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Pack Your Bags, It’s Moving Day: Week 12 Derby Review

If you still find your team near the bottom of the standings, you may want to look into hiring Bobby Henry, Seminole Medicine Man, like the Tampa Bay Rays did to turn their season around.

I know it seems like I’ve been absent this month, and I’ll agree with you. Sometimes due to my schedule (it’s bachelor party and wedding season ya know), and sometimes due to Mother Nature (it sounded like a bomb went off on my block but it was only my internet providers main junction box). No promises in an increase in posts to read, but I’ll at least try to keep up on weeks in review.

Moving On Up:

    If your team has over 20 homers in June, you probably noticed you are in the top-10 for the month and that you stand a great chance at taking home the third monthly crown. But another observation is that 8 of the top-10 teams in the month of June are also in the top-20 overall standings, which is pretty impressive that the leaders are maintaining such a high pace of home runs. Typically, someone near the middle or bottom of the pack makes a charge each month. But Kettle Poppers finds themselves in a similar situation in June as they found them in May (top-10 for the month) and April (top-5 for the month). This month, they are trying to stop taking home top-10’s and top-5’s and just take home the top spot. They own Abreu and Donaldson whom are the top sluggers in groups D and E (that’s how you win, not with your selections in groups A and B). Not to be outdone, Yeah, and he scrambled the son of a bitch also has 23 home runs this month and also owns Donaldson. But he also owns the recently awakened sleeping giant, Andrew McCutchen (who is not Scottish), and has hit 7 of his 11 total homers in this month alone. There are still 8 days left in the month, so there are still 10-15 teams that have a chance of overtaking the lead from these two teams.

    Claim Crushers

    Claim Crushers

    This last week there were 6 MLB players (that were selected in the HR derby) that hit 3 home runs: Ryan Howard, E-Squared, Adam Jones, Carlos Santana, Trout, and LUUUUUUUCROY. And if you own any one of them, odds are you made some movement to the top of this standings this past week. Only one team managed to jump 20+ spots and that was Claim Crushers jumping 28 places to 37th. Their team ditched the crippled Prince Fielder and added E-Squared on June 5th. This move gave him 3-homers this week and everyone but Freeman (who hit 1) pitched in another 2 homers from his team this past week for a total of 10 homers this week. That double digit HR mark was also the highest in week 12. Another pair of teams that made it into the top-20 this week were the father/son Bombers duo (Darrel’s Bombers and Bronx Bombers). They had 8 and 9 total homeruns in the past week which were 2nd and 3rd best.

Moving On Out:

    The bottom of the standings in the month of June don’t need to be called out (one of them is a previous HR derby winner). Thankfully, every team has at least hit more than 5 homeruns this month but not by much. Only one team managed to drop 20+ spots, Chicks Dig The Long Ball (-21 places to 67th), and they have been playing with 4 players for 20+ days thanks to Wil Myers. Their team did get one ball to leave the yard the last week but one other team couldn’t even accomplish that. Let’s Do Better This Year! owns the only goose egg in week 12 which dropped them to 84th place. They have had a lot of bad luck this season by owning JP Arencibia (who is now in the minors but did get married to a country superstar) and also owning injured Justin Smoak and Car-Go. So their team is really playing with only 3 healthy players at the moment.

Kicked To The Curb – Trades In June:

      Team – Arrango’s Draft Picks
      Owner – The Commish
      Player Dropped – Prince Fielder (June 5th)
      Player Picked Up – Chris Davis

      Team – Let’s Do Better This Year!
      Owner – K. Wilderman
      Player Dropped – JP Arencibia (June 5th)
      Player Picked Up – Carlos Gomez

      Team – Powerbombers
      Owner – K. Schultz
      Player Dropped – JP Arencibia (June 5th)
      Player Picked Up – Jose Abreu

      Team – Claim Crushers
      Owner – B. Mindock
      Player Dropped – Prince Fielder (June 9th)
      Player Picked Up – Edwin Encarnacion

      Team – What’s 5 Bucks?
      Owner – A. Staudinger
      Player Dropped – Prince Fielder (June 10th)
      Player Picked Up – Jose Bautista

      Team – Big City Walk Offs
      Owner – B. Elmquist
      Player Dropped – Wil Myers (June 20th)
      Player Picked Up – Jhonny Peralta

      Team – Because I Win!
      Owner – A. Hakes
      Player Dropped – Bryce Harper (June 21th)
      Player Picked Up – Brandon Moss

    Pack Your Bags, It’s Moving Day: Week 9 Derby Review

    I’ve heard of broken bat singles but never broken bat swinging strikes…

    This is a special installment of ‘Pack Your Bags’ as you get your usually weekly dose but also a monthly recap as an added bonus.
    Moving On Up:

