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Eye’m Back To Full Strength

(And any college hockey fan chants back: “That’s Debatable!”)

It’s crazy how fast living organisms can heal (not just limited to the Human body). Any eye gauge from my son left me completely useless for 2 days, followed by 2 days of a patch and blurred vision, followed by 2 days of sunglasses for light sensitivity, and now here I am, finally getting around to a Home Run Derby update! (Because I’m definitely not going outside to shovel the snow)

Because I’ve been laid up for a week, my news is going to be up to 2 weeks old, so you may have heard some of this by now. But here it goes!

Interesting Links for the end of April:

  • Is Yelich for Realz?!?! – Yelich did it! He has tied the record for most home runs in the first month of the season with 14! He ties Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez (and now Cody Bellinger who also hit his 14th today). That’s pretty good company. Some may ask, why do teams keep pitching to him??? Well, I don’t know why, but as a Brewer fan, I sure am glad they continue to. In fact, for at least a little while, Yelich officially owned the Cardinals, according to Wikipedia (which we ALL know is a reliable source for facts). Unfortunately his HR outbreak in April has made my C-group completely lopsided.
  • Tiger is also back! – I warned you my news might be old. What you may not have known is that I’m an avid golfer (near a scratch golfer in my prime). And Tiger came into the professional golf world during my childhood era (I watched him at the ’96 GMO where he had his first professional hole-in-one), which brought more kids out to the golf course than ever before. Seeing him win a Major tournament again brought back a bunch of memories of his dominance. Hopefully it creates a spark for golf again that gets the sport back into the younger generations.
  • Wisconsin gambler wins $1.2Million on Tiger – Sorry, not baseball related. But interesting sports related story none-the-less. A man from Wisconsin, who never has placed a sports bet in his life, flew to Las Vegas before the Masters. Placed $85k on Tiger to win the masters. And we all know that that happened, so this man collected the 16:1 odds paycheck of $1.4Million. I’d say it’s been a pretty good month for gamblers in Wisconsin.
  • Joey Votto finally succeeded in popping out to 1B – It took 6,828 career at-bats in the MLB, but Joey Votto finally did something he had never done before… He popped out to the first baseman. That stat is unbelievable. How can anyone go almost 7000 at-bats without popping out to every position?!?!
  • What type of vanity does Blake Snell own?! – Blake Snell (who just got back from the 10day IL) was apparently moving a bathroom vanity after taking a shower and the bottom pedestal, made of granite, fell on his foot breaking his toe. It’s nice to know that even sports stars have freak accidents like us normal folk (now I don’t feel so bad about my eye gouge).
  • Carlos Zambrano is making a comeback!!! – I hope the big guy makes it back to the Majors. How can we not look forward to more dugout tantrums. WARNING: All Gatorade dispensers better be on high alert for this dangerous and armed man.
  • Yu Darvish plays pinball – Darvish threw a fastball that got a little too far inside. It then hit the batter, ricocheted and hit the catcher, and then hit the ump. Almost as rare as picking up a 7-10 split.
  • The BlueJays lost track of the count – And it lead to the weirdest pickoff you may see in 2019. After Drury got ball 3 on a 2-2 count, he thought he had drawn a walk and started heading towards first base. That lead to Teoscar Hernandez to start heading for second base. Well, it wasn’t long before they figured out their mistakes but it was too late for Teoscar to get back to first. I think Drury deserves an assist for that PO.
  • And finally, Vlad Jr has made his debut – Thanks to all the MLB service time manipulations, Vlad Jr. was stuck in the minor leagues. But he has finally been freed. And I’ve never seen a prospect get a standing ovation for 1 AB, let alone every AB in his first MLB game. It gave me goosebumps watching him get his first hit with his old man watching. It was only earlier that day that his dad gave him an amazing message for his son which sent goosebumps down baseball fans/fathers everywhere.

Week (3 and) 4 Kings of Cork Recap:

