Friday, September 30, 2016


In his first season with the Outlaw Josey Wales, Julio Teheran wildly exceeded expectations and shared the Tastes Great wins crown with Springfield's Jake Odorizzi with 18 games won.

Julio Teheran left Clayton Kershaw, Jake Arrieta, Cory Kluber, Chris Sale, teammate Carlos Carrasco, Johnny Cueto, and Gerrit Cole all eating his dust in the wins department.

Just how did a pitcher with a 4.04 MLB ERA, a 4.84 NASBL ERA, and a card resembling the firebombing of Dresden win more games than any other Tastes Great pitcher not named Jake Odorizzi while playing for a sub-.500 team in the bottom half of the league in runs scored?

1)  There's something to be said for taking the mound as often as possible.  With 33 starts, Teheran took the mound slightly more than once every five games.

2)  Earn a decision in a freakishly high 88% of his starts.  Julio earned 29 decisions in 33 starts. Pitching a respectable, but not outstanding, 5 2/3 innings per start certainly contributed to the high decision rate, but it doesn't explain it all.  Chalk up some dumb luck here.

3)  Get run support.  NASBL teams scored an average of 4.46 runs per game.  The Wales averaged only 4.44 runs per game, but when Teheran took the mound Outlaw scored a blistering 5.12 runs per game.  Chalk some of this up to dumb luck, but credit some of it up to Outlaw management making sure key batters played during Teheran's home starts after noticing his unexpected block I success.

4)  Have a wildly unbalanced card.  With a 40% on-base, 56% slugging and 5.7% homerun rate, the left side of Teheran's card does resemble the firebombing of Dresden.  But the right side is actually respectable with 20% on-base, 22% slugging, and 2.0% homerun.  While a highly unbalanced starting pitcher card is normally considered a disadvantage, Outlaw management noticed this right away and avoided starting Teheran against teams with strong left-handed lineups as much as possible.

5)  Luck.  More luck.  Dumb luck.  Smart luck.  All kinds of luck.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Haymakers Excited to Return to the Playoffs

Troy, NY:  The city is a buzz with playoff fever.  The crowds are cheering loudly, fans running the streets waiving their banners and even the mayor has declared a city holiday.  Yes it's true, the hometown Haymakers are back in the playoffs.
   The team was able to sneak out a last minute two game win on the wildcard over rival Grundy County.  The Grizzlies had a great season, lead by a strong pitching staff and superior defense. Their 96 win season would have been enough to make it in the menial Tastes Great division, where a number of teams had down years.
   As for the Haymakers, this is their first time back in the playoffs since their division winning season back in 2013 where they finished with an identical 98-64 record.  This will Troy's fourth playoff appearance since their inaugural season in 2007 as they go after their first NASBL championship. 
  The Haymakers began the year with the second pick of the draft, and eyeing a rebuild for the 2017 season, drafting a number of young bats and arms such as Aaron Sanchez, Rasial Iglesias, Yasmany Tomas, Jung Ho Kang and young superstar Kris Bryant.  These young players fit well into what already was a group of young sluggers and anchored by ace Madison Bumgarner.  There was promise, but the team was still lacking, especially in the pitching staff.  But after the end of the second block, GM Ken Anderson saw an opportunity and was able to trade for Sonny Gray as a compliment to ace Bumgaerner and stock the bullpen with good complements to lefty Andrew Miller by adding Mark Melancon and Carson Smith.
    Pitcher Gray was great down the stretch, going 9-2 in twelve starts while boasting 1.74 ERA.  The only possible negative is will be bounce ace and 20 game winner Madison Bumgarner in game one of the playoffs against Vermont.  New bullpen arms allowed the weaker back of the rotation to pitch shorter, which was evident by Smith and Melancon pitching a combined 68 innings down the stretch.  The five "nasty boys" of the pen will provide a lot of insurance for the games not pitched by Gray and Bumgarner.

 Possible rookie of the year Kris Bryant motorized the offense for Troy, belting 31 homers and driving in 104 runs while playing solid defense at thirdbase and rightfield.  But the leader and spark-plug of the offsense was centerfielder A.J. Pollock, who played gold glove defense in center hit .316 on the season with 59 extra base hits and stole 33 bases.

Even with all that talent, the Haymakers face a number of tough challenges for the NASBL crown.  They face the Fighting Souix in the first round of the playoffs, who won 100 games thanks to a balanced offense and a strong bullpen.  Their rotation is solid as well, fronted by ace Matt Harvey, the great Jon Lackey and longtime Pilots ace Felix Hernandez. It is going to prove to be a great matchup.

 Should Troy be lucky enough to make it past Vermont, they will still need to face the defending champion Spurs and their powerhouse offense led by Bryce Harper, who will no doubt be the league MVP. Harper won the Less Filling triple crown, hitting .334 with 51 home runs and driving in 128.  Not to be outdone, the Spurs also have ace lefty Dallas Keuchel, who will most likely win the Less Filling Cy Young, going 23-6 with a 2.82 ERA.

What's worse, Troy would still need to play the championship series against the Tastes Great winner if they get lucky enough to go to the finals.  It's going to be a long, fun road to the fans in the upcoming weeks.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Every year I like to look at how I got my keepers.  No surprise here that most of Outlaw's 2016 keepers came from the draft.  Of the 18 keepers (including 1 IR player), nine are former first round Outlaw draft picks, three are former Outlaw 2nd round draft picks and one is a former Outlaw third round draft pick.  Only five came in trades.  Here are the keepers ordered by years of Outlaw service:

Tim Hudson, 16, 2000 1st round
Jake Peavy, 12, 2004 2nd round
Adrian Gonzalez, 9, 2007 1st round
Dustin Pedroia, 8, 2008 1st round
Elvis Andrus, 6, 2010 1st round
Nelson Cruz, 6, 2010 1st round
Matt Kemp, 5, 2010 postseason trade for 2011 1st round

Yan Gomes, 2, 2014 1st round
Zack Wheeler (IR), 2, 2014 2nd round
Jake McGee, 2, 2014 minor trade
Lonnie Chisenhall, 2, 2014 trade for Christian Yelich
Albert Pujols, 2, 2014 trade for Mike Napoli
Carlos Carrasco, 1, 2015 1st round
Billy Hamilton, 1, 2015 1st round
J.D. Martinez, 1, 2015 1st round
Javier Baez, 1, 2015 2nd round
Nick Castellanos, 1, 2015 3rd round
Julio Teheran, 0, 2015 postseason trade for Craig Kimbrel