      Month of May:
      The second month is behind us and what a month it was. Someone needs to call 911 in Toronto (or whatever their emergency number is) because E-squared, aka Edwin Encarnacion, is on fire!!! He swatted 16 homers in May including 12 in the last 16 days of the month. Nelson Cruz wasn’t far behind with 13 homers in May. There are only 6 teams that benefited from one of these players and 0 teams that had both. So it’s a pretty safe bet on which teams finished with the most homers in May. Of the 6 teams that chose one of these guys, 5 of them finished in the top-10 of May (the only one to miss out on top-to finished in 11th). And in fact, the top-3 in the month of May have Cruz.
      What started as a Big Stinky vs Cuba Libre swing off, ended with neither of them wearing the crown in May. No they didn’t choke a big lead or stall out, they finished 2nd and 4th, respectively. But instead they were overtaken by a manager that is well past her due date (Upton Girl amazingly has JJ Hardy who has 0 home runs this season but she’s in 5th overall) and by a manager (The something clevers) that scrambled together to hit 4 home runs on the final day of May to take the win in the month. Even more impressive than their last day’s performance in May is the fact that The something clevers was in 90th overall place after April. 90TH!!!! Their team had a total of 9 home runs in the first 30+ days of the season, but then managed to hit 33 in the next 31 days of baseball and jumped all the way to 23rd. A jump of 67 spots. This has me feeling a bit of deja vu from the 2012 season when the team finishing last in April won the whole shebang.
      Who else moved a bunch of spots in May??? The Philly Phanatic jumped almost 59 spots (49) from 65th to the top-20 (16th) with a consistent all-around performance from their team. The last two teams to jump at least 40 spots in the last month were Shin-Soo-Who? and Don’t Plouffe on your Hanley. They both jumped to the top-20 line (21st and 18th) and hit 28 and 26 home runs with also well rounded teams.
      Week 9:
      Want a week 9 recap? Sure you do. I have to acknowledge The something clevers yet again as they may have had the most impressive weekly performance yet. Capped off by that 4-hr last day in May, their team hit 14 homers last week. That catapulted them 43 spots to the top spot in the month and 23rd overall. They almost had double the home runs of the next highest weekly movers. That feat belongs to Little Easy’s who was the next closest to topping 20 spots moved in the week at 19. Their team managed to hit 8 homers led by Rizzo and Cabrera last week. Upton Girl was the only other team to hit double digit homers with 10. There were 5 teams that hit 9 homers and 3 of them already resided in the top-10 (Erickson, Flying Aces, and Kettle Poppers). The other two, Dangling Minnow and Philly Phanatic, now reside in the top-15.

    Moving On Out:

      Month of May:
      Not everyone can be a winner. In order to have winners, we need some losers. And in May there were 3 teams that struggled to get off the bench. LIL R went from almost the very top (2nd overall in April) to falling 40 spots to 42nd overall with only 7 home runs in May. The 7 home run total also earned LIL R the fewest home runs in the month. However, two Brewer fan based teams were the biggest movers in reverse for May. BrewCrew fell 51 spots to 68th place and Nana and Me fell 53 spots to 76th. Both teams had Braun and Gomez, both of whom sat on the disabled list for half the month. One of them had Ugly Uggla and the other has the no-power Cano. Both of those players need to find their power stroke if these two teams wan’t to compete in any of the future months (or they need to hope they get injured).
      Week 9:
      Again I have to highlight a monthly leader in the weekly review. LIL R was one of three teams to lay the golden goose egg for week 9. Suppansticious and one of our previous winners, What’s 5 bucks?, were the other two teams. Unfortunately, both of those teams were already low enough in the overall standings that LIL R also took home the biggest mover award dropping 21 spots. There were 4 other teams that moved more than 15 spots in reverse: Jo Boo Needs ANOTHER Refill (18), Big City Walk Offs (18), HomeRunKings (17), and BeerFlies (16). Probably the biggest disappointment among that group goes to BeerFlies. Their team was contending for the overall lead in the month of May and they managed to only hit 2 homers in the final week which left them barely in the top-20 for the month.

    Kicked to the Curb

      Something new I am going to start reporting about are team trades. They are all captured in the standings but because they all happen behind the scenes via contact from and to The Commish, I figured that everyone might want a weekly recap of who’s cheating trading in their dirty jocks for fresh ones. Now there were no trades this week but get ready for a plethora of transactions in Week 10 because Beltran, Votto, and Fielder are all coming up on their trade date. I will be cashing in Fielder for someone that has a neck in one piece.

    Pack Your Bags, It’s Moving Day: Week 8 Derby Review

    Hopefully everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend. Yes, it’s a weekend full of beer, baseball, and burgers. But the real reason for the long weekend is to show thanks and support to all our uniformed Men and Women who have or are or will be serving our country. So Thank You to all of you.

    While, it’s that time again, time for a week’s worth of baseball in 10 minutes.

    Last Tuesday, May 20, a fan at a Boston Red Sox game made a Baseball Bucket List item look ridiculously easy. He’s just sitting on the third base line when a ball just happened to land in his hand that wasn’t holding his popcorn. His reaction was priceless. I can only imagine his thoughts were ‘Hey, check out this large piece of popcorn.”

    Then on Thursday, a minor leaguer broke a record by hitting 5 home runs in 5 consecutive at-bats (over the course of two days). Keep that guy’s name in your memory. He may be a steal in Group E sometime soon in future Home Run Derbies.

