Monday, December 31, 2012

Illinois Deals Last Original Chow

Illinois Times - The Chows made headlines today by dealing their long-time face of the franchise Carlos Beltran.  After trading Halladay earlier this offseason, the Chows have now dealt their two longest tenured players and both faces of the franchise.  Beltran is atop the Chows all-time leader board in Games, AB, Hits, Doubles, Home Runs, Extra Base Hits, RBI's, Runs and Walks.

"We are in a rebuilding year and the acquisition of Upton relegated Carlos to DH.  The chance to get a youngish talented starter and our 2nd round pick back was too much to pass up.  We wish Carlos well and will always consider him a part of our franchise."

The deal sends Beltran, Maholm and the ILL 4 to Troy for Samardizja and the ILL 2 (previously dealt to the Haymakers).  The Chows are hoping for a quick turnaround and want to get younger while acquiring players who can help as soon as next year.  This deal nets two of those guys.

"Jeff is an amazing athlete with amazing stuff.  His K rate points to long-term success.  We had a surplus of OF and this deal just seemed to make sense for us."

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Haymakers Add an Arm!

Troy, NY:  The Haymakers made a move to upgrade their rotation today by adding Josh Johnson for Luke Hocheavr and a round 1 pick.  The oft injured, but very talented pitcher joins a rotation for Troy looking to make their third playoff appearance in a row in 2013. He also adds a much needed balance and potential ace for a team who will be lacking one after Carpenter's injury that will keep him out in 2013.
   "Losing Carp for 2013 is tough, especially since he has won at least 15 games every year for us," said GM Ken Anderson, "hopefully Johnson will be able to counteract that a bit."
   Josh Johnson has had his own success, winning 19 games while pitching for the world champion Iron Pigs in 2011 and in the championship in 2012 for the Bulldogs (still to be decided); and hopes to continue that success for the Haymakers.  "Pitching against this team (Troy) in 2011 was tough, they intrigued me."  he said, "Now I'm here and hopefully will be able to bring this team back to the championship."
   At this point Johnson joins the you phenom Madison Bumgarner, wiley veteran Hirkoi Kuroda (who was with Johnson in 2011 for the Iron Pigs), and wild card Jeff Samardija as an interesting group of arms.  "We are trying to build a team that will contend year after year," said the GM, "Something that will bring the fans to the new park that will be open this upcoming season.  Hopefully Johnson will be with the team for a number of years."
   The Haymakers are looking to fill some other key parts with what looks to be the 5th overall pick and 2 key second round picks.  

Saturday, December 1, 2012

2012 NASBL Post-Season Awards Announced

The 2012 NASBL Post-Season Awards banquet was heavily attended by fans of Outlaw Josey Wales, the Slatington Bulldogs, and the Lake Champlain Cannibals.

Individual Awards winners included:

TG MVP:  Matt Kemp, OJW (.330/46/116).  The Tastes Great Triple Crown winner surprised no-one by receiving the maximum number of 1st place votes. 

LF MVP:  Jose Bautista, SBU/TRY (.319/55/124).  The first ever mid-season trade player ever to win an NASBL MVP award, Bautista was also the first ever mid-season trade player to win a Less Filling Triple Crown.

TG Cy Young:  Justin Masterson, OJW (20-3, 2.10).  Outlaw completes a sweep of the major awards with the league ERA leader, who was also 2nd in the TG in wins.

LF Cy Young:  Matt Cain, SBU (26-4, 2.47)  Cain posted the 2nd highest single-season win total of all time, trailing only 2003 NJT's Randy Johnson and his mark of 27.

TG Rookie of the Year:  Freddie Freeman, LCC (.283/22/73)  The 1st rounder (10th overall) led all TG rookies in HR and RBI while bringing home Lake Champlain's 3rd ROY award (joining 2005 Coco Crisp and 2007 Brian McCann.)

