Monday, July 18, 2011

Calvin Lee is your new Stolen Base King!

Congrats to Calvin Lee, who took over the All-Time Stolen Base record at 689 and counting when he stole 2nd base in the 7th inning against the Oakland Irish A's. At the age of 29, there are many miles left in the legs of this speed-burner, so who knows where he will end up when all is said and done (1,000?). When trying to contact piratestros on this great accomplishment, there was no reply (sad day indeed). The GM who was able to take advantage of a Rule V mistake and become one of the best leadoff and stolen base threats over the course of the last 8 seasons was not there to see this and may not be there to take credit for this great achievement. Lee was humble when asked about the feat -- "I only wish we were still competing for the Division title. It has been fun stealing bases for the Mutuals the last 8 seasons. They gave me my break into the Bigs." Lee also drove in the winning runs, singling in the 7th to drive in 2 runs as New York nipped the Irish A's, 3-1. I can't imagine any reason why he won't be in the HOF at the end of his career, and it will be hard to see any hat other than NY when they enshrine him.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

AL Power Rankings, Part Deux

Here is the AL Power Rankings going into the last Quarter of Season 17:

1. Las Vegas -- jceffali continues to dominate the AL, despite a mediocre batting average. However, they lead the AL in Home Runs, and have the best pitching and fielding in the league, so suffice it to say, they will be a hard out come the playoffs. Has not lost more than 2 in a row since before the All-Star Break. Impressive!

2. Norfolk -- Currently leads the battle for 2nd bye in the playoffs, and will desperately need it! Similar to LV, their offense isn't where they would like it, but pitching and fielding has made up for that. In the midst of a tough 20-game stretch involving Iowa City, Las Vegas, Boise, Charlotte, and St. Louis. Success of team will hinge on this stretch.

3. Charlotte -- Has really turned it on as of late, going 16-2 over last 18 games. Has easiest schedule of division leaders based on record of opponents.

4. Boise -- Still leading the AL North and has stretched the lead out to a more comfortable cushion. Unlike other division leaders, offense is carrying this team so far. Will make for interesting matchup if they go head-to-head with any of the other division leaders in a 5 or 7-game series.

5. Pittsburgh -- Still showing strength in offense, but pitching took a big hit with the loss of Vernon Lloyd for the season. This could open the door for other teams in the Wild Card, and will definitely test this team for the AL East.

6. Iowa City -- Team has yet to get really hot like it usually does for the playoff push. Pitching has declined compared to prior years, but any team with Spike Chase will always be dangerous.

7. Richmond -- No superstars on this team or players that stick out statistically, but hovering around .500 and within earshot of wild-card. Late season push might put this team in playoffs for first time since Season 4.

8. Seattle -- You won't see many offensive highlights from Seattle, but that is OK by Hextall. Pitching continues to carry this team for a playoff push.

9. Kansas City -- Rumpshakers starting to show some dents in the armor (lack of quality starters after Aviles and Willis, suspect bullpen), but still within striking distance of Wild-Card.

10. Rochester -- Unofficially went to selling mode, as Iglesias and Hauser went on the Trading Block. Fielding has been the Rattlers downfall, ranking 3rd from bottom in AL.

11. Syracuse -- The Siege have been in selling mode for almost the entire season. A pitching staff long in the tooth about ready for re-vamp.

12. St. Louis -- Really strange to see the possibility of a post-season without St. Louis. If any team can surge from this far out, it can be this team. Otherwise, will be on verge of only 2nd losing season in team history.

13. New York -- Sad ending to see piratestros disappear without a trace. Next owner will inherit a team with great possibilities, but underachieving without a leader.

14. Little Rock -- Great offense + Poor pitching = frustrated rangerfan1!

15. Philadelphia -- Continues to build for the future, and showing some flash on the basepaths.

16. Oakland -- Team has started to gel and will be good to see some of they youngsters get playing time in preparation for next season.

AL MVP -- I am sticking with Quilvio Castro. He has 45 Home Runs, which is 10 more than the anyone else in the AL, and he has 21 Stolen Bases to boot. Not too shabby.

AL Cy Young -- I see a battle between Pedro Tavarez (leads the league with 15 wins and IP, and 2nd in Complete Games), Tony Aviles (Rookie is 2nd in Wins and ERA, and 5th in WHIP), Max White, and Spike Chase.

AL Rookie -- As I predicted, Tony Aviles has pulled away and should win this hands down.

NL Power Rankings, Part Deux

As we approach the final stretch, it is time to re-address the Power Rankings and see who has what it takes to make a deep run in the playoffs and who will be packing the golf clubs early. A big thanks to ironman again for supplying the NL rankings.

1. Tacoma - They are starting to pour it on now. Won 14 out of 19 to move 5 games up on Tucson

2. Austin - Tied with Tacoma for the best record in the league. Has cooled off since the 12 game winning streak around the all star break. Lost ace pitcher Kazuo Dong for the remainder of the season. That will hurt.

3. Minnesota - They have cooled off recently and have 2 big series coming up against Tacoma and Tucson.

4. Tucson - Has won 10 out of 13 to move within 5 games of Tacoma. Pitching has been great the past 10+ games

5. Helena - Has won 6 of 7, after a 5 game losing streak, to pull within 2 games of Minnesota

6. Tampa Bay - Won 8 of 9 with much improved hitting. Starting to pull away from Trenton.

7. Houston - Currently 7 games behind Austin, but they have been playing much better as of late. Recently took 3 of 4 from Helena and swept Tacoma at home

8. Trenton - Clawing back to .500 after a recent 4 game losing streak. Trying to stay within shouting distance of Tampa Bay while holding off Buffalo.

9. Buffalo - Starting to put some heat on Trenton. Tough upcoming schedule will determine whether they will make it to 2nd place in the division.

10. Scranton - Hasn't been able to put together and longer winning streak to start putting pressure. On the fringe of being in the wild card race.

11. Ottawa - Putting some heat on Scranton as they try and climb out of the cellar.

12. Anaheim - Has won 13 out of 20 as they make a run at 500. Addressing hitting in the offseason will make this a much better team next year.

11. Honolulu - Losing Cal Reid for the year has been too much for this team to overcome. They will be back strong next year.

14. Atlanta - 3 wins in the last 21 games has dropped this team out of contention

15. Washington DC - Lack of pitching is preventing this team from putting together a long winning streak to get back into contention.

16. Charleston - Showed signs off life by wining 8 of 13, but has lost 4 in a row. Looking toward next year and the #1 pick.

NL MVP - Very tough race to call. Nicholas Crawford (HOU), Tomas Calles (AUS), Sam McCallum (HEL), Ronald Rothschild (LAA), Vicente Martinez (MIN) are all in the hunt. However, Mitch Schneider (MIN) has been on fire and has the slight edge on the field.

NL CY Young - P.T. Nunez (TB) is still leading, but teammate Joseph Feng is hot and catching up to Nunez.

NL Rookie - Jake Watson (TAC) is outpacing Tanyon Moore (TB), Gus Giles (HOU) and Benji Ortiz (TAC), but not by much.