    Also on this past Thursday, Danny Worth (who?), the Detroit Tigers back up shortstop, got to pitch an inning in relief. This isn’t anything that abnormal. It’s sometimes common for teams to use position players in blowouts to conserve the team’s bullpen for later games. But what made Worth’s appearance spectacular was that he is a knuckle-baller. And it wasn’t like he was serving up meatballs to the Rangers, he was doing the exact opposite. He logged 2 strikeouts and a lone single in his 1 inning of relief, but his strikeouts made the opposing batters look silly. Leonys Martin didn’t know what to do with that last pitch.

    On Saturday, another foul ball was caught in spectacular fashion, but this time it was a beer vendor and not a fan.

    I just liked how all the fans in that generally vicinity erupted in applause all at once. He enjoyed it so much that I may start tipping my beer vendors with foul balls.

    And lastly on Sunday, the first No-No was thrown in 2014 which means that some lucky fans got to cross off another item off of the Baseball Bucket List. It was accomplished by Josh Beckett of the LA Dodgers. What’s impressive is that Beckett didn’t win a game in all of 2013 and now here he is in 2014 being owed $17 million and looking unbeatable with a sparkling sub-3.00 ERA.

    Time to review last week’s home run totals:
    Moving On Up:

      There were a lot of homers hit this last week. Encarnacion hit an unbelievable 6 in the past week for Group A. George Springer (the Astro’s young phenom, no one owns him in the derby), Nelson Cruz, and Chris Davis hit 4 each. Davis actually hit 3 of his in a single game last week. These players have caused a surge for teams at the bottom of the standings since these weren’t very popular picks in their respective groups.

      Sons of Pitches, Swing and a Mrs., Sweet Swingers, and The something clevers all managed 9 total homers this week thanks to one of the three players listed above. And two of the four teams managed to be some of the biggest movers in week 8. Sons of Pitches was the biggest mover at 30 spots (from 66th to 36th) and Sweet Swingers jumped 22 spots up to 37th. Fo-tastic blasted 8 home runs and moved up 23 spots to 44th thanks to his traded player A-gon hitting 2 last week. Lastly, a pair of brothers also managed to hit 8 homers and jump almost 20 spots each. Freddie’s Smoaking Brown Trout and Don’t Plouffe in your Hanley are in 26th and 25th spots respectively with 36 total home runs. I’m sure they will have a battle royal at home to use as the tie-breaker.

    Moving On Out:

      We had 5 goose eggs this week: Break Even, Home Run Kings, Let’s Do Better This Year!, California Penal League, and West Coast Useless Fools. Three of those five dropped more than 20 spots this last week with California Penal League, West Coast Useless Fools, and Mr Fluffy 3000 dropping 22 spots to the bottom half of the standings. Bucky Ballers and Let’s Do Better This Year! rounded out the worst of the worst dropping 21 and 20 spots, respectively.

    One week won’t kill your chances at wearing the crown at the end of the season. But if one turns into two that turns into eight, you may want to start looking into the 2014/15 football season.

    Pack Your Bags, It’s Moving Day: Week 7 Derby Review

    This is the lightening round for derby reviews:

    Moving On Up:

      The weekly HR tally to beat in week 7 was 8 homers. And three teams completed the feat. Not much to mention about Cuba Libre anymore, except their team continues to dominate the month of May (it’s a two team race right now between them and The Big Stinkey with a few dark horses trailing behind them in the month of May). Flying Aces also successfully hit 8 homers in week 7 but doesn’t have many places to move up, but they squeezed another 3 spots out with last weeks performance. And then there was Please Neglect The Balls, which I think their team successfully achieved last week by belting 8 homers also and making the largest jump in the standings. They were the only team to jump more than 20 spots by going from 63rd to 39th. Big Papi hit half of the 8 home runs for Neglect Balls and that was in only 2 games.

      Other big movers were Don’t Plouffe In Your Hanley and BeerFlies. Both teams hit 7 homers and moved up 19 spots (both moved up to around 35th place). Big Papi lead Don’t Plouffe while BeerFlies just had a strong all around team performance.

    Moving On Out:

      The geese were back laying their big fat goose eggs on the scoreboard in week 7. Four of them to be exact. The proud owners of goose eggs were: I picked all Ryans so I can remember who I have, Ruby in the Rockies, Nana and Me, and BrewCrew. Three of the four teams owned the sober Ryan Braun who just got off the DL. One has a player on the DL but no other Ryan’s to select in group C. And the rest of the four teams’ players just had quiet weeks in the home run column. But quiet weeks in the HR tally usually lead to falling from the standings graces…

      Our biggest loser in week 7 was in fact BrewCrew falling from 24th to 49th (just out of the top 50% of the standings). Nana and Me wasn’t far behind dropping 21 spots from 37th to 58th. And the only other team falling more than 20 spots actually did achieve 1 tally in week 7 but Claim Crusher’s fell from 48th to 68th.

    A little more than 10 days remain in the month of May before our second winner is crowned. With all the injuries floating around this season, I don’t think anyone’s team is technically eliminated yet, so hang in there.