LF Rookie of the Year:  Jemile Weeks, SBU (.321/4/38).  Rickie's younger brother narrowly missed ruining Jose Bautista's triple crown party, but avoided doing so by failing to accumulate enough ABs to qualify for the batting title.  Still, the limited playing time did not prevent Weeks from accumulating an impressive 45 SB.

TG Fireman of the Year:  Joel Hanrahan, LCC (7-4/1.33 /27) and Craig Kimbrel, OJW (6-1/1.93/28).  For the 2nd year in a row, an NASBL Fireman of the Year vote results in a tie.  Last year it was Hung Chi Kuo (VFS) and Huston Street (TRY.)

LF Fireman of the Year:  Ryan Madson, SHA (3-3/1.55/38) 1st in the LF in saves (and 2nd overall behind only Mariano Rivera, who accumulated 40 between 2 conferences,) Madson brought 1st time / long time NASBL GM Mike Johnson home some hardware.

Congratulations to all the award winners!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Swaps!? - a look back at some major Troy trades

Troy, NY: As the Haymakers prepare for what looks to be their second consecutive playoff appearance, the sports department decided to take a look at some past major trades made and how they worked out for both teams:

1. 2008 Draft Day: Chase Utley, Carl Crawford and Matt Capps to Lehigh Valley(I can't remember if this was with Kevin or the old franchise) for Jered Weaver, Matt Holliday and Mark Ellis. After their first full season, Haymaker GM was looking to make their own stamp on the franchise and looking to pick up young pitching talent. The team lost 103 games and Ellis and Halladay were both gone after just one season with the team; Holliday traded and Ellis cut. Lehigh Valley on the other hand won 96 games and the TG South title. Weaver and Holliday netted a couple of quality players in future trades, so this may be a push.

2. 2007 Offseason: Ichiro Suzuki to Seattle for Andrew Jones, Andre Ethier and David Eckstein. Boy did this one backfire....Continuing with the making a stamp on the franchise, GM Ken Anderson traded the long time Canyon County leadoff hitter for three part time players. The front office staff was sure that Andrew Jones recent struggles were only temporary, but after one season with the team where he hit only .182 he was cut. Eckstein also only lasted one season while Ethier stayed three seasons as the cleanup hitter against righties going about .255 with 46 homeruns during that span. Suzuki enjoyed four successful seasons as the leadoff hitter in Seattle before recently tailing off due to age.

3. 2008 Pre-cutback trade: Matt Holliday to Grundy County for Brandon Phillips, Yuniesky Betencourt and Jason Marquis. This deal worked out to be Matt Holliday for Brandon Phillips as both Betencourt and Marquis were cut from the team a short while later without playing at all for Troy. Phillips is still with the team and is a fan favorite and fixture at second base. His numbers have not been overwhelming, only averaging .250 batting average, 18 homeruns and about 20 stolen bases; but the front office is very happy with his play as one of the best defenders in the league. Holliday spent three very productive seasons with Grundy County and is currently with Slatington looking to win a championship.

4. 2010 Draft Day: Adrian Beltre to Outlaw for a round 4 pick. Boy this was a doozie...after picking up Pablo Sandoval earlier in the same draft (4th overall), Beltre was deemed expendable and moved for a 4th round pick which netted....Brandon Lyon! Lyon enjoy two somewhat successful seasons with Troy, even going 7-1 in the bullpen during the championship run last season. Beltre, coming off his worst season with Seattle (only a .683 OPS) signed with Boston and only became the best 3Bman in baseball over the next three years. Probably the most lopsided trade in the Haymaker franchise.

5. 2010 Postseason: Jered Weaver, Andre Ethier and Omar Infante to Springfield for Josh Hamilton and Mike Adams. After seeing that Josh hit .400 against righties GM Ken Anderson had to have him on his team and ponied up; moving breakout ace Jered Weaver. Josh Hamilton and Mike Adams helped bring the first championship appearance to Troy and are pivotal to the current year playoff push. Weaver, Infante and Ethier helped bring a 101 win season to Springfield last season. Weaver has solidified his stance as a staff ace while Hamilton is still one of the best hitters in the league. I'd call that a Push.

