Wow. Week 1 of 2016 feels very different than Week 1 in years past. I mean, The Offense… Wow!! No pitcher was safe the first week. Big names got lit-up, no names got lit-up. There have been less than 10 days of baseball and already there have been already 233 home runs!
The current league leader? Trevor Story
What?! You don’t know who that is. Well, one of our Home Run Derby managers did and he is currently riding the hot streak as his write-in candidate (more on the Derby later). Trevor Story has hit 7 home runs in the Rockies first 7 games. And it has been quit impressive to watch. He’s hitting fastballs, sliders, curveballs out of the zone. He is one of the Rockies top prospects and got an opportunity when Jose Reyes was suspended by Major League Baseball (what a fall from grace that guy has had). Story can’t keep up this pace, but it sure is exciting to watch at the moment.
And what about those Cubbies. This is ‘the’ year… or so I’m told. But they lost a key piece on day 2 of the season. Kyle Schwarber went down with a torn ACL after colliding with the Fowler in the outfield. The experiment of him in leftfield didn’t last long and he will now sit out for the remainder of the season (sorry to the 2 managers that selected him in the Derby). But the Cubs are still in first place at 6-1.
There are no teams that haven’t lost and there are two teams who haven’t won (thank god it’s not the Brewers). The Orioles were the last unbeaten but lost on Wednesday to go to 7-1. Versus the Braves and Twins who are 0-8 and I’m not sure they plan on winning any time soon.
Other interesting notes from Week 1:
- The new interference slide rule has been interesting to watch. Two games ended on an interference call (Brewers got a win thanks to one) where neither slide looked that bad but the players did break the rules per the writing of the rule. It will be interesting to see if the writings change.
- The Dodgers pulled a rookie pitcher in his first career start when he had a no-hitter intact. Ross Stripling hit 100 pitches and hadn’t allowed a hit through 7.1 innings. But he is coming off Tommy John and his limit was 100 pitches prior to the game… A no-hitter by a rookie in his first appearance hasn’t occurred since 1892 when Bumpus Jones did it (Note: Bumpus is a great name to save for my second son).
- Robinson Cano is looking like a Yankee hitting into the short porch again. He hit 4 homers in the first 3 games for Seattle but has cooled off again but that’s still the best in Group C of the Derby so far.
- Kenta Maeda, the Dodgers rookie pitcher from Japan, pitched well in his first professional game. But it wasn’t his pitching that people were talking about. Maeda slammed a home run in his second at-bat. I love pitchers batting for the strategy and the entertainment. #JustSayNoToDH
- And lastly, Harper stole my HR Derby team name. But I’m willing to vote for him this fall when compared to my other choices…
Well, I battled Google again the entire first week to get our player stats updating correctly. But I’ve out smarted them, at least for now. So the standings should be updating roughly every 15 minutes. If stats don’t look correct, give it a few minutes and refresh. If they still look wrong, the stats should get corrected by noon the next day. Just a reminder that the official stats are kept offline and are triple verified for accuracy. The online stats are just for convenience and my sanity of not having to manually update them.
As for the entries, we have succeeded in having more entries again for the 7th straight season (pending a few payments) and I’ve only been doing this for 7 seasons. So that’s kind of awesome. Right now we are sitting at 107 contestants and roughly 20% of those teams are first time participants. So kudos to you for spreading the word on our fun little contest. I’m also saving a bit of a twist this season, but I won’t announce that until the beginning of May. So be on the look out for that announcement.
Also for the 7th consecutive year, we don’t have a duplicate team selection. This still boggles my mind. I know there are something like 9million+ combinations but there are only so many players that are typically selected in each category and this season was no different. Let’s take a look at the selection breakdown per group:
This is a much more diverse group A than last season. The most common player chosen isn’t even on 1 out of every 4 teams which is Stanton at less than 25%. Chris Davis in Baltimore surprised me at being the 2nd most selected. And then Harper and Trout are neck and neck which I’m sure if they followed our contest would just add fuel to the rivalry between them. And then there is Ortiz, who got 0 love from us for his retirement campaign. Adios DH.