    Pack Your Bags, It’s Moving Day: Week 6 Derby Review

    It’s Deja YU all over again. At least to make him feel better, MLB overturned a score ruling so the No-No was officially broken up in the 7th inning and no longer the 9th inning. It’s still unbelievable that he has already had three close calls with destiny since being in the big leagues only 3 seasons. It’s only a matter of time before he completes one of the two biggest accomplishments for a starting pitcher.

    Moving On Up:

      Up, Up, Up-ton Away Wins Month of April

      Up, Up, Up-ton Away Wins Month of April

      First, congratulations again to Up, Up, Up-ton Away for winning the first month of the HR derby with 31 dingers. We didn’t even need to go to the tie-breaker for crowning them the Kings of April.

      But that was April, and now we are on to May. And our current leader on the 14th day of the Month of May is Cuba AWESOME Libre with 16 round trippers. Mainly thanks to the amazing Abreu and already having 5 home runs this month and his 15 overall makes him the 8th player ever to hit that many in their first 50 games (along the likes of Pujols, Braun, and McGwire). Cespedes and Puig have almost already doubled their total home runs this month as well for Cuba Libre.

      Reviewing Week 6, our biggest mover is Deja Vu from week 3… it’s … but when I do, I Profar Dos Equis once again with a 26 spot jump from 55th to 29th. Thanks to 9 total home runs led by Beltre’s and Cespedes’ 3 home runs last week. Close to being the top spot in week 6 was Keeping Up With The Joneses moving 25 spots from 59th to 34th also with 9 total home runs. But their team is riding a waking giant.

      ... but when I do, I Profar Dos Equis leads week 6 movers

      … but when I do, I Profar Dos Equis leads week 6 movers

      Miguel Cabrera had 3 home runs last week along with Adam Jones.

    Moving On Out:

      Congratulations there were no teams with goose eggs in the HR column in week 6. There were 8 teams that managed only a single tally but most of the team names are really, really, really long and I’m too lazy to copy and paste them all in. Ok, just for the point of shaming them in week6, I’ll do it. Dawg Pound, The Bryce is Wright, JoseyWales, Yeah, and he scrambled the son of a bitch, Scott’s Jogging Shorts, I picked all Ryans so I can remember who I have, Cheaters Might Prosper, Sons of Pitches are the guilty parties for forgetting that chicks dig the long ball.

      Two of those eight teams also managed to be our biggest movers to the bottom of the ranks. Sons of Pitches went from 44th to 68th dropping 24 spots. And Cheaters Might Prosper might need to start cheating again because they dropped from 50th to 73rd or 23 spots in the wrong direction.

    On to week 7, and remember… CUBA LIBRE!!!

    Pack Your Bags, It’s Moving Day: Week 4 Derby Review

    Well there’s been a few bullet worthy items in the past week of baseball that I neglected to find time to comment on. So here is the rapid fire:

    1. Jose Abreu belted his league leading 10th home run… and he’s a rookie. He only sits in Group D because of the unknown playing time in February with Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko also available to man firstbase. But he’s definitely proving that he belongs in Group A, so if you have him this year, you won’t get such a great discount in 2015.
    2. The Brewers still remain #1 in the ESPN Power Rankings but that may change this week after Braun clocked Segura in the FACE before injuring himself on a bunt single.
    3. A lot of big names got injured: Bryce Harper, Mark Trumbo, Ryan Braun, Hanley Ramirez, and Chris Davis. Most of these guys are out for a while too, so keep tabs on their trade eligible dates for the Kings of Cork HR Derby.
    4. Brandon Marrow walked 8 batters, gave up 2 runs, and was pulled from his no-hitter (in the middle of the 3rd inning) on this past Saturday.
    5. Oh ya, and on Wednesday Michael Pineda got ejected for pine tar on his neck. He was accused of it in his first start a week earlier. So he either doesn’t understand what ‘subtle amount’ is or Pineda sweats pine tar… which would be the worst superhero power ever.

    The first and third bullet points matter most to the Home Run Derby crew. One being positive for some of the owners, and the other being awful news for most of the owners. So let’s see how the best and the worst fared in this weeks breakdown of the Kings of Cork Standings.

    Moving On Up:

      Meow moves up 47 spots

      Meow moves up 47 spots

      They say the top is lonely, so we will have to ask the owner of team Lil R on how lonely it is at the top because their team pretty much went wire-to-wire in the month of April. There are a few days left with about 4 teams to rival Lil R, but you are probably looking at the first winner of 2014 in the Kings of Cork HomeRun Derby. Even if it’s lonely, I bet it feels pretty good.

      Our biggest movers of week 4 belong to teams Meow and Crash Davis. Both of them moved up over 40 spots in the standings by belting 12 and 10 homers, respectively. And both of them can thank Jose Abreu (mentioned above) for half or almost half of the teams weekly home runs. Yes, Abreu hit 5 last week. Meow got even more help from Khris Davis (yes, with a ‘K’) and McCutchen with each of them contributing 3 in week 4. Not to be outdone, Crash Davis got 3 of their own from swing-and-miss Chris Carter.

