly tough on righties, striking out 39 of 118 batters, with split averages of .127 / .154 / .288 — .443. Late-round draft pick and only 5-9, 175 pounds. Stranded all 36 of his inherited runners until July 9, longest streak by any player in the expansion era; starting to get save opportunities.

14. Seung Hwan Oh, RP, St. Louis (R/R, 34) – Has become Cardinals closer with Trevor Rosenthal’s struggles, and deservedly so after striking out 61 in 46 innings to open the year and posting a 0.88 WHIP, along with averages of . 166 / .230 / .225 — .454. Has allowed 28 hits (just one homer) and 13 walks. Very balanced. Only 5-10, 205. Nickname in South Korea: The Final Boss. Continue reading

90 wins but out of the playoffs? It could happen.

In 1993, the San Francisco Giants famously won 103 games, but didn’t qualify for the National League playoffs.

In the I-75 League, a mid-80-win total is usually good enough to get you in. Last season, every team with a winning record made the playoffs. Since we expanded to 15 teams, the average win total for the sixth-seeded team has been 85.8 wins.

But this year, if the second half matches the first-half pace, 90 wins may not be good enough to secure a playoff spot. And that could happen to more than one team.

At the 80-game mark, no team in the Northbound or Soutbound Division has a better record than the worst team in the Westbound Division. But since our playoff format guarantees playoff spots to all division winners, it’s conceivable that all three wild-card teams could come from the wicked West, and that one or more teams from the West could miss the playoffs despite 90 wins and despite potentially better records than one or both of the other division winners.

All five Westbound clubs posted double-figure win totals in June, led by Boulder, which went 15-5 for the second time this season. The Tree Huggers have stretched their division lead to five games over Destin, which lost two games in the standings despite a 13-7 month. Meanwhile, preseason favorite Superior rebounded with a 12-win month and swung a volley of trades to shore up its bullpen, defense and bench and add a solid third baseman.

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