September 28, 2011 arguably goes down in MLB history as the Greatest single day in regular season history with a finish so unlikely and so dramatic it seemed it was scripted from the writers of “24”.
Dan Johnson’s 2-out, 2-strike Home Run in the bottom of the 9th that capped off a seven run comeback vs. the Yankees and saved the season for the Rays. For Johnson’s heroics he earned a Clutch hitting situation rating on his new 2011 season DYNASTY League Baseball player card. It is very unusual for a non-RBI leader to earn a Clutch hitting rating, but it has happened before with Al Weis 1969 Mets, Tom Lawless 1987 Cardinals and Manny Mota’s 1977 Dodgers player cards.
The AL East perennial powers Boston and New York both failed to earn a JAM situation rating for their relief aces Jonathan Papelbon and Mariano Rivera. Papelbon lost his chance for a JAM with an unimpressive .273 BA with RSP/2 out. Rivera was not only mediocre with a .261 BA/.435 SLG with RSP/2 out, but got rocked with RSP at a .326 BA/.488 SLG clip.
DYNASTY League Baseball fans Dave Kerpen and Andrew Kaufmann debated the merits of the Mets R.A. Dickey chance for a JAM rating in the 2011 season player card set. What it came down to is that even though Dickey won only 8 games he was a candidate for a JAM rating because he was amongst the Official ERA leaders with his 3.28 ERA. Dickey earned his JAM rating on the basis of a .184 BA/.241 SLG with RSP/2 out.
The poster boy for a JAM rating is Tim Lincecum who dialed it up with RSP/2 out allowing a .115 BA/.177 SLG. Now THAT is a pitcher who can get out of a jam!
Carp JAM rating? This year a resounding YES for Cardinal Ace Chris Carpenter.
How could he not after besting Phillie Ace Roy Halladay in a Game 5 NLDS 1-0 duel of aces to end all pitching duels? A .236 BA with RSP/2 outs during the regular season helps too.
Beer in the bullpen? The Red Sox cleaned house after the season becaue the clubhouse chemistry had gone awry. The starting rotation of Beckett, Bucholz, Lackey and Lester all got slapped with a D intangible rating for their Boston beer party.
Mark Buehrle staked his claim on this generation’s version of Jim Kaat with an A+ Range rating and 90 Error rating. Buehrle ranked #1 in the Fielding Bible Plus/Minus leaderboard for pitchers with a +4 score to his right, +2 in the middle and 9 runs saved.
Troy Tulowitzki (A/100/-5) earned an A Range rating on the basis of his excellent 5.05 Range Factor (1st) and his solid Fielding Bible +10 score. Error 100 ratings are historically rare and Tulowitzki’s .991 Fielding pct. got him the top historical rating on the scale. Tulo’s player card is a true gem topped off by his -5 Double Play pivot rating which was earned on the basis of his #1 ranked DP pct. of .681.
In the AL, Brendan Ryan (A/70/-5) ranked 1st in the shortstop Fielding Bible rankings for the second year in a row with a +22 Plus/Minus.
It’s rare that a rookie would debut with an A range rating, but that is exactly what the Angel’s Mark Trumbo (A/70) did ranking 1st in Fielding Bible Plus/Minus (+11).
Washington’s Rick Ankiel continues to not just impress, but to put himself in the pantheon next to Clemente in terms of throwing arms. Ankiel’s 7 “kills” and 9 runs saved ranked him 1st among all CF. MLB scouts also graded Ankiel’s arm an 8 on their 2-8 scale. Ankiel (B+/90/-4) earned a very rare -4 throwing arm rating in 2011 in both CF and RF.
Atlanta’s Michael Bourn continues to be as menacing as Jason Bourne – only Michael does his killing on the basepaths. Bourn scores a 10 Baserunning rating and top tier lead (7/6/2) and steal (8/7/1) ratings at 2nd/3rd/Home.
The new DYNASTY League Baseball 2011 season player card set is available for DYNASTY League Baseball Online right here right now and available in the original Board version format at the Ticket Window.
It might be…it could be… it is! Yes, this is it! The greatest combination of fun known to man: Baseball, people who love baseball, the chance to discover a new ball park or revisit a ball park that you’ve come to know and love, people who play DYNASTY League Baseball who might become your DYNASTY League Baseball buddy, league rival or just your friend for the weekend. I’ll be there. I’m Mike Cieslinski the designer of both Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball and I’ll do my best to insure there is never a dull moment on this very unique excursion. What’s in store?
First off, we’re going first class. Hey, why cut corners and go on a Mario Mendoza line trip when for a few dollars more you can have an Albert Pujols trip! What this means is that on our trip to St. Louis we’ll be on Amtrak’s finest Superliner service and staying near the beautifully renovated St. Louis Union Station only a few blocks from New Busch Stadium.
Why not bring the whole gang and make a weekend outing of it, family and friends are welcome. You will board Amtrak’s Texas Eagle at Chicago’s Union Station on Friday afternoon June 4, see the Brewers and Cardinals play Friday evening and Saturday afternoon and return to Chicago at noon on Sunday.