      Again, there are some teams that are just ‘too good’ to be able to climb 40 spots in the standings but still require a shout out. The Big Stinkey (moved up 32) also hit 12 homers this past week, Mad about Abreu hit 11 homers and moved up 29, and long time player Kettle Poppers hit 11 homers resulting in a jump of 19 spots. What did they all have in common? Yep, Abreu again. And after another big start to week 5, they are all inside the top-15.

    Moving On Out:

      Dawg Pound Loses 33 spots in week 4

      In with the good, out with the bad. Thankfully, no one laid a goose egg this week. But we did have 5 teams manage only a single tick on their home run totals: Lutherdad, The Little Stinkey, Golden Trouts, A little bit of baseball by my side, and Dawg Pound. Most of these teams didn’t have any significant injuries in week 4 to minimize their AB potential. But most of them now do with Harper looking at surgery in the up coming weeks. The biggest movers in the wrong direction were Dawg Pound losing 33 spots and A little bit of baseball losing 31 spots.

    Don’t worry guys, April is almost over so you can’t lose too many more spots in the month and then everyone starts fresh for the month of May competition.

    Good luck to the contenders in the month of April. And remember, the 2012 derby was won by the team that finished last in the month of April that season. So no team can be counted out yet.

    See ya in May.

    HR Derby: Week 2 Review

    A Home Run Derby review is long over due. These are the posts that you will find from time-to-time letting you know what you may have missed if you don’t compulsively check the standings every 5 minutes like me.

    But regardless which team had the best weeks thus far, no one will have had as good of a week as this kid. He’s a Junior at a High School in New York and pitched his first varsity game two weeks ago… and it was Perfect. I mean Perfect Perfect. As in, 21 straight batters that were sat down due to a strikeout (only a 7-inning game if you couldn’t do the math). What a boring day at the other 7 positions in the field. You just watched two guys play catch for 2 hours. Very impressive… he’s in good company in this accomplishment with Clayton Kershaw.

    So who had some of the best and worst weeks in the 2014 HR Derby thus far??? Well, the derby has started off slow for most because the big names just seem to be waiting for warmer weather. While the teams picking some of the younger and less popular players are thriving.

    The leader after week 1 was Take me Yard you 5 with 7 homers and a 13.14 AB/HR rate and lead mainly by Mark Trumbo’s and Carlo Go-Go-Gomez’s quick starts.

    Their team continued to fair OK in week 2 but relinquished the top spot to LIL R and their incredible 16 HR, 13.06 AB/HR rate. Again, lead by Trumbo, their team received help from Carlos Betlran in pin stripes and Jose Abreu’s multi-HR games in the windy city. Their team also had the most home runs in week 2 with 12.

    Up Up Upton-away finished week 2 with the second most in the week with 11 and managed to jump 30 spots into the #3 spot just behind Mauer Power in 2nd who’s team hit 10 homers in week 2. Up Up Upton-away is lead by Albert Pujols… wait, what?! Yes, Pujols, who has 4 homers this season. While Mauer Power is lacking power from Mauer but Bautista and Trout are making up for it.

    The team that led week 2 in the most spots jumped also has the name of the team that is the hottest in the MLB right now… BrewCrew. Their team jumped 59 spots from 74th to 15th. You have to love the early weeks which allow for that big of jumps in the standings. And they owe a thank you to Braun’s 3-HR night last week (go ahead, start the cheater chant).

    Nana and Me had a strong week 2 as well; jumping from 65th place all the way to 8th. That’s a 57 spot jump. Thanks again to Braun and the red hot, two mechanical knees Chase Utley.

    Unfortunately, somebody has to have a bad week if teams are having a good week. And there were three of them in week 2 that laid goose eggs: Taters, Break Even, and One Less Aramark Meal for Me. But none of those teams had the worst week in the standings. Shin-Soo-Who lost 56 spots from 25th to 81st and Team Biogenesis lost 48 spots from 2nd to 50th. Both of those teams managed to only hit 1 over the fence in week 2.

    Those were the major stories in the first two weeks of the HR derby. Keep a look out for the next review (hopefully it’s before the month of April is over).

    Kings of Cork Standings Upgrade

    Updated April 10, 2014: The standings have been improved further by allowing detailed team expansion in the main standings view.

    Here at Kings of Cork, The Commish is always trying to make the competition better as well as user experience.

    So what did I improve in 2014??? Well, I obviously didn’t change any of the rules. But I will say that picking the teams this season has been the most difficult out of the 5 years I have hosted this competition and most have agreed with that statement. This lead to A LOT of teams gambling on the young stars this season (watch for a later post about pick distribution). But this is still not what I changed.

    Nope, it’s another overhaul to the standings page. I got real sick of trying to find my team in among all the data I like to share with everyone. So this season, the standings are user interactive. That’s right, you get a say in how the standings are displayed. Less data is visible up front, so you won’t be overwhelmed by numbers. This allows you to sort the standings by any column header you choose (except daily performance).

    Here’s a quick look:

      The standings sort by the current positions by default (the first column from the left).

      But by simply clicking on a column header, say ‘Team’ or ‘Manager’, and then the standings will sort alphabetically making your team easy to find (assuming you haven’t forgotten your last name).

