Mounties streak to Title #3

The Hamilton Mounties caught lightening in a bottle the last month of the season and took the GLBL by storm as they surged their way to the Canadian Wild Card defying what appeared to be a non post season year.

Once they caught fire the flame burned even brighter as they defeated the favored Owen Sound Waveriders in 4 games.  If you were not convinced by then you only had to watch the championship series against the 89-55 Chicago Architects.  The Mounties just could not be stopped as they dispensed with the other favored team in six games.

When the dust settled from this amazing performance the Hamilton Mounties had captured their third title putting them one behind the Thunder Bay Caribou as both teams are chasing the most successful franchise in the history of the league, Chicago the team that owns seven championships.

Lewis MacEwen went 18-8 and captured the coveted Lake Michigan Pitcher of the Year Award in the GLBL.  HIs 4.7 in 223 IP qualified him as a legitimate ace and a bulldog on the mound.

 

 

 

 

 

Lewis has done nothing but improve over the past three to four years as the above graphic illustrates.

 

Architects, Again!

By the time the 2039 season ended, the city of Chicago had captured its league-leading 7th championship, beating the Caribou in four of six games.

The Caribou provided plenty of drama themselves this season.  Predicted to finish dead last in Canada,

They started hot (49-28 over the first three months) before fading down the stretch (28-39).  They had done enough early to keep themselves in the wild card hunt and swept Hamilton to end the season and clinch their playoff berth.

Thunder Bay  spat on their sub .500 Pythagorean record, finishing 10 games above .500 and doing so without any players having superstar seasons.  Just two finished above 3.0 WAR, both pitchers. Starter Jose Gonzalez managed 4.7 and had Jack Morris workman-like stats, starting 31 games (a league high) and pitching 200 innings.  He also kept the ball in the park, giving up just 0.2 HR per 9 IP, leading the league.   Kyle Wolfe had one of the all-time great seasons for a closer, managing a 4.2 WAR and a league-high 42 saves.

The Caribou had limped to the finish line but were defying expectations.  That would continue in the Canadian Championship series.

The clear underdogs against Kingston, Thunder Bay made quick work of the favored Comets with dominant pitching and defense.  They allowed just six runs over five games and outscored Kingston 24-6.   It looked like they had found that early season magic.

The series against Chicago would not go their way, but it was a much closer series than most expected and closer than the final result would indicate.   Chicago would take the first two but narrowly escaped a split in the home opening series with an extra inning win in game 2.  The Caribou stampeded back with a game three shutout.  They looked like they might be ready to tie up the series in Game 4 until a late comeback changed things, putting the Architects up 3-1.

The Caribou managed to win their last one at home, another shutout, their fourth of the playoffs. With the series at 3-2 Chicago Ace Antonio Mendez would hold the Caribou to 1 hit and two runs (one earned)  in 6.2 innings.  It was more than enough for Chicago to close out the series and end Thunder Bay’s storied season.

Chicago had the opposite season trajectory of the Caribou, stumbling a bit out of the gates but finishing strong to the point where most GLBL fans felt that they had seen this too often.

Chicago got consistent performances from names that we are used to hearing in the Windy City. David Huffman led position players with 5.6 WAR, slugging 23 HR and a .850 OPS.  Starting pitchers Everton Mounsey (15-4 2.58 ERA) and Antonio Mendez (13-4, 2.98 ERA) are competing for pitcher of the year.

A couple of other new names had a big impact on Chicago’s season.  A midseason signing of Eric Orr seemed to be a catalyst for the turnaround.  Though he started just 53 games, Orr earned 2.1 WAR had a .878 OPS and smacked 10 HR.   But the biggest may have been rookie CF Antonio “The Terrible” Mendez.   At just 20, he had a 105+ OPS but his standout defense in center helped make him the second most valuable player on the championship team with a 3.9 WAR and a likely lock for Rookie of the Year.

The Architects have been in the championship conversation every season of this decade, missing the playoffs just once.  WIth an aging roster, and one that will be getting more expensive by the year, how long can they continue to stay (and some would say “overstay their welcome”) into the next decade is anyone’s guess.

