It’s About Time: 2015 Baseball Season Is Here

Well we made it. It was touch and go for a while, but we made it through the horrible winter stretch with no baseball.

Opening night was pleasant for some of us, for others, they may be saying “There’s always next year” already, and for a select view, they are praising functioning plumbing.

Most of the rest of the league kicked off the regular season today (Brewer fans at least were drunk and charging up for the Final 4 championship that they didn’t realize that the Rockies destroyed them). And since the season has now officially begun, the Kings of Cork HR Derby Standings has been officially published with all the team details. If you need help figuring out how to use the standings, here is a help guide (but really its as easy as clicking on the team’s names).

We have a record 108 teams in the competition this year. I’ll post a heat map one of these days of where the teams are distributed but it pretty much spans the entire US (with a lot in the upper Midwest). Of the 108 teams, we didn’t have a single duplicate team selection for the 6th straight season (that’s every season for those who are counting).

Before we get to the player selection breakdown, I always like to give props to the teams that are creative with their selection process:

  • This year we have Guys with two first names who selected players from each group that have last names that are used as first names also (also this team is the current leader after day 1).
  • We also have Mariners 3 4 5 6 and Stanton who somehow figured out they could pick almost the entire Mariners lineup except for someone in group A.
  • There were 2 teams that appeared to focus on common letters in players’ names. Kelly’s A-team chose players that have first names beginning with A. And Mega Mashers keyed in on players’ names with the letter M.
  • And we have a few creative team names playing on Jorge Soler’s name: So Long Soler and Soler Powered.

Ok, enough is enough, onto the selection statistics.

Group A
An overwhelming amount of people (42%) went with the obvious choice of Giancarlo Stanton hoping that another fastball doesn’t find his face. Another ~20% of teams went with the other young phenom of Trout. Grand Slam and FRANtastic Five both went out on a limb and were the only teams to select a player (Ortiz and Chris Davis respectively). Only time will tell if their gambles pay off in Group A. The rest of the teams were fairly divided but no player in group A was left snubbed.

  • Stanton – 45
  • Trout – 21
  • Abreu – 10
  • Cabrera/Ecarn/Rizzo – 6
  • Bautista/Carter – 5
  • Goldschmidt – 2
  • Davis/Ortiz – 1

Group B
The majority aren’t afraid that Nelson Cruz is moving to the deep caverns of Seattle. Josh Donaldson was the next most popular selection who is also a popular pick for AL MVP. Next in double digits was the young swing-and-a-miss style hitter George Springer. Hannah Made Me Sign Up and Silly Fish Picks were the gamblers in group B. They were the only teams to select Victor Martinez and Mike Napoli. After that the picks are fairly evenly distributed and the only goose egg goes to Evan Gattis who is playing through a wrist injury right now.

  • Cruz – 22
  • Donaldson – 16
  • Springer – 11
  • Trumbo/Tulo – 7
  • Jones/Pujols – 6
  • Kemp – 5
  • Fielder/Cargo/Moss – 5
  • Beltre/Bruce/Longoria – 3
  • Alvarez/Howard – 2
  • VMart/Napoli – 1
  • Gattis – 0

Group C
As we get down into the lower groups with more player options, more variety in player selections occurs as expected. The popular picks were Kris Bryant (who isn’t even in the majors with no real ETA but smashed like 9+ HR in Spring Training) and Andrew McCutchen (he is not Scottish) with 12 teams choosing them each. It seems like Group C has a lot of the young players with a lot of upside that we are all fasinated by (oooo, shiny objects). Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes, and Bryce Harper seemed to attract the next level of team selections. Lets Play Two was the only team to take Devin Mesoraco and for the 2nd time, Hannah Made Me Sign Up also gambled and was the only team to take Chase Headley. There were 7 non-selections and 2 of them combined for 3 homers on opening day (I can’t believe no one selected Hanley Ramirez).

  • Bryant/McCutchen – 12
  • Puig – 10
  • Cespedes/Harper – 9
  • Braun/J. Upton – 7
  • AGon/Soler/Duda/Cano – 5
  • Frazier/Votto – 3
  • Arcia/Holliday/LaRoche/JD Martinez – 2
  • Headley/Mesoraco – 1
  • Baez/Lind/McCann/Pearce/HanRam/Rosario/Teixeira – 0

Group D
I don’t know if it’s because we have a lot of Brewer fans in the derby or what, but Carlos Gomez must have done his campaigning because 18 teams selected the 5 category stud this season (he’s never hit more than 24 HR in a season). Carlos Santana (not the singer) grabbed 12 selections, Buster Posey got 11, and Kyle Seager scored 10. Surprisingly in the group with the most selection choices, those 4 players added up to be almost 50% of the derby selection. The gamblers in group D were The Rando-mizer (Gyorko), The Patriots don’t deserve… (Morse), Scotts Jogging Shorts (ARod), Guys with two first names (Tomas), The Geezerhawks (ARam), and keeping up with their trend, Hannah Made Me Sign Up (Hart) has another solo pick.

  • Gomez – 18
  • Santana – 12
  • Posey – 11
  • Seager – 10
  • Heyward – 8
  • Desmond – 7
  • Arenado – 6
  • Adams/Freeman/Ozuna – 5
  • Byrd/K.Davis/A.Garcia – 3
  • Beltran/Granderson/Rasmus – 2
  • Gyorko/Hart/Morse/ARam/ARod/Tomas – 1
  • Gallo/J.Hamilton/Hardy/Middlebrooks/Morales/Moreland/Myers/Pence/Quentin/
    Ramos/Rendon/Reynolds/Singleton/Swisher/Wieters/Vargas/Zimmerman/Zunino – 0

Group E
I always like Group E. Mainly due to the fact that it doesn’t really matter who you pick because its all about luck in group E. And second, because I really like seeing write-ins. Players I maybe forgot about or players people are projecting to be a break out star this season. Before we get to those players though, let’s look at the most common picks. Kung-fu Panda (Pablo Sandoval) was selected the most at 14. Brian Dozier and youngster Joc Pederson were chosen 13 and 12 times respectively. And Michael Brantley had 9 devoted fans select him.

Now onto the write-in players. These are the guys that weren’t part of the multiple choice list. Surprisingly, some of the guys were written in more than once. Those guys were Brandon Belt (3), Luuuuucroy (2), and Manny Machado (2). I believe Belt and Machado are coming back from injuries that limited them last season. And if Lucroy turns half of his doubles into home runs, he is an excellent Group E choice. The other solo write-ins are Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, Logan Morrison, Luis Valbuena, Gregory Polanco, and Steven Souza.

Here are the total break downs in Group E:

  • Sandoval – 14
  • Dozier – 13
  • Pederson – 12
  • Brantley – 9
  • Walker – 8
  • Gordon – 6
  • Cuddyer/Y.Gomes – 4
  • Calhoun/Kinsler/Rios/Werth/Belt – 3
  • Lucroy/Machado/G.Jones – 2
  • Arencibia/Butler/Craig/Francisco/Joyce/Reddick/Peralta/Salty/Smoak/
    C.Young/Hosmer/Perez/Morrison/Valbuena/Polanco/Souza/Utley – 1

Good Luck this season and may the best/luckiest team win the 2015 Kings of Cork Home Run Derby.

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