6. 2012 Block 2: Jose Bautista to Slatington for Edwin Encarnation and a VFS round 1 pick. Lots of heads were scratched when Bautista was moved from what was considered a playoff lock team to a division rival. Troy GM, playing a hunch in what can only be called a mad scientist kind of way, decided it was time to move the breakout star. Bautista is only contending for a triple crown while making Slatington look like a championship team. His 51 homeruns and 115 RBI's are currently leading the NASBL. E5 is having a Bautista like breakout and currently tied for 7th in MLB in OPS with .947 (tied with teammate Josh Hamilton, no doubt) and the VFS round 1 pick is looking to be a top 6 pick in what will be a deep draft. We may not know for a few years who will get the better end of this deal, but a championship to Slatington will push the pivot in their direction.

So that was a look back at the six biggest trades in Troy history. With no clear wins and a couple obvious losses (Ichiro and Beltre), it may be possible that tinkering too much can be a bad thing...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Illinois has Good Block III & Makes First Deal for Next Year

Illinois Times:  

In the world of NASBL it is possible to work on two seasons at the same time.  It was a busy Saturday morning for Chows GM Brad Sherlag as Illinois solidified its play-off position by going 13-4 in the Block III home games.  "We are very excited to look ahead to our first ever postseason birth.  We worked hard to get into this position, making a lot of offseason deals to bolster our offseason.  While Outlaw is definitely the team to beat, anything can happen in short series.  Through Three Blocks, the club has performed well and we are in a strong position to make it in."

Shortly after finishing the Block, Sherlag completed his first deal for next season.  "No matter what happens this year, next year is shaping up to be a usual rebuilding year for the Chows.  We are looking to add a lot of good young talent - and one of the talented under 25 year old players became available.  The price was high - but we had to pull the trigger and part with one of our two remaining original Chows."

The deal sends Roy Halladay and Brandon Beachy to the Bulldogs for Justin Upton and Jon Lester.  "Upton was really the key to the deal for us.  While it was hard to pull the trigger, getting a player who has hit 100 home runs in MLB before his 25th birthday was something we couldn't resist."  Upton's position is RF, so fans are wondering if the other original Chow, Carlos Beltran will also be switching uniforms next season.

Over the years, there have been a plethora of offers for Halladay - time will tell if the Chows picked the right time and right deal to trade Doc.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

TG Cy Young Wannabes Duel At Outlaw Pond

Outlaw Pond on a sweltering August day.

Clayton Kershaw, 14 wins - 5 losses, 2.85 ERA, 163 strikeouts.
Justin Masterson, 15 wins - 1 loss, 2.32 ERA, 109 strikeouts.

Both gunslingers swagger into Wreckin' So Field at High Noon looking to enhance their Cy Young creds. 

Only one will walk out a winner.

Kershaw and Lake Champlain draw first blood, as cannibals are wont to do, in the bottom of the second when a Punto sacrifice fly plates McCann.

Konerko wounds Outlaw further by firing a blast over the centerfield fence in the third.

Outlaw takes the hit, staggers, but never says die.  Pedroia singles home Andrus to get one back in the bottom of the third.

A Beltre error opens the door for the Cannibals in the fourth and Lake Champlain take full advantage and scores twice for a 4-1 lead.

Masterson settles down ant throws bullets the rest of the way, but is it too late?

Matt Kemp blasts a two-run shot off Kershaw in the seventh to close the gap to one, but Kersaw and Hanrahan  shut the door the rest of the way.

The wounded Masterson and the Wales limp off the field vowing to live to fight another day.