Connections can be made from other locations and Milwaukee where the trip will originate. St. Louis is one of the most exciting cities to visit. If you are a baseball fan and if you’re a DYNASTY League Baseball fan, this will be a June to remember. Find out why. Get up and go!
Busch Stadium Express / $378 per person double occupancy includes:
Round trip fare on Amtrak’s Texas Eagle and Lincoln
Two nights hotel near St. Louis Union station and Busch Stadium including hot breakfast buffet.
Tickets to the Brewers vs. Cardinals games on Friday and Saturday June 4 and 5
DYNASTY League Baseball Greatest Team tournament
Deadline for reservations is April 23, 2010 so make your reservations now – space is limited. Reservations can be made by calling 561-494-2711. If you have any questions please feel free to call.
With the All-Star game returning to St. Louis for the first time since 1966, you might be amazed at how differently that game was managed compared to recent All-Star games.
Check out the box score from the 1966 All-Star game held in Busch Stadium in 105 sweltering degrees:
What do you notice about the starting lineups? Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey and Ron Santo all played not only the entire nine innings, but also the tenth inning when Maury Will’s single to right-field scored Tim McCarver to notch another victory for the NL 2-1.
If Joe Torre and Bob Brenly had managed the 2002 All-Star game the same way Sam Mele of the Twins and Walter Alston of the Dodgers managed the 1966 All-Star game, Bud Selig would never have come close to having to throw up his hands and declare it a 7-7 tie.
One thing that jumps out from the 2009 All-Star game roster, is that among the 33 players, there are only two regular catchers on each team. On the 1966 All-Star game roster, there were three catchers on each team among the 27 man roster. The strategy and injury implications are huge here. With only two catchers, you are forced to use your starting catcher for all nine innings in the St. Louis heat because you will have no back up catcher if you use your second catcher. Imagine a scenario where the back up catcher gets hurt? Will Bud Selig instruct Bob Uecker to come out and put on the catching gear?
Late in the game, if catcher Yadier Molina comes up to bat in a crucial game situation, AL Manager Joe Maddon has several great right-handed relief options vs. the right-handed hitting Molina that can’t be countered with a left-handed pinch hitter like Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder or Adrian Gonzalez by NL Manager Charlie Manuel. Manuel could gamble if he wants to roll the dice and use up his last catcher, but can you imagine the backlash on “This time it counts” if backup catcher Brian McCann is injured? Note also that there are four first basemen for the NL in a game that Albert Pujols should play all nine innings in his home park – at least he would have in 1966.
In 1966, Walter Alston pitched Sandy Koufax for three innings for the NL followed by Jim Bunning (2 IP), Juan Marichal (3 IP) and Gaylord Perry (2 IP). That’s four pitchers leaving you with plenty of bullpen match-up options and no need to walk down to Bud’s field box and tell him you are out of pitchers. The 1966 extra inning game also was finished in a crisp 2:19 minutes. Are you taking notes Charlie and Joe for Tuesday’s tilt?
Our simulated DYNASTY League Baseball 2009 All-Star game was retro-managed with tactics similar to the way All-Star games were managed in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s. The game summary follows:
Teixeira’s 5 RBI’s lead AL to 6-1 win
Mark Teixeira was a one man wrecking crew wreaking havoc in the first inning by hammering a pitch from jittery Tim Lincecum into left field for a 3-run HR. Lincecum walked two batters in the first before Teixeira’s HR. Ryan Braun hit a 375 foot HR to right-center off Roy Halladay to close the gap to 3-1 in the bottom of the second. Teixeira struck again in the top of the fifth clearing the bases with a 2-run double to left-center off Johan Santana.
The relief trio of Jonathan Papelbon, Joe Nathan and Mariano Rivera shutdown any comeback hopes for the NL in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.
Analysis: If Tim Lincecum can avoid first inning jitters and control problems he should settle down for a good if not dominating outing. The Teixera HR was the only hit of the 1st inning for the AL, but was the crucial blow of the game.
Who is not on the NL and AL rosters is going to play a factor as much as who is on the roster. Without injured Carlos Beltran, the NL outfield lacks depth in power, speed and defense (Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth are the only CF). The 2009 NL outfield of Ryan Braun, Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez hardly compares to the 1966 NL outfield of Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente.
Beltran could have provided excellent defense in CF with his A Range and -2 (very good) Throwing Arm and been a threat to take the extra base with his 9 Baserunning rating on his DYNASTY League Baseball player card.
The three top AL relievers Papelbon, Nathan and Rivera all give up a very high success rate on stolen base attempts (rated +4, +4 and +2 on their DYNASTY League Baseball player cards) so the NL needs to take advantage of this with the runners that they do get on base vs. the terrific AL bullpen trio.
Most of the NL left-handed power (Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard and Adrian Gonzalez) will be log jammed on the bench behind first baseman Albert Pujols so although Charlie Manual has some great pinch hitting options vs. the RH dominated AL pitching staff, it will be unlikely any of the trio will get more than one AB.