      Or you can click on one of the Month Column headers and the standings will automatically show you who won or is leading that month. You will even notice that the AB/HR column changes to that month’s stats.

      What’s that? You want to know who each team picked as players. Don’t worry, I got you covered. Simply click on the team that you want to see. And voila. You can hide expanded teams by selecting them again or sorting a column header. Scroll to the bottom of the standings after selecting teams and there are the selected team’s players compared to the best team possible. Oh, you want to compare more teams… don’t worry, by holding the ‘Ctrl’ key while selecting teams in the standings allows you to compare up to 5 teams in the ‘Detailed Team View’ at the bottom of the page.

      Scroll Down Below to the ‘Detailed Team View’ Heading

    I hope these updates make the standings a bit easier to use and understand. But I will apologize. I already know that some of the more severe firewalls and antivirus programs block the standings, but you will need to change some settings and allow the website to show the standings until I figure out a solution.

    2014 HomeRun Derby Selection Statistics

    And the 2014 MLB season is officially under way. There were a lot of pitchers’ duels on opening day today, several 1-0 games, a few games went to extra innings. And then there was the Rangers/Phillies game which looked like a halftime score from an NFL game at 14-10.

    But now that the season is in full-swing (pun intended), the Kings of Cork Home Run Derby has also officially begun. The best part about the begin of the Derby is being able to publish the teams’ selections. No one has laid eyes on any of the picks other than myself. But now you, owner of one of the other 95 teams, get to size up the other competition. And let me tell you that there is the competition this season.

    With 96 total teams, we have set a new record for participants in a single season. Well done. And because I have to enter each individual team into the contest, I get to analyze every single pick (not going to lie, I enjoy analyzing data). Don’t worry, after the first season I got smart and started scripting a lot of it. But the numbers don’t lie, I think this was the most difficult season to pick a team from the designated groups. What do you think? Even with the difficult choices, as a group we continue to surprise myself by not having a single duplicate team. That’s right, 96 unique teams have been submitted. There are a few teams that match 4 out of 5 choices, but none match 5 for 5.

    Before we get into the player selections, one of my favorite parts of the derby are the submitted team names. And this season you guys didn’t let me down. Some of my favorites include: “Cowhide Joyride”, “Don’t Plouffe on your Hanley”, “One Less Aramark Meal For Me”, “Please Neglect The Balls”, “Suppansticious”, “The Fighting John Jaha’s”, “The Something Clevers”, and “You Down With The OBP?” I really do enjoy good puns. Whether it includes player names, baseball terms, or the cost of registration, it really doesn’t matter. The baseball quotes are good too, nothing like quoting a classic baseball movie.

    But there are two teams that are head and shoulders above the rest on team name and pick selections. Now I won’t put money on them winning a home run contest (Wait, isn’t that what this is?), but the team of “I picked all Ryans so I can remember who I have” which includes: Ryan Braun, Ryan Howard, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Raburn, and Ryan Ludwick, is a great combination of name and player picks. The manager’s reasoning behind this may have something to do with most of the conversations from now until October will include baseball whether they want to talk about it or not.

    The second team is probably the most clever and took some effort too. Team “Cuba Libre” is supporting all of the Cuban players in the derby. It was almost possible to have all five selections from Cuba, but Group A lacked a choice with this criteria. However, their team attempted to fill this gap the best they could. Their entire team consists of Giancarlo Stanton, Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Abreu, and Yunel Escobar. That Group E write-in must have taken some time to find a player to fit. I probably would have gone with Yonder Alonso or Dayan Viciedo, but this team will go down as one of the most clever and an instant classic.

    Ok, onto what most of you probably want to know. How did your picks compare to the rest of the Home Run Derby field. Let’s start with Group A. No surprise that Miggy was the group favorite with 37 of 96 teams selecting him to lead their team. He should be the obvious choice seeing as he’s always competing for the triple crown. Chris Davis was the next obvious choice, with 21 teams choosing the Oriole. Remember, he did just lead the majors a season ago. Then came the big drop off. Goldy came in with 8 teams hoping the youngster develops more power. And then we see how the mighty have fallen. Fielder, Bautista, Pujols, and Dunn all used to be home run threats but this may be their last season in the most elite tier. As always, we have Brewcrew homers and are betting on a clean Braun to use all the jeers from fans to power him to a home run title. And thankfully, Big Diehl’s Bombers chose Pedro Alvarez, otherwise Pedro would have been pretty lonely on the playground with other unselected kids.

    I thought Group B was the most difficult group to choose from. Mike Trout was Mr. Popular here with 19 teams choosing the young gun from the West that is stealing all of Miggy’s spotlight. And maybe it was the right choice since he already has a homer after opening day. Jay Bruce was the next one with the most picks at 14. Followed by Longoria at 12. Both are big question marks in my mind as Longoria always seems injured and Bruce just can’t seem to take the next step in the power department. The biggest surprises I thought in Group B were the guys that weren’t selected. I understand everyone avoiding strikeout king, Mark Reynolds. Although he is a Brewer, so I thought we would get one homer to pick him. But no one selected Troy “I’m made of glass” Tulowitzki or Joey “Do Walks count as HRs?” Votto. They both have 30+ home run power but no one was willing to take a gamble on them.