BOXSCORE: 2012 Lake Champlain Cannibals At 2012 Outlaw Josey Wales  8/11/2012

  Cannibals          AB  R  H RBI AVG     Josey Wales        AB  R  H RBI AVG
  F.Freeman 1B        4  0  0  0 .300     J.Bay LF            5  1  1  0 .224 
  C.Granderson LF     4  0  0  0 .233     D.Pedroia 2B        3  0  1  1 .253 
  P.Konerko DH        3  1  1  1 .282     M.Kemp CF           5  1  3  2 .331 
  M.Joyce RF          4  0  0  0 .307     N.Cruz RF           4  0  0  0 .274 
  B.McCann C          4  2  1  0 .218     A.Beltre 3B         4  0  1  0 .271 
D-M.Treanor C         0  0  0  0 .340     D.Ortiz DH          3  0  0  0 .311 
  O.Hudson 2B         4  1  1  0 .209     M.Napoli C          4  0  0  0 .282 
  D.Murphy 3B         3  0  2  1 .308     A.Gonzalez 1B       3  0  2  0 .312 
A-R.Zimmerman 3B      1  0  0  0 .238     E.Andrus SS         3  1  1  0 .304 
  N.Punto SS          2  0  0  1 .282   B-L.Berkman PH        1  0  0  0 .280 
  R.Sweeney CF        3  0  1  0 .307   C-D.Descalso SS       0  0  0  0 .242 
                     -- -- -- ---                            -- -- -- ---     
         Totals      32  4  6  3                 Totals      35  3  9  3

A-Subbed Defensively (3B) For Murphy In 8th Inning
B-Pinch Hit For Andrus In 8th Inning
C-Subbed Defensively (SS) For Berkman In 9th Inning
D-Subbed Defensively (C ) For McCann In 9th Inning

Cannibals....... 0 1 1  2 0 0  0 0 0  -  4  6  1
Josey Wales..... 0 0 1  0 0 0  2 0 0  -  3  9  1

Cannibals (63-41)        IP       H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR    ERA  SCORESHEET
C.Kershaw WIN(15-5)       7       8   3   3   5   9   1   2.93  A1 D6
C.Martinez HOLD(6th)      1       1   0   0   0   0   0   3.51  D7 E1
J.Hanrahan SAVE(14th)     1       0   0   0   0   1   0   0.30  E2
Totals                    9       9   3   3   5  10   1

Josey Wales (84-31)      IP       H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR    ERA  SCORESHEET
J.Masterson LOSS(15-2)    6       5   4   2   1   4   1   2.34  A1 C6
J.Affeldt                 2 2/3   1   0   0   0   1   0   3.51  C7 D6
H.Rodriguez               0 1/3   0   0   0   0   0   0   2.56  D7
Totals                    9       6   4   2   1   5   1

ATTENDANCE- 47,768 DATE- Tuesday, August 11th 2012 TIME- Night
T- 2:58
LEFT ON BASE- Cannibals: 3  Josey Wales:10
DOUBLE PLAYS- Cannibals: 2  Josey Wales: 1
ERRORS- C.Granderson, A.Beltre
DOUBLES- D.Murphy(22nd), J.Bay(8th)
HOME RUNS- P.Konerko(20th), M.Kemp(35th)
STOLEN BASES- E.Andrus(30th)
WALKS- P.Konerko, D.Pedroia-2, N.Cruz, D.Ortiz, A.Gonzalez
STRIKE OUTS- C.Granderson-2, P.Konerko, M.Joyce, O.Hudson, J.Bay, D.Pedroia-2,
             M.Kemp, N.Cruz-2, A.Beltre, D.Ortiz-2, M.Napoli
GIDP- N.Punto, A.Beltre, M.Napoli
2-out RBI- P.Konerko

Friday, July 27, 2012

WAR rant....what is this mess?!?

Washington, D.C.: "Hey you know what I read the most unbelievable thing about Tolstoy the other day, did you know the original title for "War and Peace" was "War-What Is It Good For?"