With all the emphasis on Albert Pujols and his place as the best hitter in Baseball (and deservedly so), Mark Teixera his AL counterpart may be overlooked, if that is possible as a Yankee in New York. Texiera is tearing up right-handed pitching at a .352 BA/.463 OBP/.591 SLG rate.
DYNASTY League Baseball from the designer of Pursue the Pennant is a landmark baseball simulation lauded for it’s high level of realism and is available in a Board version, Windows version and an upcoming Online version featuring Greatest Teams tournaments and continuous Draft leagues. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball.
More information is available at designdepot.com
With the 2008 AL and NL Gold Glove ratings being awarded here are a few highlights from the 2008 season DYNASTY League Baseball fielding ratings that have been awarded.
One of the more challenging fielding ratings to rate is a players Range rating. No one statistic can accurately rate a player’s fielding range. So how are Range ratings determined in DYNASTY League Baseball?
DYNASTY League Baseball uses a players Zone rating and his Range factor to determine where the player grades out on a historical scale. From there, the grade is cross-checked with input from major league scouts, beat writers, broadcasters and even players and managers. In 2008, more use is being made of John Dewan’s +/- fielding ratings as another source to check against.
OK, now onto the good stuff…
Albert Pujols. We all know he is the best hitter in Baseball. Do you know how great a fielder Albert Pujols is? Here is how Pujols ranked in +/- the last three years among first basemen:
Pujols zone rating in 2008?
.935 which ranks first among all regular first basemen.
Want more? Pujols Range factor at 1b was 10.64, again easily ranking first among all first basemen. Range factor at 1b can be misleading, but the fact that Pujols ranks so high in +/-, Zone rating and Range factor gives him a clean sweep.
Pujols not only has great range, but also rarely makes an an error fielding at a .996 clip with only 6 errors.
The NL Gold Glove first base award went to Adrian Gonzalez (B+ / 85), but the greatest hitter in Baseball is also the greatest fielding first baseman.
Pujols 1b: A+ / 85
St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Derrick Goold has a great blog on “Adding to St. Louis Cardinals’ golden history of Gloves” that includes the All-Time Gold Glove team leaders.
The Phillies and Rays were two of the best defensive teams in Baseball in 2008 so it is no surprise that both teams ended up in the World Series. Emerging as one of the prime fielding second basemen in Baseball is Chad Utley. Utley’s 5.18 Range factor and .844 Zone rating were both excellent. What stands out even more is Utley’s +47 +/- rating which ranked 1st among all second basemen by a wide margin (Mark Ellis +26 2nd).
Utley 2b: A / 75
One overlooked defensive outfielder is the Orioles Jay Payton. Payton put up outstanding to excellent Range factors in both LF (2.96) and CF (3.14) and also has a good arm allowing only 11 extra bases in 40 opportunites to advance (.275) in LF and (.432) in CF.
Look at some of the fan expressions as Jay Payton makes a great leaping catch at the wall.
Payton scored +6 with his +/- rating.
OK, the guy has Range, but does he commit a lot of errors a la Arizona’s Justin Upton (5 Error rating on a scale of 100)? Zero errors. A pristine perfect 1.000 fielding .pct earned Payton a 100 Error rating.
Payton lf: A / 100 / -1
cf: A / 100 / -1
Thankfully the Gold glove voters did not award the AL Gold Glove to Derek Jeter who once again had one of the worst Range factors (4.05) in Baseball. You saw how great Pujols was at first base. Now compare Jeters +/- rankings the last three years among regular shortstops to Pujols:
What Jeter did do well in 2008, was to make the plays hit to him as his .979 Fielding .pct earned him an 80 Error rating.
Jeter ss: D / 80
Player who has not received a Gold Gold yet and most deserves it?
Yadier Molina finally broke through in 2008 with a Gold Glove even though he had better defensive years previously.
Range Error Throw Passed Ball Handling
Yadier Molina A+ / 40 / -1 / B / A
Carl Crawford has been one of the premier defensive left fielders in Baseball for years in the anonymity of what has been Tampa Bay Rays Baseball. In 2008, Crawford lead regular LF in Range (2.28), Zone rating (.909) and +/- (+23). We have been watching or for many fans not watching one of the great defensive left fielders not only among current players, but of All-Time.
Crawford lf: A+ / 70 / 0
Who has Baseball’s best OF throwing arm?
It may well be Rick Ankiel.
The Pitcher turned Outfielder was featured in two amazing ESPN web gems throwing out a runner at 3rd from the warning track. Ankiel ranked 3rd best among CF in preventing runner advancement (.468) and the only question with his rifle arm is if it ranks with Roberto Clemente (-4 with that rating being reserved for the best of All-Time).
Rick Ankiel -3 Throwing arm (scale of -4 best of All-Time to +4 horrible)
Even though Brandon Inge has been moved all over the field defensively he still continues to amaze at third base even in a part-time role. In 51 games at third, Inge made only one error.
Inge 3b: A+ / 100
Among AL regulars at third base, Adrian Beltre had an excellent defensive season ranking first in Zone rating (.844) and +/- (+32).
Beltre 3b: A / 80