Martin’s Metrics

A fun little tale of three players as originally posted by GM Martin Abresch on 9-26-17 on the GLBL SLACK thread.

Here is something that I’ve meant to do for a while. Three players, same position. Here they are in 2017:

year age AB H D T HR BB BA OBP SLG WAR
A 2017 31 523 134 18 1 33 61 .256 .334 .484 7.7
B 2017 31 479 145 33 4 0 76 .303 .401 .388 6.0
C 2017 27 551 159 38 4 24 44 .289 .343 .503 8.7“`

Two power hitters. Player A slugs homers; player C hits fewer home runs but scatters more doubles. Player C also wins the Lake Superior Player Award. Player B is an on-base machine. All three are clearly All-Star caliber players. (edited)

Same three players, now in 2018:

“` year age AB H D T HR BB BA OBP SLG WAR
A 2018 32 444 108 19 0 24 72 .243 .349 .448 6.8
B 2018 32 504 177 24 6 2 82 .351 .442 .435 9.1
C 2018 28 475 144 31 0 21 43 .303 .364 .501 8.9“`

Player C has another outstanding season. Player B has a career season and wins the Lake Superior Player Award. Player A puts together another strong season, slugging home runs and drawing walks.

And once more, the players in 2019:

“` year age AB H D T HR BB BA OBP SLG WAR
A 2019 33 526 138 22 2 17 65 .262 .344 .409 6.7
B 2019 33 532 155 14 6 3 74 .291 .379 .357 5.5
C 2019 29 417 117 28 0 12 34 .281 .335 .434 5.2“`

Player A holds steady in terms of WAR, homering less but doubling more. Players B and C come down from their 2018 highs, but they both post 5+ WAR seasons, nothing to scoff at. For the fun of it, lets look at their total WAR over these three seasons:

A 21.2
B 20.6
C 22.8

So here is the big question: which player do you want on your team going forward? All three of these players became free agents after the 2019 season. There wouldn’t seem to be a bad choice among them: all three are clearly All-Star quality, even in their worse seasons. Perhaps you prefer Player A’s power or Player B’s on-base skills or the fact that Player C is four years younger than the other two.

Even now, looking back, I would say that it’s a virtual toss-up. And I recall being surprised at the time of how little competition there was for their services in the off-season.

The power-hitting Player A is third-baseman Fu-Chi Li, then of Milwaukee. The on-base machine Player B is third-baseman Kevin Thomas, then of Toronto. The younger Player C is third-baseman John Roberson, then of Owen Sound.

Let’s see what they did in 2020:

“` year age AB H D T HR BB BA OBP SLG WAR
Li 2020 34 491 111 27 0 20 76 .226 .336 .403 6.1
Thomas 2020 34 472 142 18 4 5 87 .301 .410 .388 7.0
Roberson 2020 30 323 69 8 0 9 25 .214 .272 .322 1.8“`

Li only has a .226 average but all those doubles, homers, and walks keep him productive. Thomas has another strong season and posts a .410 OBP. Roberson … umm … ouch. Well, maybe that was a fluke.

Next season:

“` year age AB H D T HR BB BA OBP SLG WAR
Li 2021: 35 478 131 28 0 24 72 .274 .370 .483 6.0
Thomas 2021: 35 521 172 25 6 3 80 .330 .424 .418 5.6
Roberson 2021: 31 353 74 13 1 8 31 .210 .279 .320 0.7

Thomas would have been paid $29 million in 2020, but he executed his player option and began the off-season asking well over $30 million per season. Toronto all of a sudden had a big hole at third base. I couldn’t afford Thomas’s request, so I looked at Li and Roberson. Chicago snapped Li up for 6 years/$111 million or $18.5 million per season. I offered Roberson 5 years/$110 million or an average of $22 million per season and was surprised that nobody else drove the bidding up further. Thomas waited most of the off-season to sign, then was scooped up by Owen Sound for a bargain: 3 years/$39 million.

The Most Dominant GLBL Pitcher?