What is WAR good for? I have never been that big on these new age player value statistics. The most advanced I have really ever made it was OPS for hitters and maybe WHIP for pitchers; so I decided to take a look at a few items on website to see what I could find out.

First off, let me just say that baseball-reference is probably my most visited site not named Google as it has almost everything you could ever want to know about baseball players from the past and present. I sometimes get lost for at least an hour looking up information in my idle time, and even use it for impromptu tests of baseball knowledge with others.

So I decided to check out WAR or Wins Above Replacement, which baseball-reference defines as such:
"A single number that presents the number of wins the player added to the team above what a replacement player would add. Scale for a single-season: 8+ MVP quality, 5+ All-star quality, 2+ starter, 0-2 reserve, <0 replacement level"

This seems to make sense on a broad level, right? Here's where the problem lies for me: Paul Konerko is currently ranked #38 in the American League with a 2.0 and his stat line as of this morning was .336/.408/.532; while Brett Lawrie is ranked #8 in the AL at 3.4 with a stat line of .288/.333/.421. How is this possible?

Now I know this WAR calculation takes other things into effect like the position they play, their defense, other players who play at the position; but you mean to tell me that Lawrie is worth more (for this current season only) than Konerko? Konerko's OPS is .940 to Lawrie's .764. Konerko is not the greatest defender at 1B, but he only has one error and how much value do you really put a first base defense? (Let's be honest, no one really wanted Travis Lee on their team. Sorry Phillies fans, you have to admit it.) I'm not a naive old man shaking my fist at progress but there is no way that could be true, right?

There is no doubt that over the long haul Lawrie, a 22 year old third baseman who was ranked a top 50 prospect before coming to the majors, is the player I would rather have...but you cannot convince me that he is more valuable than Konerko this season.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Hanley Ramirez gets traded in MLB and the Dodgers plan to play him at third base.  While I am excited to see him playing in another stadium and with different players around him, he should play shortstop while Gordon is out!  Just when I thought there was hope .

Saturday, July 21, 2012

IronPigs Trade Starting Pitcher

Underperforming ace Josh Johnson was traded to the Slatington Bulldogs in exchange for 3b prospect Mike Moustakas and a second round pick.  Johnson was not performing for us at a high enough level, so we thought it was time to make a move.  If the old addage that "the team with the biggest Johnson wins", playoff contenders should be concerned.  This theory worked very well for the LA Lakers for many years and also teams that featured Randy "Big Unit" Johnson.  Time will tell if that holds true for Slatington.  The rebuilding mode is in full swing in Lehigh Valley. 

IronPigs Acquire New Concession Item

IronPig management is pleased to announce a new concession stand item.  We will now be featuring the MooseTaco which replaces the Johnson MeatStick at our food areas.  We believe that this new menu item will provide a Mexican/Rocky Mountain flair for our patrons.  We were inspired on a recent trip to Wyoming and thought that this would make our fan happy during this miserable campaign.  Tee shirts will be available at all locations where IronPig merchandise is sold. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Kershaw Struggles to Overcome Cannibalism

Lake Champlain southpaw Clayton Kershaw is dedicating his 2012 season to overcoming one of the most subtle forms of discrimination in the NABSL today.

Not racism, not agism, not sexism. No. In 2012, Kershaw hopes to overcome Cannibal-ism.

But what does Cannibal-ism mean? Have LCC pitchers been getting cranked on bath salts and painting barbecue sauce on homeless peoples’ faces? Well, no. Not as far as we know, anyway.

According to the Urban Dictionary, Cannibal-ism is the preconception, usually correct, that Lake Champlain Cannibal pitchers totally suck at pitching.

Normally this perception is not a problem, as research shows over 99% of LCC pitchers who have ever taken the mound have indeed sucked. In fact, independent studies show that putting an LCC pitcher near a rubber and a rosin bag is statistically almost as likely to cause sucking as putting Paris Hilton in front of a home movie camera. (Almost.)