- Stanton – 26
- Davis – 19
- Harper – 18
- Trout – 15
- Abreu – 6
- Cruz/Donaldson/Rizzo – 5
- Goldschmidt – 4
- Bautista – 3
- Encarnacion – 1
- Ortiz – 0
I’ll be honest. I was very afraid when the first entries started to trickle in this season because it felt like I saw Arenado on every entry in group B. In reality, he’s only on about 1 out of every 3 teams. Followed by Bryant riding the Cubs fan-wagon. Then there is a steep drop to either young upside players or proven veterans. Unfortunately for 2 teams (This Is The Year and Billy The Goats), they will have to use their trade on April 26th to replace Schwarber. Most surprising to not get a single selection, the hottest Group E player a season ago, Joc Pederson. I guess people didn’t like his K, BB, or HR mentality at the plate.
- Arenado – 34
- Bryant – 22
- Sano – 9
- Cargo – 8
- Cabrera/Martinez – 6
- Cespedes/Frazier – 5
- Pujols – 4
- Correa/Machado/Schwarber – 2
- Alvarez/Park – 1
- Carter/Duda/Gattis/Jones/Pederson/Arod/Springer/Teixeira – 0
This by far is the most difficult group. Do you go with the mediocre power hitter who showcased more power once or do you go with the declining veteran? Obviously based on the selections below, no one has the right answer. Their are no real standout surprises below, but I’m sure the 2 teams (1907, 1908, 2016 World Champs… and Toad Frazier who selected Cano are liking their choice right now with 5 homers.
- McCutchen – 13
- Dozier/Upton – 11
- Trumbo/Votto – 8
- A.Gonzalez – 7
- Bruce/Fielder/Granderson – 6
- Seager – 5
- Braun – 4
- Bour/Davis/Tulo – 3
- Cano/Puig/Rasmus – 2
- Gallo/Howard/Kemp/Longoria/McCann/Moreland/Valbuena – 1
- Hamilton/LaRoche/Moss/Pollock/HanRam – 0
Ah, yes, Group D. The group that harbors the catchers, the fallen stars, and the high ceiling young unproven players. This is always a crap shoot. Just throw a dart and hope you get lucky. Franco had a huge Spring Training so I’m a little surprised by him only being chosen by 10 teams. But I’m sure the 1 team who chose Dickerson (Trasky) and the other who chose Souza (Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz) is really liking their selections at the moment.
- Grichuk – 15
- Calhoun – 13
- Franco/Freeman – 10
- Posey – 7
- Beltre/Conforto/Crawford – 4
- Beltran/Holliday/Marte/Morales/Smoak/Soler – 3
- Baez/Betts/Byrd/Gomez/Pence/C.Santana/Seager/Souza/Zimmerman – 2
- Belt/Dickerson/Napoli/Wieters – 1
- Desmond/Mesoraco/Pearce/Reynolds/Singleton – 0
For the first time in our 7 year history, more than 15% of the teams wrote in a player that wasn’t on my original list. And 2 of those write-ins were the 4th and 5th most popular selections in the group (Chris Carpenter and Domingo Santana). The best choice in Group E thus far (who was also a write-in)… Trevor Story who was selected by PEDispensers and is riding the league leader in HR to the top of the current Derby standings.
- Moustakas – 18
- Heyward – 13
- Hosmer – 10
- Plouffe – 9
- Carpenter – 7
- D. Santana – 6
- Cron/Vmart/Reddick/Schoop – 4
- D’Arnaud/Garcia/Kang/C.Perez/Valencia/Werth/Story/Buxton – 1
- Guerrero/Gomes/Gyorko/Hart/Headley/Kim/Lind/Morse/Tomas/Young – 0
Most unique team selection once again goes to Manager H. Stovall and the team of My Husband and his Alter Egos. They chose assembled and entire team of players with the name of Carlos or Curtis as a tribute to their husbands alter ego. A very close second goes to Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz managed by K. Wolf who only selected players with Z’s in their name.
The season has just begun and I can’t wait for the rest of the summer baseball!