    Group C was similar to B. Two popular choices followed by everyone else. McCutchen and Harper were the top two with 18 and 14 teams choosing them respectively. Cespedes wasn’t far behind at 10. I think this shows that more people were willing to gamble on the young phenoms this season than in years past. And I attribute this to how difficult the groupings were. Surprisingly in Group C, there were a fair number of teams willing to take the veteran players. Beltran had 9 picks, Holliday had 3, A-gon got 2, and Konerko got 1 team to select him. Somehow there were 10 players left on the bench in this group. I thought for sure Lind, LaRoche, Willingham, and Zimmerman would have gotten some love. I guess there were too many bright and shiney young players to chose from that distracted managers from these guys.

    The last group that had a majority during selection was Group D. Everyone wanted a piece of the young Cuban Jose Abreu, and rightfully so since he is projected for 30+ HR power. But during the grouping process, it was and still is unknown how much playing time he will get or how will he struggle with major league pitching. That didn’t scare off 18 teams (me included). High risk equals high reward but most likely watching your team at the bottom of the standings. Freddie Freeman was the second popular choice with 15. He’s just waiting to show off more power but has yet to top 23 homers in a single season. I thought Han-Ram would be a more popular choice but most must be scared off by his 2013 injuries. Another surprising player lacking supporters was Hunter Pence. He always hits 25 home runs and almost topped 30 last season. The rest of Group D is fairly disbursted with 1, 2, 3, or 4 teams selecting a player.

    I’m not even going to attempt to analyze all of Group E because it’s always a shotgun blast. There were 8 write-in choices that weren’t included in my original list. Wil Myers received 6 selections and the Brewer fans chose Khris Davis 5 times. The other 6 write-ins were Lucroy, Molina, Seager, Avisail Garcia, Yunel Escobar, and Ellsbury. If you total up all the teams that chose to write-in a player versus selecting one, there were 19 teams to do so. That right there shows the level of research and competition in the contest this season. Of the choices from the original list, Josh Donaldson, Eric Hosmer, Justin Smoak, and Allen Craig were the most popular choices, but none of them topped 10.

    This season there were 121 players on the original list, but in the end there are 129 if you include the 8 that were write-ins. To see the entire selection distribution by group, please continue reading below. If you are sick of numbers, then stop right here. And instead, turn on some baseball and enjoy every second of it for the next 6 months.

      Group A Selection Distribution
    • Miguel Cabrera – 37
    • Ryan Braun – 6
    • Bautista/Encarnacion/Pujols/Stanton – 3
    • Chris Davis – 21
    • Prince Fielder – 5
    • Adam Dunn – 2
    • Paul Goldschmidt – 8
    • Mark Trumbo – 4
    • Pedro Alvarez – 1
      Group B Selection Distribution
    • Mike Trout – 19
    • Beltre/Gonzalez – 8
    • Cano/Granderson/Kemp/Puig – 3
    • Jay Bruce – 14
    • Adam Jones – 6
    • Cruz/Hamilton – 2
    • Evan Longoria – 12
    • Ortiz/Soriano – 5
    • Howard/Napoli/Teixeira – 1
    • Reynolds/Tulowitzki/Votto – 0
      Group C Selection Distribution
    • McCutchen – 18
    • Beltran – 9
    • J.Upton/Zimmerman – 5
    • Holliday – 3
    • Harper – 14
    • Rizzo – 8
    • Adams/Carter – 4
    • A. Gonzalez – 2
    • Cespedes – 10
    • Moss – 7
    • Headley, Konerko, Morse, Rosario, Uggla, Werth, Willingham – 1
    • Gattis, Hart, LaRoche, Lind, McCann, Morales, A.Ramirez, Swisher – 0
      Group D Selection Distribution
    • Abreu – 18
    • Gomez/H.Ramirez – 8
    • Heyward – 6
    • Choo – 3
    • Freeman – 15
    • Hardy – 7
    • Brown/Cuddyer/Pence – 4
    • Arencibia, Gyorko, Ibanez, Rasmus, Santana, Wright – 2
    • I.Davis, Duda, Gomes, Middlebrooks, Pena, Raburn, BJ Upton – 1
    • Francisco, Jones, Moreland, Quentin, Ramos, L.Scott, Wieters, Young – 0
      Group E Selection Distribution
    • Donaldson – 8
    • Craig/Myers – 6
    • Rios – 4
    • Hosmer/Smoak – 7
    • Butler/Morneau/Posey/K.Davis – 5
    • Gordon/Kinsler/Ruggiano – 3
    • Castro, Hunter, Plouffe, Reddick, Sandoval, Utley, Weeks, Molina, A. Garcia – 2
    • Ethier, Frazier, Joyce, Ludwick, Dominguez, Mauer, Viciedo, Lucroy, Seager, Escobar, Ellsbury – 1
    • Hill, K. Johnson, Kubel, Ross, Saltalamacchia, Young – 0
    Category: Home Run Derby  2 Comments  Tags:

    2014 Kings of Cork Home Run Derby Open For Business

    You may have noticed that there haven’t been a lot of updates on the surface, but underneath the site has been going through some updates and prototype changes. I’m hoping to roll out some big updates by the beginning of the season. I’ll let my test group decide if the prototypes are worthy of publishing, but for the rest of you, you will just have to wait and see.