However, there have been multiple examples of Cannibal pitchers who have spent an entire season sucking less than Hillary after Monica hit the news.

Multiple in the sense that “2” is multiple, anyway.

The following is the complete and unabridged list of cases of the greatest LCC pitching performances that ever went unrewarded in post-season awards voting (if you ask the Lake Champlain media, these are Clear Cases of Cannibalism):

  1. Brendan Donnelly, 2004 (19-6, 3.18, 17 saves). Donnelly led the Tastes Great in wins, and was 7th in the TG in saves. But he was shut out of both the Cy Young and the Fireman of the Year voting. Donnelly had more wins and a better ERA than eventual Cy Young winner Jason Schmidt of the Georgia Roadkill (16-8. 3.42). And while Fireman of the Year Eric Gagne of the Yorktown Schooners (1-7, 2.72, 37 saves) did have over twice the saves, Donnelly’s edge in the W/L categories (18 more wins, 1 less loss) might have at least brought his name into the conversation. While some feel the Donnelly awards shutout was because he was little more than a marrow-sucking vulture, tallying cheap mid-inning wins on the basis of an awful LCC starting rotation (the team had 77 starts by SPs with season ERAs greater than 5.80) and an extremely powerful LCC lineup (1129 runs scored, 1st in the league,) Lake Champlain conspiracy theorists have long held with another explanation: Cannibal-ism.

  1. Jonathan Sanchez, 2011 (23-5, 3.13). Sanchez led the Tastes Great in wins, struck out 225 hitters (10th in the TG), and tallied 3 shutouts (4th in the TG.) But the Cy Young hardware went to Lehigh Valley rookie Clay Buchholz (16-6, 1.77.) While Iron Pig apologists might argue Buchholz deserved to bring home the bacon (due to minor technicalities such as setting a single-season NASBL record for ERA - 1.77, only the 2nd time in NASBL history a pitcher has finished below 2.00), LCC homers ….errrr…. dispassionate analysts feel the LVI near-sweep of the 2011 awards (ROY and FOY to Buchholz, MVP to Albert Pujols) constitutes a form of imperialism that can only be fought through expressions of democracy such as voting for Sanchez for Cy (even though Sanchez was clearly only the 2nd best pitcher in the Tastes Great last year.)

So how best to halt the perfidious spread of Cannibal-ism?

Given that quasi-peaceful forms of protest such as last summer’s week-long Occupy Lehigh Movement (where LCC GM Stephen Beard occupied LVI’s kitchen and guest room for nearly a week) have failed to prevent actions such as the fair election of Buchholz, LCC’s Kershaw has opted for an old-school approach popularized by Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh back in the 80’s:

Crash: “Relax, all right? Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.” “Oh, hey, and another thing, Meat. You don't know shit, all right? If you wanna make it to the bigs, you'll listen to me. Annie only wants you so she can boss you around, got it? So relax! Let's have some fun out here! This game's fun, OK? Fun goddamnit. And don't hold the ball so hard, OK? It's an egg. Hold it like an egg.”

Monday, June 11, 2012

Outlaw Gets More Power!

Outlaw management has been working the phones since the latter part of Block I in an attempt to improve the team's chances of winning NASBL's short playoff series, and hopefully, World Series.  We found that it's hard to improve on a really good team when you don't have any good expendable prospects and your trading partners think that your draft position will be low.

Management had no trouble zeroing in on our two biggest playoff needs:
1)  A dominant starting pitching card, and
2)  A dominant left-handed bat

Number one proved elusive, as usual in NASBL, seeing that dominant starting pitching cards are usually associated with dominant starting pitchers whose price is higher than a late first-round draft pick.

Need number two isn't much easier to fill given the lack of dominant left-handed bats this year, and the fact that many of them are young and promising, and most of them already reside in the hands of contenders.