  • It’s fun seeing a couple newbies near the top of the leader board. I hope it gets them hooked. But it’s also great to see some ‘originals’ finally near the top. I’m looking at you Keep Trying, Maybe This Year, FRANtastic Five!, Not sure why I bother, Too High?, and Nana and me. These teams have not performed the best in the past few seasons, but they have stuck with it and this may be their year (channel your inner Cubs Fan with that saying).
  • We also have 2 past time champs just lurking outside the top-10 (still 10 homers behind the leader though). The Flying Aces (2016) and Mayer’s Mashers (2013) are doing their best to stay in the race to be the first repeat champion.
  • For the first time that I can recall… ever… we had a team hit 5 homers. Now the 5 homers part isn’t that rare. I believe we have had more than 5 by a team in a single day before. No, what made this rare was that every single player on their team hit a home run. Yes, Halfy’s Wallbangers had their Group A, B, C, D, and E players all hit a home run yesterday, April 27th. That is a feat in itself but helped propel them into the top-10 as well.
  • Week 3 (April 14 – 20) was still early enough to have some significant movement in the standings in just days. The Flying Aces showed its possible to jump 70+ places in a week. 72 in fact, thanks to 20 homers in 7 days. No thanks to their top-2 picks which still have 0 homers. But the bottom of their lineup with Yelich, Ozuna, and Rosario are carrying the 2016 champ towards the top. We also had 3 teams move 40+ places (Let’s play two, JB’s Monster Mash, and Big Time Timmy Jim). And another 9 teams move 30+ positions.
  • BUT, the major movement seems to have subsided in week 4 where we only had 5 teams move more than 20+ positions in the standings. Only one team topped the 30 spot jump which was Homer’s Homers with a jump of 36 positions from 96th to 60th. I’m sure Arenado waking up helped along with Story and Suarez finding their home run stick again in 2019. The other 4 teams: Let’s Play 2 and Let’s Play Two both moved 24 spots with 9 home runs last week (what are the odds of those two teams doing that?!?! They only have Arenado and their team names in common), There’s Always Next Year moved 23 spots with 8 homers, and the Crazy Cat Lady jumped 21 positions with 8 home runs.

It seems like the home runs have slowed down in week 4. Maybe the pitchers are finally finding their groove? Maybe the MLB dialed back on their juiced balls? Maybe hitters have shown their new holes in their swings for 2019? Whatever it is, I’m hoping it doesn’t hit my team for week 5.

Category: Baseball News, Baseball Stories, Home Run Derby  Comments off

Group Selection Statistics 2019

What is going on with the MLB in 2019?!?! The Rays are 9-3 leading the AL East (they have the lowest payroll in 2019) and the Red Sox (defending WS champions) are on the bottom at 3-9. The Mariners are supposed to be rebuilding in 2019 but are 13-2 and have hit the most Home Runs by any team in the first 12 games of the season: 32. And they now own the MLB record for opening a season with 15 straight games with a homer. The Dodgers tried to match them when they opened the season with at least one home run in their first 10 games. And Khris Davis already has 9 homers. I don’t think we have to worry about a home run drought in 2019.

Here are things I have found interesting since the beginning of the season:

Now, moving on to our regularly scheduled programming: Who Chose Who in this year’s Home Run Derby!

Group A
The only surprise from this group is how evenly spread out the choices were. I mean, there were only 4 players to get selected by non-double digit numbers. And they were low totals (1 or 2 people). That tells me that there is no real favorite this year unlike years past where 50+ teams would choose Albert Pujols. Then it was Jose Bautista. But there was no obvious choice and it’s too bad that the man mad of glass, Giancarlo, is already injured. I didn’t think he would play all season, but I didn’t expect him to go down within a week of the season starting. And now Trout is out with a groin strain for an unknown period of time. That’s 48 teams without an A-player for a while. Of the Group A players selected, there are 2 with goose eggs still. No surprise that one is Gaincarlo, but the other is newly paid Arenado. I thought the air was thin in Denver, but the ball hasn’t been flying out for him this year. There is plenty of time, so don’t freak out… yet.

Group A
Player Selected
Giancarlo Stanton 26
Mike Trout 22
Khris Davis 19
Aaron Judge/JD Martinez 13
Nolan Arenado 12
Nelson Cruz/Joey Gallo 2
Rhys Hoskins/Max Muncy 1
Josh Donaldson/Edwin Encarnacion 0

Group B
The next couple groups are where things get weird. For the first time that I can remember, group B has 3 players selected in double digits. And there are 7 out of 18 players that got 0 selections (Bruce, C. Davis, Dozier, Duvall, Frazier, Lindor, Sano). And one of them, Jay Bruce has the most homers in the group at 7 (tied with Bellinger). Harper is the clear favorite with the group. I just don’t think he stays healthy and he has only hit more than 30 homers twice. Goldy is proving to be a nice bounce back candidate with 6 homers already. It will be interesting to see if the year is won or lost with group B. The 6 teams with Bellinger could all finish in the top 10 if the 3 popular choices don’t perform.