    But now for the best news this off-season for non-Yankee and non-Mariner fans, the 2014 Kings of Cork Home Run Derby is open for entry submissions. This is the quinquennial anniversary (5th year) of the website and our HR derby contest. And most of the original 38 participants are still involved. So if you are familiar with the contest, simply go to the Entry Form link above and submit your team of 5 (there were no rule changes from the 2013 rules). If you aren’t familiar with the competition, please head over to the Rules page to better understand the contest and then head back to the Entry Form and submit your official team.

    Remember, this friendly competition is open to anyone who can find the entry form. I don’t advertise the competition to many people (because most of my resources are already involved in the competition), so it’s up to you to spread the word to anyone interested in making the baseball season a little more interesting and personal. So go out and invite your friends, families, and enemies and let’s try to top 100 contestants this season.

    Now that the business end of this post is complete. Let’s talk about some of the more interesting off-season baseball related items.

    I’m sure you have heard of this Tanaka guy. No, not Taka Tanaka from Major League II. Although I hope their personalities are the same because the Yankees could use some individualism. Masahiro Tanaka is just the latest piece of the “evil empire’s” over-spending to buy a non-championship team. It will be interesting to see how his talents from Japan translate over to the launching pad in NY. Over the last 3 seasons in Japan, he pitched 600 innings, recorded just under 600 k’s, had an ERA of 1.44, and a record of 53-9 (including a 24-0 record last season). There is no doubt he is talented but competing against the hard hitting AL East will be quite different than the Matt Murtons of Japan.

    And really, the Yankees need to send a thank you card to A-Rod for saving them millions of dollars to be able to afford Tanaka’s first season salary. I’m sure everyone is sick of the A-Rod Circus but the good news is that this week he finally dropped his lawsuit against the MLB and Players Association. So it seems like the circus has left town for the time being, but it still doesn’t eliminate his reputation and past comments. My favorite being when A-Rod said, “I think that in the year 2014, the league could have done me a favor because I’ve played 20 years without a timeout.” You know, because we all get a year off from time-to-time in our working careers to spend our millions of dollars. I’m really hoping that A-Rod agrees to one of the independent league offers because he would at least help build a baseball fan base in towns nowhere near an MLB franchise. He owes at least that to the sport that made him rich and famous.

    Enough Yankee talk, how about some more exciting and inspiring short baseball documentaries. I stumbled across these on the ESPN site a few months ago and have been storing them away for miserable weather. Well now that the Midwest is about to see frigid temperatures near -20 this week, it seems like the perfect time to unleash them.

    1. The first short 30-for-30 film I found interesting is titled ‘The Schedule Makers’. This 12-minute short covers the lives of a husband and wife duo who managed the MLB schedule for 25 years by fighting off technology and larger corporations. This just blows my mind that a couple living outside of the busy city life would just sit down and develop the complicated MLB schedule for more than 26 teams that each needed to play 162 games in about 180 days. Talk about an expert level Sudoku puzzle.
    2. Second on my list of short videos is titled ‘Tommy and Frank’. What’s great about this video is the history behind the doctor, Frank Jobe, who invented the Tommy John procedure in 1974 saving Tommy John’s MLB career. Why it got named Tommy John versus the Frank Jobe procedure is still unknown but the story behind the two men’s friendship is incredible.
    3. Lastly is the short video about the Holy Grail of baseball cards, the T206 Honus Wagner. This card sold to Wayne Gretzky at auction for over $451,000 after all the final fees. This is the rarest card in the history of card collecting and this particular card was in mint condition. But what makes the story interesting is the controversy of how the card may have became mint. Were the edges cut? Was the card artificially re-colored? How could a card produced in 1909 be so perfect?

    Another interesting piece of baseball news this off-season is my opportunity to participate in the MLB Hall of Fame voting. Yes, this responsibility is typically delegated to a select few that were involved with the game whether it was managing, playing, or reporting. But this season, Deadspin attempted to purchase a ballot to allow the public to fill out and submit. When all their attempts fell through, there was still a single man that agreed to give his ballot to Deadspin’s readers. And I was fortunate enough to stumble upon the ballot and cast my opinion. The readers of Deadspin chose to vote for the maximum allowed which were Bagwell, Biggio, Bonds, Clemens, Glavine, Maddux, Martinez, Piazza, Schilling, and Frank Thomas. Once word got out to the BBWAA, some (maybe most) of the organization was appalled that a voter would give away his ballot (Lebetard did not sell it in the end to Deadspin). But they wonder why. The Hall of Fame voting is such a joke that no name ever mentioned in the same breath as Steroids will ever be voted in with this generation of voters. Heck, these voters can’t even unanimously decide that Greg Maddux isn’t a Hall of Famer… that right there is a joke and should be the slap to the face the BBWAA needs to change their voting policy. Not Deadspin acquiring a vote for the public.