Outlaw management was really miffed that their hand-picked Kemp-Napoli-Gonzalez-Pedroia-Ortiz-Beltre-Cruz offensive juggernaut was out-homered and out-scored by Slatington in block I.  Then the Bulldogs had the nerve to add insult to injury by trading for Jose Bautista!

So when Seattle decided to go for a youth movement we jumped right on the chance to negotiate for the one player we had considered the best fit for the Wales playoff run all along:

Outlaw is honored to welcome Lance Berkman, professional hitter extroidanaire, to the Outlaw family.  We gave up a first round draft pick for an aging hitter with health issues, but the Big Puma adds a dominant bat to team up with Adrian Gonzalez and Big Papi Ortiz against any right-handed pitcher that can be thrown at us.

The trade also strengthens Outlaw's right-handed setup role as Steve Cishek's outstanding card was also packaged for underrated Rafael Betancourt, who is on track to provide Seattle one of the more dominant 2013 closer cards.

Outlaw is confident that this is the right trade at the right time for both Seattle and the Wales.

Bring on the playoffs!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Moscoso Just Misses No-Hitter vs. Crows - takes it 8 2/3

Here is the game write-up from the box score: 

Moscoso didn't allow a hit until the 9th inning as the Illinois Chow Chows topped the Shawnee Crows by a score of 3 to 0 at Seventies Stadium. Moscoso(1-2) was virtually untouchable. He didn't allow much, just 1 hit and 3 walks in 9 innings lowering his ERA from 6.87 to 4.61. The right-handed Moscoso lost his no-hit bid when Nyjer Morgan doubled with two outs in the 9th inning. Illinois managed 7 hits in their victory. The loss was charged to R.A. Dickey(4-3). He allowed 2 runs and 6 hits in 6 and 2/3 innings. 'He was moving it around and spotting it very well.' Mike Johnson said. Moscoso pitched a great game. He deserves all the credit.' 

Monday, May 28, 2012


Troy, NY: Haymaker fans made a unified, "Wha, Wha, What?!?" this past week when news surfaced that the slugging Jose Bautista was traded for Edwin Encarnacion and a VFS round 1 pick. "He just didn't fit into our long term plans," said GM Ken Anderson, "We want to build our team around Josh (Hamilton), Pablo (Sandoval) and Madison Bumgarner. We also want to build a long term competitive team and we thought this was the best way to keep that plan in action." Troy fans have been livid, who thought the team was a playoff lock before the trade. Even Bautista himself was quoted in another news source as saying that the Haymaker GM did not have faith in him. "Bautista is a grown man and knows how this game works," said the GM, "He was productive when he was here, and if he is worried about who has faith in him them maybe it was best that he was moved on." There have been other fairly public hints (Here) that Bautista was on the market from as early as January; when news surfaced that he was being shopped. It seemed the GM has had his doubts for some time, maybe he was worried about the personalities of Hamilton and Bautista over the long term. We may never know. Now Troy fans will have to finish out the season without one of the most exciting bats in the game. Jose Bautista, who helped bring the Haymakers their first championship appearance in 2011, was drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 draft. After a season playing part time, a hitch was fixed in his swing and Bautista exploded with 44 homeruns and 123 RBI's in 2011. He was hitting .313 with 15 homeruns and 36 RBI's at the time of the trade.

DFW BK-1 Report

Heading out of Spring Training DFW had high hopes on the direction the team.  Well it didn't take long for reality to set in when the season started.   The Spurs finished BK-1 with a 15-31 record.  The bad news is just what the Spurs dreaded, a sophomore jink by their young guns.  Jason Heyward is batting .230 with 5hr & 11rbi.  Andrew McCutchen & Logan Morrison are hitting under the 'Mendoza Line', at .198 and .168.  McCutchen is leading team with 21r,  22rbi, & 8hr. 
Last year staff ace Colby Lewis (14-10, 3.65era),  is 1-7, with a 7.21era.  Tim Stauffer is 1-6, 5.91era, & Dustin Moseley is 0-4, 6.42era have 17 of the team's 31 loses.  The pitching staff is suffering a severe case of 'Gopheritis'.  In 46 games the staff has given up 64 homeruns.  Lewis has given up 14, Stauffer 13, and Jeff Karstens 9.  When asked how long has the staff has had 'Gopheritis', skipper Red Robbins said 'the last 6 years!'

