Archive for » May, 2011 «

Bruce Almighty

(Photo via redlegnation.com)

Jay Bruce is doing something right to appease the baseball gods. Maybe he is giving them monthly sacrifices of young All-Star caliber players. Posey was the month of May’s sacrifice and it looks like Heyward could be the special for June.

The mighty Bruce is on a tear and campaigning early for the NL MVP. As of May 30, he’s currently leading two of the three triple crown batting categories. He leads the NL in home runs with 16 dingers. He is second in the entire MLB in Runs Batted In with 43. His batting average of 0.294 isn’t nearly what it’s trending towards (he hit 0.330 in the month of May). And he currently has 8 HR in his last 12 games (one off the Brewers tonight). He’s currently one of the hottest players in the League and, as of today, 2 Derby teams have taken notice (trading Vernon Wells for Bruce Almighty).

If Jay Bruce happens to keep up his MVP performance, it would be the 20th time in history (since the MVP was awarded in the modern era back in 1931) that an organization has repeated having the League’s MVP but having a different player win it the following year. It has been done 9 times in the American League. Mostly by the Yankees in the American League with four (the BrewCrew did have one tandem Rollie Fingers/Robin Yount in 1981-82). And it has been done 10 times in the National League. But the National League has been dominated by… surprise, surprise, the Cincinnati Reds whom have had 3 repeats (Joe Morgan/George Foster in 1976-77, Johnny Bench/Pete Rose in 1972-73, and a three-peat by Ernie Lombardi/Bucky Walters/Frank McCormick in 1938-40). So Joey Votto and Jay Bruce could make it four for the Reds organization which would tie them with the Yankees for the most repeat MVP’s by the same team but with different players winning the award.

Even if Jay Bruce doesn’t win the award, enjoy the rest of the show this season and be certain to keep an eye on Bruce as he matures over the next few seasons (he’s only 24).

Hill, Encarnacion Show Signs Of Life

With the Pujols drought behind us (but a second one just beginning), the other major drought effecting the Northeast has finally ended and 4 Derby teams plus Joey Bats can rejoice (for a night).

Aaron Hill has hit 62 homers over the past two seasons but up until today’s game, he hasn’t showed any signs of his home run power. Granted he was on the DL for 19 days earlier this season, but it still took him 141 at-bats before he launched his first 2011 big fly. His first was one of the best types though. With the bases juiced in the 1st inning, Hill unloaded on a Danks’ 1-1 pitch. I know the 3 Derby teams stuck with Hill can breathe a sigh of relief after Hill failed to reach the 20-day gameless mark to be trade eligible. Maybe this shot will put Hill over the hill and open the flood gates to the projected mid-20 home runs he was supposed to have this season.

Five pitches after Hill’s drought ended, Encarnacion took a Danks’ 2-2 pitch deep to left (Danks hasn’t won a game this season). His first of the season as well. Encarnacion wasn’t even included in the Home Run Derby choices but our first month basement dweller (Pick Me Out A Winner, Bobby) wrote in Edwin’s name based on the fact that he hit 21 homers in 332 at-bats in the 2010 season. It took him 140 at-bats this season to just get off the schnide. I darn near wrote-in Encarnacion’s name as well, but chose otherwise.

Maybe with both Hill and Encarnacion out of the 0 column, Jose Bautista will stop trying to provide all the offense with every swing of his bat… doubtful. Bautista has the major league lead with 20 home runs this season and in his last 162-games (spanning this season and last) he has hit 62 homers. Which would have broke Roger Maris’ single-season home run record (if it were still intact through the steroid era of McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds).

A Cure For Hart Burn

Before you criticize me of my failure, enjoy some rain delay entertainment.

Now for Bud Selig’s The Commish’s failure, the failure to keep you entertained (unlike these guys) for almost the entire month of May. Up to this point of the season, I’m a bigger disappointment than the Minnesota Twins. In my defense, I at least revamped the looks of the standings and added a little “(+X)” next to the players in the standings who hit home runs that day. No more needing to manually go check who hit homers each day.

But to try and revive some of the Kings of Cork fans, I’m going to try and earn a Save by running through what has happened in the month of May by pointing you to some of my favorite articles (that way I don’t have to rewrite them). Here they are starting with my most favorite:

  • Bernie Brewer Heist (May 24) – The Brewers’ marketing department is
    ON FIRE this season. First they had the season tickets promotion, now they finished a scavenger hunt with the “Where’s Bernie Brewer?” promotion. Except everyone did what any recent college graduate could see coming. Stakeouts and robberies to hoard as many gnomes as possible. Last laugh is on the hoarders, you can still purchase a gnome for $50 at the Brewers Clubhouse. No money to be made on a flooded market.
  • DL Charging Station (May 23) – On the same night, multiple power hitters were activated from the DL, Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, and Jim Thome. And ALL of them went deep at least once. Thome went big fly twice. Almost everyone in the Derby gave up on Hamilton, the previous leader (Geez) and Swing and a Mrs gave up on Thome out of 3 teams, and no one got a chance to trade Cruz (on the DL 1 day shy of the trade deadline).
  • A Typical Day Off of Work (May 17) – Brian McCann was giving the night off on the 17th but was called in to pinch hit with his team down by 1. With one swing, McCann went yard and forced some free baseball. His next at-bat in extra innings… a walk-off trot around the bases. McCann’s day off was 2-2 with 2HR and carrying his team to victory. McCann probably won’t ever get a day off again.
  • Passing of a Legend (May 17)Harmon Killebrew gave a courageous at-bat against cancer but decided to throw in the towel this month. More than a Twins legend, Killebrew was a hero to all. He will be missed but his legend lives on through the MLB logo. Our tribute to the legend: some old school home run derby of Harmon Killebrew vs Mickey Mantle.