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abstract pitcher                      Henri Francois

Henri Francois, born in Montague, Prince Edward Island, is perhaps one of the more dominating pitchers in what has been dubbed ‘a pitchers league’.  Below are the CAREER categories that Henri leads the GLBL:

ERA: 1.68

Winning Percentage:  80%

Walks/Hits IP:  0.83

Opponents B.Avg:  .194

Opponents OBP:  .226

Opponents OPS:  .501

Wins Above Replacement:  8.8

If you are wondering which direction he is heading (up or down) consider that in the last 38 IP he’s yielded one run, a solo homer to CHI’s Brett Garrett.

 

The Dawn of the GLBL

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April 1st, 2015 Schedule

NORTH of the BORDER LEAGUE

Thunder Bay (19-5) at Toronto (3-21)

Kingston (12-12) at Windsor (14-10)

Hamilton (13-11)at Owen Sound (11-13)

SOUTH of the BORDER LEAGUE

Detroit (18-6) at Traverse City (11-13)

Milwaukee (13-11) at Toledo (7-17)

Chicago (13-11) at Duluth (10-14)

There are some obvious favorites in the matchups that kick off the season but we all know ‘it ain’t over till it’s over’, in the words of Yogi.  Great news….Opening Day is just around the corner.

The Tale of Two GM’s

It’s Day 20 of the GLBL Inaugural Draft and the 12 GM’s have either wrapped up their personal involvement, scaled it back, or have delegated the finals selections to their staff.  Well, all but two, that is.

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The midnight oil burns late into the night in faraway Australia as GM Mike Trigwell refuses to be outdone by that young GM up north there in Thunder Bay.  Dan Courcelles continues to scour the available players looking for any edge he can find.  His most recent selection (Round 45), Ed Robinson, from Winchester VA. is a player known for his old fashioned values.  Scouts may or may not agree on whether there is enough movement to his pitches but one thing they do agree on is that Robby has 4 pitches to choose from when he is on the mound.  Whether or not Courcelles’ extra effort will pay off remains to be seen but, he’s caught the attention of the league with his hard nosed ‘stick-to-it-ism’.

Meanwhile, Trigwells’ last pick was Edison Hickman, another SP.  Edison is another of the high work ethic players that Milwaukee hopes to parlay into a 4th or 5th slot guy in the rotation.  Hickman commands three pitches, has good stamina, but tends to lack movement.  When you are a fly ball pitcher that can be trouble.  He’s 22 years old and comes from Toronto, Canada, so the time line might be pretty short on this youngster.  Yet, that’s what player development budgets are for, right?

Trigwell or Courcelles?  Who will be the last GM standing?  From my seat all bets are off.  Good luck gentleman as we wrap things up.

The Great Lakes Baseball League

Canadian-Pacific-Great-Lakes-Cruises-Vintage-Travel-Poster   great lakes

In the year 2012 the baseball entrepreneurs from the Great Lakes area made the decision to form a 12 team baseball league with the franchises equally divided between the countries of Canada and the United States.  All twelve franchises would be located on the waterfronts of their cities.  The year 2015 would be the first season of play.

The league idea seemed like a natural in many ways as one of the owners operated a cruise ship line on the Great Lakes, one was a CEO of a firm that specialized in ball park construction, while another individual was a magnate in the recreational travel business.  With summer weather abbreviated in the northern section of the hemisphere the decision was made to limit the regular season to 140 games ensuring that the open air ball parks would offer relative comfort to the guests throughout the season.

The minor leagues were established at two levels with 132 game seasons.  The lowest level, the Youth League, would function with players 23 years of age or younger.  Teams are also allowed to sign International Free Agents as the hope is for the predominately all Canadian and American foundation to ultimately portray a more diverse segment of the population in the leagues.  The minor league locations were spread throughout the Great Lakes area without regard to proximity to the home team or to a Great Lake waterfront, yet clearly within a short traveling distance from the  coastlines of one of the Great Lakes.

The inaugural draft of players began unfolding in January of 2015 with the Hamilton Mounties owning the first selection.