Outlaw Nation Happy with Block I

Outlaw fans and management have no complaints after a successful road-heavy 2012 NASBL block I.  A 9 game division lead, a .654 road winning percentage, out-homering opponents 3-1 at Wreckin' So Field, Justin Masterson's 6-1, 2.48 record, Adrian Beltre's 13 HR, 33 RBI start, Kimbrel and Venter's 14 saves, Adrian Gonzalez's .342 BA and 31 RBI, and NASBL league leading .824 X-percentage and 3.08 ERA are all putting smiles on the Outlaw Pond faithful.

Disappointments are minor.  Matt Kemp's .254 batting average fails to wow, although his 30 runs, 10 HR, 30 RBI and 14 SB are excellent production.  More was expected of Tim Hudson than a 3-3 record, but his 3.90 ERA is solid and suggests some hard-luck, and Alfredo Aceves' 4.15 ERA is a disappointment, but his 3-1 record is good.

Questions remain.  Why hasn't management pulled the string an a trade to bring a big gun playoff weapon to Outlaw?  A strong starting pitcher card or another big left-handed hitting card could help to shorten those unpredictable NASBL playoff series.  The brass does hint that they are still working the phones, but say that improving on the team we already have on the field isn't easy.  

Why hasn't fireballing rookie Craig Kimbrel been handed the closer job outright?  Well, management is very happy with Jonny Venter's 6 out of 7 save conversion and miniscule 1.14 ERA, and this bullpen is easily deep enough to micro-manage duties, so the unconventional lefty-righty closer platoon just might continue.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rivera and Bautista First Press Conference as a Bulldog

For the first time since being traded to the Bulldogs, Jose Bautista and Mariano Rivera talked to reporters about their respective trades.

Jose seemed a little confused about the trade. "I was told that we were playing for a championship" said a confused Jose. "I'm happy to be on the Bulldogs and part of this lineup either way. Maybe Mr. Anderson didn't have enough faith in me. I don't know. All I do know is that I will be playing my heart out for that championship ring no matter who it is for."

Mariano was a little more upset about his trade. "Stan always told me that I was going to be a Hawaiian for life." Rivera said. "I guess those words were just meant until I got a little old. I have a lot of life left in my arm."
On a side note. When Brandon League was asked about the Rivera trade he had this to say. "This is bull. I guess leading the league in saves isn't enough. They have to bring in someone else for the ninth inning and make me a set-up man. I have already told my agent that I want to be traded. I want to close not be a set-up man." Lets hope this doesn't bring any kind of problems to the Bulldog's locker room. I guess we will just have to watch the Tradewire to see if League gets his wish.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Down Goes Feliz!

The ink was barely dry on the new 3 year contract with future ace Neftali Feliz when the Roadkill front office announced that he would be immediately be assigned to the 15 day DL. The GRK front office was in damage control when GM Miller stated "We noticed something in his delivery that could cause some long-term issues & we just want to make sure NeFe can join YoGo & Volquez on the '13 staff". When the AJC questioned how thorough the GRK front office evaluated Feliz before commiting a #1 pick GM Miller shot back "Look with our playoff run this year who could we get with the #1...Goldschmidt, Minor? Doubtful anyone will be trading down next draft. Feliz can help us in a key setup role & fully expect him to compete for a rotation spot next season." When asked if the club expected compensation from last season champ LVI, GM Miller was interrupted by an urgent call from a Dr Andrews.