 

April 2011 – HR Derby month in review

I know, I know… It’s May 9th, which means May is already a quarter over and I haven’t posted any sort of April review or even a new story in a few weeks. I’ve been too busy living in heaven.


(you will even see appearances from Brewer greats Rollie Fingers, Brett Wurst, and Cinco)

But several interesting site news: First, I’ve been spending my time not completing house renovations getting the site up and running as a mobile site. Yes, you will soon be able to check the HR Derby standings anytime possible on your mobile devices without having to download all the content and zoom in on the tiny font. Be on the look out for this new feature shortly (who knows, there may be an Android App to follow shortly as well). Second, the month of April took the site’s traffic to over 10,000 views in less than a year. That’s pretty impressive, so thanks to the people who keep coming back. Third, our current owner of the Derby basement, Pick Me A Winner, Bobby, wanted to be better than one other team in the HR Derby at something. So, he suggested I calculate the average home run distance for each team. With some more of my scripting genious, I was able to calculate every teams average home run that updates live at the end of each day and is posted next to your team’s name in the standings. Bad news is that Pick Me A Winner Bobby also has the shortest home run average. Lastly, I got sick of calculating my team’s daily change of position. Thus, I added an additional calculation next to every teams’ current position which shows how many positions your team has moved in the standings lately. Red means you are headed the wrong direction; green signals your team is headed for paydirt.

On to the HomeRun Derby month in review: Forget You

At the beginning of the first month of baseball is great. Every team is back to a clean slate, every break out player gets to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke, every disappointing player gets to prove that last year was indeed a fluke, every fan gets the chance to say “This is the year, the year that…” my favorite team wins the pennant, my fantasy team takes home the trophy, or my Kings of Cork team finishes in the top-5.

At the end of the first month of baseball, most fans get the chance to say (in their best Cee Lo Green voice) “Forget you…” to the break out player of last season who was suppose to be a top fantasy pick but hasn’t lived up to their hype (I’m looking at you Car-go). Or, “Forget you…” to the power bat that moved to a more hitter friendly ball-park (I’m looking at you Adam Dunn, A-Gon, and Carlos Pena). Or, “Forget you…” to the player who once again could not prove himself worthy of baseball stardom (There’s too many to list here but let’s go with Han-Ram, Carl Crawford, Josh Hamilton, and Joe Mauer). Most likely, if you have one of these players on a fantasy baseball team or in the Kings of Cork home run derby, your team isn’t doing the greatest and you’ve already exclaimed “Forget you!!!” more than once to your team.

But with every player’s or team’s struggles (what the heck is wrong with the Brew Crew, Mets, Cubs, Twins, Chi-sox, and Bo-sox), there is another player or team living in their moment of glory (please see the Indians, Royals, and Cardinals waving their hands).

Let us pay respect to the month of April by recapping the April Kings Of Cork HomeRun Derby standings:

  • Ryan Braun – Odds are that if you had the Brew Crew’s Hebrew Hammer, your Kings Of Cork Derby team was not in the bottom half. His 10 home runs were the tops in the Majors at the end of April, and those 10 are already 1/3 of his season total last season. It seems like he is back in 2009 mashing form and half of the top 20 teams at the end of April would have to agree since they are sitting on Braun’s hot bat including the 3rd and 5th place teams of April, Devil Dogs and Behold the Power of Cheese. Will Braun continue his hot streak? A week into May and he has yet to hit a home run since April.
  • Alfonso Soriano & Lance Berkman – What do these two guys have in common? They are both turning 35 years of age which is the back half of most MLB players’ careers. What else do they both have in common? They both struggled mightily at the plate in 2010. What else do they have in common? They both have figured out that they were getting overpaid for their under achieving performance. At the end of April, Soriano had 1 less HR than Braun (Soriano now leads the Majors with 11) and Berkman had 2 less than Braun but is leading the Majors in Runs Batted In. Four Derby teams started the season with Alfonso and of those four teams, three of them were in the top 10 at the end of April including our month of April leader, Geez. More impressive is that of the 58 teams in 2011, ONE team actually chose the Big Puma… Fat Elvis… Lance Berkman. That team was in 4th at the end of April and was the first official entry into the 2011 Derby (even submitted before mine), The Test Icicles.
  • Jose Bautista – How dare ye doubt the 2010 home run champ! I know I sure did. I expected him to be a bigger one hit wonder than Los Del Rio. But once again, he is swinging the big stick. And despite being on the bench the first 6 days in May due to injury, Bautista is currently sitting at 10 HR and an amazing 0.524 OBP. Seven Derby teams enlisted the services of Joey Bats and our April Derby leader is, again, one of these teams: The Geez.
  • Big Poppe Pill Poppers – This Derby team gets his own line for one simple reason… his team is currently the most well rounded team in the derby. He doesn’t have one stand out bat, he has 5 of them. Fielder, Big Tex, Tulo, Quentin, and Chris Young all had 6 or more homers. No other derby team can say that even a week into May. This team may be the team to beat in the first half of the derby.

Remember, the season is long so don’t fret about the month of April or your players who haven’t figured out how to hit the long ball (Aaron Hill, Encarnacion, Alvarez, Aramis Ramirez, Han-Ram, Hart, Longoria, and McGehee, just to name a few). I promise to get more baseball related content posted soon. Until then, enjoy the heat in the Midwest.