Group B
Player Selected
Bryce Harper 37
Paul Goldschmidt 20
Trevor Story 19
Jose Ramirez 7
Manny Machado/Cody Bellinger/Jesus Aguilar 6
Travis Shaw 4
Kyle Schwarber 3
Justin Upton 2
Matt Olson 1

Group C
Another group oddity where over half of the managers chose 1 of 4 players out of 34 selections. The reigning NL MVP was the most popular choice, but even being a Brewer fan, I don’t believe he hits 30 HR this year. I hope he proves me wrong and the Brewers make the playoffs again, but his August and September in 2018 were unreal. He had me questioning the Group C position after homering in the first 4 Brewer games, but he has been quiet from the home run side of things since then. Blackmon is another Colorado hitter yet to hit a homer and he is one of the 4 popular choices. Group C tends to be the selection that a player breaks out and carries 1-2 teams to the top of the standings. Unfortunately, it won’t be due to the current leader of group C, Gary Sanchez, who has 6 homers (thanks to 3 in 1 game) since no manager selected him.

Group C
Player Selected
Christian Yelich 23
Mookie Betts 18
Kris Bryant 13
Charlie Blackmon 11
Mike Moustakas 9
Ronald Acuna 8
Eugenio Suarez 6
Anthony Rizzo/Jose Abreu 4
Javier Baez 3
Freddie Freeman/Randal Grichuk/
Juan Soto/Joey Votto
Michael Conforto/Hunter Renfroe/
Domingo Santana/George Springer

Group D
And again, a group where half of the managers chose 1 of 3 players out of 35 choices. Alex Bregman got paid this off-season, but he is sitting on a single homer for 29 managers. Matt Carpenter turned around an AWFUL April/May of 2018 to dominate the rest of the 2018 season. He’s starting slow again in 2019, so maybe there will be a bit of Deja-Vu. Yasiel Puig is on a new team (and already suspended for fighting) but has yet to hit a home run. Mitch Moreland leads the group with 5 homers but got 0 selections. The 2nd best in Group D is a veteran: Adam Jones. He got signed about 3 weeks before the season started. Now he is raking for the D-Backs with 4 homers in 48 ABs. Of the 35 choices, 14 had 0 selections. Not surprising due to most of them being injured or unsigned. I just never know in January who will be signed, on a starting lineup, or on the injured list. So some groups end up with fewer ‘available’ choices once the season begins.

Group D
Player Selected
Alex Bregman 27
Matt Carpenter 19
Yasiel Puig 13
Marcell Ozuna 7
CJ Cron/Paul Dejong 5
Miguel Cabrera/Adam Jones 4
Matt Adams/Ryan Braun/Robinson Cano/
Carlos Correa/Rougned Odor/Carlos Santana
Matt Davidson/Gleyber Torres 2
Rafael Devers/Maikel Franco/
Ryon Healy/Albert Pujols/Ryan Zimmerman

Group E
My favorite group! I love group E. A player will come out of nowhere and outperform everyone but maybe a Group A player. One year it was Jose Bautista. Another year it was Trevor Story. Last year it was Christian Yelich and Matt Carpenter at 36HR (Aguilar had 35HR in Group E last year). So who will it be in 2019?! It’s rarely ever a write-in. Which isn’t good news for 17 teams that chose to go off the available list. This year there were more ‘common’ write-ins than in years past. What I mean is that multiple write-ins had 4 managers write them in: David Dahl, Franmil Reyes, and Eloy Jimenez. One very interesting write-in was Luke Voit from the Yankees. He already has 4 homers which is 2nd most only behind Trey Mancini who has 6 (yes, 2 managers chose Mancini!). Only one player had double digit selections. Eddie Rosario who was a breakout player in 2018 got 12 selections. Even more remarkable is that there were only 11 out of 46 players who received 0 selections. That’s fewer than Group D with even more players to choose from. I can’t wait until Group E is won by someone not currently on the list, because it usually ends up that way.

Group E
Player Selected
Eddie Rosario 12
Miguel Andujar/Matt Chapman 9
Daniel Murphy 7
Andrew McCutchen 6
Yasmani Grandal 5
Teoscar Hernandez/Stephen Piscotty/
David Dahl/Franmil Reyes/Eloy Jimenez
Nick Castellanos/Enrique Hernandez/Evan Longoria/
David Peralta/Anthony Rendon/Justin Turner
Willson Contreras/Aaron Hicks/
Trey Mancini/Scott Schebler/Corey Seager
Josh Bell/Asdrubal Cabrera/Eduardo Escobar/
Scooter Gennett/Alex Gordon/Mitch Haniger/
Nomar Mazara/Troy Tulowitzki/Max Kepler/
Luke Voit/Ryan McMahon/DJ LeMahieu

So, there you have it. The 2019 selection statistics. There were 0 duplicate team selections this year which isn’t unusual, but I do find it surprising with how many ‘common’ choices were chosen in 4 of the groups. I thought there would be at least 1 duplicate team.

Finally, just keep an eye on the Injured List at the bottom of the standings. If your player hits 21 consecutive days without a plate appearance, just send me an email if you would like to use your 1-time trade for the 2019 season. I try to remind teams, but I don’t always get out in front of the trade availability date.

Good Luck!